We were up till five am the day of departure. Seated around a circular wooden table several of us put the final touches on our hand-cut, hand-stiched debut CD's. Most of us were delirious, but relieved at the culmination of numerous weeks of scrambling and hustling in preparation. After an abbreviated break for a few hours' sleep the clock struck noon, we gave our goodbye hugs and set sail, taking interstate 40 west to the top of Texas. In route we were stopped by an armed officer of the law, excited to send us off properly and with a ticket for driving in haste. No thanks. Continuing on, road-side stops beckoned to us. Our stomachs were broadcasting. Snacks: we had to have them. Half a waking day behind the wheel and slumped in every inch of the bus's interior we pulled up into the dusty town of Amarillo with satisfied bellies. Parking a fifteen passenger bus is like moving a mobile home. After a few laps around the block we fell into the empty room that would serve as our venue. We dropped off the twenty-instrument court in a corner and, with an hour to spare, took a stroll to a neighboring venue, The Golden Cantina. After chatting inside with some of the regulars, we were playing a short set for the happily drinking and clapping customers. Success. Management said they'd be glad to have us on our next time through. On a high note we returned to our scheduled gig and played just over an hour to an enthusiastic crowd that seemed to shuffle in as the sun was disappearing. Or, it could be that Daniel had drawn them all inside, casting a spell on them by bowing the theme song to the Harry Potter franchise on a hand saw. Mysterious. The night took a beautiful turn when one of the locals offered all six of us her home, and we slept like royalty under a borrowed roof. Loaded up and leaving this morning, Merri, our new friend, presented Kelsey with a small ornate box. Inside: a clarinet. Another new friend Liz generously donated the gift based on conversation at the bar. It's nice to make friends in an unfamiliar place. We are already making plans for a return.
Sara Kerens is accompanying us, documenting the trip. Here is a short clip she shot last night. "Saints We Are". More photos and video to come.