Sunday June 6, 2010 - Frederick, MD
Our final show of this trip today, held in Frederick at the home of our friends Harry and Jeanne. They've been organizing concerts for CGT at their church for almost ten years, and this is our second time doing one with our duo as well. So, they're old pros and really know how to pull things together nicely. They had a new outdoor patio this time which thanks to beautiful weather worked very very nicely. I think we were a little spaced out from several days of long drives, but the experience of doing all the shows well overcame that. After the show, we had a sizeable drive back to Bert's home for the night. Tomorrow will be a scramble to pack and ship much of the gear back to Encinitas in preparation for our next adventure which for me starts in four days!

What lies behind the Stick player
just off "stage right"

pre-show chat in the "green room"

Story time with Bert
Thank you and goodnight!

Saturday June 5, 2010 - Charleston, WV
Tonight was our second time playing in the "new" home of our friend Dave Dickens. What a guy.. he actually organized two concerts for us before he and his wife moved to their current home, but I think the best way I can summarize their hospitality is to point out a fact about the home. Dave tells the story proudly that when they were shopping for a new home and walked into this one, one of his first thoughts was that the living room would be perfect for house concerts. And so it is! Dave and Debbie went all out as usual. Debbie prepared a small mountain of food for all the guests. In fact, I think just about the only time I saw her not doing something in the kitchen was while we were actually playing! Dave's guitar teacher Phil Washington opened for us with a nice solo guitar set of chord/melody arrangements of Beatles tunes and an old hymn. It's always a pleasure visiting with them.. hope to do so again soon!
a man and his concert hall

just... two... more... shows!
(Bert tries to keep it together with Dave's guitars)

Friday June 4, 2010 - Frankfort, KY
We got to revisit one of our favorite places last night; The Kentucky Coffee Tree Cafe in Frankfort. It's a rather unusual room to play, very narrow and we play with seating stretched pretty far out to our sides. The room is decoated with a pretty wild collection of books and instruments and they have a surprisingly advanced sound system. We have many good friends in the area and it's always nice to see them again. One of the local papers wrote a really nice preview article for the show on Our show was also streamed live to the web, allowing other friends to listen in around the globe. Afterwards we shared a homemade eastern European style apple pie brought by friends. Yum yum!

two guys play at the Kentucky Coffeetree Cafe

people to the left of me
people to the right of me

Thursday June 3, 2010 - Cleveland, OH
Tonight we played for the second time in K&P Photo Studios in Cleveland. This is actually an amazing space visually as it's actually a very successful photo studio that does product shots for food companies, toy companies and the like. They've only held two concerts in their history... both of them with us! They did a great job with lighting and atmosphere as I guess you might expect from pro photographers, and some of the food came right off a photo shoot. I was actually afraid to touch it it looked so nice! It was a pretty solid show for us and I think a few people filmed it, so keep your browsers ready for videos to pop up on the web.

a view from above
(the stage is set)
Bert gets camera tips from K&Ps Sara
(in one of thier many model kitchens)

oh and some guys played some music too...

Wednesday June 2, 2010 - Detroit, MI
Fun show tonight with our friend Glenn Poorman. Glenn is a Stick player as well and organizer of an annual Stick seminar in Michigan. He's one of the most musical guys I know on the instrument, never afraid to play something simple if it's right for the piece, but also quite capable of doing more complicated things. He opened the show for us and joined us on a cover of "The Marsh" adding some nice high chords on an Alto Stick (guitar-scale version). The show was held in a really nice "converted barn." I don't know how old it was, but I think the owners father had actually done much of the redesign, changing it from a horse barn into a number of office spaces with a long wide hallway inbetween them that served us well as a concert hall. The owner Jeb is a great guy and a member of the Michigan Fingerstyle Guitar Society. We had a good mix of guitar and Stick players in the audience and they all seemed to enjoy it. Jeb actually injured a muscle in his leg just as we were arriving. But there was no stopping the show for him! He propped up his leg and sat right in the front row with an ice pack. Fortunately, he seemed to be feeling much better after the show!

warm up time with Bert
story time with Bert

Tuesday June 1 - Pittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh! Always fun for me to come here as it usually allows me at least a brief chance to visit with family in the area. Plus, Dave Brosky (our host for the second time now) is quite possibly the happiest, most energetic person I've ever met. He was dealing with all the organization for the show, a number of family matters, played a good opening set for us.. and just kept a high pace all night trying to make sure every possible detail was taken care of. He stuffed us with amazing pizza before the show and was up early cooking one of the best omlettes I've ever had before we had to go in the morning. Thanks Dave! It was also special to visit a bit with his father again who is an amazing character; a cowmilking boy who served in WWII liberating islands in the Pacific, then went on to college eventually becoming a PA Superior Court Judge and serving alongside an uncle of mine. Small world! Speaking of my family, one of my cousins drove two of my aunts and an uncle out to the show. It was the first time they'd actually made it to hear Bert and I and it was very nice having them there!

Ladies and gentlemen... Mr Dave Brosky!!!

Sunday May 30 - Kingston, NY
Keegan Ales! I've been hearing about this place for years but had never been there until today. Kingston and nearby Woodstock, NY are filled with some of the greatest musicians anywhewre and Keegan is a place you'll often find them playing just for the love of it. That was basically the scenario for us too and we were happy to also have our friends Michael Bernier and Kandi Harris do an opening set for us. Michael is an excellent Stick player but opted to play 12-string guitar and sing harmony parts along with Kandi. They sounded great together and are both very comedic folks. I was reminded many times of Saturday Night Live with their style of humor. We had some other good friends come to the show as well including Jerry Marotta and Pete Levin. Tony Levin was leaving for Japan the next day and celebrating his anniversary that day, but he and his wife actually stopped by to say hello after the show which was very nice. We spent the night at Jerry's place and had fun hanging out with him after the show and in the morning. He gave us a brief tour of the studio he's managing now called Dreamland which is an inspiring place.

With only a one hour drive for the day, we also had a bit of free time and chose to be tourists in downtown Woodstock. The first time I came here Tony Levin greeted me by saying "Welcome to the land time forgot!" It's been awhile since I've been back, but happily things are still very much the same.

just half of Maria's Italian sub
a bit of Woodstock

Bert's new look

Michael Bernier and Kandy Harris open @ Keegans

Sat May 29, 2010 - New Paltz, NY
Tonight we played as part of an ongoing concert series called "Artist's Cafe" at a Church in New Paltz, NY. It was actually our first time playing in the area but thanks to their promotion we had a fair number of people show up and made quite a few new friends and fans. The room was a small auxiliary room off the main church, but had a pretty interesting sound. Something about the shape of it helped us hear ourselves probably louder than what the audience heard, which was a nice effect to me. Before the show, our hosts Rob and Trevor took us to dinner at the house of their Bishop; Bishop Gregory. He made some amazing fish with home made mango salsa and sauce. Very nice. I hope we can make another stop here in the future!

Happy people in New Paltz

Sat May 29 - Bethlehem, PA
A slow morning in the hotel today.. after catching up on a bit of tour business, I'm now waiting for Bert as he evaluates the latest mixes for the new CGT album. I think the ceiling is not entirely straight in here.

a critical moment for the new CGT album
(Bert listens to new mixes)

Fri May 28 - Bethlehem, PA
Tonight we played at a great little venue in Bethlehem, called Godfrey Daniels. I'd never been here before but Bert had played here before with CGT. It's a really nice space run mostly by volunteers who help out just because they love doing it. It's been around for over thirty years now and seems to have no shortage of talent coming through. We had fun and I hope we can make it back someday!

The boots are ready
(load in time: Godfrey Daniels)
a room for dressing

Thu May 27 - New York, NY
Always an adventure... today we played in Manhattan. Our friend Jon Diaz rented a 100 year old Lutheran church in the upper west side of Manhattan. It was a great space for a show, but as always in NYC all the logistical things like parking and loading in and out are much more of an effort than normal. We arrived in the city a few hours early and took the opportunity to walk around (paying dearly for parking to do so!) First stop ironically was a Starbucks (to go online).. then while meandering aimlessly we happened across the Lincoln Center and the giant Apple store. Jon split the show with us, playing with a great sounding quartet of two guitars, violin and tablas/percussion. They had a really nice blend and sound and we hope to be able to do something with them again in the future!

load in time
Jon Diaz's sound check (minus violinist)

a tourist passes the Lincoln Center
the intersection of something and something

a tourist in the Apple store

The price you pay

Wed May 26, 2010 - Milford, CT
Nice show tonight set up by Stick player Brett Bottomley who also opened for us. Brett played a solo set of mostly originals with a real jazz/fusion leaning and a fiery right hand leading the way. The venue was actually a restaurant where Brett performs regularly. Sometimes restaurants can be tricky to establish a "concert" atmosphere in, as people might be eating or talking and interpret what you're doing as background music. But.. we managed to catch and hold people's attention and it worked well.

Brett Bottomley opens the show

Tue May 25 - Jenkintown, PA
A nice house (make that yard) concert tonight organized by our friends Rick and Adrienne. They've been fans of CGT for many years and Rick and I actually met on a Guitar Craft Course many years ago where we shared a cabin with about 10 or so other students. Things were much more spacious and comfortable this time! They did a wonderful job of spreading the word among their friends and we had a nice attentive crowd and played till the daylight was just about gone.

The stage is set: Jenkintown

Sun May 23, 2010 - Kendall Park, NJ
We had a fun show tonight sponsored by the NJ Proghouse, a group that puts on an ongoing concert series ina variety of venues. Ours was in a cool coffeeshop decorated with all sorts of rock memorabilia, ranging from a giant Paul McCartney poster behind us to the screaming King Crimson face staring at you in the bathroom. You could also order a "Dark Side of the Moo" or a "Van Halen" (vanilla, hazlenut). Lots of still and video cameras going for this one and an audio recording as well. We should be seeing some bits of it at some point. Afterwards we went out to dinner with the organizers at a great Japanese style Habachi place.

the sign says it all
get your video cameras, tape recorders and hard discs rolling.!

Saturday May 22, 2010 - Leesburg, VA
A great house concert tonight in the home of our friends Ben and Chada. It was actually our second time there as we played there maybe (?) two years ago. They have a pretty amazing living room with high ceilings and plenty of space for guests. They went all out too, pushing the barriers of what might still be called "snacks" or "appetizers." Our friend Patrick Smith opened with a nice solo set of acoustic guitar originals. He has a great touch and feel that created a nice mood... it rained outside a bit during his set and I was only wishing the sound of the rain on the roof might have been a little louder, but the ceilings were probably just too high!

The stage is set
Patrick Smith opens

Friday May 21, 2010 - Annapolis, MD
Great show tonight, opening for Stickmen, a relatively new group featuring Stick players Tony Levin and Michael Bernier and drummer Pat Mastelotto. They've just released their first album together and have been touring the US to support it. We were lucky to just happen to be in the same area when they were and happy to be able to line up a show together. It's always great to hear these guys play. With three out of the five of us being Stick players, and their groups pictures with Stick silouhettes posted about, I thought maybe tonight I wouldn't get hit by the "what is that instrument?" questions. But.. the first came just as soon as Bert and I finished our set, while I was packing up pedals. We hung around to listen to Stickmen's set which was poweful to say the least, visited a bit afterwards then piled in the car to drive to my Aunt's home near DC.

warmup time: P@ vs the bench
( P@: 1, bench: 0 )

Stickmen take the stage

a-bowing they will go

Wed May 19, 2010 - Hershey, PA
We've had a few days off this week before the tour gets quite busy again and have been staying at Bert and Carrie's near Harrisburg. Today Carrie and I took a touristy side trip to visit Hershey, PA. My mom's family lived there many years ago and in fact she and her sister were born there. My aunt gave me the address of their house. We found it easily as it was right near the town's downtown area. Then it was off to the museum and Chocolate World displays. Our Chocolate World visit had a fun twist too as Bon Jovi was playing at the Hershey Park Stadium and we heard a bit of their soundcheck.

at Hershey's Chocolate World
Ye olde family home

A bit of the Hershey Museum
Important things to know! (The Hershey Product Timeline)

Sunday May 16, 2010 - Tryon, NC
Today we drove north and played an outdoor show at the home of Lavin and Vivian in Tryon. Weather was a bit wacky. I had actually finished setting up when a few rain drops fell. So... I tore everything down and our hosts brough out a tent. We waited a bit... it stopped raining.. and looked clear. So.. the show proceeded outside. When we finally came up to our last two pieces.. there were a few more drops.. we adjusted the tent.. finihsed up.. then packed just in time before a massive downpour that lasted for quite some time! Other than that, the setting was great with a nice ampitheatre shaped yard and some very welcoming folks.

Listening to the opener in Tryon, NC
listening to opener Mariel Cuddihee

Friday/Saturday May 14 and 15, 2010 - Atlanta, GA
Our current tour has now shifted to the east coast with a weekend of shows in Georgia and North Carolina. Our good friends Mark and Christine have been inviting us to Atlanta probably every time we've come east, but we've never been able to make it happen.... till now! They helped organize two very nice shows for us. The first was in a church in town and the second a private event in their gorgeous home. I had a lot of fun with both of them. Mark joined us for several pieces each night on "Zen Drums" a strap/hands held electronic drum instrument. They're both big music fans and I had a lot of fun with Mark checking out music in his home theatre (nice!) and had one very very late night where Christine tried out the Stick, I played her guitar and Mark the zen drum.

Atlanta stage #2
Showtime at Mark and Christine's

stage props for show 1 - Atlanta

Want more Tom stories and trivia? Check out the website archives for past tour diaries.

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