As in, home again, home again.
After the concert in Squaw Valley, Maggie packed her bags and instruments into yet another car, to be driven by our good friend Tom Taylor back to her Nevada City home.
About a week before Luke had called to say that he “was now officially lonely.” And her dogs, Flora and Puck, cats Coco and Muzette, horse Belle (hers for 34 years!) and a garden will all appreciate her return.
Even though we still have one more concert, this good bye is hard. Our journey, all 3382 miles of it (I need to spell it out, as one does a check, for good measure: Three Thousand, Three Hundred and Eighty Two Miles), is over. Of course we will play music again together, in many formats and in many venues. But this magical, dynamic, waterdragon journey is just about over.
After a bit of clean up I, too headed home. Greeted by my own magical garden, beloved cats,
and roses. The lettuce has not bolted too much in my absence, and the tomato and pepper plants have both yellow flowers and budding fruits.
After lugging in the luggage (a redundancy that is purposeful: a lot of lugging is involved in moving containers of one’s things around), I unpacked and looked around at how things are growing. The most wonderful gardener, Sarah Keller, helps me from time to time; she’d just planted a bed with basil, sage, tarragon—part of an herb garden I cherish having close to my kitchen.
So I cruised around taking in the various forms of basil and checking on squash and pepper plants.
The Squaw concert was Wednesday, the final one would be on Sunday—for us, when we’ve been used to performing at least every other day, that’s a long time between concerts. But Maggie is also prepping for a tour of the Pacific Northwest with her wonderful band, Beaucoup Chapeaux—that remarkable head of hers is filled not only with the guitar and accordion and vocal parts (and lyrics) for the waterdragon tour, but also with dozens of poly-rhythmic Gypsy/Gallic/Euro-jazz tunes. (Check them out: Here’s their electronic press kit; you can also visit and “like” their page on Facebook.)
Many a Friday night Beaucoup Chapeaux inhabits a corner booth of Nevada City’s Classic Cafe on Broad Street, and between the Hall & McKaig gigs,
there they were: Maggie, Luke Wilson, Randy McKean, Murray Campbell.
I took the opportunity to take a listen and Hestia came along for the ride
Beaucoup Chapeaux was in amazing form, even though their fearless wrangler had been plowing through the Southwest for the previous three weeks.
I took guitar and mandolin over to Brett and Louis’s house—they’re up in Squaw Valley, working on the Community of Writers, readying for the arrival of sixty-odd poets in less than a week—and let the chickens out of their coop.
For an hour I played to them while they foraged around (my red toenails have been pecked more than once; they look like berries, I suppose). I also checked in their roosting places for some eggs,
on which I wrote the laying date and added to those already in a carton in the fridge.
Final concert: at Diane Fetterly’s beautiful home in Nevada City. Diane and I had hoped to have it in her garden, but the sun slopes down at a long western angle, lighting – and heating – that part of her property until well after 7:00, and guests were slated to arrive at 5:30. George Cloud, who shares her property, had a great suggestion, and just beyond a bank of Jerusalem Pines we set up over 40 chairs and even a sound system: this would be our most well-attended concert so far, with good friends driving up from San Francisco
and down from Truckee and from all over Nevada County to take it in.
Hestia was with us.
So was my mother, down from Squaw Valley for the day.
Diane created a beautiful environment, and put out a tip jar (lesson learned!) and served up cheese and salami and quesadillas and crudités, and —at intermission—brownies.
Luke Wilson was there – speaking of lugging, he’s the one brought his wonderful sound system, and spent much of the concert making sure both instruments and vocal mics stayed at the right levels.
I am so deeply grateful for the support Luke and Maggie have given me and my music over the years. Every step of the way, this last decade, when I asked for any kind of musical help and support, they’ve been there to give it; they are the ones who said, with some exasperation, It’s time for you to get your music out there, and flowed considerable support, in every way, towards making it happen.
Thank you, Luke and Maggie, you two beauties.
We thanked Barbara—Mother—for her generous gift of Rogue, the rental car, Diane and George for the beautiful venue and organization, Tom for all kinds of help, friends for being there. A few of them took photos with cameras and iphones and shared them.
It was a magical concert: the sun lowering in the sky behind us, each song precious, the audience not only attentive but clearly enjoying themselves. By the second set, Maggie and I kicked off our shoes, digging our toes into delicious grass.
The last song was, of course, O Joy Divine of Friends. Everyone sang.
And you can too: here’s a video of O Joy Divine of Friends, just waiting to be sung along to, filmed during “29th in D,” a concert with cherished friends, back in December.
Diane’s party went on for some time, and a delightful time was had by all. We didn’t get home until quite late, and in the mood for a late night snack, I made an omelette, with eggs gathered from Brett and Louis’s hens over the last few days. I served it to Mother, Nancy Carlin, and Tom along with some toasted ciabatta and a divine Pinot Noir, gift from David Fenimore.
We toasted the waterdragon tour’s many hosts, who not only turned over living room and garden for our concerts, but fed us and gave us lovely places to sleep. In many ways, the request I made of them was preposterous, but they each and all not only took it in stride, but created magical and unique events: Tracy, Paul and Lucette, Sharon, The Taos Inn (whose Open Mic can’t be excluded, nor can the one in Hatch, New Mexico); Dana, Lee Ann, Amanda, Tracy-Brett-Nico-Ola, and Diane all helped us towards the most magnificent of journeys.
And so, over the omelette, with the help of the fine Pinot, we toasted this grand adventure. I’m sad to see it go. But on to the next. Maggie and I’ll split the night’s generous tips (more thank yous!) and my share of them will help fund the CD that over the next year I’ll make with Maggie and Luke and Randy and brother-in-law Louis, and other friends with whom I am lucky enough to make music.
What do you think? Rustler’s Moon: Sands & Friends
Thank you, so many of you, for coming along on this journey, for the support sent across sometimes thousands of miles. A few of you have posted comments; many others have emailed or spoken to me of the pleasure you’ve taken in reading these posts. I’m most grateful. Perhaps as I work on the CD I’ll post a few thoughts about that process. I hope you’ll be along for the ride
Thank you for reading.
First: Love the proposed CD title… Second: Trying to remember why it sounded like a good idea to go home from Diane’s as early as I did….. Third: I want to write more about what a special night it was but have no more words other than to keep repeating myself, “Beautiful music from beautiful ladies!”… And lastly: For the rest of my life, “Joy Divine of Friends” will be part of my vocabulary of love! Thanks, Sands for taking us all with you on your journey….
Beth, thanks so much — and for your lovely contribution to the tip jar, also! It was so very good to see you, and to see you looking so well!
Thanks so much!
Sands Hall email@example.com
And thank you, Water Dragons, for enriching us with your bounty.
Thank you for coming along!
Sands Hall firstname.lastname@example.org