Road Trip Report

Last weekend turned out to be every bit as great as I hoped and expected it might be. After three nights of gigging in mid-Michigan and the Traverse Bay-Leelanau region, I’m still trying to process it all, it went by so quickly!

On Thursday, I booked up to a little lake just north of Mount Pleasant to hang with my dear friends Charlie Walmsley and Melinda Prout, before heading into town to open for the debut Charlie’s new folk-rock band, “Crazy Chester” at Rubbles (seen in Robert Allan Barclay’s photo on the right, with yours truly). Fans of The Band and Dylan will undoubtedly understand the name Crazy Chester. It set the tone for the next two evenings, as the crowd noise was considerable, but the attendees were VERY appreciative. The one thing I learned from this is that it’s probably time to finally buy pickups for these acoustic 12-strings of mine. My operatives tell me that Fishman is the way to go, so I’ll investigate further. The Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA proved to be a fine libation to whet this harmonicat’s whistle. Crazy Chester sounded great, and the crowd was totally with them. I see a fine future for these boys, and I hope we can gig together again sometime soon!

geo_LFC_opI followed Charlie’s directions and took back roads much of the way to Traverse City on Friday. It was a beautiful day for a drive through the farm and woodlands headed north, and the gig at Left Foot Charley was a special treat, as I got to play on the patio, thanks to the sunny skies and warm temps. Good friends Gary and Georgina Kahle & Brad (Champagne Warrior) and Michelle Baker came to listen, as did Facebook friend Dee Moss, whom I had the pleasure to meet in person for the first time. (Dee took the picture on the left.) Everything Bryan Ulbrich makes at LFC is excellent, and I can personally vouch for his 2012 Pinot Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc that made the first and second sets even more pleasurable to perform.

A plate of The Bluebird’s crispy, delicious deep-fried smelt set the tone for Saturday evening, giving me all the fuel I needed (along with pints of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale) to play three sets of music in the tavern area of the venerable Leland landmark. Again, lots of positive feedback made this a fun gig to play, and I made sure to sing not one, but TWO Grateful Dead songs for my buddy, winemaker extraordinaire Shawn Walters.

The critic in me was pleased with all three of my performances, and they seemed to get better each night. I’m geeked to be making music again, and I could get used to playing on consecutive evenings like this, just like I did on a regular basis, “back in the day.”

Ciao for now,

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"In the best traditions of folk music, George’s songs evoke personal experiences and historical events, and George certainly has had some experiences, let me tell you. But the experiences of which he sings so truthfully here, while almost mundane when taken literally, are made to seem so much more meaningful, so much more heartfelt in his hands and within his voice. These arrangements are as near to the folk tradition as one could hope, are exactly all that’s necessary for each song, and when accompaniment and backing vocals are used, they feature David Mosher on several traditional instruments, as well as Bill Arnold on dobro, providing simple support to George’s already ample foundations." —Michael O'Brien, Open Mike


And George Heritier from Oak Park shared his clever songwriting, cool and entertaining lyrics and hot guitar/harmonica riffs. He got the best round of applause for the whole festival! I am a huge fan of acoustic blues and folk music and George is one of the best I have heard. I would make it a point to go see him ANY time he plays, it will be well worth the effort! —John P. Bayerl, PhD - SeMi