I cannot juggle this blog with our other activities, so if you happen to follow us and want to keep up, make sure you "like" us on facebook and interact regularly so facebook keeps our posts in your news feed. Alternatively, you can sign up for our newsletter on our website!
Perhaps someday we'll resurrect this blog. Until then, Happy Pickin'!
Below is a copy of our first newsletter for the band. If you haven't signed up yet, please go to our home page at http://amberwavesband.com, then scroll down to the little box where you can type in your email. It will go right to our box, and we'll send you a confirmation!
First, the big news: Announcing the release of the Amber Waves Band's new CD, "Hourglass"!
It has been nearly two years since our last CD release and you won't want to miss this one! We have several original songs, as well as a few of our favorite cover tunes and arrangements. This is a wonderful mix with everything from classic bluegrass, gospel, swing dance sounds, and heart-felt ballads. Don't miss it! It can be purchased immediately at any of our shows, and within the next couple of weeks we will have it added to our CD Baby Store, where you can download individual tracts, the whole album, or order the CD. The best of the CD will be offered through download and iTunes, but for those purchasing a CD, there are two additional songs you may enjoy! Check back soon. We will provide a link on our web site when the new CD is available for orders, and another when the select songs are available through digital download sites. Meanwhile, you can preview the music by streaming it through our ReverbNation widget right on the front of our web site!
By request, we have also added a lyrics page to our web site, where you can see our personal notes on the songs, as well as read the lyrics to the original titles.
A Moment for Some Fun
As most of you are aware, we left Colorado shortly before the first of the year, in our converted school bus, affectionately named "Benny". Our first month on the road has been a full adventure in and of itself.
A wrap-up of the first part of our trip can be seen in the first of what we hope are a series of silly and fun self-made "reality show" videos. Nothing serious here, just lighthearted fun. Find it on our youtube page! From a broken car dolly, failed transmission, stuck in the mud, and smoe crazy shorts on relieving tension, you'll see the whole crazy start of the trip in about 6 minutes.
Since the video episode, we have had some wonderful experiences and will highlight them in the next edition, which is almost ready to be edited and put together. Subscribe to the youtube channel, our band blog, or to our facebook fan page to see what happens next! We'll show you some great pictures we took while dry-camping right on the beach, as well as a quick trip to Vulgaria, and an encounter with the Child Catcher!
What's Next for the Band?
We are excited to join the Whitsett Baptist Church in Whitsett, TX this Saturday evening, January 28th, for an exciting gospel bluegrass show, featuring the Amber Waves Band! Next we head into Arizona for the Goldfield GospelGrass Festival at the Goldfield Ghost Town near Apache Junction, AZ. More details can be found on our web site calendar. We are trying hard to keep it up to date, though sometimes we have shows added almost at the last minute. We just hit the road and are actively looking for playing locations to fill the schedule so be sure to contact us if you would like to see us come through your town.
After a brief trip back to Colorado for the Mid-Winter Bluegrass Festival, we will head back to the southern area of Texas, then swing up through northern Texas, Arkansas, and into Missouri by May, before we head back to Colorado. Lord willing, we hope to then make our way east through the mid-west, a stop for a tour of Washington DC, and make our way finally to Florida by next November, before heading back through to Texas. Thanks to some quite successful showcases in the Rio Grand Valley, or schedule for the winter of 2013 is nearly full, but we have a lot of flexibility this year, so let us know your ideas!
We left the northern Colorado area around 11:30, after last minute trips to the bank and figuring out how to make the dolly work with the minivan. Grandma and Papa followed us all the way through Denver to see how everything looked with the hitch, dolly, and minivan. It was driving great, so they said goodbye, and we headed out towards TEXAS!It was chilly, but the sunset was amazing, as we passed through a bunch of wind turbines on the way. Alas, the excitement was not to last. Pretty soon our luck ran out (that full half a day of luck), and left us with only bad for luck.
We planned to stop off at a place in Dumas to sleep for the night, but there was a new overpass that was not on the google map Michael used to plan the route, and we missed the turn. So, we found what looked to be a wide dirt parking lot in which to turn around. Only it wasn't exactly a parking lot. It was a mud pit. It was a sneaky mud pit with a hidden ditch that was iced over mud so it looked like the dirt surrounding it, too, and just on the same level, so you never saw it coming until you were in it.
Oh yeah. That was one stuck Benny Bus. It was COLD mud, too. Nothing to do but pray, then call our road side service, who hooked us up with a tow truck. The tow truck got stuck at least 4 times pulling us out, but three hours later, we were out, kids were sleeping in their bunks, and we learned a big lesson about mud, and about this trip. Basically, no matter how knee deep we get in it, God will arrange to pull us out. That tow truck was only a few blocks from where we were stuck, pulling someone else out of a mess, and he was there within 30 minutes, determined, despite his own trouble with the mud, to get us out. We had some fears that he'd give up and we'd have to pull in a larger truck the next morning from Amarillo. Nope. Got us out. Our plucky little bus did just great, too. That was an, eh-hem, operator error. ;)
The next night was our first Wal Mart parking lot night in Big Spring, TX! The kids were thrilled! (Don't ask why. They just think it's really cool to sleep at Wal Mart.)
After that we headed towards Medina Lake, outside of San Antonio, to the RV Park that is part of our membership. The silly GPS turned the bus down a dirt road, (really GPS? Dirt road? Aren't you supposed to ask permission before doing such dumb things), and you simply cannot turn a 38 foot bus towing a minivan around on a dirt road. Michael decided we had to at least remove the minivan from the dolly, so I could follow the bus and make it easier to handle the road. That was definitely a God thing there, because when I started following it I realized something was terribly wrong with the wheel of the dolly. In fact, we arrived to find it looking like this:
I do believe our guardian angel has been working overtime, because that could have ended very badly on the highway. But wait! It gets better!
First we'll take a moment for fun, however. No point bumming everyone out.
The night we arrived was New Year's Eve and it turns out the park was having a party at the activity center! Remember Benny Bear, our bus mascot? Here he is dressed up for New Years!
From pickle ball to the chicken dance, the party had everything we needed to start the year off right.
The next day showed us what a true walking petting zoo this place is. Ducks and deer are everywhere asking for food, and you can buy deer corn at the local store... so we did.
Ok, back to Murphey's Law and how it has applied at every turn.
There was no time to figure out how to repair a dolly we could not even tow before our Wednesday showcase down in Mission, so we decided to change our plans and drive down early that morning in the minivan, then drive back. Bad idea. I had forgotten that this was the week of "everything that can go wrong will go wrong."
About 60 miles from Mission the transmission on the van started seriously slipping. We crawled our way there and arrived just in time to slip on our outfits, stand up and smile pretty, sing some songs, then Michael went and fretted about how to get us the 280 miles back to the dog and bus (dog was tied to the bus with someone looking in on him), and I booked gigs for 2013 and one even for 2014, 'cause the kids may like to eat next winter, transmission or not.
We decided there simply wasn't a choice, so we piled back into the van and drove it all 280 miles on low gears. Angels were pushing us because it made it, and it didn't take nearly as long as we feared. In fact, once or twice it actually shifted into a high enough gear to turn off the hazard blinkers.
It was a late arrival, but we made it home to our dear bus, dog, and not so dear cat.
Thus ends our tale of our first week. We should be a mess right about now, but if you want to know the truth? We're having a *really great time*!!! I have no idea why. Something must be wrong with our brains. Today, after feeding deer, Mary exclaimed, "This is the best day ever!". Sean, after playing mini golf and pool said, "This is like *paradise*." Really? We got stuck in paradise, huh? They're all sold by now, troubles and all.
So, what's the plan for the van and broken dolly? Honestly, we don't know yet. The transmission fix will cost about double what the van is worth, but we simply cannot afford another vehicle, so it may have to be done. Not sure who can fix the dolly, either. The spindle will need to be cut off and a new one welded on. I don't know who can even do something like that, especially when it can't be towed.
We're completely at the mercy of Providence, and I admit, it's not been a bad place to be so far, so we'll just go along for the ride. Maybe we'll find a few more things to go wrong and be the inspiration for a National Lampoon movie or something? Hey, there's an idea...
Update: Since writing this the dolly has been sold, though not replaced, and the van is scheduled to go for a transmission fix tomorrow.
Updated update: The transmission estimated doubled in price. Never mind. Van going to the scrap heap and we are officially a bus only family.
It occurred to us recently that our web site, photos, and demonstration videos did not reflect our current band. When you have children in a band, it can change dramatically from one year to the next.
When we started the band, no one was particularly skilled at their instruments, harmonies were still written out and drilled, everyone stared at their fingers, no one smiled, least of all Mom, when the younger two, not knowing behavior requirements on stage, would goof off. Ok, some things haven't fully changed. Ha!
Our promotional issues changed over this last week as updates were made on our demonstration videos and everyone went in for some updated photos!
Pictures first, then for those who would like to give a listen to our new demo videos, keep scrolling down and you'll find them. We are trying to get a jump start on booking for 2012, nation wide, so if you know anyone who may be able to offer us assistance on locating playing opportunities, please forward the videos!
On to the pictures! These are some of our favorites, in no particular order:
Here is one specifically for our Gospel Music!
Finally, we do offer some educational programs for children.
Don't forget! We're working on bookings for 2012, so if you have any place you can suggest to us, please let us know, and pass the videos on!
Tomorrow marks the end of the season. It is rather strange that it happens to land on 9/11. We play for a picnic, then we are off the rest of the month. It's been a whirlwind of a summer, too. We've had the privilege to play at so many interesting locations, from 4th of July celebrations, fiddle contests, city parks, fine art festivals, and other interesting venues.
Today we had another interesting adventure - the Colorado Peach Festival. In most ways it was an ordinary gig, but we just happened to be right next to one of the more interesting kid entertainment blow-ups we'd ever seen.
One of the many perks to playing with a family band. This summer the kids have gone on carriage rides, little train rides, played human Foosball, had many delicious free meals, and all in the name of entertaining. However, I'm pretty sure this was the best one this summer!
There are a few fall programs lined up, and we've already booked our first Christmas gig of the season, but the summer rush is over. We are all looking forward to some down time to work on our CD project.
We have an official tour announcement available for download as well. There are some minor changes as we try to narrow down our targeted locations. Please feel free to pass it along to anyone in the states listed!