The weekend of July 4th started out with a plane ride to Tx and the finishing touches on a set of Cocobolo pipes to be delivered in Austin. I managed to finish in time to get out to the Houston session on the wednesday night at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck. I walked in to find Gregory McQueen, the fiddle player from Clandestine, Al Cofrin, the cittern player from Clandestine and director of Istanpitta, and Larry Mallette, a flute player, M.D., and composer of one of my favorite tunes “The Rolling Jig” playing away. The next day Clandestine played a show at the Cactus Cafe to a great crowd of friends and did the Austin release of ReD. I had spent the afternoon playing smallpipes at Things Celtic on 35th, one of the last and best storefront shop for kilts, Irish and Scottish music, gifts, jewelry and general cool stuff. On Saturday we played two full house shows at the Mucky Duck and I started practicing some tunes from next year’s silver medal list I’ll have to submit for the Winter Storm contest in KS City next January. I had also brought the ProTools setup with the new microphone to finish the last bit of the tracking for the Teribus album “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bombard”. It felt great to have a weekend with Clandestine and being back in that band feels like having a member of my family back from beyond. The camaraderie is wonderful and the music is really something I can believe in. Emily and Al as a writing team have turned out to be kind of a miracle since a year and a half ago we were all sitting in Emily’s house at rehearsal saying “we really need new material and that means new songs”. She and Al opened the floodgates and now we have more new stuff than we can play in a normal show. The band’s back at the Celtic Classic, TSF, and we’re going back to AZ in February to a highland games we used to love. Now that we’ve got a new CD I guess we’ll go for Lorient as well and see if we can go overseas in 2009. I spent last week doing the final, final bombard parts for the Teribus album and we made our printing deadline by about one day. I was worried it wasn’t going to happen and went through what felt like the cycle of grieving for a while, eventually getting to acceptance that what would happen would happen and I was just taking each step in the recording process for it’s own sake. The lesson I got back from this experience was that if you just keep throwing as much love as you can at something there’s a chance it’ll work out. In this case that’s what happened and the album is full of heart from all three of us. I feel incredibly lucky that we’re playing together and finally have our first album. Now to think about the second. The same goes for Clandestine and I’m supposed to be practicing some of the old tunes and a couple of complicated new ones for the next show Labor Day Saturday. I did as much practicing for the Grandfather Mt Games this past weekend as I could given the recording and performance schedules of the last couple of weeks. I had thought I had missed the entry deadline at one point but squeaked in under the wire. It was a gorgeous day on the mountain and I had nothing else to do that day except compete in the five events and go play smallpipes with Ed Miller in one of the groves. By the time the day was over I had won the Strathspey and Reel contest which was a great encouragement considering two years ago I had a problem with my left hand and couldn’t play an E doubling. That’s been getting steadily better over time and while it affected a couple of the other events I managed to rip out a tune called “The Piper’s Bonnet” and “Lochiel’s Away to France” which are as full of E doublings as a tune can be. So now I’m really encouraged to practice like hell. Next stop: Pennsic 37 playing crazy medieval style bagpipes and trying to keep up with Kevin and Richard as part of Teribus.