In which Picker explains his recent absence from the boards (M&P, to be sure)

Howdy fellow Dopers!

It’s been several months since I’ve even had a chance to look at the Dope, let alone contribute, but things are finally settling down to the point where I could at least poke my head in here and say hi.

I’m not exactly the most prolific of posters anyway, so I’m not sure how many of you noticed my absence, but if you’ve read this far, you might care, so here’s the lowdown:
As some of you know, I’m a professional flatpicker out of Madison. I’d been rehearsing a new group for about six months before we started playing out in March. I’m pretty sure that’s about when I was last on the boards.

Since then, things have just been flat out crazy. Out of deference to the board’s non-promotional nature, I will omit the name of the group (speaking of which, while we didn’t use any of the names suggested in the contest I held a ways back, I still owe a couple of you a CD - I’ve been waiting to send you guys some studio stuff, which is well underway and should be released late summer).

The band is working better than I could have possibly hoped - four part harmonies to die for, I’m picking better than ever, and my mandolin player is all could ever hope for as a picker and a timekeeper. But what’s blowing my mind is the songs - I’ve been writing for years, but nothing that ever compares to the writing we’re doing with this group. To say I’ve died and gone to my version of musical heaven would be an understatement. I’ve got two labels that have tendered offers on the new record, and we’ve signed an endorsement deal with a small craft brewery out of Spring Green, WI - who I will pimp here - Lake Louie Craft Brews - some of the best beer I’ve ever tasted (although it’s only produced in VERY small batches, if you ever find some, for god’s sake try it)

Myself, Althea and the band have taken over a 75 acre farm just south of Madison and living the good life, I guess you’d call it. Pickin’, writing, homebrewing, and tending a 900 sq. foot garden is the order of the day.

We’re touring over 5 states now, but most heavily concentrated in Wisconsin and Minnesota. So far this June we’ve played with The Big Wu, Natty Nation, God Johnson and we just got off a nice 5 date mini-tour with Minnesota jamgrassers extraordinaire Trampled By Turtles and Charlie Parr. And we’ve been selling out some pretty big rooms in Eau Claire, LaCrosse, Oshkosh and Green Bay.

The neatest thing of all is that we’re currently in negotiation with an alternative energy distribution company (who shall also remain nameless) to retrofit our tour bus with a full biodiesel workup, in exchange for promotional advertising to that effect on the side of the bus. Which makes both the tree-hugger and marketing guy in me very happy…

So I’m about as happy as I’ve ever been in my life, and I felt like popping in and sharing. I hope to stay at least peripherally involved here now we’ve finally got a bit settled out here at the farm and re-adjusted to the touring life.

Like I said, just wanted to share. Again, I won’t mention the name of the group, but for those of you in the upper Midwest, you can find us at Cranky Pat’s in Neenah, WI this Friday and at Husby’s in Door County this Saturday (for those of you on the east side of the state). We’ll back out fauther west late july - the 29th at the Cabooze in Minneapolis and the 30th at the House of Rock in Eau Claire. I’d love to see some dopers out, and if you email me, I’ll happily comp you in.
So anyway, life is good, I’m loving my life and situation, and I’m as satisfied personally and artistically as I’ve ever been. But I missed all you Dopers, so it was time to pop in and say hey.

Much love to all,


That’s great to hear, picker.

It may sound like you just won the lottery but from my limited experience I know that being in a band is terribly hard work and getting to where you are now doesn’t ‘just happen’. You worked your ass off and here you are!

Congratulations! It’s great to see hard work start to pay off.


Very good news, picker. I don’t play myself, but lots of family members do. My sister (retired bluegrasser) and myself would both be interested in hearing your group. Any way to get a name or a link or something somehow.

Hey, I, for one, miss anyone who seems like they need to be missed. Welcome back and congrats on all the good stuff that kept you off line and out in life.

I play the piano (fairly well) and the trumpet (rusty, but fairly well) and sing (pretty bad, but at least I know when I’m off)…so I’m jealous of your musical talents.

I think congrats are in order!

Hurrah for you!