Friday May 5th, Vienna
“Please come down stairs
It’s an emergency”
“I’m in Germany, no, I’m in Austria. “
I stepped out of Neil’s apartment to Theater der Josefstrat. Vienna in my eyes. Centered. Ready for the day. Phone rings. My downstairs neighbor’s downstairs neighbor back home. She never phones me. WTF does she want, I wonder. Definitely nothing good at this hour.
There’s water pouring onto the porch. Boom. Another thing I get to leave Clare to deal with whilst I’m away. Deal with it she does, wonder wife.
I’m on a train now from from Vienna to Munich. Lots of movement this week.
Vienna has been kind to me for over a decade now. My friend, the Union Hall born poet, Neil MccCarthy and I performed twice at the Laden. Many old friends. Many beautiful poems. Neil is in the process of moving himself and his family back to his wife’s home place in California. The sense of one chapter ending and a new one beginning leant an extra intensity to this visit. We caught up with the good Count, Dominik, Tree Hugger Dan and Kata came from Budapest, fellow Rockwood Music Hall regular, Austrian songwriter Maria Neckam was in attendance THursday, Viennese based Scottish Legend Stuart Neville, Wyoming Songwriter Doug Andrews and Big City Folk/ NYC expat Emily Kolbert on Friday. Neily was on fire with the poems. I even persuaded him to sing “If You Could Read My Mind Love” as a tribute to Gordon Lightfoot who died earlier this week. What a song.
Neil told me a mind blowing story about a Vienna based hitch hiking Santa originally from Fort Lauderdale . The story involved the CIA, Rhodesia, shipwreck, human kindness, murder, antiques and the FBI, It’s worth tracking Neil McCarthy down for this true story alone.
Today is the last day of this tour. In Munich Neil and I will play with our old friend Paul Solecki. It’s a private gig, so private that neither Neil nor I have any idea where it is. I’m looking forward to seeing Paul. He probably knows where it is. I take the night train back to Frankfurt right after the gig and fly back to NYC in the morning. That’ll be rough but I cant wait to see Clare and Saoirse. It’s been a magnificent first tour back since the pandemic. I’m beyond grateful to all who’ve made it so.
Plane Descending to JFK
LAst night I played in Munich. In private bar. It felt like a rural Irish bar inserted into a German residential building. It was extremely cool and the gig was one of the highights of a tour full of highlights.
The place was completely packed and the audience were pin drop quiet or singing along depending on the moment. Paul and Kasper Von Braun opened, Neil did a few poems. Paul accompanied me on mandolin on ‘May 12th 1916 – A Song For James Connolly’ and Paul and Kasper accompanied me ‘It’s a Beautiful Life’
My good friend Paddy Saul’s sister Sharon was at the gig. She’d never heard of this secret venue before. Mike the owners of the space taught in Ireland for a year in the 80s. Turns out he taught in Sharon’s old school ANDas if to prove it he produced a card that the class of 1985 had signed for him, and sure enough, there was her signature on the card. Bananas.
Neil and Paul accompanied me to the Hauptbahnhof where they waltzed me goodbye as my ICE train pulled out of Platform 18.
Less than five hours later my train arrived in Frankfurt Fluhghafen. The sketchiness of early Sunday morning train stations is a worldwide phenomenon. The post party human mind opens as a waking dream. Slow motion zombies walking funny and talking to themselves.
I found my gate thanks in part to the volume at which a middle aged New Yorker was complaining about everything. When we landed and I arrived at the baggage carousel he was still complaining. God love him.
I’ll be posting some videos and live bootlegs on Patreon once my brain joins my body at home.
Thanks also to all who’ve pre-ordered ‘The Patience of Trees’. I’m very proud of this record.