I am playing a batch of gigs in Casper, Wyoming for the month of June, while we enjoy the hospitality and grace of our friends Rebecca and Geoffrey Hunt, who have again allowed us (humans, kitties, dog, and guitars) to sojourn at their cabin on top of Casper Mountain. On Monday, June 9th, I played a gig where everything went off without a hitch. The next day, at another gig, I went to turn on my amplifier and nothing happened; no light on the back of the amplifier, no soft, barely present hiss of power in the speakers. Nothing. I checked power chords, outlets; everything I could think of, to no avail. I was forced to play “unplugged”, as it were, and fortunately, it was a smallish room, and a somewhat intimate-sized audience where that worked well enough (besides, I remember seeing Andres Segovia play Carnegie Hall without any amplification, so I figured I ought to be able to pull this off.
After the gig, I picked up Pony at the Natrona County Public Library, and we hit a handful of music stores in the town of Casper. The one that was finally able to help us was Gigworx, in the Eastridge Mall. They introduced me to a new, incredibly compact Behringer amplifier; small enough to mount on a mic stand, and yet packing some 150 watts of power. Initially I was going to rent it for a few days, to cover the next couple of gigs, but it worked out so wonderfully well that I purchased the unit (the folks at Gigworx were kind enough to apply the rent I had paid to the purchase, and were just wonderful, friendly people to work with in all ways). I still hope to track down the problem in my Roland sound system. The lesson I have learned from this is to have a back up. And I have prided myself on doing so to a great extent (extra audio cables, power chords, and two guitars at any gig). But I was made keenly aware of where I had failed to carry through in this strategy. Fortunately, in my case, no one dies from such an oversight.
Meanwhile, we are most glad to be back up on Casper Mountain. Wyoming, like many parts of the Rockies and the Southwest, has been getting an abundance of rain. This has resulted in a profusion of green grass and wild flowers of all sorts on the mountain. Our friends, Rebecca and Geoffrey, have joined us for a couple of weeks, along with a couple of their grandkids: Rhys and Owen. Rhys and Owen have taken to joining Rufus and me on longish hikes through the woods. The dog and the boys do a good job at wearing each other out.
I have found some needed solitude each day in what is called the Sun Room, where I have set up computer, guitars, music books, calendars, and whatever else I may need to do my business. I manage to spend some hours of each day practicing, making phone calls and emails , working up new repertoire, and writing some new songs. Evenings usually feature some excellent meal that Pony, Geoffrey, and/or Rebecca cobble together in an excellent way, along with a movie, before sending the boys off to bed. So, any equipment failures or other setbacks notwithstanding, the pluses still very much outweigh the minuses.