New Album Out July 29th

Homemade Whiskey, Homemade Wine. Backwoods Corn Liquor and a ton of Good Times 

Howdy folks! It has once again been a crazy two weeks jam packed full of new adventures, new friends, and new outlooks on life. This is the first time any of us have had any time to sit down in some wifi and let ya'll know what we have been up to since our last string of shows in the Northeast! As it happens, I am in the comfort of a coffeehouse in downtown Toronto daintily sipping some French/Canadian espresso as the other 2/3rds of Coterius attend a wedding in a castle. That's right. A castle. Life can be magical sometimes...anyways, strap up your overalls and tie up your bonnets, here is a recap of the last two weeks of our travels! I'll try and keep it short but the coffee is starting to kick in.

While we thought we had escaped the tornadoes and intense stormage of the Midwest we were rapidly reminded that in today's world  the Northeast is just as susceptible to intense and random storm cells as anywhere else. Our drive up to Saratoga Springs, NY, typically an hour and change, took us 4 hours to go 60 miles thank you to July 4th weekend traffic. We were greeted in Poughkeepsie by dark ominous clouds reminiscent of every single movie about the end of the world. Within seconds our phones began to explode with flash flood and tornado warnings and we made the decision it would be best to turn around and continue to live life. Upon getting home we saw that there was no touch down of a tornado but significant damage in that area due to heavy rain and thunderstorms, luckily no one was harmed. 

The next morning we were off to Columbia, PA to play at one of our favorite places for some of our favorite people. If you are ever in the Area of Columbia, PA and are looking to wet your whistle repeatedly with delicious and diverse craft beer beverages we highly encourage you to go to Columbia Kettle Works. On top of having some of the best beers I've had the privilege of tasting the owners and staff couldn't be nicer. So nice are they in fact that after a *few post show drinks (*a lot of post show drinks) they let us crash at their lovely apartment. Thanks again Dan and Kat, I sincerely apologize for the drawings I did of your cats. They are much cuter than those drawings would indicate. 

We managed to wake up and make it out to Bedford, PA for their summer concert series. I won't lie to you guys and say I wasn't still possibly a teensy bit drunk through the show...anyways, we made it through and had a really nice time meeting some of the Bedford locals afterwards.

From there we drove up to the prettiest campground in Ohio, according to Emily the prettiest in all of the land, Maumee Bay State Park. Right on lake Erie it provides some very serene views and wonderfully clean facilities. We spent our 4th of July grilling hotdogs and s'mores by campfire and as the night set we watched what must have been every resident of the county set off fireworks in the distance for about 4 hours. If there was ever a simulation of  D-day we experienced it that night. 

The next day we were in a brand new city for us. On our original trip two years ago we sped date Chicago, parking in Naperville and taking the metro over only to spend an hour walking to and from Millennium Park. This time we got to hang out in Wrigleyville literally right next to the stadium with our buddy Bob as the Cubbies were playing. The Cubs lost. We didn't actually check the score but could tell by the seemingly sad stroll everyone in a blue shirt was moving with. The timing of the game could not have been worse for us. It took us an hour to go 3 miles to the venue for our show and in the scorching city in July heat Trusty almost overheated and at certain points we had to turn off his engine hoping we would not be stuck and miss our show. We did make it to the residential part of Chicago and were delighted to again be doing a SOFAR show. The show took place in the living room of a very talented artist in her own right, Jessie Winslow, and we were overjoyed to be a part of such a talented bill. Jody Searcy (former contestant on The Voice) and drummer Scooter opened the show with some truly beautiful songs followed by poet Raych Jackson whose energy was contagious and had everyone hootin' and hollering, snapping and clapping. Despite the apartment not being air conditioned the audience was a great bunch and sand along and even played the shakers and tambourine along with us during "You're So Lovely". Shout out to Scooter for joining us on the cajon and percussion as well during that. We all stepped out of our individual pools of sweat and said our goodbyes and got back on the road heading to Michigan..

Michigan also proved to be a unique experience. As it was another new place for us to perform we did not know what to expect. We performed on a gazebo in a children's park, jungle gym and slides in front of us, but a good deal of people came out (including the local news station with an exuberant amount of camera's) and couldn't have been nicer.  During our break there was a bubble gum bubble blowing contest which despite all of my trash talking I was the first to be DQ'ed from. At one point we even got an 82 year old woman to dance! After the show I went up to her to say thank you and I gave her a hug, apologizing for how sweaty I was to which she responded delightfully, "oh, it's fine! I like a hot man."  So..sorry ladies, my relationship status is now changed to "taken".  One of the camera men from the news station offered us to use the shower at his house and had access to the marina in town where we could park Trusty overnight. We went to his humble abode and he showed us his hand crafted wines, whiskeys, and backyard aquaponics set up. He may or may not have also been growing some of his herbal medicines. It was all quite impressive and he was quite the character. We truly appreciated his hospitality and green thumb. We left the marina early in the morning in good spirits with 3 bottles of his homemade wine.

Continuing on our streak of new frontier we cruised in to Kentucky for the Whippoorwill Festival. Almost immediately upon entering the state flash flood warnings and severe thunderstorm alerts began ringing. At this point, we are convinced that the weather is following us. Lightning strikes and violent thunder coupled with torrential rain brought us to the public library in Richmond, KY where we waited out the storm. We were happy to see the rain pass after an hour or two and we hopped back in Trusty to head out to the Beattyville mountains for the festival. We were not even close to prepared for what we were about to roll in to. After driving on a winding backwoods mountain road passing old decrepit farm houses and barns we came upon a hidden campground off an unpaved road. What looked like a shanty-town was packed with all sorts of people walking barefoot through the freshly wet grass getting in line as the dinner bell rang. You heard right. The dinner bell.. A line of people with their tin plates,wicker baskets, cast-iron pots and pans all waited for some fantastic tacos. 

In a sweaty daze we walked around the grounds, scoping out the tents, the fire circle, the road-kill clad folks with their handmade garments (yes, they fashioned found roadkill into clothing) and the pond which had to be closed off as it became unswimmable after a child did what children do in swimming holes. It wasn't just pee. You get the idea... We sat and watched Laura Thurston, friends with one of the first people we met on our musical journey Mary Byrd, serenade everyone and then as the night came in we prepared to play. With the help of the insane humidity, the drastic change in temperature and our desire to impress these people of the earth we broke a combined 5 strings throughout our set. The first string broke on Matt's guitar in the first verse of the first song we played. Pretty soon guitar strings were snapping like cables on a bridge falling down. The sound man Neil, bless him, was running around grabbing strings and restringing our guitars while we continued to play on and improvise through our set. Neil himself has a very fascinating story that we will happily tell you next time we see you in person.  We managed to make it through the set again, really frazzled and discombobulated, ending on a fitting note, Matt breaking another string on our last song. Although we felt like it was the worst show of our lives every person we spoke to for the rest of the night was so kind and supportive. So much so that they invited us to their campsite to play some music while bottles of homemade blackberry wine and moonshine were passed around. We had a blast making new friends and learning about their incredible earth-friendly sustainable lifestyles. The next day we bartered some CDs for some of that moonshine which came with the verbal  warning, "now son, don't let anyone smoke while drinking this here. This is flammable." Needless to say I cannot wait to try some and see how much hair it puts on my chest and then how much immediately is burned off. 

The following morning after breakfast we took a lecture on survival skills and how to start fires with things you would find in your pocket or purse. We now know how to start fires using lipstick, belly button lint, and a condom. 

I think this is as good a place as any to end this post. Cheers.
- Ben


 

Lobstaheads 

We are knocking on the door of another Mid-West run in the coming days and New England could not have sent us off in better fashion. We've always had a love-hate relationship with New England...but I don't think that's a bad thing. Everyone has got to pay their dues!

This time around it sure was one to remember. From taking in the immense talent that the Harmonium Music Fest brought together to braving the incoming storm with some of the happiest and supportive people we have ever met up in Orono, ME, we couldn't have asked for more positive encouragement. Not to mention another run in with another Westy at Harmonium and taking Trusty out on his first trip to Acadia! We also had the pleasure of running into an unnamed establishment in Bar Harbor, ME that conveniently pleaded ignorance when supplying Emily with a gluten and lactose filled plate. The manager let us know, "Mistakes happen". Not once, but twice. It took us three tries to get an edible meal that wouldn't send Emily to the hospital. I guess that's what the stove is for in Trusty! What a lobstahead she was...

I guess we should have known that something was going to happen driving back south from Orono on Tuesday night. Things had been TOO good over the course of the week. I decided we would stop off at a service center as it started to pour rain and my eyes were getting heavy. I figured 3 hours of shut eye would be good to get us back on the road....I promptly woke Emily and Ben up at 3:30am to get back on the road to more grumbling and moaning underneath there breather then a Volcanic eruption. I should have let them sleep. About a half way onto the ramp onto I-95 we got a loud banging noise coming from our back right wheel. We pinpointed the location of the noise by having Ben, in the pitch black, at 4am, run alongside the van as I putted along the shoulder of I-95. It was a great team building exercise. He did a great job of not smashing his face into any mile markers! 

We realized we were about 10 miles from Portsmouth, NH, where oddly enough we bought Trusty back in June of 2014. Two years to the month and we pulled into the same shop that did the original service on Trusty back in 2014. At 5am we popped the top and slept peacefully to the sound of Dump Trucks passing by in the front lot of Precision Auto. We were saved with a new axle by Brian, the local Vanagon expert, by 9am and sent further on our way.  

-Matt






 

I'm Travelin' On  

Over the winter we were sans Trusty for two months and were really missing our partner-in-crime. We were sitting around a kitchen table one morning and starting brainstorming what we thought was our first love song. It was the first song the three of us collectively wrote in one sitting, and we quickly realized why. Listening back, this song was just an ode to our van and times on the road we were sorely missing.

Fast-forward a few months, and here we are back on the road in New England! Listen to the "In The Vines" session we did before our show this past Thursday at the beautiful Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyards in Little Compton, RI. This song will be the first single on our album coming out this July! 

We’re Not in Jersey Anymore, Toto 

After a whirlwind three day trek through the Midwest’s corn fields we found ourselves in Kansas. While it was not the Oz of our expectations the roadsides are definitely paved with yellow bricks of corn and hay bundles and the vastness of beautiful prairie might as well be a magical land compared to the traffic ridden highways of the tri-state area. In the scorching heat that can only come from sun-beaten plains we dipped our toes and washed our road worn faces in the bath-warm water of the Clinton State Park lake. We played music as the sun set, drinking moonshine and sweet tea. 

We made it to Council Grove, an historical point along the Santa Fe trail, and got a taste of the old settler days with lunch at a local saloon. As if the stagecoach entering town wasn’t enough to tickle Matt’s history fancy! Such kind and wonderful folks were out and about at the Washunga Days Festival. Along with a petting zoo stocked with a kangaroo, llama and a camel offering rides (we did not have the gumption to get on) there was great music and snowcones. Emily even had a chance to get up on stage with Call it a Night and show the world her percussion skills! No one got hurt. 

Somehow we woke up the next day in Iowa and a few hours later were in Lanesboro, Minnesota which may be the most perfect town in the world. Everyone is the most healthy looking person, like they are kept healthy from the homegrown food and hand-in-the dirt lifestyle. Our washboard must have gotten swept up by a tornado in Kansas and taken to Oz ‘cause we found ourselves washboardless and had a bit of a panic attack. Luckily, with the help of some new friends we were able to locate not 1 but 2 washboards in some antique shops right before we were set to perform! On top of that stroke of chance, we were approached by a glowing spirit of a woman who grew up in the same town in NJ that Ben grew up in (in fact, they graduated from the same high school) who had left in the 60’s and now finds herself living in Northern California on a farm where she grows Northern California plants and frequents Lanesboro.   

While we did not get to experience a tornado like Emily has been dreaming of but we did live through the most intense storm any of us have ever seen. The lightning and thunder would make a Berlin EDM nightclub light show look like a traffic light. 

While the midwest has been eye opening and inspiring we have to begin heading back tonight after our show in Hutchinson, Minnesota. We’re excited to get back to the Northeast to see all of our friends and play around in our old stomping grounds in New England!

- Ben 

Blue Mountain Air  

We rolled over the hills of Virginia to a town with a population of 171 people. Thinking we were playing for a meal and gas money to get us to North Carolina, we were feeling pretty lazy and uninspired. Until a few people we met gave us a heavy dose of "Oh yeah, this is why we do this." 

One grizzly man sat down with a beer and one big ole smile to egg us into playing with some oomph. With an accent brewed from sweet tea and the blue ridge air he told us how he'd given up his city work to buy a farm and live the rest of his days in the quiet. We bought that man another beer. 

Then, in rolled another Westfalia. What are the f'ing odds! Two free spirited friends were reconnecting after 18 years in Eggleston, VA out of all places. Amelia and her two kids were on a trip from Colorado in their Westfalia and decided to visit Phyllis; a woman straight from the 60's who kept losing her shoes. She found Eggleston in a National Geographic magazine one dreary day in her London flat and said she needed a little sunshine. She packed her things and never looked back. They left to go bathe in the New River but said they'd would be back to hear us perform. We were already packing the van to leave for the night when they returned and said we must play a few songs! How could we say no? Sitting on the edge of Trusty, we played some music under the stars while kids caught fireflies in mason jars and the lovely folks from Eggleston came out from the restaurant to dance.

Maybe it was all of the flower-power love, or maybe the fresh air...but man are we feeling good. Onward to the Kansas plains. 
-Emily 

The Trusty Travels Join GoWesty! 

For the past year and a half we've been traveling around America in good ole Trusty Rusty, spreading our music and visiting some pretty spectacular places. By the end of 2016 Trusty will have driven the back roads of 45 states and 3 Canadian provinces; from freezing August nights in Montana and Wyoming to night cruising on the Pacific Highway to two-stepping in the Shenandoah Valley to waking up to wild horses in New Mexico...it's been a whirlwind and we think it's about f***ing time we start documenting our travels.

We are proud and honored to announce we're joining the GoWesty family as traveling ambassadors alongside so many other vagabonds, wanderlusters, dreamers, and artists living their lives inside a 15 foot home on wheels.

It's a crazy ride but we wouldn't have it any other way. 

 http://www.gowesty.com/team-travelers.php

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