August 22, 2001

Hello from the road! Writing this from Les & Lilya Gruseck’s home in Kentucky, just south of Cincinnati, where we played the Redfish last Friday. (Les is the Blues photographer who shot our “Six Fingers Boogie” CD photos.) We have a couple of days off before we head south for the last leg of the six-week tour of 19 shows; we play Chattanooga this weekend and Atlanta on Monday, then head home to St. Pete where we’ll play Dave’s on August 31.

It’s been a good tour so far. The van hit 90,000 miles & is running well, except that the dash A/C went out in Georgia the first week out. The midwest had heatwave after heatwave this summer. Last week’s cold front was refreshing, to say the least!

We visited our son Andrew in North Carolina on the way north, then played the first gig at Sisters in Princeton, West Virginia, a cozy coffeehouse with super nice folks. It was a treat to play a few tunes with West Virginia Bluesman Nat Reese!

The first Ohio date was at the Atwood Yacht Club near Canton, where they had a record crowd (thanks, Momma Blues, for bringing so many friends!!) We’ve played there since the mid-80’s & it was so good to see all the familiar faces!

Another highlight was playing Danny’s in New Philadelphia, Doc’s hometown. The people there love music & Doc graduated high school with the club’s owner! My cousin Gary Lewis, keyboardist for the Barfly Band, stopped by. While in town, we enjoyed a game of miniature golf (it had been years!) & an Amish family golfed right behind us!

The tour included many venues along the Ohio River, which appeared wider & more beautiful than we remembered: Marietta, Pomeroy, Cincinnati, Parkersburg & Huntington. In Parkersburg, we heard folk musicians & old friends Mike Morningstar & Rickie Roberts & shared a late-night breakfast with them, just like old times. We played the Court Street Grill in Pomeroy for the first time, & what a great place!! Joe & Beth Strassman really kept us going! The Diamond Teeth Mary Blues Fest in Huntington was fun, too & we heard some fine bands including Haywire Dog & Fat Daddy. While in Huntington, we visited the railroad tracks where we scattered Mary’s ashes exactly a year before. It struck us that there should be a plaque or marker in Mary’s honor at the site, so we’ll have to look into that.

In between shows, we visited both of our moms in Ohio & saw all 4 of my siblings, plus other family members. My mom’s farm is quite the contrast from city blues clubs & was a relaxing respite. We played a few games of pool at her house & were tied in winnings when we left! The countryside is beautiful, but the roads seem to get curvier & steeper every year.

Our friend Steve Williams wore his dancing shoes to the Thirsty Ear in Columbus & brought a large group of swing dancers who lit up the dance floor. It was great to see blues fans Jim & Kate Kirk as well as Terry Jump & Georgia at the Slippery Noodle in Indianapolis.

Two books I read this summer were B.B. King’s & Little Richard’s autobiographies. What extraordinary lives they’ve led! We bought both books at the Sound of Blue near Kent, Ohio where we played a concert. It’s the best Blues store we’ve ever seen- stop by if you’re ever in the Kent area.

As always, it was wonderful to see all our friends and fans again; some we hadn’t seen in years. That’s what makes the tour & all the miles worthwhile. Several folks asked about a new CD & we are working on it & hope to have it out before next summer.

Thanks to all the venues on the tour and to each of you who came out to the shows and/or bought a CD, tape or ballcap! Keep supporting live blues in your area & we look forward to the next time we see you.

Liz Pennock

April 23, 2001

Greetings & welcome to our NEWS PAGE. Many thanks to our webmaster Peter Fleming at BluesBands.com for setting this up. Here we plan to share some news tidbits, so check back often…

First of all, thanks to STASH MAGAZINE for the great review in the February issue. If you’d like to read this review, you can surf on in to STASH MAGAZINE ONLINE via our LINKS page.

Liz & I had a great time aboard the TAMPA BAY BLUES CRUISE in January on the Regal Empress cruiseliner. Joining us on the cruise were our good friends Roy Book Binder & Rock Bottom, and other musicians included Hal Hammer, Debbie Boyer & The Austin Pettit Band, and other fine players as well as fans & friends. The four-day cruise made a one-day stop in Cozumel, Mexico- a good place for shopping, sightseeing, & a stop at the Hard Rock Cafe. The food on the Regal Empress was out-of-sight!

SAFFIRE: THE UPPITY BLUES WOMEN have been performing one of Liz’s songs “Take It Slow”, and it’s in the running for inclusion on their next CD release on Alligator Records in June. We heard SAFFIRE do “Take It Slow” recently at a festival in Tampa- quite an honor! SAFFIRE is a great, sassy all-female blues band- catch them at a live show if you get the chance. You can check out their website on our LINKS page.

We’ve been busy booking our 2001 Summer Tour for July & August. The tour schedule includes many of our old haunts in Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Tennessee and other states, but there will be some new venues as well. Although we’re still putting this schedule together, you can check out our DATES page for cities booked so far.

It was a year ago (April 4th) that blues shouter DIAMOND TEETH MARY McCLAIN passed away at age 97 here in St. Petersburg. As some of you may know, Mary wanted her ashes spread on the railroad tracks in Huntington, West Virginia where she hopped her first train at age 13; Liz & I carried out her wish last August on the weekend of the First Annual Diamond Teeth Mary Festival. We’ll be returning to Huntington on August 11th to perform at this year’s Diamond Teeth Mary Festival. We sure do miss you, Mary…

Starting this week, Liz & I will be playing every Wednesday at TYCOON’S JAZZ LOUNGE in downtown St. Petersburg. TYCOON’S is a classy, upscale speakeasy with a beautiful grand piano. Come on by around 8 pm and “dress to impress”- this is your chance to see me in a suit! Please refer to our DATES page for details.

That’s all for now- thanks so much for supporting live music in your area!

More later on…..
DR. BLUES