I'm sitting in the bow of a Stenaline ferry to Dublin, Ireland watching with detached interest the activities of the excited and noisy Irish schoolchildren that surround me. Its Monday- a travel day, and we've just finished the Wales portion of our May tour in the United Kingdom. So far, its been quite a ride for a band that hasn't seen much action thus far this year. With the exception of a few midwestern dates in January, and the Seattle, Washington Wintergrass Festival in February, we've basically been off for the entire first quarter.
Each Wilder has his or her own way of marking the time between tours. There are now two parents in the band, and time off with our families has been precious to all of us. There's also the matter of money, which without Wilders gigs, necessitates other creative solutions to making ends meet. Now that we are back on the road (or in today's case, back on the water), I find that despite the lengthy break, we fallen back to chugging away like we've always done.
But this is shaping up to be a very strange year for the band. Just before Christmas, we began basic tracking for a new album which will be released early in 2011. Why so long? Well there are several reasons: In the past, we've always been in such a rush to record. Although our sessions with Dirk Powell at his studio in Louisiana resulted in two of our finest recordings (2006's "Throw Down" and "2008's "Someone's Got to Pay"), recording with Dirk necessitated that we either live with the recordings we got while we were there ("Throw Down"), or bring the basic tracks to KC to finish them ("Someones's Got to Pay"). Both options had inherent problems. There were compromises made on "Throw Down" that were totally avoidable if we had just had a couple more days to finish. And we also ran into problems when we took the basic recordings for "Somenone's Got to Pay" and tried to add on additional tracks in a new studio with different sonic characteristics, different microphones, etc. So this time, we decided to eliminate these limitations by recording at home in KC, without a time deadline, in a familiar studio with our old friend and great engineer, Chad Meise. As of May 1st, we've completed about 90% of the recording and will return from this UK tour to finish it up. If all goes as planned, our new cd will be released on February 15, 2011.
But without a new recording, it is basically pointless to tour in the US. So, this year we've only chosen to do a few large American festivals and will be spending the rest of our time out of the country. And as I sit here typing with the clatter of tiny voices swirling around me, I know that we are already deeply into it. Before we flew across for this tour for example, we knocked the rust off our live performance with two days of shows at Merlefest in Wilkesboro, NC. Our current tour takes us to Wales, Northern Ireland, The Irish Republic and England, and will eat up the entire month of May. Then, in July we'll do a quick Canadian fly-in for our first visit to The Winnipeg Folk Festival. We'll return to The Grey Fox Festival the following weekend in upstate NY, then its back across the pond for another 3 weeks in Scotland. September brings us back home to Winfield, then its another flight across the Atlantic- this time for our first visit to Denmark followed by two more weeks in Germany. By the end of October, we will have been across the Atlantic for a combined total of just over two-and-a-half months. We will most likely take the rest of the year off, conserving our energy until the new record comes out.
For those Americans who are missing our presence, we've videotaped all of our shows in the UK. Look for a whole slew of new video from the tour to appear on youTube in a few weeks as soon as I've dug through all the footage. I'm pretty sure I can post video links to the blog, so stay tuned! You'll get a chance to hear us working out much of the material that will be on the new cd. Cheers from the Irish Sea!