New Heathens



I was doubled over with laughter inside the icy waters of the Little Delaware River with my bandmates when I realized this was an epic weekend.

We hit the stage at Livestock the last of a dozen incredible bands including Philly heroes Marah, legendary Graham Parker, Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, Tandy, the Silos and Future Farmers of America, to name a few. We blazed through our 40 minute set. The band threw a delightful curveball when they spontaneously kicked into the Spanking Charlene song “Pussy is Pussy” while Ms. Charlene was onstage singing with us.

Then the crowd called us back for an encore.

And another.

And another.


They danced like maniacs, wild and uninhibited, their bouncing heads like a pot at full boil.

We tried to stop. And they wouldn’t let us. Dan Ambrico pointed out that we were less called back for encores than threatened with our lives if we dared stop.

I lost track of how many times we said goodnight, only to be battled back to the stage by the screaming, stomping, sweating crowd. By the end we’d played two-and-a-half hours.

Livestock was the kind of gig you dream about when you start playing roots rock. John “Chico” Finn hosted the gig at his land in Bovina and used this year’s party to christen his brand new beautiful barn. Nathan, an expert barbecuist from Virginia, drove a half-ton of meat and a tow-behind-smoker eight full hours to cater the festivities. The weather was perfect and the raging bonfire segued perfectly into the ivory moon above the blue, misty valley.

Check out a video montage I made of the festival here:

We woke up that morning after a cumulative three hours of sleep at the home of some sweet women we met at the bar. God we needed showers. In the hours before Livestock we hung around a river and I tried a little fishing (skunked!) Then as we wound our way to Livestock we decided to stop at a roadside pumpkin stand.

The lady who sold us our gourds asked if we’d like to see her cows. Would we! We ended up feeding them by hand.

Finally ragged and desperate to get clean before a whole day of partying Butch made the fateful suggestion: what about the river?

I hope, dear reader, that these pictures make you laugh as hard as me.

Our gig at the Sol Bar in Delhi, NY was tremendous. We had a great, appreciative crowd for the first two sets and by the third set the joint was packed. The second of two small world moments came when a lovely chick we’d met during our last Delhi gig ran up and asked me if I knew Jake Jaffey.

Jake Jaffey was in a band with Dan Ambrico and I for two years. I hadn’t seen him in at least that long but guess what? He’s living and going to school in Delhi.

Naturally we invited him to the bar and got him onstage for a mini-reunion. And his cousin? She ended up putting us up that night.

The first small world moment happened when we walked into the bar. Five weeks ago I stood in the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone Park and watched a grizzly bear feed on a buffalo it had just killed. I asked the dude standing next to me if he wouldn’t mind e-mailing me some of his photos. When I asked him where he lived he said, “Delhi, NY.”

He showed up at the gig with a disc for me full of amazing photographs of what we saw. Like this one:

You know it was a good weekend when you've rocked twice as many hours as you've slept.