As the year comes to a close, we find ourselves looking back at the many memories of 2017. The great experience at IBMA week in Raleigh, the release of our album "Life Between the Lines", the many fun festivals we were a part of, the multitude of familiar faces and new friends we hung out with. They all help paint the picture of an exhilarating and exceptional year for Fireside Collective. Of all the fine memories that come to mind, none shine brighter than our recent trip to Mexico. Since we've been home, people have asked what we were up to down there. Well, since you asked, we'd like to invite you along on a little photo tour of our travels... come on!!
We began our journey to Mexico early Sunday morning out of Greenville, South Carolina. After a few connecting flights and some sprinting through airport terminals, we found ourselves in Dallas, Texas. Next stop, Mexico!!
The view from the magnificent Villa where we stayed on the side of Lake Pátzcuaro. The lake has been inhabited by the local Purhépecha Indians for centuries. There are numerous towns around this large body of water and each town specializes in a certain type of commerce. Each morning we would watch the locals hop in their boats and paddle out into the lake for a day of fishing!
Here is a view of the 10 bedroom villa where we were staying, known as “La Gloria de la Angeles” or the Glory of the Angels. It was built on the side of a hill leading down to the water and was one of the most beautiful homes one could imagine. Each day we woke up to fresh cooked meals, a variety of beverages, and of course, a shot of Mezcal!
Here we are in the courtyard of the monastery in Tzintzuntzan. This is the location of the main concert at the end of the week and also the place where we would rehearse with the local Purépucha band throughout the week. This young Mexican boy was explaining how the Spaniards built this monastery with the stones from the local Purépucha ruins.
Here is a shot of the ruins. They overlooked the lake and present day Tzintzuntzan.
One of the 3 Purhépecha songs which we learned. They sounded difficult initially, but once we broke them down and analyzed them, they didn’t seem much different than our songs!
We didn’t fly any basses down. Instead, we borrowed some local basses. Here we have the local Purhépecha bassist, Carson from Fireside, and Karl from Bill and the Belles. Notice the size of the bass corresponded to the size of the bassist!
A flier for our first show in Mexico!
Pictured here is the band “Bill and the Belles,” an excellent American roots band out of Johnson City, TN. They were the perfect band for this trip as they brought along a deep knowledge and appreciation for folk music. We loved sharing the stage with them and if you haven’t heard of them, check them out!!
This is the local Purhépecha band that we were performing with. At first, the language barrier was clear, but before long we were learning all about one anothers music and having a blast! They were great musicians and wonderful people!
Even though we were in Mexico, we still got to celebrate Thanksgiving thanks to our fearless leader, Doug Beatty! He managed to bring 2 turkeys down to Mexico in a cooler, and despite some confusion for the TSA agents, we had a wonderful Thanskgiving!
Bill and the Belles performing during one of our six shows together. During our trip, we had various concerts around Lake Pátzcuaro, leading up to our big Sunday performance in Tzintuntzan. We met so many kind people throughout this trip and the music we shared went over very well!
Did I mention the food?? Wow!! Every where we went, the food was remarkable! The freshness of the ingredients mixed with the local flavors and spices made eating one of the most enjoyable aspects of the trip!
One of our performances led us to this beautiful island in the middle of Lake Pátzcuaro! They claimed to have the most authentic “Day of the Dead” celebration. Pictured here is the island graveyard and some of the remnants of the recent festivities.
Here is a cool shot of our shadows on the islands’ “Lagoon.” Every spring, this fills up and provides water for the inhabitants of the island.
Enjoying some cervezas before one of our performances!
Some of our “biggest” fans in Mexico!
Mmmm, more exquisite food. One of the only food pictures I got without a bite taken out of it...
The locals advised us to take a shot of Mezcal and a shot of fermented pepper juice each day in order to stay healthy. When in Mexico...
Our final concert was a big celebration in the heart of Tzintzuntzan. Tzintzuntzan means “place of the hummingbirds” and it was the center of our travels through Mexico. The mayor even bought us shirts for the big show!
Here we are enjoying some street gorditas before our performance. Notice the various band members sporting their stylish new shirts!
The big concert in Tzintzuntzan featured various Mexican bands as well as an incredible dance group. During one section of their show, the female dancers pulled random members of the crowd up to dance with. Our very own Tommy Maher was among those selected, and while the others danced in the crowd, Tommy got to showcase his moves on stage in front of the whole audience!
It’s not usually a good thing to end the night surrounded by police officers. This was certainly an exception! The Tzintzuntzan police were very friendly and we were happy knowing they were on our side!
Holy molé!! This homemade molé was some of the most amazing food we had!!
Pictured here are our amazing translators, Marcela and Isaac. Not only were they top notch translators, they were also great musicians! Isaac is an incredible mandolin player and Marcela is a beautiful singer, together they made some amazing music!!
On the left we have Hugo and Suzie, the owners of the beautiful home we stayed at. On the right, the man with the plan, Doug Beatty. Doug put the whole project together and took great care of us. Thanks for the journey of a lifetime Doug!!
The fuel that kept Fireside burning, Mezcal!!
We went straight to the source to find out how this magical elixir was created.
We figured we might as well bring some home...
Sadly, all good things must come to an end. Our journey to Mexico was uplifting, inspiring, memorable, and musical. We couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to share it with!
Joe reflecting on an amazing experience...
The people of Mexico were so kind. They were grateful that we were sharing our music and we had many deep connections. They wanted us to bring back the message that Mexico is a safe and beautiful place. They hoped that more people would come and enjoy the wonders of Mexico.
Thank you to the fine people of Mexico for being so welcoming!! Everyone we met was so kind and the experiences we had will stay with us for a very long time. We learned a new style of music, we ate some incredible food, we talked with wonderful people, and we made countless new memories which have enriched our lives and left us filled with hope!
Now we find ourselves with just 2 more shows in 2017. We hope to see our Raleigh friends this Saturday at the Pour House. Raleigh has been that home away from home that we’ve needed to keep moving forward and we couldn’t think of a better place to help us close out this year. On Sunday, we’ll be back in the mountains performing at Oskar Blues Brewery in Brevard with the Jeff Austin band. We’re so excited to be so close to home for this New Years Eve and we can’t wait to share it with our mountain family!!
The days are getting shorter, the nights longer, and the woodsmoke is drifting through the crisp November air here at the Fireside Homestead. The sunshine becomes more precious this time of year, and often times we look back on summer's warmth with fondness. But the quiet solitude of a cold mountain night has its own beauty and warmth. It can bring about a sense of togetherness as friends huddle close around a fire, or a feeling of calm as you enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend or even a stranger. It's clear the seasons are changing, and that change often brings new opportunities as we approach the dawn of another year.
Opportunities...sometimes they come banging on your door and other times they are subtle and elusive, waiting for a keen eye to seize them! Recently, Fireside Collective was presented with an amazing opportunity to travel to southern Mexico as part of a cultural exchange with the indigenous population of Michoacán. Yes, folks, we are gonna bring the grass down to Mexico! The band, along with our friends from Bill and the Belles, will be putting on some concerts around Lake Patzcuaro and sharing our music with the people of the region. We'll even be learning some of their traditional folk music! There's a lot to explain here so head over to Hummingbird Music Project for more details.
Once we return, full of tacos and tequila and maybe possessing a new funky stringed instrument from Michoacán, we are pumped to be playing some awesome shows around NC and TN! We'll be doing a house concert hosted by our friends in the wonderfully brilliant band Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys, a tag-team show with Songs from the Road Band at The Grey Eagle, and two shows to celebrate the New Year. One will be at the Pour House in Raleigh, NC and the other at Oskar Blues in Brevard with the Jeff Austin Band! Be sure to check out our tour page for details on these and other shows.
At times, the cold is hard to bare, but like everything in this life, it won't last forever (especially if you're going to southern Mexico and it's 77 degrees out!). This time of year is an opportunity to reflect on what is important, to gather around the fire, and to embrace whatever changes may be at hand. We are so happy to be on this ride with everyone and super excited about whatever opportunities await! We'll seeya back home soon, with lots of pictures from Mexico and probably a few souvenirs...Until then, stay warm, friends!
The sun kissed blades of grass gently wave in the wind as the fallen leaves find their place upon the cold ground. A few inspired birds sing sweet melodies into the endless blue sky, a song of peace to those who can hear it. It's Autumn again in the Blue Ridge Mountains and beauty is but an open mind away. The human condition seems but a leaf in the wind compared to the majestic harmoniousness of this magnificent Fall afternoon.
That harmony permeates the Fireside homestead and we couldn't be happier to be back in our blue ridge mountain home! We can't help but think back on the past few months and all of the awesome experiences we've had. From being nominated for an IBMA Momentum Award, to receiving so much love and support during the bluegrass conference in Raleigh, we couldn't be more thankful. We got to meet and share the stage with some amazing bands as well. Hearing the amazing vocals and contemporary arrangements of Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys as well as the wonderfully composed and exciting sounds of the Railsplitters has filled us with inspiration. It's great to meet so many like minded musicians who share the same desire for making the world a better place and honoring the traditions of American roots music. We also got to hang out with our friends Front Country and Hank, Pattie, & the Current, two bands who are making waves and creating incredible music!
And the festivals,.... oh the festivals! We were so honored to be a part of one of our all time favorite festivals, Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance. This festival shaped the band in many ways and we are so proud to be give back to an organization that has filled us with joy and positivity throughout the years. We also had the fortune of being a part of the Albino Skunk Fest in Greer, SC. We were blown away by the kindness and generosity of this wonderful festival. Everyone involved welcomed us with open arms and we are so honored to be deemed "Skunk-worthy"!!!! Fireside Collective would highly recommend both of these festivals to anyone looking for great music, kind people, and an unforgettable time!
A few weeks back, we had the great pleasure of doing a photoshoot with Sandlin Gaither. The man is a magician when it comes to photography. He was so easy to work with and the photos he sent back blew us away! Make sure to look through the rest of the website as we've added many of these new photos. Thanks Sandlin!!
We are also so happy to have our banjo man, Alex Genova, on board to lend his impeccable banjo skills and positive attitude to the band! Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Alex brings a deep love for bluegrass as well as an appreciation for jazz music to the ensemble. The banjo brings a certain drive and energy to the band that has us all optimistic and excited for the road ahead.
Speaking of the road ahead.... we have some exciting shows on the books to finish out 2017. Some highlights include a Halloween show at the Pour House in Raleigh with Barefoot Manner, a cultural exchange trip to Mexico with the Hummingbird Music Project, and an epic evening of music with Songs from the Road Band at the Grey Eagle in Asheville! Head on over to our tour page for more information on where we'll be!
Well folks, before we go, we'd like to say we are so humbled by the overwhelming support we have received recently! We are so lucky to be able to make a living playing music and so fortunate to have open arms everywhere we go. As the leaves slowly make their journey back to the dirt, we are reminded of the oneness of all things. The towering trees sprouting from the earth's surface remind us of the importance of letting your roots run deep. The branches reach out to the heavens in a glorious celebration of life. Similarly, music bursts from the hearts of humankind to remind us all that our very nature is harmonious and a grateful life is a life full of love.
Peace and love to you all,
From the snow-capped mountains of Colorado to the endless green pastures of Kansas. Across the mighty and majestic rivers of Missouri to the bright lights of Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee. We've been having such a wonderful time living life between the lines, and it's only just begun! Soon we embark on our most ambitious and exciting tour to date, the Northern Cities Tour of 2017!!!
That's right folks, instead of being high on a mountaintop in the middle of the USA, we'll be burnin' it up in some major cities. We'll be making our NYC debut with 2 nights in the city that never sleeps. We'll also be heading back to "The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection," aka, Philadelphia! Philly has always treated us well and we can't wait to return. Once again, we'll be walking the streets of Baltimore for our second gig in "Charm City". In addition, we'll be making our debut in our nation's capitol. To us, bluegrass represents freedom and progress as well as a conscious connection to the past. We can't wait to make some vibrations in DC!
And for those who prefer the quiet solitude and rolling hills far from the city lights, don't be alarmed! We'll be hitting all of our favorite towns and small cities along the way. Check out our exciting tour schedule:
Well friends, we couldn't be more excited to get back to strummin' on our strings, singing our hearts out, and sharing our music with everyone! We had so much fun during our recent trip to the midwest, culminating in sunny Colorado. Thanks to all of our friends in Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Colorado. We were far from home, but it never felt that way. The kindness and hospitality we received along the way warmed our hearts and we couldn't be more grateful. From late night jams to early morning drives, from steep mountain roads to straight (I mean reeeally straight) Kansas highways, from wild moose to baby goats (kids), what an adventure it's been!
We can't stress it enough, thank you. To hear the stories of a thousand faces and to share a thousand drinks in all the beautiful places. It inspires us to keep movin' on down that line and to never take one step for granted. By the time we get north, we may have dreams of california, but like a river, we must keep on flowing. That cabin song may be playing in our heads but we'll keep drivin' through the rain. It's your love that brings us in from the cold and by the look of it, we couldn't do it without you. Life may be gold and gray, we may be burnin' at both ends, but the beauty of music and the togetherness of friends is more refreshing than sweet summer rain!
We hope to see all of our northern friends and family in the next month or so. We also have some great shows lined up for the fall including some really awesome festivals. Stay tuned for more info or check out the tour dates section. Don't forget, we've got our new album available through bandcamp.
Alrighty folks, we'll see you down the road sometimes. Peace, love, and good fortune to you all!