France! Oooou la la!!!

August 17th, 2010

The 1/2 way mark in the tour landed us in France for one show in Villeneuve Sur Lot with the fabulous, Charlie McCoy, legendary harmonica player. We had driven from Switzerland to Lyon on the first night of the trip and spent the night with Kim’s friends, Marc and Rose Alleyson before heading to Villenueuve Sur Lot for the show. Rose is a French American country singer. She was voted #1 Country singer in France last year. I’m not sure how many country singers there are in France, but I would venture to guess that it would still be quite an honor. She was really cool & relaxed and such a wonderful hang and very hospitable. Rose showed us the city...old Cathedrals and great boutiques with French designer jewlry, furniture, pastries, shoes, etc. I have such an intrigue for hand made articles and original European design, so I was in Heaven. Rose’s husband Marc cooked for us and made everything from scratch...very particular and careful with his culinary skills. We woke up with the smell of French coffee and Crepes the next morning. My first crepe was with fresh squeezed lemon and sugar and then I had one with sugar and Grand Marnier lit with a match to melt the alcohol and sugar. It was out of this world! It was not very sweet, but had a hint of the orange flavor from the grand marnier.

The journey after that took us to Merschers, France near the “Wild Coast.” We spent one week there, taking a break from the continuous pounding and unwavering hot pavement of this tour. Traveling 24/7 with 4 people can become quite challenging, so a break was welcomed by all. I have always wanted to go to France and spend time on the beach, and my dream came true. Not only did I get to relax in the sunshine and drink pina colados & red wine, but I met some of the most wonderful people.

We had the pleasure of being accomodated and fed in exchange for playing 4 or 5 songs a night at one of the most unique places I think I have ever been. This devine piece of heaven is called, Tina’s Cafe It sits on the water and brings in people from all over the world. Tina is originally from Chicago, but moved to France in the 60’s. She was a street musician in Paris back in the 70’s & 80’s and then moved to the South of France and opened this place up 15 years ago. It has florished into a grand haven where musicians, writers, poets, dancers, business folk, doctors, lawyers, families... all walks of life gather and enjoy communing in the essence of food, wine, music and glowing faces. I don’t think that will be my last time to visit Tina’s Cafe, and I encourage anyone who can make their way to France drop by this place. It is only open during the summer, fyi. The town of Merschers is very small, but has a street market everyday and fantastic restaurants, including Tina’s son, Benjamin’s restuarant called, Benny & Marlene’s Cafe.

I’ve had the honor and have taken great pleasure in meeting many of Kim’s friends on this tour and, I am so thankful for new souls I now can call friends here in Europe. Thanks to Kim, I now know the lovely Bente Svendson who is from Denmark but lives in Merschers in the summers. She opened her house up to us and introduced us to her family and friends. My smile had disappeared for a small frame of time due to changes in my “relationship status” and Bente reminded me, without really saying a word, of the gift of laughter. Her warm spirit and exuberant smile ruptured my gut and brought back what I had lost. I will never forget her smile and hope it graces me again one day. I can only imagine how many people she has touched. Bente’s sister, Berrit was visiting with her daugther Josefine. Also, Bente’s daughter Nadine and son, Marcus were there with a few of their friends. So, it was a house full. Kim and I slept in the bed in the kitchen....yes, she has a bed in her kitchen, and the fellas, Eric & Josh, slept on beds outside on the terrace. Bente’s son, Marcus is a musician and an extremely talented guy. His music is very soulful and engaging. And he is currently working on a new record. I am certain he will gain a loyal and responsive audience as he grows and gets his music “out there.” Nadine, Bente’s daughter, is the co-owner along with her husband, of (seriously, I’m not kidding), a restaurant in Copenhagan called, Noma, In 2010, it was ranked as the Best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine, having achieved third place the previous year. People from all over the world dine at this place and will spend thousands and thousands of dollars just to reserve a table. There is much to be said for Bente because she raised a daughter who is so unpretentious and modest and stands grateful for her life and success. One would never guess that she is probably surrounded by an exorbitant amount of social status and “fame.” Nadine’s demeanor and spirit will outlast all the glamor that I can only imagine hits her in the face on a daily basis. I admire people like her. She has Bente’s smile and flare. Nadine has a small child named, Arwen, who will become another Nadine & Bente... it is clear!

It is such a small world! While listeing to the music one of the nights at Tina’s, I happened to meet a girl from England, named Dora. We started chatting, and I mentioned that I was from Nashville. She then asked me if I happened to know a girl, by the name of Becca Boucher. I gasped and said, “YES, Yes I do.” When I moved to Nashville 10 years ago, I played in a band from Australia called, The Mercy Bell. Becca was the lead singer. There have been several incidents like that on this tour, and it has reaffirmed the ongoing question of whether we are connected on a level beyond our comprehension... and my belief is YES, yes we are and there is a God. I”ve never strayed from this belief, but it is a topic of many conversations. These “incident’s” only make my belief stronger and fulfilled.
One of Bente’s friends, Doug Ley, was visiting Merschers with his family from New York. He too had been a street musician with Tina and Bente back in the 70’s in Paris. When he and I started talking, we discovered that we had a couple of mutual friends in the world of music. Again, I was blown away but not completely surprised, because the longer I live, the more I realize that my life has a purpose and the people I have met, I was meant to meet.... because we keep meeting on levels/intervals that transcend the daily grind.... that transcend the passing by of waves and faces. It is much deeper.

Fast forward for a second to Austria where we went after France. By the way, did I ever mention the name of the band with whom I am touring? I know I mentioned, Kim Carson, but the band/we are called, The Enablers (cracks me up). So.... We, Kim Carson and the Enablers were playing a Country Festival in Austria, which by the way, we have played lots of country festivals over here and it never ceases to amaze me the out pour of characters and really make me giggle. I’m making a huge assumption that these festivals started out of the fascination of American television and Western movies. I don’t want to embarrass anyone by asking them why the hell they are so engrossed and captivated by a period of time where people dressed up like Billy Ray Cyras and carried fake guns. The people also dress up like cowboys and indians, they line dance and pretend that they are living in the wild west for one night. The only thing I can compare it to are the Renaissance festivals in the States. I never dreamed that I would be performing my songs and have a crowd of line dancers stomping and moving to my music... truly amazing what surprises life brings! Again, it makes me laugh. Anyway... back to my original thought.... at this particular festival in Austria, we were co-billed with a band from Vienna. The fiddle player for this band, Claudia, and I bonded and of course talked shop. I contemplated for awhile whether to ask Claudia if she knew of a band from Vienna called, Sons of a Velvet Rat. I really didn’t think she would have heard of them, since they are no where close to being a country band. I had recorded with them 1 1/2 years ago in Nashville. But, I threw it out there and asked her. Again, blown away by her response, she too had performed with them 1 1/2 years ago in Vienna. I’m not sure if I am communicating the enormity of these connections/relationships that are joined by one chain after another but anyone reading this.... I am telling you, there’s somethin’ goin’ on! and life is CRAZY and EXCITING and there are so many twists and turns.

France is over and we have since traveled to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and back to Germany all within a few days. Now resting in a town called, Wasserburg, Germany, on the Lake of Konstanz (Constance) for a couple of days. We have 5 more weeks of touring and then back to our normal lives in the States. I’m looking forward to taking back with me new ideas and my beloved romance with laughter. See you soon, I’m certain!

Peace & love,

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