Sunday, June 5, 2016

Is this the end?

A funny thing happened on our way across America the last time.

Our "day jobs" dried up.

We were on our way to Oregon, to relocate our "domicile" so we could headquarter near our daughter and son-in-law.

We planned to earn our way, as always, performing for the hundreds of independent and assisted-living communities around the country where we have always been a welcome fit into their entertainment budgets with a program that always goes over very well.

Due to corporate acquisitions, and general belt-tightening in that industry (which we failed to note during our three-winter hiatus), entertainment budgets have been greatly cut and/or eliminated.
These luxury facilities for seniors will now rely on free local talent, or those touring performers who can afford to play for gas money or less.  In our sojourn across Texas, for example, we were able to garner around a fifth of what we usually earned.

Our other market had been RV resorts, and we had our sights set on Southern Arizona, where other pros told us we could expect more per gig than experienced in our three winters in Florida. or our two in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  We found changes in that field as well.

The younger, new RVers aren't settling in these places.  Like the high-rise senior communities we've catered to, this is an increasingly expensive way to live, and, similarly, the older clientele are getting too old to travel or--well--dying.
There are also a number of savvy musicians in the region who are forming various assortments of "tribute" bands, doing oldies revues in the style of specific groups and artists, which have proved very popular and can keep floating band members working more.  The predictable success and the affordability of such shows make them a low-risk booking.

We were unable to secure enough bookings for the coming season there to support us.

We arrived in Oregon broke and looking for jobs.
(The market for what we would usually do is worse here than anywhere we've been, due to the plethora of amateurs who play for free, and the meager budgets in retirement facilities.)

All that having been shared, we will close by saying that we don't know if there's any future for The McKinney Washtub Two.
Perhaps, after we're settled into some sort of income, we can resurface on YouTube or find some house concerts who'd like to present us.

It was okay (not great) while it lasted.
Our heartfelt thanks to all those who applauded, sang along, bought CDs, gave us parking space and a plug-in for the night, booked us every season, and said lovely things about us.

Hope to see ya out there--again, some day!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Happy (Desert) Trails to you!

Desert Trails RV park in Tucson, Arizona, was like coming home! We found the most welcoming folks, the most congenial host-Pericles Wyatt, (trust us, he has the plaque on the wall to prove it!), and the most sanely, well-run facilities we've run across as of late! Seriously! If you are in the Tucson area and want a great RV park, Desert Trails is the place! Tell 'em we sent you, and you'll get free ice every day!

The park is well know for its season's schedule of concerts & great taste in music
(they had us there, didn't they?!)
The very friendly, intelligent, audience was most appreciative.

The park is built on and around the former Justin's Water World; so don't forget to climb to the top of the slide--now referred to as "The Lookout Tower"--the best place to watch the sunset or see a panorama of west Tucson as well as Old Tucson, The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and The Santa Rita mountains. Here's a sample view so you can play a quick round of
 "Find Whitt & Judy's Van"!

As always, hope to see ya out there!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

More fun than grownups should be allowed to have!

It's no secret that we're trying to break into the Arizona market.
We both grew up there, sorta, and, after three winters in FL and two in the Rio Grande Valley of TX, we've been wending our way westward for the past couple months.

We should have mentioned, before our Deming report in the last episode, visiting our friends Bob & Melody Burns in Las Cruces, NM.

Bob has retired, for health reasons; but, he was a true mover and shaker in the music scene around El Paso & Las Cruces for several decades, as well as a veteran broadcaster, and a touring artist, along with his lovely wife, Melody, for several years recently.  His jazz programming, participation in and support of big band music, and reputation as a folk artist earned him many awards and accolades.

His greatest achievement, though, in our eyes, was luring Whitt onstage and into performing back in '83.  So, when you're watching our show and wonder "Who ever told this guy he could pass himself off as a performer?"--well--Bob's to blame.
We enjoyed our visit, and the Burns' hospitality, as much as ever, and really can't wait for the next opportunity to see them again and swap more "war stories."

Meanwhile, after our two little gigs in Deming, we sallied on to the enthralling metropolis of Benson, AZ, to the Escapees Saguaro Co-op RV Resort, where we shared a whole concert (something we haven't been able to do for a while) with some really sharp, fun folks there.

We think they had almost as much fun as we did!

The lady perched on the platform in the back (Ingrid) gave us a video of the show, and, even though there were problems with the audio feed for the second half, we managed to edit together a little telescoped demo for our RV page.  We really appreciate that.  (If you'd like to see a little taste of what we do now, CLICK HERE.)  It's 15 minutes of highlights only.  We'll be uploading some full songs soon to our YouTube channel we're working on.

Now we're beating the bushes around Southern AZ, having had our usual late start booking, so we don't have a lot of gigs yet; but, the ones we've had have gone very well, and we're getting to visit old friends in the Old Pueblo (Tucson, for you turistas).

Just the other evening, we enjoyed seeing three old friends perform at the
Tucson Songwriter's Showcase at The Monterrey Court.

Ron Pandy hosts the event,
and shared some excellent examples of his craft.
We especially enjoyed his "Cold Day In Hell." and his "Coffee Song,"--the first one powerful and poignant, and the last clever and catchy.
He played a guitar owned by the late Stephan George, and shared a soulful and thought-provoking tribute his memory and their friendship.

We also got to hear Al Perry (remember his wild band, The Cattle?), who shared a collection of his hilarious songs of heartbreak and rejection.  Really.
We laughed at his pain,
as did everyone else present.

(Sorry about the mic stand across your face, Al!
Our photographer was trying not to get between you and the audience.)

Perhaps the highlight of the evening, for us, was getting to see Linda Lou Reed's solo performances of some of her sincere and touching originals.
She's Vice President of the Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association (TKMA), the folks who produce the annual Tucson Folk Festival.
She was pickin' and singin' real purty!
She was also playing a guitar formerly owned by Stephan George, which made us wonder,
"How did we miss the estate sale?"
We're going to try and catch her with her group, The Desert Drifters,
at the Oro Valley Marketplace on the 28th  of this month.

We had a couple of two-day forays into Phoenix.

The four gigs went fine, but sheesh, the traffic! 
We're actually not looking forward to going back.

(Is it even possible to look forward to going back? We'll see.)

So, it you're in the area of the actual Southwest, we hope to see ya out there!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Deming, NM Dreamcatcher RV Park

The winds were 30 mph, gusting considerably higher, temp in the high 30s, and the spotlessly clean, immaculately maintained Escapees park less than half full.

Charlie & Marjorie Krull, the hardworking couple who run the place, had made posters and fliers and posted them all over the park, as well as in town.

Thanks to their efforts, we had practically everyone at the park in attendance, as well as a few from town.  What the crowd lacked in size, they made up for with spirited support.
We all had a great time, if we do say so ourselves!

We'll be down the road at Roadrunner RV Park Sunday, for a 6:30 pm show.

Hope to see you out there!