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!