Happy Thanksgiving from Redleg Husky! 

From Tim, Misa, and myself, to all of you, Happy Thanksgiving! It's been such a busy month of November for us that we've been letting the blog go a bit, but that means that there's that much more to report on in this entry.

The bulk of the last few weeks was spent doing what we do best – playing shows and shows and shows, both in our Carolina mountains and in Tim's home state of Ohio. The latter run included stops at The Listing Loon in Cincinnati, a show with Iowa indie band The Multiple Cat in Dayton, and back to back bar stops in the towns of Galena and Marietta. It was my first time spending any real amount of time in the Buckeye State, and it was a pleasure. There was consistently delicious (and very filling) food, quality backyard football (turns out I'm better than Tim), and some spirited education on the difference between the state that is the birthplace of aviation and that which is first in flight. The weekend was highlighted as well by a thorough, and much appreciated, newspaper feature about Redleg Husky, in the Dayton City Paper.

Dayton's been expecting us!

Besides the performances, November has been in no small part a time to look forward. We've been doubling up our practicing efforts to develop new material for our ever-expanding repertoire, with traditionals like 'Greenville Trestle High' and 'If I Lose' among the recent additions, as well as a revamped version of Johnny Cash's 'Get Rhythm.' The latter two feature backup vocals from your favorite bass player, as do some of the new originals from the album that have recently become staples of our shows. One or two new originals are already in the works as well, so we're looking forward to polishing those and getting them to the stage soon.

On the business side of things, we've been working the phones to fill up the early months of 2016 with shows, and are excited to be announcing some of the major dates soon, including our first foray into Florida, in February. For now, we'll leave you with our December dates, and again wish you and all of yours a very happy Thanksgiving. The three of us are grateful for a great deal in our lives, but near the top of the list is the opportunity to do what we love for a living, which would not be possible without your continued support of and appreciation for our music. So, if you're reading this, thank you!!

Somewhere between Cincinnati and Galena

12/3 – Oskar Blues Brewing, Brevard, NC

12/4 – Water'n Hole, Waynesville, NC

12/5 – No Name Sports Bar, Sylva, NC

12/8 – Jack of the Wood, Asheville, NC

12/10 – Chetola Resort, Blowing Rock, NC

12/11 – World of Beer, Charlottesville, VA

12/12 – Triple Crossing Brewing, Richmond, VA

12/13 – Saude Creek Vineyards, Lanexa, VA

12/15 – Son and Tim duo show, One World Brewing, Asheville, NC

12/16 – 5 Walnut Wine Bar, Asheville, NC

12/17 – Lookout Brewing, Black Mountain, NC

12/18 – Tipping Point Tavern, Waynesville, NC

12/19 – Hotel Tavern, West Jefferson, NC

Dirt Floor + Philly = Happy Huskies 

Hello again Husky heads! It's been an amazing couple of weeks for Tim, Misa, and I, so it's exciting to write this post and share it all with you.

Tim lays down banjo parts while Eric and Steve man the controls

The big event, of course, was spending seven days making our second full length album, My Old Heart, at Dirt Floor Recording Studio in Haddam, Connecticut. It was a process that proved to be a bit of a rollercoaster, with some significant moments of difficulty but some even more significant moments of overwhelming enjoyment and satisfaction. The ten songs that we brought with us as seedlings grew into their leafy, flowering, beautiful selves in a way that has brought almost permanent smiles to all our faces. The studio's owner, Eric Lichter, and his team – James Maple, Steve Wytas, and Cody Urban – balanced persistence and attention to detail with a really warm, inviting atmosphere, and did a great job of both coaxing our very best playing and singing out of us and of contributing their own sounds (drums, piano, pedal steel, slide guitar) to flesh out the tunes. All in all, an amazing experience and one whose fruits we cannot wait to get into your ears. If you'd like to see more pictures than the couple featured here, check out our photo album.

Eric Lichter and James Maple on the porch at Dirt Floor

I'd like to take a moment, too, to thank everyone who pre-ordered My Old Heart and our new merch through our indiegogo campaign. The Dirt Floor team is now in the final stages of producing the record, so we're on track for our early 2016 release date. That means less than eight weeks to wait for those that pre-ordered. Now that we've heard what has come out of those sessions, we feel confident in saying that this will be an album you'll enjoy. Thanks so much again for giving us some extra peace of mind by ordering early.

After Dirt Floor, we began our southerly journey with a stop in Philadelphia, where we played two shows with my old friends Darlington, including a house show that also featured amazing sets from locals Driftwood Soldier and Andy McLeod. Driftwood Soldier, by the way, is coming south soon, for a show at Jack of the Wood on December 6th, and are definitely worth checking out. As Tim mentioned on the microphone that night, although it's the South that is known for its hospitality, the warmth that we felt in Philly – and every day of our stay in Connecticut – was really humbling and left us honored to be part of this amazing folk music community. That warmth continued late on into the night as we all kept the music going with post-show jamming, first by Tim and Andy tearing up some old time banjo music, and then with Tim and I rounding out the night with acoustic blues. Thanks again Philly! We're still feeling the brotherly love.

From there it was a brief stop in my old stomping grounds of Richmond, VA, for shows at the ever hospitable Triple Crossing Brewing Co. and Saude Creek Vineyards. They're both community institutions that craft the highest quality beverages, and seem to attract some of the most engaged patrons anywhere. That made for a really fun Saturday night and Sunday afternoon before packing it all up and rolling home to Candler town.

I'd like to wrap up this post with a list of upcoming shows since we've got quite a few in WNC before the end of the month, as well as a jaunt up to Ohio that I hope many of you are looking forward to as much as I am. Bring a friend, a will that won't bend, and stay 'til the end! 'Til then, thanks again for all of your love and support. We couldn't do this without ya.

11/4 – Foggy Mountain Brewpub, Asheville, NC

11/5 – Chetola Resort, Blowing Rock, NC

11/6 – Hotel Tavern, West Jefferson, NC

11/7 – The Bywater, Asheville, NC

11/11 – The Listing Loon, Cincinnati, OH

11/12 – Canal Public House, Dayton, OH

11/13 – Mudflats Bar and Grill, Galena, OH

11/14 – Marietta Brewing Company, Marietta, OH

11/17 – Tim and Son duo show at One World Brewing, Asheville, NC

11/18 – Chetola Resort, Blowing Rock, NC

11/20 – Tipping Point Tavern, Waynesville, NC

11/21 – Lost Province Brewing Company, Boone, NC

11/22 – Town Pump Tavern, Black Mountain, NC

Get to Know Redleg Husky, pt. 3: Tim McWilliams 

Your chance to get to know us Redlegs continues, with an interview with T-Mac the Big Mac himself, Tim McWilliams. Here are his thoughts on life:

Why do you play music?
I guess it's evolved over the years...I think I've always been infatuated with sounds that I've heard. I've tried a lot of different instruments, but the guitar was the one I really fell in love with, and now, in the last few years, the tone of the acoustic guitar is what I love. I don't really know how to explain what playing music does for me. I love performing, for sure, but my favorite time to play music, and some of my most treasured times, are when I'm alone, I know nobody can hear, and I'm playing for my own personal enjoyment because that's what I want to hear. And those moments where you feel like you take yourself out of everything that's going on around you, take yourself out of the world, and you get so lost in what you're doing, you just lose yourself. When you snap back you think “Wow, that was so euphoric.” The first time I had that, I was hooked forever. It puts me at ease, too...I feel weird if I go a day without playing.

Who's one artist or band that people might be surprised to learn that you listen to?
There are moments when I love listening to lounge music, like Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong. I love Armstrong's instrumentals but I love when he sings and does duets with other vocalists. That's probably one people might not expect.

If you could have the career and life of one musician in history, whose would you take?
That's such a hard question...I think everyone I love has had such hard times. My first thought was Doc Watson, but he lost his son, so that would be terrible, I don't want to experience that. Tony Rice can't play anymore, and that's my worst nightmare. Maybe a guy that people might not know – a guy named Jack Lawrence because he's still around, he's still playing, and although if you passed him on the street you wouldn't know who he was, he's an amazing guitarist and I'd love to be able to play like he does. Plus he got to tour with Doc Watson and got to be Doc Watson's right hand man for over a decade. So that would be amazing, to be able to be day in and day out with Doc, on the road with him, hear all those stories, and just be able to pick with him every night, that would be incredible.

What's your favorite thing about being on the road or on tour?
It always feels like an adventure. No matter if we're going for a few days, two weeks, or three months...when we pack up and load up the car before we leave, it just feels like an adventure. You never know what's going to happen, and when you're traveling time slows down, I think, and you're more able to be in the moment.

What's your favorite beer?
I really love the beer that I just drank, which is Green Man's porter. It's delicious and smooth and good.

What's the best live show you've ever seen?
The best live show I've ever been to and the one that really started me on the path of acoustic music was in 2009, when my friend told me to buy these tickets to go see this band with him. I was in college and they were twenty bucks and I thought “That's a lot of money, and I'm not getting paid very well at the job I'm working,” but I went because he insisted I'd love them. It was at this small theater at Ohio University, which held not more than fifteen hundred people, and it was the Avett Brothers, just after they had released I and Love and You, which was their first big album, with Rick Reuben, and their first album on a big record label. At that point in time, all I was listening to was Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and old Red Hot Chili Peppers, and if a song didn't have an intense electric guitar solo in it, I didn't want to listen to it. But I went to this show, and I was just blown away. From the first song to the end I was really just taken away from anything I might have been thinking about, and I was just blown away by the emotion that they conveyed and the energy they conveyed. It's still the most energetic show I've seen, to this day. The way they bared it all on the line...That's what led me into acoustic music, and then later I heard Doc and thought “Oh, you can shred on the acoustic guitar.”

What does being a Redleg Husky mean to you?
It's my identity now, I think. It's what I am. When we're on stage together, it just always feels so right. Being able to share that experience with two of my best friends...that's such a special thing, and I don't think a lot of musicians get to do that. I've put a lot of heart and soul and blood and sweat and tears into this band. I can't imagine playing with anyone else.

What do you think is a misconception that some people might have about the life of a professional musician?
I think the biggest misconception is that it's an easy life, that we do it because it's easy, and that we just laze around and go play shows a couple hours a week. But the reason we do it is because there's a burning passion, and a burning feeling that you can't get rid of, and you have to satisfy. Of course it's a ton of fun, and I don't want to trade it for anything, I love it. But there are hard moments and in those it seems like a regular, salary job would be a lot easier, but I know that I wouldn't be satisfied and I'd feel like I let myself down if I didn't pursue this.

What's your favorite episode of MTV Cribs?
OK let me run through a few in my mind...OK, the one that calls out to me from the recesses of my mind, is Ice-T's episode. I'm pretty sure he had an aquarium built into his bedroom wall with a shark in there, which was unreal.

If you had to get a different job, what other job would you have?
The only other job that I think would give me fulfillment – not like music, but some fulfillment – would be teaching. Before I joined this band I was working with inner city high school students [in Cincinnati] and I really enjoyed trying to be a mentor, helping with any problems, and if they had a goal, trying to help them meet that. That was great.

How badly do you want everyone reading this to pre-order the album in the last hours of the indiegogo campaign?
Really badly! I'm really confident that it's going to be a great album. I think people will really enjoy it. I know, personally, when I've spent money on music and I've really enjoyed it, it just makes my life so much better and makes me so much happier. I think this album has the chance to do that for a lot of folks. We've been putting so much work into it. These songs are road tested, and have so much put into them. I think a lot of people that have heard us before will enjoy it especially, because they're not going to believe how far we've come.

What are your predictions for the coming fantasy hockey season?
I'm going to be honest here – I just don't want to come in last.

Get to Know Redleg Husky, pt 2: Son 

The intra-band interview series continues with Misa turning the questions on me, the newest Husky:

First off, how did you get the name Son?
I moved to a hippie commune for a couple years after college. Lots of people there change their names, and I was sort of drawn to the idea of choosing my own name. Somebody suggested “Sun” with a “u” because of my hair, and I sort of liked the sound of it, but I didn’t want to compare myself to the sun. That seemed sort of arrogant to me. I liked the idea of “Son” with an “o” because it ties into the blues tradition that I love so much, and because I felt like I was coming there with a lot to learn. I was coming there to grow and be a young person in a community of all ages, and by the time I was moving away two years later I was used to it and didn’t want to drop it. That’s still how I feel – no matter how old I get I think life is about learning.

How did you meet us?
Last summer I went on tour as a mercenary bassman for a band from Richmond, VA called Haints in the Holler, a wonderful indie rock band. The very first week of the tour we were in beautiful Denver, Colorado, playing a show at the 7th Circle Collective, a cool little DIY-venue. Also on the bill was this duo all the way from North Carolina called Redleg Husky. I really enjoyed talking to them, and I enjoyed their set. So we stayed in touch, they came up to Richmond, my band came down to visit them in Boone, and then after that trip to Boone I got back and there was a message waiting from them saying, “Hey, this is kind of crazy, but do you want to join the band?” and I said, “Hell no, that’s crazy, there’s no way.” Then I thought about it and decided to do it.

What made you want to join Redleg Husky?
I just heard y’all had good beer at your house… So, I was living in Richmond, VA, and I was playing music full-time. But I was playing in bands with people who weren’t doing it full time, so I had to play in a bunch of different bands to cobble together a living. For a while I had been feeling really envious of the bands in Richmond that were all in it together, lived together, were going on the road all the time, were doing it together. Then when you guys invited me I thought, “Yeah, this is exactly what I’m looking for. They’re all about it, they share my passion, they realize that it’s possible, they believe in themselves, they believe that they can do it, and I believe in them. I think their music is awesome. And I really like them as people, too.” So on a creative level, on a professional level, on a personal level, it was all a good fit.

You recently moved here from Richmond. How are you liking Asheville?
It’s been great. I haven’t had a ton of time to go out on my own yet in town, but I’ve really enjoyed it when I have, and these mountains are incredibly beautiful. I just pinch myself every day...I can’t believe that I get to live in this beautiful place and play music for a living. It just seems like those two things are so good that I shouldn't possibly have both.

People ask us sometimes – why does your bass look so weird?
If you’re referring to the fact that it’s fretless, it’s because the chunkiest bass lines can only be played when there are no frets to get in the way.

What musician/genre has influenced your playing style the most?
It’s tough to say because I’ve played in a lot of different bands, and have played a lot of genres of music. I guess the two that come to mind are Berry Oakley of the Allman Brothers Band and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. When I was learning bass in high school, part of the way I taught myself was learning all the bass lines from Dark Side of the Moon and the Allman Brothers’ Fillmore East albums. That was one of the first things that I ever learned how to play, so that’s my foundation, that’s my fundamentals, and I think I still probably come back to that in my playing. Berry Oakley’s playing especially... I think he’s awesome. It’s so much more dynamic than what many bass players in rock and blues do. May he rest in peace.

Do you play any other instruments?
I sure do! I really enjoy playing acoustic guitar, both lead and rhythm, and in my main band in Richmond that’s what I was doing. Then, in the last year or so, I’ve been fortunate enough to get my hands on an old Yamaha organ. I definitely would not be comfortable playing that out live at all, but I enjoy noodling on it at home.

What do you love about music?
I’ve been absolutely obsessed with music since I was two years old, since I first consciously heard music. When I was two years old, my dad gave me a tape player and some Beatles tapes. He taught me how to use the tape player, how to work the stop and the play and the rewind, and take the tape out and flip it around and everything. That was it. I was hooked. From then on, I had that thing with me all the time. Go to the kitchen to eat breakfast with the tape player. Playing with my toys with the tape player on. Those tapes on, all the time. It’s just always been that way. Anything I’m doing, I want to have music playing. I have no idea how I can put it into words. To listen to and play, just be around music, that’s why I wake up every day.

If you could time travel, what time period would you go to?
Probably early human civilization, or pre-human civilization, to see the earth back then. And then play the first bass line. [cackles] I’ll bring a generator and a bass amp and a bass, and play the first bass line. No, but to see what the planet looked like before we took it over, to put it nicely. That’d be beautiful.

What is your favorite kind of pie?
Oh my God… How much time do you have? For those of you out there that don’t know me, I really love pie a lot. It’s the best food there is, hands down. If I could eat it for three meals a day and wouldn’t die, I’d do that. Favorite kind of pie is impossible, but I’ll say the best pie I ever had was a brambleberry pie in Custer, South Dakota. It was a bunch of different berries. There was a pie shop in this giant purple building in the middle of this straight-laced town. I went in, I bought a slice, I left, I ate it, I turned my car around, I drove back and got a whole thing because it was so incredibly good. Oh my God. Someday, I will go back there and have more. Hopefully with y’all. It’d be great.

What is your daily hair care routine that enables you to achieve such long, luscious locks?
As my roommates and bandmates can attest: very long showers. They’re very important. The highest quality, all-natural shampoo and conditioner. Daily brushing. And a rich, vitamin-filled diet to keep it all healthy. I can teach you, but I’d have to charge.

Get to Know Redleg Husky, pt 1: Misa Giroux 

It's Son the bassman here for the Redleg blog, bringing you the first installment of a three part series to help you get to know each of the three of us better. I sat down with Ms. Misa Giroux this morning to find out more about her thoughts on music, beer, and the Redleg life:

How did you and Tim meet?
We met at a potluck at grad school, on one of the first few days after I moved to Boone. A bunch of us ended up hanging out til three in the morning playing music, and we were pretty much inseparable after that point.

What's the first thing he said to you?
Probably something like [very accurate Tim impersonation]: We're in the same program! Sweet man! Oh, dude, you're in [the music program] too? High five!

Why do you play music?
That's a good question...I think mostly I play music because there are so many songs that I love so much that I want to be able to share them with other people. And, when you're singing about something that you really connect with, that's really the best feeling in the world. Lyrics are a big deal for me, so when I find something that I can't get enough of, I just want to keep playing it over and over again, and I connect with that so much. There are a million reasons but that's it in a nutshell.

If you could book Redleg Husky to tour with any band on Earth, what band would that be?
Tift Merritt. She's my favorite artist to see live. I think her shows always feel really intimate. She's a great songwriter but also just the sweetest person on the planet. So I think it would just be the best tour.

Misa lights up at the thought of touring with Tift Merritt

What's your favorite part of playing shows, and what do you feel when you're on stage?
It's great being able to play with two of my best friends. I think if we're having fun, that's the important part. Whenever we're in the groove and feeling great about it, I think everybody else picks up on that energy and has a good time. When people start dancing that's really great too.

What song that you've written are you most proud of?
Probably 'Your Favorite Hymn.' That one makes me feel the most things, and I still get really emotional when I play it sometimes. I think the most emotion went into writing that one, and it hasn't really faded. Whereas some in the past, I might have a lot of feelings that I want to put down on paper, and a song comes out of it, but after a while I think 'OK, that ran its course.' But 'Your Favorite Hymn' still gets me most of the time in a way that some other people's songs do, and I don't get that often, but with that one I really do.

Would you be open to sharing with the world more of the story behind that one?
I think the easiest way to put it is that most of it is about someone I really had feelings for, and it's just certain moments – like of a morning making tea, or very specific places, and just a certain point in time that I wanted to pinpoint and not forget. When Tim and I were traveling a lot, those little moments added up to so much for me and I carried that with me for a while. I connected that too with our friend who passed away, so the last verse is about him specifically, and him commenting on how happy I was during that period of time. 'I can see this huge change in you, and you're lighting up again' – he said that to me. So, just those little things that stuck with me.

If you were on a desert island and your only source of entertainment was a record player and the entire discography of only one band or artist, what band or artist would that be?
[right away:] Rilo Kiley!
Wait, ugh, that's so hard! Can I give you multiple artists? It's a tie – between Rilo Kiley and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Because both of those artists – each album just in itself is, like I what I said earlier, representative of a moment in time. Each one has a certain feeling that goes along with it. So even though I might not listen to Rilo Kiley that much anymore, that was the one band I devoted my entire life to. You just get obsessed and every song means something. It feels like 'Oh, they wrote this for me.' So that's how I feel about all their albums, except the last one, which is more fun than anything else. And then Mary Chapin Carpenter, I've listened to her my whole life. I feel the same way – she knows me inside and out like nobody else does. Plus she has more in her discography so that would last me longer.

If you had a magic wand and could change anything about the world, what would you change?
I feel like I need to say something really wise...I think I get frustrated with the fact that everybody wants to control other people's lives, politically or otherwise. Just give people a little more freedom. If you don't agree with something that's okay, just let it be. So, I would just relax the world a little bit more.

What's your favorite beer?
Oooh....I really love the Highland Oatmeal Porter. Though I do enjoy a good Labatt Blue or Rolling Rock from time to time.

What's your favorite thing to do on days off from Redleg gigs?
I definitely like taking those days slow. Waking up with a cup of coffee. Ideally it's raining outside so I can be lazy. Just watching some Netflix and noodling around on mandolin, like I'm doing today.

What are you most looking forward to in the near future?
I'm really excited for our album – both the recording process, which I really like, and the fact that I'm really proud of what we've been creating. I think it's a huge step forward from what we've been able to put out in the past, just because we've been working on these songs for so long, and they really feel like a combined effort by all of us. Theses songs have had time to evolve already. I think we have more of a clear vision of what we want it to sound like as far as a cohesive album. And I'm excited about our t-shirts!

How badly do you want everyone reading this to pre-order My Old Heart through the indiegogo campaign?
They should totally do it! Everybody should do it! I think everybody is going to be really happy with it because we're putting so much of us into this creation. We've been working on this for a long time and we want to create something that we're proud of. I'm really confident that it's going to be good.

Out of all of your records, if you could only keep one, what would you keep?
[Misa digs around and finds Mary Chapin Carpenter's Come On Come On]. So, there's a story behind this. I don't know how many copies exist in the world, and nobody really knows that it exists on vinyl. The Internet doesn't know. So, I walked into my favorite record store one day and I was just flipping through and was shocked to find it. It was six dollars, and it's the best six dollars I've spent in my life.

What record store is that?
Gerosa Records in Brookfield, Connecticut. I've been going there since I was like thirteen.

Misa's 'one album'

What might Redleg Husky fans be surprised to learn about Misa Giroux?
I'm super good at NBA Live '98.

Last but not least, Could you give me your predictions for our upcoming fantasy hockey season and for your fantasy hockey rivalry with Tim? 
It's going to be an intense season for sure. I'm bringing more enthusiasm and strategy to the table, not to mention the Giroux hockey skills. With my inevitable first round pick of my boy Carey Price, Tim doesn't stand a chance. Ultimately, I'm just stoked to watch some more games this year. Go Habs!