The busy season has arrived. It's a mixed blessing, really. A total blessing when it comes to the excitement of the evening shows, costumes, and a busy schedule that helps make sure we get decent food on the table. Of course, on the flip side, we're exhausted! If you include park teasers, promotional activities, and multi-event days, we've played 19 times in the first 18 days of February.
Our winter shows are pretty fun though. We have a few songs that never made it on to the show because we ran out of time, and then had to make cuts due to the limited time frame of the show, but that leaves room for variety next season. The theme this year is a journey through time, starting with folk music from the 1500's progressing through to the modern era, including old TV classics. It seems to be going quite well and the audiences appear to enjoy the journey.
On the flip side, I don't think Mary handles the schedule as well because she's had more stomach issues almost all month. She spends so much time laughing and smiling, that it's hard to think it stress could be part of the problem, but it likely stems more from the late nights, early mornings for teasers, cold weather limiting outside fun, and complete lack of a predictable routine, not to mention a mystery food sensitivity we have yet to find. Once things slow down I'll be putting her on a rather firm food elimination diet, and now that the weather has improved, we'll get in a lot more outside sun, exercise, and proper sleep!
It's been a pretty rough winter, and some of it is simply poor weather, poor health, and the facts of life when you're a young band with limited exposure in need of doing everything and anything to get your name out there if you want to survive. You have to constantly fight a feeling of inferiority, over-critical frustration over the slightest mistakes, and the occasional lack of confidence in your ability to even do this. I've had a lot of what-on-earth-are-we-doing moments this season. What if we could just find a normal job, get health insurance to see that G.I. specialist (to be poked and prodded and told there are food sensitivities...), or have a home with, *gasp!* INSULATION for when it's cold? What if we knew we had a job next week instead of wondering if you'd not eat next month because someone got a bad case of laryngitis or broke an arm? Then I remember that life wasn't full of guarantees when we were living in a home with a mortgage hanging over our heads either. Life's challenges were different, but just as present.
The extra work is starting to pay off a bit, with some really nice publicity from the Winter Texan Times, regarding our performance at the Valley Star Awards Show last week. From the article:
"The last group to perform on the show was Amber Waves, a family band from Colorado. While 13-year-old Sean’s fiddlin’ skills, combined with that of his sisters’ mastery of the guitar and banjo thrilled the crowd, it was the amazing vocals of this family band that turned applause and foot-tappin’ into ooos and ahhhs of sheer enjoyment."Nice write up, huh? Getting media attention and reviews with a quote that can be published is like GOLD in this business, so I'm pretty pleased.
Our busiest week is over now with 2 shows this weekend, only ONE show next week, then just 4 more in March before we head back to Rockport to recover for three weeks. We'll be working on some exciting music for an upcoming CD we hope to record when we return to Colorado, and we have a church in the area who has offered to let us stay there, away from the distractions of your average RV park, to practice and get some rest. I love going to Rockport. It's always been somewhat of a sanctuary to me and I consider it our winter Texas home, so I'm very much looking forward to it! A local friend and owner of an RV park has offered to let us spend some time at their park as well, if the kids need a play break with a swimming pool. Then we'll head to Colorado and see family and good friends before we go to Seattle! New adventures on the horizon, but first we rest.