|Dear Friends of Switchback,|
This week marks my 57th year of being in this world. As I count many blessings that surround my life, I include the many friendships that I have had the pleasure of making over the years. Playing in Switchback gives me an opportunity that is rare today. Traveling, sharing life stories with others and connecting on a soul level through music has and hopefully will continue to be, a gift.
Yet, the pandemic has its gifts to give. The biggest one is the ability to slow down time. Fortunately for me, I haven’t had to spend that time alone. Having spent 35 years performing music, I can draw upon a rich store of relationships. And with the Internet, connecting with people may not be face-to-face, but we can still enjoy connection that those souls in the 1918 flu pandemic could only dream about.
Another gift is watching Áine grow. Spending time with her, face masks and all, has been a joy. We have played together quite a lot, especially with the hot weather. Sprinklers, water balloons, chalk drawings, walks and getting her to ride her bike sans training wheels. Heading out to Woodstock and catching bullfrogs and salamanders at Uncle Robby’s farm to bring back to our little pond in Chicago. Áine is growing into a little lady. The sheer joy of holding her, carrying my little daughter is done with the awareness of the passing of pandemic time, all made possible because I am not touring, but here at home.
Annie and I have had the pleasure of watching our gardens grow. We both are as busy as ever it seems and yet, with not being away from home, our home has become a wonderful oasis to talk at length and share the joy of being together. Our gardens, those in the yard and the spiritual ones are well tended these days. The yards are finally getting the attention they deserve. And so, too, is our relationship, often playing second fiddle to the road. Getting to look at my wife every day and seeing just how beautiful she is has been a great gift.
I have been able to delve into music, visiting tunes that were dormant from my pre-Switchback days or writing songs that are off in directions far from Marty and Brian. Rediscovering my guitar playing after all the years has been both a humbling challenge, but again a joyful opportunity. Livestreaming a weekly show has now given me the opportunity to hone my songwriting skills to the point that I am creating about two songs a week. Áine’s kindergarten teacher, Miss Rack, had me writing songs for her class Zoom meetings.
My reunion with my artwork has been a great pleasure. When I set off on Switchback, I knew I had to burn some bridges to keep heading forward. Art and the demand it has on being in one place for an extended period of time, took a prompt backseat. In many ways, drawing and painting allows me to express myself in ways that writing or performing never could. At the very least it is an unadulterated look at my soul and emotion.
Of course there are the “honey-do’s” that I actually am doing with being at home. Painting Nilles hall, our coach/studio/gathering house in the back has been waiting for quite a while. It is satisfying to scratch off a chore as accomplished. This may be the year the front fence is painted in its entirety. You can’t paint a fence from Colorado. I still have about 20 projects in front of me, all begging to be done while the weather is good. And then the other 20 that are inside. Enough projects for several pandemics, unfortunately.
Finally, there has been a more pointed use of the words “I love you” when addressing family and friends. The fragility of life has become more evident. It is done with the acknowledgment of the moment. This odd gift of the pandemic allows us all to collectively pause and take stock of our lives.
Do I miss Switchback? Yes. And do I miss seeing, performing for and connecting with all of you? Certainly. Livestreaming is a one-way street in many aspects. That energy connection live music brings, much like songwriting with Brian, is not there. It is a new way of riding a bike, but I am determined to do it. And I welcome, gratefully that return connection from all of you, if you wish to tune in.
Speaking of bikes, I have to get our bikes, last ridden before Aine was born to the bike shop to be tuned up. We have a chance to finally get out riding as a family for the first time.
As much as I wish the pandemic over, I wish it could go on forever.
We are selling more items at a discount until August 15. Any purchase over $50 gets a free Switchback DVD Case. If interested, please email Marty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stained glass and lead window art “Switchback Treble Clef” SOLD
Waterford Crystal Wine Stopper from Ireland Tour. SOLD
Connemara Marble and Amethyst bracelet. Only 1 in stock. SALE $40
Only 7 NOW in stock, this is the BEST of Switchback compilation CD from the German Music Company Zounds. A rare, rare, collectors item. SALE $15
Think you have all things Switchback? Think again. This is a bag-full of buttons, picks, stickers, cards. Grab the bag at a bargain! SOLD
Special Handmade “Switchmasks” Made by Switchback friends Arleen Faeth and Kelsey Deschamps in Biloxi, Mississippi, these masks are perfect for the true Switchback enthusiast. Limited quantity shamrocks and musical notes. SALE: $20 each or two for $30.
Switchback Marquee Posters–These posters are extremely rare and truly one of a kind. They are from various theaters around the country and were presented to the band after a concert. Perfect for the diehard Switchback follower and a big size for that studio. All sizes are approximate.
a) Coleman Theatre–Miami Oklahoma. March 26. Laminated 33″ x 55″ SALE! $70
b) Kent Theater–Kent Michigan. 27″ x 42″ SALE $ 65
c) Coleman Theatre–Miami, Oklahoma. 33″ x 55″ SALE! $70
e) Woodstock Opera House–Feb. One of the last shows before the virus! 24″ x 36″ SALE $70
f) Hobart Theater, March 13, 2020–The last Switchback show before the virus! 11” x 17”. Only 2 NOW available and “taken from the wall”. Own a piece of Switchback history. SALE $45
While Marquee posters are rare, there are the Switchback touring posters that over time change with the band getting older, different venues, etc. We have two fine examples of discontinued Switchback posters.
a) Michigan Touring Poster, circa 2013-2020. 11″x17″ Shot in front of the old Michigan State Mental Hospital grounds, it was a spooky experience for Brian and Marty with an abandoned, haunted building. Only 31 in stock. SALE! $10
b) Ireland Touring Poster, circa 2004–2009 11″x 17″ Shot outside of Leenane, Co. Mayo, this poster was an original touring poster with quotes by notables like Matt Malloy of the Chieftains. Only 10 in stock SALE! $10
c) Mini Ireland poster—same as the touring poster, but a smaller size. Back in the days before emailing took off, notices were sent by post. 8.5 x 6″ SALE! $5
e) Soiled Dove Birds of Prey Release poster. 11”x17” This is a limited edition of the only official release party celebrated before Brian’s injury and the Covid-19 outbreak. Another rare piece of Switchback history to have in your collection. SALE! $5
Embroidered Tour Jackets L and M. These were created as tests for early tour jackets and feature a fully lined and colorfully embroidered Switchback logo on the back. One of a kind, they are sold as a pair. SALE! $175
Switchback Wooden Anniversary Box with 10th and 20th Anniversary included. This box was handmade by woodworker Jerry Duve in honor of Switchback’s 10th Anniversary in 2003. Emblazoned with a brand that was created by Luke Russell, Brian’s nephew, each box has a unique brand on it due to the heat, etc. Included in the box are the 10th and 20th Anniversary collections. A real rarity, only 4 remain. SALE $125