Ashby Abroad, final chapter

Ashby FrankOnce again, Special C mandolinist Ashby Frank has been sharing his impressions of the band’s European tour with the readers of Bluegrass Today. They were on the continent through October 25, with shows in Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Czech Republic.

I’m back home again after almost 2 weeks of continuous travel in planes, boats, buses, trains, and a van.

The remaining two shows after my last post here were a lot of fun and were very well received… a great way to end the trip!

I had been to the venue we played in Germany before, and the crowd’s enthusiasm didn’t dissipate from our last visit there over 2 years ago. We were practically sold out of band CD’s after the show, and some of the band’s friends from around the area treated us to some awesome food and hospitality afterwards. Thank you!

The Czech Republic was a new place for me. It’s a beautiful country, with really nice and hospitable people. A few minutes after we crossed the border, a country music station came through on the radio. After 11 days of hearing nothing but American, British, and German pop on almost every radio station, it was pretty strange to hear Johnny Cash covers in Czech mixed with original country classics in English! Even though the English language was spoken far less there than most of the other places we went, you can sense an appreciation for traditional and acoustic music in the people there… and what an awesome bluegrass community of pickers and singers!

Sometimes I feel a good bit ignorant and lost when I travel to a new place, and they can speak a little bit of English and I can’t speak any word of the local language. It’s hard not to feel pretty stupid when you go in a store and start pointing at things and counting change very slowly! Every time I’ve been in that circumstance, the locals have been so nice and helpful. So I take that as a lesson… be nice and give directions to people that aren’t familiar with their surroundings when you can! You never know when you’ll wind up in the same boat(or train, bus, van, or plane)!

We had a little bit of delay in getting back, and I’m still lagged quite a bit from the 20 hours or so of airports and layovers yesterday so I’ll have to keep this story short and sweet.

Thanks to all of the bluegrass music fans in Europe for making this tour possible! Hope to see you again soon.

Next week it’s Mashville Brigade at the Station Inn on Tuesday, and then Special C’s off to Waldo, Florida!