Ashby abroad, part 2

Ashby FrankOnce again, Special C mandolinist Ashby Frank will be sharing his impressions of the band’s European tour with the readers of Bluegrass Today. They will be on the continent through October 25, with shows yet in Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Czech Republic. You can find the tour details on the band’s web site.

Today is day 6 of the trip, and I’m writing this on a train from Stockholm to Goteburg, Sweden.

After our two dates in Denmark, we left early Saturday morning on another extended hour excursion from Copenhagen to Stockholm for our first show here in Sweden last night. Due to construction on the train tracks in Copenhagen, our first train was delayed forcing us to miss our connection that was supposed to get us into Stockholm early enough to settle into our room and do a sound check. After talking to quite a few people at the ticket counters that said there’s no way we could make the show (PANIC!), Greg found a supervisor that got us on another train that took us out of our way a little bit, adding a couple of hours to the already 6 hour train ride… but it got us to the show!

Taking the train is pretty nice here. There’s room to move around, a “bistro” car that has snack food for purchase, there’s nice scenery with the Swedish countryside just outside the window. It’s nice to be able to spread out here using my PC listening to my Ipod without being scrunched up in a rental van. I was so inspired that I just wrote a new bluegrass train song!

I was just thinking that it was kinda funny that the only other times that I’ve been on a train outside of Europe was once or twice to get downtown Chicago, as a shuttle between airport terminals, and when I was a cap gun shooting kid in a cowboy hat at Tweetsy Railroad in Boone, NC. It’s way more common for people to travel from place to place by train here, and it’s nice… except when they’re late.

The places and people have been great so far. With the little bit of free time that we had in Denmark, a few of us went downtown Copenhagen late Friday night after our show and it was awesome! Despite it being the coldest October they’ve had in recent history and some rain, it was great to see the city lit up with people biking and walking around. I want to come back, but maybe when the dollar’s stronger! Eating and getting around here in Europe is very expensive for this North Carolina boy. Still an awesome experience… Copenhagen was great.

We saw less of Stockholm just because we barely had time to get there, play the show, and go to bed so we could get up early for our train today, but it’s a beautiful old city. The city is build around a lot of different islands and little ancient streets. I will for sure spend some time looking around there one day. We drove by the palace this morning and I really wanted to go in and say hey to the King, but we didn’t have time. Everyone was so friendly there in Stockholm, and I’m sure he is too.

Special C and G2

Some of our friends from the Swedish bluegrass band G2 came by last night, and we got to pick a few tunes after the show. They’ll be touring the US again next year, so check them out if they’re ever in your area!

Tomorrow it’s another early morning and another train, and then we drive to Holland. These days of 8-10 hours of moving, lots of coffee and tea, and two hours of picking surprisingly haven’t worn me or my voice out yet so I’m keeping my fingers crossed! 3 shows down, 7 to go! Signing off from Vagn (Wagon) 13 of the Stockholm Center City to Goteborg City Center Bluegrass Express!