Donna Ulisse is providing us with a diary from her visit to Russia with her band, The Poor Mountain Boys. The trip is by invitation from the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission.
Written from Moscow…
The Poor Mountain Boys and myself have launched ourselves on an adventure of a lifetime. When I first heard there was a chance that we would be playing in Russia I thought “sure…like that’s going to happen” and now, four months later I am sitting here in Victory Park right outside the city of Moscow looking at an awesome statue of some sort with angels playing tambourines and trumpets on a monument so high that I wrenched my neck to get a gander at the top.
Dozing across two park benches in the cool shade of this park are none other than Greg Davis and Jon Martin, all tuckered out after our 18 hour flight from Nashville to D.C. and then into the motherland. My honey Rick Stanley and our bass player Bobby King are still taking in all of these interesting sights.
We have several hours to kill before our sleeper train leaves to Vologda and this is our only chance to see Moscow so as tired as we are, we are determined not to miss this chance of a lifetime.
Written upon arriving in Vologda…
Our Russian journey has begun in earnest now. I have tasted borscht and like it very much, I have walked the streets of Moscow and filled my eyes with exciting new sights, I have survived the traffic and aggressive driving without having to pop a nerve pill yet and just spent a whole night with the sun shining bright through the window of our sleeper car all through the wee hours on a train taking us into Vologda.
Yes folks….me and the Poor Mountain Boys are now international and LOVING it!
Our tour guide is Miss Vera Savko from the US Consulate office and she can walk three times faster than us southerners. Keeping up with her on our whirlwind tour of Red Square wore the soles off my cowboy boots and put blisters on my blisters. We had to cross many streets where this slight woman would hold her hand up against oncoming traffic, glare and stop the cars long enough to make a run for it. I counted seven lanes across for their one way streets here and cars were covering every inch of the tar.
Today we will play our first show and I can hardly wait. We met five musicians on our train that will be working the festival with us. They were all on fire for bluegrass and that made all the Poor Mountain Boys grin with delight. This will be such an enriching experience for us.
Music….bluegrass music will connect us all this day and make us family!