Strasbourg-Cologne 12, 13, 14 May

A couple of general bits before we get started. I want to thank everyone for their great support of my e.p. Four Buck Folk. I’d always intended it to be somewhat exclusive, as a download only and available through CD Baby for a limited time. To that end, Four Buck Folk will no longer be available as of the 1st of August, 2019. If interested, you can scroll down a little further to find out more, hear some excerpts and place an order. As the title says, it’s only $4.

Also, I’d like to make the readers of these notes aware of a relatively new music streaming boutique called Craft Brewed Music. In short it is a curated library of music by very unique musicians and artists who normally fly outside the radar. I’m very proud to be of their artists and highly recommend CBM for a different listening experience. It’s very inexpensive, $5 per month for unlimited access to the library. If you do subscribe, please put my name in the drop down “recommended by” box. That’s Craft Brewed Music Check them out.

A short afternoon flight from Milan, Italy on the 12th to Strasbourg, France on the eastern border of Germany. A beautiful city that unfortunately we only saw through the car window on the way from the airport to our venue, Zenith. Jook Ross opened again tonight and received a well earned enthusiastic response. We took the stage at 9, rested from the previous day off and delivered a confident, relaxed show and changing the set list a little. A runner as the last notes still reverberated in the arena, in the cars, on the plane and at the hotel in Cologne by 1 in the morning. I walked into my room to the overpowering smell of stale cigarette smell, even though these are designated non-smoking rooms. A non-starter for me so it was back down to reception and a room change. We’ll base from here for the next three days including a day off in this great city.

Up early the morning of the 14th, ordered an omelette with ham and pot of coffee to the room then went down to the gym for a good 75 minute push. Tonight’s show was the usual Lanxess Arena here in Koln to another sold-out capacity audience of 10,300+. It’s hard to imagine this show getting better than the previous night, but it does. I continually use the same words to describe them… relaxed, confident, professional, polished but not too, always different and immensely human. Tonight’s performance had all that and more. The 2+ hours on stage flew by in what seemed like 30 minutes then it was a runner back to the hotel and a full attendance celebration down the bar. Glasses of delicious Kolsch bier and the always winning gin tonic combo. We retired to Guy’s room for one last night cap before calling it a day.

Awake at the crack of noon yesterday, feeling fantastic but having missed breakfast, I got a quick shower with plans to head over the bridge to the old city for something to eat. I bumped into Danny and Guy as they were leaving on the same mission and tagged on with them. The iconic Hohenzollern Bridge that crosses the River Rhine was built in 1907 and leads directly to the Cathedral and the old city. Since 2008 people have attached ‘love padlocks’ on the fence between the footpath and the rail lines, each inscribe then clicked shut, every link in the fence taken… hundreds of thousands of them I’d say. In 1945 this bridge was blown up by German military engineers as Allied troops began the assault on Koln in an attempt to cut them off. Pictures of the destrruction are a grim reminder of the insanity of war. The bridge ends at Cologne’s famous land mark… The Cathedral, begun in 1248 and finally completed in 1880. Massive, ornate and jaw dropping. Dan, Guy and I chose one of many cafes with outdoor tables, sat down in the warm Spring sunshine and had a splendid German lunch of sausages, potato salad and fried eggs with ham on bread… all washed down with several small glasses of light, cold, reviving Kolsch bier. Lunch completed, we went our separate ways. I walked the streets enjoying being a tourist again after several of our last tours having not made much effort. A great dinner to close the day at Pane & Cioccolata (Bread and Chocolate). A simple and delicious Italian restaurant that was a hit with us all. You can find them at:

Richard Bennett