We got a new baby pit bull around here at West of Eden. His name is Otis. He loves the sound of the piano, settling himself down to help me work on new tunes for the new Shipe album (currently in pre-production with Ehren Ebbage).
We picked him up from Luv-a-Bull, a shelter & sanctuary here in Eugene, OR. Liesl Wilhardt, the hero who runs the place–compassionately and expertly–takes in orphaned Pit Bulls from all around North America. Likewise, people from all around the continent adopt from Luv-a-Bull.
The start of 2009 found me in North San Diego County. In the middle of my Yellow House run, it seemed a mistake to up-and-leave headquarters just to get out of Northwest rain. Sure, we lived on the beach, and the sunny weather was awesome, but they don’t have much of an original singer/songwriter scene in that surfer strip between L. A. & S. D.
What they do have, however, is a great Irish scene. Irish bands and Irish pubs. (Gentlemen from Flogging Molly reside there.) I was lucky to fall in with these folks. Ned Giblin, of Brehon Law, invited me to play Wednesdays at his pubs, J.J. Landers and R. O’Sullivan’s. So, I had regular gigs and a close look at a timeless style of music. (The influence of Ned and his cohort David Lally is bound to show on my next album.)
In Oceanside, I befriended Doug Whorly and several of his showcases at McCabe’s, where I met the lovely and talented road warrioress Jacqui Foreman. She honored me by covering my “Faith in the Man.”
It was at a Whorly showcase where my wife, Amy Wray, filmed the video of me covering The Pretender’s “Brass in Pocket.”
I didn’t bother working the L.A. scene. Too big, and like different country. But at the urging of my publicist Leona, I played a couple times at The Gypsy Den in Orange County. (Once with Trevor Davis.)
We lived down the beach from football star Junior Seau, who has a beautiful blue Pit Bull named Rocky. I mention the dog, because it was about this time that my connection to the international Pit Bull community really deepened. I was getting daily e-mails from dog lovers about my song “Pit Bull Blues,” which I gave out freely to anyone engaged in canine care and rescue. Soon, videographer Jeff Fleiss contacted me with the idea of making a video. By spring, he had hauled me up to L.A., filming me in front of the Coliseum amidst 25 Pit Bulls and their trainer, Dogman. He put it together with some excellent footage taken by Amy, and boom… there was a sweet video… still getting legs on the web.