Keitum/Sylt, Germany: Captain Corl

The Gal Holiday band was mentioned in a hilarious “strange happenings” column in the Keitum newspaper called “Captain Corl” Published the day after our public show on the Island of Sylt, a German island in the North Sea, it speaks about our band, a “wild squad of Country musicians from…New Orleans…” and calls me a “Sangermaus” which I feel needs to be included in our band bio now.

(Translation below, courtesy our friend Sabine.)

Captain Carl Sylt

TRANSLATION: Captain Corl: Sunshine at night

Sylt is indeed well-known if not infamous for all kinds of curious occurrences, especially during mild summer nights. I have already seen shadow figures, clothed in Asian garments, standing on the beach, mumbling to themselves while repeatedly bowing towards the setting sun. Or a group of quite slender and very blonde Yoga ladies, who first go about dreadfully straining themselves in various directions in the dunes, and then stop dead in a peculiar pose. I think it’s called Sun Salutation. But all this was outdone in Keitum the other day when late in the evening a wild squad of Country musicians from, you better believe it, New Orleans, took over with a really cute sweetie pie of a singer who then shortly before midnight sang: “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,” and that in the dark…

Young Audiences: Fun at the library!

We work with a fantastic group called Young Audiences who place programming in schools and libraries. There are a handful of awesome Head Librarians in different Parishes who request us for their summer reading programs, including Ms. Patricia with the Plaquemines Parish Library system. Plaquemines Parish is the finger of land, much of which is threatened by the shrinking coastal marshes where the mighty Mississippi reaches the Gulf of Mexico. We spent the first three days of this week playing for the children of Buras, Belle Chasse and Port Sulphur, Louisiana.


Sharing music with kids who might not otherwise get a musical education is rewarding as well as mighty important these days, what with many school district cutting Arts curriculum completely. The upright bass and the drums are always the stars of the show, although the guitars are not far behind…

“Now let’s talk about the style of bass playing that Dave does which is called, ‘SLAPPING.’ You’re not supposed to do it to other people but it’s okay to slap a bass!”

In case anyone is curious what we play for the kiddos, here’s a set list:

Kids Show Summer 2014

Dangerous Drivers

It’s a known fact, and probability says that the more time you spend traveling in a vehicle the higher your chances for accidents. I’ve had my fair share of fender benders, mostly before my 21st birthday including one particularly horrifying and life changing crash involving a tractor trailer, which left me with a fractured pelvis and one dead in our vehicle. It happened a long time ago and fortunately I was not the driver, having fallen asleep in the backseat which lessened the impact. Nonetheless, I cringe when I see people driving dangerously on our highways and love the signs in TX that read, “Drive Friendly.” On our most recent tour through the American West this June we encountered a driver who was definitely NOT heeding the sign.

We had completed our run, which started in Los Angeles before heading into NM and CO via Phoenix, AZ. Making our way back to Louisiana we were minding our own business, doing the speed limit, (which, in TX is plenty fast for me at 75) when in my side mirror I saw a truck hauling ass. I must say that most truckers are great drivers, having jobs that depend on it and have gotten a bad reputation over the years, mostly from little old ladies. That said, this guy was a maniac, hauling an empty wide load trailer and passing at 85 or 90 by veering onto the shoulder.

Bastard. No offense to his mother intended.

Normally you would just mutter something like “asshole” and drive on, letting the dumbass get his comeuppance at some point down the road, hoping for a Highway Patrol to catch the offending driver. And then he threw a rock. Small. DING! Slow down a little…back off. But then came The Boulder. WHACK! Our guitar player, Chris Adkins who was sitting in the back seat actually ducked. And then gasps all around as we gazed upon the 3 inch, circular crack in the windshield.

Now, common sense would implore that you do something sane, like call the aforementioned HP. But not knowing exactly how much time that would take, we thought it would be much more productive to get the guys’ trucking company info. You’ll recall that he was going much faster than us, but we were about to hit Wichita Falls and more traffic so we hoped he would get slowed, allowing us to catch up.

I put all my driving skills to the test as I followed him, changing lanes (always using my blinkers, mind you) and weaving through traffic. I watched him almost run other cars off the road multiple times. I watched as more rocks were thrown. I knew we had to catch him. And just the other side of town, success! We pulled along his left side and Dave B was ready with the pen and paper to write down the info on the side of his cab. As he looked down and saw what was going on he immediately slowed down to below the speed limit. Ooooooooo, yeah. Sweet satisfaction.

Well the slower speed didn’t last for long. He pulled behind us and we figured it would be safer to follow him instead. The thought of some methed out trucker following us to a rest stop and kicking our asses crossed my mind, as it should. A quick call to his dispatch company in Michigan and ten minutes later he was doing the speed limit. I hope that guy really gets it from his boss.

We had another incident, also in TX with a rather large raccoon on the way back to California a week and a half later. But that’s a story for another time. Let’s just say that one raccoon who decided to cross the road didn’t make it to the other side.

And that folks, is all she wrote.

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AZ, NM, CO: Get the News, Buckaroos!

I’m writing this to y’all from sunny Los Angeles where we’ve been for a few restful days and Dave and I drove back from New Orleans, leaving after last Saturday’s Back to the Beach Festival and a mad frenzy of packing. We had a stellar time in the gulf south this spring which culminated in a blow out show with Flatbed Honeymoon at The Red Dragon Listening Room in Baton Rouge last Friday night. Chris Adkins flew out west to meet us and we had a great show here in Burbank on Wednesday. Now we’re eagerly anticipating our upcoming tour in the west that starts tomorrow in Chandler, AZ.

Please check the list below for our schedule which includes dates in AZ, NM and CO and visit our website at www.galholiday.com for more info. And please help us spread the word by clicking the links for the Facebook events and sharing with your online friends!

Saturday 6/9; Chandler, AZ @ Teakwoods Bar and Grill w/ HashKnife Outfit FB event
Sunday 6/10; Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room w/ Junction 10 FB event
Wednesday 6/13; Santa Fe, NM @ The Cowgirl BBQ FB event
Friday 6/15; Denver, CO @ Skylark Lounge FB event
Saturday 6/16; Salida, CO @ The Fritz FB event
Sunday 6/17; Ridgway, CO @ The New Sherbino Theater FB event

After the western tour we’ll be headed back down to Louisiana for a private event, a library tour of Point Coupee Parish and two great shows in New Orleans. I’ll keep y’all updated on the developing summer and fall touring schedule. Lots of exciting things are in the works including a trip to Northern CA for a few shows, one of which will hopefully shape up with our friend and fellow New Orleanian, Lynn Drury. There’s also another FL run and plans to make it up through the mid-west and northeast. Woohoo!

See y’all on the flip side…

Your gal pal,
Vanessa

“Without the courage to fail there is no progress.”

My Halloween in New Orleans

“Halloween is finally over” I said with mixed feelings of relief, longing and fond rememberence. Until last week we had been staying in Marrero with our bass player Dave’s mom. It (mostly) kept us out trouble but we needed to be closer to downtown so that we could be walking (er, stumbling) distance from all the festivities. We took a friend up on her generous offer and spent the weekend right outside the French Quarter in the Marigny. And use the facilities we did indeed. So much so that it took me two days to recover. Literally.

New Orleans is, of course a well known destination for Mardi Gras madness and the Jazz and Heritage Festival, but throngs of party goers have been flocking to the Crescent City for All Hallows Eve for years. And for good reason. The city has ghost stories gallore going back hundreds of years and even some more recent ones that would curdle your blood. (Keep your ears peeled for a new Gal Holiday song based on the American Murder Ballads of yore.) And now that the Voodoo Music Experience has become such a popular music festival, the city is even more swollen with folks itching to kick up their heels.

And it was a night of ghosties and ghoulies in abundance on the steets along with plenty of young gals proud to show off a little skin. In fact, our show on Saturday at Banks Street Bar got a little shaken up by a posterior flasher and her mud flap girl tattoos. Truck driving songs always seem to get ’em going and it’s not every day a woman pulls her pants down for us.

Where was I? Oh yes, Halloween. To brass bands galore, we walked down the overflowing Frenchmen Street, a favorite of locals and tourists alike and we popped around the corner to Checkpoint Charlie’s. It’s a place where bikers, hippies, boat captains and people who need to do their laundry while drinking tend to congregate. It’s also the place where Gal Holiday first got our feet wet, way back in 2004 and where we learned how to deal with obnoxious drunk people during our show. And nothing much has changed of course. Although the clienele has changed slightly over the years, as has the management they still know how to make a damn good late night burger and pack in the crowds.

I had my introduction to Spoonfed Tribe this year, and they were great but the real treat of the evening was Voodoo Town, the band who played before them. Our friend, trumpeter and loop master extraordinare, Trace Barfield and his bandmates were in fine, improvisational form and they left me wishing I’d gotten there earlier to see more of their show. All in all it was a wild time in the French Quarter but we had places to go, people, places to go.

My ultimate destination was Mimi’s in the Marigny ( where we’ll be playing one more time on Nov. 10th) and a very special lady named, Meschiya Lake. She’s the ultimate siren of song and occasionally of debauchery, too. She and dem Little Big Horns really make my feet go tippety tap and my heart go pitter patter with their jitterbug, classic jazz sound. They were a joy to listen to as was Meschiya’s friend from New York who sang a couple numbers with the band. Wish I gotten her name and BOY do I wish I had gotten more pictures of the night. I took about two and they stink. So much for a photo blog.

Most of the rest of the night is a blur but as I said, we were stumbling distance to home. Until next year, New Orleans. Oh wait, we’re here through Thanksgiving. More time for trouble. Except that we’re back in Marrero…and headed to Mimi’s tonight.