I'll try to be brief (yeah, like there's any real possibility of THAT ever happening!).
First off, Cayamo --- While on board, I kept wanting to pinch myself as if I could somehow convince myself it was real, as the whole experience was surreal and dreamlike. As one of the performers, did you find it similar? What were a few of the highlights for you, personally? I think you and Glen Phillips doing the duet on "The Last Sunset" was definitely one for me, or there was "Soon Love Soon" around the locked piano in the Atrium, or "Keep the Customer Satisfied" with that throng (both "on stage" and just the crowd in general) at Dazzles, or Glen's guitarist's "rap" about the cruise ('bout fell outta my chair during that one!), or hanging out in the Atrium until the last possible moment to see Alex play with Shawn Mullins before making a mad dash to our third row seats to see Brandi headline (and then having you and Alex show up for the end of her set)..... at least I think
all those things really happened. Unfortunately we won't be joining Cayamo for its 2010 sailing (as a trip to South Africa looms in the planning stages instead for next year), but hopefully we'll have the chance to relive the dream in 2011 (or whenever you're next on board). Will Ward be along with you in 2010, or will it just be you and Alex again?
My other "topic area" concerns possible investment in your career.... I've mentioned this briefly in an email to Amy Cox several months ago, but she and I have never had the opportunity to further discuss it. I am totally convinced that with some decent money backing you and your creativity, your career could advance to the next level (basically greater CD sales and larger venues, such as playing 2,000-2,500 seat theatres rather than just the smaller places you usually find yourself in now). Don't get me wrong, as a fan I love seeing you in the "comfy & cosy" venues where the performances are so intimate and you are usually able to be accessible to your audiences after shows, but as I'm sure you're well aware the economics of such places don't lend themselves to very healthy paychecks. What are your career aspirations? Are you completely happy with where you are now, or do you have "larger" goals? If you do indeed aspire to become "bigger", what I envision is some sort of financial consortium to provide you with funds for more significant promotion (such as videos) and staging (crew and equipment for your own lighting and sound, for example). My wife and I are willing to be investors, if you have such an interest, and based on my knowledge of your audience base (some of whom are, like ourselves, in middle age and of the educational and financial background that they can consider such possibilities --- perhaps it's the NPR factor that has drawn us and those like us, or perhaps it's simply the beauty and complexity of your music and lyrics), I think there would be others out there willing to join us in the endeavor. Perhaps the whole concept is not one for public discussion at this stage, but I did want to toss it out there for consideration. If this is not a topic you want to address fully in a Q&A session like this one, but you do have interest, please have Amy get in touch with me. I haven't followed up with her myself because I didn't want to come across as pushy or annoying.
Finally, when I last spoke with you (when you played the Evening Muse in Charlotte) I mentioned the HD videos that had shown up here on the board, shot by Kevin Railsback at the Cedar Rapid, IA, show back in April. I suggested that you check them out. If you never had the chance to do so, I'd like to remind you about them now. They can be found here.... http://viennateng.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2922
Thanks for "listening"!