A little recap of 2009!

Happy New Year, 2009 was a doozy. On the home front, due to my longtime dear friend and landlord Mary Hewitt passing away, I lived nowhere in particular from June till September (google her name, and you'll see what a saint she was). So, I spent a couple spells on the Delta for some vacation time, spent a month on a floor down the street from my old place (thanks Cas!), a few trips to the Sierra Nevada Mtns for gigs, a couple trips to Tx for gigs. Then Sept - Dec I flopped at the Fritz House -- God Bless The Fritz Family. I also slept in my shop twice in that time out of necessity, that was an adventure. But considering where I've slept during tours and years past, a cot in the shop is the Marriott. So, the house, and the apartment in the back of Mary's house that I rented for 10 years, went under remodel then up for sale in June. Mary's kids needed to sell the house, so I stuffed most all my stuff into a 'Pod' in the driveway, and waited for the rental unit to be available somehow again by the new owner, or go away for good. It was a 'patient' seven months. Then my brothers and Dad and I bought the old house, and I moved in on Xmas Eve, '09. Not too furnished in the furniture dept yet, and no furnace, but I'm again living a block from the shop, and a block from the brand new Niles Town Plaza too! Got to play the ribbon cutting for it last month - 500 people turned out for that! Now if only they'd finish it :-). Looking forward to some sunny days there on the grass there with Clancy. Did I mention Clancy? A friend and volunteer for Golden Spike, Dan Mills, finds and fosters dogs from the pound every couple months, has been trying to get me to adopt one of his saved doggies for the past two years. I finally caved -- I couldn't resist the black lab he introduced me to in August. For the last 3-4 months, me and Clancy were then adopted into the Fritz House Of Sand (with 4 cats, 2 other dogs, and six humans). What a fun ride that was! Anyway, Clancy is now snoozing on the little couch in my shop, sleeping off his meal. Aside from frisbees, he eats anything in the yard -- avocados, ginkgo berries, branches, and sheet rock that the electricians drop -- suffice to say he's looking very healthy. In 2009, musically, I made some money and some headway. Not a lot, but I'm happy that in a recession, I don't rely on a corporate paycheck to work and play. I didn't tour a ton, but I played a decent number of nice house concerts and venues, and I played some fun festivals - Kerrville and the American River Music Fest were great highlights. I recorded a dozen rough tunes for a new CD, but never officially released the CD, that'll have to be a project for 2010 -- "Kickin Tires". I went to some fun music conferences in the NY Catskills and LA too, saw dear old friends and made some new ones. In September I won Song Of The Year for the West Coast Songwriters' Association and got to play the it at the new Freight & Salvage during their opening week. Making music is rewarding, but it's the other music people who really make it fun - a loving and creative bunch of friends in this Americana niche. The older I get, the more luck I feel to have people like that in my life. Last couple years I promised myself I'd move to an Oakland loft or get into some other fresh town for the music scene. While I didn't move out of Niles, I did promote a lot of music here with other musicians and friends, and jammed a TON at my shop on Niles Blvd, we just brought the party here! The Golden Spike Train Volunteer program I run turned a new leaf (Golden Spikers are the Nilesians who help me populate town with walkie talkies to help the visiting Niles steam train riders get to the train on Sundays via shuttles and underpasses). Now, with the "Golden Spike Music Program" in place, December had me and my assistant Susan booking over 50 acts to town on the holiday trains and on the sidewalks of Niles - it made for a very happy time in Mayberry and kept me busy and close to home. When I do get the Niles home under control, I think my 'second home' will be a shared and cheap house boat somewhere near Jack London Sq and the Alameda marinas. Stay tuned! 2010 looks like a future I never thought I'd have as a musician... home ownership scares the crap out of me honestly, but it is very settling too. My Dad and I are about to build a kitchen table from some of the old wood under the house. And I look forward to some jams in the living room and porch, more furniture for the dog to eat, some dimmers on the living room lights, some shutters on the big windows (a neighbor drove by the other night, saw me in the window, and texted that the jam looked like it was in a very bright fish bowl). Here's to good fishin' in the fishbowl, ~ Muddy Mike

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