NY state: Border Woes, and One Irish Father You Don’t Want to Mess With: Anais Mitchell and Sarazin Blake tour

Dear Mike,
It was great to see you, Ruthy, and Will last week. After we split up, the tour took a turn for the weird. Anais and I missed our gig on Sunday night because of some insane DUI checkpoint at the border, coupled with Sunday night holiday weekend traffic, coupled with a Bills game, coupled with the authorities’ incomprehensible decision to close the Peace Bridge. It took us 6 hours to drive 10 miles then turn around and go home.

The next day, Sarazin and I drove to Olean, NY, where we played a gig at a Mexican restaurant, apparently renown for their shark tacos (menu says: ‘that’s right… it’s shark!’). I didn’t try them. Anyway, the promoter for the gig was a 15-year old girl named ELLA who met Sarazin on MySpace and set up the gig for us. We were supposed to stay with her boyfriend, but it turns out he’s 27 years old and when her dad found out about this whole affair he threatened to kill the guy. It also turns out that her dad spent 15 years in a Belfast prison under charges of conspiring with the IRA in some kind of paramilitary activity, so the boyfriend was probably wise not to show up at the gig, even though his teenage girlfriend was playing an opening set, and it probably broke her heart that he wasn’t there. Anyway, Blake and I decided against spending the night with a wanted man, and went to the local bed and breakfast. We were the only occupants. We talked them down to a half price rate, ditched our bags, grabbed our guitars, and had a lovely evening drinking free whiskey and singing Irish songs at the local pub, where, it turns out, ELLA’s dad works as a bartender.

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