Goodbye 2019!

The year went by quicker than any other I can remember! GB Leighton played a lot all over the place, but the show that really sticks out for me was the one we did at the The Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge on December 13. Playing live is always about the unknown. You don’t know what it’s gonna be like until you’re in the middle of it. I like the element of chance. Our fans surprised us by making the show a sold out success! Michelle made it special by making sure there was free cool stuff for the people who bought advance tickets. For a moment or two, I felt like the music was playing itself and I was just along for the ride. I live for moments like that. Thank you! We also survived The Eelpout Festival in Leech Lake. Lesser people may have died from exposure, but I guess we are made of stronger stuff! 

We also released the new album, 2nd Chance! Thanks to Michelle for organizing the whole thing! Many of the songs have become fan favorites and staples in our set lists. Brian brought me top shelf songs to produce, making my job a pleasure. Big thanks to all the fans who stepped up and contributed, meeting our fundraising goal in just over 24 hours! We are working on a new batch of songs right now that we hope to share with you sooner than later! 

2019 was also a year of worry. Worry about the future of the country we reside in. Worry about the country I was born in. Worry about our ability to see things clearly. Worry that some of us have grown into believing that facts are no longer facts. That facts are just opinions among many others. Worry that we are getting used to something that was unthinkable just a few years ago. Worry that we’ve forgotten that we were all immigrants at one point, just wanting to make a better life for our families. Why would we want a president that we wouldn’t be want as a neighbor, boss or coworker? The way the GOP is standing by him is no mystery. They are getting ready for something and it has nothing to do with anything that resembles democracy. 2020 will be a very important year for all of us. 

As a family, Michelle, Elliott and I had a year that brought a lot of media attention. Elliott had the opportunity to go to New York and Los Angeles because of it, and KARE 11 and The Star Tribune ran stories on our unique situation. At 11 years old, Elliott started attending the U of M as a junior and he loves it there. Some well meaning people worry about him missing out on his childhood, but he also has a life outside of school that is very much that of an 11 year old boy! 

He reminds me so much of my dad; Brilliant, curious and very kind. He lets Michelle and I know what he’s interested in and we do our best to accommodate him. We are very lucky to have some flexibility in our work to make that possible! 

I love what I do for a living, but it can be hard work. Without the support of family, it would be all but impossible to pull off. A lot of you know Michelle really well by now! She makes it all happen. She has worked in just about any capacity for GB Leighton and just started running sound a bit outside of the GB orbit! She’s a master at getting things done while Elliott and I often end up with our heads in the clouds. I love you, Sweetest! 

Lisbeth Andersson at Sharkfin Sweden AB picks makes sure that I always have the best. Had somebody told me when I was a kid that one day I’d be endorsed by them, I think I would have fainted! I keep running into other guitar players out there and more often than not they are blown away by the durability and versatility of Sharkfins. I’ve used them for 42 years and anything else is just not gonna cut it. Come talk to me after any show and I’ll be happy to show you how great they are! 

Electro-Voice/ Michael Doucot is a local Minnesota company and I always bring their powered speakers along for the many acoustic shows I do every year. They are clear, powerful and durable. Thank you for your continued support! 

Jeri Hart makes me look good at every show with the custom guitar straps she makes for me. Each one a work of art. I like to say that if you can dream it, Jeri can make it! 

What good is a guitar without quality strings on it? Ernie Ball makes the best there is. I go through hundreds of sets a year and they never let me down. They also make my favorite volume and delay pedals (the VP JR and the Ambient Delay) and they’ll never leave my pedalboard! 

I also had the pleasure of recording some incredible artists here at Studio Bredsound. I recorded Ali Gray's second Christmas album in April and we borrowed Elliott’s fake Christmas tree for the studio to set the mood! It worked! Another highlight was the ongoing recording with ChrisTina Schlieske. After 34 years we are still exploring and finding new ways to write, play and record. 

I hope that 2020 will be a good year for you, your loved ones and for this great country we call home! Happy new year!