2003 Spring Southwestern U.S. Tour

Please be reminded that these photographs are copyrighted images. That means that you need to get permission by the artist to use them.
Just after the official release of "Seven deadly sins," I hit the road with fellow singer/songwriter Mary Simon (also from Toronto, Canada) www.marysimon.com for a few weeks. Surviving a massive coolant hose blow-out in Woodstock, ON just hours into the tour, I hobbled into Detroit, doing shows in Ohio (where the van was repaired for free (!) by a miracle repair guy in Wilmington. Shows in West Virginia and Baltimore followed (with a few more stops in between) before hooking up with Mary in Washington, DC
Two patterns established themselves very quickly with Mary. 1) Regular ice cream breaks around 3 pm every day, and 2) great conversations. The two of us stopped at my favorite breakfast franchise (The Waffle House) one morning, while passing through North Carolina and were given honorary waffle house paper caps. The waitress put on her special American flag hat. Then we got into a conversation with one of the gentleman customers who presented us with a fake million-dollar bill. It's the only one we'll ever see (unless one of us joins the mob) but that's not in the works anytime soon.
Rumors abound that in Chattanooga Tennessee, a certain folksinger climbed up on one of the tables wearing a straw hat stolen from the audience and did a rousing cover of the Johnny Cash hit "Ring of Fire…"
Singer/songwriter Aimee Wilson joined the ice-cream laden gypsy outfit headed for Knoxville, TN (Mary's last show on this leg of the tour.) We stopped, of course, at an ice cream making dairy along the way (complete with bronzed cow)
Trying out vintage funk in Knoxville (I bought the dress but passed on the hat)
Mary Simon, Miranda, Beki Hemingway, www.bekihemingway.com and Aimee Wilson at one of the shows in Knoxville, TN
Leaving Mary Simon in Knoxville, I continued the tour on my own, playing a dinner/houseconcert show in Birmingham, Alabama.
I spent a couple hours over the stove making a delicious vegetarian spaghetti dinner for about 35 wonderful southerners (one of them owned a motorcycle and took me around the block for a spin) before ripping into a bunch of songs from the new album.
Three brave souls challenged me to the official Canadian drinking contest; drinking a swig of Buckley's cough mixture www.buckleys.com I'll stand by this wonderfully horrid stuff as a cure for laryngitis (but also because it's fun to see what happens when Americans get a taste of good ol' Canadian balsam fir sap! One of these guys won a free album for their efforts.
In Louisiana, I was hassled by a young police officer looking for drugs and guns. In Oklahoma, on route to another show, I saw my first road-kill armadillo. After concerts in Texas, the red gypsy van drove through miles of desert, finally stopping in New Mexico. There, between Deming and Silver City, I finally found the rest stop made in heaven at Faywood Hot springs www.faywood.com (Here's a photo of one of the nicest private pools…a Japanese style tub)
Heading north along Hwy 25, I connected with Hwy 40 (at Albuquerque) and was bitten by the route 66 bug (Hwy 40 is the road that replaced the old 66, and those who want to travel sections of it can, taking the exits off of 40) Here's one of the many millions of old "tourist signs" a traveler might pass along the way.
Before the town of Gallup, I stopped to hike at Red Rock State Park.
Attempting to follow a very unmarked trail I ended up making my own, discovering this rather sizable hole etched out into a cliff face. With the exception of one other confused couple trying to find the washed-out path, I think I was the only other visitor that day. It was a little lonely, out there, in the middle of nowhere…
Just past Petrified Forest National Park, in the town of Holbrook, AZ you can find one of the remaining Wigwam village motels (This one is known as #6) It was built in 1950, by a fellow named John Lewis, closed in 1974, (the year I was born) sat idle for 14 years, and was brought back to life by the son of the original owner. In fact, when I pulled up into the driveway, it was already dusk, and I thought for sure that I had lost my chance to experience the place.
As I pressed my face to the glass of the gas station building (now the main office) I figured I was out of luck. No lights on, no sign of life. I waited there for about 10 minutes, until a fellow walked into the room, from the back door, like he was looking for a pen. I got his attention and he let me in, at which point I started to beg.
Luckily, it was a little early for the tourist season and there was I was, hooked up with wigwam # 9! I wasn't disappointed. I found the old retro furniture and vibe intact (but the old vintage cars are there for decoration) www.galerie-kokopelli.com/wigwam For the extreme Wigwam fan, go check out wigwam nation
Just some of the strange stuff you can take photos of along Historic Route 66. Holbrook, AZ
One of the official Route 66 icons, the Jackrabbit trading post. Joseph City, AZ
A spectacular strand of white birches along the road to the Grand Canyon.
Cooking on the road: curried sweet potato, dal (yellow lentils) basmati rice, and rice pudding.
Crossing over the Hover Dam I dropped into Las Vegas, and got out as fast as I could. A Very, very weird place. Saying goodbye to monster sized casinos, I drove south down Hwy 15 before taking a chance on a less traveled route through the Mojave National Preserve. A mostly unmarked exit (and road) led me to Cima, and then Kelso, a mostly abandoned railway depot. I can't quite describe the feeling of walking through the Kelso dunes, the warmth of late April beginning to flex its muscles, while the silence of the desert shouts at you!
The drive continued through Twenty Nine Palms, with an overnight in Joshua Tree National Park. Before heading to Dorland Mountain Arts Colony (where I did a month-long artist residence (see the Dorland Photo section!) I did some hiking in Indian Canyons www.indian-canyons.com and found a waterfall and swimming hole at the end of the Murray Canyon trail.
After a month of living on a mountain, in a beautiful cabin (with no electricity) I headed back home, playing shows along the way, and making stops to see beautiful natural sites like Great Sand Dunes National Park http://www.nps.gov/grsa
It was a mild but rather windy day, and towards the end of my visit, a huge rainstorm came up over the dunes.
These photos can hardly describe the beauty of the place, especially with the spring run-off water from the mountains making it's mysterious "reverse" flow at the base of the dunes. I spent several hours playing in the water.
See above
Kansas is flat.
Before hitting Chicago and the last stretch towards home, I hung out with these wonderful folks at a local renaissance faire. I raided my van looking for suitable cloth to make our outfits, quickly braided some flower crowns, and ran around the place pretending to be low-grade thieves…
A Toronto show (at Mel Lastman square) wearing a flour sack shirt from the 30's and sporting a brand new short hair-cut.
See above.
Here's Mark Abraham(bass) and Robin Pirson (drums) running through a few songs before a festival near the Ottawa area. Mark (who played on the 7 deadly sins album) and is also in this crazy band www.enterthehaggis.com and Robin (who also played on the 7 Deadly Sins album) sometimes plays for these folks www.madviolet.com www.marysimon.com
Here's a classic raunchy shot…with another thumbs up to the flour sack.
And one more of Mark, this time on stage.
A July performance at the Pier in Buffalo, NY (spearheaded by a fantastic supporter of women's independent music, April Melacon) featured other Canadian artists Ember Swift and the Lady Bird Sideshow. Miranda was joined by Robin Pirsin on drums. (Photos courtesy of John Sutton.)
Lyndell Montgomery on bass/vocals with Ember Swift on backup vocals help Miranda on "Beautiful Disaster."
Angst and funk mixed together in one luscious poetic love-song-gone-wrong!
One more shot of Lyndell and Miranda
Here's Miranda at Inside Out Festival at Loon Mountain Resort (Lincoln, New Hampshire) preparing an Indian dinner for "who ever needs food." Jenn (on the left) is helping peel potatoes and Chris Hale (center) is chopping garlic. Colorful Indian sheets, oil lanterns and tea lights were spread out on the tarmac near Miranda's Merchandise table and folks came by to eat some tasty vegetarian curries, make new friends, and compare notes about the important things in life. (Photos courtesy of Lisa Braley.)
One of the guests at the booth, where Indian Spiced tea was being served in huge amounts to passers by. Folks came by to browse the "impromptu library" that Miranda brings to festivals. Some attendees come to drink tea and read at the table for a couple hours at a time. There's plenty to taste-test; books on poetry, travel photography, spiritual exploration and Indian food recipes…
Lisa Braley, one of Miranda's good friends.
Miranda heads back into New York City for some shows and visits Chris Hale (from the band "Aradhna") after a show at the Barn House (W. Orange, NY.)
Pete Hicks, Guitarist and second half of "Aradhna," just before Miranda cut off all his hair (by request!)
In November, Miranda attends the Ontario Council of Folk festivals annual shindig and performs some of her songs (on site) for CBC Radio. This three-day event is a wonderful way to discover fellow artists in late night jam sessions and conversations, as swarms of musicians converge at one hotel (In 2003, the event was held in Barrie, Ontario.) Photos by John Sutton.
Miranda accepts the "Songs from the Heart" award at the Ontario Council of Folk Festival's gala dinner. A 45 min. set of songs from the "7 Deadly Sins" album follows.
Later on, folkies perform until the wee hours of the morning. These musicians took over the elevator at 4 am!

(From here, Miranda left for India! (Jan.- April 2004) See the "Miranda's Dirt" section of our site for photos and story…)
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