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Catfish Journal
Issue #1, February 18, 2005

Welcome to the first edition of what I hope to be an exciting new addition to this website. Were going to forego the Fish Tail Newsletter and start a more direct, personal link with you, and hopefully, more often, with photos.  

Catfish and Doc Watson at Merlefest '042004 had some great highlights. We got to return to Merlefest, probably the best festival on Earth, and play and hang out with musical heroes and friends including Doc Watson (pictured with me here), Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, David Grisman Quintet, Happy Traum, Jorma Kaukonen, Vince Gill, Spider John Koerner, and a cast of thousands. Special thanks to our longtime pal Roy Book Binder for having us back again. Still have a warm glow from that one!

Another great festival experience was the First Annual Marquette Area Blues Festival up in the beautiful wilds of the upper peninsula of Michigan. Got to share the bill and jam onstage with the fantastic Lonnie Brooks, my favorite modern Chicago Bluesman. Lonnie is a fantastic musician and a great fellow, that was a real thrill for me. Big Kudos to Walt Lindala and the gang for having us!

Recently, weve been home enjoying our new house ever since Penny and I returned from the big UK and Ireland tour in October and November. We had just moved to our new place at the beginning of October, and barely had a chance to unpack our junk, so its been fantastic to settle in and witness the snow, rain, sleet and midwestern winter cold from the comfort of our cozy abode.

Penny at Tenby, Coast of South WalesWed been renters for years thinking wed move any minute, but never did. Id been dreaming of owning our own place for a long time, and after a protracted process, we finally found and bought this great place not far from Iowa City, built in 1920, fixed up nice, with all the original woodwork, oak hardwood floors, loads of built-in cabinets (complete with the original "Murphy" style ironing board), and lots of elbow room. Wed outgrown our previous place which with the growth of our home business resembled a giant filing cabinet with a roof on it...Its a true pleasure to enjoy some quality home life. One of  the deciding factors was the great natural reverb...

The UK tour was the best ever, our 30th (!?!) overseas tour since 1992, I cant really believe weve been over that many times! We drove through about 10,000 roundabouts, (Im still dizzy from it) all over England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland and almost all of the shows were sold out, including the yearly sojourn to the International Guitar Festival in Birkenhead (just next door to Liverpool). They got an even bigger venue this time, the Pacific Road Exhibition and Arts Centre, and it was fantastic to meet Mike McCartney there who was my gracious M.C...cool!

What happens if you get a flat front tire?I also got to perform and hang out with rock star D.J. Paul Jones for his BBC Radio 2 Blues Show. Paul was the original lead singer of the 60s British pop band Manfred Mann and currently fronts The Blues Band. A lot of people must have been listening to that show as we heard about it nonstop all over the country for the next months of the tour. A huge thanks to Paul and the good folks at the BBC, it really helped spread the word. Way back in the dawn of the 1990s, before we ever toured England and had just started Fish Tail Records, Paul Jones called us up out of the blue to say hed been enjoying and playing my Pepper in My Shoe! album. So back from the early days, thank you Paul!

Speaking of albums, weve been getting fantastic sales and response to the last three releases; Rolling Sea being my latest all-new CD recording, then the Catfish Keith In Concert DVD, which is a full-length concert captured with three cameras in living color last January in San Diego by Bruce Lamb at Lamb Productions, and, finally, the rerelease of my earliest, long out-of-print recording now on CD, Tadpole Blues - Early Recordings 1982-84.

Another new product weve introduced are the Catfish Keith Model Sly Devil Real Bottleneck Slides made by Roger Gohl in L.A. There was a demand for them from guitarists we'd meet on the road and at workshops that were in search of the perfect glass bottleneck slide. I think that these are really the best real bottlenecks I've ever come across. Roger makes each one from hand-picked European wine bottles which have really beautiful, thick glass and are the perfect length and weight for a fat slide tone and tasty vibrato.

In the Land of the GiantsIn the coming year, I'll work on recording a new CD or two. There are lots of new songs and instruments Id like to capture on record. Ive been having a ball with my 12-string Tricone National, using it in shows too (where we don't have to fly), and a new custom baritone single-cone wood-bodied National, the first one ever made!

Touring plans include a return to the UK in October and November of 2005, and we hope to make it back to France and maybe some other European gigs this year. And hopefully some nice US festival performances throughout the summer. We'd like to make it to both coasts and, as ever, play some of our favorite spots here in the midwest.

Penny and myself both just celebrated birthdays, we have a veritable plethora of wintertime holidays;
Groundhog Day, my birthday was Feb. 9th (also Chinese New Year & Ash Wednesday all in one big day), then Valentine's Day, Penny's birthday on the 17th...there's President's Day, Fat Tuesday, National Potato Week...the festivities have been non-stop around here...

Thanks for tuning in and please do e-mail or call, we sure appreciate it and feel thankful to continue whats now been over 25 years living the dream and having a great life playing music (and getting away with it somehow).

yours truly,     Catfish & Penny

Catfish Journal Archive:
This is Catfish Keith's personal newsletter first published in February 2005.
Fish Tail Newsletter Archive:
This is a magazine-style newsletter started when this website was first lauched in 1998.

 Home Page

New! Catfish Journal

Bio & Press

Real Audio Soundbites

 Tour Dates

 Order Online from Catalog

Pickin' with Catfish

 Super Links

catfishkeith.com - String-Twanging Home of Catfish Keith