TOUR DIARY: Down Mexico Way

Greetings from Todos Santos, Mexico! I'm down on the Baja Peninsula for a week playing at the Tropic of Cancer Concert Series, and it's been a lovely experience so far. I left behind the bitter cold of New York City and arrived in the balmy sunshine on Thursday, and it's hard to describe what a difference the weather here makes on your outlook. Everything feels calmer, more relaxed. I played the opening night party at a little outdoor restaurant and bar called La Esquina, which was a great introduction to the event and everyone participating. I heard wonderful mini-sets from members of Wilco, Elephant Revival, and more and made a whole bunch of new friends. Since then it's been all food, music, and tranquility. I'm writing this from a little stone and tile courtyard sitting next to a pool as flamenco guitar drifts over from the next courtyard and doves fly past the old mission, which towers over my hotel.

The festival is a benefit for Los Bomberos, the local firefighters here in Todos Santos, and it's organized by Joe Firstman, who plays in killer band called Cordovas and has had a house down here for about 10 years. Todos Santos is an artist community, and the streets are lined with galleries and shops from local jewelry makers, painters, weavers, and sculptors. You can't walk ten feet without running into delicious fresh food, and everyone is immensely kind and generous. I owe a big thank you to my some of my Iowa fans, who lobbied the powers that be hard to bring me down this year and have so kindly helped me get around and make the most of my time here.

On Friday, we went to a nearby beach for the release of some newborn sea turtle hatchlings. They were the most adorable thing I've ever seen and it took every once of my strength not to slip one into my pocket and bring him home. They were so fragile that we couldn't touch them with our hands, but we carried them close to the water in coconut shells and set them loose. Once they hit the sand, instinct took over and made their way closer and closer to the ocean until a wave would scoop them up and carry them out to sea. One was having a little trouble, so they let me scoop some sand in my hands and carry him directly into the water. Nature is absolutely amazing, and it was a really moving thing to witness. I wonder how those little guys are doing now.

The shows on Friday and Saturday night at Hotel California were both an absolute blast (what's not to like about great music and beautiful weather under the stars), as were the after parties down the street at La Morena (though it could get real hot real fast in there once that room filled up). Tonight is my turn to perform again, so I suppose it's time I peel myself away from the pool and flamenco music and get ready to sing some songs.

Anthony D'Amato