Here we are in Wolfisheim, France. Oui, oui mais oui. If it sounds German, rather than French, it’s because it is a border town of Germany and France. But these guys are fiercely French! Probably because they are indeed truly French, but oh so close to a separate nation. And don’t you dare compare Marseille, Nice, and Cannes to the Spanish Riviera or the Italian Riviera. This is a nationalism that is inspirational.

Ok let’s talk about the wolf and it’s relation to this town called Wolfisheim. Ok let’s maybe not talk about it. I’m sure it’s a local thing. I forgot to ask and I won’t guess, but their logo with a man in a business suit with a wolf’s head coming out of the collar in profile is brilliant. Edgy, eccentric, and fun. We arrived early in the morning when the town was just waking up, and our hotel sits on one side of a beautiful little river. I was especially taken with the old Tudor–like structures. I say it so often but I’ll say it again: “This is one of those days when you would just like to go walking and looking.” This style of wooden crossbeams with white stucco walls is very Tudor-ish, and comes from the 15th century. In America the earliest settlers had just arrived, and there were log cabins if you were lucky.

We arrived in the morning at 7am. It’s gray and drizzly. JUST RIGHT! We cross a little bridge and looking back over our shoulders is a really old but very well kept wooden structure that made me say out loud, “What a great place for a restaurant. Wow it is a restaurant!” Just ahead there are two and three strong Tudor structures with stucco-like material that had become a little bit crooked over time. All In the misty rain. Just right, perfect. Romantic as the umbrellas of Cherbourg… Still France. We take a little rest at the hotel and head for sound check in the drizzly rain. I had pictured us being outdoors and was a little nervous about the turnout. We arrive at sound check and thank God it’s a wonderful white tent. The audience will be totally covered and now it’s obvious they’ve done this before. Cozy inside while it’s drizzling outside. If I were at home, this would be a great afternoon to make pea soup from scratch, with ham hocks, and garlic and lots of cold sliced onions, and a little green pepper and be with your baby. We’re actually playing in a fortress. Just walls now. The roof has been gone for centuries. So they’ve erected a beautiful white tent in an old courtyard. And everybody is warm and dry.

Steve Reid. The Consul came with his wife and daughter. They met us backstage before we played and there they were in the first row beaming conspicuous love and well wishes. And the little girl sat on poppas lap with her head on his shoulder from time to time. But wide-awake. I’ll never forget their presence. This is the second year for the festival. I truly hope that you grow and grow and become all that you have dreamed. But I also hope that you will always, always, always keep this cozy, little tented venue with the audience so close that you can smell their perfume. And see the color of their eyes. And what’s especially important for me is that we’ve made another reach to the French Provinces. And we greeted some people who we’ve never ever played for.

New friends?! Merci and à bientôt.

Love, Al

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