Ireland tour-blog

“Would all foot passengers please prepare for disembarkation. Disembarkation will begin in a few minutes”

Our ferry boat was bobbing in the port of Holyhead and apart from the staff, we were the last ones still onboard. 

Alicia was travelling separately, on her way to Belfast to try and visit a friend in hospital but Isaac and I were about to step on british soil for the first time in twelve days.

This morning already seemed far away and I wished for a good hot Irish breakfast in my stomach.

Isaac slowly put down his cello and suitcase again, there had been a lot of waiting and hauling around. “It’s been one helluva trip” he sighed.

“Next time, we are hiring a car” I said as I gently rubbed the new sticker on my guitar case.  I had picked it up in Galway and it depicted a blue and yellow boat, called a Galway hooker: the emblem for the town.

Galway is where Alicia and I first met and it felt good to be back on that same street, singing like we were that day in March. The small tourist town had once again treated us very well indeed and we had managed to squeeze in a photo/video shoot in Barna woods, just outside the town with my friend Joni Nelson, as well as a few decent busking sessions and two live concerts, the last of which was in the upstairs room of The Roisin Dubh (ronounced: roe-sheen-dove)

We had tuned our instruments and stowed them behind the red velvet curtain at the back of the stage.  The room was filling up and the lighting was low when Johnny Irvine (Of the Galway street club) sat down.

Johnny is a short fella with fiery red hair and beard and veins that pop when he shouts and man can he roar.
When he strums his resonator guitar, it’s almost as if it will bend and break, when he stomps his foot, the whole room shakes and when he sings, it’s with a hell-bound growl as if he’s trying to ‘spit at the devil himself and laugh in his face’ (in Johnny’s own lyrics).  
Steven Sharpe was doing an excellent job on sound.  
We pulled a quick shuffle around on the small stage.
The audience was close, listening.
Our set list was loose with some audience participation.
We played for hours.
In the back I could hear the husky croons of Johnny and some of the other singers in the Galway Street Club as they sang along to our encore. A great audience makes for a magical show and they had been more than great.

Galway had sent us away with the sound of fiddles in our ears and the loose change jangling in our pockets.

Hearts beating fast, like the Corrib river.

“I think I miss Lichfield” I said to Isaac as the ferry workers in uniform started to sweep up around us. The words sounded unconvincing as they came out of my mouth. 

“I miss Cork” was Isaac’s reply. 
Our first gig was of the whole tour was in the City of Cork at a place called Sin é (pronounced: ‘shin-eh’)

I had played solo there one year ago and the Landlady, Hillary, had been very gracious and accomodating when I told her about our band.

We passed the big steel sign that said ‘Cork Harbour’ and walked our stuff into the centre of town. In a bar named the Oliver Plunkett, we waited for Hank Wedel to show up. 

None of us had ever met Hank, however, we had a few friends in common and after Alicia had reached out to him online, he offered to meet and show us around.  We knew he played in Cork and New York and we had really dug his music but really, we had no idea what we were in for.

Hank was running late, I was restless so I got up to do some busking. On my way out of the pub, I stopped to peer at the photos that covered the wall.

Depicted in almost every one, on stage, rubbing shoulders with Rory Gallagher was a familiar stocky bloke with white hair and a guitar. 

It was Hank.

I had played two songs on the corner of the high street when Isaac came strolling over to tell me Hank had arrived.

“Hi” a smile and a warm handshake.
He talked with a soft accent, an even blend of American and Irish. He talked about Cork and about the bars in town, about his wife and his parents, about New York and Queens. We talked about the music industry and about the challenges that an artist faces when trying to make a living out of their passion.
We walked to his car, the red passenger door had been replaced with a black one. “I see a red door and I want to paint it black” he said with a grin.
“We’ll take you to John’s place”.
John’s house was empty but the TV was on, playing a game of Gaelic football.

(If you have never seen Gaelic football then I advise you to check it out, it’s like football, rugby, basketball and boxing, all rolled into one.)

We put our bags down and Hank made us tea.

It was time to go.
“I’ll take you to Sin é now”

Sin é is a traditional venue with a good reputation, two floors of seating and as well as having a bunch of music loving locals, it attracts many a tourist.

The stage is under a staircase and resembles harry potter’s bedroom.

The three of us squeezed into the tiny space and after sound check, we began to play.

The audience was almost on top of us in the dark bar room and they were right there in the heart of every song, nodding at the lyrics, swaying to the melodies and raucously applauding us at the end of each number.

We played late into the night and then started walking back to John’s house.
John is the kind of guy you feel like you have known your whole life, yet he somehow manages to constantly surprise you.

He is warm and hilarious and has a truly awesome Cork accent. 

Photo by Murphy Kie

“I’m going to show you my favourite tree” He said on our way home and pointed to a plant that looked like a small bush by the side of the road.

“That’s been my favourite tree for a long time now and then they went and cut it down…” He had written a letter to the council about it. “I said to them: all that tree wanted to do was to live and you took that one thing away. But the fucker just won’t give up. It keeps on going.” He laughed with a husky bounce that was both infectious and a little concerning. “I’ve known Hank since he moved here when we were boys, ‘Hank the Yank’ we called him. He used to play rugby, then started playing music you know and we ended being friends.” John paused to take a long drag on his cigarette. “I got something to show you now”.

If you had told me we were going to watch a three hour nature documentary about the west coast of Ireland right there and then at 3am in the morning, then I wouldn’t have believed you.

But we did.

And it was magnificent.

The wildlife and natural beauty that this small country has to offer is staggering and the documentary had us all in a trance until the sun came up.

The next day, Hank had sent out the invitation to a few other people who had turned up with instruments. Illuminated by the low afternoon sun, we all sat around the table in a pub called Charlie's and passed songs around as the crowd applauded and looked over at the circle of musicians with appreciation and empathy in their eyes. From the wall above us, a painting of Rory Gallagher looked off into the distance.

On our last night in town, Hank had a show with his Rock and Roll band at Charlies and he invited us to play a few songs to open the night.

We sang and danced and listened and embraced until it was time again to wander back to Johns for our final rest in Cork before we took the coach back to Dublin.

Cork’s influence on us was great and we will certainly be heading back there in the future.  Hank was more help than we could have asked for and it feels that we have made a true friend in him and the others that he introduced us to.

When it came to saying goodbye, he gave each of us a 45 single he recorded with the band ‘Princes Street’ as a farewell gift before we boarded our coach back to dublin.

I turned the record over in my hands and peered at the text on the back.
‘Recorded in 1989’ the year I was born.

“Execuse me sir, you can go this way now” One of the clean up team had beckoned me towards a starcase marked ‘EXIT’.

Isaac and I walked from the ferry terminal up a hill to where the van was parked. We drove back to Lichfield, along the coast past Bangor and Colwyn Bay and eventually through Stoke on Trent with the sunset biting at our heels and the full moon heavy and huge on the horizon all the way home.

I thought about Alicia, had she already arrived in Belfast?
We had all spent last night playing our final show in Dublin, and Alicia’s Canadian friend, Legs, had put us up for the night but I wasn’t sure when exactly we would see Alicia again… 

(Over to you, Alicia)

I have often explained that emotions are deeper in Ireland.

That my first trip to Ireland was ‘an entire lifetime’ I experienced love and loss and everything in between.

I had grown.

I met Robert in Galway, and here we are still exploring and creating music together.

I connected and reconnected with people from different walks of life, and this trip was no different.

If anything, this trip dug deeper still. See, I met Legs at a punk show in St. Louis MO maybe four years ago, they had on short overalls and (as the british would say) a “bum bag”…and as fate would have it, so did I.

They have leg tattoos, I have legs tattoos.

We both had kinda messy dyed blond hair.

Oh yeah, and we’re both right around six feet tall.

It may come to no surprise that we were mistaken for each other from the back, there is a photo, somewhere, to prove it.

By the end of that night I was singing a Murder Ballad to Legs on the curbstone at about 3am.

Since that night we’ve kept in touch via Facebook and Legs was a superhero in setting us up with the gig at The Hut! After a year and some change in Dublin I could tell that the irish-isms had made their way into Leg’s vernacular, it was great to see them walk into the sun soaked upstairs room at The Hut and grin a familiar grin, and greater yet to hear them ask “What’s the craic?” and bring me a Guinness (as if it was a given that I’d want one) as we set up for our line check. Eofa (pronounced Ee-fah, of course) was running our sound, she had a good ear and was excited to run a more nuanced and mellow show than the punk gigs she usually puts on in that space.

“It’s nice to have a bit of a change” she said as we finished our sound check, “you guys are sound.” I couldn’t help but mutter a pun: “No, you’re sound, man!” but l think it might have been lost in the arrival of The Vulture Collective (or at least a portion of The Vulture Collective) there were squeals and hugs hello, I could already see how strong the community was.

People started to arrive and fill the space, sitting around the short tables and in front on the floor and up on the unused bar in the back.

Linda’s Parent’s (Hugh and Adrienne) and a family friend of their’s showed up and sat around a small table in the front, it was great to see them again, and they even sang along to the songs from the EP during our set!

It was a beautiful evening of music and community, The Vulture Collective was jazzy, Garreth (the guitar player) made up for the missing trumpet player with soulful solos on his mouth trumpet, and Ruth’s voice rang out sweetly delivering originals and old songs alike with a clear yet humble tambour that gave me chills at least twice! They were followed by Sam who sang in three different languages, originals and covers (including one cover he had translated from Portuguese to French!) When Sam was done and Legs was gearing up for their set I could feel a little buzz in the room, I could tell that some people had come especially to hear Legs’ original solo stuff, and they were not disappointed! I was transported by the story telling and honesty in Legs’ music. I was reminded of how much I love that place in music where punk and folk collide!

We were up after Legs and we gave it our all.
The energy in the room was great, it had been great all evening, and I, for one, wanted to savor our last show in Ireland.

I was tired by the end of the gig, but at the same time I was up for anything, so when Legs suggested that we go to the studio space for some cans and after hours craic, I was all in!

We walked the three or so blocks over to the rehearsal space - an old Do Jo turned punk paradise.

Posters plastered the walls, familiar political slogans and mantras scattered about.

The music and conversation flowed as easily as the cans of Guinness.

It was so nice to be enveloped by a new community, welcomed with open arms.

We tumbled into borrowed beds filled to bursting with the generosity of Leg’s and the folks who had made the evening so perfect.

“Brunch burgers!” was the wakeup call from the hall in the morning, I wash’t sure exactly what a brunch burger was, but my stomach didn’t care as long as it was greasy.

Robert and I followed Legs down the block to a place called 'Bang Bang' where we had a delicious mid-morning meal of eggs, bacon, tomato, avocado and garlic mayo all on a brioche.

They even had hot sauce to sooth my southern soul.

The three of us had our long day of travel ahead of us.
We hugged Legs’ and their housemates goodbye (everyone was exceptionally good at hugging, and man did I need the hugs!) and went to catch the bus into the City Center. ...

When I knew we were going to tour in Ireland I had reached out to my dear friend Connor Browne, I had stayed with Connor several times up in Bangor (a short train ride from Belfast) and I had thrived off our clever conversation and the museums we had gone to and long walks we had gone to - and quality live music at the pubs! Two months ago when I was talking with Connor he said he might be able to set us up a little gig, we could all come and crash in his living room, and my heart soared knowing I would reconnect with this kindred spirit!

I had started writing Connor a song last summer, and picked it up again when we were talking about the visit, I had this idea that Connor would sing along to the song, or maybe it would be a duet

(I had heard that Connor was a great singer, but he had been too shy to sing for me, and fair enough, because I had been to self-conscious to play my fiddle for him, it had only been a few weeks into rediscovering the fiddle when I’d stayed with him, and I wasn’t confident in playing solo…)

I worked and reworked the song but it still wasn’t where I wanted it to be.

I got a message last month from a mutual friend of ours.

Connor had been taken into the hospital and was "gravely ill”.

I sent him an encouraging message, having no idea that he was in a coma, and I set to working on the song some more, it still wasn’t where I wanted it to be.

A week ago his father informed me that “the Doctors can do nothing more for him” and that they were taking him off life support after 33 days. "It’s a matter of days or weeks, but it’s death.” He said.

I asked if I could see him to say goodbye, but his father said that only family could see him and that I should “remember him how he was” he sent me a picture of Connor smiling and waving. I kept collapsing into tears. Disbelief and grief taking turns.

I took the trip up to Bangor anyways.

I went to say my goodbye.

Even if it wasn’t going to be face to face, it made sense to be there, to go back to the places he had shown me.

It was the same waitress at the restaurant down by the bay. Something about that was comforting.

I played my fiddle for him in the tall walled garden: an improvisation that I hope to turn into a tune for him, or maybe it is the song I’ve been trying to write.

I worked on the song again, it still isn’t where I wanted it to be.

I wrote him a poem:

The afternoon sun glints the same off the tile detail on the corner pub

If I close my eyes I can see you telling me “I know you will wander, but you are always welcome here, you can always come back”

And you weren’t lying but it was only part true …

The train can still take me to the end of the line

I can still walk through the garden

The eucalyptus trees look the same but I can’t ride the ferris wheel you were going to take me on down by the docks because neither it nor you are here

If I close my eyes I can see you Smiling in the afternoon sun telling me not goodbye but “see you next time”

And I am not ready

I am not ready for the sun to set

On this perfect day

Irish hospitality

Navigating from the Dublin Docks through town and out to Kilmainham was a feat for the three of us with instruments in tow.


They wouldn't call it rain, no, the Irish have many different words for the varying degrees of precipitation, but as far as my untrained American eye could tell it was somewhere between "a slight mist" and "spitting" and we were getting wet.  We pulled our things under the bus stop overhang waiting for Robert to run to the corner shop to get change for a tenner and, consequently, missed our bus.


You know, one of those every hour on the hour buses.


Couch surfing had pulled through, or we assumed it had, we hadn't had internet in the afternoon to confirm our arrival time, but the last message had said "confirmed" in green and the guy had given us his address so we showed up expecting at least a corner to curl up in...


What we got was a whole lot more...


Peter looked at us shaking his head when we walked up his drive "I didn't think yous were coming," he said "I sent three messages today and you didn't respond - mind you the last one is quite rude! Come in!"


We walked into the impressive old house, creaky wood floors in the hall, and 70s wood paneling in the dining room to do with the collection of vintage brown pottery (including a miniature pint of beer that was a shot glass and a big cartoon dog head with a handle that was presumably a pint glass!)


"I guess I won't read the last message-" Robert started, but Peter interrupted him, "-Oh read the message!" he said "And I'll tell you it says something about how when things are free you are to be treating them as such!"


He was already getting out biscuits and boiling the kettle as he was talking.  There was almost an aggression to his hospitality, after tea he got out bread, butter, and individually packaged slices of cheese and we were going to eat sandwiches!  No was not an option. 


Peter was on his way out of the house but one of his housemates, Bharat, had started cooking and the house was filled with the smell of curry and spices.


Bharat explained that there is a difference between "spicy" and "hot" and that his food is both.  He said he never cooks for just one person, he always cooks for at least three or four.  He brought out little plates and forks for us to try his curry and watched our faces carefully as we ate our first bites "you never know when somebody is going to cry." He said, but we didn't cry, it was delicious, a perfect balance of spicy and hot!


Before meeting Julian (pronounced Yule-ian) we heard the story of how he had never tried spicy food (let alone hot food) before he'd moved in to the house and smelled Bharat's food.


Day one he tried a big bite, turned red, started sweating, and spit it up into the compost.


Day two he tried a smaller bite, turned red, starting sweating, and spit it up into the compost.


Day three he was drunk and he ate half a bowl, but man did it keep him up all night!


Day four he tried a big bite and kept it down.


Day five he was waiting with a bowl when Bharat was done cooking.


"He's been stealing my food ever since!" Bharat exclaimed, and at that moment, right on cue, Julian entered.


Julian was loud and his English was broken, he offered us vodka and smoked Bulgarian sausages and fried pork (I got a smaller fork than the boys because I am a woman, that was his explanation, but later when he saw me stand up he retracted that sentiment pretty quickly, I am unamused.) Julian told us about his ten years in jail, the man he beat up to get there, and his boxing career before all that (I only caught the odd bit here and there, I was, as ever uninterested in participating in conversation that is riddled with sexism.  Let's just say that the giving me the small fork wasn't the half of it, and we'll leave it at that.)


Bharat brought out tea

a refreshing change of pace

The recipe?


"Strawberries from the garden

A lot of the Mint (it chokes the garden)

Black pepper



A little lime, but not today

Oh, and regular tea underneath it all!"


Isaac, Robert and I pulled out our instruments and played a few songs, the hours had gotten away from us, it was soon time to retire to our little room (a large Wendy House/shed at the end of the back garden.)


Peter had said he'd rather not see us in the morning, but he'd said it with a wink, and when we did see him in the morning he was halfway through making us a breakfast of bacon, eggs, and toast.

We left to catch our bus to Cork with Peter's well wishes of "may your time in Ireland fill you pockets and fill your souls!"

It was been quite the welcome. The generosity and hospitality of these three very different characters has inspired us, as we step forward to whatever comes next!


It's funny how small the world can get

It's funny that I had to play a gig at The Kitchen Garden Cafe in Birmingham UK in order to meet Jody Stephens, Jody from Big Star,

Jody who currently is touring with a duo called Those Pretty Wrongs,

Jody who spends a good deal of time in the Carrboro area working with musicians that I have worked with, musicians that I have admired, musicians that I have cheered on - even from afar.

We raved and reminisced about the music scene back home.  It's rare that I feel any sort of homesickness, per-se, but the Triangle really is a hub of incredible musical talent. Bringing the North Carolina music scene to life, through conversation with Jody, reminded me of my incredibly music rich childhood, and how lucky I am to have grown up around so many musicians.  I am ever grateful for my musical roots.

Meanwhile, my mother was trying to catch my attention by holding up a flyer, waving it around, and grinning: "Maybe you could open for Jonathan Byrd!" She exclaimed.  I read the flyer that she was waving vigorously 'Jonathan Byrd and the Pickup Cowboys'

My heart soared, what a thought!

She took a picture of Isaac, Robert and me holding the flyer and she told us to look surprised. "I'll tag him in it on Facebook!" She said.

She took a picture of Isaac, Robert and me holding the flyer and she told us to look surprised. "I'll tag him in it on Facebook!" She said.

Jonathan Byrd was of the first artists I introduced Robert to, I think I played him the video for 'Waitress' at a hostel in Galway back when we first met. And I insisted we drive up from South Carolina last September (when Robert came to travel with me in the US) so that we could catch at least half of Jonathan Byrd's sets at the North Carolina State Fair - delighting in Johnny Waken's animated guitar solo where, among other things, he rolled around joyfully in the grass!

I introduced Isaac to Jonathan Byrd's music for the first time ON THE WAY TO OUR GIG AT THE KITCHEN GARDEN CAFE!!! He asked "is that clarinet or cello?" on one of the tracks, and then he answered himself, "Ooo, ooo, that is cello!"

Jonathan's Music is top up there when people ask who my influences are, or when they ask who my favorite songwriters are.  I often claim that if it hadn't been for Jonathan's stories, Paul's mournful cello, and Johnny's wailing guitar - not to mention countless other musicians who recorded with Jonathan Byrd - I wouldn't have gotten through college. Jonathan's songs inspire me, they reminded me of where I come from, they reminded me of where I could be going, they guided me through.

I would like to take a moment to talk about Paul Ford specifically, he was a lot more than just a Pickup Cowboy, he was an inspirational member of the music community in North Carolina.  Although he is gone, I know I am not alone in carrying him with me through my life.  I have so many fond memories of him, musically and otherwise.

I was telling my mother in Dartmouth how much I have realized that I am where I am in part because of Paul. I was trying to explain to her that it wasn't just the music.  Paul encouraged me in my song writing, he showed me, by example, what collaboration can be, but it wasn't just the music.  Paul insisted that I could do anything, no, he REMINDED me, time and again, that I ALREADY KNOW that I can do anything.  I just have to keep doing it.

In trying to put this into words for my mother, through tears at this point, on a ferry in Dartmouth, I trailed off "he was...he was consistently...he was consistently..." My voice faded but my mother picked up where I left off, offering; "...decent!"

I laughed through my tears holding her. "Yes," I said "he was consistently decent." "It seems like you've found some of those yourself" my mother said, referring to my band mates, "I enjoyed hearing you all on the radio, because each of you had something good to say about the other." "It continues to amaze me." I said. I've certainly been through a lot with past bands, I have my ghosts (perhaps to be revealed at some other time) and it's people like Paul who have helped ground me along the way, reminding me to stay true to myself, and to push myself to be my best self, not just my best musician, but my best self. I find collaboration can be tricky, it can be as powerful as shattering (and piecing back together) your heart - or as Robert says: "honey and fire", or as I scribbled in a notebook years ago "honey and the bees to sting" (and if I told any of these analogies to Isaac, he'd probably say, very thoughtfully, "huh, yeah, I can see that.") The key is finding other people who are willing to approach the collaboration with care and intention, leaving room for the muses to flow freely, and lifting each other up along the way.

So with the encouragement of my mother, my bandmates, and the two guys working at The Kitchen Garden Cafe, I sat down with knots in my stomach to write an email.

What was the worst that could happen?  Scenarios spun through my mind.

And the best? More scenarios tangled themselves with the first.

And then Paul Ford reminded me that I have what it takes. I just have to do it.

The next day I got a response.

"In short, yes." The email said.

And my heart soared again!

I am honored to announce that on the 13th of June, at the Kitchen Garden Cafe in Birmingham UK, Robert, Isaac, and yours truly will get to open for Jonathan Byrd and the Pickup Cowboys!  If you come out to the show (get tickets here) you'll hear the roots of where I come from, the sweet sounds of where I am now, and perhaps, just a thread, of where we're going.

I look forward to seeing you soon,


A Dartmouth Thread - Dart Music Festival 2017

The steam train gave a scream that drifted across the estuary as the old VW camper came roaring down the steep hill into dartmouth town and screeched to a halt outside the crowded pub. "Here we are," chortled Bernie from the drivers seat, "The Seale arms.” Leaving the camper running outside Bernie weaved through the crowd to meet Alicia’s parents by the pool table - they had come all the way from North Carolina, in their waterproofs no less, and Bernie welcomed them to sunny old England! "We're on in 5" I said to Alicia and Isaac as the Alfi Romeo band burst into a ripping rendition of Johnny B Goode.

Dartmouth Festival was in full swing, music on every corner and bursting from pub doors, the main stage rang out above the hubbub, and the market and streets were abuzz with tourists and locals alike. Due to a gig in Rugby, we had missed the friday night but we were determined to make up for it by squeezing in five shows while we were in town. At gig number two the rain was waiting for us. We had no sooner ducked into The Floating Bridge when the skies opened up and a deluge of heavy raindrops flew at the window panes. People came seeking shelter, and stayed for the music (and the best fish and chips in the world, they say). Sunday was a scorcher, and between gigs Isaac and I set up busking by the promenade, we met a woman named Ali who may have us down by the coast again for a house concert later in the year, and we ran into Phil Meek from Radio Caroline! It is amazing the connections we have made while busking! You never know who you’ll come across!

Gig number three was behind The Cherub, we helped Alfi set up an outdoor stage, dragging heavy potted plants to the side of the courtyard and set up amps. Alicia hopped up before our set to join Alfie and the guys for a rocking rendition of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door'. The last chorus had hardly faded when the Town Crier got up in full costume and introduced us, bell and all, “Hear ye hear ye! Now you’re in for something different!" That evening he even came across the river to Kingswear for our penultimate show at The Ship Inn, introducing us again with his booming voice, this time it seemed louder than ever, in the cosy pub.

Monday, post-fest, Alfi took us up river to Dittisham. Inside the FBI pub, (if you ever find yourself in Dittisham, it’s the bright pink place by the docks. Well worth a visit) we got to jam by the fireplace, I played slide guitar with a shot glass while Alfi took lead guitar. Alicia’s parents had joined us for the boat trip, they even sang along to our sea shanties on the boat, joining in on the chorus “Leave her Johnny, leave her” (much to the surprise and delight of the two strangers who happened to be on the ferry with us. “What luck! We get a concert of our own!” When we had finished our last refrain of 'Johnny, leave her' the woman, Sara, asked about the meaning of the song. I explained that it is about leaving a ship/leaving work, knowing it will be hard to walk away, but knowing also that it is time to go. Sara told us about her very recent retirement and she was visibly moved by the song. I pinky promised her that we would play it again if she and her husband managed to come to our gig that night and they did!


To close out the evening, and indeed the long weekend, Alfi joined us at The Dolphin, we sang old blues and let the music carry us away.

photos by Sarah Howe

photos by Sarah Howe

I guess with anything the leaving can be bitter sweet, it might just be the end of a wonderful weekend, or the end of a career, or even the end of an era, the end of an old habit, the end of the line…letting something come full circle.
The Reverend joined in on our final song, an emotional rendition of 'Knocking on Heavens Door’.