Greetings and welcome from Baltimore. I’m writing from my Dad’s apartment, not far from where I grew up. I’m having a mug of green tea this morning and staring at a peach and deciding on whether to have that with my cereal or a banana. Maybe I’ll have both. There are locally grown tomatoes on the window sill and the Maryland sweet corn I’ve had while here has been some of the best ever.
Bill Kemp Jr. and Billy Kemp
And speaking of mugs here’s a question. When does a cup become a mug? A cup usually comes with a saucer, and it holds no more than eight ounces. And a cup is often delicate. A mug is usually more sturdy, thicker and bigger.
I had some friends from England at my home in Nashville last year and after a wander along the Cumberland River, we had some tea. I boiled some water in the kettle and got out three vessels to steep the tea in. My visitors said, “Do you have anything smaller?” Their comment on the size of the vessels I had chosen got me thinking about this. They preferred the cup over the mug. It seemed a cultural difference. I had never had an American request a smaller vessel for tea or coffee.
Yes, it’s true, in a mug your warm drink can sometimes cool down and it may need a microwave infusion. Look at the size of the cups that a Japanese tea set comes with. They are usually small. And they usually don’t have any handles. I’ve been told that when they are able to be handled without being to hot your hand, the tea is ready to drink. Meanwhile, the tea in the pot is remaining warm. But the Japanese also have a larger vessel that can handle mug size amounts called bowls for matcha green tea.
So I guess the answer to the cup/mug question may be the size. And why is this a concern? Because I‘ve just begun a new tour here in Baltimore. A tour that will take me to many places in the U.S. and the U.K. I will stay with many hosts, and I’m hoping they read this post and learn that I would like to consume my warm drinks in a mug. But why a mug versus a cup? Because I want to take some mugshots during my travels. I want to take a mugshot with each and every host to document the Another Life tour. Don’t get me wrong, I like cups, they have never bothered me in the least. And when drinking matcha green tea, I like the smaller cups. They make sense. And the warm drink is usually consumed before it cools. And a microwave is not needed. But to my U.K. hosts, there’s no worry if there aren’t any mugs in the house. I’ll just photoshop the pic with a cup and make it larger, like a mug.
My new record is called Another Life. It has eleven sides and they are best listened to as a collection. The record is available for about the cost of three or four lattes. But I would recommend listening to the record with a nice warm mug of tea. You can purchase the record and receive a digital download at my website here. You can read about the making of the record here. You can read the crew credits here. You can read the songwriting credits here. You can read stories about the songs here.
Sometime in September I will make the record available on my website as a CD you can physically purchase. Here is what it looks like.
Another Life front cover.
Another Life back cover.
My bowl of cereal is starting to get soggy, and my tea has cooled. I thank you for spending this time with me, and I’ll look forward to hearing from you and/or seeing you at a show. And I’ll look forward to taking a mugshot with you at a place where warm drinks are served near you.