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I love singing here because it has such a friendly and warm atmosphere. There are always great musicians around. I once did a really goofy New Year’s Eve gig on a little tour train from Marquette to this lodge in the U.P. They hired me and some musicians to play in one of the cars. We didn’t have any electricity, didn’t have anything to sit on, and it was freezing. The train was bumpy and we were bouncing all around, and there I am singing at the top of my lungs–“Gonna Take a Sentimental Journey,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” “On the Atchison, Topeka & the Michigan-meea,” “Last Train to Clarksville.” I just felt really stupid trying to make music while we were falling all over the place. Everything was totally acoustic, so no one could hear us anyway. It was an old-fashioned train with a smokestack, so smoke is pouring in the windows, I’m coughing, I’m freezing, people are spilling stuff as they walk through. Then some people from my hometown who hadn’t seen me in a while start trying to talk to me while I’m singing, and they’re complaining about the cold and the smoke. The tour organizers made the guys wear conductor uniforms, and I had to wear this 1890s period-costume thing with lots of bustles and velvet and petticoats and I don’t know what all. All I remember is that it was subzero outside and 100 degrees inside my bloomers.
–Kirsten Gustafson, jazz vocalist