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Sam McLeod and Bahlmann Abbot coming to New Dominion October 22

Joint appearance by storyteller Sam McLeod

and singer/songwriter Bahlmann Abbot at New Dominion on

Friday, October 22 at 6:00 PM

Sam McLeod will present selections from

Big Appetite: My Southern-Fried Search for the Meaning of Life

Dr. Beauregard pulled his chair up a little closer to me, looked me in the eye, and said, “Sam, I’m afraid your health is pretty good. You could stand to lose a little weight, but without some bad news, I can’t scare you into taking better care of yourself… You’ve got to find some meaning in your life that will motivate you to take better care of your body—something that gets under your skin, something that grabs your imagination, something other than a diet. And only you can figure that out.” So begins “big boned” Sam McLeod’s search for the meaning of life. Luckily, a mysterious envelope arrives in the mail to distract him. It’s an invitation to a neighborhood reunion in Nashville, Tennessee, where Sam grew up. Sam’s wise wife Annie insists that her reluctant husband get in the car and go. “Here’s your map and your itinerary. You just keep your hands off that old girlfriend—you hear me?” As Sam drives, he tries to work out the meaning of life, just like the doctor ordered, but instead, memories of childhood fill his head. Who would be at the reunion? Weiner? He remembers how Weiner got his name and his lasting fear of buzzards. Would he find a descendant of Big ‘Un, the snake as fat as a family-sized can of Franco American Spaghetti? And what about Lexi? She wasn’t his girlfriend, no matter what Annie says, but he remembers the summer night they played hide and seek… And with these recollections come the smell of his mother’s meatloaf, the taste of spicy pimento cheese, the tang of cold picked shrimp, and the tart sweetness of strawberry pie—the food of his southern childhood.

Does Sam find the meaning of life? Yes, he does, even though he lacks “the emotional intelligence God gave a stinkbug,” as Annie so delicately put it. So come along with Sam as he follows his deep fried roots to a simpler time and place, where mothers nourished their children with much more than ham biscuits, deviled eggs, and tuna noodle casserole with potato chips on top.

“A Jolley gem of a book. It made me laugh out loud … and made my mouth water for home cooking, Southern style.” —Sandra Brown

The 2010 Summer Okra Pick by The Southeastern Independent Booksellers Alliance


Bahlmann Abbot will perform songs,

including those featured on the three-CD set

Living with Girls

Sam McLeod and singer/songwriter Bahlmann Abbot have teamed up to produce an audio CD on one of their favorite subjects—living with girls. The 3-CD set contains stories by Sam and songs by Bahlmann and makes a great gift for fathers, mothers and anyone else interested in listening to heart-warming, often hilarious stories and songs.

Sam’s wife, Annie, and Bahlmann’s wife, Blissie, grew up together in Virginia as best friends and remain close friends to this day. So, Sam and Bahlmann married best friends and have known each other for over 25 years. Along the way, each had three daughters. They’ve both done a lot of living with girls.

As Bahlmann read Sam’s books and as Sam listened to Bahlmann’s CD entitled Falling in Place, they realized that there were striking similarities in their work and that realization spawned Living with Girls. As you listen, you’ll notice that stories and songs have been paired to emphasize these similarities.

Sam McLeod was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1951, grew up there, attended college and graduate school at The University of Virginia and Washington & Lee University, worked as a banker, a lawyer, and a venture capital investor, and moved to Detour Farm with his wife Annie in 2004. Since moving to the farm, Sam has written several books, produced an audio book, hosted a live variety show, written a newspaper column, and told his stories to anybody who’d listen. Sam and Annie have three wonderful daughters, horses, alpacas, dogs, chickens and a cat that thinks she’s a dog. Their farm, located near Walla Walla, Washington, is devoted to wildlife and habitat conservation.

A native of southern West Virginia and now living in the Charlottesville area, Bahlmann Abbot grew up in a family fond of swapping stories and songs while gathered on his grandmother’s porch. Some of his songs reflect this love for story telling while others paint an impressionistic view of the struggles and rewards of love and loss. Bahlmann is a self-styled acoustic guitarist, and his music sets a distinctive mood which is embellished by the spare notes of his pedal steel. His songs are influenced by his experiences as a carpenter, river guide, husband and father. As an architect whose focus is the design and renovations of the family home, he draws a parallel with songwriting to the design of a house. They both start as a fuzzy concept with disparate parts and evolve and gain clarity as one sketches over the plan or works over a particular melody line of a song. For him listening to a song can be like moving through the different rooms of a house, each room referring to the last but offering a new revelation or view.