Gram Parsons’ tour manager, Phil Kauffman, made the rounds through Joshua Tree among hundreds of adoring Gram Parsons’ fans late September. First stop was Gram Fest, held at the Joshua Tree Inn where Gram drew his last breath. Many gathered on Sunday, September 17th, to honor his life and listen to a supremely wonderful line up of folk/americana music. Kauffman signed albums, tshirts, other merchandise, all to benefit Joshua Tree National Park Association and be with people who, like him, loved Gram and understood that a promise is a promise. “Gram and I went out there (Joshua Tree National Park),” Kauffman shared from the stage, “and he said to me, ‘Promise me, if I die, you’ll take me out to Joshua Tree and set my spirit out into the desert.’ It’s fifteen years later, and we succeeded,” You see, it was Kauffman and Parsons’ assistant, Michael Martin, who posed as mortuary workers and brought Parsons’, casket, and all, back to his favorite place in the park, Cap Rock, and set it ablaze.
Two days later, Kauffman made an appearance at the Joshua Tree Visitors Center for more meet and greets seated next to local treasure, songstress/songsmith, Victoria Williams. “Phil was my tour manager on my first solo American tour until he got gout and was replaced by Nicolas Hill,” Williams shared later. “He is heard singing on the Live from Town Hall album.”