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March Update: Todd Snider shows, Folk Alliance recap, new record, and more

KC sunset,from my hotel room

KC sunset,from my hotel room

Greetings from a gray wet Wednesday–perfect-for-a-funeral weather here in Nashville. So why not pull up a chair, warm up beneath the desk lamp, and type a while? I’ve been recovering from a wild and wooly week of “folk” music in Kansas City–a huge conference actually, in two big hotels which are connected by what someone described as a hamster trail. Played lots of acoustic guitar, which folks say is good for me, singing without a microphone–going from one room to another never knowing if you’ll have 3 people or 30 sitting there while you play. Many thanks to my very talented friend Amy McCarley for sharing the ride up and back. I made some new friends, and reconnected with old pals I hadn’t seen in years. Wild Ponies, Greg Trooper and Jeff Black shook me up good–songs with sharp blades, obscene beauty. Ray Bonneville! No words . . . One of my favorite sets was hearing Chuck Mead w/his band–Marty Lynds on real drums, YES, playing a backbeat!(the first I’d heard in five days–I was in need)  ‘Letric guitars, grooves that made you want to dance, and not gaze into your navel confessing your latest existential crime . . . .  Above all: Thanks to all you presenters who had me play for you–I sure appreciate your enthusiasm for this thing I do.

It’s been a good week: I’ve been working on a new song that feels solid to me–it might turn into something I’ll share with you soon. Yep, another bleak yet somehow life-affirming “barbaric yawp”, to quote Mr. Whitman. “Emmett Till whistles/Mississippi pistols/Red necks, blood, and rope . . .” That’s just one little piece. Other than beating on guitars and howling, I’ve been filling out financial docs for my son’s college applications, which makes me just weep with joy, doncha know. But at least I am getting it done. And therefore, making some people and institutions happy. And my taxes. Hoorah. This could be a banner year for on-time filing. Meaning: the only year I’ve ever filed by April 15. I’m also re-reading some essays by the great Andre Dubus, and watching the Nick Cave movie that Joe McMahan turned me on to, 20000 Days on Earth. I’ve pulled some books down off the shelf by the recently deceased poet Philip Levine, who was one of my favorite writers to come to Iowa while I was a grad student there.

 

Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys

Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys

 

And then there is the road, which I return to next week–I have the great pleasure of opening 5 shows for my friend and neighbor Todd Snider. Check the tour page for more details, but look out Bowling Green KY,  Cincinnati, Grand Rapids, Saginaw, and Columbus . . . we’re headed your way.  Then home for a day or so, then off to Texas for yes, the annual South by Southwest music conference in Austin. There are already too many people in Austin–and thousands of incoming conference goers and lurkers(that’s me) just make it worse. So, yes, I will treat myself to a meal at Curra’s, but it’ll have to wait til the off-hours–otherwise my human compression threshold goes off the chart, along with my blood pressure. Two years ago I did stand in the bar at Guero’s, (isn’t there some sort of fountain in that front room?) in a big clot of humanity, and with a friend had a spontaneous ceremonial dose of tequila–and things were just fine and lovely, for a few minutes, anyway. I’m playing several times while I’m there–listings for those shows will appear on the tour schedule later today. All not-so-serious complaining aside–I look forward to playing, and listening, and running into all sorts of folks from near and far who make the pilgrimage.

And yes, we are making progress, in what are the final stages of production of the new release. Sponsors, I’ll be giving you the news in greater detail very soon, but basically–we’re still looking at a May or June release. Mastering is beginning any moment now . . .

I’m so looking forward to warmer weather, and hitting the road again–with a new record in hand. See you out there!

 

 

 

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Happy Mardi Gras from Iceville

2015-02-17 10.34.35

Well, at least the sun’s out. But the roads are worse today than they were yesterday. Not sure what tomorrow will bring, with some snow on the way tonight. This isn’t Iowa, where I lived for five years, where winter was just an inconvenient part of life and folks just dealt with it, and for the most part, dealt with it extremely well. This is middle Tennessee, where TV reporters are actually spending air-time discussing at length the icicles hanging from car fenders. And though we get a taste of this stuff every year about this time, inevitably the jackasses are out there on the frozen highway, doing 75 (before losing control) like it’s middle of May because we got to git to Wal-Mart . . . although the Wal-Mart don’t ever close. Sorry if I seem cranky with this behavior–but we see it every winter, without fail. Because it’s mostly ice this time, there’s only so much the plows can do, so the citizenry must rely on its own sound judgment to minimize accidents and such . . . and that sound judgment seems to always be in inverse proportion to the amount of frozen precipitation present.

The big news is: tonight’s show at Nathan P. Murphy’s in Springfield, MO has been cancelled because of road conditions described above. Look forward to seeing you when it’s a little warmer and drier out.

So, because I’m staying put today, tomorrow will be a long one: a 9-hour drive to Kansas City, followed by 5 performances between 9pm and 3am. At this point, all I can do is laugh . . . and hope for the best, all the way around. All this as part of the 27th Annual Folk Alliance International Conference. On Saturday, Feb.21, I’ll be playing Vangarde Arts in Sioux City, IA, splitting the bill with my dear friend and eastside neighbor Amelia White, who will be accompanied by another neighbor and impeccable musician, Sergio Webb. I’ll have Steph Graham on bass and Jim Viner on drums–should be a great night! And then there’s that absolutely fine Mexican restaurant there for breakfast tacos next morning . . . yum.

Oh yeah: Happy Mardi Gras! Travel safe! Stay warm! See you soon–

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Interview on amplifi.fm

Happy Saturday, folks–here’s a recent interview I did with my friends at amplifi.fm; check it out: http://itmatters.amplifi.fm/artist-q-and-a/kevin-gordon-on-driving-330000-miles-and-still-going/ David Allen Coe‘s chicken that night was from Popeye’s; being from Louisiana, I felt it my birthright to scarf some of that bird for my own purposes . . . This coming Friday, 2/13, I’ll be playing what is likely my […]

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Folk Alliance Conference: Feb.18-22

        Hi folks–I’ll be playing several sets during the 27th Annual International Folk Alliance Conference in Kansas City, MO, which begins on Feb.18. These are all “private showcases” in various rooms and suites in the host hotel,  the Westin; yes, you must be a conference registrant in order to witness my heart-rending […]

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