Cyber Monday greetings from an analog mind: May this find you well. I’m back at the desk this morning after an enjoyable holiday weekend and recovery from my latest curvy swervy survey of the highways (which provided the usual conclusion: all the stuff that was out there last time is . . . still there). I’m having a piece of apple cake with maple sugar frosting made by the Mrs. for breakfast; that’s not wrong, is it? Sure does taste good. It’s sitting on a little green plate, off-kilter atop a heap of mail, receipts, magazines, tax data from 2016 (uh oh), and yes, to prove how bad/strange it’s gotten here in the central office, a new lawnmower blade! The Fall has hit me differently this year, and I’m not sure why. Short days, like always, yes (bummer). But: long light. I’ve been working outside the last few afternoons and it’s been a great silent pleasure to look into the west and see and feel the end of the day coming on—with most leaves gone now it’s a wider sky, and a longer arc of orange light, deepening, filling the gaps between the branches, as the bluing dark slowly closes in overhead from the east.
Tour re-cap: I had a good and intense northeast tour a couple of weeks ago; shows all well-attended, thank you very much–
Wednesday (11/15): Kudos to two of Boston’s finest, drummer John Sands, and bassist Jesse Williams, for jumping in and playing a show with me at Atwood’s. They killed it! Thanks to all you witnesses to the occasion, too–a good crowd on a Wednesday night anywhere makes me happy.
Thursday (11/16): Played outside of Philly in Newtown Square at Burlap & Bean, my first show there. My pal Tommy Geddes, another drummer extraordinaire, joined me for my set. Great fun–after quite the quixotic journey into the city during rush hour, thanks to Google Maps(ugh)–I made some new friends and saw several familiar faces. Thanks to Katie Buxton for opening the show!
Friday (11/17): Had a full room in NYC, hoorah! This after a rush to get from Brooklyn, after a photo shoot with fabulous photographer Jacob Blickenstaff, to Manhattan, on a Friday evening, which included my getting on the expressway going the wrong direction. Made it with 20 minutes to spare, though, and there was a valid parking spot right in front of the venue. Sometimes I wonder at my luck—the anxiety is a constant in such stressful straits, but good fortune in some way seems to usually come through. Special thanks to my friend Viola Krouse for helping out at several of these shows, in assisting your humble troubadour, for whom multi-tasking is not one of his strengths–i.e. trying to set up merch while writing a set list while eating dinner while answering email, etc. with 15 minutes before showtime.
Saturday (11/18): I played what was likely my last show at Landhaven under its current owners, my friends Donna and Ed Land. Had a good turnout, and as usual loved my time there and the people who attended. The show was recorded both with microphones in the room, and via direct signal from the board; I’ll be combining the two soon–hopefully there’ll be a good quality performance and recording in there. Thanks to Tom Piaia for recording the room, and to Ed and Tom for so graciously taking the time to set up the direct recording.
Sunday (11/19): Baltimore. My first time to play there in many moons, and my first time in a cool venue, An Die Musik–an old theater-style recital hall, I guess you’d call it. My friend Geoffrey Himes shared some of his songs from the grand piano, and interviewed me before and after I played some of mine. Always good to perform in different formats/modes of presentation; I enjoyed this change of pace. Also enjoyed pizza afterwards at Homeslice . . . .
Monday (11/20): my friend Grace Cavalieri, host of the public radio program and podcast “The Poet and the Poem”, invited me to the Library of Congress (yes, THAT one) to record a segment for the show. We talked about some of my songs, and I read a couple of my poems as well. Grace is such a wonderful person and has such a brilliant mind–I could’ve easily talked for two hours. The interview was recorded right next to a room where just about everybody-who’s-anybody among poets in the mid-late 20th century was recorded reading their work. Engineer Mike Turpin showed me a photo of Pablo Neruda reading there in 1966.
I’d never been inside the Library of Congress before. Its opulent beauty was staggering. I highly recommend a visit to anyone who’s planning a trip to DC. I’ve got to go back, simply because I didn’t get to visit the Lomax archives. Anyway—here’s a link to the podcast: (http://www.gracecavalieri.com/poetLaureates/featuredpoet_kevingordon.html)
December shows: Yep, here they come. Starting out the month right with a couple of trio shows this weekend—Friday 12/1 at Kelly House Concerts in St. Louis; a Tri States AIS Celebration Concert on Saturday 12/2 in Macomb, IL. Excited to have a great rhythm section with me on these dates: Steph Graham on upright bass, and Tommy Perkinson on drums. Come on out if you’re able! As always, more info on tickets etc. available at: http://kg.kevingordon.net/tour
On December 11 I’m pleased to be opening for legendary songwriter Donnie Fritts, at City Winery here in Nashville. I’m even more pleased to get to hear Donnie play.
December 15 I’m playing a solo show, my first-ever in Pensacola, FL, at The Olive Drop. FYI I’m still looking for something for the 16th—hey Mobile! Hey NOLA! Any thoughts? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
And it wouldn’t be the holidays without a stop at the epicenter of universal good times, Byron’s, in Pomeroy, IA! I’ll be there December 23.
Input/Output: I’m finally just about to finish Book Five of Karl Ove Knausgaard‘s multi-volume novel, My Struggle. Loving it, but I only read it at night, on my phone (ouch), in bed. It’s been a great read. Starting my friend Peter Cooper‘s new book, Johnny’s Cash and Charley’s Pride: Lasting Legends and Untold Adventures in Country Music (Spring House Press), too. Also back into the wonderfully endless journey that is East Window: The Asian Translations, by W.S. Merwin(Copper Canyon Press). A small sample, from Japanese Figures 1:
Dance all you like
But stay in the river
We will continue working towards finishing my new recording in December–the nine tracks we have are all almost finished; we have two more songs to record, though both of those won’t require much, instrumentation-wise. Stay tuned for a Pledgemusic campaign announcement. Yes, because I have no deal with a record company, (and pretty much don’t want one), YOU are the record company; you are a part of the record when you become a sponsor/contributor, and help me maintain creative control in what I do. Thank you, as ever, for your support.
Happy Holidays/Manic Shopping Season–hope to see you out there (not in the mall but somewhere) soon!