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.
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!