Hello, friends! First things first:
Saturday 12/1: Kelly House Concert in St. Louis. My friend, the uber-talented Steph Graham, joins me once again at one of my very favorite house concert venues! STL, please come on over; I’m always thrilled to play this room. For more info, contact: email@example.com
Friday 12/7: Enoch’s Pub, Monroe, LA. YES. At last, a return to the old stomping grounds—it’s a record release show, dang it, since this is the first time I’ve played my old hometown since Tilt and Shine dropped, back in late July. I will have vinyl, kids—more about that below.
TOUR JOURNAL #2 (of 2): Although the road does indeed go on forever, I send you friendly greetings from home, yes, home. I know–I’m not supposed to be here. It’s cold and gray and wet outside, so given the option, I’m in here. Closing storm windows, performing minor maintenance . . . whatever I can do to help keep the place warm and keep myself from climbing the walls.
Yes, there was that tour with Todd Snider I was on. After a great night in Evanston, IL, as I told you previously, the next morning I drove to Goshen, Indiana for the first of several planned radio station visits along my way. Thanks to Jason Samuel and all at WGCS for such a warm welcome (and damn fine interview questions, Brandon!) Drove to Columbus on Thursday; on that drive I started writing a song, or something that could become a song—it’s the first time that’s happened since Joe and I started work on Tilt and Shine. Got to my hotel, and a little later went down to Natalie’s for dinner (the venue I usually play when in the Columbus area). Back to the room and down for a much better sleep than the night before.
Got up early Friday and loaded out of the hotel; I had a live interview/performance on WCBE starting at 11 am; needed to be there by 10:30. Had a great time there; maybe some of you were able to listen in. After lunch I drove down High St. to see my friend Duff Lindsay, proprietor of Lindsay Gallery. Duff and I have been friends for years and it was fun to catch up and see so much great art there.
While talking with Duff, I felt my phone vibrate in my back pocket—a text had come in. I checked it when I left the gallery; it was my manager Bill asking me to call him immediately. That “immediately” thing: it’s either really good news, or the opposite. Got in the van and rang him while on my way down to the hotel where I was staying that night—provided by the promoter of Friday’s show with Todd. Plan was to check in and try to catch a short nap before load-in time at the theater; Todd’s tour manager had also asked me to pick up a FedEx package which he’d had sent to the hotel. I’m listening to Google’s a-little-late-on-the-draw instructions through my earbuds while driving, when Bill answers the phone and tells me: not only is tonight’s show cancelled, but the whole tour is toast as well. I really think he’s joking, though he’s never kidded around about anything like this. But the more he talks, I realize: it’s true. Todd was very ill and needed serious medical attention, so they’d turned their bus around and were headed back to Nashville. I didn’t know what to do. Here I was, being where I was supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to do, and now: nothing. I retrieved the package and checked into the room. I was reeling, quietly—one thing that really helps me keep myself together on the road is knowing that I have reasons to be out there—specific events on the calendar—and it is my job, in the driest sense, to move from one of those events to the next, from hour to hour, from day to day, in timely fashion. I sat in my room and texted back and forth with managers Bill and Nick, who were talking with my booking agent, and my radio promoter, about what to do—whether I should continue east and just do the radio spots, or bail on the whole thing and go home. The latter idea won out.
Thanks to manager Bill, I picked up a little opening set at Natalie’s later that night, for the great Terry Davidson. Just a half hour. (Quite a different setting—I was originally supposed to open for Todd that night at a 900-seat theater!) And I was told beforehand (and I’m so grateful for this) that there were two large groups of folks there who were NOT there for the music. (Therefore, don’t take the sound of ambivalence, etc. personally! So I didn’t.) Didn’t make any money for playing the show, though I did sell several CDs to two new fans, and the venue did feed me (I LOVE their pizza). Took the pie in a to-go box and headed back to my room (quite a posh suite at a very nice hotel downtown). Had dinner, and made preparations for the journey home. (Thanks to Bob Teague, too, for sending out a last-minute email to his list about my last-minute set at Natalie’s.)
After a pleasantly uneventful return on Saturday, I settled back in to the domestic norm—this being something I fight against, as it is counter to the rock n’ roll mode. But after banging around the midwest for several days and being faced with an unexpected and dour conclusion, with little to show for it, some constancy and peace were very much okay with me.
So I’m finally getting last year’s tax return finished, and yes, sponsors, I’m getting those handwritten lyrics done for you, and otherwise helping out around the house. Looking forward to the holidays; it’s always a good period for self-reflection, for a long gaze out into the future’s alluring ether. Maybe best of all—I don’t have to go to the mall to do that.
FINALLY VINYL: Yes, at last report, the Tilt and Shine vinyl LPs should ship out from the plant to me next week. And believe me, I’ll be getting those out to you sponsors and folks who’ve pre-ordered right away! You can still pre-order here:
Just scroll down til you see the vinyl pre-order option. The great thing about the pre-order is that you get a download of the record, in whatever file format you prefer, right away, with your purchase.
I hope my friend Todd Snider is getting the care he needs; I haven’t heard anything since I got back to Nashville, so I assume he is on the mend. (In fact, I see on social media that some of those shows that we missed are already being rescheduled. Hoorah!)
Stay safe out there, and see ya when I see ya. Hopefully soon.