States: 6 + D.C.
The tour is off to a fantastic start. There’s been a lot of driving, a lot of catching up with friends, and best of all, a lot of music.
First was a house show in Ames on 8/28 with Nate Logsdon and some other very talented Ames musicians. The scene there is so energetic and supportive of local musicians. They welcomed Randy and me and listened patiently as we worked through our set with no amplification (I don’t know how to sing without a mic…it’s a thing). A fun night overall.
Next was Des Moines on 8/29 with Thankful Dirt. We played long-ass sets, but it gave me a chance to pull out and dust off some really old songs. We played at the Bombay Bicycle Club, which offered a great space but a less-than-great staff. The bartenders were rude and ended up cheating Thankful Dirt out of their guarantee. Apparently the owner has since reached out them and tried to rectify the situation–I hope he does. Even though the night ended on a negative note, I was happy to finally play with Thankful Dirt after years of sharing the same band members. ‘Twas long overdue.
Then it was off to Iowa City to open for the one and only Leon Russell at the Englert Theatre. I was terrified before the show, but once Randy, Ryan, and I took the stage, everything felt right and we played a great set. The response was very positive. Though we obviously have a different kind of vibe than the crowd came to hear, so many people came up to us afterwards to let us know they loved the music. One audience member in particular surprised me by saying he was a member of the Underbeats, a band whose song, “Wishes Don’t Come True,” I covered on my first album. What?! After we finished our set, Leon & his band got the audience on their feet with sped-up versions of his songs and some popular covers. All in all, it was one of best shows I’ve ever played, in terms of sound, fun & merch sales (yesssss). I should also note that the Englert hospitality and sound folks are awesome–it’s such a pleasure to play at venue with such a cool and competent staff. Long live the Englert!
On Saturday, 9/1, I headed to Chicago to play at the Tonic Room with Dead Coast (aka Brian Johannesen) and local singer-songwriter Lauren Hubert. Brian drove all the way up from Nashville and brought a whole lot of his Chicago-area family out to the show. My brother and his friends, who had all been to the Iowa game at Soldier Field earlier in the day, also came out, as did quite a few other friends from Iowa City. Randy played with both Brian and me, and then all three of us played a few together. It’s always a treat to play with those guys. If you live in Nashville, befriend Brian and make him play for you. You’ll be glad you did.
After Chicago, I set out on my own without the boys to keep me company or make my songs sound better. After visiting a good friend in Cleveland on Sunday night, I arrived in Arlington, VA, on Monday, 9/3. Mercedes Mill started out the night, then me, then Crys Matthews. We each have our own brand of folk, and I think we made for an interesting, eclectic mix within the singer-songwriter genre. Some D.C.-area family and friends came out to the show, including some my Iowa City besties who randomly transplanted to D.C. at the same time. The folks at Iota had been very accommodating from the start, and continued to be the night of the show. The sound was great, they fed me, boozed me, and paid me. What more could I ask for?
I’ll be hanging out with friends and family in the D.C. area for the next few days, then I’m off to Pittsburgh for the weekend. I’ll be playing at Hambone’s Pub on Saturday, 9/8. More updates to follow.
Thanks to everyone who has come out to shows so far or expressed encouragement in other ways. Life on the road is treating me well so far…