States: 14 + D.C.
After spending a few lovely days in D.C., I backtracked west on the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is high on my list of places to end up some day. If you’ve never been there, you should go. It will surprise and enchant you. I played at a bar/restaurant called Hambone’s. I had no idea what to expect, but the booker, Jo, was super nice and helpful. Locals Sam Young (“The Marbits”) and Shay opened the show. The crowd was interesting–a few friendly Iowa folks and a bunch of Pittsburghers who had spent the day drinking at a beer fest. I wouldn’t describe them as enthralled listeners, but it was a good crowd and fun night overall.
I headed back to D.C. for a couple more days of business, then headed up to NYC. There were a couple of magic moments on the drive. First, “America” by Simon & Garfunkel came on shuffle right as I entered the New Jersey Turnpike (“Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike / They’ve all come to look for America”), then “Atlantic City” by The Boss came on a few songs later. These were songs I was obsessed with as a young lass, dreaming of someday being an adult and traveling the country. Then, as I was pulling into Brooklyn, I had a great view of the light towers (it was the anniversary of 9/11).
I hung out in Red Hook for a few days with some good friends, then played at Branded Saloon in Brooklyn on Friday, 9/14. Kathryn Musilek (“North English”) and Benjamin Cartel of Kaiser Cartel also played. Kathryn is an Iowa City ex-pat who played with many of the same musicians I play with. She is incredibly talented, warm, and funny, as is her music partner, Ryan. It was a lot of fun playing with her and singing on some songs together. There was a good crowd filled with former Marshalltown and Iowa City residents. I had so much fun.
The next day I drove up to Providence to play at Blue State Coffee. I wasn’t expecting much of a crowd since I don’t know a single person in Providence. My mom’s college roommate Helen and her husband Fred showed up–two friendly faces were better than none! I played for about 40 minutes to people who were studying or chatting with friends, then a Blue State barista, Ed Foster, played some tunes.
I decided not to stay in Providence and instead headed up toward Portland, ME, where I would play the next night. I ended up sleeping in Amesbury, MA, and getting to Portland the next morning. Portland is wicked gorgeous. It was sunny and warm when I arrived, and I felt like a million bucks. I played at Dobrá Tea Room with a young lady named Marissa Owens. It was Marissa’s very first show ever. She was very charming and has a bright future in music. (Do I sound like an old lady? I feel like one.)
The timing worked out perfectly for me to meet up with some Iowa City friends who were vacationing in Maine. They all came to the show in Portland, then we headed up to Tenant’s Harbor where they rented an adorable little farm house very close to the water. THEN, in a fortuitous twist of fate, we were upgraded to a beautiful new home right on the water. I’m typing this from the dining room overlooking the ocean now. From here I’ll head to Burlington, VT, where I’ll play on Friday, 9/21 at Radio Bean.
It will be very difficult to leave this place…