I was sad, indeed, to leave Maine, but the drive to Burlington, VT, was absolutely beautiful. In Burlington, I played at a great coffee shop/bar/restaurant called Radio Bean. I played first while folks were eating dinner and there was some sort of Spanish club meeting going on. People were polite, though, and a few dropped some change into the tip jar.
The next day I headed toward Niagara Falls (with a stopover in Elizabethtown, NY). I accidentally made a reservation at a cheap hotel in Canada (incidentally, my room flooded that night from a “rube in a tub” on the next floor up). The Canadian side is hilarious. It’s like Las Vegas + Disneyland + Hollywood + beautiful waterfalls. I took a million photos and then kept heading west through Canada, then into Michigan, landing in Grand Rapids for a night.
I planned to take a ferry from Grand Rapids to Milwaukee but it turned out to cost boatloads of cash (har har), so I ended up driving. The show in Milwaukee was small but fun. I played at Art Bar Riverwest with Meadow Parish and Lady Cannon, both of whom I really liked.
The next day I drove to Northfield, MN, where I played at The Chapel, run by Michael Morris of Dewi Sant. I opened for Paleo and Caroline Smith, who both have Iowa City connections. It was a great show. The audience was full of college students who sat quietly and seemed to really appreciate the music. And there was a lot to appreciate–Paleo and Caroline Smith are GOOD (and I think I did alright, too).
The next night I played at Nina’s Coffee Café in St. Paul. Some friends and family came to the show and listened to me try to sing over espresso makers Nina’s is a nice place…next time I’ll bring a PA, though. I caught up with family for the next couple of days and then played at Amsterdam Bar & Hall to end the weekend. The Sunland Singers started the show. They are a father-son duo (that night, anyway) who played some great old covers and got the crowd riled up. Then I played, and calmed everyone down.
The next day I drove up to Moorhead, MN/Fargo, ND. I played at Red Raven Espresso Room in Fargo, a nice little place with a friendly, albeit sparse, crowd. It was a fun night–I got to catch up with an Iowa City friend AND cross North Dakota off my list of states to visit, leaving just Alaska and Hawaii to reach all 50.
On my way from Fargo to Fort Collins, CO, I stopped in Wall, SD (and did the obligatory visit to Wall Drug), drove through Badlands National Park (aMAZing), visited the Wounded Knee memorial in the Pine Ridge Reservation, and stumbled upon Carhenge in Alliance, NE. It was a fantastic two-day drive. I want to go back and do it again sometime.
I made it to Fort Collins on a Wednesday night and played a house show at my good friend John Lindenbaum’s house (of Lonelyhearts fame) on Thursday night. John played first, then me, then a local Fort Collins band called Vee Device. It was a fun night (beer tastes better and works faster in Colorado) with a very generous crowd.
For the next few days I will be dog sitting two sweet and mischievous dogs, catching up on correspondences, planning the southern leg of my tour, and enjoying a warm fireplace and cable TV as it snows outside. Next stop: Yellowstone. It’s gonna be coooooold….