Monday, June 28, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
It's Getting Political In Here
Yesterday was all about promotion as The Boss did 3 radio interviews to promote the string of Montana gigs this weekend. Our first stop was a station with super nice people, and one of them informed us that the station hadn't played the Dixie Chicks since "The Incident" in 2003. Talk about a grudge. I AM NOT EVEN going to get into whether anyone thinks it was right, whether anyone thinks with hindsight it was right, whether it was geographically right or timed right yadda yadda. I have come around to the fact that most of the artists I respect have some of the same and some different opinions than I do, and that's fine. Radio, however, seems to hold a grudge for a while, maybe even to the point where the reason for the grudge is long gone and it's a simple matter of, "We don't play them."
Anyway, I was wondering how the fact that the writer of one of the Chicks' biggest hits was standing in their "No Dixie Chicks Zone" was going to affect anything. But everyone was super nice and the DJs told Susan how that song affected them at various points in their life, which is always cool to hear. So it was open arms for the songwriter, for sure.
I was relieved about that, but it made me wonder where the disconnect comes from for some of these long term haters. A songwriter writes it, studio musicians with families to feed play on it, publicists from Oklahoma, or Washington, or Vermont promote it...the artists tour with it, and in this case the songwriters tour with it, too. The merch girls sell CDs from it. It's a giant ecosystem and to blacklist the Chicks for exercising their free speech seven years ago affects a lot more people down the line than those 3 women. It's like boycotting Arizona Iced Tea which is made in New York because you don't like Arizona. Blah.
So there's as political as I'm going to get. I don't dwell on politics too much. It wastes my mind space, and it's a better job for other people with other dispositions. I am a big fan of being aware of who and what your actions affect, though...and thinking a little bit ahead past your kneejerk biases. Real people's jobs are at stake here. We're all trying to make a living by working hard, which is about as American as I can define.
Switching gears, it was over to Montana Radio Cafe for a lovely hour on Scott's front porch. Scott broadcasts with his own station from his gorgeous farm outside Bigfork, MT. You can stream his station live online right here. Scott plays great stuff!
We play The Raven right along the shore of Flathead Lake tonight, and it's a full moon! Should be fun.
And long live the Dixie Chicks.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Made it to Montana
Susan can back up the trailer really fast these days.
We made it to Montana! We narrowly avoided a tornado in Billings. It ripped off roofs of buildings and stuff, but by the time we got there 4 hours later or so to spend the night, all was quiet and there were just puddles left. Strange.
Now we're at Flathead Lake for a few days. I'm about to rip myself away from updating and booking emails to commune with nature, and maybe play the ukulele I hauled up here 2500 miles from home.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Why Oh Wyo
All right, above is the moose photo. I added some helpful scientific labeling so you all could see exactly where the moose were. The light was bad, but they were close. Then they walked by even closer. We were very quiet.
We drove through the Medicine Bow Mountains to do a radio spot in Saratoga, WY before the shows this weekend and while the weather was lovely, if we had come a week or 2 earlier I would have been crying for mercy because I am a cold weather wimp. I am also a hot weather wimp which is why I am so glad to be in this part of the country right now because it like 102 in Texas. I have a very specific temperature range I am happy with, apparently.
Susan busted out her new Voyage Air Guitar for the Bigfoot 99 Radio interview, as she is an endorsed artist for the company and it FOLDS IN HALF. More on that later, but it sounds great and here it is with her duct taped pants. Artistic? I think so.
We played at the Friendly Store in Centennial, WY, which is a town of 60 people and then everyone else who comes in from towns nearby...so we had a pretty packed place. Always fun, though the space to dance backs right up against the stage, so I had to run interference and be all bouncer-like to try and keep the dancers from knocking the microphone and knocking Susan's teeth out. She still got popped in the face once but no harm done. Super fun show.
The next day we headed over the mountain again to Saratoga, where some friends of ours put on an awesome festival IN THEIR FRONT YARD. ON THE RIVER. It was amazing. Even more amazing the yard had been full of water a few days before due to some flooding, but it receded just in time for some music.
There was a noise ordinance curfew, so while Susan and I were playing "Wide Open Spaces," the police apparently told then to shut down the sound system. It was all very polite, but it was my first time having a show ended due to the cops. Good times!
We slept and slept and slept and then drove and drove and drove so we are in Billings (narrowly missing a tornado). Today we make it all the way to Flathead Lake. Google it, it's super far up there. Yay!
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Headed to Montana!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
So Far So Great
|Well I've lost track of days already. Oh well. I'll just blog when I feel like it, like usual.|
We are in Centennial, WY. Susan played a fun show in Arvada, CO at the Old Towne Pickin' Parlor, a killer music store where you can play anything hanging on the walls, and there are a LOT of cool guitars on the walls. I fell in love with a little small-bodied Martin, and checked the price tag: $8995. So I tried my hardest to sell $90,000 worth of merchandise to earn my 10% commission so I could buy the guitar. I fell a little short. Next time.
Then we stayed with the parents of my college roomie, Beth (who is now Dr. Beth, yay for smart roommates!), and Beth's mom made us puffy pancakes with gluten free flour. Something about that flour makes them huge but very light. The only pancake where you feel like floating after eating it.
After a general car maintenance check, we left Denver and headed up to Wyoming yesterday. It was errand day, so we stopped and bought a new power inverter for the car because the old one had broken, and I am pretty antsy and useless in a car without the ability to plug in my laptop. Susan understands this, thankfully.
We also stopped at a Guitar Center and I got a "how to play the ukulele" book. Suz might regret that later, haha. Or she might just make me drive the whole way to cut down on my practice time.
Upon arriving in Centennial, we were there no more than 20 minutes when the dogs went ballistic and we went outside to find 2 moose (mooses, meese, mice, mooi) in the yard, no more than 20 yards away. My first wild moose sighting. They walked by us and went along their moosey way. Very cool.
Today is a day off and I am parked in the hotel room, about to do some booking and edit the great "All Nite Drive" epic film, sure to win me and Oscar and skyrocket us to Youtube fame and fortune. Or something.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Day 2 and 3
All right so this counts for 2 blogs, since we did our Houston to Taos drive and if I wasn't driving, I was sleeping or talking deliriously to Susan about something silly. It was surprisingly...not bad. We totaled it at 22 hours total, including a stop in Fort Worth to pick up our friends Amy and Cheryl, and a 1.5 hour stopover in Amarillo...since we left Houston at about 10 PM on Sunday and got to Taos at 7 PM (8 PM TX time) on Monday. The gig started at 7, but luckily Susan is a pro at putting on makeup while I negotiate mountain passes from Cimarron to Taos. Gorgeous!
Sunday, June 13, 2010
30 Day Tour...Day 1
Friday, June 11, 2010
I'm like the guy in Groundhog Day, where every morning I wake up freaked out that I am SO BEHIND because booking is like this: you book one gig, you do a little dance, then you look at the rest of the empty days on the calendar and you slump a little. So even though I just booked a gig for March 2011, and we are discussing plans as far out as May 2011, I am freaking out about July 2010. There is no prolonged joy in this job if you are a perfectionist mini-procrastinator.
I say mini-procrastination because it's not like I put this stuff off for weeks or days. I chip away at it and that's what you're supposed to do. You make calls, you email people, you wait.
I DID spend most of today thinking that I should be getting around to working (the joys of working at home, I guess). So as the day wore on I convinced myself I was soooo behind, that there were no more gigs ever to be had ever, and that I might as well apply at Starbucks.
When I finally sat down, sorted emails, made some calls, checked up on things...I realized that I am where I am supposed to be, can't humanly do more, and am doing ok.
But that didn't stop my little mini-procrastination fit from FREAKING ME OUT. Sigh. And I will wake up tomorrow morning and have the same freak out, even though I worked all afternoon, hence I am SO Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.
But this is not a complaint blog, no. Because I looove the little fireworks of successes I get every day. And the connections I get to make in my brain between maps and miles and venues and dates. I know a lot of jobs don't give instant gratification like that, and I like me some instant and I like my instant NOW.
I just thought I'd remind myself in blog form that IT WILL ALL WORK OUT like it always does so that when I wake up tomorrow I'll chill.
Excited to head to Montana! It's hot here.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
And 11th hour overdub is not uncommon in the record-making process, I've discovered. Luckily that just means Dan and I get to hang out, talk geekery, and play bass.
We sent off our next round of mixing tweaks, and I'll get more roughs to listen to when I'm traveling. The car stereo is going to get a workout!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
I should go to bed.
I photo'd and video'd a recording session at Red Leaf for my buddies in the band Blue J last week. I am going to make a charming witty thing out of it, but it's 1 AM and maybe I should start that in the morning.
Monday, June 7, 2010
|Emily Shirley, my favoritest graphic designer who rocked the artwork on The Early Year is working on the art for For & Against, and she came up with a pretty cool idea for it. It involves giving me homework, but when your homework is to DOODLE, I'm ok with that. So I've been doodling things that may or may not have anything to do with the songs on the EP. (Most of them do). It's been fun! For kicks, I did a little word art, too...looks a little something like this:|
Sunday, June 6, 2010
The Big Prep
To pack: aviator glasses for ultimate cool.
One week from yesterday we will be embarking on our 4-week long tour to New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, and Kansas. And who know what else I will book between here and now. (Show me some love, Nebraska!)
This means I am not yet starting to pack, but I am thinking about it. In earnest. There's the whole inner battle of...pack enough but NOT TOO MUCH. The last thing you want to do is move your own crap around for a month because it's in the way and no, I did not need to bring my t-shirt commemorating the 16th annual Fiery Foods Show 2007. My mantra is If You Forget It, You Can Probably Buy It. (Note to self: does not apply to Macbooks. Must remember that).
The first part of the drive will be a bear, and I intend to make a short film about it. No title yet but the subtitle is, "Seventeen Hours In The Car From Houston To Taos." Mmhmm. We try to avoid routings like this, but sometimes stuff just lines up and you do it. So we're going to leave a gig in north Houston on Sunday night and drive all night to Taos for a Monday show. I expect delirious footage. Or boring footage.
We're also going to try an homage to Rachael Ray on this tour and attempt "Two Folk-singers Eat On $25.00 a Day Total." I think it's doable if we shop right, avoid convenience stores, and plan ahead (what?). It will probably be about 4000 times healthier, too.
You, dear readers, will become intimately familiar with the per unit cost of a box of Luna Bars, that's for sure.
Packing notes to self:
Something to read
Chargers for everything
Aux cable for iPod
Hoodie for Montana weather
Some other stuff....
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Kerrville Folk Festival Pt. 1
First of all, my friend Ashley informed me that this weekend (May 29th to be exact) was my 4th anniversary of moving to Texas. I'm glad she keeps track for me, because I had forgotten. I spent the anniversary in style, for sure...
Festival preparation: lots of water, sunglasses, Gold Bond Medicated Powder (it makes you all tingly!). Check.
The Kerrville Folk Festival is in its 39th year and is pretty much The End All of Folk Festivals. Thousands of people camp for the 3-week festival, and tons of great artists play. It's also home to one of the most elite songwriting competitions, New Folk, which Susan judged this year. Can you see how she's judging you through the camera lens?
I had a pretty great time for the 2 days we were there. After New Folk, Sara Hickman took the stage for the children's show, which made you want to get up and dance to tunes like "Pirate Tae Kwan Do" ("AAARRRRR! HI-YAH!").
Saturday night on the main stage we saw Producer Dan and his smokin' band porterdavis. So great! They brought the grit, in case there was soo much tie-dye and patchouli in the air.
Sunday was another round of New Folk judging. So interesting to watch the process and then compare our picks to the judges. I think they did a great job and it was fun to see all 32 contestants one after the other. That night was a big one, as Terri Hendrix was playing and then the Indigo Girls made their Kerrville debut.
So I was wandering around and found Terri before her set, and was put on harmonica duty for the night to make sure her harps made it onstage. She and Lloyd play about 46 different instruments so it was going to be, as Terri put it, a "melee" of a set change.
Terri introduced me to Amy Ray, folk royalty, and I said hi and tried to be chill. Cool like my Gold Bond Medicated Powder. After a while I just had to say something to Amy...and I will never forget what I finally said.
"Excuse me, do you know where Terri is?" Haha. Smooth. She was very nice.
Terri and Lloyd rocked their set; the Kerrville crowd is very devoted to the Hendrix Experience. Then the Indigo Girls shared the stage with Lloyd for a bunch of tunes and Terri also played harmonica on quite a few and sang. I was so proud and thrilled. When they launched into "Galileo" and "Closer to Fine," which everybody knows and sings along to, and are some of the cornerstone tunes of the modern singer-songwriter pantheon, I got a little verklempt.
Not a bad way to mark four years here. We stayed up until about 4 AM wandering the camp sites and playing guitar and watching the jams. And now my sleep schedule is most decidedly off. I have just enough time to recover until Part 2 of Kerrville in June 11th, when Susan takes the main stage for her set! Life's good and I am fortunate for the company I keep.