special thanks to Clement Photography for doing my portrait this afternoon.
@tims96 & @mamabirdrc in the front of my trusty Subaru. Goodbye #sxsw, you’re a hellish mistress but I love you.
Apologies for the delay. Limited wi-fi and marathon drives have made it hard to update.
I woke up late on Tuesday morning and headed out to Boulder to do an in studio at radio 1190. I parked my car and wandered around. I got a cappuccino at a small bakery. I let myself be a snob about cappuccino. Homegirl messed it up. It as way too wet and the steamed milk was too poofy. Thankfully, this is largely inconsequential.
There’s always such a good energy surrounding college radio stations. People hanging around, listening to music, half doing reading for their next class. I played five songs and talked with a nice DJ named Max about songwriting and my approach to building an album. The thin air in Denver makes my voice feel weak. excited to get a little lower in altitude.
I headed back to denver where I met back up with my friend Katie. Katie was the most gracious and awesome host. After a long day of skiing she brought me over to a dinner party at her friend’s place. I stopped in to say hi and make some new friends and had to head over to the venue.
The Lion’s Lair is an awesome dive bar on Colfax Ave. You can tell it’s seen its healthy share of punk shows. It smells vaguely of urine and there are stickers covering the walls. It has a pinball machine and a cruisin’ USA videogame. If i lived in Denver, I would probably come here often. I played with two bands. The first, Wichita Run, was well received by the crowd and played a solid opening set.
I was overwhelmed by the support that came out for the show. So many friends I hadn’t seen in years and people that I barely knew from college. Even people who didn’t know that I was doing folk songs these days came out to support and say hi. It was enormously flattering and a ton of fun to catch up with people. I played a relatively well. And said goodbye to some renewed friends I will hopefully see sooner rather then later.
Tinder Box came on afterwards and brought the party. Despite some minor sound difficulties, they played a killer set. They were all super gracious dudes and i had a good time listening to them. Aftewards Katie and I dropped off the car and headed out for a nightcap at her local bar. $2 tuesdays. All drinks are $2. That makes no sense. Went to bed later then I should have.
In the morning I headed out to a brunch spot called City O’ City to meet a lady I’d met the night before. We figured out that we had a ton of mutual friends in common and I had some damn good juervos rancheros. I love juervos rancheros.
I hit the road for amarillo late, around 12:30, excited about my new friend and stressed about time. The drive was long and boring, with a nice construction delay at the end. Like a bummer cherry on top. I headed straight to the venue where the baristas kindly offered me a cup of coffee. I ordered some tacos and a beer on top of that and sat down to recover. The lineup for the night was Myself, Christy Hayes, Benjamin Ballimer, & The Statue of Liberty. Everyone was awesome and I really suggest you check out their stuff if you get the chance. Benjamin in particular had a song called “Making It Up As I Go” that completely floored me.
After great sets by all the bands I headed to a barroom not too far away with my host. Maggie is a wonderful songwriter that my friend (and Austin host) put me in touch with. Along with her friend Ed we took the stage at the second bar and played a some songs for a generally unintersetd crowd. Ed’s a kind of wirey guy who is completely uninhibited. He must have played for two hours straight while Maggie and I took turns taking breaks.
Bartender bought me a beer for playing. Usually it’s a good sign if you’ve been in town for five hours and a bartender has already bought you a beer.
After last call, we went over to some random girls house for the after party. She asked me if i was afriad of dogs because she had two huge pitbulls. When she opened the door, two little snack dogs ran out and jumped on my lap. They were cute.
Fell asleep on a couch, completely exhausted. Juervos Rancheros in the morning and off to Dallas.
Another long drive. Saw my friends Statue of Liberty on the road. Landed in late again and hung out with my good friend MK for a bit. Headed over to the West End Pub for the open mic I was hosting. Everyone at the bar was extremely friendly including a songwriter named Sunshine and soundman who gave my beard a solid run for it’s money. Two twenty minute sets and a bunch of open mic-ness later we headed back to the car to find a parking ticket. Dallas is great except for parking meters you need to pay for until Midnight. C’mon guys, really?
Tonight at Eno’s should be a really good time. Looking forward to Austin!
Landed in Salt Lake around 3pm. Tired from the drive I stopped in at a coffee shop and got something to perk me up while I caught up on business and the internet. I walked around Salt lake trying to find some shops and other stuff to check out, but I guess I didn’t think twice when i booked myself a show there on a Sunday. Not much is open in Salt Lake on Sundays.
So i headed over to the bar where I was playing. Gracie’s is a nice place in central Salt Lake. They describe themselves as a “Decidedly great bar with unexpectedly good food.” I couldn’t agree more. I ordered the kobe beef burger medium rare. Hot damn if that wasn’t one of the best hamburgers I’ve ever had. I had more time to kill before my set started at 7pm so i went to my car and took a nap.
It’s important to distinguish between venues that have shows and bars that advertise ‘Live Music.” Both are totally valid and I’ve done my fair share of both types of shows. Gracie’s falls into the latter category. My set was supposed to be from 7-10. Now believe me, I love songwriting and I love my songs, but by about 9:15 I was about ready to stop listening to hip hatchet. I’m not much good at bar band entertainment, particularly in the context of HH.
I took a few breaks and busted out covers by bruce, townes, hayes carll, lightnin hopkins, widower, and a few others. On top of that I essentially played my entire discography. A few folks were there to listen. A nice couple on a dinner date were really fond of the songs and took home some CD’s. Also a skier came because she had found me online and decided she felt like hearing some songs! Confirmation that the internet still works. The staff at Gracie’s was extremely pleasant and I had an overall positive experience there. It wasn’t the best show I’ve ever played, but I enjoyed myself.
A buddy from college I haven’t seen in years showed up for the second half of the set and offered me his couch for the night. Catching up with him was a real joy.
I got an early start on the day and headed out to Denver at around 830am. I-80 East straight across Wyoming. If you’ve never done that drive, it’s intense. The majority of the drive was flat and boring punctuated by a few moments of terrifyingly strong winds and snow sweeping across the road. I passed some scary looking accidents. Eight hours later i found myself reunited with a close friend I haven’t seen in years. Caught up over a few drinks at the local pub and I took advantage of a quiet night off.
Today I’m playing an in studio @ 1190 AM Boulder’s College radio. Tonight I’m at the Lion’s Lair with some great bands.
Also, check out my sweet clip ons.
So I’m back on the road. I’ll be frank, I was nervous about this trip. I didn’t plan it nearly as well as the last one, but god damn does it feel good to be traveling again.
Instead of my original plan to play in Bend, OR on friday night I booked it out to Pendleton, OR. Unfortunately there was a miscommunication with the venue in Bend and they weren’t even going to be open on Friday Night. Pendleton is a funny place. It’s cowboy town USA. Most men wear cowboy hats without a hint of irony. It’s kind of refreshing, but I stuck out like a sore thumb. I didn’t really talk to anyone and retreated to my motel room early.
Headed out early to Boise, ID. Unfortunately there was yet another miscommunication with the venue. The guy who’d booked me 2 months back was since fired and they had their regular saturday band playing. So, Plan B. Busk on the street until a stranger in town from LA hands you $50 in two dollar bills.
Once i found out that my show wasn’t going to happen, i went to the local record store and asked the clerk if they’d recommend any venues that might be able to tack me onto a bill last minute. They directed me down towards The Crux, a relatively new & hip coffee shop and bar in downtown Boise. There I met Austin who was immediately receptive, sympathetic, and psyched on my situation. Unfortunately the bands booked for the night were techno DJz, but he was eager to help. Austin turned out to be the fiddle player for the billy goats and suggested that we go busk in one of the more well trafficked alleys. Cue the $2 bills.
Folks in Boise are extremely receptive to street musicians. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. A gentlemen in town for a convention loved the sound so much that he put down fifty bucks in $2 bills. I have no idea where they came from or if they’re even real. Regardless, the gesture was appreciated.
After retreating back to the Crux for a few hours for a beer and some quiet, I grabbed my guitar and went back to the alley. I made less money and hurt my voice, but luckily encountered a kind woman named Alex.
Alex works for the Air Force. She’d been drinking since morning and sat down to enjoy a few of my songs. After generously tipping me, she invited me to a blue grass concert she was on her way to see. Next thing i know, I was in a sea of jam-band hippies at a Leftover Salmon concert.
White people love jam bands.
leftover salmon are good musicians. I preferred it when they just sang straight songs and didn’t go off into noodle-land, but the concert was a whole lot of fun.
The night ended at Alex’s place where we drank a few more beers and i played guitar while she chain-smoked camel lights. Her roommate’s dog, taebarius, was chilling too. I was lucky enough to have a bed to myself (they have a guest bedroom for friends who get too drunk get to spend the night, brilliant)
Just landed in Salt lake. The drive was terrifying almost 0 visibility for two hours of the trip due to fog and snow. America, show me just how weird you can get!