Tour Blog from Chicago, Illinois


Last night, I played at Uncommon Ground on Devon in Chicago. My voice was feeling a lot better than it was two nights ago in Madison, and several friends came out. I have to say that it’s been really encouraging to see so many people coming out to these mid-week shows. I’ll definitely go into my next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evening shows with a bit more confidence.

And now, let’s go full-circle, shall we?

About six years ago, I was in Chicago the morning before a show I was scheduled to play at Uncommon Ground on Clark. I was reading the Sun-Times and became really overwhelmed with everything that was going on in the world. War, rising health care costs, job loss all over the country. That afternoon, I wrote the song It’s Been A Real Hard Year. And that evening at my show- six hours after writing the song- I performed it live for the first time.

Since that time, Hard Year has almost taken on a life of its own. A live version of the song was featured in the LayFlats documentary a few years back, I get regular emails from strangers asking me where my inspiration for the song came from, and someone at nearly every show I play mentions how much they like the song. Although I feel that it’s one of the best songs I’ve ever written, when I perform it live it almost feels like I’m doing a cover. Like it isn’t mine anymore. And I’m okay with that.

I sometimes wonder if other musicians get sick of playing their “hit song” night after night, year after year. While I can’t answer for anyone else, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of performing It’s Been A Real Hard Year.

(download the song for free at


About mikereeb
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