Tour Blog from Illiana (“…I chose to wake up early…”)

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2013 SHOW COUNT: 99!

Nothing like waking up and being greeted by a gorgeous Indianapolis sunrise! Glad I chose to wake up early this morning rather than hit the snooze button a few (dozen) times. I’m back in Ohio now but so thankful for the time I was able to spend with such lovely people in Indiana and Illinois this weekend. Although my time on the highways can get lonely, I rarely find myself feeling that way once in the cities I’m visiting. Endless thanks to those of you who put me up for a night, played board games with me, or helped me set up a show. I’m talking to you Matt in Fountain Square, Kimmie at Foundry Provisions, Todd in Champaign, Kari & Craig in Bloomington, and Lesli in Indianapolis!

This Friday, I’ll be driving south for my last shows of 2013 which will include my 100th show of the year! You can find me in Kentucky (one show), Georgia (two shows), and Florida (vacation). If I don’t respond to your emails, texts, or phone calls before November 17, don’t take it personally. I will probably just have thrown all of my electronic devices into the Atlantic Ocean.

Have a great week everyone, and remember that those beautiful leaves will eventually fall to the ground. Here’s hoping you’re able to get outside as much as you can to enjoy the autumn weather and scenery!

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Tour Blog from Missouri (“…when a venue does things right…”)

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2013 SHOW COUNT: 92!

Two weeks ago, I kicked off a nine day, nine show fall tour in Madison, Wisconsin (“Stop rubbing it in my face!”). After taking off the entire month of July, it was really nice to get back out on the road. This past week, the tour came to an end in Missouri with shows at Foam in St. Louis and Lindbergs in Springfield.

As a touring musician, both venues were two of the best that I worked with along this tour. Here are a few reasons why…

  • They both hung the posters I mailed them. You’d think this would be common sense for all venues, but I would say that only about 50% of the venues I play take the time to hang my posters. The photo above is a prime example of a venue doing all they can to help promote an upcoming show. Yes!
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  • They both promoted the show online. The musician I played with at Foam and the venue’s booking contact created a great Facebook Event Page for the show and put in the time to spread the word. The day of my show at Lindbergs, they shared my Bandcamp Page link on their Facebook page. Yes!
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  • They both found LOCAL musicians that agreed to share the bill with me. When emailing certain venues about dates I’m trying to fill along tours, some of them will get back to me and say, “You can play here, but it’s up to you to find a good local band with a strong draw to play with you.” If an Oklahoma City venue asks this of me, how am I- a musician that has never played Oklahoma City before- supposed to find a good local band with a strong draw? I will gladly put in a lot of time to help promote a show, but I feel that this request is a tall order. Foam paired me with the amazingly talented Bobby Stevens, and Lindbergs paired me with The Violet Lockets and Minor Miner. All three are local acts that brought friends and fans out. Yes!

Real talk. Being an independent touring musician without a label’s support is incredibly difficult and draining. Emotionally, financially, and physically. So when a venue does things right, it only helps the musician(s) feel better and more prepared for their show. Although it may be hard to pull out a crowd on certain weekdays, venues putting in the time and effort to help make every show at their location a great show definitely makes a difference.

To both Foam and Lindbergs, thank you for caring about my shows and promoting them as much as I did. See you again soon, I hope!

Tour Blog from Northern Indiana (“…makes me feel less crazy.”)

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Okay. Look at this picture. Really take it in. This little guy jumps on stage at Folky Fish Fest in Angola, Indiana with his banjolele and the Woodstove Flapjacks welcome him up, give him a chair, set-up a microphone for him, and refer to him as their manager for the remainder of their set. This was just one fantastic moment packed into a weekend of fantastic people and music. Get to Folky Fish Fest 2014! I this it just became my favorite weekend of the entire calendar year.

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Friday night, I was in South Bend, Indiana playing at The Pool with Laura K. Balke, Brett Newski, and Bailey Williams (pictured above). All three are ridiculously lovely people and talented musicians. I’ve said that about others in the past, but it is always genuine. One of the best things about touring and traveling is meeting different musicians from all over the country. As Brett said to me as we took a walk on Friday afternoon, “Meeting other musicians out who tour as much as I do makes me feel less crazy.” Amen, Brett. Amen.

Thank you again to Gus and Dena at The Pool as well as Luke and all the organizers at Folky Fish Fest! Just the motivation I needed to wrap up my August 2013 Fall Tour in Lafayette, St. Louis, and central Missouri this week.

Tour Blog from Chesterton, Indiana (“Here’s to the underdog.”)

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2013 SHOW COUNT: 85!

Last Thursday, I shared the stage with Dave Davidson from Maps & Atlases (pictured above), Brian Johannesen, Keith Campbell, and Sweet People in Chesterton, Indiana at The Sound Cellar. The music shared that night was fantastic, but what stood out to me was the amazing character and kindness that ALL of the musicians displayed that night and the many sacrifices that the owners are making to bring great live shows to this small town.

Some musicians would prefer to play to dozens of people in a 21+ music venue with stage lights, fancy mics, and a great sound system in a big city rather than play to 20 people in an all-ages DIY basement venue in a one stoplight town. I am not one of those musicians. Give me intimacy. Give me a basement cellar. Give me owners who run a venue in their small town because they care about artistic expression and not money. Give me a back porch. Give me a midnight bonfire in northern Indiana. Give me a Wednesday night. Give me a living room without any microphones.

I’m booking shows for my November Tour right now. Between you and me, I hope every single show on that tour ends up being a house show or basement show.

Here’s to the underdog. Keep fighting.

Tour Blog from Madison, Wisconsin (“Stop rubbing it in my face!”)

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Two nights ago, I was able to grace the Frequency stage in Madison, Wisconsin for the third time this year (that’s Kelly Steward & The Restless Kind on stage later in the evening). Yet again, a great night!

During my 18 hours in Madison, I met up with an old friend an hour before the show, watched the Wisconsin sky change from blue to purple, was offered a free shot of whiskey the moment I walked through the venue door, felt great after my first performance in 40 days, hung out with Kelly and her great band members from Rockford, enjoyed New Glarus’ Spotted Cow, had several great music-related conversations with several different individuals, downed some delicious late-night pizza with Ben & Ryan from Independent Ear Productions, saw half a dozen adorable baby racoons hanging out downtown, rocked out to some Spoon after the show, ate chocolate-banana-whole-wheat pancakes for breakfast, and walked along the lake where I met this guy.

Madison, you’re great! I get it! Stop rubbing it in my face!

(No, actually, don’t stop. Call me.)

Tour Blog from Los Angeles, California

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2013 SHOW COUNT: 82!

Thank you again to @SirLoganLee for capturing this photo of Hillary Tribbett joining me for a song at Republic of Pie last Friday night in North Hollywood! Two nights ago, I also had the privilege of participating in Monday Monday at Room 5 in Hollywood with some amazing musicians, including Gaby Moreno, Jesse Thomas, Phoebe Bridgers, Katie Boeck, and Joel Eckels. It’s been a great week here on the west coast.

In June, I played 15 shows. In May, I played 17 shows. This month, I’m taking a break to rest, visit family, read, and find inspiration for some new songs. Although I’ve enjoyed touring this much in 2013, I definitely need a break. Time to slow down and breathe a bit before getting back on the road in August for a handful of shows.

Stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter (especially if you have any book recommendations). See you soon, friends!

Tour Blog from Champaign, Illinois

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2013 SHOW COUNT: 77!

Last night was one that I wish could be the standard for outdoor shows. Mid-70’s, no clouds, fun audience, ice cold beer, and a promoter (thank you again, Isaac!) that cared about show and did all he could to get the word out. Yes, I love Mike ‘N Molly’s.

The three other acts performing last night were Tomorrow Is Already Here (Garret), This Frontier Needs Heroes (pictured above; Jessica, Sadie, Brad), and Morgan Orion. Garret treated me to a late-night breakfast after the show, I had some good conversation with Jessica, Brad, and Sadie about touring and Indiana venues, and Morgan joined me for a stroll through town much later in the evening… while still in the jorts and cowboy boots he sported during his set. All absolutely lovely people!

I’m heading back to Aurora, Illinois now to catch Old 97’s (for only $5!) before playing two house show in the Chicago area this weekend. My “2013 When Will This Tour End? Tour” goes on!