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December 30, 2008 emblemChristmas tour blog 2: Maine holiday

Few days rest at home to sort things out. Maine is and will always be my home and every time I return to the Good North it’s a bit more surreal, a bit more tempting to move back forever. I know in my bones that I will return someday, and it will be permanent, but I can’t say exactly when it will happen. Nevertheless it’s good to be back for more than a week for once.

I spilled beer on my Head Rush loop pedal in Boston, so I spent most of the day after Christmas scrambling to get it fixed. If you’ve seen my set recently, you’ll know that pedal is pretty much the lifeblood of my live show. Luckily, I had recently met an electrical wizard by the name of Steve O’Connor, who builds his own handmade amplifiers (Synaptic Amps). He helped restore my pedal to temporary working order, at least for one show’s worth, while we waited for the parts to ship from Texas. Lifesaver!

A perfect show at Slainte followed, with many friends in attendance and much to cheer about- including no equipment malfunctions! My equipment caught up to me though, during the next night’s set in Lewiston. The Head Rush went out on me yet again (as well as my amp cutting in and out- another ongoing saga of which I will spare you the details). Fortunately, there was a piano there that I could play instead of my usual loud numbers.

The greatest part of being a one-man band is the ability to fly by the seat of your pants when things go wrong- and most of the time it works…it encourages confidence in stepping out into the unknown. Bahama closed the night with their first show- equally shambolic as my set, but we had fun.

I walked on some beach the next day and wandered around Portland…mmm Portland. I love this city. The show at Dooryard was interesting- lots of bands, some cops, some out-of-place dancers during my set (everyone else was sitting down, quite attentive). It’s always a challenge for me to play quietly, but it can be really nice to give some of these songs full dynamic focus too. Marie Stella played an excellent first gig and Lady Lamb the Beekeeper was even playing drums this time. Fun as always, with extra pickles please.

Now time to enjoy snow while I’ve got it and fix that damn pedal.

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December 27, 2008 emblemChristmas tour blog 1: 100m sprints to blizzards

Before I even hit the road this time around, my co-workers and I thought it’d be fun to have a 100m race the length of the warehouse…consequently, I took my last-minute lunge too far and ended up bloody and soaked in a puddle at the finish line (and I only got third…maybe?). Yes, I may have proved my dedication and intensity, but perhaps also my stupidity.

The following drive was stiff and restrained. It’s funny cos when I’m on tour I tend to joke that I must look like a hobo, cos I feel like one- what with the limited wardrobe, lack of shaving, and skipping every other meal- but this time I entered Chapel Hill looking really homeless, bandages hanging off me, bleeding…

My friend Corbie’s new band Battle Rockets opened. An impressive duo fit with a sampler, pedals galore, and using vocals as an instrument. Nicely done sirs! My set followed- an improvement from the show in Asheville the night before (thanks to Ken for putting me on the bill last minute though). For some reason I never seem to play good shows in Asheville…always an equipment malfunction or something off every time. Cursed to play elsewhere? Members of the Whiskey Smugglers closed the night with some raucous drink-and-sing-alongs. Good time all around.

The drive to Philly the next day was long- I generally avoid driving I-95 below NYC but no such luck this time around. I enjoyed the fruits of travelling solo nearing the end of the trip, listening to an in-between AM station for a while, as the ever-morphing stations on both sides created an aural collage that kept me surprisingly alert til I reached the city limits. Pretty amazing that static can sound like that sometimes…

Surefire Broadcast’s 7″ release show at the M Room followed. My first time playing Philly. I went first with a short set, and Padre Pio took the stage second- a powerful local trio with a guitarist that reminded me of Willem Defoe. Great stuff. Strange imagining Willem Defoe playing that type of music though. SB was third and were as entertaining as always…supreme. The Laughing Man from D.C. ended the night with some type of Devendra Banhart/Love spookiness. Good people all around, and Rodney and Lisa from SB let me stay with them at their gorgeous house in Hammonton, NJ for the night.

After gazing at Lisa’s amazing record collection in the AM, I discovered my car was leaking antifreeze (again)…traversed the Jersey countryside to temporarily fix that on my way to Brooklyn. Listened to LCD Soundsystem as I sailed across the BQE and into Williamsburg, where I met my friends Jack and Luke Schurman (aka Luke Rathborne). I got hit on by an old man with a cape in the first bar we went to, who approached me with a pennywhistle and politely said, “you’re adoooorable” before impolitely shaking his crotch at me and blowing on his whistle. “New York I love you, but you’re freaking me out…”

Spike Hill was pretty empty tonight and my amp completely went out on me mid-set, but Luke and I played some impromptu songs together with what we had and made the best of it. The Rhodes had to cancel cos of snow too which was sad because I love their energy. Learned the real way to pour a Guinness from the bartender, who made me realize all the bartenders who have been mis-serving me my stouts over the years…

Didn’t stay out partying late as I felt myself getting a little sick. Stayed in and played on Luke’s piano instead. There seemed to be reports of snow all around the city but no sign of it falling again yet…

Luke and I drove to Boston the next day, taking the long way (my fault) and discovering all the snow we’d heard about. Arrived at Church just in time for us to go on. Good place and plenty of writeups in the papers, but the blizzard the night before had scared everyone into staying in for their Monday, unfortunately. Played with James from This Building’s on Fire who put on a brave acoustic set. Playing all electric these days, I’m impressed with anyone like James or Luke who can just go on with an acoustic and be captivating. I’m too into my loops now to go back…

Stayed in JP for the night with my friends Chris and Anna and left for wintry Maine the next day…

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December 17, 2008 emblemChristmas tour begins December 18th (tomorrow!)

Come out for some shows, eh…

DEC 18: Asheville, NC: THE ROCKET CLUB w/ Rothwang, The Zealots
DEC 19: Chapel Hill, NC: JACK SPRAT w/ members of the Whiskey Smugglers, Battle Rockets
DEC 20: Philadelphia, PA: THE M ROOM w/ Surefire Broadcast, Padre Pio, and
Laughing Man
DEC 21: NYC: SPIKE HILLw/ Luke Rathborne, The Rhodes
DEC 22: Boston, MA: CHURCH w/ Luke Rathborne, This Building’s on Fire
DEC 26: Portland, ME: SLAINTE w/ Computer at Sea
DEC 27: Lewiston, ME: SHE DOESN’T LIKE GUTHRIE’S w/ TBA
DEC 28: Portland, ME: DOORYARD w/ Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Marie Stella, and
others
JAN 2: Providence, RI: TAZZA w/ Ted Adams, Spanish Dancer
JAN 3: Washington D.C.: VELVET LOUNGE w/ Pree, Marfa, And Me

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December 9, 2008 emblemAsheville Christmas shows

No, sadly, I will not be playing Christmas music for the upcoming Asheville shows, but isn’t it enough that I’m playing two gigs in my homebase in one week? It seems like it’s been a while since I’ve done anything close to that.

CDs and yes, t-shirts, will be available.

Come out and support and be warm! Happy Holidays!

Saint Solitude ww/ Old Folks, Baker Family Band, and Mark Boyd (from King Tut) @ The Boiler Room: December 12th, 9pm, $5

Saint Solitude CHRISTMAS TOUR KICKOFF! **VENUE SWITCH** w/ Rothwang, The Zealots, @ The Rocket Club: December 18th, 9pm, $5

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