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October 28, 2009 emblemEastward, Passing Ghosts

Approaching high desert! Flagstaff, Arizona was a cute little villa a la Missoula or Asheville and I liked it immediately. I admit I have some magnetism towards the small hippie cities. Played a brewery across from the train station in the heart of town, on the patio outside. It was an absolutely gorgeous autumnal day and my first set went by peacefully with the wind blowing by- definitely a good number of appreciative and relaxed head-nodding from the rotating audience who joined me outside.

My second, louder set followed, which could not help but to be enlightened by a peculiar event initiated by a stranger between sets. The people you meet on tour! The rest of the day I felt positively haunted. I walked around town with a purpose but no destination.

The Albuquerque and Austin shows were both cancelled- unfortunately out of my control. I especially wanted to test out Austin in lieu of SXSW 2010 which I am considering making an appearance at, but alas I had to settle for traversing these cities as a frugal tourist.

So much driving. Thousands of miles in one week. Texas is truly torture to drive through, especially alone. Therefore New Orleans came as a huge relief. I played the Circle Bar with Damien Louviere. ‘Twas a Monday night, so a small crowd, but the ones who were there loved our sets and we sold them CDs and accepted their offers for drinks. Yes, please.

Afterwards Damien showed me around the city and within an hour of reaching the French Quarter, I had visions of moving to Louisiana. What a graceful, flowing, musical city.

More driving. The landscape was getting quite familiar by now. Back in the East for sure. Green hills turned to mountains and I was in Knoxville for a mixed bag of entertainment at the Pilot Light. Some failed comedy from the openers (Sir Mix A Lot covers, really?) so I felt confident in following up. Had a few drinks before the show and ended up playing one of the best shows of the tour- totally reckless and right on. Poised, perched, swinging guitars round my neck and vocals aimed at the heavens. It was loud, it was volumatic! Volumous! (I want to make more synonyms for loud). I was ready to go home with this show under my belt.

Took the long way back to Asheville through the Smokies and the Blue Ridge Parkway. The foliage is perfect right now. After so long, so weird/nice to be home.

The final show at Modaddy’s was pretty great. Lots of people came out and I registered the event at 350.org to coincide with the International Day of Climate Action. Donated a bit of my door proceeds to NC Warn. One more time through these songs and I could safely say I was ready to retire for a little while…

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October 11, 2009 emblemGuess I’m Fringe but I Still Got the Itch

So the West, as they say, is different than the East because of one thing alone: SPACE. So it makes sense it’s been so long since I’ve written, right? (how’s that for poetic license?)

When I last wrote I had entered the Northwest. After conquering the Pacific, I traveled to Oregon and played a string of shows from Portland to Eugene, all pretty standard shows as shows go. Low lights, loud songs, attempted connections, missed opportunities. All in the small world of rock shows…

Managed to write/finish a new song in Portland (a rare occasion on the road) and tried it out in Bend. It’s called “Reflections of a Gallery Janitor” and it’s about an art gallery janitor, who, being an artist himself (though an unnoticed one), decides the only way to match the fame of the artists surrounding him is to burn down the gallery. It would evolve over the next few shows as I added some layers, as I do.

Beaches, weddings, retreats, more National Parks, and a few weeks passed, and I was in windy San Francisco with my new friend, poison oak (ugh). Nevertheless, got to play with my old friends from Maine, Citadelle, who had changed their sound a lot since I last saw them 2 years ago (less 60s influences, more muscle and songwriting variation). Kimo’s was a cool venue on two floors- the bottom bar was full of older men who seemed pretty excited over the prospect of a few young indie rockers joining their ranks. Made sure to keep an eye on my drinks that evening! We had a good time upstairs; our little world in the middle of a big city.

Los Angeles came after- Santa Monica to be exact- and the crowd totally made the show this time- kindness welcomed me into LA County- totally unexpected! I was thinking it’d be unforgiving and filthy. Venice Beach, the museum of Jurassic Technology, Sunken City…so many interesting, entertaining things in that city. Played Huntington Beach (the town where my parents met) which was cool. Neat to see the womb of my family- thank god it’s on the coast. San Diego was soon after (cheap Mexican food!) and I ended up jamming with a member of Unwritten Law after the show…?? Good folks dispersed throughout all of this…

So many people telling me they are envious of my travels, telling me to keep “doing it”- and by all means I’m Doing It…it’s good confirmation, but mark my word the next time it will be with a band in tow. I can’t wait to muscle out these songs as a three piece when I get back to Asheville.

I’ve reached 10,000 miles for this trip.

Next: desert, and 2 weeks from “home”- whatever that means at this point.

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October 10, 2009 emblemMore photos from the road

The tour is winding down to the last 2 weeks! A new blog entry to come soon, but for now you can see more photos from the road by clicking here:

Tour of Retreat photos, part II

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