This blog is like an old friend I've been meaning to call for some time, now. I think about it everyday. I forget most of what I want to write in it. I scribble things down on my hands and in my moleskine but time passes and jottings become old toys I've outgrown. Every so often there's a day like today, when I clean out creativity's attic and fall for my beloved junk all over again.
SXSW was a total whirlwind; like Mardi Gras for music lovers. I played four solo/acoustic shows, did lots of interviews and smoked a ton of honey/rose hookah at The Arab Cowboy. Tastes just like honeysuckle. Anyway, I met knew friends and caught up with dear ones and I can hardly wait to go back. Shane Scheel (live entertainment producer/tour manager/extraordinaire) and I were in Austin for a week and then parted ways. He went back to LA to tie up some loose ends and I headed out to kick off an acoustic/radio tour.
Met up with Casey James Cress at the airport in Charlottesville. He makes my job so easy it's not even funny. He tour manages, sound engineers, navigates, and helps me sell merch after shows. I just ride along, listen to music, sing when it's time to sing and sleep when it's time to sleep. We've stayed with wonderfully hospitable people, met fascinating characters and seen pure and beautiful countryside.
There are animals all over the place. Hawks, buzzards, blackbirds and geese in the sky, deer in the woods and ducks on the water. I have yet to grow tired of looking out across open land from a car window. Been doin' it all my life.
Casey and I were at Skeeter's, a bar in Blackwood, NJ, jammin' to "Ima Be", when a couple of older gentlemen walked in. They were dressed in suits with looks on their faces of having survived some real force of nature. One of the men, Philbert, had his glasses propped on top of his bald head and a crystal, teardrop earring hanging from one ear. I asked them why they were dressed so dapper, "You boys are lookin' pretty sharp tonight."
Phil's cousin said, "We just came from his mother's viewing. Yea, but we're not cryin' tonight. Tonight, we're celebratin'. Frances was an incredible woman. We'll cry like babies tomorrow."
My heart sank. I wished I had been more observant. They bought us a drink. We toasted to Philbert's mama, "She was a good woman. A great one. To Frances!"
I started talking to them a little more. Gave 'em a couple CDs. I told Phil I liked his earring and he took it out and gave it to me, right on the spot. I've warn it every show since. Wearin' it now. I'll wear it tomorrow. When Casey and I got back to my Mom's house, I couldn't lay down. Her place was so still with everyone sleeping. Not a creature was stirring, ya know? I had nothing but my thoughts and they were screaming, "You are so lucky to have your mother."
This leg of the tour has been incredibly enlightening. I can't believe I've been out for almost a month. It's not like I forgot who I was so much as I didn't know myself as well as I thought. Before I left, I was worried about everything under the sun. I had no reason, other than anticipation, but I forgot how much fun this is. I'll try to remember from now on.
Played a show with Tim Barry. I wish I had been able to talk with him more. I'd guess that's how everyone feels about Tim. We traded stories and he gave me shit about not having written mine down yet. :) His dog, Emma, was wonderful and it made me wish I had a companion like that. I miss having a dog. Anyway, watching the crowd react to this man is really something special. Like Chuck Ragan, he's singing their lives. If everyone in music were as passionate and sincere about what they were creating as Chuck and Tim, the entire world would change in a heartbeat.
Casey and I have done Charlottesville, Annapolis, Philly, Cambridge, Vienna, NYC, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago and Minneapolis in a week and a half and still managed to see Henry Rollins speak, visit The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and hit up The Mall of America. Tonight's show is in Denver. Snowed last night but it's all gone now.
Once I get back to LA, I say "See ya later" to Casey and chill for a day or two before I'm off to London and on the road again with Shane. I'm so lucky to have such badass traveling partners. So excited to be in my apartment tomorrow.