Weekly Blog

The Big East West Tour Week 11 

Cincinnati was a blast! I spent my first evening with my host, just talking and learning about her life (she's a Colorado native too!) She gave me a list of things to do in town the next day and I got through most of them. I spent the day walking around the city in awe of how much could be packed into such a tiny space. That night my host showed me and another Couchsurfer around some of the coolest bars around town; a mixology bar, an arcade bar, an I ha my first experience with life-sized Jenga. The next day I made my way to Detroit.

My first night there I went with some friends to a hamburger joint and a beer. Our server did a back-flip for us! We went home, slept, and the next day we went to lunch at an awesome deli. It was after lunch that we came back to my car and discovered this

My gear and clothes were gone, as well as a box of my CDs. As my friend and I were going through what as left, a man and his son came up to us. He explained he was homeless an just trying to take care of his son, asked if we had anything to spare. My buddy started to explain that the car had just been broken into. I was stuck in my head, freaking out internally, trying not to panic, remembering to breathe...

Here's the deal folks. While on this trip, I've meet a lot of folks on the street who are down on their luck, hungry, homeless, etc. It kills me to see another human being suffering, and it hurts more to walk by, ignore them, turn them away, pretend they don't exist. Yes, a lot of my things were gone. But I still had food and water the thieves hadn't taken. I was still better off than this man and his son.

I took a deep breath and asked "Are you hungry?" I grabbed a handful of granola bars and offered them to the son. I took the gallon of water an handed it to the father. I wished them good luck. 

We drove to a brother's house to vacuum up the glass, we patched up the window with gorilla tape and card board, and I headed to Lansing. My first night there I just caught up with my old friend, which was nice. We made nachos. The next day, we went out and got some clothes, a duffel bag to put them in, and I played an informal show for her family. 

Yesterday I scarfed down the breakfast they had made and headed to a glass shop to replace the window. With a new piece of glass, I hit the road to Grand Rapids. I had lunch with some friends and then had a nap attack. When I woke up, my hosts were coming through the door and I was questioning if I had slept through the night and into the next day (luckily I had not.) I met up with the same friends again for some beer and some live music that night, and today I slept in. Sleep is my friend. =)

Thank you to everyone who has reached out with condolences, offers to donate gear, and funds to replace gear. I'm always humbled by how man of you care so much. <3

I'm working on putting together a live, streamed concert to make a positive out of this negative, so stay tuned for more details. (and feel free to offer up any ideas!)

Stay choosy, folks. 

With love,

Th Big East West Weeks 9+10 

Oops... I got a week behind... 

Week 9 was a blur- The show at Radio Bean was a blast! I met a couple there who insisted on hosting me at their house AND THEN they set me up with their family in Montreal. I proceeded to get lost in Montreal (freaking tourists) though I loved spending time there. The Quebecois I had been told about was very prevalent. I knew enough French to be polite, but I felt as though I were in Europe for the majority of my time there. The little bit of Ottawa I saw was pretty, and the host there was a fellow musician with EXCELLENT taste in music (as well as an incredible performer.) Niagara Falls was beautiful- the falls, the town, the new people I met, the old friends I reconnected with, the concert at The Hub- beautiful, all around. 

After Canada, I left for Pittsburgh, PA (bringing us up to Week 10.) I made some amazing friends there, real down to earth people who taught me a lot about what it is to be a good human. One of them even gave me some song-writing coaching! Pittsburgh was an amazing place. I've spent the last couple of nights in Columbus, where I got to play at a Burlesque venue (there was no burlesque while I was there.) Today I walked my legs off exploring Columbus on foot with my host. Tomorrow I leave for Cincinnati, then it's up North to Michigan! 

I've been going through a lot of old songs and I'm realizing that I need more upbeat and happy material. So tell me- what makes you happy? Is there a story you have that just brings you joy? I'd love to hear it!!! You can message it to me on the Contact tab, reply with it to this blog post, send me a Facebook message, carrier pigeon - however you want to reach me, I want to hear your story.

Stay choosy, folks!

The Big East West Week 8 

New York City was VERY overwhelming. The driving was not as bad as everyone made it out to be. However, parking was another story. During the days I was there, I wandered around Central Park. I'm in awe of the natural wonders that have been preserved while all around, buildings grow taller and taller. The gig at Rockwood Music Hall went pretty well! I broke a string in the middle of my set and had to replace it there on stage, which was a first for me. Once the new string was on, the show continued without any other hitches. I also had a pop-up show at Silvana the next day! It was a fun time, and I met a cool musician named Gabriel Berenbaum. He just released an album and had a wonderful group of people there to support him, not to mention his cool tunes! My last day in New York, I caught up with Dovi-j, one of my friends from college who just moved to the city (another incredibly talented musician.) That same day I headed to Stamford, Connecticut.

Months ago, I had emailed a venue who couldn't have me, but they suggested I try T489, another local music night dedicated to acoustic music. Well, I was coming in on an off night for them, but the organizer of the series helped me to get a gig at The Fez. She even agreed to play a few tunes before me. Kathy Muir took the stage with her amazing originals and blew me away. Then I had to follow her! Kathy was so welcoming and friendly leading up to the gig and afterwards, she led me to an AMAZING open mic at Casey's Tavern. The musicianship of the other performers was not the only thing to write home about. The other performers were also very welcoming, and the host even live streamed my segment. One of the other musicians even let me stay on their couch! To shift from the very individualistic NYC to such a tight community was a welcome culture shock. It reminded me of being in Alamosa for the first time. The next day, I was off to Amherst.

Amherst is where one of my best friends lives, and I got to enjoy living a little bit of life in her shoes. She also helped me with a special project that I'm VERY excited about.!!! However, unless you are on the mailing list, you'll have to wait to find out what it is ;) I'm discovering there's never enough time for old friends- my experiences in Amherst and Boston both showed me that. My first day in Boston I spent with my older sister. We're not blood related, but we're family. We enjoyed some wonderful seafood and a walk by the bay. We even rode a merry-go-round! The second day in Boston was also partially spent in Rhode Island. How did I end up driving to Rhode Island from Boston, you ask? I got my schedule mixed up. But it was TOTALLY worth it. I played a show at Java Madness, a local coffee shop near South Kingston. Not only was it a fun show, but the people actually listened to the music. Like I said, worth the drive down. That night I was back in Boston for pizza and karaoke. Which brings us to today!

I'll be driving north to Burlington, VT to perform at Radio Bean tonight at 6pm. I'm very exited to say that I will then be crossing into Canada! 

If you haven't signed up for the mailing list, you're missing out on new song lyrics, stories, and special information I only give to the especially choosy folks. Just sign up under the "Mail Time" heading, either on the right side of the screen for computers or near the bottom of the homepage for mobile users. 

Stay choosy, folks!

The Big East West Week 7 

Norfolk, VA is isolated from the rest of Virginia by a lot of toll roads, tunnels, and bridges. It is surrounded by several other cities, like Suffolk, Newport News, Chesapeake, and Virgina Beach. I stayed in Suffolk with friends during the days I was in VA.

I spent an afternoon at the beach, reminded that all my big problems aren't so big. If you ever need to be humbled, try staring at the stars on a dirt road, or out at the vast ocean. That always does the trick for me.

While in VA I also saw a little bit of Old Dominion, the university there. It was strange to be on a college campus and not be a collegiate student anymore (don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining.) I played on the Old Dom campus as promotion for the show at Borjo Coffee. Borjo has a chai milkshake that is DELICIOUS. I had a really fun time at Borjo and loved seeing my friends there. But alas, the road calls. My next stop was Washington, D.C.

My host here introduced me to vegan soul food as well as his awesome friends and the shows Stranger Things and Orphan Black. (Both very good shows if you need something new to watch.) One day, I took the light rail down to the White House and walked the National Mall. I stepped into the Air and Space museum and busked out on the mall itself. Afterwards, I walked the length from the A&S museum down to the Washington memorial, the WWII memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial, lugging my guitar the whole way down and back. I liked the Washington and Lincoln memorials best- they were simple and eloquent. I took a surprise nap while resting on a bench outside the Lincoln memorial. Oops! Guess I needed it though.
D.C. was then in my rearview and I was headedfor Philadelphia, PA. 

I busked at Rittenhouse Square and had my first run in with security. They had no issue with my performance, but to have my case open was considered solicitation. Let me be clear- I learned early on you DO NOT directly ask for tips from the audience when busking. THAT is definitely solicitation, and can turn a nice performer into a hustler in the eyes of the audience. To security, leaving my case open was equal to asking the audience for money. There have been many legal cases in which busking has been defended in court, usually with roots in the First Amendment's freedom of speech. But there's still stipulation about whether it's solicitation. I think it's not. You're not required to tip the waiter or the barista, neither are you obliged to tip a busker. The tip jar/open case is an invitation that says, "if you like the service being provided, here's a way to show it." I've been tipped in cold water bottles, flare buttons, and pieces of paper that say "love." At the threat of a potential ticket upwards of $300, though, I saved my soap box for this blog post. 

That was today. After busking, I headed to Staten Island. I hit a $15 toll crossing from New Jersey into New York and immediately found a shoreline where I could look at the ocean- I needed another reminder that my big mistakes were relatively small, so long as I learned from them. I spent the better part of the evening there.

Tomorrow, August 1st, is my first ever show in NYC at Rockwoood Music Hall, Stage 1, 11pm. I couldn't be more excited!!! See you tomorrow night! 


The Big East West Week 6 

On this Episode of The Big East West Tour... The Carolinas!

From Orlando I drove my way up to Charleston, South Carolina. I was reconnecting with a family that was an integral part of my "village" growing up. Getting to know them as an adult was one of the coolest experiences I've had on this trip. My first night I stay up WAY too late talking to them and slept in very late the next day to make up for it. They took me on a tour of downtown after lunch and in the evening I played at the Home Team BBQ Openmic. There were a lot of really cool acts who also performed, and the BBQ was excellent. I spent the last day with them MacGyver-ing a key on their piano. I like to think I made it better, but at the very least I don't think I made it worse. I was educated on the Tour de France that evening and the following afternoon I was off to Charlotte, North Carolina. 

The show at Petra's that night was AWESOME! I felt like it was some of my best performing yet. If you follow me on Instagram you got to see the guitar solo from "Horseshoes and Hand Grenades" that night. After the show, my buddy showed me around Charlotte and after catching up for several hours we made our way back to his hotel to sleep. The next day, he showed me around his summer internship at Lowes corporate. What a beautiful campus! After a lunch and tour of the building, I caught up on my financials and yes, more booking emails. I met my buddy after work for a hot dog cookout and jam session before we went to a concert at Langtree- it's a weekly concert series. The band was good and the atmosphere was awesome. The next morning I said "til next time" to my buddy and made my way out to Raleigh.

Yes, I am one of the many people who now play Pokemon Go. I took a few detours wandering around the city in pursuit of some pokemon and then made my way into a coffee shop for more booking emails. I ambled around the city a little bit after (yes, playing pokemon go) and made my way to my hosts house. We talked for a long time over dinner and then made our way to see a band her friends are in. It was a good show, the lead singer had a very raw voice. I crashed hard when we got back to the house.  The next day we went thrift shopping where I found pieces for my Halloween costume and a coat with tails. After all, you don't see those every day! After lunch at a Mexican restaurant we made our way back tot the house. After a little bit of work I was struck down by a nap attack. I woke up with my computer still in my hands. After dinner my host and I went to a different venue with more live music, which was also good. We got back and stared at the stars for a while before heading to bed. I forgot how much I enjoyed looking up at the night sky. 

Today I woke up MUCH later than I meant to and began work on this blog, as well as editing and uploading the video from Petra's, which will be available shortly on the "Video" page. I'm headed to a little BBQ before making  my way up to Norfolk, Virginia. 

Stay choosy, folks!

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