Weekly Blog

The Big East West Week 14 

I found myself in Iowa City this week at Gabe's, a bar famous for live music every night. I was informed by my hosts that the dance-floor upstairs is known to move when the dancing gets crazy. (The folks at Gabe's confirmed this, though I didn't get to witness it myself.) My hosts were a really fun couple. As they showed me around their property, I was introduced to their horses, and we even ate fresh raspberries! Gabe's was a fun time, too. The groups originally scheduled to perform with me cancelled, so an acoustic duo from Deaf-Kitty Blind-Dog came in and filled in for them. They had such soul in their voices, a very polished act with a rawness that struck me. Since having the pedal board stolen, I've been struggling to make the songs feel like they're enough on their own. This duo made each song look effortless and passionate. I want to keep using my good technique, but sometimes I think I get lost in technique instead of the song. 

Milwaukee was a fun time after Iowa City! My host and I went to a trivia night at a German beirhaus and Koops for a killer burger and custard. The next day I got some computer work done, read a lot of "The Art Of Asking" by Amanda Palmer, and then hit Art*Bar for my gig there that night. What a cool local hangout! Local art, lots of people, and a seriously great atmosphere! I look forward to going back!

I've spent the last few days in Green Bay writing music and practicing. I've learned that fresh cheese curds squeak when you eat them, Packers fan are serious about their football, and there's a reason they're called "cheese heads" (I think if i had any more dairy, I might become cheese. Totally worth it, though.)

I'll make my way towards Duluth tonight, camping somewhere in between here and there tonight. Tomorrow I'll make my way to Dylans' home town for a songwriter competition and another group gig. After that- southbound once more.

Stay choosy, folks!
With love,

The Big East West Week 13 

I spent another couple of days in Bloomington, continuing to rest up, working on a few songs, and learning the banjo I fixed up! My last day there I fought to finish the song David had set me to. I thought I had it, but the more I lived with it the less I liked it. Steve Jobs said to look back and connect the dots to move forward, so I looked back at the song. I realized there were themes I had missed when I was first trying to write the last bridge, themes of water and the way time works as a part of our lives. Those themes led me to the right words, and with a little tweaking for the right rhymes with David, we had a completed song. It's safe to say you'll be hearing it at the upcoming gigs (there's a lot of upcoming shows)! Thank you for including me in such a great song, David, I can't wait to write the next one with you. 

From Bloomington I left to St. Louis. I've spent the last several days with family, which has been excellent (minus one wicked hangover). Today we were at City Museum, a recommendation from David and his family. WHAT FUN! The amount of work and imagination that must have gone into converting that building astounds me. It as an old city office building that has been converted into an amusement park/adventure park. There's a bus that hangs (safely) off the edge of the roof, a ferris wheel, several slides, water features, and so many nooks and crannies to explore... My inner child was VERY satisfied :D

If you didn't know, there's a live video from the Clemmer House Concert where Amanda Biggs and David Clemmer perform a few before yours truly and then one big group jam that was magical... Anyway, check it out for yourself to see what I mean.

Stay choosy, folks. Love you!

The Big East West Week 12 

Week 12 of tour began in Chicago. My cousin, who I hadn't seen in years, lives in Chicago. I stayed with her while I was there. The first night we went out to Uncommon Grounds open mic- what a talented group of musicians! It was so full we each only got to play one song. I chose "Tempest/Timberline" and I think it went over pretty well. My cousin and I stayed up talking a while after we got back, I read part of "Don't Get Too Comfortable" by David Rakoff and then went to sleep. 
I slept in, which was nice, but I still felt tired. I worked on an itemized list of all the things that were taken- for the insurance claim- and it finally hit me that it really was all gone. After a short call with my mom, I let it out. I cried for a while. I cried for the gear, my trusty tools with which I could craft and experiment. I cried the fear out, the imagined situations of what could have happened if they had decided to take the whole car, or take Gigi, or if we had come upon them in the middle of it. I had forgotten how much better a cry can make you feel. I drank a cup of coffee, showered, and started a song about the whole thing. When my cousin got back, we took a trip to the beach and had dinner there. We waded in the surf as the sun set and then made our way to Target to get a few more clothing items. 
Did you know my grandmother has a tattoo? She got it during a "girls weekend" in Chicago, at a place on the same street as that Target. It was fun to imagine her in one of the chairs with the other matriarchs around her. :)
My last day in Chicago I visited a thrift shop, bought a few of the essential gear bits I needed, and then got a walking tour of the downtown area from my cousin. Later that night, I met up fro drinks with an old friend from high school. He's doing some of his own amazing things and it was wonderful to catch up with him. I think it's safe to say I loved Chicago. 

I spent the next couple of days in Indianapolis. After a short gig at Indy Hostel, some of the locals showed me a cool nature path with awesome murals. I spent the rest of the night on the porch sharing drinks with strangers. They weren't strangers by the end of the night. 
I woke up early and began catching up on booking emails out in the back garden. Later, I met a friend from college and we went out to see First Friday, which is an art even. After some Pokemon Go, we explored a building that had several galleries and a pinball bar on the inside of an old vault! We stayed up late, deep in talk and drink while "The Twilight Zone" played in the background.

I woke up even later the next day, met the same friend for a late breakfast, and hit the road for Bloomington. The past few days here have been wonderful. The first evening was spent jamming- every member of the family plays at least one instrument! I haven't jammed in a while and it was a wonderful way to unwind from the road.
The next day was the house concert. Amanda Biggs and David Clemmer opened the show in spectacular fashion. I followed them for a handful of songs, and then it became an open jam. David taught me a song he's working on and I've been trying to write the tail end of it for him. 
Today was spent in front of the dreaded screens, simultaneously watching Flash and pursuing booking emails. A walk downtown for ice cream after homemade sushi and then getting some help from David on some of my own songs leads us to now. I hope everyone had an enjoyable Labor Day Weekend and that your Tuesday is a soft-start to the rest of your short week.

Stay choosy, folks!

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!

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