February 2017

February 2017


     I decided to take the spring easy, tour once a month or not at all, maybe cut a new record. It's a plan we call 'Stay Home and Go Broke' and now and then it's the right plan, even if its exercise describes a certain privilege in our lives. I discovered this privilege the week I dropped out of college. I was sitting on the deck behind my folks' house reading Huck Finn and smoking, and trying to figure out why it was so quiet. It occurred to me after a while that everyone was either at work or school, and I had never stepped out of the traces long enough to experience the curious inertia, the sweetly illicit knowledge that the world is going about its regimented business and you just don't give a shit. The temperature fell ten degrees and I could both hear and see the wind blowing in from the northwest, pushing down the corn across the highway and kicking up a high tumble of dead leaves ahead of it. I was there when the fall arrived that year, and I told myself I'd never work a straight job again unless it was in order to salt away enough money to be loose in the world. I found a job on a fruit farm and spent nearly every day outside. I didn't file my taxes for more than $9k for the next seven years. One day I was driving along in the truck listening to public radio and there was a man being interviewed who had written a book about the relationship between money and happiness. The host asked him, after it had become plain that in general a greater net worth corresponded to a lesser degree of happiness, at least after certain basic creature comforts were guaranteed, whether his research showed that there was any amount of money one could make before this unhappiness set in, and he said, "Yes, $12,000." I smiled and thought to myself, 'I have a $3,000 cushion of happiness.'

Now, here's the plan, such as it is. We'll go light and soft, as the poem said, and hit a few parts of the country through the spring, and then we'll work a little more in the summer playing festivals from Orkney Island to Salmon Arm, the Bob Marshall to Red Ants Pants, and Jam in the Trees, probably a few others. By the fall I'll be out touring my full band with Kris Delmhorst, who happens to be my wife, around the release of her forthcoming album on which we collaborated in the studio for the first time (it's righteous, but I can't discuss it yet). We'll back her up, she'll join us, two sets a night in the Midwest, California, the Pacific Northwest, New England, and a few other places between September and the holidays. Pack up the Ford Transit, bring the family, what I'm saying. If anyone has invented a better way to simultaneously make and spend thousands of dollars I haven't heard about it. I'll put out a new record next winter, probably, unless I don't. You never know when the urge to go broke may strike. Now if you'll open your hymnals to page 33, 'His Eye Is on the Songwriter,' we'll rehearse the details.

LA / TX - In the first week of February Billy and I will make a brief tour through Louisiana and Texas, starting at the Dyson Listening Room in Baton Rouge LA (2/1), and heading west through the land of Blind Willie Johnson and Lucinda Williams to McGonigel's Mucky Duck in Houston TX (2/2), Backstage at El Mercado in Austin TX (2/3) (PLEASE NOTE: our previously advertised show at Strange Brew in Austin on the same date has been cancelled, and refunds have been issued after the club ran into, uh, difficulties) and finally the Sundown at Granada in Dallas (2/4). Once in Texas I will be billed under my full name, Jeffrey Franklin Foucault, in accordance with various state songwriter laws.

NEW ENGLAND - In late February Billy and I will play a handful of shows around New England, including the Colonial Theater in Pittsfield (2/23), The Word Barn in Exeter, NH (2/24), the Parlor Room in Northampton MA (2/25), and the Rockwell Theater in Somerville, MA (2/26). Our good friend Zak Trojano - whose 2016 release 'Yesterday's Sun' is a favorite of mine - opens the tour.

WISCONSIN - In early April we tour Wisconsin, starting at The Cavalier Theater in La Crosse (4/5), and on to the Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls (4/6), the Mineral Point Opera House in Mineral Point (4/7), and the Thrasher Opera House in Green Lake (4/8). I've been to Paris in April, and it's real nice, but the trout fishing is sub-par and I'll take a long drive through the Driftless any time.

NOY HOLLAND - One of the great pleasures of a life spent making art is the opportunity to become friends with other people who make art, and whose work you admire and enjoy. Noy Holland is one of those people, a good friend and a fine writer whose gift for language is distinct and powerful, and whose stories are enveloping and wonderfully strange. Noy's new and selected stories have just been released under the title I WAS TRYING TO DESCRIBE WHAT IT FEELS LIKE, on Counterpoint Press and there's a real nice review in the New York Times. Perhaps you'll take the time to read the review, and order the book. That's what I would do.

ANDERS PARKER - My old friend Anders Parker - whose career started in the 90's Alt-Country scene fronting Varnaline and has continued through every imaginable incarnation and side-channel without ever losing its through-line of undeniable artistry and integrity (and whom I wrote into the song One Part Love) - has cut a beautiful, spare new album of songs backed by a string trio, some pedal steel, and his acoustic guitar. I've heard it, I love it, and you should go look it up and support his pre-release campaign. He'll be out around the country opening for Son Volt this spring. Go find him, buy him a can of Miller Lite, tell him I sent you.


- JF

Jeffrey Foucault