‘Do the dishes / With the windows open’ is the first line of the first song on the new record Blood Brothers, slated for release on the 22nd of this month. That’s a Friday, and I expect to be on stage in Des Moines with the boys, finishing up the Midwest release tour. I just did the dishes with the windows open, and Neil Young playing ‘Tonight’s the Night’ live at The Roxy in 1973, with a little blue glass of tequila on the sill.
I woke at 4:30 to go fishing and get back home before my daughter left for school, and spent the first half hour of the day getting harassed by a beaver. Or rather, the first half hour on the river, preceded by waking up, finding pants, boiling water, straining it through ground coffee, and standing at the kitchen table in the just-dawn jointing a two-piece (7’ 4wt, Shuksan) bamboo, before starting the truck and driving the few minutes to the river.
I was hip-deep and quarter-casting downstream when the beaver surfaced some feet away, plowing upriver and throwing a fair bow wave in the current. I took off my hat and raised it over my head in an easy arc, to make my presence known, it being bad manners to surprise a wild animal. A beaver in Colorado once surprised me by swimming between my legs where I stood spraddled in current intent on tying on a fly, and the golden rule applies. This one saw me, slapped the water hard with the broad flat of its tail, and dove, a thing I’ve seen many times and always enjoyed for its drama. But then it circled back and forth within about twenty feet of anywhere I went, slapping the water and scaring off all the rising fish, with one eye on me all the while, visibly pissed off. I walked a hundred yards upstream to let the beaver - likely a new mama, just like the Neil Young song - know that I was perfectly willing to fish elsewhere. She followed me. I had to duck into the woods, double back, and emerge again out of sight.
Later in the afternoon I ran out in the country on a 4-mile loop that follows and crosses another, smaller river through dense forest, and was surprised again, this time by a large animal audibly barreling toward me through the understory, unseen. I pivoted toward the sound as a large male white-tailed deer left the brush close at hand, obviously wounded in a hind leg, and obviously running from something. My mind turned to various mountain lion sightings in the area the past few years, then the eastern coyote-wolf hybrid - 'coy-wolves,' which hunt in packs, and which notably ate a folk singer in Canada a few years ago - and though I was hot and tired, my pace improved admirably the next mile.
MIDWEST - The Blood Brothers full band release tour starts in June in the upper Midwest, beginning at the Shitty Barn (SOLD OUT!) in Spring Green, WI (6/13), before moving through the 11@7 Concerts in Central Park series in (Billy Conway's hometown) Owatonna, MN (6/14), The Mill in Iowa City (6/15), the Back Room at Colectivo in Milwaukee, WI (6/16), and City Winery Chicago on Father's day (6/17). Then it's the White Wall Sessions in Sioux Falls, SD (6/20), Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis (6/21), and release day will find us onstage at the Des Moines Arts Festival in Des Moines, Iowa (6/22). Our friends Dusty Heart from Minneapolis open, supporting their beautiful new record.
BLOWN: The fourth single from the new album Blood Brothers, 'Blown' - a duet with my friend the fantastic songwriter and singer Tift Meritt - premieres this week on Wednesday, June 6th, at American Songwriter, and will be available on the various streaming services, and anywhere music is undervalued, on Friday June 8. Please find, add, share.
LAST NIGHT I DREAMED OF TELEVISION: On June 11th, 300 or so public television stations will broadcast a show called 'Stories from the Stage,' produced by WGBH Boston, in which I stood up under klieg lights on a sound stage arranged to look like a cabaret, and told a story about playing one of the best shows of my life, for 6 people in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2006. Telling stories comes naturally to me at the dinner table with a drink in my hand, or between songs in a darkly lit club, but this was the scariest thing I've done in my adult life. PBS airs the show five days a week at different times. You can enjoy my terror on your local station (via the website), or streaming online after noon Tuesday, June 12.
FALL: In August we'll start the full band European release tour with multiple appearances at the Tønder Festival in Denmark 24-26, followed by a brief tour of Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, and France. You can find tour dates and ticket links on the TOUR page. In October we'll tour the Northeast from Vermont to Washington D.C. (full tour dates to be announced later in the summer). In November we'll tour from Los Angeles to Bozeman by way of Seattle. A tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland is in the works for winter 2019. We have some ground to cover, but if you want us to come near you, you'll have to harass my agents. Posting comments to Facebook does less than nothing.
Home from the road I've been clocking long days dealing with the mechanical aspects of getting a record out into the world, so boring they scarcely stand mention, and requiring that I spend a lot of time looking at the internet. Nights I've been reading a book by Joe Hutto and thinking about wildness, and wilderness. In two weeks I'll be on the road in the Midwest doing what I love to do, in the company of people I love and admire. That's all I can tell you. I hope you'll come find us, or send your people out.