The cast iron of the wood stove under hand in the early morning in August is cool to the touch. A battered and oxidized copper teapot rests atop it, empty and dusted with a fine black powder knocked from the joints of the stove pipe by a series of sparrows who couldn’t resist the dark breath of the folded metal chimney cap and who, finding they couldn’t retreat, were left to progress downward in the dark, an experience no less poignant for being so common. Every few weeks in the dog days, I open the window nearest and raise the screen, open the stove door to an acute angle, and stand back holding up a black and red Navajo blanket, to watch a soot-black sparrow explode from the stove and through the window as if fired from a gun. It feels like a magic trick.
Summer has been long and sweet, if the headlines show the world on fire, and a criminal syndicate passing for government. A Puget Sound orca carries her dead baby in her mouth for a week, and the heart bleeds. We run and swim, cook, read, drink tequila, eat salted cucumbers fresh from the garden, try to avoid making plans. The days consume themselves.
This morning I finished a cup of coffee and stood resting my hand for moment on the dead stove. There are three cords of ash, birch, hemlock, maple, and beech tumbled in a pile out by the wood lot that want stacking. Summer is nothing like over and by afternoon the day will feel like a sauna without a door. But today another season feels possible, and not unwelcome. In that season there will be some running around to do, and the broad outlines go like this:
EUROPE - In late August and early September we’ll release the new album Blood Brothers overseas with a brief and by no means comprehensive tour of largely northern, largely western Europe, starting with our return to the lovely Tønder Festival in Denmark 24-26, followed by a brief tour of Germany, France, Netherlands, and Belgium. All dates and ticket links are up on the TOUR page. We'll get to the UK, please stop yelling at me.
NASHVILLE - At 11:59 p.m. on the 13th of September the boys and I will play a 45 minute set at The Local in Nashville, TN., as part of the Americana Music Festival & Conference, and in so doing, hose our song-to-mile ratio for the rest of the year.
EAST - The Blood Brothers Release Tour continues stateside in October with a tour across the Northeast, starting in Exeter, NH at the Word Barn (10/4: small room, buy early), and continuing on through City Winery Boston (10/5), the Shea Theater in Turners Falls, MA. (10/6), and the Showcase Lounge at Higher Ground in Burlington, VT. (10/7). Then it's the Locks at Sona in Bryn Mawr, PA. (10/9), The Hamilton in Washington DC (10/10), The Soundry in Columbia, MD. 10/11, and The Loft at City Winery New York (10/14). We're still looking to fill the 12th and 13th of October within that route, if anyone has a bright idea. Otherwise we're going to rent a house and play Pinochle and drink beer for 48 hours solid. Our good friend Laurie Sargent opens the tour supporting her forthcoming record Smiley Face, which happens to feature a well-known and incredibly tasteful, and handsome, rhythm section.
WEST - In the first half of November we'll tour the new album with the full band in the western part of the country from southern California to Seattle and over into Montana, details to be announced in the next few weeks, but safe to say we'll play the rooms we play, and a few new ones.
ZAK - My old friend and occasional fishing companion (though he sleeps too late to get much fishing done) Zak Trojano has a wonderful new album of original songs titled WOLF TREES, out this month, and available now through his Pledgemusic Campaign. Described as "Honest and unpretentious...with gorgeous tune after gorgeous tune." (No Depression), WOLF TREES is a solo/acoustic record where the signal from the acoustic guitar was recorded through a variety of amplifiers and effects, and then blended back into the songs to create texture, and architecture. The result is simplicity and depth combined: a finger-style collection of powerful, well-wrought songs. You should own it, and you should pay him directly.
Enough for now. We'll see you out there.