Well, Billy’s Kickstopper (TM) campaign is almost ready to launch. He figures he’ll need at least twenty grand to not make a record. If he hits his goal, we expect this new model of preventive crowd funding to spread like wildfire in the Americana scene, where there are already far too many denim-clad contenders for the Stetson crown.
In fact, we just got home from Nashville and the Americana Music Association Festival Conference, which is something like a Chamber of Commerce for Sincere Bearded Men with Hats, and Women in Vintage Dresses. The event is a spiritual cross between the Kiwanis Club Pancake Breakfast and The Lions Club Ice-Fishing Derby, except there’s more syrup and the ice is thicker. The manic drinking is roughly the same.
We'd got home from Europe a few nights prior, where we had been for nearly three weeks on a real sweet tour of Denmark, Germany, France, Netherlands, and Belgium. We also went to Luxembourg, but only to buy gas for the van. Prince Robert of Luxembourg turned up once at a bar gig of mine stateside and introduced himself. He said he was a fan of my records. Americana as a genre distinction never came up in our conversation, because we mostly discussed French wine.
Between trips Billy and I spent a few days sitting in my kitchen blinking through the jet-lag and playing whatever fragments of his old songs he could remember, knee to knee on two old guitars, recording them on my phone. I’ve been leaning on Bill to make a record of his songs, because they're so good, and that's why his Kickstopper (TM) concept has come back into play. His songs are light and simple and angular, like Bashō: ‘Live like a beast / Most Days / Famine or feast / Live like a beast.’ The trick will be to transcribe them accurately and in full, as they are distributed between the wall of his garage and a cardboard box.
Driving through the sand-eyed dark on the way to the airport at 4 a.m., watching a line of taillights coursing over the landscape like a molten river, Billy said a thing he often says to me, or I to him: ‘The essential thing is to remember how lucky you are,’ and that’s the truth. By the time it was over it cost just less than three grand to fly the band to Nashville to play 45 minutes for free at midnight in a bar full of industry people. It’s a ritual pantomime of the life we actually live on the road, without the spiritual mechanics that give that transaction power. But it was our idea, God help us, and we’re lucky dogs, just like Bill says. Real life is hard. Everyone is bleeding. We get to live on the knife edge of actual joy, when we can find it.
EAST - In October the Northeast leg of the Blood Brothers Release Tour begins in Exeter, NH at the Word Barn (10/4), and continues 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 Philadelphia, PA. (10/9), The Hamilton in Washington DC (10/10), and The Soundry in Columbia, MD. (10/11). We've JUST ADDED new shows, at the Towne Crier in Beacon NY. 10/12), and the Cock 'n' Bull restaurant in Galway, NY (10/13), and we'll finish up at The Loft at City Winery New York (10/14). Laurie Sargent opens the tour with a vintage Fender Mustang tuned to an open C chord and a voice that tells the truth, even when she's lying. We're playing some new rooms and some big rooms on this run, so if you would please forward this information on to your folks on the east coast and tell them to set down the white wine, fire up the Volvo, and go find some tickets, we'd appreciate it.
WEST - In November the Blood Brothers Release Tour continues with a full band tour from Southern California all the way to Bozeman, Montana. The tour starts at the venerable McCabe's Guitar shop in Santa Monica (11/2), and moves up the coast through Soho in Santa Barbara (11/3), Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley CA. (11/4), to the Triple Door in Seattle, WA. (11/6). From there we'll wander the wilds of Washington and Oregon for a while, with shows at the Artisans at the Dahmen Barn in Uniontown, WA. (11/7), the Studio at Building 270 in Walla Walla (11/8), then a return to the lovely Alberta Rose Theater in Portland, OR. (11/9), and over to Perham Hall in Zillah, WA (11/10), and The Bartlett in Spokane, WA (11/11). That's 5 shows in Washington state kids, a new record. I always wanted to be famous in Washington.
MONTANA - We'll finish up the run out west with a string of shows in Montana at The Myrna Loy Theater in Helena (11/14), The Rialto Theater in Bozeman (11/15) and the Top Hat in Missoula (11/16) (plus a TBA show at the Strand Theater in White Sulphur Springs 11/17, put on by our friends at the Red Ants Pants Co... stay tuned). Our good friends in the Minneapolis duo Dusty Heart return to open the west coast tour supporting their eponymous debut album.
NEW RECORDS - If you haven't ordered your copy of Jeffrey Foucault Live in Portland, OR. 11/5/15 or the Horse Latitudes Solo / Acoustic Demos, these new albums are still available until we run out of copies, which we will, sooner than later.
TELEVISION - I was on television. I'm the one in the hat, about 17 minutes in.
That's all folks. We'll see you out there.