CALIFORNIA / OREGON - January 4-10 I'll tour northern California and southern Oregon alone with a couple of acoustic guitars and a microphone. If ensemble play is a conversation, solo performance is a conversation with yourself, frequently about your shortcomings; or perhaps it's more like an ongoing game of Solitaire you rarely win, which is why I quit traveling alone. So we'll call this an experiment: I'd like to see if I can enjoy the conversation the way I do in the kitchen, and go back into my old records and find songs I never play anymore. Billy's on sabbatical for a while, so this is my chance. I'll start at the Hopmonk Tavern in Novato (1/4), play the Palms Playhouse in Winters (1/5), the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley (1/6), and from there head north to the Arcata Playhouse Theater (1/8), the 7 Devils Brewery in Coos Bay, OR (1/9) and the Axe and Fiddle in Cottage Grove OR (1/10). There's a recording session and a private show in there too, so if it looks like I have the night off and you think I'm just sitting in a hotel watching HBO with a six pack instead playing in your town, this is not the case (or, it is not precisely the case).
COLORADO - Late January into early February I'll tour across Colorado and into Utah with Erik Koskinen opening the tour and backing me up. Erik grew up in the U.P. (that's the part of Wisconsin given to Michigan so their governor wouldn't invade Ohio) and he's a bad man with a guitar in his hands, and just a knockout writer. Most of what passes for 'Americana' is just formalized nostalgia, a brand of emotional furniture describing a country that no longer exists, but Erik's songs are real enough to feel dangerous. We've had a good time every time we played, and I'm looking forward to getting further in. We start at the Downtown Artery in Fort Collins (1/31) before moving on to the Soiled Dove in Denver (2/1), and the Ivywild School in Colorado Springs (2/2). We're still lining up the rest of the dates but expect us in Aspen and points west the rest of that week. We aren't working on 2/3 because we don't want to miss the halftime show of the Superbowl, when they drive the crying Central American children away from the goal line with canisters of tear gas.
WISCONSIN - Some years ago Billy and I decided it was silly to fly into a city, rent a car, play one show, and drive hundreds of miles to another city, in another state, to play the next show. We don't especially like cities, and it's about as easy to get 100 people in McCook, Nebraska as it is to get 100 people in Manhattan, except they're generally more excited to see you in Nebraska. So we're going to try touring one whole state at a time, and lock up a bunch of little towns. Wisconsin - where I grew up and which I still consider my spiritual. if not my temporal home - seemed like a good bet to start, and you can catch us in the first half of April everywhere from Wisconsin Rapids to Hayward, to Mineral Point. Details TBA.
MIDWEST - In May we'll start in Findlay Ohio, at the Marathon Center for the Arts, and do the other thing I mentioned before, where we drive hundreds of miles between cities, traveling the rest of the upper Midwest. Look for us in MI, IL, IA, and WI.
Happy New Year folks. Keep your dear ones close.