It’s another happy April / To every happy fool, or it will be by tomorrow. I’m sitting in a coffee shop fronting the square in Denton, Texas, one of those cavernous de-industrial spaces where Americans used to make things, and now the miracle of gentrification creates a safe space for the upper classes to buy artisanal coffee drinks. The soundtrack - a playlist compiled by one corporation and sold to another corporation, based on the best demographic research, and probably titled something like ‘Log Cabin’ or ‘Beard Balm’ - has included three friends of mine so far, and I can almost hear the very distant sound of each ten-thousandth of a cent dully striking bottom in their humble penny jars. I’m contemplating saddling up the rental car and heading up 35 to Oklahoma City. I figured I’d better broadcast the facts of spring.
WISCONSIN - In the first half of April we tour the state of Wisconsin, the place where I was born and raised to make my bed every morning, even in hotels. We start in the middle, at the performing arts theater at McMillan Memorial Library in Wisconsin Rapids (4/4) before moving on to play The Howard in Oshkosh (4/5), then the beautiful Mineral Point Opera House in Mineral Point (4/6), and up to the the Park Theater in Hayward (4/7). After a few days off, we continue on to PUBLIC Craft Brewing in Kenosha (4/10), back to my old home stadium, the Cafe Carpe in Fort Atkinson (4/11), out west again to the Driftless to play the Masonic Center in Viroqua (4/12), and finally The Oxbow in Eau Claire (4/13). Erik Koskinen, a fantastic songwriter and guitar player from the UP via Minnesota, opens the tour and joins me on electric guitars, and hats.
MIDWEST - In May we return to the Midwest to play the parts of it that are not in Wisconsin, for instance SPACE in Evanston, Illinois (5/1), and the state of Ohio, where we'll play the Marathon Center for the Arts in Findlay (5/2), Riverdog in Oberlin (5/3), and Natalie's in Columbus (5/4), before heading north to play The Ark in Ann Arbor, MI (5/5). We’ll head over to Iowa for a show at CSPS in Cedar Rapids (5/8), and up to the jungles of Saint Paul for a show at the newly opened Vieux Carré (5/9). Erik Koskinen opens this tour as well, and hopefully drives the van so I can keep the internet fully briefed.
MILES - 18 years ago this month I released my first album, Miles From the Lightning, a collection of songs I wrote between the ages of 19 and 24, and recorded with the money I made doing odd-jobs, and some cash from my grandparents. It's been out of print for many years and a variety of good reasons, but we've elected to reprint now, mainly because a shady character on e-Bay is selling 'new' copies for $135 apiece. We revamped the art and package to eliminate plastic and I wrote some new liner notes. They’ll go on sale later this month, as soon as we have them back from the plant, and I’ll send an email to announce when they’re officially available.
PROVINCETOWN - In June I'll share a rare bill with Kris Delmhorst at Twenty Summers at the Hawthorne Barn in Provincetown, Massachusetts. We'll trade our songs back and forth, performing a one-microphone acoustic show and making duets of our respective songs on guitar, viola, and resophonic guitar. This will be a sweet show in a beautiful place, and you should probably just fly in for the night on your private plane, like a Kennedy.
SUMMER - I try to stay pretty slack in the summer, fly-fishing and camping a little, but there are a few shows on the books. In July I'll be at the Trueblood Performing Arts Center on Washington Island, that little jewel of land off the tip of the Door County peninsula in Wisconsin (7/13), and the next week at the Hiawatha Music Festival in Marquette, MI. (7/20-21). In August I'll play the Philadelphia Folk Festival (8/16), with some version of the band.
Now you know what I know, broadly speaking. If you think your people would enjoy what I do, go ahead and forward this letter and tell them to sign up for the mailing list. I have literally dozens of clever things to say, once a month.