We toured behind the Blood Brothers record for six months, from Spring Green, Wisconsin to White Sulphur Springs, Montana, with stops in Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Philadelphia, Seattle, Nashville. We traveled in the twilight of late capitalism, hemorrhaging cash and gasoline, praying in the verse-refrain-bridge format. I alerted the internet from the comfort of a hotel bed every morning, waiting for Billy to bring me a Starbucks.
The shows were mostly good, some of them were great, the band often outrageously open-hearted. In Missoula I thought we might actually tear the building down, like the Gary Davis song my Dad used to sing at the kitchen table, fueled as we were by grilled elk backstrap, and a ragout of Hungarian partridges that Dombrowski had shot that week, backed by an assortment of wines that only a poet would serve to musicians, particularly in the afternoon.
When the last note decayed in the little theater in White Sulphur we were still getting better, playing less every night. We left our gear up and walked across the frozen street to a late steak dinner at the Stockman bar, and afterward Heywood danced with all comers. It felt like a chapter Ivan Doig hadn’t got around to writing.
I came home to four inches of archival snow, and a Mose Allison double LP sent by a friend, and let it fill up the empty house and mix with the smell of woodsmoke and baking pies, while I sorted gear and opened the mail, fed the wood stove some bills I couldn’t pay. I lit a twist of sweet grass and walked around the house swinging it like a censer.
The Blood Brothers record tours are over and now it's time to consider things I had to put off considering until I got my work done. I’ll tour some through the spring and then see what happens next. It might be time to lay low for a while, let the well fill back up. I’m grateful as hell every time someone buys a record, or a ticket. I'll see you out there.
CARPE - In December, in an effort to make Wisconsin Family Christmas tax-deductible, I'll play three consecutive in-the-round shows back home at the Café Carpe, under the auspices of Peter Mulvey's Lamplighter Sessions. 12/12 I'll be trading songs with two of my favorite songwriters and performers, Pieta Brown - who sang the backing vocals on the title track from my recent Blood Brothers album, and whose voice, songs, and records I've admired for many years - and Erik Koskinen, who sings like Dave Moore, plays like Bo Ramsey, and wears a hat like mine. On 12/13 Pieta and I will stay on, joined by Peter Mulvey, whom I haven't shared a stage with for more than a few years, so we have some catching up to do. On 12/14 Peter and I will be joined by my good friends in the Minneapolis close harmony duo Dusty Heart, who recently opened my in the Midwest, Europe, the west coast, and Montana tours. These shows will be cool, they'll sell out if they haven't already, and you should get your tickets pronto.
CALIFORNIA - In January I'll make a brief solo/acoustic tour of California, hitting some of the rooms and towns we missed on our November west coast run. If you're one of those people who writes me passionate letters about how much better my shows would be if only I would stop hiring world-class musicians and just stand up there alone thinking about my various inadequacies, this is your shot. I'll start at the Hopmonk Tavern in Novato (1/4), then play the Palms Playhouse in Winters (1/5), the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley (1/6), and the Arcata Playhouse Theater (1/8). The rest of the tour will be announced in the coming weeks, once we have all the dates lined out. If you have bright ideas about somewhere I should play that wasn't recently on fire, do get in touch.
COLORADO - In early February I'll tour across Colorado and into Utah with my friend Erik Koskinen opening and joining me on guitar. All dates TBA, but for now, mark down your calendar for 2/1 at the Soiled Dove in Denver, and we'll see what else shakes out.
LAKE HOUSE - As an aside, sotto voce, if hypothetically you lived near Ashfield, Massachusetts and, hypothetically, you were free on December 7th, I might might, hypothetically, show up at the Ashfield Lake House with a few guitars, hypothetically to enjoy playing songs I don't always play in a room where no one bought a ticket to get in and I'm not being paid anything except beer, and I don't have to say anything clever, or be in charge of anything. Hypothetically.