Tour Diary # 3 (repost from Facebook April 25th, 2010)

"Bunnies are as tasty as they are cute!"

Three guesses which one of us is responsible for that heinous quote...! I'll never tell...

Well I suppose you have to stop doing stuff in order to have time to write about it. I've had the whole week at home before we start this thing up for real which you'd think would have given me plenty of time to rest up and write a new entry but when you've only got thirteen shows lined up in a month and a half of traveling...well, there is no rest! I've been emailing probably close to fifty venues a day and maybe one out of all of them will write me back just to tell me that they can't do anything for me. It's like finding a needle in a haystack looking for gigs literally everywhere in the country which has accounted for and will account for some of the strange routing on this tour so far. This is our first tour and I'm basically asking venues to take a chance on two out of town artists with virtually no fan base outside of our hometown, so I've pretty much been taking whatever venues have been willing to take us. It has and should continue to make this tour a lot more interesting...!

Let's see where did I leave off...?  We've been having an absolute blast! Caitlin, Ricky and I are three of the strangest people I have ever come in contact with and the feeling is mutual between us which is why I think we enjoy each others company so much. We drive each other crazy at times but there's no one on earth I'd rather be doing this with. Only we would think each other was funny...!

The first thing that needs to be said is that we have been meeting the most incredibly gracious people on this tour. A huge shout out needs to be made to the Grace family, Craig Leve, Max Wood and Ricky's Uncle Carson for all being gracious enough to host two musicians and one musician's girlfriend for a night or two or three. We've been made to feel like family by everyone and it's great to know that we're making some awesome friends that we can look forward to visiting next time around.

The city we ended up spending the most time in was Seattle. Any ideas about Seattle being this gloomy and rainy place that made everyone want to kill themselves were totally vanquished by the beautiful clear spring day that greeted us there and remained for the extent of our visit. We played our first show in Seattle at a burlesque club called the Can Can opening up for Max's band (Max hosted put us up and put up with us for our first two nights in town), James Lanman and the Good Hurt and excellent power-pop band who included in their set an excellent cover of the Beatles' "I've Just Seen A Face". Ricky and I and the other guys in James's band had a good laugh trying on the bizarre costumes in our "dressing room" which was apparently used for all the shows held at that particular club and was full of full-bodied animal suits, masks, goggles and objects that in the context of a burlesque club we really didn't want to know what they were! Caitlin had a photo shoot that day and was supposed to be dropped off at the club afterward but instead was left at the wrong place without a cell phone and Ricky and I had to go on a detective hunt through the city to find her (okay maybe I'm making it sound a bit more dramatic than it was)!

It was strange having the next two days with no gigs as we had just played the past four days straight. Ricky and I both were going through gig withdrawals cold turkey and even the open mic we did one of the days was not enough to satisfy our fix. Luckily we were staying with an incredibly nice family, the Graces, who couldn't have made us feel more welcome for the three days we stayed with them. Stephen and Wendy used to know my dad way back when and were both heavily into music and photography which worked great for us! They had two daughters around our age, Skye and Stephanie, and Stephanie acted as our official tour guide of Seattle showing us the best thrift stores and the best place to get popcorn drenched in truffle oil which is actually quite delicious! She even took Ricky and I (while Caitlin was at another photo shoot) to have a fish thrown over our heads at Pike Place Market which is apparently what you're supposed to do at Pike Place Market. The next gig we played that week (also at a burlesque club--we're finding our niche!) was probably the best one of the tour so far. It was in an actual theater which meant no espresso machines going off throughout the show, where people sat in rows doing nothing but watch music and it was actually pretty full for our set. We got to play for close to an hour and a half straight and the crowd seemed to really love it and when the audience is into it, it definitely helps me be more into it as well. We left Seattle feeling like we had gained another home away from home.

The next evening we played a house concert in Eugene at the home of Craig Leve, the radio DJ who had hosted us on his show the week before. It was the first house concert I'd ever played besides the ones I perform for myself in my room at least once a week. It ended up being a great gig though; Craig had managed to pack his living room with enough classic pop lovers to ensure that we'd make at least a few new fans by the end of the night. And I finally got to upload a ton of new music from Craig's vast collection. Looking forward to discovering Gene Clark, Burt Bacharach, Gram Parsons and Nick Lowe among others....

We had scheduled our Eugene gig sandwiched between our Seattle trip and our Yakima gig because we had been told that Yakima was in southern Washington and not too far out of the way. In fact, to our slight dismay, we discovered that Yakima was actually a full 5 1/2 hours away mainly through uninhabited woods no less. While that was intimidating in theory, the drive itself proved to be the most rewarding one of the tour so far. Lush green plateaus and mountains lined our highway path which ran a tightrope between an aging railroad track and an ageless river. Waterfalls could be seen whispering their way down the sides of cliffs and hawks and eagles soared overhead, silently chiding how primitive our human attempts at speeding through this sacred landscape were compared to theirs. It's interesting because while the big cities of Portland and Seattle are what make it onto the map as the great epicenters of culture, there was absolutely no way to argue that their relevance to this world even approached the grand natural splendor that surrounded us on our car ride through the supposed "middle of nowhere"...or the outskirts of everywhere! The gig in Yakima ended up being probably the most ramshackle one of the tour. I think Ricky and I both tripped over a cord or messed up a lyric or just burst out laughing at some point or another through every song. It was a fun show though and the two highlights for me were getting to sing "Don't Look Away" with Caitlin for the first time on tour and hearing Ricky's softly finger picked nylon string guitar coming through a guitar amp we could not figure out how to turn the distortion off of! After the show, we went to dinner with the Autumn Electric who had also played on the bill and another audience member who gave us a broken saxophone as a parting gift!

We drove back to Portland that night; I don't think we got into Ricky's Uncle Carson's house once not at 5am! The next morning walking back to the car after having breakfast with Ricky's aunt and uncle, we happened upon a girl sitting on the sidewalk playing the most amazing accordion music and singing her heart out. She told us that she had joined the circus a while back and had fallen in love with an accordion player and was now busking to raise money so she make the trek to be reunited with him and receive "the most important accordion lesson of my life". You can't make this stuff up!

It was strange driving back to Sacramento that day, partially because it was hard to remind ourselves that this was only the end of the first little tour warm up trip and for how unfamiliar it felt to be in a place so familiar, something we all felt as we drove off the Laguna Blvd exit after a week spent in unknown territory. We still had an encore trip to make, and the next afternoon (now with Amy on board..as if one photographer wasn't enough!) we piled back into the van for a trip to one of my favorite cities, Santa Cruz, to play at one of my favorite venues, the Abbey. The Abbey is attached to Vintage Faith Church which is where I attended during my year I spent at UCSC. It was strange thinking that if I had stuck around, I would be graduating this semester.... The evening church service before our show featured some guest musicians from Korea (I didn't get if it was north or south) who played some amazing instruments, the names of which regrettably my tongue is not dexterous enough to pronounce. The music was like nothing we'd ever heard before and their rendition of "Amazing Grace" with the rest of the American worship band was beyond haunting. It was a hard act to follow, to say the least.

Our last show of this particular leg of the tour was in West Hollywood at the Cat Club the next day. Besides the people who had actually come with us in the band, this show had a total of two audience members, a record for this tour! Haha... Thankfully one of the audience members was my old friend Anna who I went to middle school/hippie school with in Nashville and who had been at probably one of the first gigs I ever did. The other audience member was a musician friend of Ricky's who plays keyboards for everyone and their mother in LA and we had a great time hanging out with him over Mexican food after the show.

And then it was over..for the week that is. We dropped Caitlin off in Merced on our way back up to Sac. Caitlin will be joining us in New York at the end of May for her birthday, but I sure am going to miss her between now and then. I'm a little nervous but mainly incredibly excited to take off tomorrow afternoon to tour for an entire month and a half. We still have quite a few holes to fill with booking shows but hopefully those will all fall in along the way. Anyway, I'd better get to my last night of sleep in my own bed so I'll leave you with a few pictures from the trip.
Ricky and I onstage at the Can Can.
Ricky and I backstage at the Can Can where we transformed into ferocious monsters! Can you tell who's who?
Playing music in the Graces' living room.
Ricky, Stephanie and I on our last day in Seattle. Too cool for words.
Ricky and I chilling on the beach five minutes away from the Graces' home and proof of what a dark and gloomy place Seattle really is.
Rocking out at the Jewel Box Theater.
Performing at Craig's house party...
...before a captive audience...!
My beautiful Caitie-Belle and me in the beautiful Yakima valley (almost as beautiful as Caitlin!).
Ricky and I with Karla, the accordion player.
One of many amazing shots taken by Caitlin at one of her shoots done in Seattle.

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