Welp, we made it! 43 days, about 9,500 miles, 26 states (though we only really spent time in 20 of them) (plus one province), 26 shows, 4 national parks, 16 balls of yarn (correct me if I’m wrong, Sarah), only 3 motels, 1 flat tire, probably a dozen different food co-ops, so many cups of coffee, too many bowls of car-made muesli, 3 successful dumpstering excursions, countless new friends, loads & loads of good luck, gunnysacks full of new music to explore and one season later, we’re back in our respective home towns.
We sort of ran out of time during our last week out to provide any sort of collective, reflective final post so I figured (this is Matt) I’d do one myself and Sarah, you can add yours as it suits you.
My first day back in Syracuse brought the illness that must have been willed into the wings by good fortune. With rare exception, I felt like I was in pretty dang good health throughout our travels but as soon as I was able to just sit still and be in one place for a bit, it hit me like I imagine a whale might. I’m just so grateful it waited until now to do so. Couldn’t have asked for better timing. Really.
Our last week just flew by but I wanted to mention a couple of highlights, namely Virginia (hear its for lovers):
Harrisonburg, VA was a blast. We met so many great people and learned a little about the “sleeping giant” that Harrisonburg is. We were treated to a “band platter” of delicious Ethiopian food at the Blue Nile. Then downstairs, we met Mark, who set up the show and also did a wonderful job running sound. Bib-Bi, the headliner, was really great too and full of nice folks. Next day: we were treated to the most delicious breakfast at The Artful Dodger (Thanks Keith!). All in all: a king among towns.
Charlottesville, VA: The Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar is a super unique and cozy spot that we were lucky enough to play. My friend Liz, whom I met this summer while in VT came out (her family is in VA) and we got a warm welcome/response as we played through our set. Notably, this was the first show in quite a while that we didn’t have any technical difficulties (of course, Doylestown tried to make up for that but we did our thing and had fun there anyhow) and were able to play our autoharp songs without a fuss - also very very loud. AND, Sarah got the most scrumptious piece of gluten-free hazelnut cake, which she somehow made last into the next day’s drive. Our new pal Drew was good enough to let us stay in his cozy apartment just around the corner from the Tea Bazaar and had all the fixins for morning breakfast (including coffee beans in a hand-grinder) out on the counter waiting for us. Thanks Drew! Wish you didn’t have to work!
We got back to Syracuse, scrambled to unload the car, sort our things (including the troublesome task of choosing who would take what of the new music we acquired from friends along the way) and Sarah packed her car for the last 3-hour drive to Welland.
We saw so much and got so many great ideas for projects both big and small in the future, which I s’pose is what this was all about anyway. A success. I’m glad to have made it around the whole dang country in that plastic little Saturn, never once wishing that I was doing it with somebody else. Thanks to everyone who put us up (whether you’d planned to or not), set up shows, listened to our songs, shared food with us, gave us directions or showed us any warmth at all. It’s appreciated so very much. And who knows, maybe we’ll be back some time.
Whoa doggies! We’re in the home stretch and we know it’s been some time since we last told you how things are going. The short answer is: so very well. The long answer is next. Let’s get backwards:
Greetings from Athens, GA! We just shared an amazing dinner of some favourite foods- sweet potato, greens & pasta, which is so welcome after a lot of New Orleans fried fish (which was great, by the way). This afternoon we recorded a couple of ditties on the University of Georgia college community radio station, WUOG for their Live in the Lobby series. We haven’t heard it yet, but you can check it out here. We got to share songs with the super talented and lovely Fae Grimalkin. Rachel, who writes and plays piano, is putting us up for the night and has two lovely kittens to boot.
Today’s been a productive and kitten-filled day, to say the least. This morning we got to record a track with Luci (and 6 week old furry friend, Eloise) at The Cottage, a beautiful cozy studio/showspace/home. We spent last night in Atlanta enjoying delicious dinner and an amazing Christmas show, featuring a live tribute to Vincent Guaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and The Ventures’ Christmas album. It was real nice to get into *Christmas* a little bit; we’ve both found it kind of mind blowing to be spending December kissing cacti and laughing at palm trees without a winter coat.
We hit a total New Orleans heatwave the day before! Jacob kindly set up a last minute show for us at The Aquarium studio and gallery where we met some rad folks and got a glimpse of the big ol’ house he’s renovating. Got flat tire fixed, explored the French Quarter, and saw some real good music on the street (like Yes Ma’am). Didn’t drink on the street or get any beads but somehow had a fine time any way, if you can believe it.
The drive to New Orleans was long, ‘cause we were coming from Austin, TX. Lemme tell you: Austin rules. We started to play a (secret show (under a downtown bridge)) with Barbara, who played cello with loops and effects that filled the tunnel with such haunting/enchanting music (oh wow wow wow). The show got shut down by a police guy during our second song, but folks were super resilient and we relocated to a peddicab shop. THEN we even got to play a second and unexpected show at the Annie Street Arts Collective with Some Say Leland, who offered up a set of mindblowing, thoughtful, heart warming, skin-tingling songs. Definitely a musical highlight of tour for the both of us (we were gushing). Austin rules.
Other things of note, ‘cause this is getting a little long:
OK, so, we have 5 days left of tour, which is nearly ridiculous. The drives are getting shorter (thank the great good lord), the weather’s getting colder, and we’re looking forward to home and then the as-yet-undetermined homes that we’ll make beyond the holidays. Until then we’ve got some really awesome sounding shows coming up (including a last minute gig @ The Firestorm Cafe in Asheville (thanks for the tip Marin!)) and surely a whole bunch of good music and good people to get to know (and some wacky side-of-the-road kitch to get into).
"I thought you were writing [those blog posts] until I saw something about ‘Sarah and I.’ Tell Matt he’s a very good writer, it’s very enjoyable to read. Very entertaining, fun to read. Good blog."
-Joanne Ayton (my mom).
This is how we’re spending our night at the Econolodge- blogging, ‘cause the sauna’s closed and HBO doesn’t even work.
Hey! We made it to the California coast! Although we already touched the Pacific in Vancouver, it feels a bit more real here in Crescent City, CA where it’s warmer and more expansive. We’re totally partying down in an Econolodge (our second time spending money on lodging), looking forward to a “continental breakfast”, which I think means waffle batter coming out of a machine and straight onto the flippable iron. BAM! Fortunately we’ve got some stellar coffee from the Wandering Goat in Eugene, OR to help us kick off our drive down the 101 to ARCATA! We’re in redwood territory now!
More important than Crescent City (really) is the fact that we just spent 3 wonderful days in Eugene with some good ol’ friends from New Paltz. Met some swell folks (one while dumpster diving), played a fun show at Sam Bonds, ate some delicious pear, asparagus and curried cauliflower pizza (which also happened to be vegan and gluten free) at the Pizza Research Institute, hung tight at Kate’s aunt Betsy’s beautiful house (with SAM!) and ate a delicious pancake breakfast at our new pal Lyle’s place. Altogether, another highlight of tour so far.
From there, Crater Lake. SO SO COLD. And windy! Good god. Everything was boarded up and it felt a little like The Shining. And then, 27 inches of snow, too. It was beautiful but a little late in the day to really catch the true color of the lake-a bit of a bummer. Ate at Becky’s Place in the mountains and then ended up couch-surfing with a wonderful family in Ashland, OR.
Also: so much thrifting happening most days. The good finds: a rainjacket and a couple killer sweaters.
Now we’ve got some days to make our way down the coast before we hit the Bay Area for some shows on the 6th, 7th and 8th. Oh, adventure!
See you round!