The Slow Tour of 2008-2009

06/03/2009 at 3:51 am | Posted in Music, News & Explanations, Stories from the Road | 1 Comment

My poor blog is looking so neglected that I am putting off more urgent work for a quick entry that’s been percolating in my head. Not sure if it’s finished yet, but half-baked cookies taste better, so here’s a half-baked blog entry.

It’s dawned on me over the last nine months (**nine!**) of traveling and playing that this is not a normal tour.  By “normal” I expect I mean “what a booking agent with half a brain would arrange to maximize profit.” I am spending far too long in every city, returning to the same places too frequently, and generally dragging my heels.  Granted, I’m trying to  cover most of the western U.S., but I’m taking an awfully long time to do it.

Yet it’s working for me.  So I’m calling it a win, and christening this trip my “Slow Tour.” I think I like it, and I think I’ll do it again.  The bands I meet on the road are usually blasting through a state in one night, maybe two.  But I feel like I’m making friends and getting to know the places I’m staying, eating at the right taquerías, hearing the local house bands, walking down the same street three mornings in a row.  Am I losing money?  I don’t think so.  What I spend in taking so long I think I make up in connection with locals.  As a social-media-oriented musician, connection is more valuable to me in the long term than money.

After being effectively homeless for nine months, any shred of familiarity feels like a luxury.  It’s funny how seeing anyone or anything again feels so wonderfully homey.  This weekend in Houston I was so grateful to be meeting friends — only, to my surprise, they still counted me a stranger, since we’d only met once a year ago.

The cost of leaving Alaska to tour is considerable.  Once I’m out, I might as well make the most of my time.  Even though I’m busy and often overwhelmed, I’m trying to linger long as I can over every mile.  Getting home again will be that much sweeter.

Miss you, Alaska.  I’m on my way north again this Sunday.  Hope you haven’t forgottten me.

*************

A couple of notes from the road:

While playing “In the Black” at a house concert in Austin, my accompanist Scott Barkan rocked so hard that he broke his chair during the first chorus.

I love it when small children play with my typewriter.  Most have never seen one before.

I have written 7 new songs in the last 2 months.  I need an alter ego to release all this gorram music.

Scratch tracks for the new album, Something Fierce, are going up on the Donors’ Circle Google group, and I am behind on getting people added and really launching it…sigh. Working on it, sorry for the slowness.  Tour makes it hard to get work done.

I tried to play a show in Canada, but found out that would be highly illegal. Oops!  Now I’m planning a real Canada tour next year, with the proper paperwork and everything.  Canada, I love you.  Why don’t you love me?

For some reason I have twice been paired with Burlesque troupes on the road.  Not the funny kind, either.  It’s supremely weird to sing the song “Vanilla” right after a strip act.  I don’t mind, but it’s hard not to laugh.

Zippy has a new container.  It’s much more chic and worldly, since he’s so well-traveled nowadays.

Geeking out, film & sci-fi edition: in California I saw Star Trek before most of you, I got my trusty rain stick signed by Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion, and I previewed Nathan Fillion’s new indie film Trucker (before he saw it).  Review coming when I’m sure I’m allowed.  Also, the guy who drives the Mars Rover — ON MARS — likes my tunes.

Geeking out, music & culture edition: in Austin, I got hugs from my hero Danny Schmidt, sang in the presence of Lyle Lovett (though he wasn’t really listening — still!), shook hands with Roy Blount Jr. and Carl Kassell, and talked at length with Peter Sagal, who now makes fun of me on Twitter.  And reportedly, Ray Bradbury has heard and likes my music.  I try so hard not to name drop, but dude!  The fangirl in me can only shut up for so long.  This is not me climbing ladders, this is me jumping up and down in excitement.

I ate Apple-Roquefort-Bacon Pie and it changed my life.

Love to all —

M

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  1. Oh noes! You told you that Canada didn’t love you? That is a pernicious lie. To set the record straight, Canada loves you more than Apple-Roguefort-Bacon Pie virtually anything. I even asked a beaver friend of mine. Or a dogsleddermusher. Or something else very, very Canadian.

    Anyway, I know you’re looking forward to home, and I wish a swift and pleasant journey there. But also know that Edmonton is anxiously anticipating your (legal) performance here.


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