Coming Soon to a Backyard Near You: the 50 States Tour. 49>50

03/26/2010 at 9:38 am | Posted in How to this-or-that, News & Explanations, Stories from the Road | 12 Comments
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Somebody stop me.  I’m about to do something nutty again.

Of course, nutty can be good. Like a rich deep brown locally brewed ale on tap. …..What were we talking about? Right.

When I release my new album Something Fierce, I’m going on a very long driving tour of the U.S. and Canada, as musicians are wont to do.  And on this tour I shall attempt to play a show in each of the fifty United States as well as a number of Canadian provinces.  All without a label, manager or booking agent — without a steady paycheck — fueled only by fan goodwill and positivity and coffee.

This unnecessary yet numerically satisfying scheme hit me when I was counting things (as I sometimes do), and I got to this nice, round, somehow pleasing number that came after forty-nine — you know the one.  I was holding fifty dollars of petty cash in my hand as I cleaned up the till after a really beautiful concert last Friday.* “Fifty,” I thought. “Aren’t there fifty of something else too?”**

I wouldn’t be the first to do this, not by a long shot.  Just another joining the ranks.  I want to see the country where I live, I want to meet all different kinds of people, I want to feel the distances between things.  I want to swelter in summer heat and break down on straight flat stretches of highway and barely sleep and drink gas station coffee.  (Actually I don’t, but it’s worth it to come and play for you.)  I want to meet you all!

And yes, Canada, Europe, and Australia, you’re next.  Though this could take a while.  It’s a pretty big country and it’s hard to gig on Mondays and Tuesdays.

A venture like this, without label support, is only possible through your participation.  And though I love your participation, I don’t want to selfishly bank on it — it’s the kind of gift that it would be rude to budget for, like birthday money from Aunt Mae.  Every time you help me I’m amazed and grateful.  In the last few days over Twitter and Facebook, you have proved that this venture is possible by inundating me with e-mails, advice, and invitations to come to your various neighborhoods and play house concerts.  To which I say: all right! You win!  I’ll come to every corner of the country I possibly can.  If you want a show in your area, you can read about how to get it here.

Here’s my very, very general route, subject to change, color coded by month:

Eeeeeeeeeeee!Green = May / Blue = June / Red = July / Orange = August / Slate = September / Pink = October

This is such a massive project that I need a system.  Actually I need a cute personal assistant and a caffeine IV and possibly a nifty robot that makes toast and prints money, but lacking those, I need integrated docs and maps and calendars and contacts.  I’m designing an online infrastructure to make it possible to book this tour without an agent, based entirely on fan involvement. 90% of my shows on this tour will be requested and set up, with very little effort per gig, by fans.  All the details about how to set up a show near you are in this blog entry here. Let’s make it happen!

I can’t play absolutely everywhere in the U.S., but this is about as close as I can get.  So come and meet me when I’m close to you!  I’m already imagining what sorts of silly souvenirs I can try to collect in each state.

I love my job.

Also: T-shirt ideas, anyone?

More to come shortly. If you have an idea you simply must share with me right away, you can write me at mcminion42*at*  Comments on WordPress, Facebook messages/comments, and Twitter responses are important to me and I read them all, but may not make it into the final informational mix. E-mail is king for the moment.  This post will be modified once booking forms are really and truly open.

In conclusion, I’d like to say: WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!


P.S. States where I don’t know many people and could use help or local expertise: HI, ID, NV, MT, ND, SD, NE, AR, IN, OH, LA, MS, FL, NC, VA, RI, ME.

* The concert last Friday was really and truly gorgeous and inspiring.  I sang with three other Anchorage female singer-songwriters and we streamed it live on the web. You can see video at

**My favorite number is actually 51, because it feels so like a prime number — but NO! 17. Fooled you. 51 is surprising like that. Someday 51 will be the new 42.

Update: The tour now has a name: 49 to 50. Or 49>50. Alaskans will get it instantly the rest of you may need help: we’re the 49th state, and proud of it.  So 49>50 is shorthand for “from Alaska to every other United State.” Or possibly “Alaska is awesomer than every other state.” Don’t tell Texas I said that.



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  1. It looks like you’ll try to be in Georgia (and therefore presumably near Atlanta) in September. Isn’t that around the time Dragon*Con starts?

    I see what you did there.

  2. I think a black T-Shirt with “My favorite number is actually 51, because it feels so like a prime number — but NO! 17. Fooled you. 51 is surprising like that. Someday 51 will be the new 42.” on it would be really cool :-) Maybe with a Big 51 in the middle and the quote below it.

  3. Excellent! Looks like I’m on the tail end of things (PA)… how far in advance do you like to plan shows?

    Also, if you need someone to design tshirts (or whatever else I can do from the east coast) just let me know!

    • I like to plan pretty darn far in advance! I’d say 5 months would be good, so in June I’ll be looking to set firm dates for the end of the tour. I hope to have the opportunities all lined up before that, though, and I’m collecting info now — so if you know a place, tell me! And thanks for the offer of help; I actually need a small army of volunteers to make this happen. If you would like some silly little work, I can certainly give you some!

  4. Nebraska is fun. On the west side of the state is our most-recognizable geologic feature, Chimney Rock. Also out there is Carhenge. It’s like Stonehenge, but made out of cars.

    There’s lots of state parks throughout the state, most of which have campgrounds. Usually cheaper than the commercial campgrounds, and generally well-maintained.

    Omaha is the population center of the state, with a vibrant music scene. There’s all kinds of venues here, from the basic coffeehouse to the large arena and everything in between. I’m still trying to figure out if I have a home venue to invite you to (I don’t control my own home, plus I may have moved again by August; might enlist a friend of mine, if he’s up to opening his house).

    • Sweet! Do get in touch. I kind of want to see Carhenge now.

  5. Lauren, do get in touch anytime! I like to know where I’m planning to play even if it won’t be for a while. Nice to have lead time. Nick, definitely get in touch about cool venues in Omaha, homes or otherwise — I don’t know many/any folks there yet!

  6. Marian when your cruising down in the LA-Cali area let me know the dates. I can possibly hook you up with an event or festival, party to play at.

  7. Looks like you’ve got Southern California covered – will L.A. be part of that? I’d really love to see you perform.


  8. Hi!

    I am an illustrator and if there is anything I can help with please let me know! T-shirt designs a logo, whatever. I really mean it!

    I recentrly did something like this driving around mexico and drawing and got a lot of help from a lot of people so Iet me know!

  9. Anticipating your arrival in Georgia. Where do you plan on playing here?


  10. Wonderful, what a website it is! This web site presents
    useful information to us, keep it up.

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