tour blog ’14

Tour blog ’14 : “Are you a farmer?”

The road. Ever winding and unyielding. The Weather. Ever changing and unyielding.The 2014 tour begins at the Nashville Airport. My rental car company (who I won’t mention by name, because it “hurts”) tells me a Nisson Altima is a full size car.No. It’s really nice, but, medium, not full size.
I drive to Cleveland and stay at my pal Mike’s lovely home(full of basses ,a piano,guitars and a cello..)
I sleep the sleep of the weary and wake early to drive to Rochester.I got pulled over by the cops in Buffalo doing way over the speed limit(“It’s a rental,Officer ” “It’s a ticket,Speedy ”) My first gig is mid Monday morning at School #7. I’m setting up my sound system in the gym, and ask Maria(the woman who got me the gig) how many kids will be here.”Oh, about 300”. Yowzaa! It was a blast ! The kids were sharp,clapped along,laughed and sang.They got me! I high fived about hundred kids on the way out. Tuesday’s concert was for 230 kids,in a gym.Maybe I’m getting old, but, the principal was a really cool guy! Emmett,my friend who I’ve played music with for a few decades, sat in on percussion.
The kids started clapping during my song “It’s OK “ so loud it almost messed up our timing. A good problem to have. My friend Kristin (who booked the gig) came over from another school to listen. It was wonderful to see her, and have her enjoy the show. Emmet and I recorded some new songs at his home studio that night(I’m always working,even when I’m not:) Ahh,spring in upstate New York.A blizzard had started early Wednesday.The day I was driving 4 1/2 hours to Queensbury, to stay at my sister’s for a concert on Thursday. I crawled through the wintery gusts and whipping wind(the storm was named”Vulcan”.Who names a storm ?) in my trusty “full size” Nisson. Was I scared ? Not really. I was in no hurry. It was raining in Albany, but , I turned North into worse weather. The last few miles of the trip took about half an hour ! The next day school was cancelled, so, my concert got switched to Friday. A day I had 2 other shows booked. It was going to be a very long day. We got up at the crack of dawn to drive with my sister to her schools (she teaches reading at all the schools in the area)an hour away. During one show a kid asked me if I was a farmer. I do do a song about cows but, no, I’m a guitar player. After I got done, the kid came up and asked me again. No, I am not a farmer. I quickly and efficiently packed up and went to the next gig. Smaller crowd, but better audience. I met yet another cool principal.(Who knew such a thing existed ?) By this time, I was feeling a little sickly, I’d had a sore throat and a little sneezing all week, but, if I could hold off the worst til the end of the week, I’d be ok. I had a small lunch break and my driver(I mean, sister) took us to the last school. I walk into a small auditorium and am immediately psyched ! Performing on an actual stage ! Acoustically better,spotlights,seats for the audience,sound system already in place.Nirvana! Except, I didn’t feel that great and I got lazy. I should have brought in my small pa system,but, I figured I ‘d use the one in the venue.There was only one mic, so my guitar wasn’t amplified.
It’s an acoustic guitar and it can only play so loud. I tried to forget about that,just sing the songs and hope for the best. I have a new song about an elephant that wants to be a history teacher.Since my sister,a teacher, was there, I wanted to perform it.I told the kids to sing/say “Mr . Elephant “after I sang it.I got a mediocre response, so I stopped and told them they could do better.
If you’ve ever been on a stage and heard 197 psyched kids yell” Mr Elephant”, you know what I’m talking about : I could barely contain my laughter as I tried to continue the tune.
Be careful what you ask for.
One of the best parts about performing for a young audience is seeing them respond to the humor and wackiness of my songs.That is the beauty of songwriting: Seeing the kids enjoy music they have never heard before! Recording in a studio is fun, but, an audience is the true test. The songs really work !
After the show, I went raggedly dragging back to my sister’s and took a long nap. My cousins all came over for a dinner party that night.Love my cousins! I woke to another day of driving: 4 ½ hours back to Rochester, then 4 more to Cleveland, 8 hours on Sunday back to Nashville.Doctor’s appointment that next afternoon:sinus infection.All told: around twenty two hundred miles driven. I performed for close to 900 kids. Awesome. I couldn’t have done it without my friends and family! Booking me, putting me up, and putting up with me 🙂

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