Thursday, February 23, 2012

You Play the Washboard and I'll Play the Broads

New York, New York. The metropolitan mother-ship of the USA. Nothing even comes close. Screaming car horns, flashing lights, looming towers and nearly nine million sleepless residents fill the city from street to street. Existence at its finest. It was this constant display of endless motion that was still running through my head when I arrived in Purcellville, VA. There's a change. After a bit of research, I learned that more people work in the Empire State Building then reside in Purcellville. However, this is where my brother lives - so this is where I found myself. It didn't matter. It was good to see him was good to sleep in a bed again. It was good to take a shower again. I think my socks were molded to my feet. I was kind of scared to take them off. I'm sure they could have stood on their own. Since Rickey was playing washboard and guitar with me that night, a bunch of Patrick Henry students came out to the DC show and created a super fun, high-energy, performance that I'll remember for awhile. Not to mention playing with Rick again was amazing. We played, and sang, and stomped, and danced to our heart's content until the whole little upstairs room had broken into a roaring, spinning, swing dance party. At one point, I was playing "Who Cries Over Dead Spiders?" when Rickey jumped out into the crowd and broke into a whole dance routine with some classmates. So Rick could leave early, we got moved from headlining to a 10pm spot. When we got done, the final act (who was supposed to play before us) made it extremely clear that they didn't even want to play because they knew they couldn't compete with our energy and performance enough to try to follow us. We were all smiles. I've had bands scheduled to follow me walk out without playing before. I'm really glad these guys still went on because they turned out to be one of the best bands I've played with this whole trip. Such a good time and such a good band. (check out Dan Wolff when you get a chance) I wish Rickey could be with me every night. We'd never have a bad show and we'd make so much money. It was good to see my parents while I was in VA as well. Mikelle finally got her dog. He's kind of invasive but seems cool enough. If you make fun of him she'll stab you in the liver. She's a liver stabber.

I hit the 3500 mile mark today. 3500 miles in 15 days. I still have another 18 days and 2500+ miles to drive before the tour is over. Unless I keep going. I added some more show dates and hope to keep moving 'till I can't anymore. Maybe I'll settle in Phoenix for awhile. Maybe New Mexico...
It strange, there's something about driving all over the country that requires monstrous amounts of gasoline. I'll never understand it. See, it's about a 6 1/2 hour drive from VA to Knoxville. That's 6 1/2 hours worth of gasoline I have to posses, and so many dollars worth of money I have to have to purchase said 6 1/2 hours worth of gasoline to make the previously mentioned 6 1/2 hour drive without winding up gas-less on some God-forgotten street corner west of nowhere. I didn't think this was going to be a problem as I pretty much tour for gas money. I play shows to make enough gas money to get to the next city who can pay me enough gas money to get to the next, then the next, then the next, then the next. It's a revolving cycle. I don't need things for myself. I can live on a shoe-string; $200 is like $2500 and a cheeseburger is a New York Strip when you live in a truck-bed. Give me a box of poptarts and a Dr Pepper and I'm happy. Just keep me on the road. But sometimes the cycle stops. Sometimes things get fun and you get that awesome chance to actually live for awhile. It's usually the long-hauls that do it. You know, those trips from Cleveland to Philadelphia with nothing but a day off in between. In this case it was Manhattan to Virginia then Staunton to Knoxville that got me. It's a good 600 mile haul between each stop and I'd made enough for half of that. I had nothing left 150 miles outside of Knoxville and decided to drive until I either got there or stopped moving. Turns out it was a good idea as I ran out of gas in front of a hospital in downtown Knoxville - not far from where I needed to be. It was around 2:45am, I had a cool radio program scheduled for the next morning, and my phone said I was within 3 miles. Close enough for folk-travel. I was happy. I still can't believe I made it that far. I think I laughed for like 15 minutes straight at how well it worked out. Honestly, my gas light had come on about 35 miles prior and I expected a far heftier walk. 3 miles is nothing. I pushed my truck into the parking lot and went to bed. The next morning I walked to the station and made it in time to play an incredibly fun, on air acoustic set (in front of a live studio audience) and meet a killer bluegrass/rock band from Colorado. (you can check out our performances here: Be sure to look up Old North State, great band and such cool guys). O.N.S. and I kept talking about how surprised we were by the number of people that came out for a 12pm show. The place was packed and everybody seemed super receptive. The show wrapped up and I still didn't have any money, so afterwards I walked downtown, played on the street a bit, sold some records and ended up hawking an old fender amp to get back on the road. Knoxville is super pretty and one of the coolest towns I've been to. Maybe I just like the excitement. 
By 3pm I was headed to Charlotte with a few hundred bucks, a cheeseburger and a sense of accomplishment. So much fun. I love this stuff. Honestly, I was bored. Things had been too smooth for a solo tour and I kept waiting for that "let's get resourceful" moment to kick in. I can't believe it took this long but I'm glad it finally happened. What a great time. Can't wait 'till it happens again. 

I pulled into Charlotte and the first thing I saw was a pink truck. What a great day. I think I'll play downtown awhile before the show. It'll be a small show tonight then I'm headed home for two days. It'll be cool to play in Nashville on Saturday and Sunday before leaving for Florida. Good crowds and good people. I can't wait to get to be back in Nashville and Florida. I think they'll be my favorite stops. My body is acting weird. I think I need to sleep or eat something decent. 
There are two fat high-school girls sitting across from me having a very intense conversation about restaurants they wish existed...oh, fat kids...

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