Nah, it was fine. Fine and snowy as fuck. Started the tour off with a great local show with Mike & the Moonpies, doing the Sun Radio showcase at Guero's in south Austin. All of the above were fantastic -- the Oak Garden at Guero's is a sweet little venue, and of course M&tMP's are great friends of ours. So much so, that they even stopped in Denton the next night (on their way to a gig in OK) to hang out with us. Rad dudes, and Dan's Silver Leaf was a great venue. What's the name of the taco place across the block? Top-notch. The Colony has a god-awful PA system, but at least Kierston White was amazing. Our friendly neighborhood CouchSurfer Jay was a righteous old fella who treated us to a great dinner and some beers (along with his great record collection and super-sweet pup Bonnie). Wesport Saloon is always fantastic, and even our Super-Bowl-Sunday show in Des Moines turned out to be OK.
Driving from KC to DSM: Carson is sleeping in the back of the van, suddenly awakens and exclaims: "SNOW!". Note: Austin native laying eyes on a light dusting. Awww, cute. We're joined by our good buddy Jeremy Pinnell for the next week of tour. Jeremy is a boss country music songwriter, so much so that we even instituted a "Jeremy Jar" for band members to place their loose change whenever they repeat Jeremy's lyrics to excess. Local awesome dude Stutterin' Jimmy opened the show with his Tom Waits-esque delivery (which was awesome, in spite of his loop-pedal-using sidekick). Highlight of the show: we have all our gear backlined, and Jimmy wants Sam (Carson's steel player) to sit in for a tune. His initial request is politely turned down, then they start into a rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah".... complete with personalized lines such as: "I heard there was a secret chord that Sam would play and it pleased the Lord, but you don't really care for our music, do ya?". Sam stayed strong, refusing to sit in, and was thus assaulted with a chorus of "Hallelujah... Sam, Hallelujah". It was great.
Chicago show is quite decent, although snowy as all hell. Warren, husband of super-fan Marka came out, and we made some other new friends as well. Daytrotter session in the afternoon is also a great time. We stayed with Daphne and Russ, who were a real sweetheart of a CouchSurfer couple and made sure we were very well taken care of. Cincinnati show is great and very well attended for a Wednesday night. I don't know if I've mentioned yet, but one of the huge job perks within my chosen career field is getting paid to visit your hometown and drink with your buddies. Hard life, right? My dear sweet mother was kind enough to host the band for a few days (as she has many times before), and it's honestly the best thing ever to be home while being on the road. We also got to shoot some video at CandyLand Studios in Bellvue KY, courtesy of SofaBurn Records in Cincinnati.
Tour continued on to Lexington, where we played with some OK locals but managed to find some extra-decent tacos down the street. Folks in Sylva were nice, and Mary and Shoprag took care of the band. I got an extra-jumbo-supreme case of the grumpy-asshole-fuckoffs (an unfortunate by-product of everyone else in the house staying up to socialize loudly while one is trying to sleep), but I managed to stop being pissed off at the rest of the band sometime around noon the next day. WDVX was a really great experience, mostly because I bought a copy of "Smile All Day" by local kids music artist Bill Crosby, but also because we had a great set for an appreciative audience of quite-a-few in studio and who-knows-how-many listening on the air.
That evening, we were hosted at the Dirty South House by the super-extra-fantastic Goodall Family. Not only did they provide an excellent venue for Carson & Jeremy for the evening's show, they were also super sweet and accommodating, and have a couple of rad kids -- i.e. daughter wearing a Ray Wylie Hubbard t-shirt, son expressing fondness for the new Jason Isbell record, and general feeling of "these kids are gonna be OK". Added bonus: somewhere, floating out there in internet land, there's a video of me playing pedal steel (poorly) while Sam plays drums (also poorly, obviously). This all stemmed from the Goodall kids wanting pointers on how to play our instruments after we loaded-in during the afternoon. Further proof that they may be the raddest family in all of TN.
Douglas Corner is such a great venue in Nashville (as evidenced by pictures of Townes on the walls behind their bar). No regrets: we ate at three hot chicken joints in two days. Verdict: Hattie B's is pretty goddamn great, though Prince's and Harold's are no slouches either. The first time I went to Harold's (june '15), we ordered the medium and I swear to christ they were fucking with us -- food was stupid hot (dig it) and as the four of us are sitting there sweating all over our chicken (seasoning), the chef even leans out of the kitchen window and says "you boys wanted it hot, didn't ya?".
Blue Canoe is a rad venue with some history -- if you ever get to play there, read the wall behind the stage: Alabama Shakes, American Aquarium, etc. They also had a really great ghost pepper sauce to along with their "crack fries". Had a guy invite us out back to smoke a joint, then ask us where the joint was once we got out there. "I'm starting to think you guys might not even smoke weed" was the quote of the day. Hannah and Jessie put us up for the night, and were awesome gals with awesome dogs.
Little Rock, Ft Worth, and Austin were all killer shows. Duh. It's always nice to get to play some of your favorite venues with you favorite folks in attendance. Also, no snow.
2/2 Banger's, Austin TX
2/3 Sun Radio Benefit @ Guero's, Austin TX
2/4 Dan's Silver Leaf, Denton TX
2/5 The Colony, Tulsa OK
2/6 Westport Saloon, Kansas City MO
2/7 Lefty's, Des Moines IA
2/8 Daytrotter Session, Rock Island IL (12pm)
2/8 Uncommon Ground, Chicago IL (8pm)
2/10 MOTR Pub, Cincinnati OH
2/11 The Green Lantern, Lexington KY
2/12 No Name Pub, Sylva NC
2/13 WDVX Blue Plate Special, Knoxville TN (11am)
2/13 Dirty South House, Knoxville TN (8pm)
2/15 Douglas Corner Cafe, Nashville TN
2/17 Blue Canoe, Tupelo MS
2/18 Whitewater Tavern, Little Rock AR
2/19 Fred's TX Cafe, Ft Worth TX
2/20 The White Horse, Austin TX