Last blog written and sent from San Francisco. This blog is comin’ to ya from San Fran again but after putting approximately 3000 miles on a little economy rental car. This car was low-frills, my friends. Perfect for the indie-shoestring-budget tour: roll-down windows, no automatic locks. Getting in and out of the car was at least a 4 minute process. I feel like the car was a character in this story, like a band member or a roadie on tour with us.
Oh, San Francisco. The Bay Area was so good to us. The show at Amnesia was everything a show in San Francisco should be. My euro-touring pal Max Brüderl joined me from Germany for his first visit in the United States. We have played many shows together on my Europe tours, so after a little busking and touristing on the trolley car, we were ready to rock. We started off the night at this amazing venue. I think the capacity is like, 50 people. The best part about it is the walk-in effect. It’s in the Mission area of SF, which is a happenin’ part of town. There’s just a small little door to get inside, and people walk down the street poking their heads in, deciding if they like the music enough to come in and pay $7. Lucky for us, some people did. I also met a bunch of friends of friends sent by my pals, and even my airbnb host came to check out the show! It was a lovely crowd, and even lovelier was sharing the bill with the wonderful Zoë Sundra, who is a regular with me in the Big City Folk Scene in NYC. We also were billed with two Bay Area regular acts, Miller Carr and Luke Sweeney. Both these guys had great performances with their bands. It was a very cool night and an honor to be part of the bill.
From there we made our way down the coast, then back up, then back down again, with show destinations bringing us to a lot of great cities. San Jose, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, and Santa Barbara. A couple of them were last minute adds, happy accidents as a result of other gigs that got canceled in the final hours before I left. I’m sure as I told people where we were coming from and headed to, some might have scratched their heads at my geography skills. The truth is that they aren’t that great. My seventh grade geography teacher Mrs. Armstrong could attest to the fact that I wasn’t that interested in geography, so it’s funny now that it’s such a part of my life. My lack of interest in geographical knowledge is not really why we were up and down and all around on this tour. It had more to do with the gig opportunities and not turning any down. This proved to be a great strategy. Here are some funny anecdotes from this tour.
We played twice in Paso Robles, once at a great local pub called the Pour House, and another time at Sculpterra Winery. The weather for the winery gig was low 70s and sunny, we got a free glass of local wine from the vineyard for playing, and everyone was wonderful. Gross, right? Kidding. It was awesome. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves, it was so amazing. The songwriter event was part of a collective called Songwriters at Play, hosted by a kind fellow named Steve Key. He invited us to be part of a Carole King tribute in Santa Barbara later that week, and suggested we cover the song “I’m Into Something Good” which was written by Carole King but made famous by Herman’s Hermits. He said he had heard some covers of it on the ukulele and that it could be fun.
Max and I were up for the challenge. We enjoyed covering the song so much that it became part of our repertoire for pretty much the rest of the tour. The night was amazing, at a beautiful venue called Soho, and the Carole King soundtrack added a nice flavor to the tour.
Soon, my buddy and graphic design extraordinaire Jessie Tseng joined us on the adventure, showing us her home state of California. We took the long way on our route from Paso Robles to Oakland, driving on Highway 1, cranking the tunes that sound like California, and frequently stopping to take it all in. Check out a video of some windy harmony singin’ in Big Sur here on my Instagram. The Big Sur is really as cool as everyone says it is, in case you were wondering. It’s worth the trip. Go if you can. And if you need a buddy, I’ll totally come with you.
We met some great artists along the way. In addition to Zoe, Miller and Luke in San Francisco; there were Mike Wojniak and Olivia Mancini in Paso Robles; Vanda & The Tea Party and Becca Richardson in Los Angeles, Naomi Nektare in Santa Barbara, and Moe & Tom in San Diego. There were more that I am forgetting, which we can blame on the fact that I have a cold and spent 10 hours in a car yesterday. But every act we met and shared bills with treated us so kindly and the camaraderie with fellow musicians while on tour never stops providing inspiration. It’s one of my favorite parts of touring. (I have so many favorite parts of touring.)
Along the way, I checked Facebook and received this message:
Whoever donated my CD to Goodwill, THANK YOU! If you are thinking about doing that but think I might be offended or something because you are not holding on to my album, please know that I would not be offended. The sale goes to a good cause and provides an opportunity for another person to find my music. I’m all about it. Thanks to the fellow who took a chance on my tunes and wrote me the message, and to the kind person who paid my music forward. That is awesome.
In conclusion, the West for a While tour was warm and wonderful. The shows were all super fun, and the people of the pacific time zone showed us a great time. As much as it is cold in New York City though, I am happy to be back home. (I finished this blog in NYC. In the Path Cafe with a delicious cup of coffee, to be exact!)
The big question I've gotten since returning is "What's next?" A NEW RECORD! Keep checking this blog. Show announcements soon. In the meantime, you can grab a new song of mine called "Doorstep" released on Firebreath Records' "A Touch of Love" Valentines Day album. You'll be supporting independent music and get lots of love and not-so-love songs for your ears. What could be better???
I love you. Thanks for reading and coming on the adventure with me!