A short break in the never-ending tour.

I just got back from Texas, where I've been on tour for about 10 days. Before that, I was in Boston and Upstate New York, and before that, in North Dakota, Chicago, Upper Michigan, Arizona, and Kansas. I've had more gigs this Fall than I've had since B.C. (before children), and it's been cool to be back in that "on the road" mentality.

Here are some photos from a concert I played one week ago in Conroe, TX. In the 10 days I was in the Lone Star State, I played about 16 separate concerts. In addition to great fun at the SW TX Synod Youth events at Camp Chrysalis, I was the guest at a Lutheran High School in Houston where I performed four times in about six hours. Then there were normal concerts in the evenings, from church sanctuaries to high school auditoriums.

Musically, it started rough, and got better and better. When I flew down to start the tour, I had a fever and the blahs, which lasted a few days. After some good rest, my flu went away, and my voice improved and I was finally able to bring the rock. My set list (which is never really planned in advance) evolved a bit, and I finished up the week playing an old song "Bright Funeral" quite a bit. I've been playing the song "Dialysis Carpool" since the Summer, but it's been a strange one...I can't tell if it's freaking out the audiences too much. I love to play it, but I'm worried it might be to jarring for the listeners. Although I had a few comments from audience members about the song, including one guy who had tears in his eyes and told me that his Grandma in Florida was currently in her last days, due to kidney failure. So for him, he appreciated the song. It's a strange honor when folks share personal stories like that.

Other observations of life on tour:

+ Talk radio is dead since Obama won the election. I surfed the AM dial, and it was pitiful to hear Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mike Gallagher, and their ilk scrambling for topics. For the past couple years talk radio has been very entertaining, but these days, the poor hosts have no material, and they just can't catch a wave. It would be funny if it weren't so boring.

+ I woke up in a hotel room last Thursday morning, and I honestly had no idea where I was. I opened my eyes and looked around and thought, "Is this Boston? Or Austin? Or Phoenix?" Turns out it was Fort Worth. It took me about 30 seconds of thinking to figure it out. Very weird when that happens. Imagine how Obama and McCain felt these past few months!

+ Macaroni Grill is a great place to stop for lunch. Chicken Caesar Calzonetta, baby.

+ I hit a lot of used-CD stores in Texas, and got some real gems for $1!
Rodney Crowell: Diamonds and Dirt
Bob Bennett: Songs from Bright Avenue
Pierce Pettis: While the Serpent Lies Sleeping
Will Kimbrough: EP
Sheena Easton: Best of
Todd Rundgren: Best of LIVE

and the surprise of all,

Larry Tag: Rover
Larry Tag was one half of '80s synth-duo Bourgeois Tagg (who I love...got their only two albums!), and it turns out that his solo work is super-slick and tasty guitar-pop. Sort of like Squeeze meets Steely Dan or something. I love it.

+ I had a free evening in Austin, the live music capital of the world. It just so happened that one of my musical heroes, Michael Hall, was performing at the Cactus Cafe with his new band the Savage Trip. I'd shared the bill with them at South By Southwest this past March. They played a full set, and Michael did some of my favorites from his solo albums including "I Just Do," "Revolution in Cuba," and the brilliant "Baby You Scare Me." I think of Michael Hall as one of my professors in the graduate school of songwriting, and it was a pleasure to hear him and his friends play there on the campus of UT.

+ A couple of my concerts on the tour were fundraisers for Water To Thrive, a Texas-based organization working to build wells in Ethiopia. I was very pleased to support their work, and it was exciting to see what Lutherans in Texas have already done to help with this important project.

+ Finally, I enjoyed supporting the SW Texas Synod of the ELCA by providing the music for their youth events. The kids were cool, the adults were selfless and fun, the leadership was pro, and everybody had a great time. Musical highlights for me was playing Taize music during evening devotions....my favorite Taize tune being "Stay Here and Keep Watch With Me."

Thanks to all who hosted me, and came out to the concerts! I'm off to Oklahoma on Thursday...


Bridget Delaney said…
I just wanted to let you know, that if you are interested in following any of my religious thoughts/ideas/rants (including preparing for the Extra Vaganza in New Orleans now), that I'm posting those here.

My main journal is still my LiveJournal, but my the blog where I posted religious things has since gone down, so since all my Lutheran buddies seem to be using blogspot, I decided to use it, too.


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