Rocking Chicagoland with Beki Hemingway
I've been on the road for the past four-plus days, and have been so busy having fun and making music that I haven't even checked email or blogged or anything. It's all I can do to catch a few hours of sleep per night.
Left Minneapolis in the evening and headed East on I-94 with the iPod loud on shuffle through the rental car stereo. Made it to the Dells, but the 20-below temps and dark night and speeding semi trucks tired me out. Got a room at the Motel 6 for $44.
More freezing temps, but I made it to Chicagoland in time for brunch with Beki Hemingway and Randy Kerkman, the musical all-stars I'd be teaming up with for the weekend. We consumed eggs, and had fun rehearsing. That evening we were the house band (literally) for a private birthday party. The biggest hit of the night: a cover of Journey's "Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin."
I rehearsed my liturgy with some church musicians in Wheaton in the morning, drove into Chicago and shopped at Reckless Records in the afternoon (The Best of Dan Folgelberg for $0.99!), and played a gig that night with Beki, Randy, and our old pal Lou Carlozo at Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church. The place was packed, the sound system was perfect, and I got to rock with a great rhythm section: Chuck H. (I've got to get his last name correct) on drums, and Mike Bradburn on bass. It was musical euphoria for me...we caught musical wave that was undeniable that night...truly a special evening. Highlights for me were "Narthex," "If You Have a Question," and "Lost in the Night" with the band, and "Everything to Everyone" and "Vacancy Sign" with Beki. Oh, and Lou did a cover of MY song "Tape" (very strange and fun to be the audience when another band is playing one of my songs!). Everyone jumped up on stage to close the show with a cover of the Eurythmics' "Missionary Man."
Beki and Randy and I played the Heartland Liturgy along with the fine folks at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Wheaton in the morning, and the three of us were guests for the Confirmation class as well. Had a delicious lunch with new friends, and a quiet and relaxing afternoon. That evening Beki and I returned to the church for a duet concert, and WOW...the place was packed, every seat full...probably 250 people! Again, many musical highlights including a killer set of Beki solo songs like "All The Time," "Skybound," and "Ft. Bragg." Also joining us was friend Jeff Elbel on upright bass (see photo above) for nice versions of "Get Behind The Wheel," "If You Have A Question," "Forgiveness Waltz," and "You Never Last Where You Land," as well as a massive singalong to "Hey Hey Samuel" (which so happened to be one of the lectionary texts of the day). After the show we had a concert afterparty at the nearby Steak & Shake. DELICIOUS. Wow. An awesome weekend indeed.
I slept in, watched the E! network in the hotel, repacked my suitcase, checked out, went to Guitar Center to buy a cheap key-of-D harmonica for $8, had lunch at Giordano's Pizza, shopped some used CD stores (nothing good!), and listened to my favorite Chicago radio show: the Roe Conn show on WLS as I drove West on I-88. Tonight I'm in the Quad Cities to spend the week as a guest lecturer and performer at Augustana College. More later!