I hit the road in June after getting the van out of the shop. I had an oil change, rotated tires and had Joey, the mechanic, listen for a valve tapping noise that was coming and going. He put an additive and said that it should help it out and I hit the road.
I'm all about preparation and ruling out any room for error, so this didn't send me off without reservation. I spent the first night at a camp site in LaGrange, GA. The van had tapped the whole way there. As soon as I got on the bridge out of New Orleans, he started tapping. Of course this consumes your mind and it interrupts the normal writing and music listening on the road. I did everything I could to fix the problem and eventually, I let it go and thought I'd deal with it in Asheville at Dr. Dave's. They had serviced "Tux" last time I was in town and they knew a lot about these vans.
I was so excited to be playing in Athens for the first time. I had made my own connection with Seth at Hendershot's the old fashioned way. I had passed through town, sat at his bar for a coffee and talked to them about music. When I was leaving, I told him I was looking for a place to play and he said he'd check me out online. He wrote back a few days later saying, "I knew you'd be the real deal"! Ha, I love having to work for things, and having to earn the respect of my collaborators out there. I camped out in my new friend Jason's yard for a night after a night of great music in town. Athen's music scene amazes me. I think a city and it's musicians have to be brave to keep moving
forward and not just give the tourist what they came for.
My friend and guitarist William Chandler had told me about Julie Odell a while back and I made it out to her shows a few times and was blown away by her. We became friends over time and had always said we wanted to play a show at Chattooga Belle Farms in South Carolina. We played at sunset with the light creeping behind the mountains. It was pretty surreal, I remember just howling at one point looking at the mountains. I was "The Child of the Wolf" indeed!
It was good to be in NY again. Both Brooklyn and Woodstock were very inspiring. I started some collaborations with Alex Lipsen, Prince Polo and Dave Burnett and even started recording "Along The River Road" with Danny Blume in Woodstock. This is a song I wrote for the Bonfire tradtion in St. James Parish.
New York will make you feel like you're not doing anything with your life. Though up until this point I was having a good tour, I wasn't impressed with myself. I never am. One Sunday, I got up determined to wear a black suit and allow myself to feel like someone. I'd be an accomplished individual. In the past year I had played The Gary State Bank Music Hall, on a roof top in New Orleans, in the swamps, at festivals, in living rooms and I was connecting on a much deeper level than if I was on some billboard somewhere.
I put on my suit and went straight to Grand Central to get my shoes shined. It was working, I was feeling good. It occurred to me that if I don't see myself, no one else can see me either. Then I encounter a photographer in the streets shooting folks and he took two shots of me in all my glory. We bonded over our simple little notes we are sharing with society. All the work, ups and downs and we declared it was worth it and valuable. We talked of Jazz era artist and discipline and really working at your craft not just relying on Instagram and social media. We parted ways with a kick in our steps.
The ever changing pedal board. Loving my Space Echo for vocals for ambience. I got another loop pedal with reverse on it. I'm still arranging these to work like I need them too.
One Saturday morning I got up and watched "Man on Wire" and it inspired me so much and made me feel like I could expect more from myself. This guy, Phillipe Petit is my hero.
I'm going to buy his book "To Reach The Clouds".
Spent some time in Rhode Island and wow what a beautiful state. Played a nice show in Providence and met some nice folks. Before driving back down to Asheville.
Almost forgot, when I made it to Asheville, I got Tux checked out at Dr. Dave's. At first, Dave thought it was more of a knocking than a tapping and that means rebuilding the engine which is not good. Every VW shop I visited before this suggested I try 20W50 oil and it worked. It's easy to think for the worst, but most of the time I know without a doubt that nothing will stop me from my road not even the 18 wheeler that side swiped me when I was at a stop light. The damage was not as bad as it felt when I was trapped in the drivers seat. I'm having it inspected this week and repaired soon.
I like staying in Oso's barn in Asheville. It's a very creative room so far and will plan to be back there soon.
The black iron pot is the key ingredient to all cooking in the van. I made some granola with my friend Mabel's recipe and it came out pretty good.
Me and Oso
His daughter Solstice
And then I finished tour playing on this deck. Knoxville turned out to be a good spot for me. People I've worked with in the past are starting to hear about me playing again and hope to dabble with festivals and such as I continue to build my pop up shows. Starting to believe I'm a child of the wolf.