"You sound like an angel of the Himalayans and mountains and rainbows!"
--A very enthusiastic and very inebriated passerby in Columbia, MO.
[jump] I haven't written much. Lots of cool and not-so-cool things have happened. I played at a strip mall hookah lounge in Albuquerque. It's a good thing I met some really nice folks there. Otherwise it would have been very not-so-cool.
I then made my way to Texas and for some reason I was kinda scared of Texas. I just imagined getting beat up by a bunch of cowboys and them hollering, "Don't Mess With Texas!" I didn't mess with Texas so that didn't happen. But I did play in Amarillo. It was fun! Some folks came out to see me and after the show we went and hung out in a smoky bar. In fact, all bars are smoky there. Weird.
My parents are extremely sweet and incredibly supportive people. I think they were worried that I wasn't getting enough sleep so they offered to put me up in a hotel for a night. Golly. It was nice. I think I held my breath underwater for a personal record high, 17 seconds.
I made my way to the Dallas area where my Aunt and Uncle live. I slept in a bed, heard old family stories, had gourmet meals made for me by my uncle John (they used to own a joint called the Blue Horse in St. Paul. Anyone remember it?), and I sang with their parrot Mr. Magoo. (Pictured is Alex. Mr. Magoo was too shy.)
I cleaned the van! My van was becoming a traveling bacteria breeding grounds.
In Fort Worth I played a country bar called the Basement. I think someone asked if I play any country music between every other song. Nope. I don't.
Austin was really fun. I played at a joint called the Hole in the Wall and I was surprised by some friends from college, this dude Mike who used to do sound in Minneapolis, and Luke from Romantica, who all came out to support me! Jeepers! I'm a lucky duck!
The next day my pal Houston and I biked around and saw the town. We also went swimming at this awesome natural spring pool. My 10-year-old self came out and had so much fun doing cannon balls and peeing in the pool.
To be honest, I was not looking forward to playing in San Antonio. It was another strip mall hookah lounge...oh, brother. The Raven Hookah Lounge was surprisingly busy and I actually played to real live human beings. Some dude gave me $20 and in the little bit of English he spoke said, "You're good." Thanks!
I was really excited for the show in Houston. The Mink was really nice, but didn't have too much overhead (sound person, door person, etc.), the Facebook event I made for the show said there were 70 people coming (I know that sounds pathetic. Facebook events can literally make or break a show for me though...gosh. That's lame! Ha!), and I got a little bit of press from the Houston Press. It seemed like all conditions were leaning towards a successful night. Then only 10 people came. Definitely not enough to cover the overhead. The sound dude rustled up $25 for me though, and the band, Bright Men Of Learning had some of the sweetest sounding guitar tones around.
Luckily I had spent the day basking in the sun and floating around in the gulf before hand, so I hardly even realized how disappointing the show was.
Back in Dallas, I had killer company waiting for me. I played a show in a really cool area of Dallas and a bunch of my family came out. Some of my cousins and their families and friends came, and my uncle John was confused by the bathrooms; "They're both men!"
After Dallas I made my way to Norman, Oklahoma. I played at a small jewelry shop and it was awesome.
My cousin Lance, his wife Elizabeth, and their kids live near Oklahoma City. My show there got canceled because the gal at Picasso Cafe double booked the date. So instead I was treated to breakfast, went swimming, played some of my all time favorites, "Old MacDonald" and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" to some first graders and had a steak dinner. Not bad...
After that I was off to Tulsa, OK. I saw more family and was treated with more generosity. I played at a joint called the Colony. I swear that all the nicest people in the world decide to hang out there. That was such a fun night. And this dude Alex came out to the show because he stumbled upon these youtube videos I make.
Even though I've been doing this for over a year now, I still can't get over how generous people can be. I feel incommunicably grateful for my family, my friends, and complete strangers all over the country who have helped me.
More travel stories to come...