In 2015 I played 90+ shows. In the Midwest, on the west coast, in the south. This is nothing compared to the more seasoned full time musicians, non-stop touring, living in their vans & buses, 300+ shows a year. However for me, doing my own booking and promoting and holding down rent and some yoga teaching in Duluth at the time — it was quite a lot. I have so many great memories (and alas, some not so great!) and especially love the travel aspect and connecting with new and old friends. This country is incredible and huge and its inhabitants vast and varied.
****** Follow up to this – this band no longer exists! Apparently we did have some trouble brewing 😉 Awwww band drama. However I have a great new line up (Zac stayed!). And these tips are still valid for the touring musician. 😉 ****************
How to get your band from Duluth to Nashville to record for two days without killing each other
I’m embellishing of course! I didn’t exactly TAKE my band against their will! I invited them to come and record four songs with me at an awesome studio in Nashville called Welcome to 1979. In 2014 I won a prize of one free day of recording from their Battle of the Bands thing and wanted to cash in on it! April seemed like a good month to go. Not as risky driving from northern Minnesota and wouldn’t we all like to get away from the mud and muck and end of winter drear? And isn’t this a dream come true for a lot of musicians???! Wasn’t too hard to convince them it would be fun. 🙂
I sit in deep reflection, staring out the window at lightly falling snow in this cold/crusty/beautiful northern city, thinking about the past year that Holy Bones has been roaming around the world.
Holy Bones is my 6th full length album and signaled an artistic turn for me. After being mostly a solo, piano-based singer-songwriter I found that I was boring myself and felt compelled to change and follow the muse. She led me to a heavier, grungier, indie-rock, electric guitar sound. I found some like-minded musicians to collaborate with and bring that sound to life, starting from simple guitar demos to full throttle, darkly synthesized song creations.
I may have alienated some long-time fans (sorry dears – you know I love ya!), but other people graciously said, “it’s like when Dylan went electric” (in no way do I compare myself to Dylan, but was nice to hear) – the example being that the stylistic shift could be polarizing – people wanting you to keep doing the same thing (which I understand) vs. exploring other realms of the psyche …
Photo by Jon Hain Photography
Health and wellness are something I’m super passionate about, although I have my contradictions. Some nights reach well into the early morning hours, beyond 4 am, even looking at the dawn. Sleep deprivation clutches on in a life where I try to pack SO much into each day, always wishing there were more hours. But on the road, it’s a different story – sometimes with TOO much downtime, or packed so full you can’t see in front of your face. I have a few quick tips to staying healthy on the road that I’ve picked up along the way – I hope they are helpful to you, even if you aren’t a touring musician! I love this topic so will keep returning to it!
Summer News: Chance to collaborate with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, August upper midwest tour and more!
This is more of an update than a blog, but there is so much going on. A contest to collaborate and perform with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, tours both solo and with the band in the upper midwest and the regular giddiness of Bue.
Amanda Palmer is a force to be reckoned with. I first learned of her wily charms from her duo The Dresden Dolls and from afar have followed her marriage to the rad author Neil Gaiman, her solo career on the ukelele, her SMASHING Kickstarter success of over 1.2 million dollars and her celebrated TED talk reflecting on her life as a musician, artist and live statue called “The 8 foot Bride.”
Sheboygan, Madison, Chicago, Grand Haven … ahhhh the exotic destinations of the upper midwest … These are the cities and towns that made up half of my last tour, which I titled “The Partial Great Lakes Tour” (didn’t see Lake Erie on this one!) In this blog we’ll continue on our way with attempt #2 at a travel blog and head to Detroit, Calumet, Marquette and back to Duluth, Minnesota just in time for the snow …
Last week I was invited to speak on the topic of “DIY Touring” at a panel discussion with the MN Music Coalition / Caravan Du Nord at the College of St. Scholastica. I sat with Ellen Stanley, executive director of the MMC and touring musician w/ her band Mother Banjo and the one-man-band phenom that is Crankshaft. Prior to that, national act Sleep Study talked with 89.3 Current’s morning show host Jill Riley about their journey to get to where they are. One of the main themes that kept coming up in both panels was RELATIONSHIPS. Not in a smarmy, schmooz-y way — but to say that in the music business, it’s not just the old adage (which has always felt a little crappy to me) of “who you know” — but more about authenticity, gratitude, and friendship. Read more →