Tour Diary - July 5, 2019
I’ve got my replacement piezo element from Thomann music. It got here in like two days so that was good, I got it installed in the guitar and tried it out. It still ain’t right. The output is really low and this sounding, a little harsh. This kind of sucks and is going to drive me crazy. It sounded amazing for the first 2 weeks and now has just gone wonky.
Todd is riding with me today to Loxstedt and we’re playing a community center. It’s their first time having music like this and they are a little nervous about what to expect. Todd and I have done this, we’re not nervous, as long as people show up we’ll be fine. We’re a little late getting there, turns out they wanted us there at 4:30 but I thought we were supposed to be there at 6:30. It still worked out fine as we weren’t starting until 8. It takes us about 7 minutes to set up the PA and lights. It’s a nice room and they offer us beer, coffee and sausages from the grill.
I’m still a bit in my head about the world/US events (read: trump concentration camps/4th of July) but I’m not ready to externalize any of it and it’s this dance of not wanting to be a bummer of a performer and dragging the news around with me, being a performer and being oblivious to what’s happening.
I remember reading the Springsteen autobiography and he talks about how Little Steven was a steadfast proponent of “don’t mix politics with music” until they went to Europe and after that Little Steven did things like an album bringing attention to apartheid in Africa. He was political from then on. I don’t have the skills to write the kind of political song I want to but socio-political, songs about people dealing with stuff, even if it’s just me dealing with stuff - that I can do. I feel more of this boiling under the surface but hasn’t materialized as of yet.
Todd and I have a great conversation to and from Loxstedt. He’s from Iowa, I’ve been to Iowa. So we have that in common along with a lot of the same musical tastes and background. He’s new to solo performing but it doesn’t show. He stomps his feet, claps his hands and gets folks involved. He’s touring with a pair of guitars, an old Guild acoustic and Dean electric resonator, the resonator he uses in open G tuning and gets a lot of miles out of that tuning. It’s inspiring. Twice now, while watching him, I have gone online to see if I can find a cheap resonator locally. I’m missing my resonator and I dig the tone he’s getting out of his.
Todd played a John Prine song last time we played together so today I play one as well. Todd one ups me today by throwing a Greg Brown song “64 Dodge” into his set. I’m not sure the audience caught all the words of this one but I sure appreciated it. '64 Dodge is one of those folky singer songwriter songs that you hear and you immediately think “now that’s a songwriter”. Tracy and I saw Greg Brown at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in…’95? ‘96? Shit that was a while ago. We were camping there with our friends Morgan and Heather. It rained and I bought a Mexican blanket poncho that did nothing for the rain but make me look like a guitar clutching Clint Eastwood in the Good, The Bad and the Ugly. If Clint played guitar in that movie - it would’ve been a much better movie. More guitars, less guns - that’s what the world needs.
My set goes ok, I have to really turn up the level of my guitar and it’s a bit harsh and the ghost tone is still there at times. I caught myself listening to my guitar when I should’ve been singing and I lost the whole first verse of a song and ended up singing the second verse twice. I think to myself “maybe they won’t notice”. They totally notice. I get some singing going on in APB and folks are really appreciative and into it. I give it my all and sweat it out a bit.
One of Todd’s songs has a bit of a train sound that he plays on guitar and he encourages everyone to make a “Hoo-Hoo” sound and it’s comically bad as the room sounds like a bunch of hesitant owls. Everyone laughs and he sticks with it and gets them going. He mentions me from the stage and I’m outside looking in the window at him, out of sight of everyone there and right in his sightline straight ahead and I’m flipping him off. We’ve become close enough that this gets him laughing.
We finish up playing. We sell one cd. The venue was supposed to go around with a hat but I don’t think he did. We’re getting a fixed fee from them. I hate being the guinea pig for new venues and I sometimes feel like I get sent to places for the first time more than other folks on these tours but that could just be my imagination.
My bad guitar tone is still in my head as we drive home and I start trying to figure out ways I can fix it. I got this guitar because of the great pickup system it had in it but it’s a pickup system that was new in 2007. That was 12 years ago. My buddy Glen helps me with all things Fishman pickup related and he explains what’s going on and how they can fix or most likely replace it for me for not much money but I’d still need to get the pickup to the states. It doesn’t help me here and I still have a month worth of shows. I need to find a local shop.