Tour Diary - June 15, 2019
Apparently I can’t sleep well in this bed. It could be that or the argument/conversation happening outside the window (I’m on the third floor) from 3 am to 4 am. I actually contemplated getting up and sleeping in the car since I slept so well in the car the other night. But that would be dumb.
First real hang out with Emily and she’s fantastic. We talked about music we’re listening to and inspired by. I would name some Australian dude and she was like “I played a show with him.” and she would say “have you heard of Jason Isbell?” and yes, of course I have. Then we got our guitars out and played Paul Kelly songs together.
And because tomorrow is Sunday I ran to the shop to get some food stuffs for tomorrow. Most restaurants and all supermarket type places are closed on Sundays in Germany. If you don’t remember - your eating options become very few. Then I came home and made some food and rehearsed a bit for tonight.
Guitar Geek Warning: That new Gibson I got is great but it’s kicking my ass. I play heavy .13 gauge acoustic strings and the action is just a little bit higher on this guitar than on my others, that coupled with the ebony fretboard (harder wood than the rosewood of my other acoustics) and you have a recipe for some finger fatigue as well as the strings are just eating up my fingers. I’m going to find some .12 gauge strings as soon as I can (not tomorrow) or see if I can adjust the truss rod a little bit to bring the action down. This may sound like a minor thing but when it’s your main thing and your fingers are getting tired when they shouldn’t be - it’s a bigger thing.
I’m playing the Shakespeare Pub tonight in Weyhe. (pronounced Vay-ha) It’s a nice place with an attentive soundman and nice PA system and stage. It can get a bit talky talky and loud in there but as long as I can hear myself I’ll be fine. I also talked to Mona today and she’s coming to the show and said she’s ready to sing backup on a handful of songs and her mom Manuela is coming too. She was at the show the other day too. She tells me she likes singing along with the songs but needs the words so she can understand them all. So we exchange info and I’ll get her the words. I haven’t thought of this before but now I have to organize the words in a way that I can share them.
After I soundcheck the staff tells me I can go next door and order food. It’s a nice restaurant and I’m going to find something good on the menu. They had hamburgers, and fish and steak and potatoes. I ordered the salad with steak strips on top and I’m feeling quite pleased with myself for that decision.
Back inside for the show and the room is filling up. I don’t see any posters for me but two people did tell me that I was in the local newspaper and that’s why they are there. So that’s good. I look on the walls and there’s a poster of me the last time I was here, my friend Kaurna, Kate Vargas, Troy Petty, Ingrid Veerman, Aaron English - lots of friends and I dig that.
Tonight is hard work. I think people are digging it but it’s hard to tell they are so chatty and then it will be silent for a little bit and I will feel like “ok, this is working” and then I would’ve lost them again. Some songs felt like shouting into the abyss. But there’s folks there that I know and that’s powering me thru. I got requests for “Hold me” and “The Sea” and I like that. “Hold me” is one of my favorite songs that I’ve ever written and I almost never play it. It’s a hard song to perform and I’m always afraid of not performing it well. This is exactly why I should play it more. I will work on that.
Manuela has brought my signature model guitar with her tonight (I let Mona borrow it when I’m not here) and it’s cool to see the guitar that is actually the big picture on the inside of my cd jacket. I haven’t seen it in a while. It’s set up to play slide on and it’s perfect for that.
Mona joins me on a few songs and sounds great. Honestly the songs she sang with me were the highlights of the show. There was a time when the idea of someone jumping up and joining me on stage would’ve been a terrible idea (and if you don’t know the person or they are drunk - it likely still is a terrible idea) but when you work with people who are professional and you know your stuff as well - it’s just a breeze.
I sell a few cds and catch up with friends after the show and it seems like the people here were here for me because as soon as I’m done the place pretty much empties. Really tough read tonight.
Oh, and I played my song “Double Down” tonight. Interesting thing - so far no one, NO ONE, here knows what double down means. This song feels like it’s going over like a fart because it doesn’t make sense to anyone! I tried explaining it tonight but I think that made things worse. Have to figure out a new way into that.
Off to bed now - it’s 2:17 am.