Photo taken by Jack Emerson Garland at Everyday Joe’s in Ft. Collins, CO
Our most recent tour started out much like any other, with a healthy dose of optimism about the days ahead. We kicked things off with four great shows—two in Nebraska, and two in Colorado. A particular highlight was our show at the Clawfoot House in Lincoln, NE. Home of Ember Schrag and Bryan Day, the Clawfoot is one of our favorite venues in the U.S. The atmosphere is a perfect combination of relaxed yet organized, welcoming and friendly yet professional. This time through we got to meet Ember’s two-year-old daughter. She showed off some awesome dance moves to Diamond Kazzoo’s opening set of old timey bluegrass tunes. I wish we had video.
Great little Mexican bakery around the corner from the Clawfoot House
Colorado was enjoyable. We played in Greeley and Ft. Collins, and then spent a couple days hanging out with friends around Easter. Our stay in Colorado even included a trip to Boulder to visit the Celestial Seasonings tea factory. When Tuesday morning arrived, we joked about the desolate drive through Wyoming that was in store. Nic even updated his facebook page that morning with, “Preparing for the views of desolation: I-80 through WY, and a jog to the north on a few lesser roads.” Our experiences driving through Wyoming have been something like this: dry, hot, barren land where nothing can grow and no one wants to live. But a few hours later, Nic’s status read, “Nevermind desolation. Just hit a blizzard. I-80’s closed. Shoot.”
They literally blocked off the interstate with gates and police cars, prohibiting any travel down I-80. So at 10:30 AM, we were forced to exit to the Flying J truck stop (pictured below). We scored a booth and hung out for awhile, expecting the roads to reopen momentarily. After about seven hours, we began to lose hope, but at that point, all the hotels in nearby Rawlins were booked, so we spent the night in our van next to hundreds (maybe thousands) of other weary travelers. Eventually, a little community formed at the Flying J.
Heather met a couple who were moving back to Washington state. They were riding in a small, crowded truck, with furniture (including their bed) in the back. They were anticipating an uncomfortable night’s sleep and the purchase of a new mattress, as theirs had been soaked by the snow. Around the 24th hour, a guy in the car next to us pulled out his guitar and started jamming in the snow. Soon enough, Nic had his guitar out as well, playing songs for a random truck driver. Everyone was bored and delirious, and things started to feel like a strange festival. Finally, at hour 26, we were back on I-80.
At this point, we had missed our show in Logan, UT, and it was questionable whether or not we could make it to Boise in time. We rushed along, making few stops, and were able to play our show in Boise on Wednesday night. Following the show, we treated ourselves to a motel, as we were desperately in need of a good night’s rest. Our heads hit the pillows a little after 2 AM, and we didn’t hear anything at all until the room phone started ringing frantically about four hours later. “Hello,” Nic says groggily. “Sir,” the front desk clerk says, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but it appears your car has been broken into.”
It was true. Sometime between 2 and 6 AM, someone busted out our passenger side window and grabbed everything within reach, including lots of electronics (GPS, Ipod, nice cameras, etc.) and a suitcase full of You & Yourn merch. (Sorry to those of you who signed up on our mailing list in NE and CO. That list was stolen before we could enter your email addresses.) The good news is that no instruments were taken and Sadie (our dog) was not in the van. Of course, we did what any person would—talked to police officers and insurance companies, waited for a glass repair person to come fix our window, called our moms, and then pulled it together and drove on to Oregon.
As Nic was settling up with the man who fixed our window, the glass man asked what we were doing in Boise. Nic explained that we were musicians. Then in an honest Idaho kind of way, the man looked Nic in the eye and said, “Huh. How’s that workin’ out for ya?”
We kicked off a tour in Omaha, Nebraska, last night, and we had the pleasure of playing the Clawfoot House in Lincoln this evening. Over the next three weeks, we’ll be traveling to the Pacific Northwest and back. Tour dates are below.
03.31 — Omaha, NE — Barley Street Tavern
04.01 — Lincoln, NE — Clawfoot House
04.02 — Greeley, CO — Zoe’s
04.03 — Ft. Collins, CO — Everyday Joe’s
04.06 — Logan, UT — Why Sound
04.07 — Boise, ID — 208 House
04.08 — Pendleton, OR — The Great Pacific
04.09 — Bellevue, WA — Ground Control
04.10 — Olympia, WA — Chez Puget
04.11 — Seattle, WA — Sunset Tavern
04.12 — Seattle, WA — Shenandoah’s
04.13 — Spokane, WA — Empyrean
04.14 — Missoula, MT — ZACC Gallery
04.16 — Bozeman, MT – Leigh Lounge (MSU-Bozeman)
04.17 — Grand Forks, ND — Rhombus Guys Pizza
04.18 — Minneapolis, MN — Kitty Cat Klub
Later this month, we’ll be heading to the Northeast for some recording and a few shows. More info on that to come!
Take good care,
Nic & Heather
Thursday (Oct. 1) we made a stop in Pocatello, ID, which proved to be a good idea. A guy named Levi from the college radio station set up a show for us at College Market Coffee and Books. We were very much at home. Idaho, in general, felt strangely similar to the rural Midwest. College Market also reminded us of a place called The Coffeehouse in our college town of Normal, IL, where ISU is located (Idaho State in Pocatello or Illinois State in Normal).
There was a good turnout at the show, and people seemed into our music. We also learned some fun facts from the crowd. For example, Pocatello is the Smile Capitol of the U.S. It is actually illegal to NOT smile there. Also, the lead researcher of Bigfoot apparently resides in Pocatello.
We stayed with our friend Cary Judd and his family after the Pocatello show and had a great breakfast of waffles, eggs, and bacon the following morning. We were quite comfortable at Cary’s house and probably could have just moved in. But soon enough, we had to embark on the beautiful drive to Bozeman, MT.
Friday night (Oct. 2) we played at The Filling Station in Bozeman, which is one of the only bar shows on this tour. In recent years, we’ve become realistic about who we are (and who we aren’t). The Filling Station served as a reminder that our music is not well-suited for a bar on a Friday night.
Nonetheless, it was a good show. We’re glad we got to see Tony Furtado from Portland and Gospel Gossip from Minneapolis—both pretty amazing. And the audience was quite nice. We even had a world music lesson about the harmonium when one guy from the crowd said, “That lady should tell us about her instrument.”
The Filling Station; Bozeman, MT
Saturday (Oct. 3) we drove down the road to Missoula, MT. We took one detour during our trip. The signs for Garnet Ghost Town looked innocent enough…
As we followed the signs, the road became gravel, then eventually dirt. It also became increasingly narrow and steep. Abrupt drops bordered one side, and of course, there were no guard rails in sight. As you might imagine, our mini-van is not ideal for sharp turns on an uphill one-lane gravel road. But by the time we figured that out, we were committed, because there was nowhere to turn around. Luckily, Nic is a calm driver, and we made it out alive!
(Yes, those are bullet holes.)
Our show in Missoula was a smaller show in the basement of an art gallery. We had reached a point of exhaustion, so this was a lower energy performance for us. It felt like we were playing in our living room for a group of friends. Everyone at the show, including several children and our dog, sat on couches and conversed with us between songs. It was a nice show, and was the first time we’ve shared a stage with eight-year-olds (The Scribblers). Missoula seemed hip, and we enjoyed spending time with new friends.