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
Getting packed and ready to leave home for three and half weeks is never an easy task. And, inevitably, you will forget some things. In the days before Sept. 24, we had a button-making party with our sidekick Gillian, built a wooden shelf for the back of the van, purchased a mini-fridge that runs off the car battery, made some pasta salad and hummus, and threw some clothes into suitcases. Nic did forget his coat (which might be unfortunate when we hit ID or MT in the next few days), but otherwise, we’re in pretty good shape!
The first three dates of the tour were some of our favorite shows ever, organized by three truly excellent promoters. Thursday night (Sept. 24) we played in an Iowa City art space called Public Space One. It was an intimate show with a couple good openers and a very welcoming crowd. We also got to see our good friend Caleb, who made us dinner and let us crash on his futon.
Friday (Sept. 25) we played at the Clawfoot House –the upstairs apartment of an old house in Lincoln, NE. After drinking tea and eating the best vegetarian chili we’ve ever had, the dining room table was replaced by rows of chairs, and people filtered in for a night of music and friends.
There was lots of crowd interaction, and people felt comfortable to insert comments or questions between songs, like, “That was beautiful,” or “What is that instrument?” Sadie was on her best behavior, serving as the welcoming committee and convincing at least a few show-goers that they should get a dog. Below are photos of the other acts: the Ember Schrag trio and John Walker. We could have listened to them play for hours!
Ember Schrag trio at Clawfoot House show
John Walker at Clawfoot House show
Saturday (Sept. 26) we were at Everyday Joe’s in Ft. Collins, CO. Again, a very fitting venue for what we do. The place filled up, with people drinking coffee, sitting at tables, and listening attentively. A freight train forced us to pause in the middle of Soul & Body. But once the train passed, we picked up right where we left off. Our set was followed by Danielle Ate the Sandwich, who was captivatingly witty. We hear she has some pretty awesome YouTube videos.
On Sunday (Sept. 27), we were able to spend some time with our friends Brian and Becca in Ft. Collins. We hiked up a mountain (see photos below) and ate some awesome beef brisket that Brian smoked for 14 hours. Then we headed to Denver for another house concert.
Denver proved to be one of our most random touring nights ever (and we’ve toured a decent amount in the past). We showed up at the venue address, and it looked pretty dark. Not exactly a good sign. Eventually we got in touch with the promoter and learned that he thought we were coming Oct. 27 instead of Sept. 27. Oops. But he asked us to hang tight while he made some calls.
Long story short, we found ourselves eating and playing at some kind of anarchist potluck. We felt a bit awkward about the whole situation, but the people of Denver welcomed us in, fed us, listened to our songs, and even requested that we play more. When Nic apologized for crashing their potluck, one person said, “I wouldn’t say you’re crashing it, just enhancing it.”
More info to come about our shows in Utah, but one thing we know for sure: There are still lots of generous, hospitable people in this world, and we’ve been lucky enough to meet many of them. Thank you for renewing our faith in humankind.