• Southwest Tour 2009 First Leg
November 5th, 2009
Here we are in Austin, Texas on Gram Parsons' birthday almost three weeks into the tour. We've covered a lot of miles, met a lot of great people and seen quite a range of landscapes along the way. From the central coast of California, San Luis Obispo, further south to L.A., out to the high desert of Joshua Tree, through Tempe, Arizona, black ice in Gallup, New Mexico, Santa Fe, Truth or Consequences and a dip in the waters of the Rio Grande under an October moon, the plains of west Texas slowly changing to the hill country of Comfort and Welfare and Kerrville, spilling into the waters of Barton Springs in the heart of the live music capital of the world.....Austin.
But to backtrack a bit first. Our first stop was San Luis Obispo for two shows , and although our kickoff of the tour at the Frog & Peach was rather unattended we had a very warm reception the next night at The Clubhouse where we were the guest performers with a half-hour set before the featured act, a Canadian singer/songwriter, John Wort Hannam. We played well and even ended up being offered a featured slot at another venue that the host Steve Key runs in Santa Margarita. So on our second night out we added another show to the end of our tour. After an enjoyable evening listening to John and the various other musicians who followed his earnest, funny and heartfelt set we shared a beer or two and some bacon-flavored chocolate back at the motel. John was very down to earth, talented, generous and with any luck our paths will cross again soon.
Through Santa Barbara the next day and on to Chatsworth, in the San Fernando Valley where we stayed with my old friend Charlie for the next five days. On our second to last night in town we played a disappointing set in Orange to an empty room, save the owner of the place. He was won over by our music nonetheless, and even though we felt let down by the experience we still connected with someone through live performance. We carried this kernel of positivity with us on the drive home, laughing through mild embarrassment about the fact that we couldn't possibly play to a smaller crowd on the rest of the tour....
As is often the case however, we were redeemed and touched by the kindness and generosity of spirit of friends and strangers. The next night we played to a living room full of people gathered in Charlie's house for no other reason than to hear live music. As empty as the show the night before was, tonight we were filled with gratitude and appreciation by the dozen or so friends on couches and chairs lifting us up and propelling us eastward on our journey.
And then there was Joshua Tree.....