2016-07-17 Chicago, IL

July 17, 2016 7:05am
On the Brown Line from Rockwell

Haven't been documenting. Need to jot a down a few memories. Played a wedding in Oak Park yesterday. Perfect summer day. Flower girls sitting down in the grass during the ceremony. Dancing with parasols as we played after dinner. Twin 6-year old boys dressed in identical blue checked outfits, one causing trouble in every possible way he could. Don't touch that. Tripped over the extension cord. Grabbed Sarah's violin case. Two older boys catching fireflies later, skirting around behind us into the bushes to chase them.

Day before yesterday playing at Dablon Winery, Allison and Sadie surprise visit, so cool. Talking with Pat and Rich our new super fans. They love our uniqueness, our story. Once more the rains threatened and never came. Playing two songs acoustic for a table that arrived late. An extra four frenzied bars in the last break in Blue Skies. Jumping around. Drinks after at the new brewery down the street and then dinner and another pint at Tapistry before incendiary butt slapping at the rest area just across the Indiana line on 94. Sleep.

Thursday morning early drive to Cleveland from Hammondsport. Calculated gamble the van would make it home, put off the bearings job we'd scheduled. BBQ cookout party at Greg's with Jay and the kids. Go get the biggest sharpest knife you can find and run back with it. Falling over backwards in the wicker chair.

The day before, wine tasting drive around Keuka Lake with Sandy. Songs for next summer, for the mother of the brewmaster, for a wine maker, for a tasting room manager, try the Black Russian. That night dinner over Humanism. An Australian ex-baptist preacher. Another jump in the lake. A ridiculously early departure to make our schedule Firestone appointment in Cleveland Heights. The smell of the wood hallways. Sequential motion detector lights turning in in the dark. The tour of Jeff and Sandy's Airstream.

Tuesday a leisure day driving from Montgomery NY campground. Stop in Binghamton for an oil change and 5-minute visit with FAWMer Patrick Madden. A gorgeous drive through the Catskills, making dinner for Sandy and Jeff.

Monday arriving in Montgomery after a late night drive out of Provincetown at midnight to avoid traffic. Finding the local county park and deciding to just stay all day and the night too. Cooking salmon steaks on the Coleman. Tuna? May have been tuna. Dinner and then breakfast the next day too. A walk around the lake. A treasured and needed day off. Talking through my epiphany on how people who negotiate with emotional levers set me off. Count to ten. Let it go. Make the choice. Responsibility and my ability to respond to what is.

Sunday in Provincetown. A walk through the giant dunes with Cathy, Lily, and Etta. Reprimands in French. Playing our songs as instrumentals on a bench in front of Town Hall, the passive buskers. Sarah playing violin and piano with Cathy at Tin Pan Alley, squeezed into the open crevices around the baby grand. Bear Week. T-shirts with slogans. Man-juice extractor. Dinner. Wash the sheets. Getting street performer permits at the police station.

Saturday the all day drive onto the Cape from Albany. Sarah driving. Charlie rolls over in back and closes his eyes. Finding parking. Sarah plays the last hour with Cathy after I drop her at the door amidst the walking throngs. Rain. Playing Bryan Thomas on Cathy's stereo. Falling asleep in the van for half the night.

Friday night in Albany. Drove in from Keysville, arrived around 5pm. Dinner with Sarah's friend Lauren at an Indian buffet. Bryan Thomas comes too. Fantastic night of talking and eating and drinking. Bryan won't let us pay. In the morning I buy all his CDs, hide the money under a coffee table book.

Friday morning after sleeping in the van in the lot at Ausable Brewing. Drive to Ausable Chasm nearby. Gorgeous. Then drive 20 miles to visit a creamery/dairy and sing to the baby cows, sing for cheese. Woman is cutting cheese wheels, tells us people like her will feed us with food they grow and create, our job is to travel around and bring the stories back to feed their souls. Fantastic. We're the bees. Pollinating the soul flowers with culture. We make breakfast in their yard, sunburn, she lets us shower in their AirBnB cottage. She suggests we go meet a fellow down the street who runs the Upper Jay Arts Center. We play him a few songs. Share whiskey in his front yard.

Thursday. An all day drive from Hammondsport to Keysville through the Adirondacks. Stop by a shallow river for a picnic and a dip. Back road highways rather than interstate. Ausable Brewing ends up being out in the middle of nowhere. Highway caution signs along the way for Bear, Moose, Cows, horse-drawn buggies. No cars for miles, suddenly a packed parking lot, people everywhere, two food trucks, it's like a carnival. Stage in the corner of this barn-sized shelter building filled with picnic tables and a temporary bar where they have a couple barrels tapped, more varieties inside the tiny tap room next door. We play to the beautiful green fields, the sun setting to our left, kids and dogs everywhere, during our breaks we walk over to sing for the food truck workers. A barn cat jumps up on stage during our set, eyes up our instrument cases, dances for a song. Cat solo. Stay up late drinking with the two owner brothers and their one employee until after midnight, listening to Misfits and Danzig in the tap room. Meet the food truck people, the creamery women. Spectacular. Sleep in the van with the mosquito netting draped over the windows. Barn cat jumps on the hood several times. Finally muscles his way in through the screen half way through night. Stars for miles. Life in the Adirondacks.

Wednesday July 6th we were in Hammondsport for a house concert at Sandy and Jeff's rehabbed winery building. 30 people, fantastic food, a perfect room overlooking the lake. Dinner and breakfast in the morning with our hosts and their two friends from Buffalo, Joyce and Paul. Rusted Chain beer. Attempted boat ride. Our first swim in Keuka Lake. You could drink the water. Fantastic show, so many great people. Met the new owners of the Blushing Rose BnB. Fell into bed. 12 pillows each.

Monday and Tuesday in Cleveland Heights staying with Greg. Worked on two remixes of songs we'd recorded to a click in Stillwater with Bil. Spectacular results. So excited about Anvils in particular. Greg's classic line of shocked wonder "how can I be expected to write a string section without whiskey?!"

Sunday we arrived around four hours early in Toledo from the gig the night before in Fort Wayne. Black Cloister Brewing. The owner, a Lutheran minister, plied us with beer and top shelf single malt whiskey. I took video footage of his brewery tour, need to edit that. Played for the baseball game crowd before and after. Go Muds! Go Hens! Crazy fireworks in the street two blocks down. They hired us back for September. Female brewmasters. Fantastic beer.

Saturday night we played at Trubble Brewing in Fort Wayne, IN. They've also hired us back in September. Very cool farm-to-table kitchen and they grow their own kale and herbs along the south side wall of the building. Nice outdoor patio, cool attitude and vibe. We played sitting at the bar for the bartenders near the end because it was a slow night, super fun. A table of 8 or so gave us our biggest round of applause of the night when we played El Stop table side. Chatted with the chef outside by the van as he had a smoke at closing, great guy. Bartenders were awesome ladies. The drive through the back roads from South Bend was quite pretty, saw a hawk diving on a field. A leisurely drive through the countryside.

Friday we played a last minute pick up gig in South Bend from 5-7pm on the sidewalk under the State Theater marquee for the South Bend Brew Works patio crowd, and it was super fun because Bruce, Jan, and Jeremy Reaves all came down with a table full of friends. Had the lentil veggie sloppy joes again, delicious. Hung out on Bruce and Jan's patio all night drinking and playing songs, super great. Bruce turned us on to a bunch of duos we'd never really listened to closely, the stereo was cranking.

July 18th, 2016 7am
On the Brown line into the Loop again today. Heading to Coop's later for a couple spa days for Rosalita. She needs new bearings, timing belt, sparks and plugs, an AC hose, etc.

I've been trying to remember what we did and where we went before South Bend. We had a few days off when I was up in Madison I think. We played another show at Dablon which is when we met our new self-proclaimed superfans Pat and Mike for the first time and had another couple give us an $80 tip for the tires and brakes fund. That weekend was our most profitable to date, but I think that was two weeks earlier, I need to look at a calendar. We played Dablon Thursday, Marshfield WI Friday, and three other places Sat/Sun/Mon? A 2-years free of cancer party in Chicago on Saturday. I know we played at Unruly Brewing in Muskegon on Sunday. The Marshfield show was outside on a patio right downtown and at least three trains roared by during our sets. We had to stop playing each time, it was thunderous. I launched into I Like Trains by Fred Eaglesmith at one point. We stayed that night in a rest area a ways south on I-39, outside Stevens Point. The bartender made a mean Bloody Mary. Not Dan-O good or anything, but not bad.

The cancer-free party in Chicago was nice. They had a food truck and we set up in a grassy area next to their condo building. Kids running around. Grateful Dead and Lyle Lovett covers. Super sweet people and they tipped us an extra $100 which was a surprise that felt good. Everyone really seemed to have fun. A gorgeous summer evening in Chicago, fireflies and fun.

Why can't I remember where we played Monday? Oh! It was at the Weary Traveler in Madison! That's right, a last minute pick-up gig helping Josh Harty kick off his summer concert series at the Weary. It was fantastic! We got to play four songs with Josh too, Whiskey and Morphine was particularly incendiary, with Josh and Sarah trading off scorching leads and the three of us nailing the 3-part harmonies on the choruses. Super fun. Five shows in five days, a ton of driving, but just a fantastic week.

Moving backwards a few days, the show at Unruly Brewing was threatened by weather so we played inside, but it turned out to be great for us because the sound was FANTASTIC. Our amps filled this huge room perfectly. Not a ton of people but super appreciative, and one couple had come up from Holland MI to see us because they'd seen we were going to play at OUR BREWING there in September. Another guy posted video of our version of Radioactive on Facebook. The beer and vibe is great there, we put one of their stickers on the van, it's a rock-hands logo. We stopped at the county park at the Covert MI exit on the way home to watch the sunset into Lake Michigan. It was a lovely day. A perfect sunset really. Glorious. The sky turned the most amazing shades of pink, purple, and orange. I'm pretty sure we drove all the way to the Rest area just outside Kenosha that night to get as close to Madison as we could for the Weary show. Pulled in after midnight. But we skirted around Chicago traffic during low traffic hours so it was all good. In the morning we made breakfast at Aztalan State Park right where Rebecca and Brian were married. So gorgeous. I hadn't been there since the wedding. I love cooking on the Coleman. Summer breakfast behind the stockade poles. Then when we got to Madison we made dinner for Dad and Lue in their backyard, cod, broccoli, and potatoes on the Coleman, hahaha. Have stove, will travel.

Sarah caught a 4am bus to Chicago after the Weary gig for a wedding gig rehearsal and to Flapp. I think I slept all day after that.

The week before we were up near the Twin Cities for a long weekend. We booked a gig with Brettly up in La Crosse on Friday that turned out to be super fun. Brettly played the opening slot for about an hour, then we played two sets. A couple came early and wound up posting a video of us playing "Broke Down Heart" on Facebook. Apparently they were there to see if they might want us to play their house concert series and really liked us. For that show we were billed on the bar sign as Sugar Hill, hahaha, not the first time that has happened. All good. It was great to see Brettly again, he seems so much happier.