Summer 2015 Tour / Trip Recap

I’ve been back a few days from my road trip / tour. I had a fantastic time, seeing friends, playing a couple shows, doing some recording, and playing music tourist. 

On Saturday, July 11th I was supposed to do a bon voyage outdoor house concert here at home in rural Virginia, but we got rained out. So instead it was a ‘prep for the trip’ day, and a much needed one as it turned out.

On Sunday, July 12th it was off to Knoxville, TN to play a house concert at John Baker’s The Arbor Studio. I was nervous as hell for this one. It was pretty much just music people there, some who've worked with some pretty high profile folks (at least in music fan terms).Tim and Susan Lee's band Bark played, as did Kevin Abernathy, a superb songwriter and guitarist (“I have to follow HIM!?!”). In the 80's Tim was in a band called the Windbreakers, which got some positive recognition. Anyway, my set went fine and the folks there seemed to like it. CDs were purchased and plans were made to do it again. 

After Knoxville I went to Nashville for a couple of days. Stayed with my Humboldt County friend Kevin again. He was with the Java Boys the very first time I ever played live at Jambayala in Arcata, CA, so I guess you could say he’s been there since my musical beginning, publicly speaking. (I just realized Dave Growl and I share something cool - his first ever performance with the Foo Fighters was also at the Jambayala.) Got a tour of the AMAZING Blackbird Studios. Look 'em up. "This console was made for Motown LA in the early 70's. Donald Fagen later bought it and did "Nightfly" & some Steely Dan stuff on it." "Wow..." Amazing place. I feel fortunate that I get to see some of these places from time to time. Even if Saturday’s Radio never becomes a full-time thing and I’m always working a day job, it’s taken me to some cool places and allowed me to meet some wonderful people.

After the Blackbird tour I recorded some vocals at my friend Travis's studio, Strangebird Recording. I posted a quick video on Instagram. I took in tracks that I already have pretty much finished and put down new lead vocals. Travis works for a high-end microphone company and has some really nice gear, so I was looking forward to hearing how those tracks compare with the $100 mics I have at home. Last night I loaded them into my computer. Wow. They were so much clearer, more present, and less harsh than the vocals I do here at home. I’ll certainly be back to do more work with Travis Atkinson at Strangebird Recording, Nashville, TN. 

I’d hoped to play two open mics while in Nashville. To play the legendary Bluebird Cafe you have to call during a specific time. If the line’s busy, you keep trying. I must’ve called 30 times and was never able to get through. So it goes. I didn’t go to the other open mic I was hoping to play because my friend Jefferson Ross was in town playing at a songwriter’s night. I decided to go to that, as I’d never been to one and figured it’d be educational. After all, I knew one of the performers and was likely to meet more. Sure enough, Jeff’s group had written songs for a pretty amazing array of people. Not really anyone I’m a huge fan of, as most of the bands I like write their own material, but amazing nonetheless. “Here’s a song Shania Twain covered.” “It was a pleasure to hear Del McCrory perform this song at the Ryman the other night.” Ah, Nashville. 

After Nashville I headed to Chapel Hill, NC to play a show on Friday, July 17th at Caffe Driade. It was fun - I like playing on their outdoor stage. It was kind of sparsely attended. I NEED to work on that end of things - promoting. The people who were there seemed to really get into it, which is always what you want as a performer. Click to see the songs played. While in Chapel Hill I reunited with my cousin for the first time since 1985 (!!!). That was really great. We’d lost track of each other after I graduated from high school and joined the service. Thanks to Facebook we were able to find each other and reconnect. This was a major deal - I come from a very small family, so reuniting with one of my two cousins (I reunited with his brother this past Saturday) was pretty great. 

After Chapel Hill, that was it for shows. I spent the next day in Charlotte hanging with Chris Garges at his Old House Studio there. He’s had it open for a couple of years and is starting to get some good work & be able to drop some impressive names. He’s a wonderful, smart guy who’s always a pleasure to spend time with.

Then it was down to see my friend Angi Christensen (no relation, but we grew up in the same small town in Northern California) in Athens, GA. Angi’s starting a common-sense dating blog aimed mostly at women. Anyway, Athens is a really neat place and I always enjoy my visits there. Went to an open mic at Hendershots but didn’t get to play because I misunderstood the signup procedure. Now I know. 

After Athens it was a long drive home. I stopped by Durham, NC to see my cousin again. After a few more hours of catching up, I headed home and got in very early Wednesday, July 22 (as in LATE Tuesday). After a couple of days rest it’s been back to music stuff. More on that as things continue to develop. 

See you soon!

- Rob C.