So, the last part of the trip was a bit rag-tag. That is to say, the shows were set up pretty last minute and were kind of at random places. Like in Lexington, Kentucky I played the reception for a play called Marx In Soho
in which Karl Marx comes back from some kind of afterlife (weird huh?) to talk about the current state of affairs in America. At one point in the play Marx talks about having conversations with Jesus.
People were basically in a separate room while I played. Apart from people coming to confirm the gender of the person singing, there wasn't anyone watching. But, the owner Gene gave me some cash and a free meal.
The next show was in Columbus, OH. I was lucky to have met Max and Dana in Washington D.C. because they saved me from what would have been a terrible show.
When I met them I had told them that I was playing a joint called Bernie's in Columbus and they immediately told me it's a complete shit hole. Max then booked a show for me at a great cafe, got a local band on the bill, and ran the door. The show ended up being fantastic.
I then played another rag-tag free meal show in Cincinnati.
After that I made my way into Muncie, IN. This was another show that I had no reason to believe anyone was coming to. There weren't any local bands on the bill and I didn't have any press in any local papers. This is a situation that I often found myself in and I usually had two options; I could sulk and fart around on the interweb or I could go on the street and play and maybe get someone to come to the show. So that's what I did and 3 people ended up coming to the show.
It was a long drive to Iowa. But I kept feeling closer and closer to home and that felt better and better as I drove. I did an in studio at the college radio station with a really nice dude named Max, who also plays in the band Ellis Bell.
Here's Ellis Bell at Public Space One in Iowa City:
Next was Ames, IA. But before I got there, I stopped by the largest truck stop in the world on I-80. Look at these awesome shirts!
I bought this one.
It's funny...I couldn't justify spending enough money to eat a normal amount of food, but I had no problem shelling out $25 on an absurd polar bear shirt.
Nate at The Ames Progressive has always been very nice to me. He's always been happy to set up a show. I have become much more appreciative of this phenomenon on this trip, because it certainly isn't like that everywhere.
After the show my friend Danny and I went to his house, got drunk and listened to tunes. And he showed me his light saber. That's not a euphemism for anything...
The next day, Danny and his wife Kelly drove me to Pella, IA, home of "tulip time" for a show at a cute cafe called, THE SMOKEY ROW. That town is kinda magical.
I crashed with Danny and Kelly again and then had my last show of the tour at the Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines, IA. Until this point I hadn't had the painful ache for home. I mean, I missed home, but I hadn't felt as desperate to get home as I did in Des Moines. Only a few people came out to the show, and after watching Danny's family band play, and playing my set, I packed my things and drove to Minneapolis.
Driving through South Minneapolis was so strange. All the familiar houses and buildings looked different, my perspective re-informed by all the new cities I had seen. But when I stepped foot in my house, I settled into being home. And having tons of mail.
I had the best time of my life on this trip, and I think I'd be a lot more bummed out about it being over if it was the last tour I'd go on. I learned a lot and met some incredible people. I can't even articulate how fortunate I feel to be able to do this.
More travel stories to come...Previously: