Howdy! My name is Peter Michael Miller and I play in a band called, We Are the Willows. I've been touring and playing music under said band name for years now, and the "band" has always been somewhat of a rotating cast of musicians. Within the last year or so the band has done less rotating and we've found that being a band of consistent members and players suits this project quite well. Recently we decided to take all six of ourselves and our new songs on the road for a short Midwest Tour. What follows are stories from our tour.
We christened our voyage with a Kangaroo pose, jumped in the family van, and began the journey to Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The trailer we were borrowing from a friend had some wiring problems. Whenever we put on the left blinker the right blinker turned on. When ever we stopped only the right brake light worked. So, somehow, by only making right hand turns, we made it to Eau Claire. It only took us 13 hours. Just kidding.
Eau Claire has a tremendous treasure trove of kick ass bands. Whale House and Wisconsin Built are a couple of the shiniest jewels in the whole bunch. They both sounded awesome.
With a strong desire to stay alive, we headed home and rented a trailer with fully functioning turn signals.
After the trailer swap we gathered our goods and made our way to Northfield. There was a last minute venue change but thanks to our good ol' pal Michael Morris we had a killer time at the Contented Cow. A small but stellar contingency of folks made it out to the show and made us feel like royalty. Speaking of small and stellar, we could barely fit on stage. It was snuggly.
The next night we played at Minneapolis's very own Kitty Cat Klub. We opened for our friends' band Foreston. It was their CD release show and the whole evening was a god damn pleasure.
After playing a very nice show in Minneapolis, we were all ready to get out of town; Hilary had her knitting stuff, Jer had some books, Travis had a bunch of Star Trek episodes on his phone, Stephen had his pillow for snoozing, Leah had some killer tunes to listen to, and I stared contemplatively into the middle distance while trying very hard to suppress as many farts as possible.
La Crosse was waiting for us like a sweet lover. Our pal Parker opened up the evening with his project, NATIONS. It sounded great and lots of folks came out; especially for a Sunday night!
We hung out with new and old pals, and ended up staying at our pal Jeron's house. In the morning we had a wicked jam session with Jeron's daughter Lola. She shreds.
We had a 40 minute drive to one of our favorite towns, Winona. First, we played an unplugged show at our pal Sam's art gallery, Some Sum Studios. It was cozy and felt really special. A bunch of very nice folks came and seemed to think that we were doing...eh...okay.
Right after that, we loaded our gear and drove three blocks down the street to one of our favorite places in the world, Ed's No Name Bar. Our friend Adja Gildersleve opened and the night was perfect. Good folks, good tunes, good beers and of course, our good friend Ed.
We stayed in Ed's art studio and woke up inspired to drive to Madison. We set up a show with some old friends in the band, Crane Your Swan Neck and some new ones in the band, Color Me Once. Its taken a while for me to find the right niche of bands and people in Madison, but I feel like now, we have. It was super encouraging to have that feeling confirmed when we played.
We spent the night at some of our pals' house. The next day we snuggled with their cat, The Hotness.
Our slumber party friends all play in a band called, PHOX, which is a band that we are all hopelessly in love with. They recorded videos of a few of our new songs and one old one. A couple of them sang and played on the songs. After stressing over all the details of a tour, as small scale as ours was, it was completely inspiring to play these songs with folks that we really admire. We shared something special during these recordings and that special thing is the thing that makes music making so magical and unknowable. I think its what makes it all worth it. Anywho, more travel stories to come.