I start every tour the same way- with high hopes that I will accurately document it through this very weblog. I don’t think I’ve ever made it through an entire tour. I usually end up settling for just taking a bunch of cell phone pictures.
So here I am in a SoFla Starbucks where I brought in my own jar of honey to put in my tea. I started this tour kinda sick, and my girlfriend was kind enough to send me off with this honey. Gonna recap a bit.
Friday, day one, Gainesville. With two of my three bandmates living up there now, it only made sense to make it a full band show. With Matt added to the bill, we had the four of us ready to go. We ran through five of our ten songs in Sam’s garage before we went over to the venue. Was hoping to get there with time to go eat some free pizza across the street between load in and the opening of doors, but no such luck. The sign said they’d be open until 3am. We would just have to wait until after.
Not a whole lot of people were coming through that door at first, and I was worried that it would be one of those poorly attended shows. These are less and less in frequency these days, but they still happen. Which would have been a huge shame with a stacked bill, me dragging my full band out, and the fact that I’ve played in Gainesville a countless number of times in the past. Luckily, towards the beginning of Matt’s set, people started trickling in. By the time I played, there was a solid amount of listeners, and by the time Ricky Kendall went on, it was pretty close to packed. Crisis averted.
I was super happy with how the band sounded, especially considering the rushed rehearsal, and that we hadn’t played a show together in almost a month. Kyle brought out a lot of his friends, and there was some dancing and singing along.
One of my favorite things that happens at shows is mid-song applauses. Glad to say that we got one after the jamout of I’ll Walk. We never really play the songs the same way, but Matt especially nailed the solo here. After we got as loud as we could and brought it back down for the last verse, a huge grin came across my face as the claps and “woo”s came from the audience.
Ricky Kendall and his enormous band crammed up on the stage after. It was our second time playing with them, and they are quickly becoming some of my favorite musicians and people out there. Stunning covers of Angel From Montgomery and When The Stars Go Blue.
The pizza place closed early on us. Why, why, why. We went to Flaco’s instead. Can’t complain there. We ate Cuban sandwiches with Ricky and Co. and watched the drunks come in and out.
My friend Megan was out of town, but was still kind enough to stay in her empty house. (I did feed her cat though). Didn’t get back there until 3 am, and sleep didn’t come until 3:30. Kind of forgot that I had to be up at 7:30 for a video shoot. Quickly put myself to bed to get whatever sleep I could. Morning came early, and I briefly considered skipping it to go back to sleep. I’m glad I didn’t though. I think this may end up being my favorite video shoot yet. I’ll be sure to post it when it’s up in a week or so.
We went and got breakfast with the video crew after. Biscuits and gravy and apple fritters and yogurt. Yum. I was having trouble keeping my eyes open at this point. Went back to Megan’s to get another hour or so of sleep before heading out of town, and to feed the cat again.
After a two hour drive, car and gear swap, a tea, a coffee, Jimmy John’s, various snacks, and another three hour drive, I made it down to Boca Raton around 11pm. I was staying with Andrew and Alison. No show that night, I wanted to get down there ahead of time since I was playing at 2pm the next day. I was anticipating a quiet night in, but Andrew was set on going out. I reluctantly agreed. It had just been a long day. But after we arrived at the local bar, I ran into some 20 familiar faces, and I was glad I went out. Only a few of them knew I was rolling into town, which made it all the more interesting. After staying out until closing time, it was another late night with another early (not so much this time) morning a few hours away. I slept on the pull out couch, a rare surface for me. Where are all of these disappearing to? It’s like the most practical piece of furniture ever made.
Not much sleep to be had again, this time because of strange dreams. Alison woke me up, as I asked her to, on her way out around 10am. “Austin, wake up. I’m off to work, have fun at your festival.” Hopped in the shower and I was off.
South Florida Folk Festival, Ft. Lauderdale. I think I might have been the only performer that was a millennial. Or maybe even the only one at the entire festival. Not that this is a bad thing. I played early in the day on the smaller of the two stages, which was underneath a giant, cool looking tree. I wanted to cram as many songs as I could into my time slot. But I couldn’t not talk at length about how nice of a day it was. My song Revealed really seemed to hit home with my listeners.
An older gentleman came and found me in the performer hangout area as I was putting my guitar back in the case.
"Hey, can I get one of those CDs?"
"You said they’re only five bucks? That’s so cheap, most people charge ten or fifteen."
"I know, I like to keep them affordable."
He quickly handed me a five. He started the conversation back up.
"Is music all that you do for a living?"
"For the most part, yes."
"Do you do okay?"
"Um, well.. I do alright I guess."
"Just alright? Well, here, I can help some more. I really liked your songs."
He reached into his pocket and gave me a twenty, on top of his previous five. Talk about generous. Stuff like that keeps me afloat.
(For the record, the “just alright” response was strictly in regards to finance stuff. I am so thankful that I am able to do this, even if I’m just barely scraping the bottom of the barrel. Every tour gets better. Every day I wake up with a huge grin knowing that I am traveling and sharing my music with people. Everything else seems trivial after I take that into consideration.)
I went for a hike after my set, late in the afternoon. Ended at a park bench along the intracostal. Laid down and fell asleep to the sound of the slowly passing boats and waves hitting up against the sea wall. Woke up a little later to a beautiful sunset, and it was much colder. Put on a jacket, and went back to catch a few more acts at the festival.
So far, so good. Another video shoot awaits tomorrow morning.