Day 13/14 of my co-headlining West Coast Tour with Blake Morgan. We finished the tour off last night at Capps Club in Kenmore, WA, close to Seattle. What a fantastic venue! Such good people, and amazing sound! It was a magical, intimate evening, in a worthy setting to bring this brilliant adventure to a close.
Currently I’m on my hotel bed, fresh from the shower and in my schlumfies, trying to stay awake in order to finish writing this post. I’m exhausted, and so is Blake. We’ve driven close to 2,000 miles on this trip, and needless to say that takes a toll. Not to mention our bonus adventures of driving through a post-apocalyptic scene in Northern California, the sky thick with smoke from a long-blazing forest fire, a shooting next door to the venue we performed at in Eugene (see Blake’s video below), and a blinding, torrential downpour while driving into Washington State… It’s been intense, in more ways than one!
We drove six hours from Eugene, OR to Kenmore, WA yesterday, with Blake at the wheel. He had woken up in the morning sick with a fever and his voice wrecked, barely able to speak. One of those fun surprises that one can encounter on the road… We brainstormed in the car as to how to manage the situation. Not wanting to cancel his part of the show and let down the good people who were coming to see him play, we decided that our best bet was for me to sing his songs as well as my own. He would perform a VH1 Storytellers-type of show, sharing stories and anecdotes about the songs etc., and accompany my singing on guitar and piano. Balls. But I’ve been listening to him perform these songs quite a few times now, and I was confident that I knew them well enough to do them justice. I said yes to the challenge.
I practiced some of Blake’s songs in the car, and we ran through a couple of them briefly in the hotel room, and in the green room of the venue. We printed out the lyrics, and in order for me to actually see them, I wore my glasses on stage, for the first time ever. Whoa! Blake prefaced the change in our performance plans to the audience beautifully, by evoking a hypothetical scenario of a younger Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, touring together in the 1970s…One day Bob Dylan gets sick and can’t perform his songs the way he would like to, and asks Joni to sing his songs that night, while accompanying her for her set and his own. (Blake said all this to the audience, while acknowledging naturally, that we’re no Joni and Bob, and saying that “a boy can dream…”) What a concept! That would be a special night indeed, and one that I for one would have liked to witness. Phrasing it like that seemed to go over well with the audience, and we felt a warm flood of support throughout Blake’s set. I sang my heart out, and I thought we played beautifully together, him helping me out by mouthing the words to me. It was intimate, raw, and vulnerable, and as he sang the last song of his set with me, we both had tears in our eyes. Goddammit, we pulled it off!
This has been a very successful run for me. I’ve made wonderful new friends, I’ve expanded my musicianship, I’ve grown in confidence as a performer, and I’ve sown some seeds for my music on the West Coast. I’ve also discovered that I’m stronger, and more shit together than I thought I was, or could ever be. I’m a tough motherfucker! I’m serious. I’m doing this for real!
So here I am, wrapping up the Thousand Ways to Die-tour. The name is not far off the mark..! But in the end, Blake and I are both alive and kicking, and we’ve killed it on this tour. We caught some good luck and we caught some bad luck, but I for one feel tremendously satisfied overall. This is what it’s like. Never a dull moment, my friends. Never a dull moment indeed.
Watch Blake’s video about Eugene HERE!