On Tour, Part 2: The Night Before Maine

I vaguely imagined I’d blog every night after every show. So, 2-1/2 shows to the end, I have learned better.

Here’s what you’ve missed:

I rolled through the Virginia backroads (well, at least, the non-highway roads) to Charlottesville after my last post. I was excited about this show in particular because I was sharing the bill with the brilliant songwriter, Brady Earnhart. I’d become a fan of his after he toured with Scott Free, and Scott couldn’t shut up about him — and if you’re smart, you listen when Scott talks like that. Brady is a long-time member of the Charlottesville folk scene that spawned folks like Devon Sproule and Paul Curreri (both of whom, it turns out, can be heard on his forthcoming new album – more about that in a minute). He’s a great player, his music is surprisingly adventurous, both melodically and rhythmically, and his lyrics … man, you can tell he spent time at the Iowa Writers Workshop: incredible, unforced poetry, the kind that can make you catch your breath.

Something in particular we have in common, though, is a well of tenderness for men in our music, whether or not sexual orientation plays a part in the song. Brady lives in Fredericksburg, VA where he teaches, and the lives of soldiers come up in his best songs – Civil War soldiers in WHITMAN IN 1863 and the new AS YOU WERE, or Iraq War soldiers in DANIEL.

OK, I’m talking too much about Brady, so let me cut to the chase: we had a great, intimate show at CVille Coffee – which has beautiful sound and wonderful owners – and then Brady handed me the rough mixes for his new album. Keep your eye out for it because I’ve been driving and crying to it for several hundred miles now. The aforementioned AS YOU WERE is killing me, so … I keep playing it and crying. I’m a little nuts, yes, but I’ve been on tour and that’s what happens …

The next night put me in Washington DC at a benefit for Potters House – a great activist, social services organization that’s celebrating its 50th anniversary – diverse staff, great food. Of particular note, though, were the two guys who showed up to see me because, they said, “Facebook told us to.” They had no idea I existed before Big Brother Facebook gave them the instruction, but they felt it steered them right, so maybe Facebook really does know what its talking about? After the show, Potter’s House’s Mary Shapiro convinced me to stay up too late and grab a mint tea, where I got to hear about her travels to Palestine and beyond. The DC night was alive with activity, the breeze was gentle and cool and DC felt like a cool place to live.

Then I tried to drive, and discovered DC can have traffic jams until 1AM. I never thought LA could seem uncluttered …

… And I’m going to have to cut this short now and get on the road. Next post I’ll tell you about Harrisburg, New York, Cambridge and Portland, Maine (tonight!)

© Dudley Saunders