Autumn Leaves, They Carry Me
For those of you who have been following this tour blog, I apologize for the inactivity. Time passed then more time and it seemed like a daunting task. Since it’s been a while, I’ll just share some highlights over the last month or so.
For the third year in a row, Chris and I each scored a solo set at the Tumbleweed Music festival in Richland, Washington. Held at the centrally located Howard Amon park right on the Columbia river, it is a roots style folk festival focusing on singer-songwriters. This year just like the last two, Chris and I felt like we were some of the youngest performers, not a bad thing, just an observation. Founded by New York native, Richland transplant Micki Perry, this gathering has been going strong since 1997.
A longtime goal for us was to play at Brickroom in Ashland, Oregon and we did at the end of August. Located at the edge of Lithia Park, upstairs above street-front shops, Brickroom is classy, hip and unique. They have fabulous food, maybe my favorite since we’ve been on the road! I felt fancy and free being able to eat and drink on the house in this super cool spot. There weren’t a ton of people out and about but we had a handful of appreciative audience members, which made it all worth it.
When I was 20 and traveling all other the country in a what is best described as a hippie school bus, we stopped in Ashland for a bit. I was completely broke and did some busking to gather a bit of cash for gas and food. I loved the town and was happy to be there. Before soundcheck at Brickroom I went downstairs and outside to where I once busked and thought I’d warm up a little and sing some songs. I made a dollar and had some passing company. I then went upstairs to the best venue in town (or at least on the block) and played the show. I guess I’ve come a little ways since my wandering years, but not too far...
One of the challenges of being a performer is having the show go on even when there are other things in life that make it feel like being at a cheery bar is the very last place you’d like to find yourself. This is how I felt when my grandmother passed away at the end of August. When she was very ill and failing, it felt like I was moving through cement as I took the stage. Like I shouldn't be in a happy place full of people who are having fun. I have been pondering this difficult piece of being a musician. I’ve come up with something. Maybe all those people out at the bar aren’t as happy as they seem, maybe they are looking for some relief from tension, sadness or grief. We as musicians can help folks through difficult times. Music can be like therapy if you let it in, as an audience member and performer. This is what I have to remind myself if the jubilant thrill of getting on stage just isn’t coming.
The leaves are starting to change and the night’s cool air promises more seasonal change to come. It seems summer is over in the Pacific Northwest. Some say there wasn’t a real summer this year, but I’m happy for the rain, the lack of fires and heat. Fall is my favorite and as I gather all the memories of summer I look forward to cooler weather and change.
“Autumn leave they carry me
Back to dark afternoons.
Long shadows, birds are flyin’
Back to where you roam.”
from “Seasonal Love”