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Day 13 and 14 - Chapel Hill/Asheville 

Hey everybody! After we grabbed Stephanie from RDU airport on Sunday night we crashed at Cody's Aunt's place in Saxapahaw. Monday morning we did a bit of hiking nearby and grabbed some home made ice cream at Maple View Farms . We played another open mic at The Station, a neat Carrboro bar that had been converted from old train cars. There was a pretty decent crowd and everybody seemed to enjoy what they heard. We also made a few more contacts for future tours and whatnot. 

By the time we got back to Cody's aunt's we were all pretty beat, so we got a good night's sleep and left early Tuesday morning to head back to Asheville, where we had plans to play yet another open mic at the Altamont Brewing Company. The crowds were just not there but we got to hang out with some really cool local musicians and afterwards we wandered around downtown looking for a bite to eat. We ended up the Vault for one last round of brew and some tacos. Yum!

Stephanie was generous enough to spring for a hotel room for us that night, so we all got a hot shower and a great night's sleep. Yay! The following day we went by a Scottish heritage shop where I purchased a tie with the tartan of my clan, Sinclair. The old lady that runs the shop was hilarious! A couple tourists came in and pushed by us, and the lady asked them to leave because she "just hates it when people push by other people." I love being a scot! We also grabbed brunch at Biscuit Head, which is impossible to describe accurately but basically think huge homemade biscuits, eggs, multiple kinds of homemade jelly, multiple kinds of homemade butter, and mimosas. Yum! After another visit to my uncle's studio, we packed up the car for our five-hour drive to Nashville, TN.

Day 11 and 12 - Richmond, VA/Back to central NC 

After a wild night in Washington, DC (although, not that wild held up against Memphis), we were up and in the car for Richmond, VA around 10:30am. I had been warned that the traffic between the two cities can be, and I quote, "f**key". That was an accurate description. What should have been an hour-and-a-half drive took about four hours. We arrived in Richmond with some time to kill before we had to be at the venue, so we headed in to town and found a Persian restaurant with some bad ass Gyros. Yum!

Our contacts in Richmond were Kim's cousin and cousin-in-law, Elizabeth and Jay. They recently opened a salon in Richmond, and have been involved in the local art/music scene for many years. They set up our show at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery with some great local artists including Liza Kate, Jonathan Vassar, and Sarah White & The Pearls (which included, I was told, the original Beefcake the Mighty from GWAR). Initially, were were skeptical as to how the whole thing was going to go. No sound guy, no event coordinator, no anything except for 150 or more people left over from the beer-tasting that went down earlier in the day. It turned out, as has generally been our luck thus far, that the show went really well. Folks responded favorably to our music, we sold a few CDs, and we had our body weight in free beer. Good times! Jay and Elizabeth were more than accommodating with a place to stay, pizza, and beer. 

Sunday morning we awoke and packed up the truck for the return trip to central NC. Before we left town, we stopped by Hollywood Cemetery, where I got my Civil War history fix (pictured below is a monument to 18,000 Confederate dead with the inscription, "Numini et Patriae Asto"), and a great café called Cary Street Café with an old-time jam going on. We were heading to pick up Cody's girlfriend, Stephanie (who will be traveling with us for a couple days), at Raleigh-Durham International Airport around midnight. So we hung around Durham for a couple hours and ended up playing a spontaneous open mic at James Joyce Bar. Surprisingly, we made several contacts and sold a few CDs. Talk about making lemonade! We grabbed Stephanie from the airport and headed back to Saxapahaw and Cody's aunt Max's (of venison pot roast fame). We crashed HARD and got up the next morning for another beautiful North Carolina summer day.

Day 9 and 10 - Blue Ridge Parkway, VA/Washington, DC 

We left central North Carolina around 9 am on Tuesday, arriving in Lynchburg, VA around 11. From there we took the Blue Ridge parkway north through some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen. The parkway cuts right up the Blue Ridge chain, and at certain points you can see for miles and miles in both directions. In Waynesboro we picked up some Bratwurst to grill for dinner and continued up Skyline Drive to our campsite at Big Meadows, where we bedded down for the night. Along the way we saw all kinds of wildlife: eagles, deer, snakes, and bears (a momma bear and her two cubs). The campsite had (soggy) firewood for sale, and it took us no less than 2 hours to get a fire going (the trick is to get a Duraflame log and put it underneath). Throughout the night, we were extremely paranoid about being eaten by bears. Any time so much as the sound of a twig breaking could be heard nearby, we shot up out of bed ready for a fight. Fortunately, the road trip stink we are starting to put off kept them at bay  The three of us spent a cozy night in a two-person tent and we woke up around 9:30 to finish the drive to Washington, DC. 

Along the short drive from Shenandoah National Park to Washington, we stopped in Warrenton, VA for brunch at Frost Diner. Baked ham, eggs, grits, toast, coffee YUM! From there we continued along interstate 66 and stopped for a sobering moment at the site of the first and second battles of Manassas (Bull Run if you're a yankee). After another hour or so we arrived in DC, where we met with my old friend from high school, Matt Bulger. Matt has a really cool apartment in Chinatown where he was kind enough to let us stay for the night. We walked the Jefferson, LBJ, and MLK jr. monuments before grabbing some BBQ at Smoke & Barrel heading over to the Tenley Town section of DC for our show. We had relatively sparse hopes for the night. We couldn't find a "show" show for DC, but last minute we decided to go there anyway and check out an open mic at the famous Politics and Prose bookstore. Down a central staircase in the store is a small (emphasis on "small") coffee shop called Modern Times. There was no stage, performers simply sat around the crowded room and performed when their names were called. After Cody and I performed, the host announced that we were her "spontaneous featured artists of the night" and we got to perform another short set while a tip cup went around the room. It went extremely well, we made plenty of money for gas, sold a few CDs, and made a few great connections. 

After watching some of the DC locals perform, we headed back downtown for a few rounds at some of Matt's favorite local bars. We met up with some of his friends and talked DC, music, life, etc. Nice folks everywhere we went! Afterwards, we took a taxi back to the apartment, had a couple more beers, ate some late night Chinese food, and hit the hay. Saturday morning at 10am we were on the road to Richmond, VA.

Day 7 and 8 - Saxapahaw/Chapel Hill/Graham, NC 

Sorry for the delay getting these updates out. I've been either busy or without internet for a few days, so I'm working off of memory here but I think I can still paint a pretty picture of North-Central North Carolina. The drive out of the mountains from Asheville was long and picturesque. The drive was accompanied by Conor Oberst's "Outer South," The Decemberists' "The Crane Wife," Neutral Milk Hotel's "On Avery Ave.", and some Wolf Parade/Sunset Rubdown. 

In Saxapahaw we met with Cody's aunt, who had a roast and potatoes waiting for us (for the second time in three days….oh yes). She lives on a little bit of land in Saxapahaw down the road from an old cotton gin that has been converted to a coffee house, a brewery, and a venue that has been visited by the likes of Langhorne Slim and Jason Isbell. The three of us crashed in her RV that night. In the morning we drove out to Chapel Hill and talked to some prospective venues for the trip back through the area. We also went thrifting and picked up some more CDs for the road.

Our show that night was at at a bar/venue called 54 West. The bar owner had an adorable Saint Bernard named Moose who stood around five feet high on four legs. We were performing as part of an event for Paws 4 Ever, a local no-kill animal shelter. Nobody had any idea what to expect but Cody's family did a hell of a lot of promotion and a decent crowd turned out. Those who did show up seemed to really enjoy our music and we did a ton of business in merchandise. Awesome!

The following morning we got up around 7:45. Our show in Roanoke, VA. fell though so instead we decided to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park.


Day 6 - Asheville, NC 

Hey all! 

We had a short but fun day in Asheville on Monday. It took us about 5 hours (including a beautiful drive through the Smoky Mountains) to get to my uncle Steve and aunt Joy's house. After a tour of my uncle's art studio, we went to The Bywater, which, for my Denton friends, is similar to Oak Street Draft House except it's right on the water so all the hippies were down there floating the river. We opted out of the open mic that night and instead went over to the Grey Eagle. They were having a Contra dance night, which is a sort of old-fashioned Scots-Irish folk dance. Nothing you would see hundreds of young people doing in North Texas. 

We ended up close to my uncle's place at the Altamont brewing company for a night cap and got a (relatively) early night's sleep. For my first visit, Asheville seemed pretty all right! I'm left with the impression that by comparison, Austin doesn't keep it that weird. I'm looking forward to being back here during daylight hours so I can see more of the town. It's extremely easy to get lost out here. The roads make absolutely no sense. 

The farther east we go, the more people shoot us dirty looks when they find out we're from Texas. Maybe they're jealous of our intuitively laid out roads or the fact that we were never invaded by the North. Either way, we're taking it in stride and having an awesome time. Tonight we're in Saxapahaw staying with some of Cody's family. Will update when there's updates to be had. See ya! 


Day 4 and 5 - Nashville 

Our two days in Nashville on the first leg of the tour are out of the way! We stayed with an extremely talented songwriter and good friend from back in our Collin College Jazz Band days, Dana Leigh. Dana, Cody, and I had a house show in town with some other awesome Nashville artists including Liz Cooper, Nathaniel Hoekstra, and Stephen Mage. We had some catchy beers, tasty music, there was a bonfire going, in other words good times all around. Kim was in town over the weekend for her birthday and performed a few songs with me. We got back to Dana's house about 2am and woke to find that several trees had fallen down around the house…I guess the trees out here fall down for no reason. I'll have to remember that.

Since our next confirmed date isn't until Wednesday night, we decided to hang around Nashville for another day. Dana cooked us some eggs and potatoes for breakfast, which was amazing and welcome since we aren't getting too many home cooked meals out here. We all met Kim and drove up to Love Circle which Dana assured us (and she was right) was the best view of the Nashville skyline you could get. I'll include a picture of that (courtesy of Dana). Next we drove over to East Nashville where we were relieved not to be the biggest hipsters around. Then we didn't feel quite hipster enough so we went record shopping. Dana, Kim, Cody, and I capped off the night with a beer at the Red Door Saloon off of Broadway before heading to our destination for the night in Murfreesboro as rain began to fall hard again. Our host there had a pot roast and veggies waiting for us. Yum. 

Tomorrow, we're jumping over to Asheville, somewhere I've long looked forward to visiting. We haven't got any gig arrangements there yet, so we're hoping to either throw something together last minute, find an open mic in town, or just busk around. It is Asheville, after all. If the rain holds off, we may camp. If not, we probably won't. We've got a tentative host in town as well. 

Nashville was incredible. Perhaps most importantly, we're set up for the return trip. Sleepy time, see ya!


Day 2 and 3 - Memphis 

Hey everybody! I was planning on writing a little bit Thursday , but since we didn't have a show, once we hit Memphis day drinking kind of took over (oops). We left Little Rock around noon and made it here around 3pm.

Our host while we're here is an old friend of Cody's. He's got an apartment off of main street with a beautiful view of the Mississippi river, conveniently walking distance from Beale Street and most of downtown Memphis' best bars. At one point we were on Beale Street at Jerry Lee Lewis' bar, upstairs, by ourselves, with a piano and some Fireball. We got back to the apartment around 2am and were up getting dressed Friday morning by 6:30 for our appearance on Local Memphis Live, which is broadcast by the local ABC station. It was insane. Cody got to wear a lapel mic, and we got to see all the inner workings of a local news show (shades of HIMYM). Then, we got to play one of Cody's songs and everybody treated us like big shots!

We got back to Cody's friend's (aka the unofficial mayor of Memphis) and napped off our hangovers, walked over to the Gibson factory, did some daytime touristy stuff on Beale, and finished off the night with an awesome gig at The Brass Door. We made some good connections for the return trip, so when we come through in a week and a half we might have some even better opportunities.

In the morning, onward to Nashville where we meet up with my extremely talented former front-lady Dana and our first house show of the tour!

See ya,

Day 1-Denton to Little Rock 

Ok! I have never blogged before, and this is going to take some getting used to. Please, bear with me while I learn the ropes here. It's day one of my southeast tour with Cody Maxwell and so far, so good.

We left Denton for Little Rock about 10 am and made really good time down I-30 in to Arkansas. We snacked on mixed nuts and apple slices and listened to some Hayes Carll, Blood on the Tracks, and Conor Oberst.  Heavy traffic followed by heavy rain slowed us down a little bit but we got in to town around 6 pm and we headed over to Afterthought near UA Little Rock for their weekly open mic. Cody did some research and the Afterthought seemed to have one of the best open mics in town.

He was right. It was awesome. I had no idea what to expect out here in LIttle Rock, and the part of town we were in was full of hippies, old and young. My people! A car drove by the venue blasting Bob Dylan's "Hurricane" as I overheard a college-age girl regaling a captive audience of young men about how she…let's say…enjoys herself while listening to Faith Hill's "Breathe." Whatever floats your boat, I guess. In general, lots of people wanted to talk about our trip, buy a CD

It was a wild night packed with folk music and occasionally too much information. But, we had a lot of fun and if I knew Little Rock could be this much fun, I'd have come here sooner. Tomorrow we hop on over to Memphis. Daniel will probably have photos and videos from today online later tonight or tomorrow morning, and I'll link to those when they become available. See ya!