Thursday, March 25, 2010


6Am Departure, didn’t even bother taking my clothes off. Slept until noon or so in the back. We began to hit hill country, and the vistas were grand. Rolling hills and twisty roads, we went deep into hillbilly country. We went past a charcoal factory and NLX was struck by memories of her childhood. We stopped at a gas station and while standing in the lot, a car pulled up behind me, as I was stepping out of the way a fellow in the passenger seat started making bizarre hand gestures. He got out and was wearing jeans, a jean jacket and red shirt with a small circular hole in the front. In a thick rural accent he asked us our names, we shook his hand and Tara asked his name. “My name is shit, want a pile?” He replied. We left soon after, up the into the hills. The elevation at Thomas WV, is 3,035 ft (925 m). Arriving into the town, a bleak scene was presented, a big burnt out and collapsing building was the first monument into the community, further along the state road the houses and stores were checkered with both the lived-in look and boarded up windows. The Venue of the evening, the purple fiddle, seems to be an epicenter of life in the town and surrounding areas. A purple carved elk’s head sits atop the entrance and the windows were a flourish of posters for upcoming shows. Most posters featured acoustic instruments and relaxed looking people. Inside there was a picture of the throat singing Tuvan monks who’d played the week before. There was a distinct smell of old wood and antiques in the cafe, pictures, captions, artifacts and artwork covered the walls. It reminded me of the Rasputin’s in Ottawa, the All Citizen’s in Bruno, Sask, and the General Store in Twin Butte, Alberta. Homey is a work I would use to describe the place. Out front was an elderly man named Tony, who worked maintenance at store and lived next door. He’d been traveling for many years, going wherever there was work. Old church pews draped with quilts sat in front of the stage and the staff and locals where warm and friendly.
We did another song writer’s circle and it went smoothly, although breaking down into a giggle fest a few times. The reception was grand and I think we made enough to get to Pittsburgh. After the gig, we and all hangers on went up to the apartment above the room where the owner Joe had once raised a family. One of the staff members is a young San Francisco musician named Lindsay who was hiding out on the east coast recording a solo project and waiting for the next tour with her band.

We went for a stroll around town and hung out in the graveyard, good times.


Another early morning departure and another long ride past leafless trees towards Nashville. At least there were a few more hills. We dropped Tara off at her friend Billy Block’s house, then it was off to music city. The van was left at a toyota delership to be serviced and I went for a stroll down broadway, away from downtown. The university area has some cute shops, but I was all about walking the streets under the beating sun. Nashville has some great free arts magazines, puts the express to shame. Arriving back at the dealership, they informed me there was a problem with the van, one of their employees had scraped it against a pole, rear panels were dented there was a black streak on the side. The damage wasn’t horrible and didn’t affect the drive, but it did mean an ongoing problem for Amanda, who’s taking off on a Canadian tour as soon as we get back. Sam and I headed for downtown in search of bluegrass. On the way down broadway we chatted with a couple guys selling tickets to the Nashville Predators game. We got to chatting and he said that people in nashville were “very sociable” and I found it entirely to be the case. He was an example of everyone we met, pleased to meet me, friendly, welcoming. We went a bit further down the street towards where we understood there was some live tunes. Nashville downtown is a wonderfully warm place, each venue has a stage near the front entrance, so music was spilling into the street from every direction. We went to a random bar that had a few ladies playing fiddle and mandolin. Inside, it turned out to be a band called jipsi a blugrass band fronted by four siblings, three sisters and a brother. I was captivated, they were vibrant, skilled players, quirky and each had their own sense of style. They played relentlessly with sustained energy and panache. There website and various links has it all. Later I hit the strip, poking my head in here and there, I think I liked Austin’s strip better, however, there was a cool lady playing the spoons quite well. She had a board on her lap with a washboard strip and various bells and things nailed to it. Listening from a distance I was intrigued, her rhythms were intricate and enticing. After that, I wasn’t booked to play so it was adventure time until the ladies were done their gig. We went back to a friends and ate pizza, it was fun.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Little Rock


I woke up to the sun coming up behind the Austin sky line, David was at the art mansion at 730 to pick me up. We had a few moments before meeting the ladies, we went back to the bike/coffee shop that I first landed in and where David works, (owned by Lance Armstrong btw) I thought back to some of my favorite moments of the last five days, two-step breakdancing, hanging out with Dude Man, (I forgot to mention that Bill Murrey went by on a pedi cab during that conversation), playing washers, bboying all over 6th street, hiking the woods, seeing gwar and of course hanging out at the arts mansion. I had a breakfast burrito and a cinnamon cookie that was too soft to sell, and we took off. The barista on duty had a big cast on, double broken arm, but was in good spirits.

A friend of NLX’s called Sam, who’s from london joined in that early morning parking lot, so now I’m traveling with four women. The trip to Little Rock was long and fairly uneventful, I started to miss Austin already. I slept well in the back seat. The rumba room has awesome food and a great staff, we were asked to take the first few spots on the open mike, which didn’t really work because folks hadn’t really shown up yet, but we still had a great time and made some tips.

I went for a stroll in the waterfront park behind the venue and saw a group of about twenty black people standing in a circle, some holding helium balloons. From a distance I could tell that it was a wake; folks were crying, hugging, taking turns speaking, singing gospel. I was drawn to the group and stood by the outer circles, I overheard talk about Terrence, who was just 17. The group huddle and a young man lead us in prayer, we help up raised our fists and “hollered”. I spoke to one of Terrence’s best friends, Marcus I think his name was. They seemed to be inseparable friends, played football together, Marcus ran and Terrence threw discus in track. They had planned to go to the same university together, both to be architects, were supposed to live in the same dorm. Terrence died in a car crash en-route to florida for spring break. There was crying, but lot’s of joy too, I was told Terrence was a deeply happy person, who taught others to see the humor in painful situations, his spirit was certainly present. It seemed to me that he was living is life to the fullest, lots of friends, good at school and sports, loving life and indeed experiencing it to the utmost of his capacities. So it was a joyful celebration of a vibrant life, as well as group mourning for a collective loss. At the end of the ceremony, everyone released their balloons into the night sky, they reflected light from the city, we could see them for a good while, bouncing away in the breeze, up to heaven.

Monday, March 22, 2010

March 20, 21


Saturday was a chilly, chilly day. Eddy dropped me off downtown and I strolled until I came across Canadian Blast, where Amanda was playing. Open bar and free mexican food makes Maxim a happy boy. Amos the transparent were playing and were quite enjoyable. The radio personality on hand was giving a way shoes to the person who had the worst shoes, my were pretty bad. Tara has pulled over last week in order to buy me new ones, we compromised on spray. The personality said they were also having a dance contest, I walked away with a pair of shiny new red converse. Downtown was fun, but less eventful, until I came across “psyche fest”. A number of jammy bands were performing in a foozeball club. There were pics of foozeball players from the seventies all over the walls, as well as bleachers in the small room above coyote uglies. Wild movies were projected on the walls, and the bands kicked ass. Some hash found itself my way and I immediately started jumping, did more breaking, then skipped downstairs to 6th street. I continued to skip down the street, slowing down when a beat hit me, I would break it down and continue, up and down the street a few times. All others were bundled up, but my blood was pumping, I kept moving for about three hours straight that night. Off to 4th, into a club, dancing away, back outside, jamming in the lot, back to the foozeball to check on my things, ect.

The solillaquists of sound played last. I have a feeling that Alexandrah is an oracle, real cool vibe. Wild ride, grand times all night. Cool chats, met a reader of Terrence McKenna, a substitute teacher and the creator of a soon to be arts collective.


Real Texas BBQ at Rudys, I got a third pound extra tender briquet and some pork ribs. It felt a bit primeval, but I enjoyed it. Dave, Eddy and I went to the green belt, hiked the woods for hours, shooting the shit. We talked about some gross things, funny things, curious things. The weather was great, we were pleasantly full. We found an old stone wall, that just kept going. Then we went to Armanda’s, the artist. Rollingwood is an upscale neighborhood, we were taken aback by the beautiful houses on the way to the get together. We drove past a gargantuan white house, three stories tall and 40 feet wide, greying, the outside looked like it needed help. I said “good lord, look at that place” “that’s the house were going to”, dave replied. Inside, it was bright and beautiful, with lovely smells, people and dogs abounding. A number of artistic people lived there, many small dogs were running wild. We went onto the roof, it was the tallest building in the area, quite a view of the city.

The evening was spent dinning, drinking, singing, playing, hanging out at fire pit in the back yard. I gave a break dance lesson. Dave had to go feed Leroy the Catahoula Leopard Dog, but being the incredible cool friend that he is, agreed to come back at 7 30 in the morning to pick me up, and drop me off down town to meet the ladies. We drank moonshine, sang at the piano, danced the charleston, jumped on the trampoline and ate eggplant parmesan.

Saturday, March 20, 2010



Today I woke up late and happy. Dan asked if I wanted BBQ, but we ended up going to a place named Chewy’s for happy hour. THe margarita’s were about three or for dollars, the five of us got 19 of them, for about 60$ I think. The best thing about that place is that there a nacho bar that can fill up at anytime, for free. Big bags of chips were emptied into the tray every twenty minutes or so and you have a choice of three different salsas, metled cheez with jalepinions, refried beans, all for free. And, the place was an elvis shrine, too cool.

We then went to Katy’s house, who’s a Dan’s boss. We spent the evening two-stepping, playing banjo, drinking beer, shooting the shit and playing a great game I’ve never heard of called “washers”.

It was pure texas. Afterwords we went to the tacorea, mexican food is mind blowing.



6th ave

Well well well, it’s two AM, Saturday morning and things have indeed gotten extremely wild, then cool again. I’m tired, so I’ll give you the barebones. Friday I woke up to Dan’s roommate Eddy treating me with great hospitality and friendship. Eggs with cajun spices was dang fine. He took off and I had the house to myself for a bit, after recording an old song that my mother had written some time ago I took Leroy, the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog for a walk. I cleaned the house then took off on the two mile walk downtown. Austin is an incredibly beautiful city, the river has lot’s of greenspace and everyone seem happy and relaxed.

My first new friend of the day was Dustin Thomas a young man with great passion and talent. We sat by the river with his bass player Tim and chatted about life and love, digging each moment to the core. I followed the river into the city and things were coming alive, I’d never scene so many cool looking young people all at once. Sounds, smells and sights were coming from all over and it was all beautiful. I spotted a fellow with dreds, a plaid shirt and overalls, CJ and I became instant friends. I was on my way down sixth street to catch the watson twins, but their show turned out to be a bit boring so I went back the other way and found CJ again. He was with a girl named Emma, another traveler who was playing a resonator guitar. She has a wild swing, ragtime voice/style that wasn’t expected from her street person/traveler look. We got along splendidly, smoking, drinking, eating, jamming the afternoon away. We parted ways for a bit and made contact again while meeting up with the rest of their traveling crew. The rag tag bunch of acoustic musicians were preparing a number with a dance crew led by a pop singer, who’s name escapes me, something like unique, or mystique, who had wild makeup and a leopard print dress. The plan was to burst out in the middle of the busy street with in a flash mob style performance, I broke out my banjo and played along with the rehearsal.

Back on 6th, the street was closed off for full street party style craziness. The road was packed with every kind of strange and beautiful person you could imagine. The street and surrounding area has about, and I’m not exaggerating, about a hundred music bars, all of the with music audible from the street. I strolled with awe and glee and the marvel. There was a five piece bluegrass band that I quite enjoyed. I hooked up with the street performance group and we gave it hell, an audience gathered, all quite enjoyable. To wander was a great pleasure, all sorts of sounds and sights permeated the atmosphere, indescribable really, sensory overload is a good way to it. I ran into my friend Shawn who gave me my first every rock gig, we chatted for a good deal of time. Some grass found itself my way and soon after came the breakdancing.

At one end of the street I met a fellow who’s name is pronounced like “Diem” but it’s really DM, as in the dude man. He’s a black dude from Lafayette Louisiana who was wearing all leather and carrying a skateboard like a shield. He sings in a metal band sang a love ballad for me with a great voice. His voice was sweet but with passion and twang. We talked about various kinds of skateboarding, he’s into freestyle. Freestyle skateboarding is usually done on one’s own and is highly technical, influenced by dance and gymnastics. It’s starting to regain popularity after dying out in the last decade.

It was a great hangout with DM, he also shot some film pictures of me.

We strolled the avenue and he pointed out some of the cool bars. It seems there’s awesome live music every night of the week in Austin. We ran into a freestyle rap cypher, heard some metal and parted ways. I was strolling with my banjo out and played for a number of different people. I met a pixy girl named katy who sells precisous stones for neckaleces, we danced together on the street and talked life for a good little while. Then I walked the two miles or so back to Dan’s place. I didn’t want to wake him up so I slept in the shed behind the house. There was a mattress in there so I was comfortable, it got a bit chilly though, so I covered myself in a rug that was in there.

Around 8 AM I got up to see if Dan was awake, there was no movement so I texted him, he said he didn’t mind waking up at anytime, so now I know. I crashed on the warm couch and slept quite well.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Austin and the broken spoke, march 17th.


Beautiful day so far, brilliant day. Texas is quite vast, lot’s of plains, ranches. One highlight of the drive was a speckled cow in the a cage pulled by a truck, Amanda took a picture. I got dropped off in the middle of Austin and within minutes was given a beer and place to stay. There was a coffee shop attached to a bike shop, while buying a java, I got into a lively chat with a fellow with some fancy flattop laptop, was well received by the cool barista then sat on the deck under the beating sun. I pulled out the banjo and my tunes fell on grateful ears. Three fellah had united in Austin for the weekend and we started chatting, they had all met in San Fran and were having a reunion. I mentioned I had come from Cape Girardeau Missouri, and it turned out there was a banjo player from that same city working at the bike shop. David turned out to be a real cool guy, who offered me his couch within moments of our meeting. The sun beat down on my appreciative skin, the stella tasted so good and I played that banjo with joy. Pedal cabs seem to be quite popular here, that’s bikes modified to have a seat for three or four on the back. All types of cool looking people waked in front of me and got in line for the hip hop show next door. I got some hints about places I might check out in texas and the Pacific north west, then headed inside to check out the bike store. I picked some tunes for the staff as they packed up, then helped take bikes from the main room to storage in the basement. A pretty lady with cool style asked if I started working there. Eventually it was time to take off and the streets were crawling st Patrick’s day activities. The plan was to go to the broken spoke for two step dancing lessons. David is a real cool cat, former completive cyclist, classical trumpet player and amateur pilot, now he’s all about picking the banjo and doing the two step.

I’m at the broken spoke, which refers to a wagon wheel and this place is pure Texas. Red and white checkered table cloths cover folding tables and chairs, in the middle of the long room is the dance floor where a bleached blond vivacious 50 year old is telling everyone not to hesitate with the swing. “Rock Step” she hollers as they swing. David looks nervous out there, but he’s having a good time. Yesterday I put a sticker that says “listen to the devil” on the back of my lap top, I wonder what people think of it. Cowboy hats, boots and neon beer signs abound. I’m going to watch the lesson.

I think I’ve reached a new plane of existence, I bought a beer for a girl who reminded me of my childhood friend Kristy. Hanna turned out to be a song writing, horse breaking, truck driving, competitive soft ball playing, two stepping seventeen year old. Dale Watson and his band were playing, and they were incredibly tasty. He calls his music “ameripolitan” heavily influenced by roots, it’s basically how country is supposed to sound like.

I had a number of different dance partners and had some wicked conversations, the one that sticks in my head the most was with a evangelical Christian named Karen of Asian decent; she organizes dodgeball tournaments to raise money for AIDS charities in Africa and in Austin. Another said she was political, big into the second amendment, gun rights. Made for interesting conversations later on. Eventually I started breakdancing, Dale called it the first ever “two step breakdancing” I got lot’s of smiles. The evening felt surreal, so much love, awesome music and the two stepping was quite special. There’s something highly intimate and erotic about falling into repetitive rhythms with a dance partner.... when I’m not flailing around the room, trying not to bump into the twenty other couples on the floor.

Plus and most especially fun, I met some super cool musicians, one was Marike Jager, , from Holland, who met Dale in europe, and was in Austin to help shoot a documentary about Dale. She started a record label, is drop dead gorgeous, is a good dancer and is hella cool. We had some good business chats, The consensus seems to be that no one know what the hell is happening with the industry. Just how I like it. My favorite song of hers is Fling Flack Toodah, check out the video on her myspace.

Another musician I met was Whitey Morgan. All day I’ve been on band alert, whenever I see a group of people dressed in similar fashions, I’ve been chatting them up. At the table were three huge guys with beards, jean vests and tattoos. Whitey and his crew were the coolest dressed folks I’ve come across so far, well...Bears of Blue River are in contention, I’ll repost their link.

But listen to Whitey, I hadn’t heard his music since checking it out now. Hell yeah.

After the gig, Daniel, his friend Jason from New Zeland, Hanna, her friend Angela and an Italian artistic Iron worker who’s fist name I forgot, but who’s last name is something like fortunado, and I went to a diner. We were all feeling the vibe, it felt like we were all old friends.

So if any of you are ever in Austin, check out the broken spoke.

Who knows where it goes from here. I’m thinking the country.

Questions, comments and love/hate mail :



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

march 15th and 16th.

15th was a drive day. We got up earlyish, ate good a good breakfast, took photos with our hosts and took to the road. The entire house show experience was a blast, it was like being welcomed into a the house of a favorite aunt and uncle, they take care of your every need, thirty of their friends show up, we spend the next many hours jamming, performing and partying, all the while utterly appreciated. We had enlightening conversations, ate delicious food and were adored by a group of people, simply for following our passions and being willing to share it. In the van we appreciated the wild differences in our style, never settling on any particular style or directions, always shifting, through songs and stories. It was all driving on Monday, map quest it, cape girardeau missouri all the way to Dallas Tx. We stopped at a massive fireworks retailer called boomland, saw some chickens packed in cages on the back of a semi and from a distance we saw the few tall buildings which make up Little Rock, the biggest city in Arkansas. Tara bought a coloring book themed of the David story of the old testament, which she changed to old testicles. I went through editing captions and adding speech bubbles that added to the general theme. Besides that, we stopped at a rest stop and I slept a whole bunch. Texarcana took an awful long time to get through, we were looking for a sign for the borer into Texas, but it never came.

Eventually we pulled into the a hiatt and our crew grew to seven. NLX’s friends from Minneapolis and boyfriend from Toronto extended the party into two rooms. I took the opportunity to go for a long walk on my first warm night of spring. The hotel is in newish complex of fancy high rises and hotels, across the highway from run down looking houses. I walked through a manicured park around a pond/lake, and the air was lovely. I got out my trusty hacky sack and attempted to revive my midschool talent for keeping that bag in the air. While exercising in the hotel fitness room, a family came came in and their three year old girl started at me while I did sit ups. In the parking lot I practiced the hacky sack and then went to bed. It was nice having my own queen size bed, although I think I’m still partial to two yoga mats on a hard floor. Something strange happened at 3am, I suddenly felt wild stomach cramps and then was sick, I think felt fine, went back to bed and felt fine in the morning.


It was my first sleep in of the tour, but I haven’t minded waking up early, because it’s always been the amazing Amanda Rheaume waking me up. Tara was furiously typing away in a little nook next to my bed under the window, that’s where the electrical outlet was and she needed to keep her iphone plugged in. I started working on some new recordings, sent out some emails and went out for mexican food with Amanda. The grub was grand and inexpensive, we had some good chats. We were examining our music careers and the art that’s been produced. We’ve had similar arches of all out rock music, moving towards acoustic songwriting. I got some supplies at the business depot, and got some disks ready for the evening gig.

Back attempting to record, I ended up reworking and extending a lullaby that I wrote in March of last year. Finger picking a melody is a tricky but rewarding thing to do. The gang all left, some to a restaurant and some to check out the cafe we were to play in. After dropping off gear, we went around the corner and had the pleasure of hearing a band called the joys at Bill’s record shop. The joys are a woman fronted rock/country/pop band from London ont. Sarah Smith is a wild talent, with powerful voice and presents. Mike Mckyes plays mean country licks while Ken and Kevin hold things down with flair. Their set made me fall in love with rock again and I expressed that love through some b boying. A band named, the bears of blue river were playing afterwords and showed up for most of the Joys set. They sure were dressed cool, it was Amish with tattoos and pink dress shirts. They were from Chicago and had been on the road for two months, god speed fellahs! I just check out they myspace, and it’s really beautiful music, they describe it as folk/soul/healing & easy listening. Dang, it’s really good, I urge you to click the following link, I like Betty Homemaker . A small crowd eventually came trickling into Bills and the joys rocked out like wild.

We went back across the road to Opening Bell Cafe, the host sounded great and it was high caliber music all night. What’s to say about another incredible gig. We all captivated the audience, sounded fantastic and shared the stage with awesome musicians. There was a young fellow named Matt who was highly nervous about playing, but sang like an angel. NLX, Amanda and myself play two songs each, then Tara went up, being the featured artist of the evening, her set blew everybody away. We all got lot’s of praise and love the audience and from individuals, and I started selling CDs. The joys came out to see us and we had lots of laughs. I found out that pot is more expensive here, 20$ for a gram, 50$ for an eighth, I ain’t in kansas anymore.

Dallas has been fairly unremarkable as a city so far, no great sight lines or vistas. However, at night the city looks pretty cool, one huge building has green lights going up all the corners. Also, there’s a big glowing orb.

We’re back at the hotel now, it’s after midnight, tomorrow we go to Austin.



Monday, March 15, 2010

march 15th

Cutting through Illinois things started to look more and more like the South, every few dozen miles there would be another gun club and old decrepit barns spotted the landscape. Very cute small towns with some empty houses, I might buy one of those some day. My shoes were stinking pretty bad so Tara suggested I buy new ones, we compromised on shoe spray (it’s working well). In Anna Illinois, no booze was sold on Sunday, so we carried onto Cape Girardeau, the location of our third concert. It’s a mid size town on the Mississippi river that’s the biggest town between St. Louis and Dallas. A couple named Larry and Jean Underberg have been putting on concerts in their home for the last few years and we were lucky enough to get a bill. They’ve been putting on these concerts for a few years and have developed a reputation for bringing out quality musicians; there was a good turn out of an appreciative audience. We were met by a big article from the local paper about us, I was described as playing “unadulterated folk music”. I’ll send the link.

The chairs were set up in the dinning room which over ooked the living room, where we were performing. The PA sounded good and we did our first full songwriter’s circle. Our various styles contrasted and complimented each other, creating a nice flow and rhythm for the performance. We’ve been developing a good repartee on stage; there was plenty of time for jokes and comments, it worked well when the audience gives you undivided attention.

I talked about my vocal explorations and it seemed to resonate with the crow. Apparently many of the audience members were psychologists, so NLX asked if she could have a talk in lieu of a song. A couple in the front was brought to tears at her love songs. The four cats in the house darted around the room, rubbing against our legs as we played. It was all nice and homey. The audience was all warm and generous with hugs all around. Over dinner I had great chat with our host Larry, who’s a professor of communication and speech at the local university. He created a class all about social protest in music, the sociology of metal being of current interest. Larry and Jean showed us the man-cave, a their basement which is filled will interesting guitars, amps and various instruments. Amanda played the electric drum kit and I jammed on steel body. Then the girls went off to bed early and Larry brought me to a bar typical to the banks of the Mississippi river. Stepping into the bar, it hit me that we had crossed the Mason-Dixon line, I was officially in the south. First of all, there was smoking permitted in the whole bar, this caught me off guard since smoking has been illegal in bars in Ottawa for the last decade or so. Everywhere I looked were people from 25 to 75, mostly in blue collar clothing that gave no hint of decade. I’ve heard that time moves slower in the south and I think it’s true, I felt at home. It felt like everyone was in the moment, laughing and talking with vigor.

Rick, the host, had an accent so think I could make about half of what he was saying. We settle into a round table at the back and I listened to a a middle aged man singing about fishing. It was my turn to perform and I was a little nervous, but it went well. I asked if anyone had been to Austin and quite a few applauded. Broadcasting familiarity seems like a good way to get people on your side. The skinhead milk farmer joke went well and there was some great applause. An older lady by the bar said she liked my old time style and was enjoy a huge man named ralf said he was Rick’s sax player and quite enjoyed the show. He said he loved playing sax but couldn’t write a song to save his life.

After me was a fellow that reminded me of the character “lucky” who showed up in a few of the later seasons of king of the hill. A goofy and sweet demeanor, made a cheap shot joke about quebec and sand some drinking songs. He seemed to have a good music career going on, playing in the area. Bob I think his name was. He came up and apologized for tat shot, it was against Quebec after all, he shook my hand and complimented my music.

On my way out I waved and hollered good by to the crowd. “Good luck, good by Maxim!” the crowd replied as they waved goodbye. We went across the street to thirty foot flood wall, it showed the high water points over the last hundred years or so. I sprinkled some water on myself from the mighty Mississippi. There was a barge slowly pushing cargo up the river and freight train went behind us. The south was alive and I’ve entered into it’s belly.

March 14th

Sunday, March 14th.

We took off from Cleveland around 10 30 and hit the interstate. Endless brown-yellow fields and leafless treats covered the landscape. Early spring is pretty bleak in Indiana, Illinois and Ohio, but our spirits are high. Our Cleveland hotel room turned into a slumberparty giggle fest, were all buzzed and excited about the gig, we would start to drop into sleep, then one of us would chirp up and the conversation wold continue.

The ride between cities was spent swapping tour stories and discussing our contemporaries. Tara was got a call from AOL spinner and was interviewed over the phone. We passed burned-out houses, old stock yards and big old industry buildings. Eventually we made it to Chicago which is a lovely city. There was thick fog off of lake Eerie so we didn’t see much of the sky line, but the waterfront and parks were charming and quite Torontoesq. It seemed gritty and cool, a type of city I could live in for a few months . We dropped LNS and Tara off at their respective friends, then Amanda and I made our way to our see our host, the charming and talented Brad Cole. Brad has been working in the financial scene for years, but now that he’s got enough dough saved up for his daughter’s education, he’s following his heart and is going to re-embark on a music career. It was a pleasure to welcomed into his beautiful home, he took off to band practice, Amanda napped, I picked at twelve string and read Jimi Hendrix’s biography. After a quick nap of my own, it was off to the the Elbo Room for Brad’s monthly “Acoustic Circus”.

The main drag in Chicago boasted a huge strip of bars and many young drinkers filling each room. St Patrick’s day is a few days away and the Chicagoans were gearing up in style. Young folks were swaggering everywhere as the bars seemed to keep coming block after block. Finding parking was a miserable experience, but it was cool to be emerged into the wild friday night scene. In the basement of a club was the full band venue, two rock bands then a soul band played to an exuberant audience. The whole bar was a jovial scene, people were out going, and seemed overjoyed to be out and about. One observation that I’ve made is that our cultures are highly similar, I’d call it north american style. It felt like I was in any other bar in Canada, then would be reminded where I was when saw cash being exchanged. There was a girl in the big downstairs room that had strikingly beautiful eyes and a captivating smile, but who’s skin had the rough quality of a burn healed. I wanted to talk to her and find out what her story was, but she seemed enamored with the boy she was with, maybe I’ll see her next time I’m in Chicago.

Brad’s band had a great folk pop sound, they were tight, had nice harmonies, a great fiddle player and enticing energy. The dace floor was open so I took the opportunity to break it down in my usual outlandish manner. One woman said I was very comfortable in my body, I told her that it was tailored to fit. Eventually I started getting applause, so I took a break. We only had an hour or so for the four of us to play, so we took turns of 4 songs a piece. We were quite well received, making all kinda of Canada jokes, and the crow came up close. I went up last and a tall blond woman rushed me before I started, shocked that I wasn’t just there to dance. I got people moving, clapping and smiling, just like I like it. After the set, praise came from around the room and our plastic gas can was neatly stuffed with bills.

Off to Brad’s read some more about Jimmi and slept like a log. Brad was kind enough to wake up early with us to serve coffee and we were off again. The consensus was McDonalds for breakfast and I broke my year long break from Mc D’s. It was in a suburb of Chicago and appeared to be under construction. All the patrons and staff were black and apeared to be amuzed by my dancing to the soul and early r’n’b that was playing. On our way out, a distinguished gentleman in a suit pointed to me and said “that guy’s got rhythm”. “That’s nothing” as I broke it down further, to the laughter of the table. “Careful now, I don’t want to have to pick you up” said the gentleman as we left the restaurant.

We’re driving by yellowish fields again, it reminds me of Manitoba, flat forever. Cape Marneau next, in Missouri. I’ll let you know how it goes.


Saturday, March 13, 2010


Cleveland rocks, it’s true. As I was leaving the library yesterday, I made my first tour friend, he was a big warmhearted man named Maurice. Apparently he had a three engenering degrees but couldn’t find work in Cleveland, that the city has been feeling the recession for the last ten or fifteen years. He said he’d probably go back to california and go back to building planes. I met up with my ladies (Amanda Rheaume, Tara Holloway and NLX) at the venue, Wilberts, and it was a welcome scene. There were guitars on the bar and pictures of many a great bluesman on the wall, a good music appreciation vibe all around. We located a hotel and took off for a nap. I hadn’t really slept on the 14 hour bus ride, so a real bed was dandy.

At the gig we were joined by a local singers songwriter named Jessica who thankfully brought out a big old crowd of friends and family. The four girls did two sets of songwriter circle style performances, and I did a set in between. I was taken aback by the talent that I’m lucky enough to be touring with, these girls are incredible and I’m proud to be part of the group. Feedback was positive all around and we made enough to cover our lodgings and gas to Chicago, so far so good. Mike the owner, Bob the bartender and Jim the soundman were welcoming and quite friendly, I recommend this bar to anyone.

It’s morning again, it’s raining, but our spirits are high, today it’s off to Chicago!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Roller coaster and into the states.

Greetings and salutations all, especially Oliver, who mentioned the blog and stirred me to get back into it. I don’t have any particularly good reasons why I haven’t been writing, only that the blog wasn’t the only segment of my life that’s been stagnant. Reading back, “effectualism” is malarkey. Being in a state of getting things done for the soul purpose of getting things done is the bogus busy-work mentality that drives most of the contemporary work force. However, I was always clear that it was an experiment, a trial an attempt to test out a mode of being. The post capitalism experiment was more interesting for the most part because now I know that I have the capacity to sustain with only my wits and skills. Effectualism (I just spell checked it, I forgot it wasn’t a real word) had no clear goals or clear direction, especially in terms of balance. When I found myself in a safe haven that provided all the food, shelter and love I could handle, being effective, effectively became unimportant. Why strive for anything when you have everything? The new found plateau furthered the disconnect with school, eventually resulting in one of the most bizarre emotional roller coasters I’ve ever been on. And it did feel like a ride, eventually I learned to enjoy the fluctuating currents of pain, bliss, anxiety, depression, boredom, passion and ennui. At one point my body shut down, wild symptoms the doctor thought were mono or step throat confined me to the couch or bed, while at the same time, I was experiencing my first ever bouts of insomnia. It was all very strange. Swab and blood tests found nothing. Eventually I called upon some dear friends of mine and we engaged in a healing ceremony. The act of calling and asking for help was one of the most profound turnarounds in my life. Immediately the physical symptoms began to rescind bringing the emotional issues to the forefront. I found myself completely checked out of any productive activities. Any contact with school or concert organization gave me the chills. So I sat and listened to a scholar who’s got a lot of lectures on the internet, a man named Terrence Mckenna. Of his many theories, “time wave zero” is the one I feel most comfortable attempting to amplifying.

He’s charted time, from the big bang onward, into a series of habits and novelty. At first, it’s mostly habit, the universe forms over a long and slow period of time, then something new happens, like the creation of a planet, and the graph is altered. In a shorter time then the first increment, continents are formed, in steps all shorter in time then the one before it, we get life, humans, agriculture, industry, technology, genetic engineering, ect. Only it can’t go on forever. Each great leap forward happens in less time, so eventually there has to be a moment when it becomes all leaps, all novelty and no habit or repetition. Charting out the patterns of time, he calculated that moment to fall on the winter solstice of 2012. This is the same day the Mayan calendar ends, and Terrence came to his conclusion entirely independently. He has many other subjects, particularly shamanism, that I’m into. Check him out.

The emotional fluctuation continued for about a month until the first really nice day outside. My mission was to purchase a long board deck, a particular design called an “evo” which is curved low for maximum stability. I was meeting lovely people throughout the day and things started to look up. The next day was saturday, I decided to embrace shamanic method and took a low dose of magic mushrooms and welcomed another beautiful day. Sitting on champlain bridge in the sun, stretching, meditating, things started to make sense again. I started to feel grand again.

My week was mostly ups, longboarding, recording, getting ready for the tour ect. Danny, Bob and I played a gig last night to a mostly empty house, but there was a quality crew of close friends who I’ve been close with in the last few months. At 12 30 last night I boarded a bus and at around 2 this afternoon, I arrived in Cleveland Ohio. So far it looks like a proud and dignified city, the library is impressively expansive. I like the vibe here in the US, especially the accents. While waiting in Buffalo, I could hear NY and Jersey. Behind me on the bus was a thick and lovely southern accent and I think the driver was from the bayou. There were preppy frat kids getting drunk on their way down to spring break in Panama City and next to me was an pleasant and over-weight black lady with a cool mullet.

Looking out over the landscape that’s rolling by, everything looks the same as Ontario. Same cute small towns, grocery stores, churches. The only thing different is the trailer parks. Ours are neater, the parks here are strewn about, in disrepair, often spread out in half a field or next to a winding river. I’d still like to live there though.

Cold/flu like symptoms have returned, stress being a factor once again. Neglecting the written work for the class that I actually enjoyed participated in, I’d have to write some twenty or thirty pages in the next few days to pass. The deadline to withdraw from a class without having an F on one’s transcript is today. My shrink says to focus on the thins that I’m good at and not worry less about the approval of others. Drop the class it is! Done. Wow, that was actually a huge weight off my shoulders, I feel lighter. But still a bit sick. Hopefully the bar tonight has a band room that I can nap in for a few hours. I’m looking forward to tonight, seeing the ladies, playing my heart out.

Please send me a note in response to this blog, who’s reading?