Endless Summer

I'm pretty sure there was a Summer. At least, I was told so. Apparently it was cold for a while, then warmed up, then cooled down, then got hot as balls; and global warming is either completely at fault, or has nothing to do with it whatsoever, depending on whom you ask.

I would have no idea, as I had a grand total of three days off from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Major life changes and art-related poverty necessitated a seasonal cash grab, working as a barista and bartender in Door County, WI - 70+ hours and 5-6 doubles per week on my feet serving vices morning, noon and night. Aside from a healthy dose of hatred for suburban Chicago, and more clothes dryer dollar discoveries than an airport stripper, the greatest profit of the Summer was avoiding the Summerfest grounds for the first year since I moved to Milwaukee.

The few days I managed to escape Vacation Hell were spent driving back home to promote, perform and celebrate the release of the long-awaited Buffalo Gospel release, We Can Be Horses - we hit the airwaves on Radio Milwaukee and WMSE, hit the stage at Linneman's on July 27 with Jonathan Burks, and hit every goddamn paper, pamphlet, poster and music blog from here to Norway. We also found time to finish a music video for The Western (well, Heidi did, while Ryan and I played a month-long game of too many cooks in the kitchen); inspire a sandwich; and book some more shows for the Fall.

I am now back in town full-time, for the time being, and falling back into the swing of things. A handful of shows coming up; a handful of songs left to record for the (even more long-awaited) Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds album; the beginnings of a recording project with John Pajot and his band Various Small Fires; and maybe even the end of the psychosocial meltdown that has been my own personal year and a half-long record making process.

To be honest, I don't know what the hell is going on any more. Day by day, dollar by dollar, drunk love song by somebody done me wrong. I'm pretty sure things are happening. At least, I was told so. If I hear anything else, I'll be sure to let you know.

SXSE 2013

About to walk out the door and get in the car - per usual, I wait until the very last second to announce tour dates ...

Excited to get back to the South, see the ocean, feel the sun, and revisit some old friends and family. Hitting a couple of my favorite spots in and around Charleston and Savannah - namely Awendaw Green and the Savannah Songwriters Series - and a few new ones, including the world famous Tootsie's Orchid Lounge in Nashville and an Athens gig with the inimitable Nancy Kaye.

If you or your friends happen to be anywhere near one of my gigs, stop by and I'll buy you a beer - otherwise, wish me (and my liver) luck, and I'll see y'all soon. Take care of each other.

communique from the front

Just pleased as punch (the painful kind, not the tasty kind) to finally announce the long-coming release of a new single and music video that I produced for my friends Oedipus Tex and the ... well, you can read the rest on their site. The video was put together by my good friend Andrew Gralton, and the song was engineered by my friend and former band mate Joe Crockett. They've already got some very nice press from the AV Club and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's websites, and plans are in the works for a follow-up (or three) ...

Daytrotter finally released the Pezzettino session from July 2011 - I kinda thought they'd given up on us. All I really remember about the session is sweating bullets in the hottest day on record that year - had to turn off the A/C to record - and running Margaret's squeezebox through a Leslie cab. Listening back has been a nice little trip down memory lane, though - this was the peak of our weird little power trio chemistry, and I'm genuinely pretty proud of our performance.

In other news, made the short trip down the block to Howl Street Recordings to lay down some parts on the continuing saga that is Chris DeMay's upcoming album - it's been a long time in the works, but there are some phenomenal songs and epic jams, featuring some of the best musicians in Milwaukee - I promise it will be well worth the wait.

Lastly, but certainly not leastly, I'll be heading South for another tour in April, this time stretching a little farther and a little longer. Excited to see the ocean again, and soak up a little sun far from the frozen North - much thanks to Awendaw Green and the Savannah Songwriters Series for providing the impetus - stay posted for upcoming dates and times.

lucky number (20)13

Coming out the other end of the darkest days of Winter - the groundhog may or may not see his shadow soon, but I've certainly seen mine ...

As always, plenty of projects to keep me coasting until warmer weather - a handful of upcoming shows, solo and with various bands; recording sessions in various stages of completion (or disarray); and some exciting potential for TV and film.

My good friend Ryan Necci and I are plowing through final mixing on his new Buffalo Gospel record, with the generous and expert ears of Ryan Elliott at 7711 Studios, and I couldn't be happier with the progress - this is shaping up to be hands-down one of the best albums I've ever been involved with. Be on the lookout for a release show and physical product in the Spring.

Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds are a little over halfway through initial tracking for the sophomore Bella Union release. Heidi has really stepped up her songwriting game (not that she was any slouch before), and I've been doing my best to rise to the occasion - so far we all seem pretty thrilled with the results, crafting what I off-handedly coined "a series of mini psychodramas." Hoping to have it in the label's hands by the Summer, but what happens after that is anyone's guess.

Wisconsin Foodie is wrapping up their third season on Wisconsin Public Television, but reruns will continue throughout the state, as well as Chicago; and we've been picked up in the Twin Cities starting this month. Additionally, The Man from Orlando - a feature film out of Austin for which I contributed some original music - has been continuing to make its way around the festival circuit to some very positive reviews, and just recently had a sold-out hometown premier at the State Theatre. I'm hoping to help them arrange a Milwaukee showing by year's end (maybe as part of the Milwaukee Film Festival).

I'm sure there's plenty more I'm forgetting to mention, but I'll get to it eventually - in the mean time, keep your eyes and ears peeled for the imminent release of a single and music video I produced for a very old (and treacherous) friend ...