18. September 2014 · Comments Off on Motorcycle Tour Diary 1 “Tardiness and Regionalism” · Categories: people, tour · Tags: , , , , , ,

Traveling by motorcycle really magnifies one of things I find most tedious about the touring band; the state of perpetual rock band tardiness. I don’t like the phenomenon because I don’t think it’s charming. So here I am on a motorcycle where I end up stopping for fuel twice as often, and have to de-helmet every hour or so just to get that weight off my dome. Then you add a half-day of rain and a time zone change and there I was yesterday hurrying around Louisville to make the gig just in time.

I had a great night in Louisville last night playing at Open Gallery with a great local songwriter, Jacob Douglas and Kim Webber. The gallery is a better sounding room than many of the traditional venues we play; bars are great for drinking and the good ones make every effort to have a good listening room.

One of the things that occurred to me while listening to Jacob and Kim is that we still have regional songwriting dialects and lexicon in America. You wouldn’t know it by just listening to the radio and it’s hard to pick out from that Great Homogenizer we call Modern Recording Technology; but in person, peoples’ regional upbringing really comes across. Not just their dialect, but the words they use, the stories they tell, and the people who populate their stories.

It’s one of the things you get when you move around the country and play with other people from the area. And it’s one of the things bigger acts miss when they choose to tour with the same act for show after show. When you spend time with other artists from other places, the songwriters comfortable in their own skin will show you their home in their songs. It’s the thing Levon Helm brought to The Band, and the thing Steven Vanzandt and Springsteen discovered when they toured.

After just a couple shows this exposure to regionalism has been the best gift of this tour. I’m looking forward to it as I move up the Ohio River Valley and into Western PA.

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