Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Threw my back out removing snow. I can barely walk.

Also, when tours end, I feel depressed--adrenaline withdrawal.

Cabin fever, too. Roads in all directions are blocked.

My cell phone doesn't get reception here.

My car doors are frozen shut. Can't get to my clothes.

All things considered, though, I'm doing better than Dale.

I guess you could say that, relatively speaking, I'm wolf of the world.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Spring '09 Flizzard continues.

Spent the afternoon clearing Dale's driveway and sidewalks of snow. Since then a foot of fresh snow has fallen.

Dale is patiently awaiting a liver transplant. If he can get one, it'll cost $580,000. He might need a kidney, too, but that's to be decided later.
After three months, I'm officially back in North Dakota. Not all the way home yet, though.

This bridge is in Fargo. You can't tell, but it's near flooded. My pal Vaughn, who snapped the pic, gave me a tour of his water-logged city. Lots o' dikes and leaks, and news crews with wet shoes and cold feet.

I'm staying at Dale Bentley's mansion in Buffalo, ND, tonight. I-94 is closed from Bismarck to the Montana border, due to blizzard conditions. I may not be able to get home for a few days.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The final show of tour in Rochester last night was an indescribable workout. Even so, it was an improvement on the last show I played there, two years ago.

Skilly took good care of me, wrangling tips. This morning, she made blueberry pancakes.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rough show in Winona. I'm worn down. Runnin' on empty. Weather beaten. In need of a massage. In need of a vacation to recover from my fourteen-week vacation.

I do like my Winona friends, though. Stayed on Elle's couch last night. She makes the best breakfasts.

My last show of tour is tonight in Rochester, MN.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Now I'm in Winona, Minnesota. I took my time driving through Missouri and Iowa yesterday. Found some good thrift stores and such. Show tonight, then westward ho!

FYI, eastern North Dakota is crazy flooding. Where I live, however, it's high and dry.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tonight! - Columbia, MO, @ Cafe Berlin (21 N. Providence Rd.) w/ The Mooks, Too Little Too Late, and The Beating Hearts. 9 p.m. $5.

Mar. 27 - Winona, MN, @ Canswer House (367 Grand St.) w/ Froseph and CWKSMA. 8 p.m. Donations.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hello from Winona, Mississippi, where I slept last night!

Next--Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri. Zoooooom!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cosmic glory, expanded . . .

Super Sunday in New Orleans.

I saw the Revolution Second Line brass marching band and also the Uptown Mardis Gras Indians, who were partaking in their most fantastic parade of the year. The two groups merged at Taylor Park, where a funk band was playing.

Xelaju's friend Carl bought a fat sack of boiled red crawdads, so we sat on the grass sucking juices and meat from the shells. Around us were rickety old wooden buildings with hurricane-damaged roofs, or no roofs at all. Pit bulls, gold teeth, Obama shirts, hair weaves--damn! No signs of North Dakota or Montana anywhere, except for colorful headdresses and dancing brown-skinned people. It was a pow wow, for sure.
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
--e.e. cummings

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My reintroduction to New Orleans was perfect--and surreal. At midnight, after driving nine hours, I pulled into the heart of the Marigny neighborhood and got my boogie on at Mimi's, New Orleans' number one-voted bar.

My welcomers were three beautiful women with powdered white faces and tiny rosebud lips. They wore black character shoes, fishnet stockings, floor-length black crinoline skirts, sequined velvet chokers, and giant white Marie Antoinette wigs adorned with extravagant hot-pink plumage. They had just finished performing at the New Orleans Ballet Association Ball Fundraiser and were enjoying the tropicality of spring's first Saturday.

The whole town was celebrating, it seemed. Frenchmen Street was packed with intoxicated youth of all shades. Sex and jazz poured from opened doors and windows.

At 3 p.m., Xelaju took me to her crib in Uptown and let me spread my sleeping bag on her maroon sofa. Now it's morning, and we are off to a brass band parade called Revolution Second Line.

I missed Halloween, Mardi Gras, and St. Paddy's Day celebrations, but it doesn't appear to matter. In New Orleans, the party never stops.

I like it here. A lot.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

This tour has been charmed. Pearl Drop (my white Subaru Outback) deserves a heap of praise for faithfully getting me from show to show.

Thank you, Pearl Drop.

I owe you a song before this tour ends. Hang in there for ten more days of hard drivin', and we will be sitting once again in front of that little red North Dakota house we love so much.

Friday, March 20, 2009

This band, Peelander-Z, performed a mind-altering free show today.
I finally found an opportunity to shine in Austin. A friend who works for Asthmatic Kitty Records let me do a set this morning during his label's showcase. The crowd dug it.

Miss Theresa has been a kind and generous hostess, providing shelter from the storm and food for my form. I'm feeling strong again. Tomorrow I drive to the Bayou State: Lousiana.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Austin is rawkin'. It's insane here, actually. I'm running into tons of friends from across the country. I spied former bandmate/girlfriend Jen Grady at a Lake show, for example. She let me crash on the floor of the house where her band was staying. Yesterday I had supper with Mirah. I'm also meeting new people, such as Mark Stuart, whose band is Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash.

My favorite show so far was an outdoor Rafter gig earlier this evening. Rafter crushes it.

1) The weather is perfect.
2) A grackle crapped on my head.
3) A cartographer named Theresa is letting me use her house as a base, starting today.
4) I'll drive to New Orleans someday soon.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Checked out the Waco nightlife last evening. Saw a sweet hip-hop show, bummed around certain back alleys, and met some friendly people who let me stay on their futon.

Now Austin. I cringe at the thought of being there during the busy week of SXSW, but it might/could work to my benefit. I'll soon see.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day from Waco, Texas!

On the way here, I stopped at a vintage clothing store off the I-35 South, called Style Station. Justin Townes Earle happened to be in there--on his way to Austin's SXSW--trying on boots. I gave him a CD.
From today's Allison V. Smith photo shoot!

Allison's lovely assistants, from left to right, are my pals Sarah Jane and Jessica.
Dallas has got it goin' on, I'm telling you.

Somehow Sarah Jane, at 4 p.m. yesterday, delivered a second rockin' gig for me--at Murray Street Coffee Shop in Deep Ellum. But first she took me on a spin around the city, starting with La Reunion. After that we went to a Mexican western wear store, where I bought a black cowboy hat.

The Coffee Shop show was super great. I'm enjoying these no-stress last-minute shows.

Much more to write, but no time. Lucky photo shoot right now with Allison V. Smith. She's photographed Willie Nelson, John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Sheryl Crowe, Billie Joe Shaver, and more.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Many musician friends have told me to steer clear of Dallas, but I'm finding it to be a cultural hot spot. Erykah Badu is from here, afterall.

Last night's house show at Sarah Jane and Paul's was great (merci). I'm dedicating the day to exploring more of the Big D, with Sarah Jane as guide.

Bonnie and Clyde were interred just blocks from where I'm blogging.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The show at Hedges' house last night was super. Lots of laughter and chicken fried chicken. After the crowd left, Andy and Alissa (pictured) and I hot-tubbed and swapped cowboy poems 'til late.

This morning Andy's sister Anna joined us for a drive to Sweetwater, TX, to the Rattlesnake Round-Up. Unforgettable, truly. I've never seen nor smelled anything as gnarly as a bucket full of hissing severed rattler heads.

After the Round-Up I drove to Dallas to meet up with one my very best friends from the 80s--Alan Dolezal. I haven't seen him in years, and it has been great reminiscing. More later.

Show tomorrow: Dallas, TX, @ Sarah Jane's house (108 South Rosemont / 75208). 7:20 p.m.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Who would have thought I'd have my first experience smoking a hookah in Lubbock, Texas?

Andy Hedges bought one recently during a visit to Oman. Late last night, soon after I arrived, he loaded it with some sweet Al Amir Lemon Mint tobacco. Alissa, his birthday-girl wife, and four or other five Texans soon joined the circle, and we all toked away 'til midnight.

Andy, by the way, is a tremendous cowboy folk singer. He specializes in preserving and evolving western culture. He has an enviable collection of old poetry and songs that I wish I had more time to digest.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'm pretty sure last night's show at Harry's Tinaja in Alpine was one of my favorite (and weirdest) shows of this tour. I sampled too much of Cowboy Jonny's Mexican-bought sotol, though, and couldn't make it to a second set. That stuff sneaks up on you like a Gila Monster.

Spent a few hours yesterday putting together three Ikea dresser drawers.

I'm in Odessa now, driving north to the Hedges' home in Lubbock.

Farewell to all my new friends in Marfa! I'm so happy to have met you.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Slept under clouds at Chinati Hot Springs last night. Woke up twice this morning--once at 5 a.m. to a light rain, and again at 7:30 a.m. to a double-rainbow over Pinto Canyon.

Sandy songs are percolating through my desert creek bed.

I have just returned to Marfa.

Tomorrow Alpine, Friday Lubbock, Sunday Dallas, and from there, who knows.

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Chihuahuan Turtles of Santa Elena canyon are perhaps the most serene beasts of North America. They float in the green Rio Grande and, when the spirit moves them, pluck orphaned leaves or algae from surface.

(Felt compelled to twitter . . . now west.)

More sweet times in Terlingua yesterday. No time to ruminate. Back into Big Bend National Park I go.

Chinati Hot Springs tonight.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

What a magical tour I've had already, and yesterday I had another peak experience. I spent the first part of the day hiking trails in Big Bend Park, where I saw a fat coiled diamondback, a large brown centipede, bighorn sheep, and a spiky lizard that looked like a deflated blowfish.

As evening approached, I walked to the Big Bend Hot Springs, observing ancient pictographs and petroglyphs along the way. Yellow rock nettles, ocotillo, and prickly pear flowers pleased my eyes and nose; pyrrhuloxia, cactus wrens, and bullfrogs thrilled my ears; the balmy desert wind soothed my burnt skin. Soaking in the 105 F. water, I imagined myself in an Egyptian oasis three thousand years ago. America's landscape is truly multi-textured.

The Springs spill directly into the Rio Grande. I lay on a flat rock underneath the flow, with one leg dangling into the river, and let the agua caliente cascade over me. (Had 'em to myself, contrary to image.) I must've stayed there three hours, watching the arc of the three-quarter moon. Towards midnight, I swam naked to Mexico's shimmery shore, just to say I did--unless it's illegal to do that, in which case I didn't.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

This Big Bend region is mind-blowingly vast. I can't yet wrap my head around it all.

I'm off to explore the Park (and Big Bend Hot Springs) now.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Just played the Starlight Theatre show. Sold only three CDs, but a dozen shirts! Did well merch-wise last night, too, at Tim's bookstore show.

I'm not sure where I'll be sleeping tonight.

Terlingua is whacked out cool, by the way. I'll explore more tomorrow and report back with specifics.

Before leaving Marfa this morning, I stopped for some eats at Food Shark. I fell into conversation with a bearded fellow there I mistook for a hobo. Turns out he was Randy Quaid (pictured).

P.S. I hustled up an Alpine show for Wednesday. Not sure exactly which venue yet, though.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Saw Slumdog Millionnaire, finally. Checked out an old adobe house for sale ($35,000). Witnessed the mysterious Marfa Lights.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

News: Show tomorrow at Marfa Book Company. 9 p.m.

Rocky, Karen, and I visited Mary Farley and her parrots yesterday. Mary is a bird whisperer. My eyes have been opened to the intelligence of these feathered friends.

I wrestled sportively with goofy Gucci, who reminded me of a small monkey. My thumb bears the scars of his playful beak.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Terlingua show this Friday at Starlight Theatre! 6-9 p.m.

I look forward to exploring and performing in a new, mysterious west Texas town.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Marfa is a magnet. Tequila and gourmet tacos illuminate me. Poetry, ocotillo, shoats, dust . . .

I god, I'm stuck!!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The "little" house concert two nights ago was BIG. Texans know how to party. Sold a ton of pillow cases, shirts, CDs, buttons, magnets, zines.

Returned to the Cowboy Gathering yesterday afternoon to meet up with Andy Hedges and listen to poetry.

Afterwards, we ventured to Billy Faier's shack in Marathon and traded songs 'til late.

Billy is a one-eyed banjo player in his late seventies who is a treasure-chest of music history and a great guy. He and Jack Elliot were amigos and toured together. He drove from New York to San Francisco with Woody Guthrie once, playing shows, and he also toured with Townes Van Zandt. Big Bill Broonzy tried to steal his wife. Billy Faier also "knowed" Dylan.

Mr. Faier is struggling financially due to health issues, including a botched eye surgery. To pay debts, he's selling off memorabilia.

The picture is of him and Ramblin' Jack from 1953.