Monday, February 28, 2011

TONIGHT, downtown LA--ROLL OUT, COWBOY: If you have any LA friends, please let 'em know about this. We have a chance of selling out all 220 seats.


Auspiciously, an acquaintance of mine, Audrey Marrs, was in town last night for the Academy Awards. A movie she produced, Inside Job, won the Oscar for best documentary feature. To see a picture of Oprah handing her the statuette, click here. I recorded my first cassette tape--Witness the Strength of Sandman--in Audrey's second-floor Olympia apartment in 1993 ("Heartbreak was Her Name," "Sneakin' Suspicion," "Desperate Gigolo," "Premature Ejaculation," etc.). Her genius musician/robot-maker boyfriend, Matt Steinke, played drums and electric guitar on a few of those early oddities. Audrey was lovely to put up with our experiments.

Tomorrow I return to Tucson. Hana will pick me up at the airport and we'll drive to Bisbee, AZ, for my last show before I fly back to NoDak. Belly Dancers are practicing a couple of my songs and will join me on stage at the Bisbee Grand Hotel. Show starts at 7:30. My performance will be part of the curiously wacky FakeJan Festival.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weird that I arrived in Hollywood on Oscar night. Helicopters and limos are abundant. I was feeling out of place packin' my guitar around Sunset Boulevard, so I was grateful when my good old pal Bill Daniel picked me up in his orange industrial-primitive '65 Chevy sailvan. It's got a four-on-the-tree transmission that was customized by underground Louisiana cult-legend rebel songwriter Jimmy Cousins. The reverse lever is mounted to the floor under the driver's seat.

Bill Daniel is an underground Louisiana cult-legend rebel filmmaker, a fossil-fuel-worshiping mechanic, a beat-punk photographer, and a helluva a nice guy. I toured with him extensively in 2006, when he was screening his hobo-graffiti documentary, Who is Bozo Texino?. I'd play songs before and after the film.

To backtrack, Hana and I left Texas yesterday morning and drove to Arizona. Once in Tucson we got a cheap hotel where we slept for five hours and awoke to snow! Hana drove me to the airport. I spent this morning with the Roll Out, Cowboy director and producer, Elizabeth and Warner. We did a radio interview to promote tomorrow's big LA screening at Downtown Independent.

Friday, February 25, 2011

We're back from Big Bend National Park! The first day we soaked in the hot springs, and swam in the Rio Grande. The second day we hiked Santa Elena Canyon (pictured above). FYI, that's Mexico on the opposite shore of where we're standing.

Tomorrow, Arizona.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Off to Big Bend National Park for some hiking with Hana and Gilda!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

After four weeks on the road, I'm back in Marfa, TX. Two weeks ago pipes were bursting here from record low temperatures, and many beautiful cacti froze to death. Yesterday it was 80 degrees.

I performed last night at the Lost Horse Saloon, owned by a weatherbeaten cowboy/truckdriver/oiler/mechanic/actor named Ty Mitchell. Cool guy. For some reason, it was one of the most difficult shows I've played in a long time. Maybe ever. The kind of show where I hoped someone, after the show, would steal my guitar and burn it at a pig roast. I was horrible. On the bright side, I got paid $200. The highlight of my evening was when local mariachi singer Tony Licon filled in between breaks. A true entertainer, Mr. Licon had the crowd dancing and hollering by night's end.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

From Montana to Texas, the highway is beautiful . . . but my ass is sore from all this sitting.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Red, Red Rose
(for my blue Valentine)

O, my Luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June.
O, my Luve's like a melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair as thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun:
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run:

And fare thee well, my only luve!
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my luve,
Tho' it ware ten thousand mile.

-Robert Burns (1794)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Roll Out, Cowboy screens tonight at 9:45 in the Wilma Theater here in balmy Missoula, MT.

This is probably the most special of all the screenings for me. For one thing, it will be ROC's Montana premiere. Missoula is the town where my parents met. I was conceived here, and we lived here during most of my infant years. While in high school sixty miles north of here, I sometimes escaped to Missoula for shots of artistic culture. My first two years of college were spent living here in a van in a U of M parking lot. I studied for my humanities courses in the library and worked for the University's Outdoor Program to pay tuition.

Here's a blog post from the Big Sky Doc Fest.

And a preview.

I'm having a great time here. Tomorrow, however, will be even sweeter, as I will be driving straight south to reunite with my Valentine, Hana.

P.S. Hana just created another Etsy website--she calls this one Hankarella. It focuses on her beautiful handmade jewelry. I find her latest necklaces Egyptian-inspired. Please check them out!

Friday, February 11, 2011

I'm having a relaxing time in Hot Springs, MT, today. Just swam and soaked at the historic Symes Hot Springs Hotel where I stayed last night.

My show at Fergie's Pub was a big success! Lots of locals showed up, and I didn't feel bad taking the $200 guarantee. The weird thing about this show was that my ears were clogged up the whole night. I kept asking people if they could hear me. Not being able to hear forced me to close my eyes and go inward. Unexpectedly, my guitar playing became more focused and attuned. More than one person commented on this lyrical-to-musical shift.

Jeff and Joanne Morrow were there and did much two-steppin'. By night's end the floor was filled with dancers. A major highlight for me was having the master-cellist Lee Zimmerman sit in for a few songs: "Gorilla," "End of America," "Imaginary World," "Sugar Bank Hank," and "The Hermit" have never sounded so good.

Time to visit Grandma Herak in Ronan!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

I'm ready for spring. I'm ready for my fifteen minutes of fame to be over. I'm ready to finish what I started. I'm ready to draw seven lines in the dirt. I'm ready to climb the red butte. I'm ready to remember that some things aren't for sale. I'm ready to die in a snowstorm, along the interstate, in the morning.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Laryngitis has overcome me. Tonight's BIG show in Dickinson is cancelled.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Back in Dunn County for a couple days. It is lovely to see my parents after eleven weeks away.

I've had to cancel my last three shows, including Bismarck tonight, due to laryingitis. I'm praying for a miracle so I can do tomorrow's show in Dickinson.

I did manage to get through a sprinkling of songs at a Red Raven open mic in Fargo last night. Afterwards I walked down to the Hotel Donaldson where the fab Duluth bluesman Charlie Parr was rockin' the scene, and during a break I bought his latest CD. Charlie and I played a couple shows together in '03. He remembered me and intimated that we ought to play some more shows together sometime. That would be something.

I could write more about my excellent time in Fargo--the "Jell-o-Bration," for example, but I am dog beat and ready to crack in half. G'night.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The ROAD has been ROBUST.

Just played eleven shows in ten towns: Dallas, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Columbia, Champaign, Rockport, Maquoketa, Winona, Decorah, Prairie du Chien. By the last gig my voice was officially worn out. I cancelled Duluth for tonight and am burrowed in Winona, MN, with friends, drinking hot honey-water. Tomorrow I drive to my home state--North Dakota. From there I go to Montana, my other home state. I feel rich, exhausted, and ready for spring. Hopefully the durned groundhog was right.

On Valentine's Day I hope to fly back to Texas and sweet Hana.

Speaking of Hana, please take a gander at her latest offerings on Etsy: Baptuma. You may recognize some of the models.

. . . meanwhile, Egyptians revolt.
This Saturday in Dickinson, ND!