Tales From The Golden Road: Kevin Daniel and Johnny Chops Back In The Van

It’s been forever. Actually it’s been about a year-and-a-half, but when you go from 150 shows a year to zero, it feels like an eternity.

My name is Kevin Daniel and I’m an Americana musician who tours a lot. I recently got back on the road after taking time off, like everyone, for the pandemic. There’s a few things I learned getting back to road dogging it with my band The Bottom Line and Texas musician Johnny Chops. Thanks to Glide for letting me share some of my observations.

Touring Is Hard
I guess I forgot but touring is like, really, really hard. A woman I used to date described touring as my “vacation” time, and this last tour proved how wrong she was. I can’t remember the last time my vacation consisted of carrying heavy gear twice a day, driving for eight hours, tracking down bar staff and managers, and being insanely sleep-deprived. In July we hit about ten shows in 12 days and it took its toll. To say the least, I am physically out of shape and I didn’t realize how much being back on the road would make me realize that. Thankfully we had five capable drivers to share van duty and haul speakers.

People Are Pumped
We played some awesome venues both large and small in July. I’m talking spots like The Grey Eagle in Asheville, NC, Awendaw Green in Awendaw, SC, Tobin’s Market in Charleston, SC, and Red Clay Foundry in Duluth, GA. All great venues, all of them varying in size and capacity. What did they have in common? The crowd was dynamic. Whether we were on stage set apart from the crowd or right in the thick of it, people were dancing, singing, and hollering all night long. People have missed live music and the energy we’re experiencing is just different than it was pre-covid. People simply appreciate music more and it shows.

Covid Is Still A Thing
Whether I want to admit this hard truth or not, Covid-19 is out there and the Delta variant is putting some restrictions back in place. Our July tour was through the south, which generally has been more lax regarding its approach towards masking, social distancing, etc. While I rarely saw a masked person at any of our shows, we did eventually come into contact with some folks who later tested positive for Coronavirus. Luckily the band and I all tested negative and the infected individuals are doing fine, but it was a close call. With months of touring on my calendar, I’m starting to wonder how many of those shows will be cancelled, and what precautions I will be taking in the future as a touring artist during a pandemic.

Me and The Bottom Line are headed back on tour in August, this time headed to the northeast, a place where venues are smaller, most are indoors, and Covid is taken a bit more seriously. I’ll let you know how it goes in part II!


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