After an awesome and successful tour in July, me and the band headed back out on the road in August for another ten days. Unlike July, this month we headed north, hitting as far as New Hampshire before heading to Chicago, Wisconsin, and then back to Asheville, NC. Not all tours are created equal and this one certainly had its fair share of hiccups. I thought it might be a humbling experience to talk about a tour that, well, didn’t exactly go as planned.
Where’s The Bathroom?
The night before we hit the road, I was struck with a serious case of the stomach flu. This was my first battle with the ailment, and it put me on my ass, literally. I was feverish, achy, throwing up, and, ya know, the other one. This continued for at least the first five or six days of the tour. The result was me spending almost all my time in the back of the van sleeping and moaning. I also had to cancel multiple meetings with industry folk as well as family and friends. Amazingly, I performed each show, but it was painful, and a stark reminder to myself that Covid isn’t the only illness which can take me down.
Hurricane Ida, as well as a previous tropical storm, was a constant presence during the run. It rained heavily for half the tour and even though it didn’t affect any outdoor shows, it definitely dampened the attendance and the mood. During multiple shows, I received flash flood alerts on my phone while I was playing, and saw the crowd receiving that alert as well. Oye.
Yes, Covid 19 is still a thing, and it’s come back with a vengeance. This meant not only showing our vaccine cards at most venues but also having to test the band members multiple times to the tune of about $150. Not a huge expense, but an unwanted one. Additionally, attendance was low as unvaccinated people are less likely to go to a show if they need to show proof of a negative test. Putting butts in seats is hard enough without another barrier to entry, even a necessary one.
It seems like every town or county is doing some sort of comeback event, despite the rise in Covid cases. At multiple shows, including some in July, we played directly across from, or at the same time as a massive free show being put on by the local township. It’s hard to convince people to buy a ticket to your show when across the street they can see Kenny Rogers’ band play for free. This definitely had an effect on our attendance.
To sum it up, touring is hard, and this summer seems to be even harder. Between tough weather conditions, a resurging pandemic, and my own illness, I was happy to finally get home after ten days on the road. Here’s hoping my September run in the deep south is a step up!
9/04 – Summerville, SC @ Montreux Bar & Grill
9/05 – Columbia, SC @ Market on Main
9/14 – New York, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2)
9/23 – Nashville, TN @ AmericanaFest (Fat Kat Slim’s)
9/24 – Nashville, TN @ AmericanaFest (Audio Authorities)
9/27 – Memphis, TN @ Hi-Tone Cafe (w/ Afton Wolfe)
9/28 – Tupelo, MS @ Blue Canoe (w/ Afton Wolfe)
9/29 – Atlanta, GA @ Smith’s Olde Bar (w/ Afton Wolfe)
9/30 – Birmingham, AL @ The Nick (w/ Afton Wolfe)
10/1 – Jackson, MS @ Hal & Mal’s (w/ Afton Wolfe)
10/2 – Laurel, MS @ 320 Fifth Street (w/ Afton Wolfe)
10/15 – Charlottesville, VA @ The Whiskey Jar
10/24 – Mills River, NC @ Mills River Brewing Co. (w/ Stephen Babcock)
10/29 – Knoxville, TN @ Back Door Tavern
10/30 – Mills River, NC @ Mills River Brewing Co.
11/5 – Concord, NC @ Cabarrus Brewing Co.
12/3 – Brevard, NC @ 185 King Street
12/4 – Raleigh, NC @ The Pour House
12/10 – Wilmington, NC @ Live at Ted’s
12/17 – Greenville, NC @ Pitt Street Brewing Co
2/20 – Kerrville, TX @ Schreiner University