Bull riding, toothless men, robbery, crocodile attacks and hot tub parties…

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Another plane, another window seat, another tour accomplished.

I look out the window and stare back in time to 2 years ago about to record “Little Green Bud”, just starting to tour within Ontario.

I am baffled by the experiences I have acquired since then. 6 US tours, 2 European tours, so many new people in my life, a new band, growth, and a little understanding of this crazy business.

I fell asleep and awoke to Chicago.  I could see the beach hiding below the skyline and reminisce about our romantic evening under the harvest moon, in the waves, doing yoga and wrestling amongst ourselves like innocent children who happen to have stolen the vodka from their parents liquor cabinet.

Where did I last leave you?  If I recall correctly we were en route to Austin for our Momo’s album release with Charlie Faye.

I will again opt for some stream of consciousness writing.

AUSTIN, TEXAS

Momo’s – pull up in SUV after a 10 hour drive from Memphis Tennessee.  Can’t park because film crew isn’t ready to shoot.  Must rewind and re – enter parking lot.  Act normal. Packed club.  Charlie is wonderful. Our set is fantastic.  So happy and relaxed back in Austin.  My second home. Bye bye cd’s.  Hello moolah.

Day 2 – Need water.  Need nature.  Barton Springs – a natural spring.  Hang with the crew for the day.  Pitter patter in the shallow end with a couple of the boys throwing slimy algae at each other for hours. Good for your skin? Pickled and frozen but peaceful.

Evenings = Falling asleep in the park. 6th Street, the darker side of Austin with fall over drunk college students and tourists.  Hilarious. A must see for the boys. Bar hopping, bull riding (not me).

Rudy’s Barbeque – Very Texan barbeque joint at gas station.  Royal treatment and interest because of giant cameras.  Lots of meat.  No plates, just wax paper.



 

 

WITCHITA FALLS, TEXAS  

Chloe plus late night pizza the day before = food poisoning.  Seems to be a tour regular.  But Chloe is buoyant and back in shape after a long sleep and rest.

Douglas’s home town, a small flat hot city or town or community. Too hot to be outside. Flip flops melt on the pavement.  Car interior melts.   Aly goes to the community centre to work out and is met by only toothless men.  That’s an exaggeration.  They had 2 teeth.

Accommodation – Doug’ s home is full of family photos.  Doug with short hair and glasses.  Hehehehe. Sweet sweet family.  So proud. Met the whole Boyd crew from parents to siblings to grandparents. The beginning of meat overdose.  Delicious cheeseburger pie (sadly stomach still in knots).  Roast.

Iron Horse – Doug so nervous about attendance but it all turns out great.  Everyone buys CD’s.  His dad so proud.

Back to the Iron Horse with the boys.  Chloe is entertained and not entertaining.  It doesn’t matter that I don’t like it.  Just want someone to be my monkey sometimes.

BRYAN, TEXAS / COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS

Home to Texas A&M – huge college in Texas.  Students galore.

Steveo Schlemmer.  Host at KEOS Radio.  I LOVE him.  Amazing sweet generous man.  Sets up shows every time I come through. Sets up hotel rooms.  3 Nights at Comfort Sweets, 3 rooms for 8 people. Last time we discovered the benefits of being handicapped in a hotel – YOU GET A HOT TUB IN YOUR BEDROOM!!!  2nd hot tub adventure in this hotel.  It is now tradition.  No we are not handicapped, just lucky.

Retirement home – Short concert for some lovely seniors.  Free apple juice!!

KEOS radio performance.  Love this little station.  So very welcoming.

House Concert – The most adorable young couple super fans with sweet daughter.  We played for Adam’s birthday.  So in love. Followed by hot tub party outside at Comfort Suites.

Day 2 – living in the hot tub.  Didn’t move at all except to attack like a crocodile.  Hired Bertin (Ogre) to pick up beverages and pizza. This is the life.

Village Cafe – Show one. 8pm. The Sweetness actually had our first show together following Folk Alliance International and a month of Douglas being alone in Austin.  Big reunion.  Came full circle.  Little girls dancing like ballerinas throughout show.  Adorable.

Revolution Cafe – Show two – 10pm.  Lets go crazy.  This wild little spot inspires us to let loose and revamp the songs on the spot.  Progression becomes dubstep. Bike becomes I don’t know.  Everything gets groovier.  What a laugh. Followed by hot tub party outside at Comfort Suites.  Luckily there is not morning rush.


LAREDO, TEXAS!!

Driving along the highway to our destination with the film crew hanging out their car to get good footage…ahhhh nervous!

Arrived. Pure relaxation.  No shows, just blah and decompression.  Aly’s home.  Very decadent residence with a pool in the courtyard.  Hmmm where is Chloe spending the next 3 days?  Beds for everyone.  I have a bed to myself.  WOO HOO and it’s a princess bed so squishy you can barely see me when in it.  Sam and Chloe do our after car hyperactive-must-expel-energy dance in pool. Thankfully, not caught on camera. Dinner made by Mama. Nobody talks but stares blankly into space like bags of sand (yes sand bags can stare).

Day 2 – Chloe and Sam need to give back their work visas at the border.  Hello day trip to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico – headquarters of drug trade, murder and kidnapping.  Yippy.  We walk across the border being filmed all along. Aly makes Doug stay at home due to his sketchy appearance.  But 4 germans with camera’s is completely normal.  Returning to the US there are military tanks with rifles. Creepy. More lazy pool time.  Floating bean bags.  Paella and wine.  Casablanca veg time.

Day 3 – Only lazy poolage. Family dinner around a giant table with a beautiful centre piece that isolated one side of the table from the other. Delicious.  3 dollar frozen margarita pitchers with free nachos of course. Margaritas look and taste toxic with a neon glow.  War in pool with Doug.


BACK to AUSTIN, TEXAS

Balcony TV performance – 2nd Sweetness performance with them.  1st at SXSW.  Followed by frozen Margaritas next door.

Last night with the film crew. Plan to take them 2 steppin’ but it was closed.  We opt for bar hopping and free drinks.  Final destination dance party. Chloe is a mushy nerd and tears up when saying her goodbyes.  Love these boys.

2 hours of sleep and then we are off to SAN ANTONIO


SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

Breakfast television with Great Day SA – Freezing cold. Tired. Hungry. Grumpy. Sad. Bored. On cue clapping. Fake excitement. WOO HOO! Followed by a much needed epic nap at Aly’s sister’s till we have to dress for the show.

Carmens de la Calle – 4th time there. Love the owner.  50 year old that makes you excited to age. Tons of CD’s sold to a new fan group who saw us on breakfast tv. Sangria and shrimp.


BACK again to AUSTIN, TEXAS

House concert – Very modern, designy gorgeous house concert for some young professionals.  Band lethargic. Loud party animals in kitchen.

Recording harmonies for Joe Marson, a good friend and great artist.  Barton Springs yet again. Meeting with our manager.  More mexican food. More nachos and salsa.  I can’t take it anymore.

ONE 2 ONE – Most incredible venue owners ever.  Robbed the night before. Goodbye concert cancelled last-minute when they arrive to open for evening. Terrible. Scramble to relocate show as it was going to be packed. Our manager David finds a spot.  30 min set. Some audience followed our instructions on the door. Not the same.  A little disheartening.

Saved by 4 Motown ladies singing to a backing track and dancing up a tornado…

Daniel of Vivogig gets us a 1:30am slot at The Parish, a well-known venue. We get there and quickly realize it is not going to happen because the other bands set up and tear down is too slow.  Long day. Lesson learned. always follow your intuition. I initially wanted to leave on or by the 1st.  If I had, who knows.  Sleep.

Last day – Mexican brunch. Nachos, salsa, refried beans. Doug, Aly, Sam, David (our manager).

CIAO!!!


INVENTORY OF ITEMS LOST 

It seems that on every tour I manage to lose a few things, usually the thing that are important to me for some reason.  I used to be sad about it but now I find a little beauty in it.  I leave a little piece of myself somewhere unknown.  Hopefully someone reads the journal I lost in New York last November full of weird sketches, or the sparkly one bought in the UK and lost in a cafe in Berlin full of poems, or my favourite filigree antique silver pendant left somewhere between Chicago and Memphis this time around or the camera left in Terre Haute in February full of scandalous pictures or the numerous phone charges left all over the place.  If you find that little piece of me, please take care of it.

Sumo Wrestling Across North America

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3 weeks have gone by already.  Here are the highlights since we left off.  Stream of consciousness is my style of choice for today.

NEW YORK

Rockwood Music Hall. Germans pushed out by owner.  Stage so small the girls had to spoon while playing.  So crowded that men could gaze up our skirts.  Owner loved us. Scored another gig. Rocked it.

Galapagos Art Space – Last minute gig scored at Rockwood.  Incredible stage.  Rivers between tables. Aerial dancers, Lecture series “Get Smart” with Essence magazine and New York Radio lecture. High school friend. 

Accommodation – Long Island  with Singer Family pampering and gifts of flying frogs and 40 bagels.  Manhattan with high school friend. Locked out.  Opt for friend of friend in flat above fish shop.  No windows.

Film Crew + New York = stress and parking nightmares

NEW JERSEY

Auburn Roads Vineyards – Nature. Peace and quiet. Seafood pasta. Tiramisu. Grandma taking care and FEEDing us.  Running and dancing through the vineyards and corn fields. Old Marine woofing after each song. Allergies. !00% attentive captured audience.  Generous caring staff and owner. LOVED.  Left with 10 pounds of food and a case of wine gifted by the vineyard.

Accommodation – Gothic couple.  Gothic house with red and black cross on front door.  Sweet generous lovely people. Dreadlocks.  Long black hair.  Nightmare before Christmas memorabilia.  Black curtains.

WASHINGTON, DC

Perfect House concert. Royal Treatment. House from 1969 “modern”.  Incredible garden.  Towering trees like canopy. Feeling tropical. Catering to die for. Opening band Kindlewood so beautiful. Silent audience. Hosts giving, loving, generous intellectual music lovers and supporters who we met at SXSW.

Accommodation – Queen size beds. own bathrooms. down blankets. quiet.  Sent with care package.

Film Crew – enamoured by the sound of the crickets and the wind chimes

 CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA

Finally reached the South.  “It’s different”, I say to the film crew.  How?

The Empty Glass – changing outside venue in parking lot.  Met by characters.  Little boys dancing for camera.  Film crew threatened by drunken beefy macho man.  Aly, Chloe and even beefier bouncer diffuse tension. No expectations.  Leave selling cd’s to 80% of audience.  Singing harmonies and doo wops for Motown band.

Bluegrass Kitchen – Classy, quirky venue/ restaurant.  Unexpected in a place like Charleston.

Accommodation – Last minute. Offered an entire house to the 8 of us.  Enormous and beautiful. Being renovated. First night locked out while Aly sleeps like a baby inside.  Break in after nearly accepting that we will have to party on the porch all night.  Hot enough to sleep outside.  Wrestling with Douglas on porch ends in a few bruises for the both of us.

Film Crew – happy to capture the raw and drunken characters in the South.  Shots of Sam and Chloe efficiently doing makeup in car mirrors. Southern stranger interviews Chloe.  Pascal (director) lets loose and dances and screams along to songs.

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY

Opted for hotel. Lazy lazy.  Pre production at Shangri La Studio with my producer for new solo album.  Film crew watches our process and interviews me.  Asks pertinent questions.  “Why do I do this?  Why do I work so hard.  What is my goal.  How do I juggle solo and band? How do I maintain relationships?” ADAPT!

Natasha’s Bistro – Nobody knows The Sweetness but Aly and Chloe.  We’ve been there a few times. Once there was a seniors salsa class above. Their stomping was not in time with our tunes.  This time, no salsa but also small crowd.  Owner loved us so much he gave us more money. “I want to invest in your career so please come back”.

Night out.  Pascal stays home.

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

Shine Yoga Studio – Must arrive 3 times for film crew to get shot right.  REWIND. Pascal joins yoga class beforehand. Tiger stance with a room of women. HAHAHAHAHAH.  Pillows on floor.  All ages.  Cozy. Warm Attentive. Responsive. Cd sales galore!

Accommodation – Lovely couple Sam, Aly and I stayed with last tour.  Beds made, chocolates on pillows. Water bottles and lots of love. Doug awakens to what looks like poo on his back. Collapsed in bed unknowingly on the chocolate.

Film Crew stays with a completely sweet adorable pot head.  House like a vintage shop.  Collectables and antiques everywhere.  Light brights.

 BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA

The Bishop – older woman wearing fake teeth. No top. No bra.  Just nipple covers with tassels. Swinging tits to the music.  Sebastian (cameraman) demonstrates my stage moves.  He is better than me.

Accommodation – Bar tender’s house from venue we played at last tour.  Eat whatever you find.  We raid her humus.

 CHICAGO, ILLINOIS 

Fearless Radio – Internet radio show in an enormous loft space.  Fat pug. Coincidentally, our publicist sent us to meet a music enthusiast/artist before our gig.  Turns out his studio was in the loft above the radio station.  SMALL WORLD. Fed us nuts, beer, and stories about the jazz and blues stars.

Reggies Music Joint – Played there with Aly last tour.  Caught up with Bryan Hart Beauty and posse of boys from last tour. Awesome response from a loud rambunctious crowd. Again, awesome cd sales.

Accommodation – Shock.  Confusion. Not the nice apartment above the venue but the grimy green-room mole hole below. No windows. No air.  Too hot.  Dirty couches. Sebastian and Bertin opt for car with windows opened. We all sleep clothed.  2 sketchY dudes awaken Aly to use our washroom for drugs? GROSS. Aly and Chloe up at 7:30. Go out to work but decide to just chat with a crappy bagel and muffin. It rains.  Parking sucks.

Night 2 in fancy hotel right by the beach. Check in. Park for like 20 bucks.  Expensive hotels have no free amenities and you have to tip everyone.  Remember next time. Everyone but Aly and Pascal go to the beach for our night off.  Vodka Orange sitting on stairs watching the waves and the sun set.  Police question us and our orange drink.  “No no no, it’s just orange juice”. They quickly realize we are not trouble.  Never happens in Toronto.

On the beach, Sam and I do Yoga.  I teach her cartwheels. We are like children running into the waves and getting wet. I do hand stands and walkovers in the sand under an orange harvest moon.  Skyline   twinkles behind us. I like to wrestle.  Group decides to have a sumo match.  Sebastian beats me.  Bertin beats Douglas.  I beat Andy who has lots of muscles.  Sand in every crease.  30 minutes of extreme fighting.  I like to win.  Next morning covered in bruises and sore muscles but it was worth it.


EVANSVILLE, INDIANA

Drive directly to WUEV radio performance and interview with Paul.  Glazed over after a rough night we talk about green sludge and the trials of touring.

300,000 people but it feels like we know everyone after touring through there in different groupings at least 6 times. Most enthusiastic city/people ever.  Go out of their way to get you everything you desire. I say, “I want to swim. ” He says “Let me make a call = pool party 2 nights in a row.  Camera crew lets totally loose, de-stresses for a few days. Film crew finds Sam doing laundry, Doug’s topless morning smoking rituals and our animal noise jamming interesting.

 Deerhead – Germans (film crew) drink whiskey and seem very liberal suddenly.  Our very own personal cheer leaders. Singing the lyrics to every song.  So cute.  Will really miss them when they are gone, REALLY. Can’t look at Sebastian without cracking up as he mimics my super cool dance moves. Pascal becomes a lizard and licks everything in sight.  Crowd of sexy lesbians and men.  Best audience EVER!  Followed by pool party. What happens in Evansville stays in Evansville!

Volunteer performance for handicapped people in need of assistance.  Never leave instruments in a hot black car in intense heat and humidity.  Aly’s midget guitar explodes.  Bridge flies. Guitar string breaks.  Very entertaining performance.  Uplifting.

Midget guitar health becomes focus for next 2 days.  Fixed once…dot dot dot.

Bocca Lounge – Midgit guitar bridge flies off, again. Can’t hear ourselves. We sing an entire song off key but nobody notices because it’s too loud.  But we still have our lady team in the front row dancing for us. Pool party follows after with more people than the last.

Vihuela fixed yet again.

NEWBURGH, INDIANA

Cafe Arazu – Beautiful outdoor patio.  No vihuela tonight. 2 middle-aged ladies dance to some slow moody pieces.  “I’m matching their harmonies with my dance moves”, she says.  Drive straight after to Memphis, Tennessee.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

Arrive 4:30am at Jimbo’s.  Doug drove.  Sleep 2 hours.

WREG News – 7am load in. Sleep deprived and drunk tired. We make animal noises, country remixes while waiting. Vihuela sounds like a sitar.  Sam doug and I laugh hysterically in the face of Aly’s adversity. With Sam and Doug ingenuity, they manage to fix it.

Noon performance at Centre for Southern FolkloreFolk Alliance International crew including head honcho attends.

2pm – Visit friend and producer Boo Mitchell, son of Willie Mitchell at Royal studio’s.  Al Green, Rod Stewart and the list goes on recorded there.  Vibey place with so much history.  Boo with so much character is interviewed by the crew.  Supposedly the girls have 3 different vocal flavours and shades.  Hehe.

Attempted nap at Jimbo’s.  We have yet to see him but have found a way to explode all over his living room with stuff.  Doug raids the roast beef. I can’t sleep hepped up on energy drinks.

9pm – Gig at Daily Planet arranged by our dear friend Omar. President of Memphis songwriters association attends.  One of our first supporters.  Great turnout with so many familiar faces. So sad to leave.

Bed at 3am to leave for Austin at 9am.

En route to Austin as I write.  11 hours in the car with a couple pee and cookie breaks. We are driving directly to our Austin CD release at Momo’s with Charlie Faye.

Next time…

XOXOXO

Love and shizzaz

Chloe[slideshow]