16 September, 2008

i'm headed out on the road again, after a summer of laying low and recording my new record. my partner in crime for this trip is my friend desdemona "bunty" burgin, a gifted photographer who moonlights as a tour manager for me every once in awhile. our first tour together, of the UK in spring 07, featured theft, mugging, and a car accident. no kidding. our second tour was the 9 week marathon "lafayette" tour in the fall of 07. bunts is the perfect tourmate, sweet and capable and funny as shit. you should also check out her photos.

we're heading out on the road for a set of shows with my old friend stephen kellogg. along with his band, the sixers, stephen has spent the last 5 years criss-crossing the country working his growing audiences into a fervor every night. i happened to have a spot in my schedule, he happened to ask, and we are reuniting for a few shows. everytime i see stephen, he sounds better and better, and i dont know anyone who works harder or thinks about how to make their career better, more often. my only regret is that we dont have more shows...

bunty and i left massachusetts on sunday and headed south toward houston, which had just been hit by the devastating hurricane ike. from the news reports we were watching, it just didnt seem possible to have a show there in two days, but we also hadnt received confirmation from the promoter that the show was cancelled. so we drove...

looking at a map, we saw that new orleans was on the way. i've spent some sizeable chunks of time in NOLA and even made a record there in 2004. the last time i was there was december 2006, on a writing trip. getting to go back, even for 24 hours was a treat. we're staying with my good friend, shawn hall, a painter, who also owns piety street studio, where i had recorded "we will become like birds". piety street is in the bywater, a funky neighborhood i have become quite familiar with and fond of. katrina impacted the area, though it did not flood. compared to 2006, it finally looks like the bywater was running on all cylinders again. the same cant be said for other parts of new orleans which are still mired in post-hurricane beurocracy and neglect. it's mind-boggling to think that the great and mighty american enterprise could turn so profound a blind eye to such a beautiful and important place.

shawn is relentlessly positive, but never unrealistic- qualities that have carried her through lots of tough situations. she's one of the main reasons i love new orleans so much. through her, i've seen unique parts of the city through her artist's eye and really grown to feel a connection to her neighborhood.

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