Tour blog Pt II – Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia…

Right, continuing the story of the tour – from Grand Rapids we drove to Akron to swap the crappy tiny car (which served us v. well for the Northern bit of the tour) for a lovely rental car with A/C – yay!! marvellous. Renting the car was a bit of an ordeal – the poor dear at the airport rental place in Akron had never seen a British driving license, so it took a while…

From there we drove to Cincinnati (this was all on the same day as the drive from Grand Rapids… lotsa miles…) and arrived at Ric Hordinski’s place at about 11ish… Ric is a fabulous guitarist, gigs as ‘Monk’, used to be in Over The Rhine, produces lots of marvellous records for other people, and owns a gorgeous studio in an old church, called The Monastery, which is where we stayed… Great to see Ric, fo’ sho’.

the next day was spent putting some spacey stuff down on a track for Ric’s new album (the rest of the tracks I heard sound amazing), then heading down to Rohs Street Cafe where the gig was. It’s a gorgeous, spacious coffee-shop venue, with a nice PA, and really lovely staff. The whole vibe of the place is fair trade and mellow, with stacked book-cases all over the place and lovely drinks.

The gig was a lot of fun – small crowd (the story of our lives), but lots of lovely friends there, and by now L and I are playing really well…

The next morning we head off on another stoopid long drive – this time to Richmond Virginia. The drives across this part of the States are stunning. West Virginia is so covered in trees that the hills look like giant broccoli plants, all green and bobbly. Finding edibles on the road is tricky for a pair of veggies who don’t like filling their faces with too many chemicals, but we do OK.

We arrive in Richmond pretty late, at the lovely and marvellous Greta’s place in a really cool part of town.

Sleeps, followed by a fantastic veggie breakfast, and a walk round an old cemetery, about half full of civil war graves – this is an area with a REALLY chequered history, as JamesTown, the port of the James River, was one of the main off-loading points for the slave ships back in the day… Anyway, the trip round the cemetery with Greta and her amazing dad was a lovely walk on a scorching hot day and an education.

Back to the house to do washing, then head off to Richmond Music Centre, in search of preamps, reverb units and keyboard stands – #s 1 and 3 on that list are procured – a lil’ ART tube preamp which sounds great, and a cheap-ass keyboard stand. All good nothing bad.

The gig is a house concert hosted by the marvellous and lovely Jay and Crystal – their four-car garage makes for a fabulous lil’ concert venue, and thanks to the ever-wonderful, resourceful and street-team-alicious Justin, and Roy, the PA sounds really great too. The gig was fab, the first half being a mixture of tunes and bass-clinic Q and A, the second half more straight song oriented. Lots of CDs solo, new friends made, all good once again. Big big thanks to Jay and Crystal, Greta, Justin and Roy…

The next morning we leave the house at 7am to head for West Virginia – a 530 mile drive (London to Inverness, basically), more gorgeousness. L does most of the driving today, and the only downer is a dodgy breakfast in some crappy lil’ diner…

The Morgantown/Grafton area is L’s hometown, so much visiting of relatives and friends ensues, before heading to the venue – Gallery 62 West – a lovely little community arts gallery. Dinner is procured at W*lM*rt (I know, I know) and we are promptly both poisoned by it, rendering us both v. v. ill in the run-up to the show…

Somehow we manage to balance the trips to the ‘bathroom’, and both play without any sudden mid-song disappearances – me first, then L, the lots of duo fun. Another fab gig in front of a really really friendly audience – full marks to Josh Trout for driving the furthest on this one (Josh is a v. old cyber-chum – the story of this tour has been meeting people I previously only knew in the virtual world..) big ole WV thanks to Kevin Ford for making this one happen.

An even earlier start is planned for the longest of the drives so far – Grafton to Decatur (on the outskirts of Atlanta) – alarm goes of at 5 and we hear… flapping… flapping???? Light goes on and there’s an effing BAT in the room!!! Flying around, landing on the curtain then flying around again. Much squealing ensues, before bat escapes, followed closely by us escaping to a bat-free car… much fun, and definitely a help in waking up!

A very easy drive down gets us into Atlanta mid afternoon, we find Darren and Cindy’s place for the house concert, and set up. this show also features Darren Michaels and Trip Wamsley, who both play great sets. We play in the middle (after a tussle with Trip over who gets to play second – we win thanks to having been awake for 16 hours already at this point…) – our set goes great, L sings like an angel, much CD sellage takes place, new friends made, all good and, indeed, nothing bad. click here to see loads of photos from the gig… Darren and Cindy definitely know how to put on a stylish house concert. hurrah for D & C!

which brings us to today – finally a day of rest. On a sunday no less. up v. late, much internetage, followed by an some Ross Noble on DVD, followed by an afternoon in Decatur. and no driving. Yay!

So on to Nashville… hurrah! We’ll be there at the same time as the TAFKASJ, which is something to muchly look forward to, as is giggling at the lovely Rachel’s fabulously confused Scottish/Rural Tennessee accent!

more soon… what have I missed??

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