Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tour Now Over Eighty Stops

Well, ready and steady. Time flies when you are having fun. Even when you are not having fun it seems to be in a race. The late Tour launch this year has been a bit of a pain— certain aspects of the Tour are much further behind than I'd like them to be. But the Tour is finally up to around eighty stops. I'm glad that it is starting to look like a Tour! Yes, I finally updated the sidebar. I'll get back to it— probably right down to the wire as I add more shows— and I'll get all the venue names up.

Of course the truth of the matter is that I still have nearly 20 dates to fill. Recall that this is a Big Tour of Small and, the budget being what it is, chances are pretty good that I'll be living in my Lincoln Town Car for anything left unfilled. I'd rather not do that, so I'm working at getting this Tour up to 100 shows if I can. I think at least 80 or 90 stops will make the Tour Poster. The Tour Poster!!! Oh, yeah, it's got to go to print ASAP and then fast forward to the first shows on the schedule.

The Tour Jackets are in production. Nice, nice black satin with the Tour logo on the back. Genuine, white stripe, satin tour jackets. Quality merch! I didn't get any S small sizes this year, or any XXXLG's, but I will special order for anybody who is outside of the average blues size range.

It's been interesting doing the booking— as usual. I like most of the venues and most of the people I deal with... but there are a couple of "only game in town" operators who are due for a kick in the pants! Actually, these people treat the Artists they book as widgets, and don't really care about anything beyond what they can grab for themselves on a nightly basis. I don't want to kick them in the pants, I just want to politely turn down their final offers. That's my big success fantasy in this business. Is it? Well, just a passing thought. Perhaps the hand really is quicker than the eye. That's really why I do these gigs for these guys.

Quebec is an ongoing, interesting story. I'm might comment more about it later, but suffice to say that it is getting harder and harder to book shows in that territory. Very few Quebec dates on the schedule, and these may be even more reduced before the Tour begins. I'm unhappy about this because I love playing there and always look forward to it. I hope next year the view will be better.

It's an all road Tour this year, so not only do I drive through the Quebec corridor, but also "over the hump" — the big stretch on the northern side of the Great Lakes. It's a beautiful, but long drive through some pretty depressed communities. Mills and mines have had their share of closures in the past few years, so there's plenty of sadness and broken glass along the roadside. Dave and I will fly over it again next year— there's just not enough to really sustain the Tour, or justify the four to six days spent going over and back. We may fly over Quebec next year, too. But this fall I will enjoy the ride. Spectacular vistas, some loyal fans, some pals, some wonderful spots to play. It's not about the money. In the North: Eagles, rock, water, trees, rock, water, trees, moose... In Quebec: smoked meat and bagels. Yeah, yeah, it looks cool as well.

New ball joints for the Lincoln, and a new set of tires. I want to get the side glass tinted, extra dark. Darker Ways. I've been loading the iPhone and the laptop with music for the road. Alone, I can listen to Charlie Patton and Blind Willie Johnson all day, if I want. Hooker. Muddy. Wolf. Memphis Jug Band. Bix. Miles. It'll be good. All cranked up with the Cruise on Mellow. Maybe I'll let the GPS drive...

And I'm going to bring me my running shoes— not for the same reasons as Wolf— but because I'm going to run in as many places as I can manage across Canada. I think I ran something like 85 towns and cities last year. I've logged nearly 1000 km training for this Tour... I've got to remind myself to buy bear spray and some clip-on bells for trail running.

Finally, I am going to Haida Gwaii. I am so excited to be invited that I've reinvented a big chunk of my route to accommodate the visit. I'll be travelling across to the Islands on the Northern Adventure, departing from Prince Rupert, British Columbia. It takes a full day at sea to get there. A magic place. At the Edge of the Earth. I have been to the edge, but not to this edge.