First, meet the cast:
Adam Shuntich—the longest standing member. The ex-Kiss tribute band playin’, Ohio-bred country boy who somehow got mixed up in this psych-folk business. He’s been duo-touring with me since July and now he’s running his stuff in stereo.
Ryan Corlew—our only locally grown Indiana soul, Ryan joined us a few weeks ago on the tubs. He’s the soft-spoken one of the bunch, but he beats the crap out of the drums. Sensitively. And he has a handsome mystique about him.
Cody Ray—we always call him by his full name. He’s the Lafayette commuter from Tennessee, self-described “cat daddy,” and bassmaster. He’s also running some keys for us like a multitasking champion.
Joshua—you know me.
Adam and I did a fast-paced jaunt through the Southeast. Saw our blood in Charleston, connected with old friends in Charlotte, made a whole slew of new ones in Virginia, and pulled an all-nighter from WV back home to go to bed at 7am in order to be adequately rested up for the next night at home at the Hi-Fi with Beyond Normal Sea and our good buddies in Saint Aubin. That show was off the dang chain.
I always forget how much it sucks to load the van for tour in the winter. We were all shivering while playing Tetris with our gear, but we packed more into our grey whale than she’s ever taken. Our first stop was south in Louisville where we hit the New Vintage for the first time with new pals Joann & the Dakota and The Bottom Sop, two sweetly powerful female-fronted bands, respectively in a 90’s hued roots rocks and classic harmonized country outfits. Our buddy Jonathan hooked us up with a crash pad, some classic Pabst time, and all-around good fellowship.
Then we headed up to Champaign-Urbana, that glorious foothold of emo, and we played at Emily’s (of the band Tara Terra) house with Rebecca Rego (Anais Mitchell, meet Laura Marling), and Eric Stanley of Euriah for a beautifully attentive living room crowd. We played with no PA, so the boys were gracefully muted in their dynamics so as not to overshadow my best attempt at projecting through my stupid head cold haze. After the show we all went down to Cowboy Monkey and Adam and I wearily played a few songs at a raucous open mic and hung with our buddy Darwin, the King of Urbana. At least we call him that.
From there, it was on to Bloomington for a double-header. We met up with our buddies Alex & the XO’s and hit a super punk house show where we were hands down the outliers. I haven’t seen so many black-clad youths since my days in the SoFlo hXc scene, but, true to the ethos of punk, everyone was very accepting and supportive, and we had a blast watching all the heavier bands. Then we headed over to The Bistro to play our longer set. It wasn’t a packed house, but I had the realization, nay the remembrance, in the first song, that I actually just love playing music, so we enjoyed playing for our own sake and for that of those one or two dozen folks who stayed up past bedtime on a school night. And as far as hospitality goes, no one takes better care of us than Alex and Trenton. We always have a blast discussing various tour stops and methods and petting their weirdly endearing, deformed little cat. Our first night there, Ryan asked me, “Are people on the road just always this cool? Like I can’t believe how hospitable everyone is.” I had to pretty much just say yes. There’s nothing like touring to reassure you of the general decency of humanity—there’s love everywhere, man.
I’m typing this on the van ride to Newport, KY, where we’re getting down with a bangin’ Cincinnati bill (My Brother’s Keeper, Brittany Gillstrap, and Lamps & Voids). It’s impossible to have a bad show with a lineup like that as far as I know. Youngstown is next, and Dayton’s WinterFolk festival is after that.
The performance review:
I adore these guys. Adam is a trusty road dog who never minds the long drives or the $3 Taco Bell budget. Ryan stays with the click like an old pro and has brought a really cool, definitive percussive element to the ensemble. He’s also just a good hang though, and the importance of that can never be understated. Cody is killing it, too. He multitasks better than I ever could, and he’s socially skilled like few musicians are. I especially dig the fact that he never shirks from engaging our hosts. It’s tough when you get back to folks’ house sometimes and you just want to veg out, but conversation is a part of the exchange, and he lends a lot of value to these interactions, being a well-versed and versatile guy.
We’re all really excited to bring this new show to all of your cities and as always, we sincerely appreciated your continued support. If you check our tour dates and think, “Oh, I have some friends in Columbus!” Let those people know. We’ve been grassroots since day one, and it’s that kind of word of mouth that helps us fill these little clubs.