After my adventures in Iowa, I headed south to Missouri for a pair of solo shows in Columbia and Chesterfield. This was my third time playing The Still House in Columbia, but my first time headlining it solo acoustic, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a sold-out audience to greet me. Another local refugee advocacy group (coincidentally one that also focuses on Burmese refugees) attended the show and offered up tips on how community members could get involved in the cause by donating either their time or money. It's been eye opening to meet the refugees and advocates I've come across on the road, and I'd love to find a way to work their involvement into more performances.
The next night in Chesterfield felt like a reunion and a party all rolled into one. I played piano and sang live for the first time, which scared the hell out of me but hopefully opens up a new door for my shows going forward. Many in the audience I recognized from my performances in Mexico this spring (which had been arranged by the same promoter/fan/all-around-hero John Lynch). John and his family surprised me by flying my girlfriend out for the show, and I was absolutely floored by their generosity and thankful to have a co-pilot for the return trip home. The concert was also something of a birthday celebration for a few different folks in the crowd, and I hope the occasion was as memorable for them as it was for me.
I rejoined Jesse Malin and Trapper Schoepp outside of Chicago the next night for the tour finale at SPACE, which has always been a favorite venue of mine. The green room there might be the best in the business, full of amazing books, old records, comfortable couches, and delicious food. Malin played the show as an acoustic duo with Derek Cruz on keyboards/guitar and invited me up to join them for a rendition of "Bar Life" during the encore, which was a special way to end the tour.
The next day, Jane and I set out on a massive cross country drive to make our way home. Along the way, we knocked off two new scenic destinations: The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Driving can be brutal and monotonous when you spend all day behind the wheel, especially when you don't even have a show to look forward to at the end of it all, so I try to break it up as much as I can with little adventures into small town America or our national parks. Who knows how much longer they'll exist (or how much longer any of us will exist), so I always feel grateful for any time I get to spend in the wilderness.
Anyway, a big old thanks goes out to Jesse Malin, his band, his crew, and everyone who came out to a show or hosted me on this tour. I had an amazing time, met so many wonderful people, and can't begin to repay the generosity of everyone who stepped in along the way. I owe you all hugs and songs and love.
**Additional photos by Jenn Bronson and John Lynch