Bell Buckle & Hippie Hill

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October 18: the Webb School Arts and Crafts Festival, Bell Buckle, TN,

& Hippie Hill, TN.

What a seriously fascinating day… We were up early and out of Sam’s place in Huntsville by 8:30, on the road toward Bell Buckle. We’d gotten the Hippie Hill show a while ago and picked up this Bell Buckle show last minute because they’d had an act drop. The drive between Huntsville and Bell Buckle should have only taken us an hour and a half, and it mostly did. Until the last 3 miles outside of town where we literally sat in traffic for 2 1/2 hours!! Not only the worst traffic ever, but we almost resorted to peeing in whatever containers we could find in the car. In a final act of desperation I jumped out of the car and ran the last 1/2 mile to a gas station, meeting up with Eric a while later as traffic slowly creeped by. We found out later that the population of Bell Buckle is around 500, but during just the two days of this festival it grows to around 80,000!!

We finally met up with Heather, the festival organizer, and she helped us find where we’d be performing, over by the fair’s food court. We met up with Richard from Hippie Hill, who was doing sound and had set us up with both shows. We had about 20 minutes so he encouraged us to decompress from sitting in traffic and wander around the festival. It was massive, and pretty awesome too. And I fell in love…

…With a large wooden people-faced goat statue. Seriously, it’s been a couple days and I can’t stop thinking about this amazing statue. It was sitting outside the Purple House as a part of an antique sale. The asking price was $100 and there was no information on where it came from. I don’t know what it is about this people-faced goat statue, but I really love it so much. Which is weird, usually I can talk my away out of big pointless purchases… I want this thing so badly though. Untittfyled-1The painting from our show that afternoon went to some really sweet students that were hanging out near where we performed.

After cleaning up and packing the car we followed Richard n his pickup to Hippie Hill. What. A. Place. We turned onto a dirt road under a big wooden gate and very carefully picked our way up an extremely steep and boulder-y hill (they weren’t kidding about that part of the title, we were almost afraid our little Camry wouldn’t make it), past mural-painted school buses and small camping trailers that have obviously been parked for a while. As the hill plateaued we were greeted by more trailers, a big wooden stage, a huge teepee, people sleeping in hammocks, dogs running all over the place, and an amazing views. Richard immediately began showing us around, introducing us to Mama and Hippie, the couple that started Hippie Hill, getting us a home cooked dinner, pointing out the radio station/office and yurt-style kitchen, and telling us about the Helping Hungry Kids program.

I asked Mama about the origins of Hippie Hill. She told me that her and Hippie had been homeless and that 14 years ago they’d decided to get some land and build a community where homeless people, and especially homeless kids, could have a safe and loving place where they were accepted and cared for. They run programs to teach kids art and music, and charge anyone who chooses to live there just a couple dollars a day to cover the community expenses. They also serve huge meals out of the kitchen, getting a lot of the food donated (when we were there they’d just gotten a bunch of cases of bananas). Hippie taxis kids off the property daily to their jobs in neighboring towns. They also host lots of music festivals and shows, and were very excited to have us on the stage for the night. It’s pretty difficult to describe the community of Hippie Hill, so here’s a collage of photos I took during the evening: Untitled-3It got really cold as the sun went down, and we spent quite a bit of time by the fire, keeping our hands warm so we could perform well. We shared the stage with Blind Uncle Harry and The Stolen Faces, sandwiched between the two of them. Everyone at Hippie Hill was awesome while we played our set, we had a spectacular time! This sweet family got to take the painting home, and Richard, Hippie, & Mama all got into the photo with us all: Untitled-5We’d originally been planning on staying the night there at Hippie Hill, but a schedule conflict resulted in there not being any place for us to sleep. So instead Mama insisted on getting us a room at a motel where she had some connections, even though we tried to convince her that we’d be fine sleeping in our car. But she made us a reservation, gave us directions, and sent us off. And it was one of the nicest hotels we’ve ever stayed in. After floors and couches, it was so amazing to get to experience a soft warm bed, long showers, breakfast, and to get to do laundry. Untitled-4We were completely amazed by the giving hearts of the Hippie Hill community, and we’re already looking forward to going back.

Also, I want that people-faced goat statue. So bad!

The Joys of Alabama

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October 16: Blurry Vision Records, Decatur, Alabama.

From Memphis we backtracked sort of, getting to Decatur with just enough time to pick up some new painting surfaces and gesso them in the hot Alabama late afternoon sun in a parking lot. Shorts and t-shirt weather in mid-October. Pretty weird, but we embraced it with 75 cent soft serve cones from Burger King.

Our show that evening was at Blurry Vision, a new indie record shop/venue space. BJ, the owner, opened this summer, and we loved the space. Definitely check it out and/or book a show if you’re in town. The crowd for the show was a bit odd, fluctuating throughout the night and between the bands, but we ended the night with an intimate and very engaged show, which is exactly what we love to do. BJ won the bid on the painting (and if you look carefully, you can see our Whaling City tribute on one of the records behind him). We spent the night in his girlfriend’s living room, falling in love with her two gorgeous rescue cats and extremely friendly pug. (I’m seriously loving all the animal friends we’ve been making on this tour.) Untitlserdtfted-1October 17: Maggie Meyer’s Irish Pub, Huntsville, AL.

Decatur and Huntsville are only about a half hour apart, so we had a pretty leisurely day. We got breakfast with BJ (Waffle House!), I gathered a bunch of black walnuts we discovered by the side of a road (shelling them in a parking lot later that evening, my hands are still stained) (by the way, I believe people from the North and people from the South are equally curious, but Southerns certainly are way more vocal about it!), BJ led us to Huntsville and past the NASA Space Center, then to Lowe Mill Arts where we wandered through dozens of art studios, shops, and galleries. Pretty amazing.

By late afternoon BJ headed back to Decatur and Eric & I went over to Maggie Meyer’s. It’s owned and run by the came people at Copper Top, so we saw a couple familiar faces. They treated us to an amazing dinner, and then we just waited around until the show.

We shared the stage with Sam McLeroy, who did the funniest and most enjoyable shows I’ve seen in a while. Found out later that besides music she also does stand up, which makes a lot of sense. We played an extra long set, and then the venue won the bid on the painting. Sam invited us to spend the night on her living room floor, which again, is so much better than sleeping in the car, even if we did finally just get the gasoline smell out of the interior (or maybe we’ve just gotten used to it…) Undrftgtitled-1

We Almost Lost Our Car to Arson in Atlanta

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October 14: the Music Room, Atlanta, GA.

The day started out nice. Nice and very rainy. We drove to Atlanta, checked out the Municipal Market, scoped out the venue, and when the rain let up, we walked around Atlanta’s Olympic Centennial Park! That was really awesome.

In the evening we headed back to the venue. At first we parked around the corner, but then moved up to park along the side of the building, figuring that be “safer” in an unpredictable city. Not the best plan, as it turned out.

David from I Am That I’m Not showed up and parked near us. Realizing he’d forgot his guitar strap he was rummaging around in his car when suddenly a guy began dumping gasoline all over the line of cars parked along the building, then lit one on fire! We found out within minutes and sprinted up to the street to see the furthest car engulfed in flames while a crowd gathered and David called 911. Cops showed up almost immediately and put out the fire, and Eric and some other people from the bar ran water over to rinse off the other cars. Fortunately a girl had snapped a photo of the getaway car, including the license plate. The street got taped off as a crime scene, and we all slowly made our way back downstairs for the show… Untiftyghtled-1We had some after-show hang-outs with David & friends & pizza & beer, before going back to David’s place to spend the night. Extra thankful for a living room to crash in this night, since the inside of our car reeked of gasoline. It took three days of driving with the windows down and a couple sticks of incense to get rid of the smell. Thankfully we’re in the south and mid-October is summer weather down here.

From Atlanta our tour map is as follows: tumblr_ndgebyFhvD1r60igyo1_500

October 15: Kudzu’s, Memphis, TN

We had a pretty long drive between Atlanta and Memphis, so most of this day was just spent in the car. We’d played at Kudzu’s in the past, and they take really good care of us. Tara, who’d seen us during our last visit to Memphis, not only got the painting but also let us stay in her guest room at her really beautiful place (with her very sweet blind chihuahua). Untitled-2

400 Yetis

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October 12: the Radio Room, Greenville, SC.

On Sunday our drive between Jamestown, NC and Greenville, SC took us through Charlotte, NC, very close to Waxhaw, where JAARS is located. A tiny quiet community, JAARS partners with Wycliffe Bible Translators, the organization my parents work for. Every two years over my entire childhood, my whole family would make the long road trip from northern Quebec to Waxhaw, NC for the Wycliffe North American Branch conferences at the JAARS center for two weeks in the middle of the hot southern summer. While our parents went to meetings all day we’d meet up with other “missionary kids” and go swimming, horseback riding, visit the Discovery Center in Charlotte, etc. Some of my best friends and favourite memories happened in this weird little quiet community. On Sunday Eric & I spent an hour walking the one-mile loop around the entire place, while I got all nostalgic and explained tons of different events that I’d been a part of. I hadn’t been there in 12 years. It was really weird being back.

We then continued on to Greenville, SC to play at the Radio Room. We shared the stage with These Wild Plains, a band on tour from Boston, and one of the members actually knew our friend Alex from the band Nemes. Seriously such a small world.

This was our 400th show! And it was awesome. The crowd was amazing, kind, attentive, enthusiastic. It could not have gone better. We can’t wait to come back.Untit5rtyled-1After the show a guy named Jason invited us to crash on his fold out couch. We’d been planning on sleeping in the car, so it was really great to not have to.

October 13: (Canadian Thanksgiving!) Flicker Theater & Bar, Athens, GA.

The next day we got up, thanked Jason, and stopped over at Bob Jones University to walk around and take a quick photo. We had no idea Bob Jones was even in Greenville until we happened to drive past it on our way to our show the night before! So odd.

Then, we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with my parents!! Still on their 2-month long road trip, they were making their way back to CT from Florida, and happened to be going past Greenville, SC on Monday. We met up at a Waffle House for breakfast/lunch (breakfast for Eric & I, lunch for them). It was so great being able to see them.

We said goodbye and headed off in two different directions, Eric & I arriving in Athens by early afternoon. Ok, we tried three times to find a library with our GPS. I think the GPS people just really dislike the Athens library people, because it kept directing us toward residential areas with no libraries! We ended up hanging out in the cafe section of a Kroger for a few hours, getting computer work done. Tour life.

The Flicker show went pretty well. Small crowd, as is expected for a Monday night show. We shared the stage with By Small Ruin and I Am That I’m NotUntidrtyhjtled-1The guy who got the painting, James, is the bassist for By Small Ruin, and offered us an air mattress in his living room to spend the night on. Again, we’d been planning on sleeping in the car, so it was great to get the offer.

Today we drove to Atlanta for our show later this evening at the Music Room, where we’ll be sharing the stage with I Am That I’m Not again, as well as Karina Mia.

After this we’ll be continuing on to Tennessee, then Alabama, then Tennessee again. As always, keep in touch with where we’ll be on our website: http://pocketvinyl.com/tour_dates/

 

Friendly Kitty Tour

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October 10: She-Sha Cafe & Hookah Lounge, Blacksburg, VA.

After spending most of the day hanging out in Roanoke getting some work done at the Willow House, we packed up and headed over to She-Sha. We got to town early and spent a bit of time walking around the Virginia Tech campus, just taking a bit to stretch our legs and get away from work for a while. Back at She-Sha we enjoyed some amazing Mediterranean food, set up, and watched the cafe get packed with students and hookah smoke. We played our set, I painted a couple of rams challenging each other, one of the She-Sha employees won the bid, and a good handful of people picked up merch and talked with us afterwards. (One guy bought our album and informed us that it was the first music he’d ever ever bought!) We hung out listening to another girl play some songs on guitar and enjoyed a hookah while I sketched. Jon (who owns She-Sha) and Jeannette set up a guest room for us to spend the night. Also, they have a bunch of super friendly kitties, and we were so thrilled to get to play with them! Undrttitled-1October 11: Turntable, Jamestown, VA.

So wonderful being back at Turntable, we love this venue so much! We played two 40-ish minute sets so I was able to work on a much more involved painting. We had a couple people who’d seen us before come back (including Josh, who got the painting, as well as Marc, who let us crash at his house after the show), plus some new people. It was great, and there was another super friendly kitty at Marc’s place. Untdrtyitled-1Tonight we’re at a different Greenville; Greenville, SC this time, at Radio Room.

As always, thanks for staying in touch!

Cotton & Tea & Foxes

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October 8: the Tipsy Teapot, Greenville, NC.

We left Ernie & Lindsey’s in Norfolk and headed south past a lot of cotton fields to arrive in Greenville, NC. The Tipsy Teapot had very recently changed hands, and we were the first show under the new management. Things were a bit chaotic at first, but once we all figured out what was happening and how it would work out, the night went smoothly. The new owner’s name is Angela and she is amazing, treating us to a super delicious dinner (swiss, spinach, pear, walnuts, & kalamata olives on mini open-faced sandwiches) and drinks. A bunch of people who’d seen us perform during our last visit to Greenville came out, and the guy who took the painting home had gotten the painting during that last show as well. gyuh3We talked with a lot of people about the potential of future Greenville shows in other locations, so hopefully more will come from that. A guy named Morgan who’d recently moved to the area from Maine invited us over to spend the night, so we didn’t have to sleep in our car like we’d been planning.

October 9: Willow House, Roanoke, VA.

We headed off from Greenville early for a bit of a longer drive back north, toward Roanoke, VA. Our good friend Jordan (of Gaffer Project) had set up a house show for us where he use to live, at the Willow House. We’d stayed at this house before after other Roanoke shows, but this was our first time actually performing here. We shared the basement stage with Black Mountain Revival (super fun. And powered through even when their upright bass broke, fixing it with duck tape to finish the show) and Ryan Hansbarger (a mustache to conquer all). Untitled-4Jon and Keisha, who own the house, ended up winning the bid on the painting. It was a super fun night of music and friends and hanging out. Plus, they set up a really nice little guest room for us and I slept better than I have in a long time.

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(This is probably one of my top 5 favourite live paintings.)

Today we have a show in Blacksburg, VA (Virginia Tech area) at the She-Sha Cafe & Hookah Lounge (we’ve played there before, and as a matter of fact, we met Jordan there!). It’s not far from Roanoke, so Eric & Jordan are playing video games and I’m attempting to catch up on some work here at Willow House. Tomorrow we’re off to Jamestown, NC, and continuing south still. As always, stay in touch with where we’ll be at http://pocketvinyl.com/tour_dates/

See you on the road!

Norfolk, not Norwalk. Sorry guys.

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October 6: Bean There, Norfolk, VA.

After a lazy morning with friends in Annapolis, we packed up and headed south to our first of two Norfolk shows on this tour.

(Journey’s husband, Nate, had gotten us this Deanna Troi action figure when we saw them. Still in the box since 1992. We set her free! And I’ve already started Instagraming her adventures with us. I won’t post much here, but you can follow her at #TroiToyTour.)

The Bean There show was fairly small, but the coffee shop employees were awesome and my brother Nic’s friend Barry surprised us by showing up! Also, speaking of Next Generation, the guy who took the painting home is named Ryker. Untitrftyled-2The show ended early and we had time to kill, so after packing up the car we walked a few blocks down to the Norfolk waterfront to see the ridiculously massive WWII battleships docked there. The size of these things is unbelievable! Also, 2 for 1 pizza slices at the nearby mall: the benefits of showing up at closing time. Later we went to stay with Ernie (Eric’s college friend) & Lindsey and their new little guy, who’ve been kind enough to let us use their guest room while we stayed in Norfolk.

October 7: Borjo Coffeehouse, Norfolk, VA.

It was nice to have a day where we really didn’t have to travel much. Both of us got a lot of work done during the day at Ernie & Lindsey’s. By early afternoon we decided to go check out the Cinema Cafe they’d told us about. We found one where tickets were only $1.50 each. We took a chance on The Hundred-Foot Journey, which neither of us had heard much about. But it was a very sweet film… definitely worth $3! Haha.

After that we headed to a very packed Borjos. This was our second time performing here. They take really good care of their bands at this venue, constantly making sure we were well fed and suggesting more drinks for us to try. (Smoked salmon is definitely a top 5 favorite food of mine, and Borjos has a spectacular bagel & lox.) Unfortunately the crowd quickly dispersed before we even started, but there was a small group of people who stuck around, got the painting, took home some merch. So all in all, it went well. Plus, store-made ice cream sandwiches to go home with! Ugyhujkntitled-1After our Norfolk shows we start out on the second week of this October tour, continuing south for the most part. Please stay in touch with where we’ll be on http://pocketvinyl.com/tour_dates/ and thank you so much!

Friends in Annapolis

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October 5: the Metropolitan, Annapolis, MD.

We spent much of the day sleeping in, hanging out with Tamika & Ben’s cat (that has 6 toes on each foot! Public service announcement: guys, don’t declaw your pets. It’s cruel and often leads to painful infection that leads to early deaths.), talking with Tamika, and then seeing my nephew & niece for a bit before we had to head out (I gave Arion a mohawk. Little cutie.) Untitled-1From there we headed to the venue, meeting up with our good friends Orion & Rochelle in downtown Annapolis! They’re currently on a road trip from upstate NY. The show itself was small and intimate, and we shared the stage with Sarah Fridrich (who we’ve played with twice before) and Midnight Snack, a 7-piece group from Boston, that played one of the best Sufjan Stevens covers I’ve ever heard. Sarah ended up taking the painting home after the show. ftuhjk1Our good friends Shawn, Rachel, & Jon all showed up for the show, and afterwards we all headed back to Shawn & Rachel’s place for the night. That really is the best part of these tour: Seeing and getting to spend time with good friends all over the country. I really love these people so much. dr1

 

Lancaster & Baltimore

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(I just noticed that in my last post I abbreviated Pennsylvania to “PS”.)

Well, I have been having so much fun on this tour and hanging out with so many people, I haven’t had time to update this blog about our shows! I’ll try to be better. No promises though.

October 3: at Franklin & Marshal for the Arts House, Lancaster, PA.

We’ve been performing in the basement of this student townhouse occupied by Franklin & Marshall art students for the past bunch of years, pretty much ever since we started performing as Pocket Vinyl. For Friday’s show the students in charge decided to move the event over to a small theater where they perform improv and stand up, in an effort to open the event more to the public. Beforehand the students kept apologizing because it was a Jewish holiday and there was a sports event happening and they were afraid our show would be poorly attended. But not only did the venue get completely packed, but more chairs had to be brought out! That, along with the 20 minute question & answer/story telling time in the middle of the show and a standing ovation, made this one of the most fun shows we’ve ever gotten to be a part of! It really made us feel like every cold night in the car, every skipped meal, and every poorly attended show was all worth it. Our good friend Journey squeezed into our car last minute, and it was so fun having her at the show. She did a really sweet sketch of us during the show. Also, she decorates amazing cakes as a living, so go check those out. tgyu1P.S. Before leaving on this tour we made up a bunch more t-shirts, for a total of around 30, figuring that would hold us over for the tour (we screen print them all completely by hand, btw). After this Lancaster show, our third show into a 24 date tour, we were down to 2!! We’ve made them available for mail order for the rest of our shows, it’s the best we can do.

October 4: Gallery 788, Baltimore, MD.

Journey had the day off so we spent some of it with her in Elizabethtown, going apple picking at the Masonic Village nearby (what are their secrets??), before heading off to Baltimore. My older brother Ben & his wife Tamika help run this really awesome gallery that we got to play at. It was our first time there and I loved it. There was this insane mushroom-themed exhibition going on and the entire place felt like a magical forest fairyland. Our friend Andrew came out to see us, and Eric’s cousin Sally (I’m sad I didn’t get photos of them). We shared the stage with one of our favourite local Baltimore bands, Boxelders, along with Bug MartinEliza Doering and The Penny Black. (Journey inspired me to do some of my own sketching during the other bands’ shows.Untitldrftgh'ed-2We stayed the night in Baltimore with Tamika (my brother was out of town, setting up his own art shows in other parts of the country, and the kids were having a sleepover).

The Start of Octour!

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That’s what I’ve started calling this tour… Not to be confused with “the OC Tour”. Oops. Whatever. “Octour” sounds like an evil villain from a 90s Saturday morning cartoon.

October 1st: Avenue 209, Lock Haven PA.

This was our 4th show at Avenue 209, and they just keep getting better and better. We really love coming back, and according the to ever-growing crowd, it seems like people enjoy having us come back! It was an awesome start to this October tour. Untiftyutled-1Last time we were in town the above couple (who also took the painting home on Wednesday night), Tim & Robyn (and Grove), had given us a place to stay. They offered again this time around and we were looking forward to hanging out with them. Last time we were in town Tim had to use a walking stick to help him around. This time he was in a wheelchair. At their house after the show they told us that since we’d last seen them Tim had been diagnosed with ALS. You know, that huge Ice Bucket Challenge? Tim is a veteran, he’d been in the Marines, and apparently veterans are twice as likely to develop ALS, and no one knows why. It was pretty crazy to talk with them about their life adjustments, as well as what they’re expecting to go through. It’s definitely a lot to think about. They’ve been posting about their experiences on a blog, and I’d highly recommend checking it out.

October 2nd: Sign of the Wagon, York, PA.

We left Tim & Robyn’s place in the morning, looking forward to seeing them in the spring. We stopped by Avenue 209 for coffee & tea and to talk with Jared (who runs the coffee shop) and Sam (who also works there), for a bit.

Then we were on our way to York, stopping at the best farm stand I’ve ever seen along the way! They had GIANT pumpkins for sale! I wanted one so badly. If only we weren’t on tour!

In York we were having trouble finding the Sign of the Wagon. One of the owners, Lindsey, spotted us while she was walking home and carrying flowers, and waved at us. We smiled and waved back and drove away, assuming she was just a friendly stranger… We figured out later that she’d been trying to flag us down. Ha. Oops. The venue is spectacular! It’s Lindsey and Peter’s home, but they’ve turned it into three stories (plus a basement) of gallery space, recording studio, media space, painting studio, roof garden, bar, vinyl shop, mat & framing studio, as well as home. We were in awe.

We were all a little nervous that the show wouldn’t go too well because a lot of other things were also happening that evening in York, but a fair-sized little crowd trickled in while we played and it turned into a great living room show. Plus there was the longest live auction for the painting I’ve ever witnessed! The guy who finally won is a 4th grade teacher and is planning on hanging it in his classroom. Untift5ytled-1We can’t wait to come back to Sign of the Wagon.

After the show we packed up and drove to Elizabethtown, PS, where we’re staying with my college ex-roomie Journey & her husband Nate for a couple nights.

Tonight (10/3) we’re performing in Lancaster, PA as part of an Arts House event with Franklin & Marshal.

Tomorrow (10/4) we’re performing in Baltimore, MD at a gallery with quite a few other talented bands.