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Archive for April, 2009

Eastern Connecticut University

Our last stop on the tour was Eastern Connecticut University. After having a night off from gigging, the day before, we had the pleasure of staying with the Manning family in nearby Lebanon, CT, just outside of Willimantic, home of ECU. The Manning family were amazingly gracious hosts, and I’d really like to express my thanks to Lynn, Al, Jabez, and Jasmine for making us feel at home, despite the fact that we were total strangers. Special thanks to Jabez for hooking me up with a Manning Enterprises t-shirt that I shall treasure forever.

Playing at ECU was a great end to the tour. Jared and I picked Abbi Cook up from the airport, and had the privilege of sharing the evening with her and her own unique brand of piano soul. We had a very cool audience that was really into the music. The sound was great, as was the mood, AND there were free brownies. Special thanks to Chris, Brett, Steph, and everyone else who made our time at ECU smooth sailing and enjoyable! Extra special thanks to Shelley, who volunteered to take the first and only photos of our performance during the whole tour.

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SUNY New Paltz

New Paltz is about an hour north of NYC. While I’ve been to a few different SUNY’s in the past, the one in New Paltz was a new one for me, and I certainly wasn’t expecting such amazing scenery just a little bit north of the city. Driving on the New York State Thruway took us through an amazing mural of forested hills and man-made sheer rock faces that repeatedly put a smile on my face.

Arriving in New Paltz, we were greeted by a very cool, tight knit community. While I didn’t really get to delve into the 330 years of the village’s history, I did get to observe a thriving “college town” that was very supportive of creative expression and individuality. Amongst the backdrop of the Shawangunk Mountain Range, this place made for a great place hang out for the day before our gig.

We spent a good bit of the afternoon at the Muddycup Coffee House (pictured above), getting our fix of wifi and (for me) espresso. We also walked around town for a bit, checking out the menagerie of local businesses and enjoying the great weather and ambience.

We hit a bit of a snag, however when we found out that through some miscommunication in the booking process, we had no hotel accommodations for the night, and worse, the local hotels were booked up. Jared managed to get in touch with our contact, Gina, in Lebanon, CT for a church gig that he had booked for Sunday. So, she graciously offered to let us stay at her home. This was bittersweet, because although we now had a place to stay, it also meant driving for close to 3 hours that night after playing our 10pm gig on campus. Ugh…

After hooking up with our contact at SUNY New Paltz, Josh, we got situated at the venue. Everything went smoothly during the performance, and for the first time in a few nights, we were without any PA issues, which was refreshing. The audience was very cool and into the show, and we had a great time overall. Thanks a ton to Josh, Jen, Jade, and Megan for doing more than their part in making the night a success.

After packing up, we hauled butt to a gas station to fill up, I chugged a Red Bull, and we hit the road to Connecticut. Luckily, we made it there without any issues, and laid down for a much needed rest.

Lafayette College

At Lafayette College, they know how to make nachos. At the Gilbert Cafe on campus, they make their nacho plates so big that they actually put them in a pizza box (as seen above)… and we’re not talking a tiny 10” box. This was a full 16” pizza box, like the ones that large pizzas come in. I was thoroughly impressed. Two orders of these rockin’ nachos were provided for attendees at our concert tonight, and they didn’t go to waste.

Our performance at the Gilbert Cafe was largely similar to the last couple of shows in terms of environment and attendance. We did have a bit of a struggle with the house sound system, though, unfortunately. There was some sort of problem in the house setup, as we tested every component that we could on our end. And while it was nice to know that all of our gear was in working order, it still made for a bit of a frustrating moment when we had to  finish the show sans amplification. But, the crowd was cooperative and graciously scooted up close to us so we could still entertain them acoustically.

Thanks a bunch to Lauren and Sandra from the Lafayette Activities Forum for hosting us, and bringing such a great crowd in for us. We really appreciated it!

Tomorrow we’ll head up to SUNY New Paltz (about 80 miles north of NYC) for another show. Looking forward to it.

Drew University

After a relatively short trip to Madison, NJ, we had some time to kill before getting ready for the gig at Drew University. After making contact with the our contacts, Morgan and Kelli, we were able to check out the town a little bit.

I was pleasantly surprised by the ambience of the town and how clean and quaint it was. The weather was perfect; sunny and around 65 degrees, and walking around the streets outside of campus was really refreshing after having spent the first couple of days driving so much. Spending some time outside really made me feel recharged.

The venue for the night was a lounge area located in the University Center, called “The Space.” With graffiti-style wall murals (like the one pictured above) surrounding us, it was a very cool place for an acoustic show. We had a great turn out, and everyone in attendance was very gracious and vocal in their appreciation of our performance.

After the show was over, we stopped over to the Pub which was also located in the UC, and we got to hang out with our hosts for  a bit. We shared funny stories which mostly centered around children’s television programs (though I can’t remember why, now), ranging from Reading Rainbow to the Banana Splits. Then we headed to our super nice hotel that was devoid of any complimentary amenities. Our shower did have, however, not one, but TWO shower heads, so I suppose that counts for something… Although, given the option, I would have opted for free wifi in lieu of the twin shower heads. Incidentally, it also had a pod shaped toilet that I was convinced could launch me to Mars, if I could find the correct hidden button.

Tomorrow will include a quick trip to Easton, PA for a show at Lafayette College. Stay tuned.

Marywood University


Today was the longest distance we would have to drive on the tour, with the exception of the drive back. Luckily we had much better weather than the previous day’s. The five and a half hour drive on I-80 was largely uneventful, and we arrived at Marywood University with plenty of time to spare. Once again, the students who organized the show were unbelievably hospitable. Lauren, Megan and Kelly on the Student Activities Committee went out of their way to get us anything we needed, and really worked hard to get as many people in attendance as possible.

After setting up, we realized we were in need of an additional mic clip, so Jared and I set out to find the local music store, Galluci’s Music. Finding it wasn’t so much of a challenge, despite it’s downtown location… it was returning to Marywood that was a challenge for us. Following Jared’s iPhone served difficult, as it kept triangulating our position incorrectly (he has the 1st gen iPhone), so the 10 minute drive turned into an hour long drive. Diving aimlessly around Scranton was not something that I anticipate making my “best of” list for this tour.

Finally arriving back after our little misadventure, everything was good to go at Marywood. The venue was a lounge in the student union, which was a very intimate setting, and worked really well for our duo configuration of acoustic guitar and cajon. The students in attendance were all attentive and enthusiastic about the show.  Having that sort of audience is always a real treat, and we certainly appreciated them.

Tomorrow we have just have a quick trip to Drew University in Madison, NJ. Looking forward to the short trip and maybe a little more time to actually check out the area.

University of Akron


Our tour started off with a lot of rain. Heading up to the University of Akron from Columbus, we made pretty good time through the gloom. After a little bit of confusion once we actually arrived on site, we eventually stumbled upon our contacts, Ashley and Melanie, outside the venue. They were awesome hosts, and helped make our first stop a totally stress-free endeavour.

The show was actually in the Starbucks in the student union, and the tech guys had set up a nice stage, sound, and lighting rig for the evening’s event. Apparently, the event was hosted by the Resident Hall Program Board (RHPB), and is something they do every Tuesday, to give students an opportunity to get a break from their studies to relax. I thought that was a great idea.

The show came off without a hitch, and shortly there after, we were headed off to our hotel for the night….. which happened to be the Quaker Station hotel… which happened to be the site of where Quaker Oats used to be produced and then sent off for distribution by train! It was a seriously surreal experience, staying in a room that was literally built inside of an old grain silo! Definitely unique!

Inside our room, we were greeted with  hand written notes and gift bags that included a bunch of snack food and a couple of RHPB shirts, a lanyard, and even a sweet UofA mug! Overall, our hosts were incredibly accommodating, and I’d have to say they set the bar pretty high for the rest of the tour! We’ll see what tomorrow brings, at Marywood University in Scranton, PA.

East Coast NACA Tour

This coming Tuesday, the 14th, I’ll be hitting the road with singer-songwriter Jared Mahone for a tour of several colleges in the Midwest and Eastern US. It’s just the two of us, and our path will take us out to Connecticut and back, so it should be an interesting road trip! Rehearsals have been going very well, so we’re both pumped for this tour, which he’s so cleverly labeled the “Beats From Egypt Tour” (aka: the “BFE Tour”). I’ll be sure to blog about it as things get underway, and as internet access allows. Stay tuned!