europe tour, 2010

Another long tour has come to a close.

I’m sitting in the Texas sun, grateful to be on solid ground and not stranded overseas due to more volcanic activity. I’m grateful to be home with my friends and family, and I’m already missing my friends and family that I just left behind. I suppose it is my fate (initially, it was my choice) to live my life straddling the Atlantic Ocean, a part of me always missing the side that I am not on.

This was a fabulous tour in so many ways. The Italian shows were some of the best we’ve ever had. We were lucky to be graced with the presence of cellist and pianist Guglielmo Gagliano for a week of the shows, and it was awesome. Just when we got super comfortable on stage with each other… the tour ended. That’s what always happens. When your band lineup is constantly changing, you only get a few shows to settle into the groove, and once you’ve settled in, you spring out again and onto another country and another lineup. I’m glad for the few shows we did get to do with Ghando – here’s the link to one of them, live on Radio Popolare in Milano. There are 4 live tracks interspersed with chatter (take a listen and laugh at my TexItalian accent if you like).

We closed out the tour, as always, with an absolutely stellar show at the Velvet. Our lineup has changed considerably over the years – on stage that night, Manuel and I were the only original members of ICOM – but we are so blessed to count so many talented musicians among our friends, and we were so glad to have our long-time stand-in bassist, Gabriele Galimberti, on stage with us, and our new drummer, Dodi Wiemuth, plus Guglielmo on cello & piano. The Velvet stage is tiny but we crammed on there and did ourselves proud. Thanks, guys, for sharing your talent with me over the years. You are all amazing. Of course, enormous and special thanks goes to Manuel Schicchi, who has made all of these years of touring possible with his patience and hard work and dedication – and killer guitar licks, of course.

After the Italian tour, I flew up to Denmark to do a tour with my good friend MC Hansen and the Danish band The Sentimentals. MC & I did some wonderful house concerts, and The Sentimentals & I had three fantastic concerts together – again, just enough time to let loose, and then it was time to pack up again. We made some great friends along the way, and one amazing fan, Jesper, who created a Danish fan page for us, which you can check out here!

We also did the last show with my friend Sarah MacDougall, a Swedish-Canadian songstress who will knock your songs off when she comes to Texas to tour with me in August. Yeehaw!
A big thank you to Mads & Carina for taking such good care of me in Sweden & Denmark, and to The Sentimentals for learning my songs so quickly and playing so well. I can’t wait to get back to Scandinavia.

By a stroke of good luck, I boarded a plane from Copenhagen to Amsterdam on April 14 – one day before the entire European airspace was closed for a week due to the Icelandic volcano eruption. That would have been an unbelievable disaster if I had been stranded in Denmark, because we had a 12-day tour in Holland, Belgium, and Germany that started on the 15th.

We picked up where we left off with our good friend Alex Akela on violin, mandolin, and bass guitar. Alex is wonderful and always steps back on stage with grace and aplomb and never misses a beat or a note. It’s like he’s been on tour with us all year long. We had some wonderful shows in Holland, thanks to our booking agent Hans Jacobs at Stars’n’Strings, who always finds us great venues to play. The theater in Zwolle was especially wonderful, and our great friend (and host – thank you!) Klaas took some lovely photos of that show and you can see them here!

When we left Holland, we headed to Belgium for a few days, and spent an absolutely marvelous time at our hostel in Gent. This wasn’t just any hostel – it was EcoHostel Andromeda, and it was on a boat! Liselot and her architect husband Maarten designed and and restored the whole thing from an old rusty boat that they bought a few years ago. Everything is super-insulated and energy-efficient, and they recycle and compost everything. They use rain water for the toilets, and serve a delicious vegetarian / fair-trade breakfast. AND they are the nicest people ever. Wonderful and hospitable. I have never been so sad to leave a hostel. Check them out if you are traveling through Belgium.

Our shows in Belgium were awesome too – especially the one at Den Heksenketel, where we almost sold out of all our merch! Thank you, Evergem! Unfortunately I got sick the next day and basically lost my voice, which made our show at De Blauwe Plek pretty damn hard, but the audience was very kind and quiet and patient with my whispery thin vocals. :)

After Belgium we headed to Germany for two more shows. We played a private birthday party for our friends Peter & Katrin (who also took us out to a stupendous lunch on Sunday – thank you!!), and we returned to the lovely Bonni Haus in Gelsenkirchen. Both shows were great, made all the better by the presence of the Leibecke family, who always rolls out the red carpet when we come into town. It’s so nice to have a home on the road, and we are really lucky to have found them. They are always so kind to us, and it was such a lovely way to end the tour.

There are plenty of tour photos – here’s the public link to the Facebook albums (viewable even if you don’t have a Facebook account):

April shows

Italian tour

I’m back in Texas… have a few shows coming up, as well as the Texas Music Awards ceremony in a few weeks (eek! What to wear??) and then I’m going to take a bit of a break for a while. I’ve been burning the candle at both ends and straight through the middle so I’m finally going to listen to my grandmother, my mother, and everyone else who has said – hey, get some rest! Rest assured, rest is on the schedule. :)

with love and gratitude,

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