Mid-Set Moose Sightings and other Perks of Being on the Road in Alaska
Thursday night in Palmer, Alaska we played one of my favorite kinds of gigs – a house concert. There’s a different kind of energy felt in a living room full of music lovers than in a packed theater or bar. I love both kinds of shows, but, more and more, we are opting to play these intimate settings, especially in Alaska where there’s not a venue in every town.
This particular show was a good one – we had an enthusiastic and attentive crowd including an adorable one-year-old child named Jack who danced to every song, coming right up to me as I was playing. He was so enthralled, I ended up singing my last tune (an a capella number) with him in my arms. I have to wonder if this night will influence his love for music as he grows up.
This show was also the perfect place for us to try out a new song we’ve been working on called “Hard Love.” Playing a new song in public is exciting and uses more parts of my brain than playing a song I know so well that I can just lose myself in it. With a new song, we’re feeling the vibe out between the members of the band, trying to decide if the tempo is right, and continually asking if we’ve found that magic spot where the song speaks to everyone in the room. It’s an exciting process, but also a little nerve wracking. After the show, an audience member came up and told me how much he loved “Hard Love.” It was a great affirmation that we are on the right path with the song.
On Friday, we played another house concert, this time at the home of some family friends who made an amazing dinner for the concert attendees. That night, our set was interrupted by a moose sighting out the window. We all paused to watch the big cow jump with ease over an 8-foot fence and start munching on a young willow. We joked that it was our mid-set moose sighting and an obligatory set break. Later in the evening, after our set (which, once again, included some dancing babies), two audience members who were also musicians joined my bandmate Bryan on the “stage” to jam on some old country tunes. It was nice for me to sit back with a glass of wine and enjoy someone else playing for a few minutes. It was a beautiful night, and our hosts are already planning the next concert there, dreaming of a summer event on their deck. We are spreading the house concert revolution slowly and surely.
As I write this, it’s early in the AM and I’m preparing for a 6-hour drive to Homer, Alaska for a show at the beautiful Bunnell St. Gallery, a great venue with incredible acoustics. Homer is such a musical town, and we always have fantastic shows there, especially in the winter. Winter in Homer is the time to create and socialize. The crowds in Homer always appreciate a warm serenade to help get through all the dark and cold we have to bear.
It’s been snowing, and I’m hoping it won’t be a slippery drive. We are excited to listen to a new album on the way, the soundtrack to the new music biopic,“Searching for Sugarman.” Watching this documentary about the mysterious musician Rodriguez reminded us of the many strange and winding paths musicians may take in their lives. We’re excited to become more familiar with Rodriguez’s body of work as we make our own way north to the next stop on our own musical journey.
That’s all for now! Keep an eye out for my next post about our Homer and Seward shows. We’re also finishing up a new music video this week, shot in Anchorage. Oh, and our new album comes out tomorrow! It’s quite the week.