The Bobbo Society For The Arts & Letters

October 19, 2023 (Orange County, CA show this weekend, free song, and some updates and what-not)  

Not a lot going on here show-wise. I tend to slow down towards the end of the year as everyone gets consumed by the holidays. That said I do have like 3-5 shows booked between now and the end of the year. One of those is this Saturday, October 21 at The Harp Inn, in Costa Mesa. Our buddy Ace from the band Coyote Moon has been doing these monthly songwriter shows and we'll be going on last, which I know sounds late but not this time. The show goes from 3-6 pm and we're on around 5 pm. Time enough to get a bite, a cold drink and very nearly be home before the streetlights come on. 

Saturday, Oct 21
The Harp Inn
17th St. Costa Mesa, CA
w/ John Surge, Mike Malone, Allendale Road and Coyote Moon. 

Tracy will be joining me and singing and playing as will our buddy and my guitar hero, Danny Ott.  

And if you've been following along, I've got all my albums back up on the streaming sites. It was very much a “Taylor's Version” type of thing. Over the summer I got all my master recordings back from the label that I was on and I am the owner once again of not just my solo work but of The Fallen Stars and Riddle & The Stars albums. So if you go streaming now, or buying online - the dough is actually coming to me (or us in some cases). I don't have a team of folks working on this, it took me quite a while to get all of it up there and working properly but man did it feel good when it was done!

In other news, a music library has reached out to me for a couple of songs that they think might work in some tv/movie placements and even though the deal is “non-exclusive” it's still hard putting the pen to paper again!

My album “October”* has now been out for just over 10 months and still getting good press and radio play around the globe: 
At the Barrier - UK based site
Lonesome Highway - Ireland based site
Folker World - Germany based site
American Songwriter - U.S.A. based magazine
Rocking Magpie Radio and review - based in U.K.

Last weekend I spent at the Far West / Folk Alliance music festival. I played a few times in some of the showcase rooms and had an amazing time hearing great new music and meeting up with friends I didn't even realize were going to be there. My next music biz thing will be the TAXI conference in L.A. and then hopefully getting to Durango Songwriters Expo in February. 

The past two days I've spent writing and editing the book I'm planning on releasing and then next week I start applying to festivals overseas and booking tours for 2024. 

I've been pretty active keeping up the “Bobbo Society for the Arts and Letters” blog page on the website - with tour diaries and all that. 

I think that's it. 

Oh wait! I've also written a dozen new songs that Tracy, Matt and I have been working on in the studio. It's been a few years since the last Fallen Stars release so the next album is going to fly under that moniker. Since we don't have a lot of shows booked in November/December - hopefully we can make some good headway on getting it recorded. 

Today's free song is an instrumental that very few people have heard. It's only on the vinyl release of October and it's not even listed on the album. It's a song I called Granby Row as that's where I was when I recorded it. Click here if you want to see the exact place I recorded it - 14 Granby Row, Dublin.

That's it for now. 

FB | IG | Twitter

Please like, subscribe and all the fun stuff.




*I now realize that I should've named the album “Two Days in October” as that's how it was recorded and is a much better name!

October 17, 2023 

I released a new album this year called "October". It is not up for Grammy consideration. I don't know how those things happen. 

"October" was fully and independently released by me. I'm no longer on any record label. I was packing up and mailing out promo copies all over the world to press and radio. There were folks that helped me along the way like Tracy supporting everything I do. When I booked the studio time at Hansa in Berlin, my Mom paid for that studio time, she said it was a birthday present but really it was more than that. I have Patreon's that keep me going and co-writers and all the folks that let me sleep in their spare rooms and couches across the world. And PR in Europe with Peter Holmstedt. 

There's so much timing involved. Right before the pandemic I had 20 or so contracts for placing music in different tv shows and productions and then all of them shut down. I'm not egocentric enough to think that I'm the only one that this happened to - I know it happened to tons of folks working in the industry, my point is that something always feels just around the corner and then it's just...not.

Would I like a Grammy? Of course. Would I like a Grammy nomination? Yeah, that sounds great but I don't see it happening.
A lot of my favorite music never won any Grammy awards. The best thing one can say about the Grammys and being nominated and all that is that there is a sort of validation that goes with it. Many people will listen to music based on what wins and that's good. What's weird is how so many people need something, some piece of art to be validated by awards before they will check it out or agree that it is good. It's been proven time and again that most people do not trust their own tastes until someone else validates them.

When the song "Falling Slowly" from the movie 'Once' won best song at the Oscars in 2008 it felt amazing to watch a journeyman performer, songwriter, street busker Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová take that statue home. It opened up a new world for them. But anyone with two ears could tell that song was an incredible piece of songwriting and deserved to be a hit when it was released in 2006. Glen was 38 years old when this success hit for him, a has-been by most music biz standards.

What's my point? I don't know. It's just hard to be in the music business and try to keep your head up. I've had a good run this past year with "October", it's gotten great reviews from American Songwriter to The Alternate Root to the UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy and radio play across the world. But I can't compete with big budgets. All I have are my songs. 

The brilliance of the time we live in is that it is a level playing field for musicians. We can all release music to the world. My "competition" is no longer just local musicians, my competition for ears, streams and likes is U2, Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran. Is it the difference between equality and equity? I don't know but I don't for one second begrudge anyone else their success. 

No one is owed a career in the arts. No one is owed monetary success. I'm certainly not owed anything. 

I also know that I'm at a level of musician that many aspire to. When it's where you are though, all you can see is the next level above where you are. 

Recently I saw someone read from their poetry book, it was from the third volume of poems he had published about Halloween. This dude figured out what he loved and he honed in on it. There was that moment at first of "he wrote three volumes of poetry about Halloween????" But that slowly turned into "He wrote three volumes of poetry about Halloween!!!" There is a niche out there and an audience for just about everything and that's what is absolutely beautiful about art in the modern world right now. 

Currently I'm trying to find my next level.

Non Touring Tour Diary: October 9, 2023 

I'm very fortunate to have gotten all my master recordings back in my own possession and over the last week I have been able to get them back up online and on the streaming sites.
Streaming has it's flaws, no doubt, but it is still the best way to reach more people, larger audience and all that and NOT being on the streaming places can actually work against you in an irritating way. Technology always wins, even when it's evil.
That said, I hadn't really listened to my own music in quite a while but while doing all the uploading and all that - I had to and I'm quite proud of what I've released. Is there a lyric or bad note in there that I'd like to change, yeah probably but that's a whole rabbit hole. The one thing I did want to fix was the intro to the song "Angelia" as the acoustic guitar sounded a bit thin to what I wanted. I knew that if I made any changes to the mix, I'd have to get the song remastered as well and did I really feel like opening that back up?
Well, I did. I didn't do any new recording. I opened up the song and un-muted one guitar part and turned off some compression and the song just seemed to spring to life and be more like I had intended. I turned up Tracy's bass playing and her singing in this song really fill it out as does Brandon Allen's relentless drumming. Travis King stopped by and we cranked up the 4 watt Vox amp and he shredded a great solo.
And I love this song. Typically there's a bit in a song where you're like, I didn't get it exactly right but I really think I did with this one. It's a song about wanting to be a better person. It's about fighting against, not small towns but small town thinking. When I sing it, I travel through my hometown of Billerica, starting at the Center Cafe and driving north past where Grossman's burned down and over the black ice on Boston road in front of where Stan's garage used to be - out to the darkness on the edge of town where we could stare up at the stars and dream of more.
Angelia is not just one person but several that all, in their own way, challenged me and dragged me into the future and to new ways of thinking about life. She is my angel that saved me from a life of small town thinking.
I just got the new master back from my buddy Jason and here it is. I hope you will give it a listen and know that this song really is my life.

October 6, 2023 

Well first off, thank you to everyone that wished me a happy birthday yesterday. With all the challenges that social media brings - that is truly one of the most beautiful - being wished a happy birthday from all over the world, new friends and old. Thank you.
Today is the one year anniversary of me recording half of my new album "October" in Berlin. With that in mind, I invite you to scroll on over to and you can download any of my albums there for whatever amount you want. Zero dollars? Sure. A hundred dollars? Sure. Anywhere in between? Of course. But know that free is also an option on the downloads. 

Today is also BandCamp Free Fee Friday - so if you prefer to use Bandcamp ( ) for your downloading - my stuff is there for the listening and/or purchasing.

If you're into streaming - I got most of my albums back up on the streaming sites this past week.  I'm real excited about this as it means all those fractions of pennies are actually coming to me now and not sharing with a label any longer. 


Now I have a couple of wildly different things going on in the next few weeks. 

1) I've been nominated for "Best of the Net 2023" with my poem "favorite photograph" in the Anaheim Poetry Review. I don't know a lot about this one or where to direct you but it's super cool. Thank you to the Anaheim Poet Laureate Wendy Van Camp for nominating me.

2) Next Friday, October 13, I am heading to the Far West Conference in Woodland Hills, CA and have two performance slots happening. This, too, is new to me and I'm really excited to be a part of. It's one of the largest songwriting things in the country and I feel honored to be a part of. 

3) Sunday, October 15, I am hosting a backyard songwriter event here at our house in Anaheim. If you'd like to come to that, please shoot me an email and I will fill you in on the details. But roughly running from 4-7 pm. Ideally, you could bring your own chair and some food or beverage to share. 4) Tuesday, October 17, I'm one of the featured performers of Writers Round OC at Gunwhale Ale in Costa Mesa. A great night of songwriting from the local area. Starts at 7 pm. 

5) Saturday, October 21,  I'm one of the featured performers of The Coyote Moon Presents SoCal Songwriter Showcase at the Harp Inn, Costa Mesa from 3-6 pm. This show may feature more than just me but I don't want to give it away just yet.

Looking further out - I'll be at Bogart's in Seal Beach, Sat, Nov 11. LosCon in Los Angeles on Sun, Nov 26 (Firefly Show!), Kulak's in North Hollywood on Tuesday, Dec 12, The Nightowl in Fullerton on Sat, Dec 16 and finally Thurs, Jan 4, 2024 I will be the speaker/performer at the Anaheim Library Open Mic. 

Tour Diary, Sept 24, 2023 

This is probably the nicest bar I’ve ever slept in. 

By the time I wake up, Nathaniel has already been here, received deliveries and checked in on me. Breakfast is happening at 10 amand he has made Rare Tea Co’s Speedy Breakfast for me. 

As we east breakfast Nathaniel tells me about things in the pub and how some of the beams actually come from some other building and were repurposed for the Shakespeare Pub - this building dates back to 1730. That’s pretty cool. 

I pack up my bags, backpack on front and back and guitar and walk about 50 yards/meters to the city center and wait for my bus to Dortmund. I know this was only two days ago but already I have no memory of arriving in Dortmund other than walking out of the train station, crossing the street, climbing some stairs and going into another hotel room.

Touring is hard. 

It doesn’t matter if you are driving, taking busses and trains or planes. There is a feeling of constant movement and always having to be “on” that really drains you. I’ve been doing this for a good chunk of my life and I’m still not sure the best way to do it. I think in terms of touring a lot. And what I mean by that is I’m always trying to reduce my footprint. Carry fewer things, have equipment that can double for other things because I saw the economical side of traveling with less stuff. Someone like The Edge travels with 40 guitars on tour and his pedalboard and amps are so famous that even his guitar tech is famous - his name is Dallas. 

I still wish I had achieved a larger status than where I am. The idea of not carrying all my own stuff or stepping on a plane and my stuff being brought to whatever venue I’m playing next - that still sounds nice. But my DIY aesthetic will always kick in.  That said, I know so many other, more talented, folks that will never do what I’m doing now and so a certain gratitude sets in as I’m currently, at this moment, sitting in a hotel restaurant in Frankfurt, Germany drinking red wine and typing away. 

But still, the tour is over and one cannot help reflecting on the past month. 

My last show is at Wohnzimmer im Piepenstock in Dortmund. I’ve played this venue a few times and even a few times when it was in a different location. Marco runs the place and he’s a musician and actor here in Dortmund and quite a character. He’s big and bold and everyone loves him. 

From downtown I couldn’t figure out a bus to the Wohnzimmer so I opted for a taxi and I have a great a conversation with this driver who has moved to Germany from Tajikistan. Admits the U.S. is better with Biden but to most of his world sees no difference between him and Trump. “It’s all the same to us.” Which is telling and disheartening but I get it. He drops me off in front of the Wohnzimmer and I’m early, a few hours early. Marco won’t be here for another 90 minutes and I don’t go on for a couple of hours but I don’t have anywhere else to go or to be. I have everything on my back so I’m not about to start wandering around, shit gets heavy. 

So I sit on the front steps, take out my guitar and start working on some new songs. Across the street from me is a small park. More than anything else it’s just where some locals get together to drink and smoke outside. I can hear them laughing and joking and before long they wander over to where I am. 

I was quite content to just sit by myself but they won’t let me. They are so kind and welcoming. I’m offered a beer, a shot, pot, a smoke… They just want to hear a song. So I play them a song. I’ve just finished the chorus of the first song and the dude is freaking out. He’s pointing to his arm and I can visibly see that all the hair on his arm is standing straight up. “Gänsehaut.” Is what she says and points to her arm too. Goosebumps. 

They pick up my bags and make me come across the street to where their friends are and I’m hesitatingly following. I’m not a fan of folks grabbing my stuff and even well meaning…I’m skittish about such things. But they are all super nice, friendly and open and just want to share with their friends what I just did. It’s absolutely amazing. I play a couple of songs for them, one of them takes video and asks if it’s ok to put it on TikTok. We take pictures and it’s truly very pure, sweet and wholly unexpectedly beautiful. 

Marco arrives and I say goodbye to my new friends and cross back over to the Wohnzimmer and set up for tonight. 

Now the Wohnzimmer Live in Piepenstock is a music venue only. It’s got a bar, a stage and a Soundsystem. Sometimes plays get put on here. There’s a back line of amps if you need them and a piano on stage that if I had my stuff with me, I would’ve tuned. 

Soundcheck takes a minute and a half and it’s probably the some of the best live sound ever. Marco is an attentive soundman and adjusts reverb levels during the songs and I can hear him adding bits here and there as part of the performance. It’s nice. 

And then it’s time to wait for showtime. I take out my pillow, find a spot on one of the benches and lay down and fall asleep for about 30 minutes. 

Folks start filing in and I’m told that it’s going to be a thin night as there is a Football match here in the city as well as it being a museum night which I think means that the museum is free tonight and lots of folks going to that. It’s alright, I’ve learned that you play to the folks that are here and not the folks that aren’t. 

The first set is alright. I’m trying to read the room and it’s all folks sitting and listening. I test the waters with a bigger song, more aggressive strumming and they react positively. So when the second set starts I really turn it on and they react in kind. We hit a few nice high moments together and when I end, they won’t let me. Zugabe! I play a few more and call it a night. 

Thank you Dortmund. It’s been beautiful. 

Back at Marco’s, his wife Ingrid has made up a bed for me to sleep in. I sleep quickly and wake at 8 am with Marco asking me if I want breakfast. They have made me toast, tea and eggs. 

I am a lucky man.


Tour Diary, Sept 22, 2023 

I have played the Shakespeare Pub here in Herdecke (pronounced Head-aka) a couple of times before. One time with Riddle & The Stars when it was so hot, no one wanted to go inside for music so we just played busking style out in front of the pub. Then the next time I was there I couldn’t figure out why I had no memory of playing inside until someone reminded me of the outside playing the last time.

You see, there’s lots of gigs and it’s damn near impossible to remember everything from every gig. I’ve been going over some of my older tour diaries because I have an idea for a book and reading things I have written and experienced and have no memory of it nearly all the way through the reading. It’s my life but sometimes I’m watching the show too.

But last year when I played here I sat down after an incredibly long train trip where the trains were all canceled across Germany because of a terrorist attack and I had to figure out a way here* and when I walked up Nathaniel asked me if I’d like a cup of tea and he made me a cup of Rare Tea Company’s “Speedy Breakfast”** and that became my favorite tea ever.


Today, I get dropped off by the bus and walk the half mile here, mostly downhill even, drop my stuff and walk around the corner to an Italian restaurant and get some spaghetti and a glass of wine*** and I enjoy it as the skies open up and rain pours down. I eat and watch the rain from under a large umbrella outside. I’m the only patron not eating inside the restaurant and it’s so incredibly calming to me.

Back at the Shakespeare Pub my new musician friend from last year has been texting me and I’m chatting with Philipp. He’s an aspiring musician from Germany that taught himself to speak great English by watching Friends re-runs, loves country music, is wearing cowboy boots and is just a super nice guy. He texts me on WhatsApp every other month or so and he’s been really digging the new October album.

As I’m setting up, a dude in a Riddle & The Stars shirt walks in with about 6 friends and takes there place right next to where I’m performing. That feeling, of being somewhere remote or far away and wearing your shirt - it’s truly indescribable. Like, sometimes you look at a room full of folks you don’t know and it feels like starting from scratch but when there’s someone, even one person in the room that is already a fan - it feels like starting on third base.****

And then Alina Sebastian, Niklas Herzog, Jonas Vallan, and David Tarakona all show up. They are a band here locally from Osnabrück, Niklas has played drums with me and they have just put out a new album and she’s brought me a copy and I’m excited to hear it. I feel a connection to it already just by looking at the photos inside as they were visiting the US and borrowed my guitar for some pics - so my guitar is in their cd pics!  Woo-Hoo!

As I start off I feel like the little engine that couldn’t. I’m struggling. The table to my left is loud even though most of the rest of the place is listening - they’re oblivious. And when I say to my left - they are like one meter*****away. And it’s distracting me because I haven’t really had to deal with this much. At one point I’m playing a guitar solo and they get super loud during it and I just thrash away at the strings for a second to drown them out in volume. And it does work briefly to quiet them.

Then I’m able to center myself. Don’t play to the fuckers who aren’t here to hear you. Play to the ones that are. And I look to my right and see them all watching me and listening. I make eye contact with Alina and she’s digging it. Phillip is at the bar just staring at me. And I find it.

It’s amazing that after all this time that there’s still a struggle at some gigs to find yourself but the internal dialogue and the external indifference meet up in weird ways to distract the brain.

Oh and I only slept for less than three hours last night so I cut myself a little slack.

Then it was just on. I rocked, played loud songs, quiet songs and everything in between until I started going hoarse. Told some stories too. There is a physical difficulty of performing somewhere where folks are talking as you have to sing over them and you end up pushing your voice and I had to do that in the first set and I can feel my voice is getting tired.

I announce last song and then get two encores.

The second set of last night’s show was probably one of my best overall performances I’ve done in recent memory. I’m not saying it was technically perfect. I’m saying it was a great performance. I connected differently and floated. As I sang, I could hear Tracy’s voice singing her parts. I could hear Matt’s rhythm driving the song. And yet I was all by myself.

I miss my band. I miss my wife. One more show. It’s time to go home.******

There’s a woman that was here last year and she comes and buys a cd, I can’t remember how to pronounce her name but she is super nice and gifts me some chocolate after buying a cd. I only put out about 8 cds tonight as I wasn’t expecting a rush but they all sell and I have to run upstairs and get more.

I say my goodbyes and go upstairs and fall asleep. It’s not even midnight and I sleep for nearly 9 hours.

See you in Dortmund.


*This is totally different from today’s long travel day here where I was just booked 450 miles away and had to take 11 hours worth of taxis, trains and buses. 
**This is NOT a paid promotion.
***Because the last time I was here Nathaniel didn’t have food and he bought me a pizza and I wasn’t up for pizza today BUT I’m an idiot because he does have food now and blerg… whatever. It was a good glass of wine. 
****Sorry to European readers for the baseball analogy. If you’re in the UK or Australia, it’s like starting with 2 wickets already knocked down. Germany, it’s like having Thomas Muller taking your penalty kicks. 
*****About 39” away or just more than a yard. 
******Don’t read anything into the band missed being before my wife. I wrote it both ways and felt it flowed better in this order. You say them the other way and tell me I’m wrong.

Tour Diary, Sept 21, 2023 

It’s a short walk from the flat to the bus stop to take the 1A into town and then it’s just 17 stops, get off and walk about 500 feet and I’m at the venue for tonight.

I don’t really have a frame of reference or other venue to compare Tjili Pop to.* It’s a small multi level bar. It’s two steps in off the street and then the main room with tables on the left and right with some bench seats on the left and chairs on the right. Further to the right is a narrow dedicated stage area, hanging PA speakers, mixing board all packed in tight. If you walk straight in from the front door you would walk up a couple more steps to the bar and from there you can weave your way either left or right to other adjacent rooms all designed for maximum leisure and hanging out conversing.

It’s really quite unique. The decorations are eclectic as well with a pair of old broken guitars adorning the wall above the stage. There’s a feel of hipster here but more like this place was like this before hipster culture would have appropriated this aesthetic and thus, at some point this place will be out of style with hipsters. Kind of like how wearing a flannel and ripped jeans in 1990 was just what you wore and then it was “Grunge fashion” in 1993 and then in 1999 when you were still wearing flannels and ripped jeans you were not cool again. Kind of like that.

Jacob greets me when I come in and again tonight I am the feature of an open mic. There’s a couple of familiar faces from the show the other night so that’s cool. We do a quick line check, I’m not using any pedals tonight. Keeping it simple.

I’m checking out these bottles of light soda, they are small bottles with fruit on the label, lime, peach, lemon, orange and this guy next to me just starts explaining all the different flavors and which ones he likes and which are good as mixers. I try to pick the orange one but get the peach one instead. They taste kind of like a carbonated version of those frozen treats that came in the long plastic skinny sleeves when we were kids.

There’s a good crowd here and Jacob does a couple of songs to start off the night and I’m paying attention to the chords of his first song and I’m normally pretty adept to just like following along but this song is skipping all the familiar progressions that I’m used to hearing. And I mention this just as an aside of like what music is like here. My ear is being pulled in a different direction from what I’m used to hearing and it’s really refreshing.

I play after him and I launch into it. Folks are digging me and it’s going well. I’m feeling uncomfortable with the sound as the speakers are in front of me and I’m just not feeling it. It sounds great out front but from where I’m standing, it’s a bit unfocused and a lot of this is likely just ME. I’ve been conserving energy all day for tonight and I still feel like I need about an 18 hour nap.

So with a couple of songs left, I unplug. I ask the folks if they’re ok with this and they are into it. I move the mic out of the way and walk down to be in with them in the room and just casually step on a chair and up onto the table in the middle of the room.

Ah, that’s so much better. No PA, just natural room sound. Also I have to really compliment this table as it is really solid and not wobbly at all. As soon as I’m up on the table I see a bunch of phones come out and video and pics being shot. I have to say that I wasn’t getting up on the table as spectacle, it just looked like the best place in the room to sing and strum and I was right.

From there I go around and talk to most everyone in the room and the next act sets up, a dude playing accordion and going from everything from Tom Petty’s “free falling” to the theme from MASH “suicide is painless” and the range is incredible. The rest of the night is just being amazed at all the talent that I just performed for. Roxy shows up after my set and we have a good hang. She asks me if I would be up for backing her up if she sings a couple of songs. Sure, of course. What do you want to play? She says she knows most songs and that’s just an absurd statement but the first two that I suggest she is like “I know those.” And we get up and do completely un-rehearsed, never before performed together versions of “Dreams” and “Tainted Love” and they go over great too. I talk with two sisters for a while, one sister performed and the other is an artist. They moved to Copenhagen from a small village in norther Italy and I love learning about how one sister got into pen and ink dot style art and the other became a singer songwriter. I compliment her chord changes too - as listening she seamlessly went from your regular chords to interesting jazz inversions while never sounding cliche or pretentious.** They just flowed naturally. I talk with another dude that has a great baritone voice and delivery (and plays in drop C tuning) and he asks me about getting nervous before performing and anxiety and all that. When he takes the stage you would never guess that he is nervous but when he sits back down his hands are still shaking. He’s trying to get to the place where he isn’t nervous anymore and that’s just great that he’s working through it.

I chat with some other folks and this was a great first time performing in Copenhagen as I’m encouraged about my next trip here as I’m given leads for and someone wanting to book me shows here as well.  I can’t get over how welcoming everyone has been to me.

Saying my goodbyes, we all promise to meet up next time and i walk the 500 feet back to the bus stop and take the 1A back to the flat and a bit of a re-pack of bags so I can travel with them again and before I know it, it’s closing in on 3 am. The 5:30 alarm is gonna sting.

Roxy is meeting me at the central station for a handoff of the apartment keys and she brought a friend for me to meet - her bearded dragon. Yes, she brought a lizard to the train station. I have never patted a lizard before and I kind of can’t believe that I’m doing it at 7 am in Copenhagen’s central station. Roxy is super sweet and she has gifted me a small present for me and Tracy. I give her a hug and say goodbye and board the first of my trains today.

As I sit down a woman with more bags and a much bigger backpack than me sits down next to me and that’s how I first meet Tessa from Netherlands who has been everywhere. Already 6 of the 7 continents and she’s on her way to someplace she’s never been ~ Osnabrück and weirdly, I have been there. We have a fantastic conversation. Beyond explaining things like the country of Suriname and the dish “Surinamese roti met kip” which sounds amazing. Her husband used to work for Amazon, she just got a job as a travel agent (I didn’t know that was still a thing but she’s going to be amazing at it) and how her grandfather was in a Japanese concentration camp after the end of WW2 and wrote a book about it.

I had been planning on sleeping on this part of the trip but before I know it we are rolling into Hamburg.

Tessa and I elbow bump goodbye and I go to my next train, Hamburg to Dortmund and other than a bit of last minute changing of gate, all is easy. From Dortmund, I walk outside, wait about 5 minutes for the RB52 bus to Herdecke and once I get to Herdecke, the bus drops me off a little less than half a mile from the Shakespeare Pubs and I just hoof it the rest of the way.

By the time I get to the Pub, I have been traveling for a little over 11 hours across two countries and about 450 miles. I drop off my bags upstairs in the band room**** The last time I was here, Nathaniel the owner of Shakespeare Pub, didn’t have food. Or maybe he had food but he still went down the street and got me a pizza. So I have it in my misshapen head that he doesn’t have food and I walk down to the city center, find a spot under an umbrella and order some spaghetti and a glass of merlot.

Just as my food is served, the skies open up and it is raining buckets. I am dry under these umbrellas and I actually really enjoy eating outside in the rain. I take a short video. And I sit there and finish my meal and just chill out for a bit before walking back to the pub.

The Shakespeare Pub has a PA system, it’s a couple of speakers on sticks, a small PA, mic stands and cables and it is an easy set up. I’m shocked by the graphic eq settings as I really hope no one was playing with those settings. (Everything from 1K and up is maxed out, if you don’t understand that, just imagine all the high end cutting through your ear drums. ). I dial in a good sound in about 30 seconds and I’m ready to go.

the night started slow but just kept picking up steam but now I must sleep and tell you about a truly fantastic show that is so fresh, my ears are still ringing from it.  Part 2 tomorrow.


*Oh and I found out the history of Literaturhaus where I played the other night and how at one point it was, and I’m going to get some of this wrong but, it was a church that was purchased by a couple who turned it into some kind of “sexual church”? Where parties would be held and…really, my brain kind of couldn’t comprehend anymore.
**Yes, chords can sound pretentious. And me stating that a chord is pretentious is bordering on me being the arbiter of cool and what’s acceptable and I don’t care. It happens, it’s a thing.
****The band room used to just have a comfy couch to sleep on but now there’s two single beds up here, a bathroom, a big screen tv and so many books.

Tour Diary, Sept 20, 2023 

I technically had today off but still found fun and some great rock and roll by the end of the night.

This bed is very comfortable for me and so sleeping has been easy. I’m super appreciative of my buddy Brett for letting me crash at his place here and have been trying to maintain a small footprint in his space and just dirtying a teacup and teaspoon and washing and reusing the same ones.

Touring always reminds me to try and keep life simpler.  It’s definitely easier said than done.

I get a message from Roxy that there’s some good music happening tonight in the Freetown Christiania section of Copenhagen* at a venue called Loppen and how she can get us in and sends me a link. The show is Jason Ringenberg (Jason and The Scorchers) and Dan Stuart (Green on Red) and I’m like “I know that dude!”** So I send Dan a message and tell him I’m coming to his show tonight and he sends back “you’re on the list.”

Dan also has a book out and he’s been weaving in a reading from his book as well as his stories an songs - so I’m really looking forward to seeing him and I’ve never seen Jason live but every performance I’ve seen online is a house on fire type of show.

But before that we’re going to the Christiania food market for dinner. We’re meeting at 7 pm at the central station and I proceed to walk to the wrong bus stop and get on the wrong bus. The fantastic bus app still won’t work for me with my throttled signal so I pull up Apple Maps and just sort of chart out where I’m going on the buses I’m on.

When the bus I’m on takes a turn in the wrong direction from where I’m going, I press the stop button and get off at the next stop. Cross the street and take one going back the other way. The Central train station is only about 3 miles away and I’m able to do it in 4 of the wrong buses and was about to keep riding the one I was on when I realized I was in fact at the station where we planned to meet up.

I’m waiting for about 2 minutes when she shows up.

“Come on we’ll take the long cut, we’ll make it eventually.”***

The next bus drops us on off in the Freetown Christiania section and we walk to the food market - a huge collection of shipping containers of restaurants and beer gardens and a beach area and ocean. There’s most every kind of food here. Thai, Vietnamese fried chicken, Louisiana style home cooking, pizza, vegan, hamburgers, Indian, Turkish, Pakistani - I can’t even remember them all but we do a once around to see what we want. I go for some Indian tikka masala and it’s delicious. Roxy gets a vegetarian bowl and the wind is howling through this area. The huge beer garden roof, which is a super heavy duty tarp, is blowing enough that we move to a different table.

(Stopping here to fall asleep)  

It’s not far to The Loppen, whose motto is “Going out of business since 1974”, and it’s got a great stage and sound system. When we arrive there’s plenty of seating and we wander backstage to find Dan and say hey. Coming back up stairs to find a seat and the place is now full. No empty seats to be had. We go to the side of the stage and sit on something that looks like stairs but not like stairs to anywhere, just stairs in the middle of the floor. It works.

Dan’s set is a classic lesson in being comfortable in knowing who you are as a performer and trusting your instincts to carry you through. There is no set list, he tells stories and weaves a “choose your own adventure” story type of performance and lets the show flow where it wants to go and then he takes out his book and reads an excerpt from it. And this feels just as much part of the show. Yeah, he’s reading but it’s also a performance. Wow. I am full on inspired by him.

Roxy is taking pictures, I think she said for the venue but maybe not. She has a nice DSLR camera and spends the show at the edge of the stage snapping away.

Jason takes the stage in a flourish of tall, lanky, country showman and he is all that. It’s great stories of getting signed and opening for the Ramones and an extensive history of Crazy Horse and the Native American’s plight in the 1800s - into a story song about Crazy Horse.**** To me, Jason has always been the red snap shirt wearing dude that I saw perform on Conan in the…90s? Shit, I have no idea when it was but when I bought the same snap shirt, it is who I was thinking of and the Scorchers were exactly that, a white hot band.

The one-two combo of Dan and then Jason is inspiring to me as they are singer songwriter dudes out in the world still troubadouring it up and making those connections.

I talk with Dan for a few and we commiserate over the difficulty of traveling with cds and merchandise and how it might not have been “better” in the 90s when you couldn’t sell cds at gigs because the label wanted folks to buy them from a store, but it was “easier” to not have to travel with cds and vinyl.

Jason and I talk for a brief moment after the show and I tell him it’s my first time seeing him live but it won’t be the last. We talk briefly about the music and traveling and even though I know I’m not at these guys’ level, reputation and experience, I feel a kinship through my years on the road as well.

I’ve done a lot, I’ve seen a lot. I’ve been on labels, I’ve opened for heroes, but I never had the money or expectations of a major record label on my back and I wonder how that affects the performer you become. Does having that kind of business behind you make you perform differently or think about what you do differently? This is a fleeting thought as I will never have that kind of dilemma, there aren’t even that many record labels left and the ones that are left are not signing dudes in their 50s.

It reminds me of the time I was approached by a hockey scout in Huntington Beach, CA and offered a tryout for the Long Beach Ice Dogs. “I’m 39” was all I said and the guy said “Ok, thank you.” And walked away. You still have the dreams of stardom but what “stardom” means, changes. The room they played to tonight was pretty great and if you could find rooms like this that you could travel to scattered around the world, well that’s a different kind of success.

We say goodnight and I hope to see Dan again soon. I dig his stuff, I’d love to work with him again. Jason says he’s going to look me up as well. That’d be cool. You can’t help having the daydreams of future gigs.

Roxy and I walk to a bus stop talking about the show and she shows me some of her pictures, she’s quite a talented photographer. And it’s super nice of her to make sure I know which train is mine as my app only works when she hotspots me some wifi. I take the train from the central station out a couple of stops, exit the station, walk down the street about 300 meters to the bus stop and take the bus back to the Valby section of Copenhagen.

I am tired now. I have three shows remaining in my tour and this is the place when my fatigue sets in. It could be 60 shows, it could be 25 shows or even 8 - when I get to the last three I am beat.

Wednesday night (tonight) I’m playing Tjili Pop here in Copenhagen. When I get back to the flat I will do a re-pack of bags so things weigh more evenly and I will catch a train at 7:15 tomorrow morning. I’m really hoping for smooth transfers and ease of trains as I won’t be arriving in Herdecke, Germany until 5 pm tomorrow night. Yes, that’s a full 10 hour travel day on trains and then walk a half mile to the venue, sit down for an hour and then play a show. I’ve already gotten messages from some folks going to that show in Herdecke and it’s that sort of expectation that gives you added determination.

Ok, off to rock in Copenhagen now.


*This is an amazing section of town! This is an intentional community commune in the Christianshavn neighborhood. It began in 1971 as a squatted military base. From there it gets more and more interesting - please look it up!
**I played a show with Dan in LA a bunch of years ago with Jack Waterson  and Don Antonio from Sacri Cuori and then I played on the album he was recording at the time as well. I think Tracy sang on it too. 
***From the song “Long cut” by Uncle Tupelo. I should maybe look into learning this song as it does seem to suit me quite well. 
****I started videoing the story but it’s too long, I can’t upload it here.

Tour Diary, Sept 16, 2023 

Waking up in Bad Doberan (near Kühlungsborn) is one of those waking up and not knowing where you are experiences. I have slept here before but in that just waking up alone moment there is a feeling of “where am I?” that feels out of time and space.

I remember reading that The Replacements used to play a game on tour where they would just randomly point at someone in the van and demand “Day, Date, City?” And the one being quizzed would never have the right details. I always thought it a funny story but if it weren’t for the tour diary, there’s no way I would know the date and I rarely know what day of the week it is anyway. 

It’s a long ride back to Bremen from Kühlungsborn today. I finish up listening to Dave Grohl’s book on the ride and get back to Heike’s garden in the late afternoon. I have about 2 hours until I have to leave to go to tonight’s show at Haus am See in Oterstedt, Osterstedt, Osterstadt… hold on, I have to look it up. I was so close; Otterstedt. 

Haus am See is a sort of locals only restaurant on the banks of a small lake. I say “small lake” because when you’re sitting there, you can see all of it. It’s very cute and feels like New Hampshire and the mosquitos suck like New Hampshire too. I have the option of playing inside or outside and the mosquitos are the deciding factor for indoors. 

I am served up a delicious dinner of schnitzel, potatoes and mushroom gravy. When I ask for “Apfelschule” as my beverage of choice I get a sideways look from the bartender. No matter where you go people are suspicious of you when you don’t drink alcohol.* 

Setting up in the corner of the room, there’s nothing glamorous about this “stage” as it’s literally just the corner of the room. I put my PA speakers up on chairs and dial in a sound pretty quickly. As I start, folks start coming in the room and it’s never like, capacity seating but I play for a mostly full room the whole night. 

Again, folks that don’t know me at all, come in and sit down and listen. I think there’s an element of me coming to where they are that they appreciate. There’s lots of entertainment options in the city but this is in the woods, on a lake…there’s not a lot else going on here. I’m not making fun when I say that. There’s places like that everywhere and I love going to those places. 

I’m asked by a few people “How is it that you ended up here performing?” “I was asked.” 

Sonja and Barbara have come to see me tonight and they sit with Heike while I play. Sonja and Heike have seen a few shows now and there’s this feeling of changing things up a bit night to night just so they don’t get bored. And that’s hard! As much as you rehearse your songs to perform a certain way, there are elements of song introductions that are also rehearsed to an extent so you feel like you’re telling the same people the same story even though most of the people there have never heard it. 

Years ago, Tracy and I went to see Blue Rodeo in Vancouver. It was an amazing show and just before they played “what am I doing here?” Gregg started the introduction of performing in front of a big Ferris wheel early in their career and the woman next to us shouted something like “Yeah, we know!” And Tracy and I were like “But we don’t!” And that is a thing that I think about every time I start a story that I’ve told a few times, there’s new people that haven’t heard it yet!

Back at Haus am See I play some big loud songs, some quiet ones and everything in between. I unplug to sing a couple in the middle of the room with no PA and I am really enjoying doing this. I don’t know if it will fly in other places but I want to try it. Future tour diaries will likely have a mention of when I try this and it didn’t work.

I have a great talk with a few folks buying cds who really dig the music. One guy shouts out for another mandolin song, so I obliged. There’s another table of folks that have come out to see me who have seen me before and I have a nice catch up with them as well.  

When we’re bringing stuff out to the car it is so dark in the parking lot that I am just walking towards where I know I parked. I can’t see the car until I’m right upon it. It feels almost like a campground it’s so dark here. When I plug in the phone and try to use GPS - there’s not near enough signal to find me. Heike and I drive for a bit saying things like “I think we turned here” and the roads are tiny, grown over and almost feel like an oversized sidewalk in places as they are made of not pavement or asphalt but individual bricks. After 10 minutes of driving GPS finds us and we get back to Bremen with ease. 

I’m starting to feel the fatigue of no days off and not retaining as many details the next day. If I write right away, I’m still sharp enough to remember but two days later it starts to blur the details and my writing gets less sharp as well. It’s like the beginning of the Yellow Wallpaper compared to the end of the Yellow Wallpaper.**

Right Now - it’s 8:08 am and I’m on a train. According to my FitBit, I got 3 hours and 24 minutes of sleep last night. I’m hoping for an easy travel day on only two trains - Bremen to Hamburg and then Hamburg to Copenhagen. 

I will rest once I’m on the second train. 

*And Apfelschule is kind of a kids drink. It’s apple juice and sparkling water and honestly, it’s delicious. I make it at home now. 
**another description that probably only works in my head.

Tour Diary, Sept 13, 2023 

Today is our anniversary. Tracy and I have been together for 260 years now. And with the exception of when I’m in a hurry, have canceled trains or am sleeping in a terrible hotel or someone’s couch - I always wish she was with me on tour.

I planned ahead a little bit and ordered some crochet hooks and some purple yarn for her to make her own hat to leave behind somewhere and I’m actually on the phone with her when she opens it so that’s nice.

There is this myth that being “on tour” allows you all this extra time to, you know - be a musician and write more songs and all that but you really don’t. Being on tour is a lot like having a microwave oven. It’s supposed to make things easier and save time but really - you don’t save any time, you just do more stuff.

Seriously, what happened to all the time we were going to save by having a microwave?  Where did it go?

And another thing that happens is that half baked tangents like comparing being on tour to being a microwave oven…makes sense to me.*


Lack of wifi has been causing me some issues. I have T-Mobile, which is also in Europe, so I do have signal everywhere but just using data and maps and downloading podcasts - it’s really bottlenecked and I get messages from T-Mobile saying I’ve used up all the 5G speed and am now getting throttled down to 256K.**

It’s a stupid modern problem but every time I write one of these tour diaries, I write it on my iPad in an email to myself. When I finish writing it I turn on the HotSpot on my phone, wait for it to connect and then send myself an email. This way if something gets lost, I have a copy of it in my Sent folder because it REALLY sucks when you write an entire tour diary on Facebook and then the screen refreshes and you lose the whole thing. Then after a few minutes when the email finally arrives on my phone, I copy/paste and post with pics in the phone on my Facebook page and on my website. There’s always a process and this is the best/most foolproof way I’ve found to do it.

Boy that was boring.


The drive from Bremen to Lübeck is about 120 miles and I’m leaving with plenty of time so that once I get to Lübeck I can find a laundromat and make some clean clothes. It turns out that doing laundry in Lübeck is way cheaper than doing laundry in Amsterdam! It cost 8.50 per wash in Amsterdam and then another 5 euro to dry it. In Lübeck, I did the same thing except all together it was less than 6 euro.

Lübeck apparently not the hotspot tourist destination that Amsterdam is.

I am able to sort of nap in the car while the laundry cooks but it’s not good sleep. This Fiat is easily the least comfortable automobile I’ve ever driven. It’s so bad I’ve apologized to it for bad mouthing it. I feel like I have to be nice to it or else it will turn on me.

But Lübeck is the home of Tonfink, a fantastic little bar with food and a great stage with soundman and monitors and lights. Carolin owns/runs the place and she also does the booking and cooking. She’s there waiting for me and makes me a cup of tea and later on some Thai chicken curry. We confirm details as well as the details for my stay in the local hostel/hotel.

“Don’t lock yourself in again!”*** she warns me.

“I will not do that again.” I assure her.  

I sit down to change the strings on my acoustic and Carolin brings me my dinner. Lübeck is a very cute little city. There’s bikes everywhere and a ton of road construction going on that makes driving here exceptionally confusing - even with GPS. As I’m eating Felix comes up to the table and introduces himself as the soundman and he goes in and sets up stuff and in no time we have excellent sound happening.

There’s a couple that have come and are sitting down near the stage and I recognize her from the last time I was here. Anna has brought her boyfriend Heiko and they tell me about all the concerts they’ve been to in the last year, how they volunteered at music festivals, volunteered for LGBTQ events and worked benefits for women’s shelters and have seen, I want to say 300 shows but that can’t be right. It was a number that ended in “hundred” - maybe it was 100 shows in the last year. She is also wearing a Glen Hansard shirt and he has a Mohawk and they say how much they like listening to metal but the best show they’ve seen in the last year was Glen Hansard. I love that sort of range of musical taste.

She tells me that she follows me on IG and has been inspired by the causes I support and work with when I’m not making music. I’m humbled and amazed by the comment.

I dive into my set and it’s going well. Singing songs, telling stories. I play quiet songs and you could hear a pin drop in the room. I chat with folks during the break. It’s all good.

Super short Guitar Geek Warning:

There’s something weird going on with the phase of my guitar. I’m using my normal two pickup thing but when I bring the second signal in with the volume pedal, the sound gets super nasally. I know it’s phasing out. I flip the phase on my pickup and it doesn’t improve. I flip it back and then flip the phase on the DI and it still does not improve. I am stumped by this. Both of those things should’ve fixed it. I’m also testing the limits of what this SparkleDrive pedal can do. For what I do, it’s very limited. I’m missing my Barefoot FX pedal.

During my second set I play a couple of songs on my telecaster and Felix had helped me dial in a direct sound with it through the SparkleDrive but it’s un inspiring tone tonight. Just bugging me. Then I pick up the mandolin and do two songs acoustically in front of the one mic and they go over too.

I strum a bunch more and as 10 pm approaches I announce that this is my last song. The table with two college age women on my left let out a loud “NO!!!” So much so that I’m actually shocked by it.

“Can this be the song before your last song?”

And in that broken English is the greatest way to ask for more.

“Sure, this is the song before the last song and it’s called ‘Angelia’.”

They scream again.

“My name is Angelia!”

This is an absolute first. When I first called the song that I was looking for a name that would sort of hint at the idea of a Guardian Angel but I didn’t want to be obvious about it and so I changed it to Angelia, sort of thinking I made the name up.**** I sing the song to them and then play another and say goodnight but they all want more. It’s so nice getting that sustained clapping of folks wanting an encore.

Of course I will play more. I actually don’t remember what my second to last song was but I felt like ending with some big rock,

“I stole this next song from a band from Australia.”

And I close with “Long way to the top if you want to rock and roll”*****

It’s great talking to folks after the show, I sell some cds and t-shirts and talk with the couple from earlier.

Heiko asks “What band was it from Australia? Men at work?”

“No, it was INXS.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t Midnight Oil?”

“Oh, it might have been the Go Betweens”

“Ah, yes, the Go Betweens.”

And we both laugh at our collective musical geekery.  

Some dude at the bar buys me a shot, I take a sip. I’m not up for this tonight but I thank him. Felix asks me if I’m going to finish it and I say no and he downs it in one motion. “Made from corn” he says after a grimaced swallow. The two college women are very chatty and they want to be musicians. They ask if I will play another set and I tell them no, I’m done. “But maybe just another hour?”

I’m truly flattered that they want another hour of my music but music stops here about 10 and it’s 10 after.

We sit around chatting for a bit with Anna and Heiko after the show. And then talk with Merleine and Angelia. They ask about how long I’ve played music, when did I start and were my parents happy when I started playing guitar or did they want me to go to college and it’s a funny line of questioning as I can tell the two of them are struggling with it as well. Angelia swigs wine straight from the bottle and non-stop talks and Merleine just smokes and keeps asking questions. They ask questions that are honest but in a kind way. They don’t come out and ask “how much money do you make?” They ask me how successful I am as a musician. Putting it on my terms and it’s such a refreshing way to be asked.

I tell them that I’m not rich, I have to make money when I play, I cannot do it for free but most of my “success” comes from all the people/friends/fans I have met, the places that being a musician has gotten me access to, the extraordinary life that I live - that is success. I wasn’t prepared to have this conversation and my answers surprise both me and them. I can see them thinking and finally she says “I bet bigger bands don’t have the same experiences.”

“Ganeau.”****** I say.

I tell Merleine that she has the same color hair as Tracy.

“This is not my real color hair.”

“It’s not Tracy’s either..”

I tell them that tomorrow is our anniversary and they ask how many years we’ve been married.

“26 years.”

“That’s longer than I’ve been alive.”

Carolin comes to tell me that my room is ready, I’ve been upgraded, I’m in room 6 and the key is already in the door. Because of course it is. I drive to the hostel, there’s no key in the door but the room is open. I go inside and fall asleep.

Guten nacht.


*I feel like it’s when comedian Eddie/Suzy Izzard made the connection that cannibals say that humans taste like chicken so when someone is served chicken he said “taste of human.” And he really lost a lot of the audience with that one. 
**Which makes you feel like one of the beings in that show “Uploaded” where dead people’s consciousness are uploaded to a server thing but their families have to pay for more data otherwise they just end up in the basement all greyed out. Man, that show is way darker than the comedy it was first billed as. 
***Devotees of the Tour Diary will remember that the last time I played here, at the end of the night I went to the hostel, went in the wrong door and tried to exit into a big atrium area only to have the door lock behind me and for a frantic hour thought I was going to have to sleep in that locked area in sight of my illegally parked car with the hazards on because the staff had gone home for the night. Carolin woke up the owner at home and he drove back and let me out. 
****Completely forgetting that not only does Richard Marx have a song called Angelia, but my friend Tawny IS IN THE VIDEO with Richard Marx. 
*****This song is obviously by AC/DC, not the Go Betweens, not The Church, not Baby Animals, not Paul Kelly, not Kacey Chambers…
******Ganeau is German for “uh-huh”. It’s probably the most common thing you hear in conversation here.

February 2021 Playlist:

New ear candy for your head holes.:

Spotify Link Here.


January 2021 Playlist

I set up a Spotify playlist of stuff I've been listening to, like Katie Pruitt, Kathleen Edwards, Kasey Musgraves, Great Peacock, Taylor Swift, Old 97's and Rhett Miller.

Dig it here.