The Bobbo Society For The Arts & Letters

Thursday, May 12, 2022 

Hey folks! 

Just dropping into your inbox to say hey and give a couple of updates. First up - no shows this weekend! How about that! 

On Mother's Day we had our benefit for WTLC (Women's Transitional Living Center) and everyone was wonderful* - we raised $1100 for them. Thank you for contributing! 

Next week's shows: 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022 
Lunchtime Livestream (or Nachtshow if you're in Germany / Austria) 
Singing and strumming your favs from 12-1 pm (3-4 pm EST | 21:00-22:00 CET) 
Live on my Facebook page here. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022 
Anaheim Farmer's Market 
12-1 pm 
Promenade, Anaheim, CA 

Friday, May 20, 2022 
Bogart's Coffee 
Seal Beach, CA 
6-8 pm 

Saturday, May 21, 2022 
The Night Owl 
Fullerton, CA 
8 pm 

Now other things going on: 

In June we are playing the Hellmouth Convention in Los Angeles on June 4th doing our Firefly themed music and then I am doing some driving. I have shows booked in Colorado, Tennessee, Illinois, Louisiana. I'm still looking for a couple of things to fill in in between. Would love to book something in Las Vegas and Texas. If you would like to schedule something or know a place I should look into - let me know. 

In July I'm booking another short run up the west coast with shows in Berkeley and Cayucos and filling in more. 

In August I will be in New England and booking some things from August 8-13. I currently do not have anything booked yet but that's the window I'm working with. 

Then in September I fly to Europe for a month of shows in Austria, Germany, Belgium and the U.K. 

If you look up the shows page on my website you will see what I have booked so far and if you'd like a show near you, now is the time to speak up. 

The free song today is 10,000 miles and it's a perfect one with all that I just laid out. 

Ok, I'm off to book more things. 

I look forward to seeing you all out there somewhere and giving everyone a big hug!** 

xo 

~Bobbo 

please follow me here: 

Instagram 
Facebook 
Patreon 

*There's still archived livestream of it on my FB page. 
**I will ask first. I'm not about to go giving hugs all willy-nilly to people that don't want one.

Mother's Day Benefit Concert for Women's Transitional Living Center 

Hey Folks, 

There's a lot going on in the world right now but if I've learned anything at all - it helps to think global and act local. 

This Sunday (yes Mother's Day) we're going to be having a backyard benefit concert here in Anaheim to help WTLC. They are a local organization founded in 1976 to meet the needs of survivors of domestic violence and have grown to also accept populations that normally struggle to find help, including mental illness survivors, folks struggling with drug and alcohol abuse, transgender victims as well as emancipated youth. 

Our friend Elia has worked with them for a while now and that's how we heard about it. 

Since this event is at our house - please message me for the address. 

This is also a potluck event so if you feel so inclined, please bring something to share, be it a beverage, dessert or snack. I will have the grill going and cooking up some hot dogs and hamburgers too. 

Sunday, May 8, 2022 
3-8 pm 
Stop by anytime. 

If you can't make it in person, we will have it livestreaming on my Facebook page here.* 

We've enlisted some friends to help with the sugar for the medicine: 

3:30 - Sound of a Distant Sun (Matt & Geo violin and guitar duo)
4:30 - The Odd Birds (Americana/folk duo) 
5:30 - Courtney Chambers (alternative pop) 
6:30 - The Fallen Stars (whatever it is we do) 
7:30 - Starbird Falls (OC's shortest alt.country supergroup) 

We will be taking donations through cash, PayPal and Venmo and donating directly to the WTLC. If you'd rather bring an item, WTLC. org does have suggested items on their website. 

PayPal: Bobbo@BobboByrnes.com 
Venmo: Bobbo-Byrnes 

A short video about WTLC

Thanks for hanging out with us. 

xo 

Bobbo 

*For fans of the livestreaming - I will be doing a Lunchtime Livestream next week. Lunchtime for me and evening for all my friends in Europe. More about that next week! 

https://fb.me/e/4AsRF6fIg

Tour Diary, Friday, March 4, 2022 

Waking up in Sherwood, OR at my aunt and uncle’s house is like waking up on a retreat. It’s quiet, there’s a beautiful view, there’s eggs from their neighbors chickens, freshly made sour dough bread for toast and two of the loveliest people you could ever hope to meet. 

My aunt Mary Ann is almost 80. Beyond the fact that she’s been to all 7 continents, run marathons, recognized by the WHO for the work she’s done with women worldwide ~ beyond all that, about 5 years ago she started a non profit to help women in Kenya that are victims of sexual abuse, obstetric fistula survivors and it has grown and grown and grown. It’s expanding to teach the women there how to educate other women about their bodies and how quilting and making things to survive. I’m doing a very bad job of explaining it all but trust me it’s amazing. She’s leaving in April to spend a few weeks in Kenya helping and learning and just being all around amazing. 

And her husband Steve? He’s the CFO and incredible too. 

Anyway - it’s great to get to see them as it’s been a few years and we have a nice afternoon tea and just catch up before I have to head out to tonight’s show. 

I’m playing Sam Bond’s in Eugene tonight. They have my name on the marquee and everything is even spelled write.* Molly is behind the bar and she’s a hot shit. Her dad was a drummer, she followed the Grateful Dead around for a few years, once stayed at Dave Grohl’s house with a friend - not knowing who Dave Grohl was and has a big sleeve tattoo of Waylon Jennings. 

The stage is decent sized and for a place that looks mostly like a restaurant (with decent food, I might add) this is a full on rock club. It seems to be run by ex-punks if that makes sense. There’s a bit of a rockabilly vibe here and Sean the soundman has that lean, mean Mike Ness quality to him. 

There’s so much to be confused by contradictory things here. Grateful Dead, Old school punk rock and….Waylon Jennings?  I think they might like me. 

I use one of my drink tickets to get a cup of tea and casually set up my stuff. When it’s time to go I launch into it and I get a smattering of claps. This crowd has seen it all and I’m getting a little bit of show-us-what-you-got-ness from them and I give it hell. By the end I think I’ve made a few fans and I get the best APB sing along yet, just by singing the part once, no practice.  My stories don’t seem to land so well tonight but that could’ve just been my perception. They really dig when I make a big noise and strum hard or do some fancy bits on the guitar.  I close with Angelia and I’m so annoyed by a voice crack in the second to last line of the song but it still goes over and I end with a much fuller room than I started. 

The band after me is good but up close was too much sound, from the back of the room it’s a better blend. I’m sitting with Joshua who has seen me play in Berkeley and I’m a bit restless and go sit outside for a few. 

There’s these large barn doors behind the stage and out back you can hear all the music pretty clearly but at much reduced volume and I sit down at a picnic table and Molly is out back now hanging out with some other folks who all really loved my set. Ask questions and Molly says “I’ll bet you’re a guy who has some stories.”  Ha!!  It’s a fun hang in the back patio for a bit and then Joshua joins us and he and I have a long conversation about octave mandolins.** I even give him one of my mandolin picks and then I sell a few cds, and the stickers are a big hit. They love the “this machine shares love”.  Then the club’s booker finds me to give me my dough and tells me “you tore it up tonight.”*** and invites me back. 

I’m already planning my next trip up the coast. I’ve been doing this solo touring thing a while now and it’s amazing to me that it’s a constant learning thing all the time. Like, you can be good at singing and playing guitar but that’s not even half of it if you really want to connect with people and I feel like this tour was a lot more immersive for me. Part of that was just having the time to show up and not be rushing to set up, having time to get to know the room, the people and connecting before I even played. You really need that time. That and staying after as well. There’s so many folks that just blow in for their own set and then blow back out again and it’s robbing you of that connection not just with the venue but with the other musicians and potential fans. 

More connection = more better. 

I didn’t make toast for anyone tonight, it seemed in poor taste to bring a toaster and raisin bread into a restaurant. Have to figure out if I’m going to keep doing this moving forward. I like it, it’s fun but it may not be feasible everywhere. 

Ok, goodnight. 

*Misspelling humour!!! 
**Apparently I need an octave mandolin. I have long suspected this was the case but now I know. 
***This is a compliment.

Tour Diary, Wednesday, March 2, 2022  

As NRBQ would say “I got my HoJo working!” Yep, stayed at a Howard Johnson’s last night. I didn’t know they still existed either! Was alright, I give it a solid 2 stars. They had wifi but it only worked in the hallway but the bed was comfy and clean and that’s all I really needed. Tomorrow I’m driving to Tacoma, dropping stuff, meeting some friends and then playing a show in Seattle. 

Driving into Tacoma I’m experiencing weird no connection to wifi. I pull into a McDonalds and try to get signal but it doesn’t come. I can see on the map where I have to go and so I just old fashioned/no gps it. This far north and west it feels like Lewis an Clark to be here with no gps.* 

Meeting up with Jeff and Frances and the house is super nice, Harvey the dog is a big black lab. We have a nice meet up/catch up. Her ex husband used to work at the U.N. In the Netherlands and she lived in Germany and just really interesting conversation then I head out to be at Central Saloon for load in. 

It’s an easy drive from Tacoma to Seattle but the roads are a disaster, multiple sets of lines make you wonder if you’re on the sidewalk, in the street, in a turn lane or on the 5. Jeff tells me that it’s Seattle’s version of Boston’s “Big Dig” and they’re still figuring it out. I came to a full stop twice because I couldn’t tell which way the road went. 

The Central Saloon is famous. For starters they’ve been here for over 100 years but then you look at the walls of the bands that have played here - Mother Love Bone, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Screaming Trees - just to name a few. Without those bands you don’t have Seattle “grunge”. For a Boston perspective; it’s built like Bill’s Bar on Landsdowne street. Same type of stage, same long narrow building, same workmanlike area and same rock and roll vibe. 

I feel at home. 

There’s two other acts going on before me and they are both great. There’s Peter Donovan and Sean Croizier. Sean is up first and he’s got a great voice that is only made better when he’s joined by Erica and dammit I can’t remember the mandolin player’s name! When the three of them sing together it’s really something special. Tight harmonies and cool songs. And then Peter Donovan unassumingly takes the stage and just slays with beautiful songs and an easy delivery that pisses me off he’s so smooth. He’s got a new album coming out next month and I’m already in line to get it. 

I like this stage. It’s up a bit higher than most and feels very comfortable. I tell stories and sing the songs. I dedicate APB to Erica sitting in front grooving along and we get the sing along going without even teaching it. I’m feeling so comfortable I even play my looper version of “reptile” by The Church. What the hell, right? It goes over even though I screw up some lyrics. I’m feeling the vocals a bit rough tonight but it seems to be work in this place. I finish up with Angelia and then I go make toast for everyone. 

The manager/booking guy comes up to me and says “that was fucking awesome, any time you want to come back, just let me know.” That’s my kind of compliment! Loved this place and can’t wait to return. 

All the musicians hung out for one another and supported each other’s sets. I sold 4 or 5 vinyl records tonight and some cds. Was a great night. 

I have definitely decided that next tour will be fewer guitars but I think I have to keep bringing the little amp and doing the dual pickup setup. I’m the only one doing this thing and it seems to be going over pretty well. I get more compliments from folks saying they dig the sound and tonight I get compared to not just Tom Petty but also Frank Black. That’s a first. When I’m in a place that is ok to be loud, I can make a good bit of noise for dynamic purposes and it feels good. 

Back at Francis’ house we open some wine and cheese and have more hangout time. The stories get even more fantastical and the world continues to be a crazy place. 

After my second glass of wine I realize that the only thing I’ve eaten in the past 10 hours is a pretzel and a piece of toast. I’m barely awake when my head hits the pillow. 

Tomorrow I drive to Sherwood, OR where my aunt and uncle live. I’m looking forward to seeing them as it’s been a few years since we’ve been together. 

Goodnight. 

*Oregon trail anyone? Please no dysentery jokes!

 

Tour Diary, Monday, Feb 28, 2022 

It's Monday but still feels like Sunday. I'm staying at my friend Anna's house in Medford, OR. It's good to see her as I haven't seen her since September when she stayed at our place to watch Lena (our cat) while we were in Europe on tour. 

Medford is a nice little town, lots of stuffs in the downtown area. I don't see any of it as I catch up on sleep and do some laundry. I swap some texts with my buddy Rami about the Foos movie "Studio 666" and I get online looking for it showing near me and sure enough it's on the Cineplex here in Medford. The movie is fucking funny and "fuck" is probably the most said word in the whole movie. Not even probably. I laughed out loud in the theater. 

I saw a review saying the movie didn't have a good opening weekend like a comedy/horror movie by Foo Fighters is supposed to be some gigantic millions grossing movie. It was a cult classic before it even hit the theater! JFC. 

That said, go see it. It's funny, it's campy and it feels like hanging out with them. 

Tomorrow I drive to Cottage Grove, OR and play at the Axe & Fiddle. Right now I'm just going to doomscroll about Ukraine. Boy Zelenskyy has a set of brass balls huh?

Goodnight. 

Tour Diary, Sunday Feb 27, 2022  

Travel day. 5.5 hours up the coast. Sleeping in Medford, OR tonight. 

Travel tip: try to hit the Siskiyou Pass *before* the sun goes down. The lines on the road are barely visible and if this thing gets icy it will be no bueno. 

Also the sun went down about 5:30 here today.

I downloaded the NPR app on my phone and was good listening until I hit the mountains and had no signal. 

Tour Diary, Saturday, Feb 26, 2022 

After a good sleep and some toast and tea I drive over to Pacifica from Berkeley. My friend Suzi is coming to the show today so she rides with me and we have a great chat about music and stuffs on the ride.  

Suzi has friends Jason, Liz and their cute little boy Levi staying in her driveway right now. They are traveling nurses and have outfitted an old bus and live in it and go from city to city. They are fantastic people. Suzi met Jason when they were both illegally arrested for protesting one of Arizona’s inhumane law, he as a nurse and her as press. It’s a long story and makes you thankful that there are people like them out in the world looking after other people that fall through the cracks.  

Over in Pacifica, Winters Tavern is a great spot, I get the punk rock vibe coming from every inch of this place. It’s a nice enough day out so I’m playing outside. Erin, the bartender directs me to the speaker that is my PA.  

This is going to be a little technical but not too much.  There is one powered speaker for me to use as a PA. It’s a 15” JBL and is typically used as “part” of a PA system but here, outside it is all that is provided. It has one xlr input and two 1/4” inputs. No eq, no reverb, just volume. Fortunately I brought my little Bose S1 Pro. I haven’t talked a lot about this little powered speaker but it is a lifesaver and really a Swiss Army knife for live stuff. It can be a main speaker, a monitor, it runs off battery if there’s no power - and today it is also my mixer. I plug my microphone and my acoustic guitar into it, dial it in with the eq and reverb and then take the 1/4” output and send that to the big 15” JBL speaker and it sounded pretty great. I’m so glad I brought this little Bose with me. It also came with a backpack type of bag to keep it in. Bonus!   

I pretty much just launch into it today. It’s a punk rock bar, I’m not going to be too loud or whatever here and there’s a freedom in that. I mean, I’m not obnoxiously loud or abrasive anyway but knowing that the amount of noise and/or abrasiveness is beyond what I can make is a bit freeing. There’s a group of folks to my right that are just tuned in and enjoying all of it, there’s a couple that have set up wood fired pizza (Gabba Gabba Pizza!) and they’re digging it. Suzi’s in front with her friend Rob and more folks just scattered throughout the patio area.  

I’m having fun.  

Suzi requested some Roxy Music so I give “Virginia Plain” a good kicking. I can see the punks making pizza were really not expecting to hear that song from a solo acoustic dude.  

And then the motorcycles started doing burnouts.  

Right next to this patio area is an old gas station/garage thing that a group of guys have seemingly taken over to hang out and do burnouts on their motorcycles. I pause a couple times because I’m just being drowned out. They are only about 50 feet away. Folks went over and politely said to them, look - there’s a guy performing here, do you have to do that? And it seemed to make them do it more, louder and for longer periods of time. And for no other reason then to be dickheads.  

Finally it got so bad Suzi got up, went to the back fence, climbed up on a bench and yelled “HEY ASSHOLES, SHUT UP!” And gave all these bikers a full double bird. I so wish I had a picture of that moment. It was probably the nicest thing anyone has ever done on behalf of me while performing.  

And it shut them up for a little bit. But assholes gonna asshole. It was a great show that was slightly overshadowed by a bunch of dickheads. 

I got a great singalong going for Wolf during APB, folks were digging the stories, sold cds, we talked about the connection between The Grateful Dead and The Clash and a guy came up and gave me a Grateful Dead sticker which I put right on my guitar. We ate Gabba Gabba pizza (which was absolutely top notch pizza) and all had a great time despite the assholes. Hell I even sold 2 usb sticks today!  

Then we came back to Berkeley and had fantastic stuffed peppers, wine and conversation in Jason  and Liz’s bus/home. Now I’m beat. Tomorrow I head north to Oregon. I tried to order new pants online to be shipped to me in Oregon but they won’t get there in time so I ordered patches for jeans and i will patch the hole. Next best thing, right?  

Ok, goodnight.

Tour Diary, Friday, Feb 25, 2022 

The Hamlet Inn in Solvang is nice and centrally located little motel that allows you to wake up and walk across the street and sit at a diner counter and get your bacon and eggs. I love diners. If I had my druthers I think our kitchen at home would be all Formica and chrome and the formica would have the little sparkly stars in the design* and a covered pie would sit on the counter.  

Anyway. 

The drive from Solvang to Hayward is pretty smooth. It’s just under 300 miles and about 5 hours. I go from car to directly setting up on stage since I’m playing from 4:30-6:30 today.  

The Bistro in Hayward is a music bar. No tvs to distract. Just a stage, a long bar along the right and a bunch of tables in the middle. There is a couple at the end of the bar having an animated conversation about the whereabouts and goings on about all the people they graduated high school with back in the early 70s. “You remember that teacher, she was the one that was always nice to boys but mean to the girls.” “No, I don’t think I had her.” “Of course you had her, we were in the same class.”  And so on and so on.  

It’s conversations like this that make you actually feel like you’re part of the town, not because you know who they are talking about specifically but because you know who they are talking about abstractly.  

Now The Bistro is an interesting name because there is nothing distinctly “bistro” about this place. There is no food as far as I can tell, just some hard drinking Friday afternoon folks. The bartender is super nice and has two braids that start on either side of his mouth and go down nearly to his belt. If the long braided beard would make you bristle, his demeanor and friendly smile would break down any visual prejudices you might have.  

There are large windows all round this bar and allows full visual of the street outside and it feels very open and inviting.  

I roll out my rug on the hardwood stage and set up for some afternoon singing and strumming.  

For the technical aspects: It’s a Peavey PA head and speakers hung from the ceiling. I know some folks don’t like Peavey stuff, notably Ray Wylie Hubbard has it in his rider that he won’t play through any Peavey PA systems. (I don’t know what happened to Ray to make it a tour rider breaking point but I am curious) But I’m putting a vocal and acoustic guitar through it and honestly, it’s hard for Peavey to muck that up. I run the two cables, turn it up and it’s fine. Easy even. I take a line out from the monitor send and plug it into my portable Bose as a monitor and I’m sorted. I think the rug helps too and I’m not joking about that.  

Before I start I tell the folks there that I’m not sure what they are expecting but I play mostly songs I’ve written and not a lot of covers and the covers I do play are not always identifiable as covers. To which someone shouts out “That’s good!” And everyone else sort of agrees with that proclamation.  

And its these little things, these setting of expectations and their being willing to go along with me that change the air in the room. Before I said that I was thinking to myself “I’m going to get requests for ‘American pie’ and the Eagles today.” And them being up for what I was about to dish out - that was 90% of the battle. It was easy after that.  

I played two sets, told so many stories that one guy kept asking questions about the stories and just kept asking for more stories. “Tell us another story about being on tour in Germany.” Ok, Rick**, I have stories. Probably more stories than songs at this point.   

Folks put bread in my jar and I’m glad I’m singing here today.  

The one weird thing that did happen was when the evening’s band showed up to start setting up. The guitar player we’ll call “Brad” was there 2 hours early to set up for their gig. Brad is about 10 years older than me and seems hell bent on one-upping everything. It’s weird. He tells me his band will pack the place tonight and how he’s been playing in a Santana cover band since the 70s and then he starts with guitars as he has a custom made guitar and he takes it out to show me and Rick from the bar is there listening and Brad is ignoring my new friend Rick and I keep bring Rick back into the conversation. Rick asks to hold his custom made guitar and it is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. 7 piece neck, custom wound pickups, really beautiful. And Rick chimes in “Bobbo used to make guitars.”*** And I’m about to put away my telecaster and I say, I put this one together. Rick asks if he can hold it, I hand it over. And god bless him, Rick looks right at Brad and says “I like this one better than yours.” And it’s just funny to watch. I’m not here to impress the guitar player of a Santana tribute band, I’m here to entertain the folks at the bar.  

Rick asks me a few more questions about touring in the states and Europe and it’s just friendly conversation. Brad overhears this and chimes in about how his wife and daughter are going to europe for about two weeks and asks me how long I will be overseas. I tell him I usually go for about 6-8 weeks at a time. “My god, what are you doing all that time?” Rick chimes in “He’s on tour, playing shows.” And Brad’s face melts again. It’s so weird to watch someone who usually wins the one-up game losing it - and I’m not even playing the game! 

Then Brad starts talking about his guitar collection and how he has like a dozen guitars and asks me how many I have. “I really don’t know man. I sold like 4 of them in the past couple months so probably around 40?” His face just melts again. I think he’s used to winning this game.  

During the show it was also great to see Rory who I haven’t seen since…Hotel Utah in San Francisco or maybe it was a house concert in Berkeley. He’s friends of friends and is now also my friend. We get to catch up and commiserate on lost loved ones and we share a good hug and chat. Thanks Rory, it’s alwasy great to see you! 

It’s a short 45 minute post show drive to Suzi’s and I sleep deep tonight. Tomorrow is a matinee show at 2 pm that’s only about 40 minutes away.  

Until then. 

*Would it be wrong to want Tracy to dress as a diner waitress too? That may be a bridge too far.  
**We were on a first name basis at this point.  
***Somehow the story that I used to work at Parker guitars actually came out during the show’s impromptu Q&A period.

Tour Diary, Friday, Feb 25, 2022 

The Hamlet Inn in Solvang is nice and centrally located little motel that allows you to wake up and walk across the street and sit at a diner counter and get your bacon and eggs. I love diners. If I had my druthers I think our kitchen at home would be all Formica and chrome and the formica would have the little sparkly stars in the design* and a covered pie would sit on the counter.  

Anyway. 

The drive from Solvang to Hayward is pretty smooth. It’s just under 300 miles and about 5 hours. I go from car to directly setting up on stage since I’m playing from 4:30-6:30 today.  

The Bistro in Hayward is a music bar. No tvs to distract. Just a stage, a long bar along the right and a bunch of tables in the middle. There is a couple at the end of the bar having an animated conversation about the whereabouts and goings on about all the people they graduated high school with back in the early 70s. “You remember that teacher, she was the one that was always nice to boys but mean to the girls.” “No, I don’t think I had her.” “Of course you had her, we were in the same class.”  And so on and so on.  

It’s conversations like this that make you actually feel like you’re part of the town, not because you know who they are talking about specifically but because you know who they are talking about abstractly.  

Now The Bistro is an interesting name because there is nothing distinctly “bistro” about this place. There is no food as far as I can tell, just some hard drinking Friday afternoon folks. The bartender is super nice and has two braids that start on either side of his mouth and go down nearly to his belt. If the long braided beard would make you bristle, his demeanor and friendly smile would break down any visual prejudices you might have.  

There are large windows all round this bar and allows full visual of the street outside and it feels very open and inviting.  

I roll out my rug on the hardwood stage and set up for some afternoon singing and strumming.  

For the technical aspects: It’s a Peavey PA head and speakers hung from the ceiling. I know some folks don’t like Peavey stuff, notably Ray Wylie Hubbard has it in his rider that he won’t play through any Peavey PA systems. (I don’t know what happened to Ray to make it a tour rider breaking point but I am curious) But I’m putting a vocal and acoustic guitar through it and honestly, it’s hard for Peavey to muck that up. I run the two cables, turn it up and it’s fine. Easy even. I take a line out from the monitor send and plug it into my portable Bose as a monitor and I’m sorted. I think the rug helps too and I’m not joking about that.  

Before I start I tell the folks there that I’m not sure what they are expecting but I play mostly songs I’ve written and not a lot of covers and the covers I do play are not always identifiable as covers. To which someone shouts out “That’s good!” And everyone else sort of agrees with that proclamation.  

And its these little things, these setting of expectations and their being willing to go along with me that change the air in the room. Before I said that I was thinking to myself “I’m going to get requests for ‘American pie’ and the Eagles today.” And them being up for what I was about to dish out - that was 90% of the battle. It was easy after that.  

I played two sets, told so many stories that one guy kept asking questions about the stories and just kept asking for more stories. “Tell us another story about being on tour in Germany.” Ok, Rick**, I have stories. Probably more stories than songs at this point.   

Folks put bread in my jar and I’m glad I’m singing here today.  

The one weird thing that did happen was when the evening’s band showed up to start setting up. The guitar player we’ll call “Brad” was there 2 hours early to set up for their gig. Brad is about 10 years older than me and seems hell bent on one-upping everything. It’s weird. He tells me his band will pack the place tonight and how he’s been playing in a Santana cover band since the 70s and then he starts with guitars as he has a custom made guitar and he takes it out to show me and Rick from the bar is there listening and Brad is ignoring my new friend Rick and I keep bring Rick back into the conversation. Rick asks to hold his custom made guitar and it is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. 7 piece neck, custom wound pickups, really beautiful. And Rick chimes in “Bobbo used to make guitars.”*** And I’m about to put away my telecaster and I say, I put this one together. Rick asks if he can hold it, I hand it over. And god bless him, Rick looks right at Brad and says “I like this one better than yours.” And it’s just funny to watch. I’m not here to impress the guitar player of a Santana tribute band, I’m here to entertain the folks at the bar.  

Rick asks me a few more questions about touring in the states and Europe and it’s just friendly conversation. Brad overhears this and chimes in about how his wife and daughter are going to europe for about two weeks and asks me how long I will be overseas. I tell him I usually go for about 6-8 weeks at a time. “My god, what are you doing all that time?” Rick chimes in “He’s on tour, playing shows.” And Brad’s face melts again. It’s so weird to watch someone who usually wins the one-up game losing it - and I’m not even playing the game! 

Then Brad starts talking about his guitar collection and how he has like a dozen guitars and asks me how many I have. “I really don’t know man. I sold like 4 of them in the past couple months so probably around 40?” His face just melts again. I think he’s used to winning this game.  

During the show it was also great to see Rory who I haven’t seen since…Hotel Utah in San Francisco or maybe it was a house concert in Berkeley. He’s friends of friends and is now also my friend. We get to catch up and commiserate on lost loved ones and we share a good hug and chat. Thanks Rory, it’s alwasy great to see you! 

It’s a short 45 minute post show drive to Suzi’s and I sleep deep tonight. Tomorrow is a matinee show at 2 pm that’s only about 40 minutes away.  

Until then. 

*Would it be wrong to want Tracy to dress as a diner waitress too? That may be a bridge too far.  
**We were on a first name basis at this point.  
***Somehow the story that I used to work at Parker guitars actually came out during the show’s impromptu Q&A period.

Tour Diary, Feb 24, 2022 

Driving up the 101 past the Summerland exit and memories of the first year we lived in California come back to me. That was when I was playing guitar in Sonny Mone’s band. Sonny was the singer in Crazy Horse when Neil Young wasn’t and we’d rehearse at Billy’s house in Santa Barbara. It was a great band and I still remember the day I quit. It was 135 miles one way to get here and it was killing me and I hated making that phone call from the 101 when I just couldn’t take the drive any longer. 

Billy’s house had train tracks in the yard. Real train tracks. He put them there. There was no train anywhere near his house.  

That’s what I think of when I’m on the 101 in Santa Barbara - great music, great folks and a drive from hell. It was a short period of time I spent coming up here but it seemed like condensed living, like we were already friends before I even got here. 

I cruise by Summerland and give a shout out to the ghost of Billy and sing “dragging the line” out loud for him.  

My phone rings and after a few minutes of preamble my friend tells me “I finally figured out what I don’t like about your voice.” Now what he’s talking about is an EQ thing and wishing I had a more soulful voice (uh, yeah, so do I) and he means well but before you do your first show of tour it’s… Well, it doesn’t really phase me but timing is everything. I know what I sound like and there’s no one that’s going to be more critical of me than ME. It’s just…urgh. Timing. He also says that I sound too much like Westerberg but that’s always a good thing in my book. 

Anyway.  

I drive through Santa Ynez and I actually consider stopping off at the Jones house. The last time I was here I was playing with Phil Cody. They haven’t had their JonesFest in a few years but man what a day that is. I miss the Jones’.  

Realizing it’s a bit of old home week driving up the coast. Not a bad thing at all. The weirdest part? I’m not running late to get here.  

Tonight I’m at Lost Chord Guitars. It’s a bar, it’s a club, they have guitars for sale on the wall, there’s pictures of The Dude and Jeff Bridges guitars and this is Chris’ place and it’s amazing. It’s a good size room and usually a listening audience. He dials in the sound and I can hear him sweeping the spectrum to dial out the harshness. After a few he asks what I think and it’s *nearly* perfect. I ask about taking out a little more 1K out of my voice and he was pretty much already on top of it and Bam. Great sound.  

I’ve decided to bring my “ideal” live stage setup on this tour. That means Gibson 6 string acoustic, telecaster, 12 string Martin, Dobro and mandolin as well as my Fender Princeton amp and pedals. 

Now I know - this is insane. 5 guitars for a solo gig but yeah. It works, it’s perfect. I arrange the set accordingly and it keeps it interesting to the listener . 

We’re sitting around and Chris and Ben (other soundman) are playing some of the guitars on the walls and they can play. Like really play. It’s intimidating to know that both soundman can play circles around me. Nice guys, genuinely nice dudes as is his dog Sadie who is also hanging out.  

I walk to grab a bite, I didn’t realize how hungry I was until I got back to my room and got a little light headed. Nothing a local burger can’t fix, thanks Big Bopper.   

The last time I was here a local guy with a good following was playing and it was a holiday weekend. Solvang is pretty dead tonight. I’m a bit nervous about playing to an empty room but fortunately before I start a few folks wander in and I launch into it. You play to the people that are here, not the people that aren’t. And as I go on, more and more folks come in.  

I’m not going to bullshit you and say that it was packed - cause it wasn’t - but I had a nice crowd of folks that were here to hear music. They listened to the stories and….LISTENED. It was fantastic.  

I talk about working in the old mill and how Springsteen never had a job in a factory and about pig roasts and biker rallies and songs my mother doesn’t like and someone shouted out “Did you ever play metal?” And it’s such a weird question that I actually turn on the distortion pedal and with my acoustic I play a little bit of Ozzy’s “Crazy Train.”* 

I tell them all that today is National Toast Day** and that everyone will get some toast at the end of the show.  

As I’m getting ready to finish up I tell them I have two songs that I’m thinking of playing - one is happy and upbeat and the other one is slow and about existential dread and which one would they like to hear and they shout back “Play them both but play the sad one first!”  

So I do and it’s great.  

Then I make toast for them all. Yes, of course Cinnamon raisin. Yes, of course I brought butter, what kind of monster doesn’t put butter on their toast? 

I walk around and talk to all the folks. Lily just happened to wander in. She says “I love your voice, so much soul.”*** And then I talk to another couple and I can hear their accent. “Where are you from?” “We’re from Germany.”  “Yeah, where?”  “Berlin.”  “Oh, do you like my Berlin bear tattoo?” And we’re off and running. They can’t believe that I know Berlin and I list off clubs I’ve played there and of course we talk about döner kebab and Mustafas.   

As I’m talking to them I’m reminded of something that I started a few years ago in Germany when I had folks at the shows sign my guitar and I clearly remember the first place where this happened to me - Ben and I were playing a restaurant retreat type place in a remote area and the bartender was super nice to us and I gave her the sharpie and she signed her name and she was the first person I ever met from Ukraine.  

It’s just a signature on a guitar. There is no global significance but to me I’m remembering a moment when my worldview was expanded by my conversation with her and the world got a little bit smaller. I hope she’s ok today.  

It’s time to continue this tradition. I get my dobro and bring it to their table and they both sign my guitar. Thank you Maria and and and…I asked too many times and never got her name down in my head and she signed my guitar and I can’t make it out! Dammit. Tradition continues.  

I pack up my stuff and Chris tells me he really enjoyed the show and wants me back.  

Winner, winner, chicken dinner.  

It was a good night in Solvang. 

Oh and Suzi- I’m going to need to do some pants repairs! I only brought one pair of pants and I have a dangerous tear starting.   

*Dammit, they were German! I should’ve played The Scorpions!! Missed opportunity.  
**This is not made up, it actually is.  
***Ha!

February 2021 Playlist:

New ear candy for your head holes.:

Spotify Link Here.

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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.