Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Jun 21st 2010 5:47PM by The Mynabirds
Although the tour is over, Burhenn still has plenty to share about the second half of the journey, including the sentimentality of spending time with old friends and new ones. The band also got to experience the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill and the Midwestern tornadoes, which reminded them to be thankful for what they have.
I meant to write long before this. In fact, had I not temporarily lost my camera in Birmingham, had one-third of the Mynabirds not gotten food poisoning between Columbia and Nashville, and had the last half of the tour not been quite as insane, I'd already be done with this tour blogging. But let's take this as a good thing: us extending our time together here in the ethernets, and me getting a good chance to look back with a little perspective. Hopefully, I'll remember all the juiciest details with absolute precision.
When I last checked in, we were in Chicago enjoying some margaritas, rain storms and the Do Division street fest. The next day brought us some needed sleep and another Chicago show, this one at the Empty Bottle. In spite of us playing nearly opposite She & Him's free concert in Millennium Park, the show was packed. A free Monday night concert series is a brilliant thing. We had a lovely time at the Empty Bottle and hope to get back to Chicago again soon.
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The next three days were marathons: a Daytrotter Session in Rock Island (which should be posted sometime in the next month or so); a radio stop-in and late-night show in Iowa City (real fine pizza at The Mill); another radio stop-in and show in Columbia (damn, those Missouri kids can dance!); and yet another radio interview and show in Nashville (cheers to great independent record shops -- yes, Grimey's! -- that are very much alive and well and still supporting the hell out of musicians and music-lovers alike). Notes to self: avoid food poisoning on the road at all costs, and be sure to book your Nashville hotels carefully around Bonnaroo.
One thing that tends to happen on the road is that you find yourself following a friend's band around the country -- or vice versa. This tour was no exception. We were just steps in front of my dear D.C. friends These United States (Tom Hnatow played pedal steel on the Mynabirds' record). Kept seeing them on club's schedules just nights after we were in a town. This can add to a certain homesickness -- like, if you could only sit still for long enough, you would be in the company of fine friends. But at the same time, it's a real comfort -- like, the fact that you're passing momentarily through the doors your friends soon will pass through is nearly like being there together. Time can disappear if you let it. Everything can be altogether NOW, which means we're never really alone.
On Friday we found ourselves in Birmingham, finally meeting up with Josh Ritter for a few dates. The boys found themselves some great barbecue and us girls settled in for an incredible vegetarian dinner at the Bottle Tree. The first show was swell, Josh welcomed us with open arms, asking us to join him onstage for his final song. And after I left my camera backstage and Tim, Josh's tour manager, rescued it and promised to return it to me in Baton Rouge, I knew we'd made fast friends.
Baton Rouge was a proper theatre show with a really lovely crowd of folks. Pearl has family there, and we were eternally grateful to her uncle who let us go for a morning swim to escape the southern summer. Heading west towards Austin, we followed a petroleum recovery services truck for a bit. The news feels a million times more real (the Toledo tornado, the Gulf oil spill) when you're tailing it on the highway. Really hits home and gives you a sense of perspective -- the heaviness, the dimension, the people whose lives are affected in every way imaginable. Makes you feel grateful for all the good things you have and want to reach out a helping hand when someone else needs it, for sure.