Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thursday Poem: Joined

Might God give the weak to the strong, for one to lift the other up, for one to keep the other humble?

Might God give the sure to the shaky, to keep each other rooted, lest pride or wandering take them each too far?

Might God give the quiet to the loud, giving one more strength to find her voice and the other wisdom to learn to listen?

Might God give the joyful ones to the sorrowful, that there may be laughter where skies have been gray and grief where sadness was never recognized?

Might God give us to each other to be what we cannot be on our own?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Photo Update

Some photos, in chronological order, of random things:

April 2013. In Ackerman and Louisville, MS, where we played a show
for Matthew's Bright Came the Word from His Mouth

Brothers, Matthew and Sam. 
May 2013, a ghostly image taken from the porch of Jeff's parents' home in southwestern NC.
July 2013. During a retreat weekend, we let Matthew cut the cheese, because he's so darn good at it.

September 2013. Our first T-shirt! We promoted this via social media and gave 2 away!
Designed by Susan Kizzee, printed by Ambrose.

October 2013. The Great Midwestern Tour took us to Minneapolis.
The sun peeks over a bridge in Minnehaha Falls State Park.

Brian insisted on jumping and walking on things that looked very dangerous to me.

Brian and Jeff love each other. Sweet.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tour Update: Gifts from the Great Midwest

Wrapped in what looks like a Native American inspired blanket, I'm sitting in an old mill-converted-to-condo in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, listening to the wind whip furiously around the corner of the building and the rain splashing against the windows.

We've only 3 shows left on the Great Midwestern Tour, which has, indeed, been very great.

Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin: cities states I've never been to and all of them, I found beautiful.

More than the hills and the fields and the golden leaves on the trees, we spent time with some really beautiful people. For us, touring and music-sharing without people and story-sharing would empty and hollow.

Our hosts and listeners, old friends and new, come from our past (fellow Mississippi-natives!) and our present. Some like to be quiet and slow and talk thru the hours, others tell louder and funnier stories that give us good, hearty laughs. All have been beautiful.

Rebecca Johnson, our host in Oshkosh, WI, also a fellow native Mississippian.

The super-cool set-up for our Oshkosh show, at New City Church.

Phom and Kaylee Sisoukrath, Little Rock, AR hosts and friends we met through working at SOS

Minneapolis, MN-area house show

Matt & Su, Omaha, NE hosts. We loved all the Mississippi-art in their home!
Su, also sporting the Abbye West Pates shirt.

Omaha, NE house show. This was a really, really good night.

The whole Omaha crew!

Before we left, and even often on the tour, we've been asked in various ways how we make this work, how we make any money. It's a legitimate question; there's no fault in wondering how we "make it work". But while I believed it before, I believe it more now: this isn't about money. If it were, then we'd be doing something else.

It's about people and story-sharing. It's also hard work: writing, practicing, traveling, set-up, tear-down, meeting people, selling merch, giving attention to listeners after the show. This is our work, and it is good.

The final word: I'm not ready for touring to end!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Quick "Here's What We're Doing"

Sadly, the writing that I love so much, has taken a backseat to booking, practicing, juggling multiple types of work, etc. and I have neglected to write here. It isn't forever, but it is for now.

Filling our house are guitars, cables, suitcases, air mattresses, drums, and computers. We're practicing, singing, cooking, Instagram-ing, practicing some more.

Tomorrow we set out on the Great Midwestern Tour beginning in Little Rock, AR, followed by a stop on Sunday at Central UMC in Fayetteville, AR, leading morning worship services there. On the way, we're going to Omaha, NE; Minneapolis, MN; Oshkosh, WI; Chicago; Holland, MI and Elkhart, IN. We'll come back and play a few Mississippi shows with Matthew Clark, who is traveling on the tour with us, mixing in a couple of his shows.

Our friend and brother, Brian Mulder, drove down from Michigan to spend the whole month touring with us. It's crazy that the 4 of us are basically going to spend an entire month together, but it's happening. "How are you traveling?" you ask: We bought a trailer. That's right, we're loading up the trailer, hitching it onto the back of our 11-year old SUV, and praying for those traveling mercies that we hope get us from point A to point B or at least help us have patience with each other if the tire goes flat.

If you're not already, keep up with us at, or on social media: FB, or Twitter, @AWPmusic. 

Here we go!