The Fox and the Bird's Midwest Tour Diary
Erin Rambo The Fox and The Bird at famous Memphis venue, The Hi-Tone Cafe
From February 26 to March 8, your 2013 Dallas Observer Music Award winners for Best Folk Act hit the road touring across the Midwest. In two weeks and eleven shows, The Fox and The Bird shared the experience of a lifetime together. From driving through the polar vortex to make it to a highly coveted Daytrotter.com performance session, to taking square dance lessons in Chicago-- the rotating five piece made it a journey they'll never forget. This time on the road has lead up to their album release show tonight at the Kessler Theater, which is sure to make for a proud homecoming.
Dan Bowman of The Fox and The Bird was kind enough to compile a few of his favorite tour stories for us. Along with photos by Erin Rambo, they take us through the tour experience through the eyes of those who lived it.
The cast of characters on our first night of tour was unforgettable. An older gentleman working the door became unapologetically excited when we played Jimmie Dale Gilmore's song, "Dallas". Hollering lines about how Dallas being a "steel and concrete soul with a warm-hearted love disguise," we made a point of preaching the truth of Dallas in the cities we passed through. And Wichita took notice.
The venue owner also owned Kerby's Beer Store (a staple of the Wichita music scene) and took us under his wing. With some luck, we were given a place to sleep in a friend's attic that also doubled as a children's game room (surrounded by toys and a miniature teepee). Touring isn't glamorous-- if you're lucky, you sleep on a carpeted floor instead of the less forgiving hardwood.
Lindberg's in Springfield was perhaps the most impressive stage we played over the entire tour. The elegant performance space was decorated with portraits of classic musicians, all painted by one of the bartenders. It was the oldest standing bar in town and the large upstairs room used to be a brothel. We rehearsed in the upstairs space and recorded some videos until the local juggling troupe kicked us out so they could practice. Petra, our violinist, attempted sleeping in the van, which turned out to be a poor decision given the freezing temperatures.
Let's note here that we should have given more thought to the weather when we decided to tour the frigid Midwest in the dead of winter.
What isn't there to like about a city with a record store that serves free tacos (and taco art)? After playing with an amazing local bluegrass band, we hunkered down with a couple of local (possibly homeless) poets named Doug and Hawk who wrote songs with us outside the venue. Hawk was insistent that playing banjo had stirred something deeply spiritual inside of him. We were glad to be a part of that sort of thing.
St. Louis, MO to Rock Island, IL: The Snowpocalypse
Here we were faced with a tough decision, as weather reports indicated a huge snowstorm was bearing down on St Louis. Should we make good on our St. Louis appearance and risk getting snowed in (and possibly miss our Daytrotter recording session the next day)? Pig headedly, we plowed through.
The show was decent, but nothing compared to the blizzard and freezing rain we faced on the way out of town that night. We trudged through snow to make it to Rock Island, IL-- the home of Daytrotter. After lugging our gear up several flights of stairs to the top floor of a nondescript office building, we recorded with a talented (and really sweet) sound engineer named Mike. He took a liking to our photographer and gifted her one-of-a-kind neon colored Daytrotter shoes. Plus he made us sound real good on tape, so thanks Mike!