Friday, May 27, 2011

Food from the Desert

Every year, it seems that I am gone while the Mesquites are podding. Usually I return from the road and they have fallen from the trees and are rotting on the ground. There is such an abundance of Mesquite pods, not even all the birds and hungry desert critters awaking from hibernation can make a dent in the supply. Ever since I have moved out here, I have wanted to harvest the plethora of mesquite pods and make mesquite flour, which is very high in protein and minerals. It is also gluten free and has a very desirable sweet and nutty taste. Yesterday, when I should have been indoors instead of outside in 108 degree weather, I harvested a few gallons of pods in town. I have read that the ones to pick are the ones that snap off the tree easily and taste sweet. This is the easy part, unless it is 108 outside. The hard part is grinding them down into flour. It would help to have the right tools. I'd like to harvest enough to be able to at least sell some mesquite flour at the Farmer's market when the season starts again. And in the future, sell it here on the interweb. But I only have a few days in town in between tours, so I may lose the opportunity once again.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tour Summary: Through Deserts, Mountains, and Forests

the cost of touring and cashflow over 3 weeks
Another tour has come to an end. Or I suppose a tour never ends. It just pauses on this perpetual road. Of 22 booked shows, 18 actually panned out. I had to cancel two shows due to being sick and losing my voice. A Saturday night in Denver never manifested. And I was double booked in Las Cruces on the way home, but still paid. 18 shows in three weeks is still a rather dense schedule. And while I don't feel road fatigue, I would take a few more days off next time in order to better experience these incredible far away places that took a lot of driving to get to. 

The price of gas was a real killer this tour. I was expecting that though. Car expenses accounted for about half of my touring costs. It was mostly from gas, but also a $200 starter replacement and an oil change along the way. Other than that, Ruby is a true road dog, just hitting 260,000 miles upon returning. She even starting pumping out arctic air again, which she hasn't done in a year. Getting sick was also an unexpected cost, from lost revenue from canceled gigs, having to quarantine myself in a hotel for couple of nights,  and also from prescribed medication which I pay for out of pocket since I don't have health insurance.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Buckhorn Saloon and Opera House

This middle of nowhere venue in Pinos Altos, NM is tied for first place for my favorite venue this tour.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Colorado & Isakov

I've been hanging out with my friend and songwriter, Gregory Alan Isakov for a few days. Out of anyone I know, we have the most parallel lives. Besides being a jewish South African born songwriter, we have also been vegetarian for about the same length of time (over 15 years). And we also have some uncanny details in common, such a the fact that we both have broken speedometers and position our gps devices on our dashboard so that we know how fast we are going. I convinced him last minute to play a show with me at the Jamestown Mercantile. It was a much smaller venue then he usually plays in Colorado, but this tiny mountain community  houses some avid fans of his and when word got out, there was a nice turnout.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Ruby's alter ego, "Pearl" this morning in front of the Speedtrap in Palmer Lake. 
The first precipitation I have seen in over 7 months is in the form of snow. Last week in Terlingua it was 105 degrees. And 800 miles North it is snowing. It's incredible what a little distance and elevation can do.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

No Paid Sick Days

There are no paid sick days while on tour. In fact, being sick is costly and I figure that the flu has cost me several hundred dollars on this tour.
Rio Grande Gorge in Toas, NM. 
Though this tour has been my best planned and routed tour to date, one can't plan around the potential of getting sick. In a typical job, there is the security that if you get sick that you'll be able to rest and recover at home, while still being able to maintain your budget. This is not the case for a touring musician. The show must go on unless it is absolutely not physically possible, for instance, if their primary instrument is lost. In my case, it is my voice.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


This is Eliphante. Perhaps the most unique space I have ever performed in. 

The chapel of Eliphante. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ruby gets a Starter Transplant in Tucson

Ruby in Tucson with Terlingua dust. She could sure use a shower.

Ruby received a starter transplant in Tucson. She has had a worsening condition for over two months now and yesterday morning after 10 tries to get her started, I finally got her some medical attention. She only has catastrophic coverage, so this preventative procedure was out of pocket. Luckily, I found a place in Tucson that only works on Volvos and did the job for half of what everyone else quoted me. That is because they use salvaged authentic Volvo parts rather than new junky versions. She has been given new life and is now much more excited to get started in the mornings.