Prelude to a tour

The plan is to post a travelogue, an update every few days of the places we’ve been and the things we’ve seen. But I think you may need some context. So I begin at home.

The days before leaving for a tour always seem busy. There is laundry to be done, a van to be packed, travel details, promoting of shows. This time is even busier as we are recording songs for the new CD.

Despite a long list of things to do my brain interrupts. It has a song idea. It has something to say. I ignore it. It persists, especially at night when my logic defenses are down.
This is, I think, the essence of songwriting and the essence of Friction Farm. I see things I can’t unsee, feel things I can’t unfeel. They trouble me and I have to work it out. How I choose to work it out best is to distill everything down into its essential three or four minutes. Culling what matters, hopefully the truth, and letting the rest go. It’s work. Frustrating but occasionally rewarding. Exhausting, enlightening, emotional. The goal is to take something that annoys or concerns us (friction) and turn it into something worthwhile (farm).

I often hear writers talk about a song that comes from nowhere and practically writes itself. They call it a gift. It is. But having the desire and ability to do the work from creative spark to completed song is also a gift. There is most definitely a gift to be found in the process.

So we hit the road, to do list checked off and new song written. We stop for gas. A young woman asks Aidan if he will pump a few dollars worth of gas into her tank. He is skeptical. As they talk I sense that in his body language and I walk over and join them. She says she is headed to her family’s home and thinks a couple of gallons should get her there. She has a dollar and change, thought she had a couple more dollars with her. She is young. Her car is old. It has bad tires. We pump in five dollars worth of gas, about three gallons. We wish her safe travels.

It’s possible she’s a lazy panhandler who can now spend her own money on something terrible. We will never know. We do have the luxury of believing we have helped her and it feels pretty good. It feels like more than five dollars worth of good. We hit heavy rains and see motorcycles pulled off at overpasses. We pass a car engulfed in flames. Quite the day.

We tuck in for the night in the parking lot of a church. Safe, dry, well fed, comfortable bed. We breath it in, all we have seen today, all we feel. What a gift to have the desire and the ability to hit the road and head out on tour.

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