I’m in Santa Barbara, just past halfway through my “Human Yoyo Tour,” as I’ve started calling it. I do seem to bounce down and up the coast a lot: Seattle sends the cylinder slinging south till the string is outstretched in SoCal and snaps back. Of course, we could just as easily flip our maps over, and then I’d need a whole new metaphor.
In many ways, this is not a traditional tour. Yes, there have been some gigs—house concerts in Olympia and Portland, a morning show at a bakery in Ashland, and a few more scheduled for the way home—but there have also been good slow visits with friends and family, jam sessions and song circles, and a five-day workshop at The Esalen Institute in Big Sur.
More on that later. First, some announcements.
I have a new website! Check it out.
Recently, it became time to take some professional steps forward, including overhauling my online presence. To that end, I hired Mara Dillinger to design my new website. She also did all the photography, and coached me expertly on something called “branding.” Have you heard of this? I will admit that it’s a strange concept, even one that I’ve resisted in the past. But it certainly can be useful. Aesthetic consistency is another way to think of it.
If you are an artist in need of website help, videography, or audio recording and mixing services, I wholeheartedly recommend reaching out to these talented individuals. I certainly plan to again.
Three Weeks in Seattle
I’ll be returning to Seattle on April 4th for three weeks. If you are in the area and would like to come hear me play, here are some opportunities:
The Arnolds, Florence Wiley, Jonas Myers @ The Sunset - Tuesday, April 23rd at 8 PM
I’m thrilled to be the opener for this exciting three-band bill. My set begins at 8. I’ll be singing and playing keys on my original tunes, joined by bassist Ryan Donnelly and drummer William Mapp. Check out the Facebook event page for more info. $10 tickets.
Video Shoot @ A House in Capitol Hill - Tuesday, April 9th at 7:30 PM
This one’s a little different, and I think it’ll be fun. I’m recording video and audio for three of my original songs, with my band (Ryan Donnelly and Remy Morritt), in a beautiful North Capitol Hill home. The idea is a simulated house concert, more or less. There will be some snacks, and you can BYOB. Contact me if you’re interested in attending. Free.
The Jonas Myers Trio @ Osteria La Spiga - Saturday, April 6th at 8 PM
The JMT is a budding project, in an amorphous stage—I’m thinking of it as the instrumental alter-ego of my new pop band. This time it’s Ryan Donnelly on bass and William Mapp on drums. We’ll be playing jazz standards and whatever else we feel like. No cover.
A Smattering of Solo Piano Appearances
Thursday, April 4th @ Osteria La Spiga - 7 to 9:30 pm
Friday, April 5th @ Canlis - 5 to 7 pm
Saturday, April 6th @ Canlis - 5 to 7 pm
Thursday, April 11th @ Osteria La Spiga - 7 to 9:30 pm
Friday, April 12th @ Canlis - 5 to 7 pm
Saturday, April 13th @ Canlis - 7 to 11:30 pm
Friday, April 19th @ Canlis - 5 to 7 pm
Saturday, April 20th @ Canlis - 5 to 7 pm
Always Be Touring
In February, I found a 2006 Toyota Sienna on Craigslist, listed for sale just down the street from my childhood home. The seller described having to sell the “beloved family van” in anticipation of an empty nest. Her name was Liz.
Wait a minute. Liz? Danny’s mom? My super close friend from middle and high school! We would get picked up from the golf course in this very car!
So I bought it, duh. You don’t argue with such signs. Then my angelic friend Jon took a day off work to help me build a platform for the back. I’ve got all my gear stored underneath, and a futon mattress on top. It’s my new home on wheels. This current jaunt down the coast and back is the maiden voyage, with lots more to come.
The next leg begins on April 24th, when I’ll leave Seattle headed towards Maine. My partner Erin is finishing up a graduate program in audio documentary at Maine College of Art on May 2nd. We’ll meet up and spend the summer together, location TBD. On the drive out, I’m playing some shows in the following places.
4/24 - Walla Walla, WA
4/25 - Salt Lake City, UT
4/26 - Fort Collins, CO
4/28 - Madison, WI
4/30 - Easthampton, MA
Reach out if you’re nearby and want to attend!
In the longer term, the idea is to Always Be Touring. This doesn’t mean covering huge distances every day. It’s more of a philosophy. I’m inspired by stories of artists who “tour” a single city, for example. I just want to play music as often as possible, with and for as many people as possible, wherever I’m invited. The era of enacting that ethic is underway.
What about this workshop?
Perhaps you are familiar with the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. I was, vaguely. I never planned to go there, though, until I read a book last year by Charles Eisenstein called The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible.
Ever-thoughtful Erin, seeing how much this book meant to me, did some online searching and found that Eisenstein was leading a workshop at Esalen, with the same title as the book. She encouraged me to sign up.
I’m so glad she did, and that I listened. It was a truly affirmative experience. About thirty of us gathered in a circle each day for six hours to practice, in various ways, creating a more beautiful world.
The work centered on storytelling. The idea is that story is immensely powerful. The story we hold of the world shapes everything about how we live. For one example, we can only level an old growth forest when our story of the world labels trees as a “resource,” and the countless species these forests sustain as expendable in the name of what we deem “progress.” If our story of the world held that forests were sacred, that no amount of money could justify the senseless killing of beautiful creatures that are just as evolved and conscious as we are, that nothing so violent could ever be considered “progress,” then those trees would still stand. We would find ways to live without all that lumber.
If we are to change things, then, we must first step out of the Story of Separation and into the Story of Interbeing, which recognizes separateness as an illusion, and holds space for that which is mysterious, miraculous, and inherently valuable. From the Story of Interbeing, much is possible that is impossible within the Story of Separation.
I am oversimplifying here. Eisenstein wrote a whole book laying the foundation of these ideas, and many others which draw upon them. I enthusiastically recommend his work, especially to those of you who feel hopeless about fighting the massive economic machine that seems bent on driving us over a cliff.
In fact, the new activism may not be a matter of fighting at all. It may not involve struggling to resist and overcome the destructive forces in our world. When we play that game, we lose. Instead, perhaps it’s time to give up force and control. Changing the world may be more a matter of opening our hearts to one another, discovering our unique gifts, living in reverence and gratitude, and envisioning and enacting, in the present moment, the future we want.
If these ideas resonate with you, please reach out. Let’s talk! And consider finding a gathering like the one I just attended. I cannot overstate the value of spending time with others who sincerely yearn for a better world, who bravely bring themselves to the circle to share. It’s simple stuff, and as profound as it gets.
I want to hear from you.
You are a friend. You are a relative. You are someone who saw me play once and decided to check out my website. You are an artist, a philosopher, a dreamer. You are, like me, a child who woke up one day to discover that you’d been stuck with the awkward label “adult,” and were expected to behave accordingly, with no real idea of what that means. You are, like me, a beginner. You are, like me, trying.
You are why I play music. You are why I write these emails. We are not separate. We are the same. We are in this world together.
So I want to hear from you. A quick hello. A bit about what you’re working on or thinking about. Point me toward something you think should be on my radar. Challenge my assumptions. Tell me where I can find you. Maybe you want to host a house concert, or pull a jam session together. Maybe you have an idea that, simply by being written about, will come that much closer to actually happening.
What do you say? Get in touch!