Monthly Archive for May, 2009

Kerr-Mail

Back on the ranch, Tad was checking email for the first time in a few days and saw his inbox was full. He decided to set up an “away” message and head back out on the trail. His horse nickered as they trotted up a rocky Texas hillside.

Friend In The Cloud

Friend In The Cloud from Tad Dreis on Vimeo.

I offered to play three instruments simultaneously and sing an original song in praise of my web host, Surpass Hosting, and I got a free camera out of it. Sweet!

I’m madly packing right now for my trip to Texas. In 24 hours, I’ll be in the hill country, getting settled in to work crew at the Kerrville Folk Festival. Think of me hopping over scorpions, writing songs, and sitting with friends around an imaginary campfire. The campfire has to be imaginary because flames are banned in the region during the current drought.

Artwork for the new CD is in process, finally! John of Hale Dixon is helping me out. It won’t be long now :)

Freeeeeeeedy!

On June 25 I’m opening a show for one of my heroes, Freedy Johnston, and I’m still kind of twitchy just thinking about it. For fifteen years, I’ve done my dishes singing his songs. I get the mail, I sing his songs. I see a house on fire in the distance, I walk closer to have a look…naturally there’s a Freedy song about that, too.

If you recall the song “Bad Reputation” from 1994, that’s him. Here’s a video .

This is Freedy’s first gig in Raleigh since around 2002, so we gotta get the word out. It’s at the Berkeley Cafe. Did I mention that I am super psyched to be playing this show?

If you’re already a fan, you’ll be interested to know that our guy has finished a new original studio album for release later this year, titled “Rain On The City,” and you can listen to three tracks at his Myspace page. Also, if you were at his last Chapel Hill show at Go! Studios seven years ago, he played a bunch of covers that eventually came out last year on a limited-edition studio release called “My Favorite Waste Of Time,” pictured above. I think chances are good you can pick up the covers record at the Berkeley show on June 25. With any luck, you may even be able to pick up MY new record there, too…

The Weather At Noon

I want to tell you the story of my trip to Iowa, but I keep getting caught up in the details. I end up telling you about the weather, how it was a cool stormy afternoon when I arrived on Sunday and stayed cloudy for my Monday show. How it brightened up on Tuesday in Calmar, and how that contrasted with my gig there in February last year, when there was still snow in the fields. And on Wednesday and Thursday it was back to indeterminate gray haze in Cedar Rapids and Peosta.

This was the weather at noon, mind you, because that’s when my gigs were, and that’s the time of day that stuck with me, because I tend to take in all the details when I’m on the line. The rest of the day I could drive and listen to NPR on XM radio, or contemplate my nutritional options at drive-throughs, or just eat another one of the ten apples from the bag I bought at Wal-Mart.

But at noon each day, I went out and met a whole bunch of people and played music. I looked out the windows, I looked at the kids, sorry – students, at their tables, either looking up at me, or talking with each other, or playing massively multiplayer online role playing games, or sometimes just eating and reading.

Usually I’ll go around and put tattoos, postcards, and mailing lists on the tables before I play, and chat with people if they’re amenable. Sometimes they did cartwheels, sometimes they would look away with raised eyebrows like, Um, ok, uh thanks? and I was all, You’re welcome!

I try to keep a brave face for strange places. It’s like being in a wildlife preserve. What I remind myself is that the bears are more scared of you than you are of them. I stand up and hold out the sides of my coat and shout and try to appear as large as possible.

At no point do I run, because students are quick and besides, they are expert tree climbers. I have played dead on occasion, and survived with only slight mauling. But that’s kind of weak. Better to be loud and get eaten alive.

Everybody was pretty nice, though. Strangely, CD sales appeared to run in inverse proportion to the amount of applause at any particular show. Which kind of balanced things out. It’s amazing to get the whole room involved but it’s also cool when people are moved to step forward and say hello without reinforcement from the group. Not to mention spending money, as broke as everyone always is.

The storm was blowing back in when I returned my rental car at CID. Milk cost three dollars in ORD, and I refused to capitulate. Eventually I found a free pitcher by a Starbucks but was over it by that point. I paid five dollars for a magazine I wanted to read and when my friend Alex picked me up from RDU, I left it in the car for his apartment mates.

Thanks again to the Kirkwood and NICC activities folks for bringing me to campus, and to the prairie people and everyone in the Driftless. See you next time!