In a rare moment of downtime, Shane Leonard confirms dates with tour promoters while a wistful Jessi Lee McIntosh plays a high, lonesome tune on her harmonica.
Dearly beloved readers, it pains me to share what will be my last blog post from Kalispell’s Fall Tour 2012. While unforeseen circumstances called for my immediate return to WI, rest assured that the highly skilled and meticulously trained duo known as Kalispell, whom you’ve come to know and love through my own heartfelt and timeless description, will continue folkin’ around the country in high fashion.
Where did we leave off? Of course, of course. Michigan. Our second night in Michigan was… magical. Yes, quite right- it was magical. Kalispell and Red Tail Ring shared the bill at the DAAC (Division Avenue Arts Collective) in Grand Rapids, MI. Opening the evening’s entertainment was Elisabeth Pixley-Fink, the lovely Kalamazoo-based pianist and composer. She has a beautiful voice, folks, and knows her way around song-writing.
Shane and Jess played their music to a reserved but appreciative audience. Perhaps the most telling way to gauge how listeners receive Kalispell’s music in a situation like this isn’t how loud the cheering is but the compliments one can overhear after a show. Also, my constant and dedicated presence often leads people to assume that I’m Kalispell’s tour manager (I am not- Shane is the tireless architect who builds each tour months in advance), so they sometimes bring compliments directly to me. I thank them and share (untrue but entertaining) stories about how I used to leave bowls of cream outside my doorway for the busquing duo of skinny folk musicians and eventually talked them into a life on the road. But forgive me, for I am wont to digress.
Kalispell’s tunes lead perfectly into a very enjoyable set by multi-instrumentalists Michael Beauchamp and Laurel Premo ofRed Tail Ring. These are some really great people and talented musicians. Their love of music is ever-present during sstheir performances. Check them out!
Red Tail Ring
The evening at the DAAC was closed out with a righteous spiritual performed by Kalispell and Red Tail Ring together. But the real magic, in this humble reviewer’s opinion, had yet to begin. After guests slowly made their ways home, the musicians commenced an epic folk jam with guest appearance by the globe-trotting step dancer and Michigan native Nic Gareiss. This was a definite highlight for yours truly, never having personally witnessed a dancer anywhere near Nic’s level of skill. Surrounded by old-time musicians, his dancing added such sweet percussion that this modest blogger’s mind was nearly blown.
Nic Gareiss, left, considering jumping in and shaking things up. To date, cameras are unable to do his nimbleness and agility justice.
Michigan, though we’ve since departed, a piece of my heart will always remain.
Next stop on Kalispell’s Fall Tour 2012 was Lafayette, IN for an awesome house party hosted by friends Steffan (whose band was evening’s opening act) and Hannah Yazvac. Joining Kalispell for an evening of delicious food and beautiful music were Louisville, KY-based Bro. Stephen, aka S. Scott Kirkpatrick; and John Davey, a singer/songwriter bread and buttered in Lafayette. I’ve known Scott for about a year and I’ve since been a huge fan of his music, and I was really glad for the opportunity to familiarize myself with John Davey, an excellent songsmith with powerful lyrics and a truly memorable voice.
Lafayette, Indiana’s John Davey
We also had the pleasure of meeting 4 (out of 13) other Davey siblings: Beniah, Naomi, Maria, and Hope. Great people! It was such a striking effect that while we listened to John sing, his sisters sang along to his songs very beautifully. Thanks for the hospitality, Lafayette!
Party people in Lafayette, IN
The last show for this faithful blogger was an excellent show in Louisville, KY home of the always wonderful Bro. Stephen who was joined by guitarist/fiddler Cheyenne Mize. The two performed separately and together. The crowd here really dug in and enjoyed the show. Many colorful and interesting people attended this show.
The inimitable Bro. Stephen at his home with Tiffany, Ben, and Shane
There was a marked spike in album sales after this show. I generally man the merchandise tables and for my efforts the firm but just Shane Leonard will often throw me bits of not yet stale bread or other bits of savory goods. I jest- everyone I spent time with during this tour has been so generous and helpful. I only wish I could continue on to meet more memorable people and be introduced to other great musicians.
I’ve just now returned home from one and a half weeks on the road with Kalispell. Slouching towards my little house in Menomonie, WI, to shake off the miles of highway dust and to rest my achy bones, it occurs to me that Shane and Jess are on a six week tour. This type of living ain’t easy, fair reader, but during short time I spent with them I was more than able to get a glimpse of the rewards reaped by these hard-working musicians.
I hope that the next time you stumble upon a performer you realize that for many of them, this is their way of life. So buy a drink, an album, or do whatever you may to help a musician on his or her way. Your kindnesses are never forgotten!
-Yusef Kazemzadeh, esteemed music blogger and Iranian spirit guide to the band Kalispell