I Have Arrived in Nashville

As I sit in the living room of my new home in East Nashville and write to you I am listening to the newly mastered and as-yet-unreleased debut record from my new band, Nora Jane Struthers And The Party Line, and I’m thinking about how in just a few short weeks we will be on the road. I haven’t played many shows since my last newsletter but a lot has happened. For one thing I moved in to my new place! I even bought a new bed (not used) for the first time in my life. How grown-up of me. Well, it’s great to sleep on it and I’ve been told it’s important to have a nice bed so I can look forward to coming home when I’m on the road.

In no particular order I’ll share some of the highlights from my past month as well as some news of upcoming events, including my first big tour with the Party Line! I may save that for last so I can give you our big list of gigs.

One of the few gigs I played recently was a real big one for me. I was asked to join my friend Rachael Hester and her band, The Tennessee Walkers, for an afternoon session at Robert’s Western World on Broadway in Nashville. Robert’s is my favorite place on Broadway. They always have the best music and the vibe in there can’t be beat. The rest of the band includedChris Scruggs on guitar and steel, Brad Albin on bass and John McTigue on drums, and these guys are not only great musicians but really sweet people. Everyone was very generous and helpful towards me, especially Chris, because I was playing traditional honky tonk music and I’m honestly not that familiar with it! I told someone afterward that I knew about 10% of the songs, I’d say I’d heard but never played about 50% of the rest of them and the other songs I’d never heard or played before. Trial by fire is a great way to learn.

Now I’m listening to the rough mixes of what I recorded with the Hunger Mountain Boys in Massachusetts, and this sounds great! Wow, this is exciting. I don’t know what will come of this but the recordings are great and I’m sure we’ll play together again before too long. Yes, Massachusetts was a good pupating time for me. After I left there I went to NYC and exploded in a burst of energy, playing shows with Brain Cloud and Baby Soda and with Thomas Bailey, running around visiting friends, going to shows and jams, hardly sleeping or eating at all and constantly buzzing with that NYC energy. What a blast. And then I did a road trip to Nashville with my sister Hannah, stopping to visit family and friends and to play a show with Corn And The Colonels in Durham. We also went to Bobville for the first time and I definitely want to go back! (If you don’t know Bobville you don’t have to ask…) And we made it back to Nashville in time for New Year’s, which we celebrated in a very mature and responsible way with a small group of close friends.

Since I’ve been in Nashville I’ve spent most of my time going out to jams and parties and shows, meeting folks and getting familiar with this fine city. The more time I spend here the more I am impressed by the quality of the people I meet here. I really didn’t expect everyone I meet to be quite so wonderful, and unless you’ve spent some time in Nashville you can’t really know what I mean, but I can say that coming here for a visit is definitely a good idea!

Before I hit you with the Party Line tour dates for February I have one more exciting piece of news — The Froggy Mountain Boys have confirmed with the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival in Finland in July! YEEEEESSS!! We were there two years ago and it was so beautiful. I’m so excited not only to go back to Finland again but to get together and play with the Froggys once more. What a blessing! Oh, and in case you haven’t heard it yet, here is our debut album — The title track was written in Finland. Listen for free as much as you like, share the link with friends and enemies, pay what you like for a download.

All right now, this first tour of ours is going to take us up through the Midwest to Toronto for the Folk Alliance Convention, including stops in my hometown of Detroit!

Before we hit the road we have our first show ever right here in Nashville, this Tuesday. It’s at the 5 Spot for their Two-Dollar Tuesdays series (i.e. $2 admission, $2 local Yazoo pints all night, something like five different bands, usually hosted by Derek Hoke.) We play at 10pm.

And now here are the tour dates. For more info and updates you can always check my calendaror Nora Jane’s calendar.

7 Feb – Natasha’s Bistro & Bar, 112 Esplanade, Lexington, KY, 8pm, $10
8 Feb – Barnesville Memorial Park, 130 Fair St, Barnesville, OH, 8pm, $10
9 Feb – Happy Days Lodge, Conservancy for Cuyahoga National Park, Rt. 303, west of Rt. 8. For Advance Tickets call 330-657-2909
10 Feb – The Southgate House Revival, 111 East 6th St, Newport, KY, 7pm, $10/$12
12 Feb – Square Dance at Northside Tavern, 4163 Hamilton Avenue, Cincinatti, OH
13 Feb – Square Dance at The Bishop Bar, 123 S. Walnut St, Bloomington, IN
14 Feb – Lovebird’s Ball at Danny Mac’s Pizza, 1567 South Shelby Street, Louisville, KY
15 Feb – Riviera Theatre, 50 North Main Street, Three Rivers, MI
16 Feb – Red Line Tap, North Glenwood Avenue, Chicago, IL
19 Feb – Wolverine Brewing Co, 2019 West Stadium Boulevard Ann Arbor, MI
20-24 Feb – Folk Alliance, Toronto, Canada

And then it’s back to Nashville, although there may be some last-minute additions to the schedule so stay tuned! I’m planning to attend a funny little old time festival in Nashville that’s going on Feb 28 – Mar 3. And very soon I will be able to release the new old time record I made with Sam Guthridge and Erica Weiss. We’re calling it Square Peg Rounders — I’m very excited to share it with you and may make a special email just to share the link when it’s ready.

Until next time my friends, I hope you are all having a lovely cosy winter time and keeping your loved ones close (but not too close if they have the flu).