The One Where We Spend More Time in Ohio Than Any Other Place Ever, But Cincinnati is Cool.

Well, we’re still kicking, and I know that’s worth something. We’re also still way too far north for my liking this time of year, but we’re almost at the end of our Ohio shows and soon we’ll finally get to head for Tennessee. But let’s talk about what’s happening now.

Real big stage at Fretboard Brewing. Not visible – the 100+ people behind the cameraman here. This was a fun one.

Let’s start with the one thing that has been going very well –  every show we have played this month has been amazing. We opened for Phoebe Hunt & the Gatherers in Jackson, MI on the 12th, and it was in my top five favorite shows I’ve ever played. Then last week we played a promotional early-afternoon spot in a Cincinnati music store and filmed early-morning video shoot for BalconyTV of Cincinnati the next morning. And then this past week we played a show at a little dive bar downtown, followed by a show at a massive brewery outside the city. All of those shows were exceptional. I would like to do nothing more than to play music five times a week for the rest of my life, and doubly so when we get the kind of response that we’ve been receiving all week from everyone we’ve met. I think we’re really starting to hit our stride at live shows, and that’s a great feeling.

One more show photo. Many thanks to Ed Sawicki for the awesome shot – and he’s from Lackawanna, to boot!

But that’s also what’s frustrating. When we do have shows to play, things are better all around. Life is fulfilling and all the other crap that I’ve been wading through just to get to these shows seems 110% worth it. But we’ve had five of these good days in October, and I can’t live forever on that kind of good to not-so-good ratio. I knew this was going to be our slowest month of the year, but it doesn’t make it less difficult to endure.

To elaborate on to this, I’ve found a second part-time job to replace the one I lost. The work isn’t too difficult, but the time commitment is a lot more than I was hoping for – 20 hours a week Monday – Friday, without flexibility. This is twice as many hours as I was working in my other position. So now, I have two part time jobs totaling about 35 hours a week, plus the 5 or so hours a week I spend on booking shows, PLUS all the time we spend at gigs, which is usually 5 hours per show. So on a week with 3 gigs, I have roughly 55 hours of work per week to do, oftentimes more because I’m a perfectionist to the nth degree, and because there’s always some other project for the band or side-hustle that I’m working on. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a lazy person by nature and I like working hard at what I do. But the problem here is this: I’m now left with almost zero time to learn new covers, or to write songs, or to practice or hone my actual craft in really any way. I already didn’t have a ton of time previously, but now it’s down to essentially nothing. It feels like I’m back in Buffalo, spending all my time on things that feel like dead ends just to get us through the day-to-day. I only get to play music at shows that I’ve already booked, and that’s kind of killing me.

So, I want to take a second to tell you about a project that Greg and I are hoping will help turn this around a bit, and we need your help to make it work.

We’ve started a Patreon page. If you’re not familiar with the website, it’s basically a way for people who make stuff (be it music, art, video games, lectures, etc) to connect with people who really believe in their work and contribute to making more of it.

You can check out our page and some more in-depth info about the project here:  (And if you’re already one of our first Patrons, thank you!!)

If you read this blog regularly and you enjoy it, I promise you that you’re really going to like what we’re doing on Patreon. I get a lot of comments from people who read this and say that they’re living vicariously through us, which we honestly love hearing – sharing our adventures is one of the best parts of our travels. Our Patreon is going to be like this blog on steroids – we’re going to bring you “with us” as much as possible. Everything from video blogs about life on the road to private, live concerts is going to be happening. We’ve got big ideas, and we’re hoping to share this with every person that’s even a little bit interested.

Now, I want to make one thing VERY clear – this is in no way a fundraiser, a GoFundMe or a KickStarter. There’s no “goal” that we need to hit. Also, despite the contribution being monthly, there is zero expected commitment and you can stop at literally any time, and we won’t mind. We just want people who value our content to be able to get as much of it as they want, and in doing so give us the ability to spend more time making it, and making it better. If If you choose to contribute, you’ll be getting cool stuff right away, no matter what (we’re really kicking things off starting in November). You can join us for literally $1, and I’ll let you in on a secret – we’re probably going to offer a bunch of the higher-tier content to everyone that joins us for the first month or two, so you can sign up for a dollar and sample a little bit of everything and see what you like.

And as an aside, this blog will never not be free and publicly available – and I want to thank you specifically for reading these ramblings of mine at all. I do love being able to share this kind of stuff with people like you guys. But if you find any value in the things that we’ve been creating and sharing with you since we’ve been on the road, we’d really love your support – and I promise we’ll make it worth your while!

Big beautiful park right in downtown Cincy – that’s the flea market to the left.

Okay, that’s enough of that (for now). Let’s recap our time in Cincinnati, cause there sure has been a lot of it. We’ve been here for several weeks, which is the longest I think we’ve been in any one city aside from home.

Cincinnati is in a unique spot – if you haven’t driven around the country a bunch, you often don’t think of Kentucky and Ohio as being anywhere near each other. The reality is that they share a border, and Cincinnati is more or less on top of it. So you get a hearty dose of midwest-folk combined with some southern charm. It’s a beautiful city, and I’ve actually really enjoyed our time here, though we’re certainly long overdue to get moving again.

Pho! The broth is what really makes a good bowl of pho, and this place had it DOWN. So good.

Our first show in the city (the music store one I mentioned above) was literally right downtown, and we spent the whole afternoon after the gig walking around and taking in as much of the sights as we could. There was a cool little flea market happening right downtown, and we ended up in a place called Findlay Market, which felt a lot like Burlington’s downtown “strip”. I got to introduce Greg to pho, which I’ve been wanting to do for ages, and he’s a big fan! (If you’ve never tried pho, you must. It’s the best soup on the planet. If you’re ever out this way, Pho Lang Thang is the spot).

We didn’t spend a ton of time downtown – it’s still a big city, and getting in and out in the van is always a task of epic proportions. We did, however, make a weird little pit stop at the only supermarket I’ve ever seen that could rival Wegmans. It’s called Jungle Jims, and I’m pretty sure they have every food item known to man. The store is as large as a shopping mall, and I’m not exaggerating. They have full aisles dedicated to countries selling stuff that doesn’t look like it’d be available anywhere else in America. There’s tanks of live fish you can buy to eat. There are singing animatronic characters all over the store. It’s like half supermarket, half carnival. I found bacon flavored soda in one aisle and Buffalo-milk cheese in another. The fact that I’m actually writing about our trip to the grocery store in this blog should tell you how incredibly unusual the whole thing was. If you’re ever passing through this way, it’s quite honestly not the worst way to kill a couple hours.

We’ve been camping out at truck stops nearly all month because of the tight budget we’re currently working with. But over the weekend it was rainy and overcast here for several days in a row, and unfortunately we can’t run the new generator in the rain. So I caved, and we found a cheap campground just south of the city. (The place was called Big Bone Lick State Park… Greg found this particularly amusing, but not quite as funny as the fact that it was located in a town called Beaverlick). We arrived to an absolutely packed campground – they were throwing a little Halloween carnival this weekend, and it was kind of nice to feel like we were in a neighborhood that was in the holiday spirit. I worked double-overtime this week to get everything done before the weekend, so I was actually able to enjoy two full days off for the first time in forever. It was awesome, and doubly so since we had full hookups, which makes our van feel more like a real little home than anything.

We got a bunch of great photos from our rooftop BalconyTV session, but I think this one’s my favorite. ❤

We still have two more shows in Ohio – one in Eaton, and one more in Cincinnati – later this week in the first few days of November. We’re headed to Knoxville almost immediately after, and we’re hoping to make a short stop in Nashville too sometime next month – not only do we love that city, but our good friends Savannah and Drew are in the studio down there working on Savannah’s new album, and we’re hoping to catch up with them. Until then we’ll be mostly found in one of the dozen Starbucks scattered about the suburbs, working our butts off and biding our time until we can really get moving again.

One last time: $1. Check it out. Share it with someone who likes folk music, or RVs, or travelling, or the guy who won that billion dollar lottery a couple days ago. We’d be super grateful. Otherwise, we’ll see you when we’re definitively south of the Mason-Dixon line!

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