Tag - touring

Lessons from the Road

Tom Kimmel

My old (in both senses of the word) friend Tom Kimmel spends a fair amount of every year wandering around the world, singing his songs wherever two or more are gathered.  In a recent e-newsletter he shares some of the invaluable lessons he has learned from those many days on the road:

10. Winter is a good time to play in Florida.

9. The Kansas City airport is a hundred miles from Kansas City, and the Denver airport is actually in Nebraska.

8. Fly Southwest: book ahead, pay for early check-in, carry on your guitar, and bring your own sandwich.

7. Avoid the rooms by the indoor pool, the ice machine and the elevator.

6. “Urinal farthest from the door… has the least pee on the floor.”

5. Unless you’re a masochist, avoid your GPS’s “dominatrix” voice setting.

4. The Highway Patrol officer is not interested in your story.

3. Check in, put a towel over the television and go to sleep.

2. Truck stops have the best gizmos, but never take a shower at one.

1. There are good people everywhere, and they’ll help you out if you give them a chance.

@americanafest The Rubber Hits the Road…

Borgespanel …where the rubber, literally, hits the road.

That’s the take away from a panel at the AMA Conference on the subject of Artist Develoment. It’s all about life on the road.

The panel consisted of emerging artist Sarah Borges and her team: her manager, her booking agent, her radio rep, and two two publicists from her label (Sugar Hill).

Sarah has been working the program, and making the sacrifices necessary to stay on the road at long stretches with her band, “The Broken Singles,” and the effort has paid off in a growing fan base and exposure on NPR, etc.

Most insightful comment came from Sarah’s manager, Jeannie Smith, who stressed the difference between the objective of a major label release and and indie artist like Sarah: “we’re not looking for the hit, we’re looking for the fan.”

And then there was the story of Nashville favorite David Olney. Moderator Peter Cooper relayed the story of Olney saying “in any given city, there are only 30 people who like my shit.”  The trick for an artist like Olney is getting those 30 people to show up whenever he does.

But still, “success” at that level sounds a lot like what Buddha said about enlightenment.  A devotee asked Buddha once, “what was it like for your before you reached enlightenment?  Buddha thought about that for a second and answered, “chop wood, carry water.”

“And after enlightenment?” the devotee asked.

And Buddha replied, “chop wood, carry water.”

And the key to that success, according to Sarah, boils down to learning how to be comfortable outside your comfort zone.  And being willing to spend seven arduous years before the industry will recognize you as a “new and emerging artist.