Raleigh “Livingroom Tour” Report

A weather front turned the warm summer breeze that has graced this tour to cold last night sometime around my Raleigh performance of ‘Summer’s Gone.’ But the sky is clear and blue this morning, the sun is out, and I’m heading home tomorrow. All is well and right with my world.

I’m sitting at Jyl’s dining room table as her kitten Jack and puppy Kylie scramble for crumbs from my English muffin. I’m watching a Real World marathon, and catching up on some homework (I’m designing an Almost Home ad banner for Gothamist and some other web-related chores) while drinking yet another cup of mediocre gas station coffee.

I ran for recovery again this morning. Jyl (who I’ve known since sixth grade) has a home in a development called Hedingardten (or something) that feels a little like falling down the rabbit hole into ‘The Matrix.’ All of the homes match, and at one point of my run, I was concerned that I’d never find my way back through the maze of sameness. Which it seems can be said of much of suburban America. Not to knock Jyl, of course. Heck, she owns a home. Me? I’ve been renting the same place since I was 24-years-old.

Last night was another unique experience. I performed at Jyl’s friend’s Jen and Audra’s house out on the edge of Raleigh. It was my most intimate performance (read: smallest audience), but also my loosest and most inventive. Everyone in the room worked in radio, and was a major music fan. The house was adorned with memorabilia: signed Melissa Etheridge, Sarah McLachlan posters, Bob Marley and Jerry Garcia sketches. So in addition to what’s become the usual set of Almost Home songs, I trotted out a few requests (‘Go Back To Sleep’ and ‘Shiver,’ which is fast becoming my most-requested original), and winged a few covers (‘Sister Golden Hair,’ ‘So. Central Rain,’ ‘The One I Love’).

The most magical part of the (very late) evening came when Audra handed me her autographed Jewel/Sarah McLachlan/Indigo Girls guitar. She’d had it signed years ago at Lilith Fair, but it had never been played. So I did. I dug ‘Kid Fears’ and ‘Closer To Fine’ from the recesses of my mind, and everyone sang along. My encore — eyes closed, head back — was another run through ‘Shiver’ (at the ladies’ request). Then I could play no more, and was driven home where I collapsed into a deep, dreamless sleep.

So it was another unique, magical night where all that mattered was the songs, and the community we built between us (plus a bit of merch sellin’). And that’s the whole idea.

Of course, I’m remarkably exhausted, and eager to point my rent-a-Mazda northward. I’m spending Wednesday night in NYC, then hopping an Amtrak to my mom’s in Philly Thanksgiving. I have much to grateful for. This year’s been quite the harvest.

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