The Heart Of A Tuesday Night
I was picking up some groceries at Gristede’s last night when the woman who was bagging said, “I like your button.” The woman who was ringing me up said, “What!?! You like his butt!?!”
I made a bunch of what I call “heartbeat buttons” for last fall’s release of “Love & Other Indoor Games.” It’s the unifying logo, if you will, for the new record, and something of an icon now for my site (as you no doubt have noticed in the upper left). The site logo used to be a stereo speaker emenating sound waves, and the “heartbeat” logo kind of developed from that. Beyond the obvious heartbeat and sound wave meaning, I like the idea of almost literally wearing my heart on my sleeve. That’s pretty much what I do here, I think, with The Daily Journal, and with my music. Good, bad, or indifferent.
Anyway, the buttons are long gone now, presumably scattered on jean jackets and backpacks across the country. I have just one for myself which is permenantly afixed to the lapel of my well-loved and well-worn corduroy sport coat. And, obviously, I was wearing it last night at the grocery store. Once we established that she wasn’t talking about my ass, I thanked her and said (for lack of more succinct summation), “It’s my record label.” Walking home, I kinda’ kicked myself for not giving it to her. When I climbed the six flights to my laptop, I immediately ordered more. Seems to me we all should wear our hearts on our sleeves.
In between working and wishing I’d given my heart away, I did a bunch of homework for some upcoming shows. I’m playing at a new venue, Rockwood Music Hall, next Friday, March 25. Once again, Dough will be playing the role of my backup band. I gave them all set lists and gotta’ tell ya’, it’s gonna’ be cool. We’re doin’ a bunch from “Love” and “Home,” plus two brand-new ones and two covers. Then they’re playing a set of their own afterwards. Plus, one of the nice fellas I met down in Jacksonville, Echolalia front man Ivan Sandovir, is opening.
April and May are shaping up to be pretty musical as well. The Smith Family is playing its last few shows: two in Brooklyn (April 2 and May 7), and our final show at Lakeside Lounge (May 18). Kevin’s moving to Minneapolis, so the classic country side project will be no more. It’s been a blast, even when we’ve nearly train wrecked in the middle of a song. But we’re psyched for Kev, and drummer Scott Cunningham and I have something up our sleeves …
Possibly the coolest distant spot on my musical horizon is a brief tour with my pals The Nadas. They’re an amazing rock band out of Des Moines who, get this, own Meatloaf’s old tour bus. So in addition to opening for them here in New York City, I’m stealing away in a spare bunk for D.C., Winston Salem, and Knoxville. I can’t wait!
Yunno’, it occurs to me just now that for all the years I’ve lived here, I’ve never felt like part of any scene. I’d always missed out on the action. I was within inches of the whole Strokes thing (their now-manager used to book me at Mercury Lounge), and the singer/songwriter thing (Nora Jones, Howie Day) slipped right past. Which is fine. But what’s been so miraculous about sticking with it and continuing to perform and record and tour, is that slowly and steadily, I’ve found a rag-tag group of like-minded people. They’re good people. They wear their hearts on the sleeves. And have nice butts.