The Great Beyond

For a minute there, I wasn’t sure this new record was gonna make it to you.

Kevin — God bless his patient soul — thought his deadline was November 15th. Of course, as you know, Dear Reader, November 15th is the CD release at Pianos. And I need to have it into duplication well prior. (In fact, I’m pushing it as is.)

I thought he was gonna blow a gasket when he got my email with feedback like “Vox and guitar seem too quiet, especially in relation to rimshot. And where’d the harmonica go? Can you crank the solo a bit more? Then pull out rimshot in last verse, bring it back in last chorus?”

To his credit, he didn’t email me a virus or a send a letter bomb. Instead, we slipped the mastering session a few days, and he’s working overtime to finish it up. I just about pushed him over the ledge (for the third consecutive year) with my long list of small edits. But it’s the small edits — the final 10% — that make all the difference.

And isn’t that true of everything? I mean, the NYC Marathon is really just a 10k. You just have to run twenty miles to get there. The twentieth mile is where the race really begins.

In other news…

This coming Monday’s Rockwood Music Hall residency show is shaping up to be an all-star affair. Casey Shea is gonna play harmonica with me on “Heartland.” Amy Hills is going to join me on “Better Than That.” And I talked her into performing my favorite of her songs, “Baby.” As if Casey and Amy aren’t enough, Mimian Morales and I are going to cover Stephen Foster’s 1855 hit, “Hard Times.” Plus, of course, I’ll be playing new songs from the new record. So if you’re in the city…

The Smith Family, the classic country band that Kevin and I formed two years ago, rides again on October 26th. We’d always talked about The Rodeo Bar as the penultimate venue for us. So when The Nadas booked it, well, I jumped on the opportunity. I talked the rest of the guys into reuniting before roping Kevin in. Sure enough, I lobbied heavily enough: he’s flying in from Minneapolis for the show. Should be a hootenany not to be missed.

My pals The Nadas are gonna be in New York for a full week. They’re performing after me at my final residency set on October 24th. Then we play Rodeo on Wednesday, October 26th. Then they’re playing Alphabet Lounge on Friday, October 28th. We’re going to shoot a video for “Do It Again” somewhere in between all that. And if I were a bettin’ man, I’d say you’ll get a Morning Mix or two out of it.

Meanwhile, the Tribeca Arts Performing Arts Center is hosting a “Wall Street Rising Concert Series” in November. The lineup is ridiculous in its awesomeness: Jeff Tweedy (11/16), Ryan Adams (11/18), and Aimee Mann (11/20). Unfortunately, the free tickets are being given away Monday morning at 11 a.m. Who the hell can get out of work at 11 a.m. on a Monday? If you can, I have a crisp twenty for ya to give bring me with you. I’ll buy drinks too.

There’s a lot going on. It’s a bit overwhelming. Sometimes I feel like my head’s going to explode, or that I’m going to collapse to the ground. But then I get an email, or a card, or a call from someone saying, “I believe in you,” and, well, what’s my choice but to believe as well?

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