Monday, April 20, 2015

Hey, Chris...what state are we in?

On the road again
I just can't wait to get on the road again
The life I love is makin' music with my friends 
And I can't wait to get on the road again
- Willie 
Hey guys! I recently returned from my very first tour out on the west coast and it was one of the best experiences I've had in this life, so far. I wanted to share some of my favorite parts of The "Gettin' Gone Tour" with you all. Before I do that though, I just want to say a HUGE, GIGANTIC, ENORMOUS thank you to all of you who continue to support me on this journey. Your words of encouragement, your unwavering support and excitement for my music and my career is something I don't think I'll ever feel like I can say thank you enough for. I wouldn't be able to do any of this without all of you. I know I must sound like a broken record sometimes, but it is truly because I feel like I can't show my gratitude enough for this life I have been given. It's not always easy, in fact, it never feels "easy," but it is always good and you guys are such a huge part of why it's always good. You all push me to constantly strive to be a better songwriter, musician, performer and the best version of myself I can be everyday.

Thank you. Forever, thank you for being my fans, my friends, my support system and such a huge part of my heart and my drive. I love you guys. 
I've wanted to play all over the world and go on tour my whole life. I've done little mini week long-ish tours here and there through the last 5 years, but nothing like the "Gettin' Gone Tour" that I just finished. This tour started as an idea about 6 months ago, a sort of "I wonder if I could plan my own tour and travel across the country; I wonder if anyone would say yes to letting me come and play at their venue?" I decided that I would just start reaching out to venues through e-mails and phone calls and see if anyone would say "yes." I have to tell you guys, I sent hundreds, seriously, HUNDREDS of e-mails over the course of about 5 and a half months. In the beginning I sent e-mails all over and decided that whoever responded first was the direction I would drive. Turns out a wonderful little brewery in Winthrop, WA was the first to respond and say that they'd love to have me. So with that, this would be a west coast tour. I confirmed the show and then a little bit of panic set in...hmm, let's hope more places out west say yes, otherwise, I'm driving all the way to Washington for one show. Luckily, 7 more venues, 2 more in Washington, 3 in California, 1 in Indiana and 1 in Iowa gave me the opportunity to come play and formed the "Gettin' Gone Tour." Hooray! 

My longtime bandmate and one of my best friends, Chris Bardolph came out on this tour with me and I don't think I could have asked for a better person to share the road with. Chris is not only a phenomenal musician, he also just "gets it." He not once complained about the long sleepless drives--even when we had to drive 45 MPH for 400 miles through South Dakota because there were deer EVERYWHERE and it was 3am. I'm not kidding about the deer. Hundreds of deer, literally lining the street. I have never seen so many deer in my entire life on one stretch of highway. Even when we were truly roughing it, he was able to look around and realize what an awesome experience this was and find joy in the fact that we were getting to share music with so many new people and play all of these new places. I'm incredibly lucky and blessed that I got to share this tour with, Chris. Thanks for being a part of this tour dude. I couldn't have done this (nor would I have wanted to) without you. 

The Gettin' Gone Tour started in South Bend, IN on March 27th at one of my very favorite venues to play, Chicory Cafe. This was the best place to start this tour. The people at Chicory Cafe have always been incredibly welcoming and I have so much love for their music community. Dena Woods is a singer/songwriter out of South Bend who helps connect the music communities in Michigan and Indiana. She is such an awesome advocate for independent artists and an incredible musician. Check out some of her music HERE. If you're in the Grand Rapids, MI area on April 23rd she is playing one of my favorite venues, Elk Brewing. Go. :) 

Off we go...Let's Do This! 

The start of the "Gettin' Gone Tour"...

Adapting on the road.

One of my very best friends from home, Claire (I've known this girl since I was 7 years old) surprised me and came out to the show at Chicory Cafe. It was her first time getting to see me play live. I was so, so happy to see her and get to have her at that show. <3 

This is, Dena with her trio, Dena Dena Dena...they played with us that night. They are woooonderful. 
After the show at Chicory Cafe, we headed to Chicago, IL. Initially we were supposed to have a show in Chicago the day after the Indiana show, but it got cancelled at the last minute due to a scheduling conflict, so we ended up basically just spending the day in Chicago. It was nice though. I got to see my best friend, Hannaniah Whitely (Another INCREDIBLE singer/songwriter you should know about if you don't already) and randomly spend more time with, Claire (she is a teacher in Chicago). Thank you, Hannaniah for taking us in and letting us stay at your place. I love you. And, thank you to, Claire and her husband, Andy for making us dinner and playing Cards Against Humanity with us before we had to hit the road the next day. Couldn't have asked for a more perfect, relaxing evening with good friends. Thanks also for the crazy good rice crispy treats. Oh my goodness were those delicious and I'm still thinking about them. 
The next morning we started our 3 and a half hour trek to Iowa to play a show at Gabe's in Iowa City that night. When we walked in for setup and soundcheck there was a heavy metal show taking place. At first we thought we might be in the wrong place, haha, but quickly learned that Gabe's is a venue that hosts music from all genres and it really works. Totally awesome. The folks there are welcoming and we made a lot of new friends! We ended up sharing the night with a band out of Madison, WI called, The Wells Division. They were sweet folks and we loved their sound. We hope to make a trip to Wisconsin soon to rock another show with them! Thank you to Gabe's for having us and thank you to the new pals we made in Iowa City. We appreciated your warm welcome and we will definitely be back! 

 Thank you for having us Gabes!

The Wells Division rockin' it!
The next morning we set out for our first really long haul -- Iowa City, IA to Seattle, WA. One day and 3 hours away. It ended up taking us 29 hours (the deer episode in South Dakota that I mentioned earlier can be blamed for that) but we made the trip straight through like a couple of crazy people. The drive through South Dakota was incredibly long, but totally beautiful. Keep in mind that it was my first time in all of these states so I was basically a little kid pointing out the window and taking pictures every 5 seconds when I wasn't driving. 

Nothing like driving across the country in a Chevy HHR packed to the brim. :)

Must have El Matador tortilla chips when traveling across the country. Must. 

Chris feeling super confidant about spending the next 29 hours in a car with me. 
I can only describe driving through South Dakota as long stretches of road that seem to go on forever with no real cities or people in site. Ha! There were definitely a few times where, Chris and I thought that we might just be driving forever. After hours and hours of driving, we finally saw the first big city we had seen in a while and you would have thought by the way we reacted that we just discovered a million dollars. In fact, I blared Aerosmith's "Amazing" and sang it at the top of my lungs just to really celebrate the moment. We stopped in that city for a quick bite and decided to keep driving. We had no idea about insanity that awaited us. 

This was when the deer episode happened. When I say that it was a lot of deer, what I mean is, it was as if all the deer on the planet convened on this one stretch of highway at the exact time we were driving down many glowing eyes surrounding us at once. This part of the trip has affectionately been named, "deer city." Now that it's over we can laugh about it, but at the time it was pretty gnarly. We did manage to make up some new band names and songs to pass the time though. For those of you who don't know, Chris can actually rap. It's pretty impressive. 

South Dakota Sunset. :)
Eventually we finally made it through South Dakota and arrived in Montana. HOLY SMOKES is Montana gorgeous. I had fallen asleep for the last 30 minutes or so of South Dakota and I woke up to Chris saying, "Look dude." It was mountains! I had never seen real mountains before! Waking up to the sunrise with the mountains off in the distance was as if God was like, "Alright you guys, I know the drive through South Dakota was rough, but you did it and now look!" We were both sort of instantly awake. After stopping for coffee and breakfast at a cozy Cracker Barrel in Missoula, we were ready to go!

 The sunset and mountain view I woke up to. 

How can a place be this beautiful?! 

I took these pictures with my iphone you guys! 

So Lovely

Sometimes when you've been on the road and you haven't slept in a really long time...insanity begins to take over. 
Washington wasn't without it's long stretches of highway, but we were so happy to only have a few hours left of driving once we crossed into Washington that they didn't even bother us. We made one last stop for coffee and we were set. Coming into the area about an hour from Renton (right outside of Seattle where we were staying) was a wonderful experience. Both Chris and I didn't quite know how to explain it. It was hazy and blue and we started seeing gorgeous mountains in front of us; it looked like you were driving right into them. It was crazy! I think we both just had an overwhelming feeling of appreciation for how stunning everything was and also a feeling of, "Holy smokes, we seriously just drove across the country for 29 hours straight and we kinda killed it and we kinda can't believe that we did that and how well it went." (I know, I know...except for deer city, but even that was sort of exciting, I guess.)

We were quiet, appreciating everything. Every 10 minutes or so one of us would say, "Dude." or "Can you believe this?" I don't usually use the word, "Epic" to describe things, but it was pretty damn epic. 

29 hours later...what is UP Washington?! 

Oh hello. 

Welcome to Washington. 

We did it! 

Washington, where the clouds touch the ground. 

Probably the sweetest picture I took as we were coming into the area right outside of Seattle. 
In Washington we stayed with, my longtime friend, Derrick and his wife, Tina. I've known, Derrick since I was about 6 or 7 years old, but this was my first time getting to meet his awesome wife. They are the NICEST people you will ever meet and we were so thankful to stay with them. When we arrived that evening they took us to a restaurant where we ate the most delicious food and I worked on my "eating with chopsticks" skills. I could've eaten everything on that table. The west coast has the best sushi I've ever had. I can't say enough about, Derrick and Tina's hospitality. Thank you both over and over again for the safe place to stay, letting us do our laundry, feeding us, and letting us in on your lives. We had a blast with you both! 

Love them! 

Unpacking the car is fun. 
Our first show in Seattle was at a rad venue called Capitol Cider. It is nestled in a cool neighborhood in Seattle called, Capitol Hill. I was especially happy about playing this venue because they have tons (and I mean tons) of different ciders on tap AND everything on their menu is gluten free. Hooray! I had the best fish and chips! Seriously, the west coast has got food on LOCK. We loved playing at Capitol Cider. Wonderful crowd! Met some more folks from Michigan too! I can't wait until we can go back and play there again. 

They named a drink after me for our did they know I'm a whiskey girl?  :) 

Strollin' in Seattle 

 Chris all casual and stuff. 

 Our show at Capitol Cider was on April Fools day and this was downtown. I liked it. 
The next day in Seattle was a free day. Whoohoo! We got an entire day to walk around and check out the city. We explored the market downtown, beautiful flowers and lots of fish throwing. I found a used bookstore (naturally). We grabbed some walking tacos for lunch and then made our way over to the Fremont neighborhood in the city. I dug Fremont so hard you guys. Tons of record stores, vintage stores and I found the cutest little gluten free bakery there. :)

This guy was playing music at the market and I got serenaded for a little while. 

Hustle and bustle of the city. Love it! 

Seattle stole my heart a little bit. <3 

I met this kitty when we ventured back to the Capitol Hill neighborhood. His name is, Boss. He jumped up on my lap and we were pretty much BFF's after that. 

The awesome used bookstore we found. <3 <3 
The next day we headed to Tacoma for our show at Metronome Coffee. Very cool spot! They had a lavender latte that was SO GOOD. Honestly, the best food and drinks we had the entire tour was in Washington. The show at Metronome was wonderful. We met a lot of super sweet folks and I got to see a friend of mine from home that I hadn't seen in years! It was so nice! 

Just being a rebel in Tacoma, nothing to see here folks. Nothing to see. 

Soundcheck. Metronome Coffee. Thank you for having us! 

It was so nice to see you, Liz! Until next time! :) 
On Saturday we headed up 4 and a half hours to Winthrop, WA to play a wonderful little brewery called, Old Schoolhouse Brewery. I am not exaggerating when I say that this was one of the most rewarding shows I have ever played. Music is meant to be shared and experienced together. That's what I love about music the most, the way it connects people to experience this one moment in life in such a powerful way together. That show was a freakin' blast and we couldn't have asked for a more fantastic collection of people in one room together. At one point a harmonica player that just happened to be sitting in the audience that evening jumped up on stage and joined us for some songs. The bartender, Annie was a sweetheart and had a beautiful voice. She even joined us for a couple songs and the entire place (I mean the entire place) was singing along with us. I will never forget this night and I cannot wait to get back to play at Old Schoolhouse again. It was one of those shows where I felt like I could have kept on playing for hours and hours. The folks in Winthrop are an absolute delight. 

Shows like this one remind me why I love what I get to do so much. We couldn't stop smiling. <3 

Best little brewery in Washington. 

Fell in love with Winthrop and it's wonderful people. 

Harmonica jammin' :) 
Even the drive up to Winthrop was incredible. We literally drove through the mountains. It was breathtaking. Absolutely breathtaking. I've never seen mountains that beautiful in my life. 

Could not have asked for a more beautiful drive or a more beautiful day. 

I mean... !!!

Incredible. This was a welcomed reminder of how small I am and how much of this beautiful world I want to see and experience. There is no other way to describe it except that it feels like magic. 

After the show in Winthrop, we drove through the night back to Seattle, slept for a few hours, then got back on the road headed to Los Angeles, California. We made a quick stop in Portland, OR for lunch. I hope the next time I head out west I can actually play a couple dates in Oregon as well. It's a beautiful state. 

 Spoiled with the prettiest scenery while driving. 

 Ummmm....we have located the mother load. I'm not proud of the amount of Sour Patch Kids I consumed during this tour. But you know what, it happened. And I can't change it. All I can do it pray for the best and hope that all of my teeth don't fall out now. 

I really don't mind driving at night. I like the moon. A lot. <3 

We found this little diner when we got into California. And coffee. We found coffee, which is the important point here.

Hi from I-5 South.
Arriving in Los Angeles was a TRIP. Good grief. You know those rumors you hear about LA having the worst traffic in the world. It's true. It's the worst traffic in the world and people driving are nuts! It probably didn't help that we arrived at 5pm (yeah, didn't time that one out so great). All I am trying to say is that it took us 2 hours to go 6 miles. When you've been on the road for 16 hours and you are so very close to your destination, an extra 2 hours to go such a short distance feels like an eternity. When we did finally made it to our destination thought, we celebrated with superb Mexican food and $2, estaba bien. :)
Our first show in California was in stunning Hermosa Beach at a cool venue called the Lighthouse Cafe. We got so lucky to have our first show ever in California be at such a sweet spot with such welcoming folks. We met some great people, which I know is starting to sound like a trend. We met the NICEST people out on this tour. Honestly, we did not have a single bad experience at any venue we played. It felt like more things should have gone wrong with this being my first tour over out west and all. I kept waiting for a tire to blow or a venue to be like, "Uh, who are you guys again?" Something to fall though! Haha. But really, it was all good. 

 Hermosa Beach is pretty. 

Thank you for having us Lighthouse Cafe. See you again soon!
Our next stop was North Hollywood, CA to play Republic of Pie. Wonderful coffee shop venue. The atmosphere was supa cool and again, extremely kind and welcoming crowd. AND they gave us free pie and coffee (they had awesome gluten free pie)...I mean, what more do you really need at that point? It was delicious by the way. :) 

Luckily, Chris documented me being not obnoxious or embarrassing at all in public while we were in Hollywood. 

I fit RIGHT in with the cool kids in Hollywood, you guys. Yep, fit. right. in. 

Hi. :) 

Nice to meet you, Hollywood. Wanna be friends? 

Got to see my wonderful friends, Brian and Chelsea after our show that night. Loved getting to spend time with them laughing and hearing about their lives so far in LA. I'm so proud of these two! <3
The next day, we left LA and headed for San Francisco, CA. We decided to take the Pacific Coast Highway 1. It was going to take a little bit longer, but we had heard it was absolutely worth the extra driving time. And it was. PCH 1 is one of the most beautiful drives and places I have ever seen. I honestly felt like we were in another country. I feel lucky and blessed that I got to experience so much beauty on this tour. 

I <3 the road. 

Sometimes the world is just so pretty that you gotta get outta the car and twirl for a little while. 

Sun. Shine. <3 

You know that scene you see in the opening of a movie where the car is winding through the prettiest roads and there are waves crashing on rocks everywhere and it just goes on forever and it doesn't look real. 

Yeah, this is that.

Just leave me here on this rock for a while. I'll be good. :)

Haha, my fine picture/selfie taking skills at work here. 

There are all these open fields out west where the farm animals just get to roam and roam. My heart was so happy to see this everywhere.


Chris found the missing Red Bull and we celebrated. :) 

Oh Haii. 

Kari, How do you feel right now? 
We got into San Francisco late that night and basically just binged on pizza and crashed. I think at that point it was much needed. 

Our digs in San Fran. If I could design my perfect apartment, this would be it. Ahhhh, loved it. 
We had a some time to walk around San Francisco before our show at Velo Rouge Cafe that night, so we grabbed a quick coffee and made our way over to the legendary Haight and Ashbury. San Francisco is neat city. I wish we would have been able to stay a couple days. I definitely want to go back soon. 

San Francisco. Haight and Ashbury. 

Supa sweet record store we found. 

The Velo Rouge Cafe. This venue was a wonderful last stop for our west coast tour. 

Nope. Doesn't fit. Dang it.

San Francisco, you rule. 

Reunited with my best friend in San Fran at an Irish Bar. We hadn't seen each other in months. What are the odds that we are both in San Fran at the same time while I am out on tour? Meant to be.

Sara and Kari. Normal. 

Chris and I discussing how to properly celebrate the last show on the west whiskey, obviously. 

These guys made my night. 

Loved seeing these familiar faces at our show in San Fran! 

I loved playing The Velo Rouge Cafe in San Francisco. They were awesome to us. The folks at the show stayed and listened to us all night and showed us so much love. It was fun meeting everyone afterward and getting to hang and chat for a little. Thank you to everyone who stayed for our show and thank you to Velo Rouge for having us. Super excited to make it back to this venue the next time around. :) 
The next morning, we stopped for breakfast at a diner in Berkley (just outside of San Francisco) and said our bitter sweet goodbye to the west coast, ready to make the trek back to the midwest. 

Whelp, 1 day and 8 hours until Michigan. Here we go again! 

The drive back was looooong, but at least there were pretty stretches like this. 

3 weeks touring the west coast. 7,000 miles later. This tour was better than I could have ever hoped. I honestly could have just kept going and going and going. I love the road and I love playing my music for new people in new places. Being out there teaches you a lot about yourself. If there is one thing that was totally solidified for me during this tour, it's that I was meant to do this. I was meant for the road. I was meant for traveling. I was meant for music. Being out in the world, stepping outside of the comfort zones I've created and playing my music night after night, in different places all the time is exactly what I am supposed to be doing. I feel so thankful that this is the path I was given and I will continuously do my best to live it fully and make the most honest and best music I can make. I get to reach and connect with people doing something that I love and that to me is incredible. Music has given me the greatest gifts. I don't take a second for granted and I am thrilled to see how this journey continues to unfold. 

Next up, east coast...comin' attacha soon! WaPow! ;) 

Thanks for reading y'all! Nothin' but LOVE, always. 

xo - Kari 

P.S - I got some new ink. :) 

Fly, Fly, Fly. <3