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MIDWEST

Heineken tastes different in the Netherlands, and different again at altitude, on an airplane. I haven’t had the chance to try it on a flight within Europe to find out whether it tastes different in a third and unanticipated way. And I don’t like Heineken. But I do like science, or at least I like the idea that certain things can be measured under certain conditions and thereby known to some extent. This may disqualify me from the Republican Party in a way that pedophilia and serial fabrication do not, but I’ll try not to lose sleep over not making the team.

I bring this up because I’m sitting in a Boeing 717 on the way to Missoula the day after the day after Thanksgiving - I can’t remember which class of purchasing behavior this day is named for now - enjoying the general white noise and a can of Heineken, and reading Jim Fergus’s The Hunter’s Road. I’m going out west to hunt birds for four days with my old friend Chris Dombrowski, after which I’ll fly to Milwaukee and rent a van, in order drive to Detroit the next day and meet the band, in order to start a Midwest tour in Ann Arbor on 12/1. Even I am confused by that sentence but let’s proceed on the assumption that it’s a reasonable plan.

We finish the year, and the North American tour for Kris’s new album The Wild, with shows in Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. My antecedents lived in each of these states at various times in the last 100 years, and it’s the part of the country that feels like home. We’ll see family and old friends, and play rooms we know well and then a couple we haven’t seen, all with the band: Billy Conway on drums, Jeremy Moses Curtis on bass, Eric Heywood on pedal steel and electric guitar. Handsome devils.

The tours have been sweet in a way that tours rarely can be sweet, owing to what’s generally left out of them, and the inevitable sensation of missing the rest of life. The show that we’ve made - Kris and I taking turns fronting the band, new and old songs - brings together elements of our lives that regard each other fondly but rarely share space, and most nights there’s a 9 year-old girl backstage watching Little House on the Prairie with the intense elan that only a kid without a television can bring to that enterprise. The road life has been good to her and it's going to be tough going back to the fourth grade. Especially now that she smokes.

We’ll start at The Ark in Ann Arbor, MI. (12/1) a venerable club with a long pedigree - I always pay my respect to the spot on the wall signed ‘John Q. Prine’ - and then head up to Spring Lake MI. and the Pin Drop Concert series at Seven Steps Up (12/2). My band has a special relationship with the Spring Lake police department, a story I don’t choose to relate just now but will let it suffice to say it’s how we learned the town motto, ‘Come on vacation, leave on probation!’ Then it’s back to City Winery Chicago (12/3) which is just an awfully nice room.

After some visiting we’ll go down and see our friends at the CSPS in Cedar Rapids (12/5), and from there over to Lancaster, WI. in the Driftless to play one of our favorite little rooms, the Three Springs Barn (12/6, SOLD OUT); then it’s up to Minneapolis to play the Cedar Cultural Center (12/7), after which we’ll head back down to my home county for a show at the Stoughton Opera House (12/8), one of the most beautiful, and best sounding theaters in the country (the cognoscenti will recall that the Opera House is a dry venue, and pack accordingly). We finish up in Milwaukee at the Back Room at Colectivo coffee (12/9) and then it’s time to break up the band for a few months, and get a record out.

Thanks for keeping us out on the road, coming out to shows, buying records, sending our tour dates to the people you know in the towns where we’re headed, while the industrial world teeters on its stilts and we all lay awake at night wondering when the wheels will come off. Most of what passes for the music industry now is a farce, a put-on in which we all agree to curate an image of relentless cool while being slowly bled dry. But none of that matters. We still drive to a town and set our gear up in a room full of strangers and try to tell the truth for an hour. We do it for love, and we'll keep doing it, if we can. We'll see you out there.

Thanks,

- JF


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WASHINGTON // OREGON // CALIFORNIA // MIDWEST

It’s been ten years since I shaved, or wore a tie. I know it because an old friend celebrated his wedding anniversary, and I stood up in that wedding with a clean shave and a four-in-hand, not because I liked it, but because I grew up with my grandparents and I thought there might be grandparents on the scene, the kind of people for whom I was willing to observe a certain form. In ten years I’ve become become less susceptible to convention, but I still make my bed every morning and feel a twinge of pointless dread when I sleep late or haven’t shoveled the driveway by mid-morning. This occurred to me on the road last week on tour with what must be the only electric band in North America in which no one has a tattoo, or anything pierced. I guess somehow we never got around to it.

There’s a kind of heliopause where the road life ends and the home life is embarked on but not quite real, and things are clear, the way the light feels scrubbed after a storm. The savor of the road lingers, running jokes replay through the mind so that you laugh under your breath, and the feeling of motion carries like sustain. You set the house to rights looking over the things you own and which own you: a missing hub cap, the flower pot set out on the deck to catch cigarette butts now brewing a weak tea of rainwater and spent tobacco. The problem with being human is that it’s about impossible to know anything while you’re in it, and we only apprehend our lives with any clarity in approach and retreat. The Doppler of perception. The descent into reality can be startling but often enough it’s where the good work begins. It’s November. Our heroes are dying off, the days are strange and warm, the river thunders down over the dam in town. The stars were out this morning and the axe threw sparks when I split wood for the stove. Tomorrow we're on the road again, this time out west. Come find us.

WASHINGTON - This week we begin our tour of the west coast, splitting sets each night with Kris Delmhorst moving north to south, with shows in Washington state at Ballard Homestead in Seattle, WA. (11/2); the Icicle Creek Center for the Arts (11/3) in Leavenworth. If you haven't been to Leavenworth, this is the good one.

OREGON - After that it's down the 5 to Portland, OR and the Old Church (11/4), and then Seven Devil's Brewery in Coos Bay, OR, (11/5) on our way south toward the sunny weather.

CALIFORNIA - In California we'll play the Arcata Playhouse in Arcata, CA. (11/7); the Palms Playhouse in Winters, CA. (11/8); the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, CA. (11/9); Don Quixote's in Felton, CA. (11/10); McCabe's in Santa Monica, CA. (11/11); finishing up at Soho in Santa Barbara, CA. (11/12). These are all great rooms and they ought to be sweet, memorable shows. Else I'm firing someone.

MIDWEST - In December we return home to the Midwest, traveling from The Ark in Ann Arbor, MI. to Spring Lake (12/1) to Colectivo in Milwaukee, WI (12/9), with stops in Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota along the way. The complete dates are on the Tour Page. Send your friends and tell them that although our hospitality rider contains only four adjectives and four nouns - French wine, Mexican beer, hot coffee, and tap water - it is seldom filled precisely, and donations are always welcome, mainly in the beer department.

Thanks,

- JF


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EAST // WEST // MIDWEST // LIVE ALBUM // LISA OLSTEIN

I've been listening to Tom Petty, thinking about the way he could sing a literal statement without metaphor or ornament, and deliver it with a conviction that made it move like poetry. Ricky Nelson had that power, and Eddie Cochran too, both singers who left the party early, like Petty. He believed in music as a life and death proposition, and you can hear the hunger in him, that lean coyote voice, long after he got famous and comfortable. There's a spiritual hunger in rock 'n' roll that comes from blues and gospel, and Petty cut the template for late rock 'n' roll while fashion bloomed and subsided around him. He had Elvis, Del Shannon, and Gene Vincent, and we had him. If you're looking for solace, go find Bo Ramsey's album In the Weeds. Nothing in the 'Americana' genre is going to cut it folks, it's mostly soybeans.

We're headed out on the road family-style for the rest of the year: put the band family and home family together in one Ford Transit van and never have to miss anyone, that's the plan. We're going to air out a pile of new songs, His and Hers, boxing the compass in 15 states. We've got a 9 year old Tour Manager who doesn't have an iPad. Shit's about to get real.

EAST - In October we play the Northeast on the first leg of a three-month North America tour with Kris Delmhorst for the release of her new album THE WILD, which I co-produced and played on with my band. We'll travel full band and split sets every night, playing songs from THE WILD and previewing my forthcoming record BLOOD BROTHERS, with Kris joining the band on my set, and vice versa. We'll start in Maine at the Stone Mountain Arts Center (10/20), playing the Once Ballroom in Somerville, MA (10/21); Higher Ground in Burlington, VT (10/22); Gypsy Sally's in DC (10/25); Rockwood 2 in NYC (10/26); The Word Barn in Exeter, NH (10/27); and bringing it all back home to finish up at the Shea Theater in Turner's Falls, MA (10/28). These are going to be fantastic shows, a rare bill, and now is the right time to buy tickets for you and a party of six, and forward this email to the people you know in the towns where we're going. We're not Russia, we can't afford to buy up all the ad real estate on Facebook to promote our brand of mischief.

WEST - With a quick turnaround to get some trick-or-treating done we'll tour the far west, north to south, with shows at Ballard Homestead in Seattle, WA. (11/2); the Old Church in Portland, OR (11/4): Seven Devil's Brewery in Coos Bay, OR, (11/5); the Arcata Playhousein Arcata, CA. (11/7); the Palms Playhouse in Winters, CA. (11/8); the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, CA. (11/9); Don Quixote's in Felton, CA. (11/10); McCabe's in Santa Monica, CA. (11/11); finishing up at Soho in Santa Barbara, CA. (11/12); Please note: there will be one show without Kris, just me and the boys, headlining the Icicle Creek Center for the Arts(11/3).

MIDWEST - In December we return home to the Midwest, traveling from The Ark in Ann Arbor, MI. (12/1) to Colectivo in Milwaukee, WI (12/9) over the course of a tour with stops in IL, MN, and IA (Details on the tour page). I always like to finish the year in Milwaukee because that's where my Grandma lives. If you have never had your ass handed to you in cribbage by a 89 year-old woman while distinctly hungover at 8 a.m. on a Sunday, let's call it a remedy for any number things.

LIVE ALBUM - Back when the Wolves record came out Billy and I kicked off the west coast tour with Eric Heywood on steel and electric at the Alberta Rose Theater in Portland, Oregon. That show was recorded, and as sometimes happens when you have no idea you're on tape, the performance was loose, candid, mildly drunk, and joyful, a snapshot of where we were in the songs just then. It sounded so good I decided to print it up and sell it for money. I won't release this record or make it available anywhere but on the road until my next proper album comes out in the spring, so if you want it you're going to have to come out and fork over the cash.

LISA OLSTEIN - I got to know the poet Lisa Olstein when I cut my second album, Stripping Cane, with David Goodrich in the old summer kitchen of their house in Hadley, MA., in 2003. Her first book of poems, 'Radio Crackling, Radio Gone' was accepted by Copper Canyon not long after that - for my money the best press in the country, publishing Kenneth Rexroth, Jim Harrison, and Jack Gilbert, and W.S. Merwin - and we eventually became collaborators, creating two albums of rock 'n' roll based on her poems, fragments, and lyrics with my band Cold Satellite. She's a dear friend and one of the best writers and poets working, easy. I've been working my way through her new book, Late Empire, and it's all at once harrowing, bracing, and beautiful. It comes out this month and you can order it right now. When was the last time you bought a book of poems? That's what I thought.

Thanks,

- JF


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MONTANA // THE WILD

Driving an old truck requires that you do everything slowly. It takes a few minutes to warm up, and an old carbureted engine won’t be gunned into traffic, because it’ll kill or falter if you don’t feather in the gas. Likewise, stomping down on the brakes of a truck built to carry a payload - when trucks were inexpensive farm vehicles rather than high dollar nostalgia therapy for first generation middle management - will lock up the rear tires as the truck carries happily on, and this makes tailgating unwise. The tape player in my Dodge ate a brand new cassette of Biograph before I realized that the after-market sound system behind the bench seat was a Mouse Motel furnished with pine needles, and all the wires were chewed through. Now I have neither tape deck nor even the radio, just the wind through a badly sealed cab, and a windshield so big it's like going to the movies. All this to say an old truck is a governor on behavior and the lessons it offers can be generalized to the rest of life, where so much time is spent in thrall to the unhappy marriage of speed and nonsense: do one thing at a time, and do it slowly. As Billy is fond of pointing out, the outer limit of multi-tasking ought to be smoking while taking a leak.

I have one show this month, Thursday night (9/14) at The Attic in Livingston, MT, with my friend Christy Hays opening. Then Bill and I decamp to Wyoming for a little while, and after that I have nearly a month to figure out how to play lead guitar and sing backing vocals at the same time, as I’ll be on the road with Kris Delmhorst and the band around the country this fall, touring her new record THE WILD and giving a preview of my own forthcoming album, BLOOD BROTHERS, in back-to-back sets.

As for THE WILD, I co-produced and played on it, along with Billy and Moses from my band and Alex McCollough, who played steel in Cold Satellite. It comes out September 22, and it’s beautiful. There’s a pre-sale campaign up at Pledgemusic and it ends at noon Thursday (9/14), so this is your chance to hear and own the record early, get the vinyl while there are still copies, and have access to some of the other tangibles and intangibles. A pre-order campaign is basically the same as a CSA for your local small farmer - it moves payment for the yield up front, and creates some certainty in the bottom line as new expenses approach - and it’s one of the best, most concrete ways you can support a musician these days, when records still cost money to make but the only way to advertise them is to tell people to stream them for free, on demand.

https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/krisdelmhorst

Alright then. Easy now.

Thanks,

- JF


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THE WILD // SALMON ARM // N. CAROLINA // MONTANA

I spent three weeks on the ground in Montana in July, care-taking the Castle up at Billy's, and preparing elaborate meals with the band, our families, and various old friends passing through, everyone laughing and drinking wine on the deck late into the evening as the long northern light fell away. I slept outside under a pile of quilts and watched Venus rise through the teeth of the Crazies, trailing the moon. I followed the river up into the mountains where it stays clear and cold before the ranchers take it - diverting what they need and generally more, to water crops and livestock - and I caught improbably large Cutthroat trout in small water, in gravel bends that gave way to freestone, and then wide slabs of rock cut into tall cliffs. Heywood, the only member of the band who has ever missed lobby call, managed to rise in the dark before anyone and leave on day-long rambles, summitting three peaks in the Bridgers, and coming back sunburned and happy with a handful of mountain goat wool for my daughter. There were ravens and eagles, hawks, kites, cranes and owls every day, and the silence was so massive that sometimes the wing beats would startle me before I saw anything, a sound like a bellows over my head. I drove the ranch roads and lifted one finger off the steering wheel at the passing trucks, imitating their finely calibrated greeting, the combination of nonchalance and courtliness, if not exactly approval. I tried to let the quiet build up in me, and penetrate as far as it would go.

August is going to be one of those months. I’ve been driving around in the truck, fishing a lot, working on moving slow. I'm writing this on a plane over Minnesota on my way home from Salt Lake and this week it’s British Columbia, then North Carolina a week later, and back to Montana and Wyoming before September is half gone. It was my idea so it's hard to find anyone to complain to, and anyway it's going to be a hell of a lot of fun, it’ll just require all the quiet I have. Meanwhile, there's plenty going on, so let's get to it.

THE WILD - I'm delighted to tell you that the pre-sale campaign for THE WILD, the new album from Kris Delmhorst, which I both co-produced and played on, went live on Pledge Music this morning. The fall release tour dates are announced, the publicity is in train. We’ll be out together around the country touring as a split bill, sharing my band, performing her new record and previewing my next one (Blood Brothers - 2018) in consecutive sets, with Billy on drums and Moses on bass, me on guitars, perhaps the occasional pinch-hitter sitting in.

This record moves like a classic, and goes after the marrow of life with courage and candor: elegantly written, open-handed songs for full grown humans. You’re going to want to own this album, and share the hell out of the pre-sale link. Get in on the ground floor today: hear the title cut and watch the trailer, pre-order your copy on CD, vinyl, or digital, and perhaps consider adding a few extras to the cart. Daddy needs a new pair of shoes, and a publicist. You can hear the Faces-inflected 'Rule to Games,' the first full track premiere, at The Bluegrass Situation for a limited time, right now.

SALMON ARM - This week we'll play the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival in Salmon Arm, BC (8/18), on a bill that includes Frazey Ford, Stephen Fearing, and Ricky Skaggs. Billy's from Minnesota and grew up playing hockey, which makes him practically Canadian, so we won't need a translator.

NORTH CAROLINA - 8/25 I'll be in North Carolina, performing duo with Eric Heywood on steel and electric guitars on a split bill with our old friend Eilen Jewell, at a new club in Raleigh called the Stags Head. Next day we'll roll down to Asheville for the Jam in the Trees Festival (8/26), on a bill that includes Jim Lauderdale, and Peter Rowan. One wonders if the festival grounds are air-conditioned.

MONTANA - There are still a few cabins left at the E Bar L Ranch in Greenough, MT for the Beargrass Writing Retreat: Craft talks, workshops, manuscript consults, and cocktail hour with some of the best writers working, convened at the oldest guest ranch in Montana, where horse-backing, skeet-shooting, fly-fishing are not uncommon pursuits and where Billy and I will play a set of music every night. I just found out that Kevin Goodan - a truly great poet whose book ‘In the Ghost House Acquainted’ has been a companion to me for more than a decade - will be there this year, and I expect him to provide the only real competition in the Authentic Troubadour Arm-Wrestling Contest. He appears to have a few pounds on me, and fought forest fires for ten years in Idaho, but I think we all know my beard intimidates him.

On 14 September Billy and I play The Attic in Livingston, MT, a great joint in one of my favorite towns in the country. Our righteous friend Christy Hays opens the show, and if prior experience is any guide, any number of things may happen in Livingston, not the least of them dancing. (Please note the previously mentioned benefit show in Missoula has been cancelled due to scheduling conflicts).

RED GATE FARM - Red Gate Farm in Buckland, MA just down the road from where I live, runs summer and day camping programs that teach kids about farming, giving them hands-on experience of the work and the joy of growing food and tending animals. I'm real proud to get to play a benefit show at their annual Farm Dinner in September (9/9), with my old friend Kevin Barry - who played lap steel on the original recording of Northbound 35 - on steel and electric guitars, and Kris Delmhorst singing.

Leave your phone home, go outside every day, and fight the bastard in the oval office at every opportunity. Remember, this isn't right or normal. This president is in a different category altogether, one beyond politics. He’s everything you were raised not to be: a bully, liar, racist, cad, whiner, and braggart; a moral cipher; an ignorant, incurious man who stands for nothing, is immune to truth and logic, and can't be accused of holding any principle beyond his own aggrandizement. He's a demagogue, and he's dangerous. Do your part.

Thanks,

- JF


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MONTANA // UTAH // N. CAROLINA // BEARGRASS // KIMBALL

There were some years in the middle, eight or nine of them, when I didn't collect e-mail addresses at shows. It was a pain in the ass, one more thing to carry, and anyway the proliferation of online platforms made it start to seem quaint. Now I wish I had carried on doing what we all did in the prior century and asked for everyone's physical mailing address all these years, so I could just send a postcard when I was coming to town. If this letter reaches thousands of people, a quarter of them will ever see it, and some smaller percentage click through. The only way to reach people directly is to engage in things that grown people ought to find distasteful, while encouraging the streaming of your work on platforms that are a few decimal places away from outright theft. I could start an essay right here, but here's a draft of a poem instead.

Ragged Anthem (For Chris Dombrowski)

Carrying your poems loose
in the open back of a tube amplifier,
the torn leather handle replaced
with a length of cheap brown
extension cord tied off in a half hitch,
I process the cattle-chute of Denver
airport. Smoked out, beat,
rolling an unsure living back
and forth under my tongue like a stone
that does not slake but merely bides thirst,
I move through the sunlit canyons
of hustle and desire.

We drove all day from Cortez,
easy as a needle piercing folded cloth,
through high desert and mountains until,
approaching the front range as though
from behind a stage curtain, we watched
a storm blow down from the peaks
to conjure a line of dust devils
thirty miles long.
In my pocket I felt for a turquoise
turtle necklace I bought from
a Navajo woman in the lobby
of the Comfort Inn, a long-life charm
for my daughter. Next to this woman
a man slowly tooled a piece under a lamp
as he watched me eye the cases then
said, composing his hands, 'You're an artist.'
It was not a question.

The night before, blind
in the footlights of an old theater
I felt my heart strain and wobble
with booze and nicotine as I sang -
a feeling not unlike prayer -
everything I had, trying to make a pinhole
of light in black confusion in case
I might just die, the only way anyone
ever dies. Now, I ease down into the
blue leather of a first class upgrade,
fruit of my commerce with death,
and read the first one.

I've been home from the road for a little while, getting ready to head out west for the rest of the month. I picked up a copy of A.B. Guthrie's book The Big Sky in Flagstaff on the last run, a book which is good in a particular way if not others. I liked it though. Now I'm reading Jaron Lanier's last book, Who Owns the Future?, which together with his earlier book, You Are Not a Gadget, delivers the most informed, coherent, plain spoken critique of the digital economy I've seen. I have a magic job, and I'd like everyone to have a shot at being rewarded for the value they create in the world. There's no reason that can't happen, but it requires that we change the way that networks are organized and value is identified. It's all free music and cheap mortgages up front, but after a while you get a cultural dust bowl and a man-child with a room temperature IQ leading what we nostalgically refer to as the free world. Just lie back and close your eyes, listen to the war on the radio.

MONTANA - We'll spend the second half of July in Montana to play the Bob Marshall Music Festival up in Seeley Lake (7/14) and Red Ants Pants Festival up in White Sulphur (7/29). Great festivals in beautiful country both, and we'll play the Bob Marshall full band with Bo Ramsey holding down first chair electric guitar and Moses on bass, then Red Ants with and Heywood on steel and electric. This is what is commonly called an embarrassment of riches.

UTAH - On 12 August we'll be in Park City, Utah for the Big Stars and Bright Nights Series at Deer Valley Resort on a triple bill with Parsonsfield and Lanie Jones and the Spirits, where we will be in charge of feeling old. This looks like a swank outdoor amphitheater, and I'll bet it's going to be nice to play there. I've always longed to be famous in Utah, and this ought to finally get the ball rolling.

SALMON ARM - I probably would have taken this festival based on the name alone. August 18th we'll play the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival in Salmon Arm, BC (8/18), on a bill that includes Frazey Ford, Stephen Fearing, and Ricky Skaggs. If anybody who lives up there has the local rivers dialed and wouldn't mind getting us on the water, go ahead and drop a line to the management. Billy will wash your car.

NORTH CAROLINA - Toward the end of August we'll be in North Carolina, on a split bill with our old friend Eilen Jewell, at a new club in Raleigh called the Stags Head on 8/25. Next day we'll roll down to Asheville for the Jam in the Trees Festival (8/26), on a bill that includes Jim Lauderdale, and Peter Rowan. The North Carolina shows will be trio with Eric Heywood - recently elected mayor of Raleigh - on steel and electric guitars.

BEARGRASS - We close out summer in Greenough, Montana at the Beargrass Writer's Retreat, as Songwriter-in-Residence (8/26-29). That's a job title cooked up by my friend the author and poet Chris Dombrowski who founded the retreat, and it describes the responsibility of performing at cocktail hour and fishing on the Big Blackfoot river as much as possible, perhaps giving a talk about collaboration if Billy and I can stop arguing long enough to make an outline. To quote the literature, Beargrass "...Gathers some of the West's most celebrated and promising writers at the storied E Bar L ranch for four days of readings, workshops, craft talks, and generative writing opportunities that connect writers of all experience levels with self and place." Basically if you're a writer, or you simply want to consider the act and process of writing in the company of published writers from a variety of disciplines, in a beautiful place, with good food and a not unreasonable emphasis laid on cocktail hour, Beargrass is for you. Reserve your cabin now. (It's worth mentioning that a few weeks later we'll be on the ground in Montana again, with a show at The Attic in Livingston (9/14) and a benefit for the Watershed Education Network at the Public House in Missoula 9/22. More on those later, as further details emerge).

JENNIFER KIMBALL - I heard Jennifer Kimball play the first time I ever came east. I was familiar with her name from some major-label albums in the nineties, and she struck me with her singularly precise and beautiful singing. A while later it turned out she was old friends with the woman I married, and somewhat later that we were old friends too. I've admired her work for many years now, the way she comes at melody and chord structure in the most sidelong, ferociously smart way, managing to be novel and challenging without feeling academic. Her new album Avocet is worth hearing and buying: heavy songs with a light touch, gorgeous production.

This fall I'll tour North America family-style between October and December, on a full-band split bill with Kris Delmhorst for the release of her fantastic new album THE WILD, which I played on and co-produced, and which features Billy and Mose, plus Alex McCollough from the Cold Satellite band on steel. The clubs are booked, the publicity machinery is in train, and we'll announce the tours sometime this summer.

Keep your chin up folks.

Thanks,

- JF


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SOUTHWEST // MONTANA // AUGUST // BEARGRASS

We run a tight ship here at Jeffrey Foucault (TM) but sometimes exigent circumstances intervene and the mailer arrives late. Was it that fifty percent of domestic production staff decamped to an island somewhere to write songs, causing me to move my electric guitar rig into the kitchen and play Neil Young real loud for hours on end? Was it that until the last week's epic low-pressure system blew the rivers out there was a certain place, reachable only by a quarter mile upstream paddle, where large Rainbows could reliably be had on the dry fly, and this required that the fleet be mounted with a canoe on the roof rack at all times? Was it the six new baby chicks left in my sole care, which turned out to require new food, water, and litter every hour and a half? These things certainly played a role, as I explained in the conference call with shareholders. Running a corporation of this size and complexity is simply not an exact science, and allowances have to be made, the passive voice used, when things go wrong. Now friends, let' have a look at the projected third quarter. As we like to say, it's a good time to be white and a billionaire, so Billy and I are sitting pretty.

SOUTHWEST - This week the band convenes in the trio formation, with Eric Heywood on steel and Billy on the drums, for a brief tour of the desert southwest starting at the Highlands Nature Center Amphitheater in Prescott (6/13), moving on to the Fire Creek Coffee Company in Flagstaff (6/14), the Summer Nights series at the Albuquerque BioPark in Albuquerque, NM (6/15), the Pecos Flavors Winery in Roswell, NM, (6/16), and then finishing up at the Kitchen Sink Recording Studio in Santa Fe, NM (6/17). Nolan McKelvey opens Prescott, Brian White opens Flagstaff, and Austin's Christy Hayes opens the last two NM shows, joining the band on backing vocals.

MONTANA - We'll spend the second half of July in Montana to play the Bob Marshall Music Festival in Seeley Lake (7/14) and Red Ants Pants Festival up in White Sulphur (7/29). Both fests feature great line-ups and beautiful country, and we'll play the Bob Marshall with Bo Ramsey holding down first chair electric guitar, then play the Red Ants Pants Festival full band with Moses on bass and Eric Heywood on steel and electric.

AUGUST - August 12 we'll fly out to Park City, Utah for the Big Stars and Bright Nights Series at Deer Valley Resort on a triple bill with Parsonsfield and Lanie Jones and the Spirits, where we will be in charge of feeling old. From there we cross the border north and head up into Canada for the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival in Salmon Arm, BC (8/18), before flying back east for the Jam in the Trees Festival in Asheville, NC (8/26). All great festivals and bills, with musicians I'm excited to hear and see.

BEARGRASS - We'll close out summer with a return to Greenough, Montana and the Beargrass Writer's Retreat, as Songwriter-in-Residence (8/26-29). That's a job title cooked up by my friend the author and poet Chris Dombrowski who founded the retreat, and it describes the responsibility of performing at cocktail hour and fishing on the Big Blackfoot river as much as possible, possibly giving a talk about collaboration if Billy and I can stop arguing long enough to make an outline. To quote the literature, Beargrass "...Gathers some of the West's most celebrated and promising writers at the storied E Bar L ranch for four days of readings, workshops, craft talks, and generative writing opportunities that connect writers of all experience levels with self and place." If you're a writer, or you just want to consider the act and process of writing in the company of published writers from a variety of disciplines, in a beautiful place with good food and a not unreasonable emphasis laid on cocktail hour, Beargrass is for you. Reserve your cabin now.

This fall we'll tour North America family-style between October and December, on a full-band split bill with Kris Delmhorst for the release of her fantastic new album THE WILD, which I played on and co-produced. Dates are coming together and we'll announce them some time this summer.

We'll see you out there.

Thanks,

- JF


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COLORADO // ORKNEY // SOUTHWEST // MONTANA

We cut a new album in the middle of a Midwest tour, returning to Pachyderm studio in rural Minnesota, this time with both incarnations of the road band: Eric Heywood in your right speaker and Bo Ramsey in your left, Moses and Billy down the center line, if you can imagine that. It's a lineup to bead the sweat on your forehead, all available fire-power and titanic restraint. I don't have an album title yet, for once, and it won't come out until next winter but I'll keep you posted. It’s a home fires record, or maybe a collected reveries record, and there's a little more light coming in the window this time. I had six weeks to finish songs when I booked the studio, and I was still writing right up through the last morning of the session, so my mind was fairly shot by the time I got home and required a week of standing hip-deep in the river, and wandering around the house staring into space. But it was a beautiful time, and there was a lot of love in the room. Moses finally earned his Honorary Midwesterner badge. We knew he was ready when we offered it to him and he refused it three times and then bashfully accepted saying, "Well, I guess if you went to all this trouble."

Here’s our deal in May, and if you’re not in Colorado or Scotland it may not be your cup of tea. But read on, Gentle Reader, and track our movements through the new year. There's a pile of new songs, and for now the only place you can hear them is wherever we show up. There are dogwood and peach cuttings on the sideboard, magnolia petals falling outside the kitchen window, and the yard is a slow-motion fireworks of cherry, crab apple, plum, and quince. What a hard time to leave, and what a fine job to have.

COLORADO - Next week we'll head back out to Colorado for a widely ranging tour of that state, visiting towns we haven't seen and some we have, while noting the progress of the runoff in the spring trout streams. We start up in Fort Collins at the Downtown Artery (5/2), continue on through Society Hall in Alamosa (5/3), Brues Alehouse in Pueblo (5/4), Daniels Hall at Swallow Hill in Denver (5/5), The Sherbino in Ridgway (5/6), and finish up at the Sunflower Theater in Cortez (5/7). Denver's Megan Burtt opens all shows. Get your tickets now, some of these will sell out.

ORKNEY - At the end of May Billy and I fly to Edinburgh, and from there to the Orkney Islands off the northeast coast of Scotland for the Orkney Folk Festival. Once there, we'll play four nights and almost certainly go to bed early every night, make no friends, and observe teetotal abstinence from intoxicating liquor.

SOUTHWEST - In June we'll meet up with Eric Heywood for a trio tour of the desert Southwest with shows at the Highlands Nature Center Amphitheater in Prescott (6/13), the Fire Creek Coffee Company in Flagstaff (6/14), the Summer Nights series at the Albuquerque BioPark in Albuquerque, NM (6/15), the Pecos Flavors Winery in Roswell, NM, (6/16), finishing up at the Kitchen Sink Recording Studio in Santa Fe, NM (6/17), and with any luck getting home in time for Father's Day supper. I have a song about traveling from Hatch up to Santa Fe some years ago listening to my wife sing Neil Young's Albuquerque in the car. It's about as post-modern as I ever got.

MONTANA - In July we'll spend a few weeks in Montana to play the Bob Marshall Music Festival in Seeley Lake (7/14) and Red Ants Pants Festival up in White Sulphur (7/29). Both fests feature great line-ups in beautiful country, and we'll be out with the full band for the first time in Montana, an unalloyed pleasure. One of the reasons Montana is so beautiful is its long tradition of public lands, now under direct threat. Rick Bass has rounded up thirty of the state's best writers - including my good friends David James Duncan, Robert Stubblefield, and Chris Dombrowski - to write original essays in defense of their home ground, and they're currently running a very modest fundraiser to raise the cash to get these essays into every paper across the state in time for the upcoming elections. If you believe, as Ed Abbey did, that wilderness is necessary and vital even if you never intend to visit it, for its influence on both the soul and the imagination, maybe you'll consider helping them get the ball rolling even if you can't get out to Montana any time soon. At least you'll know it's there.

In August we'll play the Big Stars and Bright Nights Series in Park City, Utah (8/12), the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival in Salmon Arm, BC (8/18), and the Jam in the Trees Festival in Asheville, NC (8/26), before heading back west to attend the Beargrass Writer's Retreat at the E-Bar-L Ranch in Greenough, MT as Songwriter-in-Residence. That's a job title cooked up by my friend the author and poet Chris Dombrowski who founded the retreat, and it describes the weighty responsibility of performing at cocktail hour and fishing on the Big Blackfoot as much as possible, while hobnobbing with literary types. In the fall we'll tour North America family-style between October and December, on a full-band split bill with Kris Delmhorst for the release of her fantastic new album THE WILD, which I played on and co-produced. Keep an eye out for that.

We'll see you out there.

Thanks,

- JF


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MIDWEST // NYC // COLORADO // ORKNEY // MULVEY

I've been off the road for a month writing songs, and tonight I'll meet Billy in Minneapolis to begin a Midwest tour. I don't want to start a panic and cripple the internet, but tickets for these Midwest shows are still available and we're playing some lovely rooms, rooms in which I myself would enjoy seeing a show, especially if I weren't in that show. There's a new album in the works, a studio booked, a rigorous calisthenics regime imposed on all band members, and this tour is your chance to hear the new songs first, before we actually know them.

MIDWEST - In the first half of April we’ll be on the road in the Midwest playing small towns in Wisconsin, with one appearance in Duluth where Billy Conway lived part of his boyhood and was apparently a speed skating prodigy. The tour starts in La Crosse at the Cavalier Theater (4/5), and proceeds to the Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls (4/6), the Mineral Point Opera House in Mineral Point (4/7), and Thrasher Opera House in Green Lake (4/8). After a short break to make a record we’ll pick back up in Hayward, WI at the Park Theatre (4/14), and then finish back up in Minnesota at the Sacred Heart Music Center in Duluth (4/15). The leg of the tour we'll be full band with Eric Heywood on steel and electric guitar, and Jeremy Moses Curtis on bass. Our friends in the Minneapolis duo Dusty Heart open the Mineral Point, Green Lake, and Hayward shows, so we'll all have to up our sartorial game.

NYC - I just booked a one-night stand in New York City at City Vineyard at Pier 26 (4/26), part of the City Winery operation, and it is very likely to be the only solo show all year, so if you want to come hear it in the raw this is your opportunity. Secure your tickets, this is a small room and it will sell out.

COLORADO - In the first week of May we’ll start a Colorado tour at the Downtown Artery in Fort Collins (5/2), continue on through Society Hall in Alamosa (5/3), Brues Alehouse in Pueblo (5/4), Daniels Hall at Swallow Hill in Denver (5/5), The Sherbino in Ridgway (5/6), and finish up at the Sunflower Theater in Cortez (5/7). Fine Denver songwriter Megan Burtt will come along to open all shows.

ORKNEY - Last year in Denmark I walked up to a circle of men standing near the headquarters of the festival we were playing, in order to ask an innocent question about the hotel shuttle. Twenty minutes later I had been absorbed into that circle - a band as it turned out, called The Chair - and given a number of opportunities to share the bottle of whiskey that was handing around. That, friends, is how you get booked into a festival on Orkney Island.

MULVEY - My old friend Peter Mulvey, the man directly or indirectly responsible for my career, my marriage, and my intense dislike for Scrabble, has released a beautiful new record called 'Are You Listening.' For as long as I've been making records I've shared the process, from hotel room sketch to master recording, with Peter. We've spent thousands of miles together on the road arguing about it in all its particulars, and he's one of the people in this business I love and respect. You can listen to the new album here, but more importantly you can do the right thing and buy it, here.

That about covers it. This summer we'll tour the desert southwest in June, play the Bob Marshall Music Festival and Red Ants Pants Festival in Montana in July, Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival in British Columbia and Jam in the Trees in North Carolina (locations which though near-rhymes are actually about 2,600 miles distant) in August. In the fall we'll tour North America family-style, full band on a split-bill with Kris Delmhorst for the release of her new album THE WILD this fall.

If you know anyone in any of the towns mentioned above, please forward this email, tell them we're nice people mostly. Meanwhile, do your part to halt America's descent into what the sorely missed poet Jim Harrison described as a fascist Disneyland. Call your law-makers, harass your own blood relatives, and be unnervingly kind the whole time.

Thanks,

- JF


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MIDWEST // COLORADO // ORKNEY // SOUTHWEST // SARGE

Moses and Billy and I had a nice little run around New England last week, enjoying the seventy degree February days and contemplating the end of civilization. Ten thousand years is a pretty good run when you consider it. Dana Colley showed up in Somerville and played sax on the last few numbers, killing it in the most distracting possible way. I had a hard time remembering lyrics. Billy gave me a copy of Callan Wink's short stories, Dog Run Moon, which is good enough that by the last story I wasn't thinking about the language or the writer, but lost in the telling. I've been making my way through Annie Dillard's selected essays, The Abundance, a reminder what a first class mind looks like. Also the new posthumous collection of Jim Harrison's food writing, A Really Big Lunch, which makes me simultaneously happy and hungry, and wistful to know he's gone. I bought and listened to my friend Tift Merritt's new record Stitch of the World, featuring another friend and band-mate, Eric Heywood on pedal steel and electric guitar. No one these last years has turned the wheel in country music with anything like the subtlety or surety of Tift, and this record continues in that line. But enough about other people, let's talk about me.

MIDWEST - In the first half of April we’ll be on the road in the Midwest playing small towns in Wisconsin for the most part, with one appearance in Duluth where Billy Conway lived part of his boyhood and was apparently a speed skating prodigy. The tour starts in La Crosse at the Cavalier Theater (4/5), and proceeds to the Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls (4/6), the Mineral Point Opera House in Mineral Point (4/7), and Thrasher Opera House in Green Lake (4/8). After a short break we’ll pick back up in Hayward - a town I’ve visited a number of times but only to canoe the Namekagon River - at the Park Theatre (4/14), and then finish back up in Minne at the Sacred Heart Music Center in Duluth (4/15). Our friends in the Minneapolis duo Dusty Heart open the Mineral Point, Green Lake, and Hayward shows.

COLORADO - In the first week of May we’ll start a Colorado tour at the Downtown Artery in Fort Collins (5/2), continue on through Society Hall in Alamosa (5/3), Brues Alehouse in Pueblo (5/4), Daniels Hall at Swallow Hill in Denver (5/5), The Sherbino in Ridgway (5/6), and finish up at the Sunflower Theater in Cortez (5/7), a town which is incidentally home to Curt Mangan Strings, the folks who make the strings I use on all my guitars. For those of you playing along at home, I like the medium light phosphor bronze (13-17-24-32-44-54) on my Gibson. They dead up about halfway real fast and then stay there for a long time.

ORKNEY - Last year in Denmark I walked up to a circle of men standing near the headquarters of the festival we were playing, in order to ask an innocent question about the hotel shuttle. Twenty minutes later I had been absorbed into that circle - a band as it turned out, called The Chair - and given a number of opportunities to share the bottle of whiskey that was handing around. That, friends, is how you get booked into a festival on Orkney Island.

SOUTHWEST - I've never been to the desert southwest in June, until now restricting my tours there to fall or winter, when relentless sun and the smell of an over-cooked rental car are not unwelcome. In June we'll survey the weather, possibly the fishing, and play the Highland Nature Center Amphitheater in Prescott, AZ (6/13), The Summer Nights Concert Series at the Albuquerque Biopark Botanic Garden (6/15), the Pecos Flavors Winery and Bistro in Roswell, NM (6/16) and Kitchen Sink Studio in Santa Fe, NM (6/17). We may add a date or two before we're done.

SARGE - If you came out to see us on our spring west coast tour last year you got to hear Laurie Sargent open the show and sit-in, and I’ll bet you remember it. Laurie plays a cream-colored Fender mustang tuned to an open C chord through a little old Supro amp, and that’s her whole rig, unless you count her voice, an instrument that can heal the sick or take the paint off the walls, just as she likes. In a career that's included stints fronting a major-label rock band, stunt-singing for Diane Lane in an ill-starred feature film, running an organic farm, keeping horses, training dogs, fighting fires, and painting pictures, Laurie just started performing solo for the first time a few years ago. She's whip-smart and funny as hell, an uncanny writer and performer with a natural connection to the dark fire of life. She's raising money right now to make a new album and the video alone is worth the price of admission. I hope you'll go watch it and then send her some money, because I want to hear that record and she hasn't made it . Did I mention she's been dating Billy Conway for about thirty years? We have a joint custody arrangement.

That about covers it. We'll play the Bob Marshall Music Festival and Red Ants Pants Festival in Montana in July, Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival in British Columbia and Jam in the Trees in North Carolina (locations which though near-rhymes are actually about 2,600 miles distant) in August, and tour North America full band on a split-bill with Kris Delmhorst for the release of her new album THE WILD this fall. If you know anyone in any of these towns, forward this email to them, tell them we're nice people mostly. New information could come in at any time. Put an ear to the tracks, but don't fall asleep there.

Thanks,

- JF


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Jeffrey Foucault NE Graphic 2017

NORTHWEST // TEXAS // NEW ENGLAND // MIDWEST // NOY // ANDERS

I decided to take the spring easy, tour once a month or not at all, maybe cut a new record. It's a plan we call 'Stay Home and Go Broke' and now and then it's the right plan, even if its exercise describes a certain privilege in our lives. I discovered this privilege the week I dropped out of college. I was sitting on the deck behind my folks' house reading Huck Finn and smoking, and trying to figure out why it was so quiet. It occurred to me after a while that everyone was either at work or school, and I had never stepped out of the traces long enough to experience the curious inertia, the sweetly illicit knowledge that the world is going about its regimented business and you just don't give a shit. The temperature fell ten degrees and I could both hear and see the wind blowing in from the northwest, pushing down the corn across the highway and kicking up a high tumble of dead leaves ahead of it. I was there when the fall arrived that year, and I told myself I'd never work a straight job again unless it was in order to salt away enough money to be loose in the world. I found a job on a fruit farm and spent nearly every day outside. I didn't file my taxes for more than $9k for the next seven years. One day I was driving along in the truck listening to public radio and there was a man being interviewed who had written a book about the relationship between money and happiness. The host asked him, after it had become plain that in general a greater net worth corresponded to a lesser degree of happiness, at least after certain basic creature comforts were guaranteed, whether his research showed that there was any amount of money one could make before this unhappiness set in, and he said, "Yes, $12,000." I smiled and thought to myself, 'I have a $3,000 cushion of happiness.'

Now, here's the plan, such as it is. We'll go light and soft, as the poem said, and hit a few parts of the country through the spring, and then we'll work a little more in the summer playing festivals from Orkney Island to Salmon Arm, the Bob Marshall to Red Ants Pants, and Jam in the Trees, probably a few others. By the fall I'll be out touring my full band with Kris Delmhorst, who happens to be my wife, around the release of her forthcoming album on which we collaborated in the studio for the first time (it's righteous, but I can't discuss it yet). We'll back her up, she'll join us, two sets a night in the Midwest, California, the Pacific Northwest, New England, and a few other places between September and the holidays. Pack up the Ford Transit, bring the family, what I'm saying. If anyone has invented a better way to simultaneously make and spend thousands of dollars I haven't heard about it. I'll put out a new record next winter, probably, unless I don't. You never know when the urge to go broke may strike. Now if you'll open your hymnals to page 33, 'His Eye Is on the Songwriter,' we'll rehearse the details.

LA / TX - In the first week of February Billy and I will make a brief tour through Louisiana and Texas, starting at the Dyson Listening Room in Baton Rouge LA (2/1), and heading west through the land of Blind Willie Johnson and Lucinda Williams to McGonigel's Mucky Duck in Houston TX (2/2), Backstage at El Mercado in Austin TX (2/3) (PLEASE NOTE: our previously advertised show at Strange Brew in Austin on the same date has been cancelled, and refunds have been issued after the club ran into, uh, difficulties) and finally the Sundown at Granada in Dallas (2/4). Once in Texas I will be billed under my full name, Jeffrey Franklin Foucault, in accordance with various state songwriter laws.

NEW ENGLAND - In late February Billy and I will play a handful of shows around New England, including the Colonial Theater in Pittsfield (2/23), The Word Barn in Exeter, NH (2/24), the Parlor Room in Northampton MA (2/25), and the Rockwell Theater in Somerville, MA (2/26). Our good friend Zak Trojano - whose 2016 release 'Yesterday's Sun' is a favorite of mine - opens the tour.

WISCONSIN - In early April we tour Wisconsin, starting at The Cavalier Theater in La Crosse (4/5), and on to the Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls (4/6), the Mineral Point Opera House in Mineral Point (4/7), and the Thrasher Opera House in Green Lake (4/8). I've been to Paris in April, and it's real nice, but the trout fishing is sub-par and I'll take a long drive through the Driftless any time.

NOY HOLLAND - One of the great pleasures of a life spent making art is the opportunity to become friends with other people who make art, and whose work you admire and enjoy. Noy Holland is one of those people, a good friend and a fine writer whose gift for language is distinct and powerful, and whose stories are enveloping and wonderfully strange. Noy's new and selected stories have just been released under the title I WAS TRYING TO DESCRIBE WHAT IT FEELS LIKE, on Counterpoint Press and there's a real nice review in the New York Times. Perhaps you'll take the time to read the review, and order the book. That's what I would do.

ANDERS PARKER - My old friend Anders Parker - whose career started in the 90's Alt-Country scene fronting Varnaline and has continued through every imaginable incarnation and side-channel without ever losing its through-line of undeniable artistry and integrity (and whom I wrote into the song One Part Love) - has cut a beautiful, spare new album of songs backed by a string trio, some pedal steel, and his acoustic guitar. I've heard it, I love it, and you should go look it up and support his pre-release campaign. He'll be out around the country opening for Son Volt this spring. Go find him, buy him a can of Miller Lite, tell him I sent you.

Thanks,

- JF


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Jeffrey Foucault December 2016 Newsletter Photo

NORTHWEST // TEXAS // NEW ENGLAND // MIDWEST

Happy New Year. If the phrase itself doesn’t cue the mirthless laugh-track in your mind, we probably shouldn’t drink together right now. I’m having a hard time making peace with the idea that a third of the country voted to hand the nuclear codes to a bullying man-child without the power of consecutive thought. I digress. I bought an old red Dodge half-ton pickup and it runs. I patched and painted my daughter’s room, wondering about the ancient horses whose hair they used to thicken the plaster. I got out on cross-country skis, and one morning the steep grade I had used the day prior had turned to ice, so that halfway down it my skis shot out from under me and I traveled through the air horizontally for a while, and then bounced. It made a neat little reenactment of 2016. I’ve been reading McGuane’s fishing essays, The Longest Silence, by the fire, along with Ron Chernow’s life of Hamilton, which shockingly has little or no singing in it. Also Brad Watson’s fiction, Miss Jane, a calmly lyrical story. Working on the house I listened to Kevin Gordon’s Long Time Gone end-to-end a bunch of times. We traded albums when we played together in September and I’m beginning to think I got the better deal. All this to say that though I've been writing a lot I've been trying to live like a normal person and avoid the degenerate lunacy of the internet, which we should probably just start calling television. I'll give you the short version.

NORTHWEST: I’ll tour the Northwest very briefly next week, solo on the road for the first time in a few years, as Billy has some work to attend to on the ranch. Bring your requests; I don’t have anything like a plan. I’ll start in Vancouver BC at the Rogue Folk Club (1/15). If you know people there send them along, because I haven’t played Vancouver in a number of years, and as a rule it's more fun when people come to the shows. After steelheading on the Skagit I’ll play the Green Frog Acoustic Tavern in Bellingham WA (1/17), a regular stop, and an old favorite. Get there early for a good seat. Then it’s down to Portland OR and the Doug Fir with old pal Jeffrey Martin opening (1/18), and finally a radio stop in Ashland on Jefferson Public Radio (1/19).

TEXAS - In the first week of February Billy and I will start at the Dyson Listening Room in Baton Rouge LA (2/1), and then head into Texas to play McGonigel's Mucky Duck in Houston (2/2), Strange Brew in Austin (2/3) and the Sundown at Granada in Dallas (2/4). Will I go to Texas and Louisiana? I sure will, in the winter.

WISCONSIN - April we have four shows already on the books for tour of the home state, at The Cavalier Theater in La Crosse (4/5), the Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls (4/6), the Mineral Point Opera House in Mineral Point (4/7), and the Thrasher Opera House in Green Lake (4/8). I believe this tour will extend to take us up to the U.P. of Michigan, so we'll get to enjoy the seasons in reverse, starting in spring and proceeding north back into winter. Keep an eye on the Tour page as things progress.

We'll see you out there.


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Jeffrey Foucault December 2016 Newsletter Photo

MIDWEST // NORTHWEST // TEXAS // WISCONSIN

This is the last thing I'll send this year, and the last run of shows in a long season. I've been out a hundred and thirty-six nights in twelve months, in six countries and twenty-five states, many of them twice. That's a lot of gasoline and hotel coffee, the difference occasionally unclear. Bill and I are about ready to sit still. I'll take the chance to thank you now for coming out to see us, buying a record, or sending a friend our way. We say it all the time, we're lucky. We've both had much harder jobs where no one clapped. We'll hope to see you in the new year. Until then hold your people close.

MIDWEST - In December we'll finish the year on the road back home in our native Midwest with shows at the Ninth Ward in Buffalo, NY (11/30); Hugh's Room in Toronto, ON (12/1); the Tip Top Deluxe in Grand Rapids, MI (12/2); The Ark in Ann Arbor, MI (12/3) City Winery Chicago (12/4); High Noon Saloon in Madison, WI (12/7); Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis MN (12/8); Three Springs Barn in Lancaster WI (12/9), and Anodyne in Milwaukee, WI (12/10); Boston songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Dietrich Strause opens Madison, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee. Our friends in the Minneapolis duo Dusty Heart - whose recent single 'Timbre and Trail' Billy and I played on (though unfortunately our part in the music video did not survive the editing process, a shame as Billy's Viking horns ruined a perfectly good stocking cap) open Chicago. Get your tickets now, send the links around to your insurance agent, or perhaps your broker.

NORTHWEST - In January we're mainly trying to lay low but I managed to confirm a show at The Doug Fir Lounge in Portland, Oregon in a fit of absence of mind.

TEXAS - In the first week of February we'll make a short tour of Louisiana and Texas for the first time in a number of years, with shows at the Dyson Listening Room in Baton Rouge (2/1), McGonigel's Mucky Duck in Houston (2/2), Strange Brew in Austin (2/3) the Sundown at Granada in Dallas (2/4). I don't play Texas much but I know the music like Johnny Cash knew his mother's hymn book.

WISCONSIN - In April we have three shows already on the books in the home state, one at the Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls (4/6), one at the Mineral Point Opera House in Mineral Point (4/7), and one at the Thrasher Opera House in Green Lake (4/8), a venue which is perhaps 85-95% less punk rock than it sounds. Secure tickets now.

That about covers it. If like me you consider books, blankets, booze, records, and guitars the only really suitable gifts, I'd like to point out that certain of these things are available here, while certain other of them are available here. That's all we need to say about that.

Best,

JF


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Jeffrey Foucault November 2016 Newsletter Photo

NEW ENGLAND // MIDWEST // NORTHWEST // TEXAS

NORTHEAST - In November I'll play a couple split-bills with Kris Delmhorst out here in New England, first at the Kate Hepburn Theater in Old Saybrook CT (11/16), and then at Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, MA (11/18). Between the two I'll be headlining the Capitol Center in Concord, NH (11/17), and afterward One Longfellow Square in Portland, ME (11/20 - Chris Ross opens). These will be band shows with Billy and Moses on rhythm, and Kris and I trading up vocals and guitars, which sounds to me like a hell of a lot of fun. Last month Kris cut a new record and the songs are deep and elegantly made, heavy and light all at once. Come out and find us.

MIDWEST - In December Billy and I tour the Midwest, starting at Ninth Ward in Buffalo, NY (11/30), and heading up into Canada for a show at Hugh's Room in Toronto, ON (12/1), then over to the Tip Top Deluxe in Grand Rapids, MI (12/2) before continuing on to play The Ark in Ann Arbor, MI (12/3), City Winery Chicago on (12/4), High Noon Saloon in Madison, WI (12/7), Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis MN (12/8), Three Springs Barn in Lancaster WI (12/9), closing out both the tour and the year on the road at Anodyne in Milwaukee, WI (12/10). Our friend the talented songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Dietrich Strause opens Madison, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee, and our friends in the Minneapolis duo Dusty Heart (whose recent single 'Timbre and Trail' Billy and I played on) open Chicago.

NORTHWEST - I think we're going to the Northwest in January, but haven't decided yet. Make us an offer, throw in a few perquisites.

TEXAS - In the first week of February we'll make a short tour of Louisiana and Texas for the first time in a number of years, with shows at the Dyson Listening Room in Baton Rouge (2/1), the McGonigel's Mucky Duck in Houston (2/2), Strange Brew in Austin (2/3) the Sundown at Granada in Dallas (2/4). The management alleges I'm famous in Texas, but this remains to be seen. Maybe I'll have a chance to stop off at Peters Brothers Hats in Fort Worth and let them steam the ol' beaver. They have a cardboard cutout out of my head on file there, right along with the one for the Lone Ranger.

LAST - I'm going to go ahead and tell you, because this is the time for everyone to stand up: many good people, some of whom I dearly love, just elected President a man who represents everything I was raised not to be, a man who fills me with shame. I love this country and I'm going to fight him every step of the way.

Keep your light inside.

Best,

JF


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Jeffrey Foucault October Newsletter Photo 1

EAST // CALIFORNIA // COLORADO // MOAB // NORTHEAST // MIDWEST

EAST - Next week Billy and I open for Eilen Jewell and her fine band at The Southern in Charlottesville, VA (10/12), The Hamilton in Washington, DC (10/13), World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, PA (10/14), and City Winery New York, NY (10/16). On Saturday (10/15) we'll headline the Listening Room in Tom's River New Jersey. I caught and released seven large rainbow trout yesterday as a specific prophylaxis against traveling the I-95 corridor.

CALIFORNIA - Late October it's California, starting at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley (10/27), heading down to Soho in Santa Barbara (10/28) and McCabe's in Santa Monica, with a San Diego play at Brick 15 in Del Mar on Halloween (10/31). We were thinking we might dress up as businessmen or something. The charming trio Quiles and Cloud open Santa Monica and San Diego. My friend Blackie Farrell, a legendary songwriter (for many years it was unclear to me that he actually existed) responsible for songs like Sonora's Death Row, Mama Hated Diesels, and Rockabilly Funeral, opens our Freight and Salvage show as my special guest. People like to talk about 'Americana' and it's mostly just horseshit. Blackie is as real as the day is long. He grew up right there in Oakland, learned an E chord from Lightning Hopkins, and saw Marty Robbins sing. He's going to break your heart. He finally made a record of his own after all these years and you can, and should, order it right now.

COLORADO - In November we convene the trio with Moses for shows at the Walnut Room in Denver (11/1) and Brues Alehouse in Pueblo (11/2). We'll be joined in Colorado by our old friend John Statz, whose most recent album TULSA I produced and played on, opening both nights.

MOAB - In early November we're delighted to play the Moab Folk Festival in Moab, UT (11/4-5), and it appears that both nights we'll be sharing the bill with Mark Erelli, an old friend and tour partner. Doubtless I'll join his set and he'll join mine (Mark and I made an album of murder ballad duets some years ago, called Seven Curses). If you haven't heard Mark you can order his most recent album here.

NORTHEAST - Two full band shows in November with Kris Delmhorst, first at the Kate Hepburn Theater in Old Saybrook CT (11/16), and then at Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River MA (11/18). I'll be headlining the Capitol Center in Concord, NH on the Thursday night between, (11/17). Kris is making a new record this month and the songs will be fresh in mind for all of us - come out and be first to hear them live.

MIDWEST - Starting at Ninth Ward in Buffalo, NY (11/30), we'll go up to Canada for a show at Hugh's Room in Toronto, ON (12/1), then over to the Tip Top Deluxe in Grand Rapids, MI (12/2) before continuing on to play The Ark in Ann Arbor, MI (12/3), City Winery Chicago on (12/4), High Noon Saloon in Madison, WI (12/7), Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis MN (12/8), Three Springs Barn in Lancaster WI (12/9), closing out both the tour and the year on the road at Anodyne in Milwaukee, WI (12/10). Will we buy a case of Old Milwaukee to celebrate? We just might.


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Jeffrey Foucault September Newsletter Photo

SOUTHEAST // MONTANA // NORTHWEST // EAST // CALIFORNIA // COLORADO // MOAB // NORTHEAST // MIDWEST // BO RAMSEY

Summer's over and my wife is roasting red peppers on the range top, making the whole house smell like a parking lot in Santa Fe. I built a fire in the wood stove this morning and sat reading Jack Gilbert poems in the half dark until the coffee strayed my attention, and then I realized it's about time to get on a plane, to be On the Road Again like Willie Nelson.

The Tønder Festival in Denmark was a hell of a lot of fun, and owing to a main stage cancellation that we covered, I saw myself on the Jumbotron for the first time since my 1987 outing as the Honorary Bat Boy throwing out the first pitch at County Stadium for a Brewers Game. Let us all pause briefly and give thanks that the internet did not exist when we were younger.

Here's the deal. If you know anyone that happens to live where we're going, it'd be nice if you warned them. Once more into the breach, via rented car.

SOUTHEAST - This week a run of trio shows in the southeast, returning to Eddie's Attic in Decatur, GA. (9/7), the Evening Muse in Charlotte, NC (9/8), City Winery in Nashville, TN (9/9), and The Warehouse at Mt. Victor in Bowling Green, KY. I haven't played most of these towns in years and some of them I haven't played at all. Kevin Gordon, whom I've wanted to see play for a long time, opens Nashville and Atlanta. The Bluegrass Situation will record a segment of their Hangin' and Sangin' program with me and boys on the afternoon before the City Winery Nashville show, broadcast live on Facebook and Periscope. Make your cubicle ring with our remote internet telecast.

MONTANA - September 21st Billy and I play the Montgomery Distillery in Missoula, MT, celebrating the release of Chris Dombrowski's forthcoming book, BODY OF WATER on Milkweed Editions. Chris has published two acclaimed books of poems and written eloquently, occasionally about our fishing adventures, in various publications, in addition to penning the liner notes to Salt As Wolves. BODY OF WATER is his first book-length non-fiction and having read it first loose-leaved and then again recently in galley proof, I'm willing to go ahead and call it a great book. But he doesn't need my praise: everyone from Ian Frazier to David James Duncan has already offered their own, and our late friend Jim Harrison said it was 'destined to become a classic.' Pre-order your copy now, and we'll see you there.

NORTHWEST - After a quick turn home we'll head right back out west with appearances at Wenatchee Valley College in Wenatchee, WA (9/29) the Republic Brewing Company in Republic WA, 9/31 and the Stage Door Theater in La Grande, OR (10/2).

EAST - October we'll open a short run for Eilen Jewell and her fine band at The Southern in Charlottesville, VA (10/12), The Hamilton in Washington, DC (10/13), World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, PA (10/14), and City Winery New York, NY (10/16). Saturday (10/15) we headline the Listening Room in Tom's River New Jersey. I've been told there's a whole state out there beyond the turnpike, but I remain skeptical.

CALIFORNIA - Late October it's California, starting at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley (10/27), and heading down to Soho in Santa Barbara (10/28) and McCabe's in Santa Monica, with a San Diego play just added at the Brick 15 in Del Mar for Halloween (10/31). The charming trio Quiles and Cloud open everything south of Berkeley.

COLORADO - In November we'll convene the trio with Moses for shows at the Walnut Room in Denver (11/1) and Brues Alehouse in Pueblo (11/2). (PLEASE NOTE: owing to contractual issues related to an overlooked territorial restriction, our previously announced shows at Cavalcade in Fruita and the Sunflower Theater in Cortez have been cancelled - apologies all around and we'll try to get back out that way soon). We'll be joined in Colorado by our old friend John Statz, whose most recent album TULSA I produced and played on, opening both nights.

MOAB - Moab Folk Festival (11/4-5). I've never been to Moab and only played Utah one time, a state whose rivers would seem to bear further scrutiny. Heard great things about this fest and glad to look into them firsthand.

NORTHEAST - Two shows in November with Kris Delmhorst, first at the Kate Hepburn Theater in Old Saybrook CT (11/16), and then at Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River MA (11/18). I'll be headlining the Capitol Center in Concord, NH on the Thursday night between, (11/17). Kris will have just cut a new record in October and the songs will be fresh in mind for all of us - come out and be first to hear them live.

MIDWEST - Starting at Ninth Ward in Buffalo, NY (11/30), we'll go up to Canada for a show at Hugh's Room in Toronto, ON (12/1), then over to the Tip Top Deluxe in Grand Rapids, MI (12/2) before continuing on to play The Ark in Ann Arbor, MI (12/3), City Winery Chicago on (12/4), High Noon Saloon in Madison, WI (12/7), Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis MN (12/8), Three Springs Barn in Lancaster WI (12/9), closing out both the tour and the year on the road at Anodyne in Milwaukee, WI (12/10). Will we buy a case of Old Milwaukee to celebrate? We just might.

BO RAMSEY - Bo Ramsey, whose distinctly spare and powerful electric guitar work defines both my Ghost Repeater and Salt As Wolves records, has released a new album of instrumentals and it's been on repeat here at headquarters. Cut in his Iowa City kitchen in eight hours, Wildwood Calling is like the unified field theory, reconciling the blues he was raised on with the interlocking textures and haunting melodic figures of his later work, so that everything he does shows up with that indelible light touch and a sort of sunlit airiness. Bo Ramsey is one of the best guitar players in the world, andI'm not the only one who thinks so: "It conjures up an uncrowded landscape" - Mark Knopfler. "Extraordinary!" - Iris Dement. You should go buy it, right now. An album from Bo Ramsey is an event.


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Jeffrey Foucault August Newsletter Photo

TONDER // SOUTHEAST // MISSOULA // EAST // CALIFORNIA // COLORADO // MOAB // NORTHEAST // MIDWEST // LOST IN THE VALLEY // ACOUSTIC GUITAR

TONDER - August 25 and 26 I'll play the Tonder Festival in Denmark with the full band - featuring Billy Conway on drums, Eric Heywood on pedal steel and electric guitar, Jeremy Moses Curtis on bass, and Caitlin Canty on backing vocals - alongside everyone from the Blind Boys of Alabama and Jason Isbell to Rosanne Cash.

SOUTHEAST - In early September Billy and I will make a triumphant return to the southeast with shows at Eddie's Attic in Decatur, GA. (9/7), the Evening Muse in Charlotte, NC (9/8), and City Winery in Nashville, TN (9/9). As now, we don't have anything booked on Saturday 9/10 so if you have bright ideas please harass my management, else we're just going to Stuckey's and drink in the parking lot.

MISSOULA - On September 21st we'll perform at the Montgomery Distillery in Missoula, MT, to celebrate the release of Chris Dombrowski's new book, BODY OF WATER on Milkweed Editions. Chris has published two acclaimed books of poems and written eloquently (and occasionally about our fishing adventures) in various publications, in addition to penning the liner notes to Salt As Wolves. BODY OF WATER is his first book-length non-fiction and having read it first loose-leaved and then again recently in galley proof, I'm willing to go ahead and call it a great book. But he doesn't need my praise: everyone from Ian Frazierto David James Duncan has already offered their own, and our late friend Jim Harrison said it was 'destined to become a classic.' Pre-order your copy today, and we'll see you in Missoula.

EAST - In October Billy and I open a short run for Eilen Jewell and her fine band up and down the eastern seaboard, with shows at The Southern in Charlottesville, VA (10/12), The Hamilton in Washington, DC (10/13), World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, PA (10/14), and City Winery New York NY (10/16). On the Saturday (10/15) We'll headline the Listening Room in Tom's River New Jersey, where I will finally get to play my cover of 'Tweeter and the Monkey Man' for someone who understands it.

CALIFORNIA - Late October we head for California, starting at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley (10/27), and heading south to Soho in Santa Barbara (10/28) and McCabe's in Santa Monica. My management and agents are careful to book my west coast tours for the precise moment the fall fishing peaks in New England.

COLORADO - From California we'll fly to Colorado for shows at the Walnut Room in Denver (11/1) Cavalcade in Fruita (11/2), and the Sunflower Theater in Cortez (11/3), joined by our old friend John Statz, whose most recent album TULSA I produced and played on, opening all shows.

MOAB - From Colorado we head to Moab, Utah for the Moab Folk Festival. I've never been to Moab and only played Utah one time, a state whose rivers would seem to bear further scrutiny.

NORTHEAST - In November I'll do a couple of shows with Kris Delmhorst at the Kate Hepburn Theater in Old Saybrook CT (11/16), and the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River MA (11/18) (I'll be headlining the Capitol Center without her in Concord, NH on the Thursday night between, 11/17). As Kris and I are married you may think of these shows as 'dates,' where you get to pick up the tab.

MIDWEST - We'll finish the year on the road touring the Midwest in the first two weeks of December. Dates are still filling in but as now we'll be at The Ark in Ann Arbor, MI (12/3), City Winery Chicago on (12/4), High Noon Saloon in Madison, WI (12/7), Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis MN (12/8), Three Springs Barn in Lancaster WI (12/9), and Anodyne in Milwaukee, WI 12/10. I like to play Milwaukee because I get to go to my Grandma's house and play cribbage. At 88 she counts faster than I do and brooks no nonsense.

LOST IN THE VALLEY - Caitlin Canty, whose 2015 album RECKLESS SKYLINE I produced and played on, has released a companion EP called LOST IN THE VALLEY. In addition to the title cut the EP features three full-band outtakes from the Reckless Skyline sessions, and an acoustic duet recording of the song 'Idaho.' Caitlin is an incredible natural singer and her songs have the clarity and structural heft of gemstones. Fans of Reckless Skyline will want to get hold of this one before they're gone.

ACOUSTIC GUITAR - Billy and I stopped by the offices of Acoustic Guitar Magazine in the North Bay while on tour in California this past spring to record three songs at a perfectly indecent hour of the day. You can visit the Acoustic Guitar Sessions to watch us play 'Blues for Jessie Mae' (Salt As Wolves), 'Pretty Hands' (unreleased), and 'Heart to the Husk' (Horse Latitudes), as well enjoy my tremendous discomfort as I introduce the songs to no one in particular.


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Jeffrey Foucault July Newsletter Photo

BUFFALO // DUNNVILLE // MARIPOSA // NAKED SONG // TONDER // THREE MINUTE STORYTELLER // FALL

BUFFALO - July 7 Billy and I fly into Buffalo, NY and play the Ninth Ward at Babeville. I've never been to Buffalo, much less played Buffalo, so if you have people on the ground in or near that town please send them out, else it might get lonely.

DUNNVILLE - July 8 we'll play a small cafe called Flyers in Dunnville, Ontario. Little towns that I've never been to are my favorite kind, even in Canada. Let's see what happens.

MARIPOSA - July 9 and 10 we'll appear at the Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia, Ontario, a long-running festival with a nice line-up featuring many old friends (including Eliza Gilksyon, whom I haven't seen since we closed a hotel bar together in West Virginia, ca. 2007). I am told Billy and I are to share a dormitory suite at a local college, which sounds like the pilot episode of a situation comedy. Hilarity ensues.

NAKED SOUL - July 22nd I'll play alone and unplugged for the first time in a long while at the Ruben Museum in New York City as part of the Naked Soul concert series, songs from all of my solo records on three or four of my favorite old guitars, the ones that never get to leave the house. It's a small room seating a little over a hundred people, and fortune favors the advance ticket holder. Everyone knows someone in NYC. Send them out.

TONDER - August 25 and 26 I'll be appearing with the full band - featuring Billy Conway on drums, Jeremy Moses Curtis on bass, Eric Heywood on electric guitars, and Caitlin Canty on backing vocals - at the Tonder Festival in Denmark, a large festival in a small country, one I've wanted to see for a long time. We're making a surgical strike of four days and haven't all been together in one place since December, so we're unlikely to change time zones for this trip, we'll just bring our own with us.

THREE MINUTE STORYTELLER - I recently recorded a segment for a program called Three Minute Storyteller, a collection of brief interviews on various topics, in which though I appear to be alone and speaking somewhat at random, I am in fact attempting to make cogent answers at an unforgiving hour to questions put me by a real nice guy named Mike.

FALL - In September we'll get down to Atlanta and points Southeastern for the first time in some years, then open a run of shows for Eilen Jewell and her band out east in October, heading for California and Colorado in late October and early November, on our way to a full band appearance at the Moab Folk Festival. Early December we'll be back on tour in the Midwest. Add in some hunting and fishing in Montana and Wyoming to which we may attach a couple shows to keep things tax deductible, and we'll call it a year. Keep an eye on the tour page and contact the management if there's some place you think we need to be that we aren't going, I'm sure it's an oversight. Thanks in advance.


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Jeffrey Foucault June Newsletter Photo

EAST // AMERICAN ANGLER // MARIPOSA // NAKED SONG // TONDER // STORE

EAST - In the next few weeks Billy and I play a string of dates out east, including the Towne Crier in Beacon, NY 6/10, the Annual Skunk Funk festival in Nelson, NY (with old friends Peter Mulvey, David Goodrich, and Andy Friedman) on 6/11, Helsinki on Hudson in Hudson, NY 6/12, the Parlor Room in Northampton, MA 6/15, Steel City in Phoenixville, PA 6/17, and the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA 6/18. Mark your calendar or whatever soul-eating personal advertising device has taken it’s place. Rusty Belle opens Helsinki, and Zak Trojano - whose album YESTERDAY'S SUN is one of my favorite recent releases - opens the Parlor Room.

AMERICAN ANGLER - In the July/August edition of American Angler Magazine, I'll be appearing in the Five Questions section, speaking my wandering mind about the relationship between music and fishing, and the charms of traveling the country with a fly rod stuffed inside your electric guitar case. As the youngest child and loudest complainer in a family of stoical boat fisherman, who grew up on headlines like 'Spin Your Crappie Magic,' I can't tell you the sweet irony of appearing in a nationally published fishing magazine. I will buy a number of copies with which to harass my brothers.

MARIPOSA - In July Billy and I will play the venerable Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia, Ontario, along with Rita Coolidge and the Milk Carton Kids, and an improbably large number of other acts, some of whom may actually play 'Folk Music.' On the way we'll play shows at Babeville in Buffalo, NY, and Flyers in Dunnville, Ontario. We'll probably stop at Niagara Falls too. You know how romantic Billy is.

NAKED SOUL - In an act of striking iconoclasm, I will approach and enter New York City in July, the month when anyone who is able to leave it does so, to play an intimate, solo, un-amplified set as part of the Naked Soul series at the Ruben Museum 7/22. According to the museum's literature, "The musicians in the series draw upon the universal themes inherent in Himalayan art—spirituality, peace, tolerance, wisdom, compassion—on select Friday evenings." It's worth noting that on select other Friday evenings I draw on the universal themes of PBR and dry fly fishing, so it's lucky they caught me on this particular Friday night.

TONDER - August 25 and 26 I'll be appearing with the full band at the Tonder Festival in Denmark. I have never been to Denmark but I have one friend there. I'm counting on her to show up. Other acts range from the Avett Brothers to the Blind Boys of Alabama.

STORE - I have an online store where you can buy things that have more or less to do with me: record albums that I made, some of them many years ago; limited edition screen print posters, a live DVD containing sparking interview footage and live performance; comfortable tee-shirts that say my name on them so that when you wear them people will quietly marvel at your elevated and off-brand taste in authentic and rough-hewn songwriters. All this, and certainly more, at the STORE.


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Jeffrey Foucault May Newsletter Photo

ATWOOD'S // WEST // EAST // BODY OF WATER // FESTIVALS // LIVE DVD // FRANKLIN LAND TRUST // KRIS DELMHORST SONGBOOK

I fished every day for a week straight and forgot about working. I didn’t miss it. My hands are red brown, burnished to a line against the pale underside of each palm, looking not unlike a trout. Time disappeared for a couple of stretches, and that’s all I was after, standing in the spring runoff working the seam of a deep clear pool, feeling my mind walk away. Here’s my deal for the next month and some, other various and sundry. We’ll see you out there.

ATWOOD’S - Atwood’s Tavern in Cambridge, MA is celebrating their 10th anniversary at the end of April with a series of special shows. On April 27 Billy, Moses, and I - with special guests including Jim Fitting (Session Americana, Treat Her Right) on harp, and the mercurial Laurie Sargent on vocals - will play the 8:30 show. Get there real damn early if you want to sit down. Will I bring my Mule Resonator? I might.

WEST - Billy and I tour the west coast in May from the Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles, CA 5/10 to Live from the Divide in Bozeman, MT 5/23, with stops at Tales from the Tavern in Santa Ynez 5/11, Don Quixotes in Felton 5/12, Brick & Mortar in San Francisco 5/13, the Vintage Wine Bar in Redding, CA, and the Arcata Playhouse in Arcata, 5/15. We’ll be back at the Triple Door in Seattle 5/18, the Alberta Rose Theater in Portland 5/19, the Green Frog in Bellingham 5/20, The Bartlett in Spokane, WA 5/21, and the Mountain View Music Hall in Butte, MT 5/22. The incomparable Laurie Sargent, one of my favorite singers and humans, opens the tour and doubtless joins the band to sing. Maestro pedal steeler and electric guitar player Eric Heywood joins us for the first part of the tour, and it’s worth pointing out that Kris Delmhorst is on tour in most of these cities right now. If you go see her tell her I sent you, so I can collect my finder’s fee.

EAST - In June Billy and I play a string of dates on the east coast, including the Annual Skunk Funk festival in Nelson, NY (with old friends Peter Mulvey, and Andy Friedman), Helsinki on Hudson in Hudson, NY, Steel City in Phoenixville, PA, and the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA. Mark your calendar or whatever soul-eating personal advertising device has taken it’s place, and look for other dates to fill in around these.

BODY OF WATER - Some years ago after a week of good fishing with my friend David James Duncan in western Montana, we went down to the Lolo steakhouse on my last night in town. Walking in ahead of Duncan I locked eyes with an owl-stared man at the bar in a blue check wool jacket and two day beard, holding what looked to be a vodka-lime on the rocks. A little bell chimed in my head and said, ‘that’s someone you’re supposed to know.’ We started talking and were old friends by the time Duncan walked up and said, “Oh, I see you met Chris.” In the years since we’ve fished together every year and kept in touch with letters, poems, and songs. Chris Dombrowski, the author, poet, and fishing guide who wrote the liners to my last record, and who has published accounts of our fishing in various magazines, is putting out his first book-length non-fiction this year. BODY OF WATER(Milkweed Editions) tells the story of the legendary native Bahamian David Pinder, the grandaddy of the Bahamian sport-fishing industry, with sorties into side channels of economics, race, and ecology, all from Dombrowski’s perspective as he journeys back and forth, initially to salve a wounded mind, and later as he becomes increasingly captivated by Pinder’s elemental life. I just read the uncorrected proofs and this book is fantastic, comparable to James Galvin’s THE MEADOW, John McPhee’s COMING INTO THE COUNTRY, and Matthiessen’s FAR TORTUGA as a vital document of a place, and the souls that become fitted to that place. You can sign up now to pre-order the book in advance of the October release. Jim Harrison praised the book in the New York Times and described it as ‘destined to become a classic.’ Beat that.

FESTIVALS - As now we’ll be appearing at the Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia, Ontario 7/9, and the Tonder Festival in Tonder, Denmark, August 25-28, and the Moab Folk Festival in Moab, Utah Nov 4-6. If there's a festival you think we should play, get on the phone and give them hell. LIVE DVD - A few years ago Billy Conway, Eric Heywood and I played a trio show at the Tales from the Tavern at the Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez, CA., a series I’ve done many times over the years and always enjoyed. The performance was professionally filmed and recorded, and the Tales folks have released a DVD with my permission. The full performance, captured in hi-res black and white and inter-cut with interview footage, is now available at our live shows, and at the STORE. Did you know I have my own store? I’m told I do. I’ve never seen it.

FRANKLIN LAND TRUST - My friends at the Franklin Land Trust work to set aside farms, forests, and wild lands where I live in New England, placing them under permanent conservation. They do great work, and they’re currently raising funds in a matching gift campaign. If you live in Western MA or you simply believe in the principle that wild lands make us all richer, please consider making a donation today.

KRIS DELMHORST SONGBOOK - Kris Delmhorst has collected some of the many beautiful songs she's written in the twenty-first century between the covers of a new songbook, complete with musical notation I can't read, and guitar tablature, which I can, mostly. It's a lovely thing, useful and satisfying. You can pre-order your own copy today. I'm hoping to have my own songbook out before Christmas this year.


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Jeffrey Foucault April Newsletter Photo

MIDWEST // COLORADO // ATWOOD’S // WEST //  FESTIVALS // LIVE DVD // OLD JIM

I slept thirteen hours after flying across the ocean staring at movies, drinking red wine from a plastic cup and getting choked up over the cheapest sentiment. Modern living. Then I made the first proper cup of coffee in weeks, built a fire in the wood stove, and took a few days to gather up loose ends before heading out for a week of family travel - the confusing, elective kind where no one pays me - down on the Gulf of Mexico. Home last night and I get on a plane again Wednesday, so I’ll paint the billboard for April. Thanks to everyone who came out to see us on the European tour this month, one of the sweetest trips I've had over there. Our regards to our friends on the continent suffering through these troubled times. Keep an open hand.

MIDWEST - This week Billy Conway and I start a Midwest tour at CSPS in Cedar Rapids, IA 3/30, moving on to the High Noon Saloon in Madison, WI 3/31, Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis, MN 4/1, Anodyne in Milwaukee, WI 4/2, and SPACE in Evanston, IL 4/3. Bo Ramsey joins us on guitars for the first half of the tour, and our friends Molly Dean and Barbara Jean of the fine Minneapolis duo Dusty Heart open Cedar Rapids, Madison, Minneapolis, and Evanston. Erik Koskinen, whom I’ve heard real good things about, opens Milwaukee.

COLORADO - From the Midwest Billy and I fly to Colorado for shows at Shine in Boulder 4/7, Songbird Cellars in Pueblo 4/8; Globe Hall in Denver 4/9; and the Friends Series in Colorado Springs 4/10 (please note corrected dates). We don't get to Colorado enough, I've always said so. So, now we're going.

ATWOOD’S - For the past decade whenever I wanted to play a straight-up bar gig around Boston, the kind where people drink and talk instead of just staring at me, I’d go play Atwood’s Tavern in Cambridge. It’s a great bar run by nice people, where they have a good hamburger, and real music going down most nights every week. Is there something else you require of a bar? Atwood’s is celebrating their 10th anniversary at the end of April with a series of special shows, and on April 27 Billy and Moses and I - with guests including old friend Jim Fitting (Session Americana, Treat Her Right) on harp, and Laurie Sargent on vocals - will play the 8:30 show. Get there real damn early if you want to sit down.

WEST - In May Billy and I roll from Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles, CA 5/10 to Live from the Divide in Bozeman, MT 5/23, with stops at Tales from the Tavern in Santa Ynez 5/11, Don Quixotes in Felton 5/12, Brick & Mortar in San Francisco 5/13, and the Arcata Playhouse in Arcata, 5/15. We’ll be back at the Triple Door in Seattle 5/18, the Alberta Rose Theater in Portland 5/19, the Green Frog in Bellingham 5/20, and The Bartlett in Spokane, WA 5/21. Look for shows in Missoula 5/22 and possibly Sacramento 5/14, as further dates are confirmed. The incomparable Laurie Sargent, one of my favorite singers and humans, opens the tour and doubtless joins the band to sing some too.

FESTIVALS - Summer festivals are starting to come in. As now we’ll be appearing at the Mariposa Folk Festival, (with Milk Carton Kids, Rita Coolidge, others) in Orillia, Ontario 7/9, and the Tonder Festival in Tonder, Denmark, August 25-28 (with my friend Rosanne Cash, Jason Isbell, many others). If there's a festival you think we should play, get on the phone and give them hell.

LIVE DVD - A few years ago Billy Conway, Eric Heywood and I played a trio show at the Tales from the Tavern at the Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez, CA., a series I’ve done many times over the years and always enjoyed. The performance was professionally filmed and recorded, and the Tales folks have released a DVD with my permission. The full performance, captured in hi-res black and white and inter-cut with interview footage, is now available at our live shows, and at the STORE.

OLD JIM - The poet and author Jim Harrison died Saturday down in Arizona. I knew him slightly, and I didn't know him at all. No writer had a greater impact on my adult life, and the world is a lonelier place with him gone. If you haven't read his poems, novels, novellas, journalism, or memoir, start anywhere. I'll leave you with the last poem in his last collection, Dead Man's Float, which came out earlier this year. Greg Brown said in a song once that 'Great souls are the only riches / In a world of shifting sand.' Jim was one.

Best,

JF

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Bridge

Most of my life was spent
building a bridge out over the sea
though the sea was too wide.
I'm proud of the bridge
hanging in the pure sea air. Machado
came for a visit and we sat on the
end of the bridge, which was his idea.

Now that I'm old the work goes slowly.
Ever nearer death, I like it out here
high above the sea bundled
up for the arctic storms of late fall,
the resounding crash and moan of the sea,
the hundred-foot depth of the green troughs.
Sometimes the sea roars and howls like
the animal it is, a continent wide and alive.
What beauty in this darkest music
over which you can hear the lightest music of human
behavior, the tender connection between men and galaxies.

So I sit on the edge, wagging my feet above
the abyss. Tonight the moon will be in my lap.
This is my job, to study the universe
from my bridge. I have the sky, the sea, the faint
green streak of Canadian forest on the far shore.

- Jim Harrison

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