“Andru Discovers Americana” — newsletter


(That’s right, folks! It’s another edition of “Andru’s Semi-semi-Monthly Long-Winded Ramble and Kinda-Newsletter”. If you don’t want it or don’t know why the heck you’ve got it, send me a quick email and I’ll take ya off the list. No hard feelin’s… – Andru 🙂

Dear Friends, dear friends, some family members, and the occasional stranger who haplessly winds up on my email list,

The traveling month of May found me traipsing throughout Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana in a borrowed car, entertaining for mint juleps, bourbon, and blueberry wine- sesame salad, sewing machine oil, and a place to sleep. I left the car in Illinois and hopped the Amtrak to New Orleans for a day. My true love Louisiana had other plans…. she stuffed me in a crawdad shell and there she kept me very well a week for to see.

An eventual fit of Lord-how-I-wanna-go-homesickness sent me, my guitar and my banjo hitching straight up I-55. I forsook the planned trek across the republican desert of Texas to the sweat ‘n socialism, new-folk singin’ rabble of Kerrville in favor of the cliffs, vultures and cypress swamps of Southern Illinois. I rarely hitchhike, but ’twas Memorial Day and patriotic days call for patriotic activities. So I found a comfortable, available space with a good view at the side of the road, struck my most dignified thumb-salute, and watched tractor-trailers, Hummers and flag and yellow-ribbon bedecked luxury cars parade by at sixty-five miles per hour.

After a time, even the best parades get old. A fella can see only so many bright people in shiny cars before they all start to look a bit dull. Besides, everything about the holiday seems faster and bigger these days. And I didn’t get a single stick of candy. So I packed my poor, tired thumb back in my fist where it belongs, set my sights on the storm clouds at the horizon, said a quick prayer for the freshly glued leather clinging to what little remained of the soles of my boots and continued on my own-powered way.

And then, several hours and a ride later- on Memorial Day on I-55 near McComb, Mississippi- I discovered Americana. My oh-so-carefully glued boots had torn themselves apart again. The rain was well on it’s way to claiming my feet, my legs ached from the beat and my head from the heat, and growing in the midst of some tall grass about five feet off the road, as if freshly flowered, was an entire, flawless turntable and record-changing assembly from a 1970’s Wurlitzer Americana jukebox.

Funny things happen to one who walks along the interstate. You might assume the noise, heat, exhaust and sheer proximity of thousands of speeding cars per hour would be disconcerting and overwhelming. In fact, I’ve found it to be quite the opposite. The more cars a road may boast, the less real each car becomes; the faster they run, the less significant time becomes. Each bird grubbing for food or snake seeking sunwarmth along the shoulder, the cottonseed drifting from trees and rain from the sky, the deafening call of crickets and toads from the swamps and ditches, every Wurlitzer in the weeds …. these are immediate and true. They need no purpose or goal. Their existence is reason enough to celebrate. For the traveler, a road is nothing more than a temporary path between a source and a destination. The road is an illusion in need of a purpose; the roadside is a purpose in need of no road.

I will never know how to possibly describe or thank the countless folks who have fed me, lodged me, picked me up or entertained me in my travels. I never cease to be amazed at how often one person’s kindness and hospitality obliterates any sense of hopelessness or despair which may have come before. What can I say ….?

I’ll be around the Midwest through the end of August; including Mennofolk-Michiana this Sunday, Southern Illinois w/ Jason Webley on the 29th, and then Cleveland, Goshen, South Haven, Chicago, Milwaukee(?), Wheaton, South Bend, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids(?), Saugatuck and Berwyn all before the end of August. The schedule’s all the way at the bottom of this email and at this link [www.calendar.andrubemis.com].

So I’ve got a new plan. It’s kinda secret but here are some hints: music, train station, free. You won’t see too much of this plan in the next couple months, but come the November CD-release tour it should become much more apparant.

Speaking of CD releases, the new album, “Rail to Reel,” will be on CD and will be released. Thanks to Jack Radcliffe and Wepecket Island Records [www.wepecket.com], I might even get to pay my musicians this time ’round.

And speaking of tours, I’ll be taking the new album East-Northeast in November, South-Southwest in January, and West-Northwest in March. That’s about as specific as I’ve got it right now- anyone who’d like to help fill in dates or suggest a venue in their town should visit [www.booking.andrubemis.com].

Free Shows & Downloads!

www.20050213.andrubemis.com – 13 Feb, 2005 – Oakland, CA (w/ Liam Carey & Mandrake)
www.20050220.andrubemis.com – 20 Feb, 2005 – Portland, OR
www.20050221.andrubemis.com – 21 Feb, 2005 – Olympia, WA (w/ Jason Webley)
www.20050225.andrubemis.com – 25 Feb, 2005 – Seattle, WA (w/ Jason Webley)
www.20050304.andrubemis.com – 04 Mar, 2005 – Chicago, IL (w/ Rachel Ries)
www.20050321.andrubemis.com – 21 Mar, 2005 – Cedar Falls, IA (w/ Rachel Ries)

Many of you know that I encourage recordings of my live performances. I figure they keep me on my toes and give you something to listen to in the long breaks between my albums. You’re welcome to bring your cassette recorder, iPod, dictaphone, DAT, minidisc or wire recorder and a microphone or two- pretty much anything but a direct plug into the soundboard is fine with me.
I’ve recently uploaded six shows from this year to the audio archive community at Archive.org. Using the links above, you can stream or download these complete shows or individual tracks in a variety of formats (FLAC, MP3, OGG) and bitrates completely for free. All these choices can be a bit confusing at first, but anyone who takes a little time to figure it out will not be disappointed, unless you hate my music in which case you will be sorely so..
Of course, all you tapers are welcome to upload live recordings yourself, or you can send ’em to me and I’ll try to get them up for you when I get a chance. I really appreciate everyone who arranges and attends my shows. Making sure these recordings are free and accessible is the least I can do to thank you.
I’ve still got a few older live performances to upload; including Nov 2004 at the Moonlight in Birmingham, AL, w/ Kym Tuvim; a few Chicago shows at Uncommon Ground w/ Mike Reeb, Rachel Ries, and Rich Burnett; and a magical evening in the nature center at Mennofolk-Michiana 2003. You can find all my available live recordings anytime at [www.archive.andrubemis.com].