In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the folk pop artist, Carsie Blanton, shares one of her stories from being on the road. You can check out the story, after the break.
2020 has been nuts in a lot of ways. One of the little ones is that I’ve been grounded for the longest time since I started touring, as a backup singer in a funk band at age 15. I miss a lot of things about the road: diners, flirting, driving, and of course, playing songs for real-life bare-faced human people.
A handful of years ago, my longtime bassist (Joe Plowman) and I embarked on a cross-country tour with one of our dearest friends (the singer/songwriter Chris Kasper). We met up at my house in New Orleans and loaded up my station wagon to drive all the way to California.
Over the course of a couple of weeks, we found ourselves on a floor in Sacramento, listening to strangers in an all-night coke loop; on a beach outside San Francisco, playing guitar for seals; and on the porch of a Humboldt treehouse, eating a gourmet five-course meal. We played a $22 show (split three ways) and another that was, blessedly, sold out. We played for hushed crowds and one genuine bar fight. We showed up to crash at a friend-of-friend’s and found it filthy, with gum on the floor and hairballs in the sink (we went to a Motel 6). We ate some spectacular burritos and sang songs into the Grand Canyon.
When you’re on tour, some days you’re rich and famous, and others you’re a bum. The luck of it is, you’re together. One of the best surprises of my life has been to discover, over the course of so many weird years, that my bandmates and collaborators have become my best friends.
When the pandemic hit, I moved into Joe’s backyard. Our keyboard player, Patrick Firth, joined our pod. Chris met me at a gas station in Philly to put a Gibson and some monitor speakers, contactlessly, into the trunk of my car. Despite the obstacles, we spent this shitstorm of a year making music, through the waves of cancellations, protests, sourdough, grief, and anxiety.
It turns out, after all the madness we’ve been through together, we couldn’t stand to face this madness apart.