Riding the speed train around Germany is a special gift. It means that I get to zig zag around the country and soak in the green and yellow countryside. The sun just began to emerge from the clouds about an hour ago but most of the landscape that I've passed by today has been soaked in a heavy, delicious, fog. The whole world looked like a dream.
I've hit that part of the tour where I've really started to ride into an artistic stride (just as the tour is about to draw to a close). It took me a while to find my sea legs, as I'd taken an extended break to recover from the blessed and cursed events of 2016. I've started to realized that there are some really big things I haven't recovered from in the 11 years since they occurred, and it's time to finish. So, when I get home I'll start some of that work.
But, in the meantime, I have the pleasure of meeting wonderful people, drinking great wine, laughing with friends, dreaming about the future, letting my flaws haunt me just enough to invite change, and playing wonderful show after wonderful show.
The performances with Sally Grayson of Black Swift have been a special gift to both of us. We have this really natural report that doesn't seem like it should actually be possible. Since nearly the beginning we have felt more like sisters than new friends, and now that we're 2 1/2 years into our relationship, it feels like we're more like war buddies. Each having similar inceptions in our careers. We are growing and changing artistically in similar ways. And it's a special gift to perform with her. Plus, our voices sound like magic together. It's almost eerie.
Essen and Berlin were also very special shows for very similar reasons. The art gallery that I playing at in Essen, Statt-Mahler, is composes almost entirely of flat cement surfaces. Singing in the space is like walking into a heavenly bathroom or stairwell with tons of reverb. There is also a winding staircase leading up the wall, interesting windows I can sit in, and the art on the wall was amazing, with just my kind of sense of humor. I got to play the room like an instrument and it was so inspiring. The people who joined us were so wonderful. It was magic.
I then took the train back across the country to Berlin to play at Prachtwerk, which is one of my favorite venues in the world (I don't say that lightly). I mean, Berlin gives Music City a run for it's money in terms of artistry and musicianship. I've never seen a performance that didn't really blow my mind while I was watching. Maybe I've just been lucky, but I think it's probably the kind of people who gravitate to the city. Truly amazing.
Mirna Stanich, is also one of my favorite sound technicians that I have ever had the pleasure of hearing mix a room. She's got this intuitive quality that is truly special. I am always moved when she's behind the board to gush over her ears and instincts. During sound check I was mentioning a problem that I have whenever I play that room and she stood behind me, asked me to sing, and then went behind the board, now knowing firsthand what to do about the problem, and dialed that frequency out of my mix. The result was one of the best monitor mixes I have ever had, and I got to play the room AGAIN!!!! I wish I'd had the forethought to record the performance. But I did not. I have to really give a special shout out to those of you engineers who know how to make a monitor mix enjoyable for the artist. It is SO MUCH EASIER TO PERFORM WELL WHEN OUR MONITORS ARE BALANCED WELL. You guys are an overlooked part of the process that really deserve some recognition. I appreciate you and I appreciate Prachtwerk for having me again!!!
As the train barrels toward one of my last shows on the tour I am struck by how ready I am to go home and start unpacking my new apartment, and how truly short this tour has felt. I'm playing twice as many shows as I did last time, so I'm sure that factors into things, but I wish I had more time! Maybe next time!!