December 22, 2004
P.O. Box 12078
Cincinnati, OH 45212
Dear Apples, Rhinestoned Cowboys, Lostees, Friends, Fans and Folks,
We are home again, home again, jiggity jig, in the midst of a winter storm — our first of the year — and the timing couldn’t be better. God seemed to smile on our travel this season. Unbelievable weather for driving, touring. And the shows — so many of you came out to welcome us to your city. So many of you drove as far as we did — if not farther. Thanks for that. Many musicians have expressed concerns about poor attendance issues. We are so grateful NOT to be having that problem. Thanks to you.
As we think back on the tour, there are so many memorable images from the Midwestern cities that we got to visit this time around.
The warm audience that first night in Pittsburgh helped us get over our start-of-tour jitters. More than 7% of those who attended that night signed up to sponsor kids through World Vision — the best response of the tour. Well done. Thanks to Ryan Luther for working the World Vision table on this string of dates and for helping the crew.
We always look forward to the rambunctious Columbus crowd at Little Brothers, and wow, there were a lot of you!
The Lime Spider in Akron was also packed — sold out in advance, and we had a blast that night even if Griffin House did steal my Chimay Blue out of the dressing room. Wink.
Thanks by the way to Griffin and his band for the good company and incredibly moving music.
Ann Arbor is always a treat. I found my Grinch-green faux-fur wrap at one of the many tempting boutiques. (Who brought the girl?) And it was great to have Paul Mahern work with us on the road for the first time at this show. Paul is the producer and engineer who helped us record Ohio as well as our new record. More on that soon.
Madison, Wisconsin is so beautiful at Christmas time. It was great to see our lovely friends Kim, Linnea, Hansi and Tom. Another amazing crowd for a Tuesday night during Finals Week!
Calvin College is always a special stop for us. Ken Heffner, a music lover and long-time ally, has referred to us as Calvin’s house band, and we couldn’t be more up for it. Their Fine Arts theatre is amazing (especially when it’s packed with people who seem to listen so deeply) and the Bosendorfer grand piano makes all the pianists on the tour happy. Special thanks to Myron and Molly for the apple skillet pie fresh out of the oven, and for letting us get some much-needed dog love via Gideon.
Birdy’s in Indianapolis was also packed full of warm folks, and we got to traipse around the Broad Ripple neighborhood again. It was fun to play Devon’s hometown.
The Taft show, a sea of white roses… Where do I begin? Thanks Kylie for offering up your apartment for the ‘white rose assembly party’ and to all of you who took the time, planned, schemed. I can’t tell you what a major emotional wimp I am. You truly choked me up this time. I had such a difficult time delivering that first song. You have no idea. Or maybe you do. (For those of you not in the loop, I was surprised by 24 dozen white rose bouquets lovingly arranged around the stage…)
Birthdays do not suck anymore.
Lexington gave the band a night or two off. Byron and Devon got to check in with their families. Linford and I did the Dame ala duo. A hip little Kentucky club, the Dame. Great hat shop next door where Linford bought that black fedora he’s been wearing.
And for those of you who stole my lyrics, you know who you are. I will hunt you down. For those of you who got caught red-handed stealing my lyrics, the ones with the ‘DO NOT STEAL THIS’ printed on the top of the page, I know who you are and I will hunt you down too. Just for fun!
We regrouped with the rhythm section for the ending of this year’s ‘Loungy Christmas Tour’ and were greeted by two sold-out-in-advance shows in Chicago. Rock my world. Maybe we’ll do three nights at Schubas next time? What do you think? I have absolutely no problem spending a couple of days and nights in Chicago. Twist my arm. Go on. Twist it.
Elroy, the big guy, our harlequin great dane, just came into the kitchen, tail flailing in a circular Pete Townsend motion, reminding me that it is in fact snowing outside and piling up in the yard and he and Willow would very much like to make snow angels — their version.
We would like to thank those of you that simply took the time to come to the shows, those that walked, those that drove, those that flew (Trudes, Michelle, the fellow from Germany who came to Schubas whose name I cannot pronounce let alone spell, etc. etc.) Thanks guys. Thanks Bill for spending 54 quality evenings of your life with us. And for the flowers. Dude, I bet FTD LOVES you as much as we do!
Thanks also to:
Michael for the seahorse ornament, Betsy and Ben for the wine, Meg I. for the beautiful flowers and kind words, Jill and Julie at Younique Design East for making me look better than I really do, Paul and Ann for the end-of-tour impeccable aesthetic shot-in-the-arm at your Stained Glass studio in Oconomowoc. The Spransy’s for the Swedish hospitality — the best kind! Julie and Emma Rose for the basket of homemade cookies, Hazel for the painting — and you are only 2 and 1/2 years old? I can’t wait to see your work at 3 and 1/2! Hazel Henderson for the (late) Mr. Wonderful doll. You have no idea what role he played in our show! I say ‘late’ because Linford finally snapped. I’ll say no more. But will call soon.
These are just a few that come to mind. A complete inventory would be quite impossible. (Please say that last sentence with a posh English accent – for Byron.)
Your gifts to us were original and astoundingly moving. Thoughtful and generous. You make us wonder what on earth we did to deserve this. You make us appreciate our chosen path. You keep us humble — no mean feat!
All this to simply say thank you. We’ll try to give a little back to you this coming Spring when we do it all over again. See you then.
You truly are the absolute best audience in the world. We are blessed.
Finally, (Elroy is getting impatient and he’s BIG) thanks to Devon and Byron for your incredible musicianship and friendship.
And to Ryan Henry for all your help. The word that keeps coming to us is Godsend. (And a certain Hank Hill quote.)
May you all have a Blessed Merry Christmas and a Hopeful New Year,