Friday, April 18, 2014

Heading for Europe + ‘Jet Plane and Oxbow’

H5916 April. Snow (the last of the year, I hope) last night; it’s mostly melted away this afternoon, but there are still a few traces of it in the shadows. I’ve just packed up the last of my things for our only Europe tour of 2014, which starts in a few days; as usual, I’m mostly hauling gear and merchandise (including screen-printed posters and the tour-only Missing Islands disc), with a little room left for a change of clothes and a few books (which include Yashar Kemal’s Memed, My Hawk and William Stolzenburg’s Rat Island).

We’re playing 18 dates in a row on this tour—a record for us, I think—and I’m looking forward to revisiting some of our favorite places, and hoping for good weather and good audiences, especially since I have no idea when we’ll be back.

These are the last shows of the Fellow Travelers tour, meaning (probably) the last shows of this year and this lineup, and though these have been some of the shorter tours we’ve done they’ve also been some of my favorites; our runs on the east and west coasts of the US might have been the most enjoyable runs of dates I’ve done, thanks in no small part to the kind and attentive audiences who turned up everywhere. (After spending most of 2012 playing in front of other bands’ friends, it was a shot in the arm to finally see and meet our own.)

But as for the upcoming shows: if you’re in Europe/UK and haven’t seen us, or haven’t seen us in a while, this would be a really good time to come. As in the US, we’ll be playing a mixture of older songs (some of them for the first time in years), along with a few selections from Fellow Travelers and a surprise or two.

We’re honored to have Jesca Hoop onstage as part of the band on these dates; she’s also opening the shows in all except the UK dates, where we’ll be joined by My Sad Captains. The dates are on the website.

In the coming months we’ll be hard at work on the new album, which I’m pretty sure will be called Jet Plane and Oxbow. It’s a wild record so far; we’re partway through it already, and it’s safe to say it’s unlike Fellow Travelers; maybe unlike anything we’ve ever done. So far the album’s included work by me, Lucas, Danny, Cully Symington, Brian Reitzell, and Howard Draper (who last appeared in the Palo Santo and Rook days). I’m sure there’ll be more names on that list (including Jesca’s) before it’s done.

– JM/Shearwater

(P.S.: here are some stories from the road you might not have heard before.)