Hi there! I wrote this just a couple days ago while sitting in the cutest little local coffee shop in Boise, Idaho, with just a scratch of time to say hi and share some of the special moments we’ve had with people in the first couple weeks of our big, long tour.
It’s been a really great time so far — seeing old friends, making new ones, and finding our footing with the challenging new show we’re bringing to backyards and living rooms all over North America this year. Eep! It’s all exciting and fun and it’s keeping us on our toes.
Here are some highlights from each of the shows we’ve done so far:
The first show of the season took place in the foothills above Clovis, CA. In a conversation with a friend there who hosted a house concert for us with his wife last year, he shared with us how last year’s “do it scared” theme had played in his head as he pursued some risky and new opportunities in his work this past year. (Want to see last year’s show? We made a concert film! It’s here.)
The second show of tour took place in my home town, Stockton, CA, with a family we have absolutely LOVED getting to know the last three years. The night ended in the best imaginable way: floating and laughing and talking about life with the brood of tween girls in the backyard pool. < LOVE >
The next show was in Lodi, CA, which is the town where the story “Memorial Day” from The Space Between — Audio Play takes place. If you’ve heard the story, you know where we visited that afternoon before the show.
The show itself was wonderful, hosted by a woman who had been a youth leader of mine many years ago, and her husband. Reconnecting with her, and getting to know her artistic soul, has been one of my own personal bright moments of the summer so far. She was one of the first people I remember modeling to me authenticity in its most beautiful and brutal form. I love her for it.
The next night, in Valley Springs, CA, the temperature was 108 degrees. Yikes! So we set up indoors, which was great, until the middle of the second-to-last song of the show when the power went out to the whole neighborhood! I did the last 8 minutes of the concert a cappella, and it was actually a pretty cool and memorable moment.
Best part of the night for me, though, was the bear hug and the encouragement to “keep doing what you’re doing” at end of night from one guy who was new to the house concert experience, and who might have been a bit of a skeptic before the show. Love wins. It’s the best.
And then … Roseville, CA. Gosh, that whole crew and whole night was a highlight, it’s hard to pin point one moment in particular. Suffice it to say that my cup runs over and over with this community of loving souls.
It was the hottest day of the year so far in Sacramento, CA the next night, and we had a sweaty good time with the brave ones who came to sit under the misters with us that night. One super bright spot was that Jamie got to have a long and deep conversation about sobriety with someone there. Jamie had celebrated his 13th sober birthday two days before, and being able to share his story as a way to encourage others is something he loves to do, and is grateful to be able to do.
The next evening, we had a show with first-time hosts in Carmichael, CA. New hosts, a totally new crowd, and a beautiful reminder about how special it is that we have the opportunity to get deep enough with strangers that by end of night we’re sharing tears with them. It was a really, really special night.
Up next, we made a return to the home of a family with whom we’ve done several house concerts over the last few years in West Sacramento, CA. One of the friends from that group has had a pretty tough year, and getting to connect with him in person and see the open-hearted way in which he’s moving through the loss he’s experienced was a highlight for both of us.
Our last California show in this part of the tour was in Napa, CA, hosted by one of my best friends. She’s the woman who, when I was in the middle of massive personal transition in my life, invited me to come live with her, which I did, for a year. In that year, I found my footing, discovered the beginning of the path I’m on now in my professional life, and was given a soft place to land in a time when so much in my life was uncertain. It was such a pleasure to do this show in her yard, for her friends. It felt in a lot of ways like things coming full circle.
In the next update, we’ll recap our Idaho and Pacific Northwest shows, which we’re in the middle of now. Having a great time. Tired out of our minds already. But happy, and grateful.