After three awesome weeks on the road Charlie, Ken, Michael, and I successfully made it home with minimal losses (a pair of Ken’s shoes) and a newfound wealth of friends, fans, souvenirs, and memories. Three weeks of shows away from home might not be so big a deal for the Rolling Stones (or maybe it is, those guys are getting old) but considering that we’d played four shows as a band prior to booking a complete Northeast tour on our own with little more cred than our background as an acoustic duo, I’m very proud of what we accomplished and I acknowledge fully that it simply wouldn’t have been possible without the support and faith of a lot of folks up and down the coast who just love music.
Like Michael said in his last post, adaptation is the key to survival on the road. There are many small examples of this but I would like to point out that bassist Charlie Boyd quit his job on a day’s notice to leave home and go on the road with us, learning three-plus hours of material in two rehearsals and a few jam sessions inside of our moving vehicle. Over the length of the tour we became a well-oiled machine of music and good times and I am thankful for the brand of insanity that inspires Charlie (and the rest of us, really) to sacrifice home, comfort, and security in the name of pursuing one’s desire. Other sacrifices include the time that I ate really spicy wings before a show and acted like I wasn’t in pain for the whole three hours that we were on stage.
I’d like to give a shout-out now to the bands with whom we shared a stage during the remainder of the tour and afterward: Automotive High School, Srotakin IV, and The Happy Problem in Brooklyn, Monkeys in the Dark and The Hive-Mind in Toms River, NJ, The Federal Hillbillies in Baltimore, and Jupiter’s Incense, Heroes for Ghosts, and Eyes On Me last weekend in Lynchburg. We’ve had the good fortune of playing with awesome and supportive musicians everywhere that we’ve been and if we get the chance to link back up for more shows we’ll jump on the opportunity. Find out where we’ll be next on our Events Page and check out our new album while it’s streaming for free. See you out there!
We’ve been on the road now since March 2nd. At the moment we’re in Jersey taking a couple days to rest before we play in New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Adaptation is the key to survival on the road and it certainly doesn’t hurt that everyone in the band is laid-back and easygoing. Despite a few hiccups at the beginning of the tour everything has gone smoother than anyone anticipated.
We left a snowy Virginia to find warm weather in upstate New York of all places. On the way up we had a great time with the folks in Hagerstown, Maryland at Broad Axe – they were mighty kind and very generous. Hanging out with the staff at Maxie’s in Ithaca was a blast too and partying with Dead Rocking Horse after our show at Pauly’s Hotel in Albany is something I don’t think we’ll soon forget. James and Jane were a special experience and tore it up after our set at The Pizza Stone in Chester, Vermont. The four-band bill at O’Brien’s on St. Patty’s Day eve in Boston was also quite memorable. There’s so much to process I don’t know if we’ll really understand what we accomplished until we get home.
There’s less than a week left before we return to Virginia. We’re not looking at this tour through the nostalgic lens of rose-colored glasses yet, but I know we will. I think we’ll all enjoy sleeping in our own beds, but we will definitely miss the new friends we’ve made and from time to time I know I will wonder where they are and what they are doing. Human kindness abounds.
There’s one more crazy story that I can’t forget to mention. While we were on the Mass Pike heading to Boston a car pulled up beside us and rocked out air-guitar style. We both rolled down our windows and a girl in the back seat yelled out that she wanted a CD. I stuck my arm out the window with a CD and she snatched it right out of my hand as they passed us. Thanks to the power of technology we were communicating within a few minutes. Apparently they liked the music!
On Thursday, February 28th we will be releasing our new album and kicking off our east coast tour at Phase 2 in Lynchburg. It feels appropriate that we should play at a venue called Phase 2 because with a new album and a full band we are truly moving in to the second phase of this ever-evolving project that we call Mercutio. The doors open at 7pm and there’s a $10 cover. We’ll be giving out free copies of our new CD to the first 50 people through the door! Two amazing acts from Charlottesville are coming in to town to open for us. The show will start at 8pm with Eric Reitz followed by Michael Coleman and his band before we finally take the stage at around 10pm!
None of this would have happened without support from 93.7 KHF. Mike McKendree has gone above and beyond and for that he has my immense gratitude and eternal thanks.
If you’ve visited this website before you’ve probably noticed a few changes around here. The entirety of the new album is available for streaming online now – check it out at mercutiomusic.com/music/. Tomorrow we’ll be going in to the local ABC affiliate’s studio to tape ourselves playing a few songs at around noon – tune in to ABC 13 this coming Friday, March 1st and Wednesday, March 6th at 12:30 PM if you can! We’ll be doing a few live songs acoustic-style on 93.7 KHF on Thursday morning too. As always our Events page will let you know where we’re playing next. We’ll see you on the road!
In the past month we’ve taken several major steps toward securing Mercutio’s future. Between wrapping up production on the new album and touring we acquired a business license and a fifteen-passenger van. Speaking of the new album I can now reveal that the official release is scheduled for February 28th and the title of the album is Self Titled. As I mentioned previously the four-piece will be going on a month-long, east coast tour in March to support Self Titled and we couldn’t be more excited!
Here is the official track list for Self Titled:
2. I Love Everybody
3. Lena Rose
4. Carry On
5. From Break Up to Break Down
6. Fallen Angel
7. Going Off Again
10. Second Chances
11. Say You Will
12. Stubborn Love
13. This Sun King Loves You More
14. Without a Sound
Mercutio’s first out of town, non-acoustic performance will be on February 13th at The Box in Charlottesville. We still have a plethora of acoustic performances coming up, but as we move forward with the four-piece rock band we will phase out the acoustic shows. It seems fitting that we sold out of our debut CD last month as we transition to this new arrangement. I know there are a few physical copies available through our distributor CD Baby and if you’re in Lynchburg then you might find a few at Lynchburg Music and possibly Speakertree Records. Beyond that you could try your luck at Sidetracks in Charlottesville, but for all intents and purposes Mercutio’s debut is now out of print and only available digitally.
We kicked off the New Year with a performance in the Ski Lodge at Massanutten Resort followed by a return to Maya (one of our favorite spots in Charlottesville). This past Wednesday we hit the road again for a week of shows which will culminate in a full band performance on Tuesday in our hometown of Lynchburg at Robin Alexander. Looking back we did about 20 shows in 2009 as we completed our college degrees, 70 performances in 2010, 146 in 2011, and 171 in 2012. That’s over 400 shows with an average playing time of 3 hours a show, so at least 1200 hours of playing time in front of people which is equal to playing 24 hours a day for 50 days! As we make the transition toward playing out with the full band full-time we’ve changed our Events page to reflect which performances will be acoustic.
For the past six months we have been working on an album in between performances. We wrote about 30 songs, picked 20 to record, then 17 of those were recorded to completion. After that we selected the 14 tracks that would make up the final album and as of this week our work on the project is done. Now it’s all in the hands of the graphic designer (Sara Gundersen) and the mastering engineer (Sid Hagan). We’re really proud of this record and we’ll be announcing the name and release date very soon. In addition to a new album we’re gearing up for a month-long, east coast tour in March which will have us playing shows from North Carolina up to Vermont and back down again. We’re very excited! Check out the Events page for upcoming March dates.