My weekend starts on Monday. I'm starting a regular blog called Word From the Byrd: Monday Report. The blog will be published on my website, link-shared on facebook and twitter, and it will be accompanied by the Official Monday Report Photo on instagram @jonathanbyrd. Maybe I wrote a song. Maybe I heard a great song. Maybe I found the greatest ice cream in the world in Columbus, Ohio. (I did. Read on.) Either way, I always feel grateful after a week of meeting and singing for you amazing generous people. I hope you'll accept in return my gift of a poet's field report. 

This week we had three shows with bass player, singer, and songwriter Charlie Muench from The Stray Birds. Charlie is six foot six and sings like an angel. His birthday was Friday! We have a fun picture over on my instagram account of Charlie in bed in the morning with a cupcake. 

Johnny and I drove to Pittsburgh on Thursday through the East River Mountain Tunnel, one of only two tunnels in the US to link two states. This time we entered the tunnel from green Virginia and reappeared in snowy West Virginia. I've experienced this weather phenomenon around East River Mountain three times. 

We picked Charlie up at the Pittsburgh airport and drove down to the South Side. The snow was blowing sideways. We ate taco at Doce Taqueria and watched it snow. 

By showtime there were fifteen people in the club. They sang along. They laughed. None of the left early and half of them joined us back at Doce for tacos after the show. We made $50 at the door, which means after travel and tacos we spent a few hundred dollars to rehearse. This is show business and we love it. 

The Purple Fiddle is a funky homemade café in Thomas, West Virginia. My friend Trevor Reichmann was in town and I talked him into playing a song during the break. Check out Dollar Store Bible on YouTube. The video looks like it's going to be terrible for about twenty seconds. Then this strange beautiful song makes the video irrelevant. 

Trevor lives out in the Big Bend area of West Texas. His beautiful earth-built dome was featured on HGTV's Mighty Tiny Houses. You can stay in it, too. Check it out on airbnb

Saturday we got up and out early because I wanted ice cream. Not just any ice cream. Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream. If you haven't heard of Jeni's and you like ice cream, I'm sorry. I'm sorry because you're going to try Jeni's and then all other ice cream will leave you unsatisfied forever more. It's still worth it. Born in Columbus, there are now scoop shops in Cleveland, Nashville, Chicago, Atlanta, Charleston, Los Angeles, and St. Louis. You can order online as well. 

We arrived in Columbus at 3pm and went to Jeni's twice. I highly recommend the wildberry lavender and a new flavor, juniper lemon curd. I took two friends to Jeni's once on the way to Chicago. As we walked down the street eating it, one said "You said this was the best ice cream in the world and I was prepared to be disappointed. But I think you're right. This really is the best ice cream in the world." 

Ben Bedford opened the show for us in Columbus. Ben is a songwriter's songwriter. Check out this gorgeous rendition of the The Pilot and the Flying Machine

By the time we drove home on Sunday, it was 80 degrees. About thirty minutes from home on a four lane highway, I accidentally cut someone off. She rode by me with her middle finger out the window. I smiled and waved. Her children looked up at me from the backseat, and then they all laughed and gave me the finger too. I smiled and waved at them. Later, I passed them again and I could hear the children say with glee, "There he goes again!" 

It's so good to be home. I picked Rowan up early from school and we went out to pick up a load of firewood from my mother's house. They had cut down an old white oak that had begun to rot. I could see two tall young hickories behind the stump that were pretty happy for their chance in the sun. They'll be beautiful someday. 

This week, we're headed to Kansas City for the International Folk Alliance conference. The theme this year is "FORBIDDEN FOLK, Celebrating Activism in Art: An exploration of the role of music in social, political, labor and environmental movements." It's a pretty good year for that. 

On the way home, we're playing a couple of shows in Tennessee:

FEB 20 - The Family Wash - Nashville TN - with our friends The Wild Ponies

Feb 21 - The Betsy House - Rockford TN - email jayclarkmusic@comcast.net for details and RSVP

Then we'll start this very promising tour with Mark Bumgarner and the Locust Honey String Band, sponsored by Merlefest, in fact called the "Merlefest on the Road" tour

FEB 23 THU
The Floyd Country Store
Floyd, VA


FEB 24 FRI
Gaston County Museum of Art & History
Dallas, NC


FEB 25 SAT
Yadkin Arts Council and Cultural Center
Yadkinville, NC

FEB 26 SUN
Hendershot's Coffee
Athens, GA

MAR 2 THU
Isis Music Hall
Asheville, NC

MAR 3 FRI
The Down Home
Johnson City, TN

MAR 4 SAT
Van Dyke Performance Space
Greensboro, NC

MAR 5 SUN
Motorco
Durham, NC

There will be a lot of publicity around this tour. Please buy your tickets in advance wherever possible.

I'll end this with a poem. I've been cowriting with God lately. Here's our latest:

-Sweetness-

I said to God, Are you real?

God said, Does it matter whether I am real? 

I said, Well I don't want to feel like a fool. 

God said, Do you know the story of the fox and the sour grapes?

I said, Of course.

God said, Does it matter whether the grapes are real?

************

Thanks for reading. See you next Monday. Your fan, 

JByrd

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To listen and download music anytime, check out my bandcamp page: https://jonathanbyrd.bandcamp.com. iTunes, Pandora, and other are great but there are things on bandcamp that aren't anywhere else. And you can download full-quality WAVs and even FLAC files. 

There are videos and lessons on my youtube page: https://www.youtube.com/user/jonathanbyrd

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