We're finished with the Merlefest on the Road tour. We'll miss Mark Bumgarner and Locust Honey String Band, especially around the time they joined us for a song at the end of every night. We'll miss Steve Johnson carrying gear, selling our records, and generally acting like he's not the artistic director of the largest American roots festival in the world. The Official Monday Report instagram photo shows the wild after-party. 

This week we're going to Minnesota and Iowa with Charlie Muench of the Stray Birds on bass. We're going to play with Johnny Hermanson in Minneapolis and there may be a Matt Fockler sighting. We're videotaping a special show in Sioux Falls as well. Here are the dates: 

MAR 9 THU
The Aster
Minneapolis, MN

MAR 10 FRI
The Jackson Center for the Arts
Jackson, MN

MAR 11 SAT
BARC Auditorium
Windom, MN

MAR 12 SUN
Byron's Bar
Pomeroy, IA

If you have a question like "when are you coming to Poughkeepsie?!" please check the entire schedule at http://www.jonathanbyrd.com/schedule/

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FOOD:

I know I don't look like it, but I really do enjoy food. The backstage party usually consists of whatever we can find to eat after the show. We plan our routes by coffeehouses, scoop shops, Vietnamese restaurants, and taco trucks. Starting this week, I'm going to give you recommendations for new eateries we've found and old standbys that we look forward to when we travel. 

On Thursday in Asheville, we ate dinner right in the venue, Isis Music Hall. I had a pickled beet salad and cream of lima bean and ham soup. Everybody in our crew said the food was great. That's rare for a restaurant, much less a music venue. Recommended. 

Chloe from Locust Honey went to school in Johnson City. When I said "Scratch Brick Oven" on Friday, she smiled. It's hard to find good food in Johnson City. Scratch Brick Oven is a pizza place. As the website says, "Not For Everyone." No one behind the counter is over 25. There's a turntable and a record collection- customers are encouraged to change the record often. I put on the Everly Brothers' Greatest Hits. To order, you fill out an order card. There are a couple of unique categories: "Trust" which means "Whatever. Make me something, dude." There's "Limited Trust," in which you mark off things you definitely don't want. "Kind of whatever, but no artichokes or fish products, dude." They also have a 10" gluten free crust. I ordered two gluten free Trusts and ate all but two slices, which of course I ate after the show. There were apple slices, peppers, some different cheeses, and each came with a handful of dried red chilies that packed some serious heat. Johnny and I also had a Sioux City Sarsaparilla (which Sam Elliott ordered in The Big Lebowski). 

Johnny and I woke up Saturday on a little farm in Erwin, Tennessee and boiled a few eggs for the road. We had to be at a radio interview in Greensboro, North Carolina before noon. By the time we got out of the radio spot, we were starving. I suggested Crafted - The Art of the Taco. Steve Johnson agreed. The tacos are definitely NOT authentic. There's the "Big Truck," with pulled pork, mac nā€™ cheese, fried onions, scallions and bacon BBQ sauce. That's two porks on one taco in case you missed it. I had the Messenger- chorizo, scrambled egg, potatoes, ranchero,
guacamole and cheese. For a dollar, you can get a side of duck-fat-braised collard greens. Might as well get two. They also take their craft beer seriously at Crafted. (North Carolina sells over a billion dollars worth of craft beer a year. There are nearly 200 microbreweries in the state.)

Sunday night, again we ate at the venue. We played at Motorco, right next to their sister kitchen Parts and Labor. There were samosas and an edamame salad in the dressing room when we got there. I ordered a shaved brussels sprout salad and pork tenderloin which came on a pillow of greens with a dollop of house made apple sauce. Then I walked across the street to Cocoa Cinnamon for an espresso that tasted like walnuts and orange peels. What the heck: I walked a few blocks up to The Parlour and texted Johnny and Steve to meet me for ice cream. I got two scoops: lavender and rosewater. There's a lot to love about the new Durham. 

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My friend Eva HD is helping me get a book of my poetry together. Eva is a bartender, a tall ship sailor, a prize-winning poet, and bakes one hell of an apple pie. I'm listening to whatever she says. She says this one is good:

I Sing Best When I Feel Anointed 

God's not one to think aloud.
Sometimes she takes five minutes.
Genius is the patience
to outwit a dull moment.

I trust the unseen Creator
in your unfolding squash blossom,
what you feel, think, and know,
your leg, spine, and tongue.

I trust my holy instinct
as time steals my vision.
I hold you away so I can see you
and then close to see inside you.

Don't try to be who you were
before babies, before forties.
You are ancient as the ocean.
Pin me down and drown me.

All I've learned is who you are
is more than what you know.
The will to love survives
any one love and even life.

Every child is born a stranger.
Every prophet becomes a danger.
Even conversation is a competition
to know the world from all eyes.

Government is a bully.
The path is a tyrant.
Leave a trail for me
in your wilderness.

I'll drink your experiment.
I'll take your rejection.
I'll chant your beauty,
our enthusiasm alone a triumph.

When you are boring to young men,
you will be my oracle,
your every word an inspiration,
a revolution in God's mind.

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Thanks for reading. Come see us on the road. Your fan, 

JByrd

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