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The View From These United States

13 Apr

The weekly babbling brook of consciousness — music, videos, writings, projects, and people — that keep TUS tapping out tunes of their own.

This week, J. Tom takes us for a (bike) ride! It’s a bike vlog – a bvlog?

Let the Countdown Count Me

6 Apr

Life&Death He&She
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“Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished.
If you’re alive, it isn’t.” – Richard Bach

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Robby Cosenza’s been an amazing drummer and an even more amazing friend for several years now. He’s spent a majority of that time touring with These United States, which has brought us joy, glories, and stories to no end. But I’m happy he’s gonna be doing something else now – or, better to say, something he’s been up to all along – because it’ll be good for the wider world to know him not only as a drummer and a friend, but a great songwriter and artist in his own right.

I’ve been thinking a lot about his song “Let the Countdown Count Me” this week. (Hit play on that video link… now!) It’s beautiful, number one. It elegantly describes both change and acceptance, which I always love. And it speaks to me even more personally, this Very Good Friday, because my childhood heroine and partner-in-crime Grandma Bonnie passed away a couple weeks ago. I don’t pretend to know what all of the song is about – yet another reason I love it – but I think it resonates deeply because it’s so… wide open? In this order: honest, naked, buried, determined, alive, zen, seeking, surrendered, ultimately open-hearted. And that is surgery, accomplishing a narrative that sweeping in so few words and sounds.

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Let the Countdown Count Me

It’s true – I do
Not interact like I used to.
See they changed me
Now I do what they say.
I’ve tried to find a kind of my kind
And I feel so stripped – where is my ship?
Underground. Or undersea.
Let the countdown count me.

To survive, blend in.
Pizza and bad skin.
Family, women, hell, and heaven.
I got stuff in place – mustache, my face,
Boots on my feet.
Will the countdown still count me?

Count me, please.
Count me, please.

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Grandma Bonnie loved Robby. And Tom, and Justin, and all the other tricksters that passed through her beautiful home on the farm in the woods. She was a fine upstanding member of the community, but she loved a good rascal around (when I was a kid, she affectionately nicknamed me “shit-head”). She forgave us immediately, the night he and I pensively drank, and then politely disagreed, and then restrainedly yelled, and then violently wrestled on her wooden kitchen floor by the china cabinet at 3 a.m.

Grandma always knew how to keep things in perspective – life, death, dreams, journeys, struggle, loss, change. I don’t pretend to have any idea what kind of gentleman or shit-head or savior or plain old human being Steve Jobs was, but I love this particular thought of his: “Remembering you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” (Hit re-play on that video link… now!) Count me in, Bob!

- Jesse

The View from These United States

28 Mar

The weekly babbling brook of consciousness — music, videos, writings, projects, and people — that keep TUS tapping out tunes of their own.

This week, Justin shares some new news!

The sun is shining. It’s 60 degrees-ish. Spring came early and is seemingly sticking around. Seeing that it’s time to come back to life, start making plans, and get out and experience the outside world again, we’re happy to announce that we’ve added even more tour dates. Come see us in April with our old pals Trampled by Turtles. Come see us in May with our new pals Heartless Bastards. Tour dates below these vids!

Trampled by Turtles

Heartless Bastards

Tour dates with Trampled by Turtles:
Wed, 4/11 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue  (SOLD OUT!)
Thurs,4/12  -  Madison, WI @ Barrymore Theatre
Fri, 4/13 – Chicago, IL @ The Metro
Sat, 4/14 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Small’s
Sun, 4/15 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
Tues, 4/17 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
Wed, 4/18 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
Thurs, 4/19 – Syracuse, NY @ Westcott Theater
Fri, 4/20 – Washington, DC @ 930 Club  (SOLD OUT!)
Sat, 4/21 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
Sun, 4/22 – Charlottesville, VA @ The Jefferson Theater
Wed 4/25 Columbus, OH @ Woodlands Tavern*
Thurs, 4/26 – Maumee, OH @ The Village Idiot*
Sat, 4/28 – Cincinnati, OH @ Taft Theatre
*not w/ Trampled by Turtles

Tour dates with Heartless Bastards:
Fri, 05/11 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon
Sat, 05/12 – New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jacks
Tues, 05/15 – Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum
Wed, 05/16 – Orlando, FL @ The Social
Thurs, 05/17 – Gainesville, FL @ Double Down
Fri, 05/18 – Athens, GA @ 40 Watt Club
Mon, 05/21 – Charleston, SC @ The Pour House
Tues, 05/22 – Chattanooga, TN @ Rhythm and Brews
Wed, 05/23 – Lexington, KY @ Cosmic Charlie’s
Thurs, 05/24 – Bloomington, IN @ Bluebird Nightclub
Fri, 05/25 – Columbia, MO @ Mojo’s
Sat, 05/26 – Iowa City, IA @  Gabe’s
Sun, 05/27 – Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room
Tues, 05/29 – Lawrence, KS  @ Granada Theatre

The View from These United States – SXSW Edition!

21 Mar

The weekly babbling brook of consciousness — music, videos, writings, projects, and people — that keep TUS tapping out tunes of their own.

This week, J. Tom recounts SXSW madness!

It’s impossible to sum up SXSW. It’s too big, too crazy, too varied. While TUS didn’t perform this year, I was lucky enough to be in Austin with the Mynabirds, old friends who I’ve been touring with. Here, then, are a few pics of my experience at SXSW 2012. (If I’m in the pic, Sarah Law took it.)

Rebecca Marie Miller performing at a Day Party. One of the amazing things about SXSW is that with so many incredible musicians around, there's bound to be some collaboration. I recruited Mynabirds drummer Nicole Childrey and lap steel ace Joe Novelli to sit in for Rebecca's set.

There is a lot of free food and booze during SXSW. You just have to know where to find it (in this case, around the side of the building)

Hanging with Justin Craig at a Day Party.

The Mynabirds performing a day show at Jackalope. Its difficult to see exactly how cramped on stage we are...but we are. The rough-and-tumble vibe is what makes shows at SXSW interesting.

This is what 6th street looks like in the evening. Imagine having to carry your gear through this...multiple times.

10 people in our van. "Sure, its only a few blocks...hop on in."

A rare quiet moment to catch up with Jesse.

the Mynabirds Saddle Creek Showcase. A packed show at Lamberts with Icky Blossoms and Big Harp. Despite the lateness, the chaos, the heat, and the noise, you have to try to make every single show count. Because ultimately, that's why we're all there...the music.

The View from These United States

2 Mar

The weekly babbling brook of consciousness — music, videos, writings, projects, and people — that keep TUS tapping out tunes of their own.

This week, Justin shares a song before and after it makes its journey through different incarnations.

Justin, J. Tom, and Jesse

Last week we sent out the first track on our new s/t album. If you didn’t download your free copy click here to do so. For those of you that have listened (thank you) we thought you might find this interesting…

All of the tunes on this new record have gone through many incarnations and seen a lot of miles, literally. This song’s journey from demo to album version started in DC (TX? IL? Ontario?… can’t remember, you’ll have to ask Jesse someday… ) and ended up back in KY at Shangri-la, our home away from home. Here’s a quick example of how a song can travel.

Check out Dead & Gone – Mashed

producer Duane Lundy