The View from TUS: Collecting Moments on Tour

20 Jul

I am still stunned that it is ALREADY late July and that I am sitting at the breakfast table where we kicked off this great adventure back in April. The last few months are like sand in my loose fingers, passing much too quickly for my liking.

Since April, we’ve been lucky enough to have had some great photographers on board with us

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(the lovely Lindsay Giles McWilliams and the darling Sarah Law) to help us document our travels. But over the last few weeks, I’ve been trying find a way to capture the memories of just the places we stay. To create a little private log just for myself of the floors and couches we’ve slept on and those kind-hearted people who have provided them. Those who have given us sleeping spaces as well as towels, coffee shop recommendations and the hugs to keep us going. I thought about photographing a single thing – the same small thing – at each location that would identify the uniqueness of each person and place. Some little clever item that would help me recall and define each moment/situation. As getting to meet these amazing people and being able to step ever so briefly into their lives is absolutely one of my most favorite parts of touring, I want find a way to keep those memories just as sharp as the others.

I haven’t collected any photos yet but in my search to find that perfect element to photograph I re-discovered this video. Jeff Harris has been taking a self-portrait every single day for the last TWELVE years. Each photo – and not just the image but the practice of taking that photo everyday – is a way to pause and revel in the experience of just being alive. I love his story (it’s more than just the photos) and it reminds me again of how lucky we are and how precious these moments have been. I couldn’t be more grateful for each one. I’ll work on my own photo log of our temporary tour homes but until then, watch this:


Jeff Harris: 4,748 Self-Portraits and Counting from We Know Music on Vimeo.



The View from TUS: Stop Making Sense

17 Jul

It’d been way too long since I’d seen Stop Making Sense, the 1984 Talking Heads concert film by director Jonathan Demme. David Byrne has always been a serious musical hero of mine, and not just because of the music. He

and the Heads seem to consider everything they do across a whole spectrum – visual, physical, literary, at times just plain comedic or dramatic. Of course,

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the music itself is brilliant. But it’s the million supporting things that happen around or in response to the music that take what the Heads do to the next level: the associative humor, the Chaplinesque dance moves, the projected words and images, the improvised and the choreographed, all smashing together in the particle accelerator to create and discover this wild wacky gorgeous joyous life-affirming, big-question-asking entertainment and edification (building pun intended).

In tribute, here’s Byrne’s (spot-on) movie-concluding parody of that strangest of all music world phenomena: the interview.



The View from TUS: Five Minute Tour of Louisville, KY

14 Jul

With as much time as These United States spends on tour, having a few days off to regroup and engage in a few adventures of a different sort can be pretty refreshing. The last few days, I’ve been in my old adopted hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Beyond the great friends and musical collaborators who live here… there’s a lot of groovy stuff to appreciate.

Great Food – I’m a bit of a foodie, and few American cities this size can compete with Louisville’s food culture. Being a pretty hip metropolitan area surrounded by farmland, fresh local veggies, meats, and cheeses are diverse and accessible—for the latter, Capriole goat cheese is hard to beat:

Great Drink – This is bourbon country (word on the street is that 97% of the bourbon in the world

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is distilled in the region), but don’t ignore Louisville’s stellar beer options. If you can’t decide between the two, I humbly suggest my personal local favorite: Bluegrass Brewing Co’s Bourbon Barrel Stout:

Amazing Architecture – Old Louisville (the neighborhood where I lived for a few years) has the largest number of Victorian homes in the country, and a lot of the mansions have been converted into surprisingly affordable apartments:

And last, but most certainly not least…

Notable and Noble Contributions to American Culture – Really, what other city has birthed anything approaching the trinity of the Kentucky Derby, Hunter S. Thompson, and Lebowskifest?


The View from TUS: Pedal Steel Heroes

10 Jul

People frequently ask me who some of my favorite pedal steel players are. There are three whose playing informs almost everything I do… from the beautiful chording of the legendary Ralph Mooney, to the perfect single-note melodies of Ben Keith, to Daniel Lanois’ unique ambient

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explorations. It’s an incredible, versatile instrument that I’m constantly proud to be playing.


Ralph Mooney w/Waylon Jennings


Ben Keith w/Neil Young


Daniel Lanois





The View from TUS: Major Discoveries!

7 Jul

In case you haven’t heard… physicists have found what is believed to be the Higgs boson particle, theoretically the thing that allows the universe to have mass and keeps all the atoms that make up your body from zooming around all over the place at light speed (ouch!). Here’s a quick read from the NY Times, but there are many other articles about this online for you to check out (and you should!):


Physicists Find Elusive Particle Seen As Key to Universe