On Friday I played in Boise at Dwellers on Overland with Jake Freeman and Rider Soran. We each played two sets. Jake Freeman is quickly becoming a pedal steel wizard and talented songwriter. His music would fit well in a Jim Jarmusch flick like Dead Man, very ghosty and western. Rider Soran also blew me away with his songwriting and covers of Towns Van Zandt songs like “Tecumseh Valley.” He also had a sweet kick drum set up that he’d built from a suitcase very reminiscent of Shakey Graves. Jake and Rider played some songs together and it sounds like dream country, especially their version of “Dead Flowers.” I was standing in the hallway by the bathroom listening to them play and I felt like I was in a bar in the wild west.
Here’s a lesson on the difference between a lap steel and pedal steel for anyone who might be confused, as I know I have been. A lap steel is a guitar with the strings raised over the neck so the frets become point of reference and non interfering with a slide. A pedal steel is a lap steel with added pedals and knee levers, allowing the performer to play scales without moving the bar and also to push the pedals while striking a chord, making passing notes slur or bend up into harmony with existing notes. It makes one of the most beautiful sounds I know of in music and I am always impressed by people who can wrap their brains around using hands, knees, and feet at the same time. It makes patting your head while rubbing your stomach seem unimaginative. On my new album, Larry Wayte blessed a handful of the songs with pedal steel guitar, and it really makes them shine in a new light.
On Saturday I was honored to play on a porch for cottage boutique called Virgo Darling that has recently opened on Hays street in downtown Boise. It was an awesome afternoon and totally spontaneous. That’s one of the greatest treats of being on the road, saying yes to things and letting the universe unfold. Boise is like sunny portland, bad traffic included.
Long story short, I like Idaho. Always have. There is something open faced and honest about it. I like that the interstate speed limit is 80 mph, I like the sunshine. Tonight I’m heading down to Lava Hot springs to get rejuvenated before trekking into Wyoming.
Here’s a link to Virgo Darling, cool vintage clothes and crafted jewelry and it can all be ordered online, so if you’re not in Boise don’t trip :