The Jetlag Is Never Ending. European Tour 2014. Blog Entry #1

Thursday September 4, 2014

I sit under the city of Oslo, Norway at this moment. About to get on the number 5 Tram to City Center and navigate my way quickly to my show at Queen’s Pub. It is the oldest bar in Norway.
This shouldn’t be a shock to me but I will be honest: I was surprised by how many people of obvious Viking heritage I have seen. I have been surprised by how many people and how many social types listen to metal here. And absolutely shocked by the fact that I haven’t had to pick up any Norwegian as everyone is overly eager to speak English with me.

Billy and Ingrid from Third Seven (a band I toured with last November) were in town for about 4 hours after my arrival on the 2nd before having to set off for the end of their European Tour. It was perfect to be introduced to Oslo by friends and see their smiling faces in the city square upon my arrival.

They gave me my first introduction to Oslo, brought me to the pub where I would be playing in 2 days, introduced me to Une, our promoter and bartender for the show, and June (who is fast becoming a good friend and who introduced me to Anne, who would be my host for my 4 days in Oslo, and is also becoming a friend).

Friday, September 5, 2014

I am back on the tram. About to head off to a friend’s house for dinner. Listening to Sam Philips on my iPod. Enjoying the day. The Smells. The hope. Tomorrow I leave for Germany. But for now, I continue to be in awe of last night’s show at Queen’s Pub and the wonderful friends I have made in Oslo.

The day started with me making plans to meet my relatively new friend Nigel Powell and his girlfriend in the center of Oslo. I got very very lost on the way: Trying to navigate the city with a very vague understanding of how the city was laid out and a map of the city on my iPad. I have a great sense of direction once I understand how a city is laid out so I was a little cocky in thinking I could snap my fingers and come to that understanding when I haven’t been in a European city in 12 years. (12 YEARS!!!) But they were very kind to wait the hour that it took for me to discover my bearings. (I tried to prepare for such circumstances by getting a data plan for my new iPad as my iPhone had been stollen in Atlanta with absolutely no hope of retrieval. I have found, however that my attempt to stay connected has not worked in the slightest. The data package I have been paying for has not been remotely useful. But I will try to remedy this in the UK).

Anyhow, once I arrived, we spent the next 2 or more hours talking, catching up, laughing and smiling. It was a great meetup. And it’s probably a notable part of the story for you to know that Nigel was in one of my most favorite and influential bands of all time, Unbelievable Truth. We connected originally last year. I was very depressed during the struggle to wrap my mind around why I had been so ill for the previous year. I had been getting biopsies (very thick, very long needles inserted into my throat. This was painful in a way I find it difficult to describe). There was talk of needing to operate on and remove my thyroid (an operation which some doctors were overly eager to perform and others were extremely resistant to as it could rob me of my voice forever). I was exhausted always, extremely depressed and anxious, working a job I simultaneously loved and hated for the health insurance, and struggling with some greater emotional issues that I discovered later were directly related to having Hashimoto’s Disease. Some other, more personal issues were occurring (breaking up with my boyfriend, struggling with some other incendiary issues), and needless to say I was feeling low. But one day I was sitting in silence at my kitchen table and felt a quiet nudge to take a risk as there was not really any direction I could head but upward or stagnation. Those were my two options. I decided to reach out to the lead singer of one of my biggest musical influences of all time. I asked him if I might cover one of their songs and if he had a key to a particularly difficult chord progression in the bridge. He wrote back right away and directed me toward Nigel. One week later I was attending a show in Portland where he happened to be playing drums for Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls. We spent a good part of the evening together. He asking me to play him some of my songs as he wanted to hear an artist who was directly influenced by his songwriting. He, upon hearing that I’d missed an opportunity to see Unbelievable Truth played some songs off my favorite album “Almost Here.” I have to say that the geek-out factor I was experiencing was pretty intense. I drove him to his bus in time for Bus Call and we have kept in touch ever since.

So, needless to say, he being in Oslo the week I was here was pretty special for me and further, their decision to attend my show that evening was encouraging in a way I in which it is useless to try and explain.

The pub was warm and old. A room that I could play with my voice, listening to it reverberate off of the hundreds of years that the wood had aged. Every single person I had met earlier in the week attended the show, plus about 20 or so other people who were eager to attend based on word of mouth. There was also a group of people in attendance for the open mic that evening. I borrowed a guitar from a kind gentleman (as I had pre-arranged to borrow Orion’s guitar for our leg of the tour and then buy one later) and played what was a magical show for me. My first show in Europe in 12 years, a show with so many new friends in attendance and Nigel’s presence set it over the top. My voice was doing some very cool things that caught me off guard while I was singing and I just had an all around magical experience. I think it was a special evening for all of us and I was so grateful. What a perfect way to start a tour. Absolutely perfect. It might be my favorite show of all time. It’s certainly going to be hard to top.

…. Post Dinner and Friends …

I have just left Rock In (a metal bar located in the city centre of Oslo) to head back to my friend Anne’s home for the evening and attempt to get some sleep before I wake up at six to grab a 10 am flight for Berlin and a train to Stutgart. I will meet Orion Walsh at the bar where we are playing and then I believe we head back to Berlin for a couple of days.

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