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Candlepins and the Cantab

During the length of this tour, I visited three cities I used to live in: Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis. I loved living in all of these cities–in fact, I loved living in cities in general. So as we pulled into Boston, I found myself feeling very nostalgic. As the week went on, I found very few reasons to rein in my nostalgia, helped along by any number of wonderful Boston-y activities, including the following:

1.Wonderful Shows

We played three different places in Boston, which was pretty cool in itself, since when I lived in Boston this whole “professional musician” idea was just a little twinkle in my eye. Carrying my guitar on the T, I remembered so many trips to open mics, lugging my guitar all the way from Jamaica Plain to whatever open mic was in Cambridge or Somerville that day. So it was nice to realize how far I’ve come since then, at the same time as I felt a little nostalgic for the adrenaline of those days.

At any rate, we played a concert at a church in Cambridge, MA, generously arranged by Rich’s friend (and pastor at the church) Ute. The church (which is celebrating its 375th birthday this year) was literally about a block and a half away from our friends Sonya and Matt’s apartment, where we were staying, which we didn’t know until we looked up directions to get to the church (and having driven for the first time in Harvard Square, we were grateful not to have to brave the traffic and crazy cow path roads again!). Alas, I forgot to take a picture of the church, where we played in front of this magnificent tree mural. Trust me, it was great.

And then we played a house concert at Sonya and Matt’s house (there’s not a much better situation than playing about six feet from the bed where you’re sleeping that night!), which was so much fun. A lot of friends came, plus a lot of wonderful people I hadn’t met before, and Sonya and Matt put out an amazing assortment of “spreads and breads”–all homemade! Oh, and the music was fun, too. Here’s a movie of us performing “Hometown Tables” as our final number (lucky you, you get all the preamble banter, too!).

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And then I played at the Cantab, a great little neighborhood bar that just happens to have music seven nights of the week. Every Monday, they have an open mic and then a feature act (yours truly) at the end. It was the first gig on the tour I’d played by myself, and while I missed Rich on bass, it was fun in a whole different way to perform by myself after playing together for so long. Plus it was pretty much my first ever bar gig, and it went better than I could have imagined: (1) the drunk guy weaving his way straight toward me during my first song did not, as I feared, punch me, but instead put a $10 bill on my monitor; and (2) there’s no one like a group of drinking Bostonians to sing along on “Union Maid.” Here’s a video of that night’s “Katharine Hepburn Waltz.” Aren’t the Christmas lights cool?

2.Candlepin Bowling

I can’t bowl because I’ve got bad wrists, so imagine my thrill when Sonya and Matt took us to a bowling alley where the balls are really light, I actually won a game, and you can bring your brownie sundae to the lane with you. Here’s Rich bowling.

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3.Hometown Tables!

More than any of the other cities we visited, I loved eating in Boston, partly because I have such fond memories of eating there, partly because of all the wonderful friends we got to visit over delicious meals, and partly because of Sonya and Matt’s gourmet cooking skills. Here’s a sampling of some of my favorites.

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4.We Didn’t Want to Leave…

…but at least it was easy to load out! I seriously considered pulling a Charlie-MTA-worker move and “riding forever ‘neath the streets of Boston”–I’d be the folksinger who never returned. But alas, Chicago called. So we enacted our most clever load-out maneuver yet, loading out through the window. And then we drove off into the sunset…to a cold, wintry Chicago. More on that to come. Thanks, Boston–and thank you for reading!

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