What I Learned from Tour - Fox and the Bird, July 2013

I've had the chance to tour five states with some of my best friends for the last couple weeks. We slept five wide in the back rooms of bungalows in Taos, camped in the boulders of Gunnison, swam in rivers and pissed off the continental divide (you know who you are, Paul). Never would have guessed Carbondale is home to a legendary guitar shop with a stage played by the likes of John Oates, or that Taos has this tight knit group cultivating a killer craft beer and live music scene, or that the UMS Festival in Denver had swelled to take on a life of its own and attract incredible national talent. But it happened.

Staying in hotels and showering daily has its perks, but I'd rather crash on the floors of the lovely people we met at shows. You don't know a city unless you know its people, and every single city (no matter how sleepy it may seem) has its niche of creative, loving people. I've seen this in the generosity of strangers and instant connections with new friends, many of whom happened upon a folk show and stayed because they connected with the music and the musicians.

And no matter where you live, people want the means to support each other and experience music in more intimate ways than a club or venue can afford. In Denver we saw this in the backyard shows thrown by Greg & Garrett & Art & Macon- where you can listen to songs alongside like minded folks without pretension or distraction. But you still have guys working the door and making sure the artists have a few bucks to fill their gas tanks (i.e., Chris). 

Or the inspiration of songwriters like Christian Hutson, Michael Donner, Vikesh Kapoor and Kaleo Kaualoku, incredibly talented guys that hone their craft relentlessly and encourage us to keep going. There's no lack of innovative new bands, but not nearly enough that work as hard as those we met this week. And all we can do is support each other and recognize that music doesn't happen without a dedicated few that work and travel to support it. These few are a huge encouragement.

Not sure what's next for us. Release our album as Fox and the Bird in October, put out Jacob Metcalf's album Fjord in January... and hopefully after that more touring and traveling is in our future. But for now I'm glad to have shared a 15 passenger van with Paul 'calls-it-like-he-sees-it' Grass, whose snarky wit, spontaneous adventurosity and star-spangled party pants propel him to bring out the best in everything and everyone he encounters. And Petra Kelly, ever the realist and veteran among us, connecting all the dots and always one to be counted on. And Jacob Metcalf, pushing on despite a gimp knee to play one of his (perhaps) most energetic and enigmatic performances (at the UMS)... always an encourager, and never one to let us accept the convenient or conventional without a little critical thought. Of course we can't forget John Grass, brother to Paul and friend to us all. Sure he helped sell our merch, but moreso he was steadfastly chill, indelibly reliable, and lightened the mood to keep us calm under pressure.

I can't begin to express my love for the folks we met and got to know during this tour... some opened their homes to us, but all shared their lives (and honest conversations)... Tugboat, Daniel, Cammie & Jess in Lubbock, Josh, Eddie, Kele'n, Nathan & Misty in Abilene, Bobby Joe, Drew, Shane & Becky in Taos, Shannon & Steve in Carbondale, Brett, Clark, Fraser, Caryn & Rev in Salida, AJ and David in Gunnison, Lloyd & Tammy in Evergreen, Bryan, Sarah & Gordon in Colorado Springs... And more friends in Denver than can I can mention here (Macon, Michelle, Nicole, Anna, Julie & Joe, Nathaniel & Jules, Aaron, Art, Garret, Greg, Lara, Heather, Kaleo, Cayla, Esme, Eric, Ben, Hollie... to name a few). 

Fox and the Bird Summer 2013 tour, it's been a pleasure.

- Dan Bowman, Fox and the Bird

Fox and the Bird @ SXSW 2013


Come hang with us at SXSW y'all

Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Sofar Sounds SXSW Day Show @ Irie Bean
2310 S Lamar Blvd #102, Austin, TX
Noon | FREE | Facebook Invitation


Wednesday, March 13, 2013
SXSW Excursion to Bastrop Brewhouse
601 Chestnut St, Bastrop, TX

9:00 pm | FREE | Facebook Invitation

Thursday, March 14, 2013
Flat Top Burger - Music For Listeners SXSW Show
1900 Manor Road, Austin, TX

Noon | FREE | Facebook Invitation

Thursday, March 14, 2013
SXSW House Show
Dunno Yet Check Back, Austin, TX

7:00 or 8:00 pm | FREE | Facebook Invitation

Thursday, March 14, 2013
House Wine SXSW Show
408 Josephine St Austin, TX

10:00 pm | FREE | Facebook Invitation

Friday, March 15, 2013
Moonlight Manner SXSW Folk Jam @ Rogers Lane
Rogers Lane, Austin, TX

2:00 pm | FREE | Facebook Invitation


New EP: Darkest Hours

Got our heads down recording the new EP, Darkest Hours. Scratch tracks were nailed down at an old cathedral in Tehuacana, TX and now we're off to Ramble Creek Studios in Austin to lay down the final tracks.  Release date in late April or early May. Very excited.

Track list: 
Wreck of the Fallible
DC9 at Night
Rough Darlin'







Gas Station Yoga

In the contemplative moments before a show we fuel our spirits and bodies while we fuel our cars. only the most committed do Downward Dog in a Texaco parking lot after buying a redbull and pumping the unleaded.

Fox and the Bird Profiles -- Granada Theater

Thanks to Bill Ellison for taking these shots during our show at the Granada Theater with the Carolina Chocolate Drops. 

Kelsey Bowman

Dan Bowman

Daniel t. Hall

Petra Kelly

Travis Lawrence

Jacob Metcalf

Mimo Morreale

Fox and the Bird, 9/16, Granada Theater

Days 6, 7, and 8 of Tour- The Mesa Theater, Grand Junction, CO; Kilby Court, Salt Lake City, UT; Underground Music Showcase, Denver, CO

July 19- The Mesa Theater, Grand Junction, CO– We wrap up cables. We lug and hide and stow our instruments. We aren't well-known musicians here. We're small potatoes. No, we're tots. This requires work. Lots. The mood is light. We scale a Theater. There is a commotion in the living room. We're staying with David, part owner of Mesa Theater. We just ate a shrimp cocktail, eggroll, and pesto pizza on afghan crust dinner at one in the morning. "Smother us and we'll wake up in heaven." We didn't really mean it. This is a high note for us. If the every night astonishes us more than the night before it trend continues, tomorrow we'll be crowned royalty of some foreign cabinet. The following day we'll buy a lottery ticket and give all the winnings away because we don't need them. We repeated our pursuit to drive traffic into the venue by street singing, and met some smiles and met children playing in the public fountains. While we were out and about the cloud cover stormed in and a tempest attempted to swallow us. We took shelter beneath an awning in a cove and waited the downpour's finale. Us versus the precipitation. We met a young woman named Denise who told us all about ourselves, interpreting our signs and stars. We met a man named Dan who told us about his four years of wandering around Scandinavia, hitching from stop to stop. News of his adventures must have trickled down through the years and reached our ears, and may be one of the reasons some of us wander like we do. 


July 20- Kilby Court, Salt Lake City, UT– More driving in circles. Big ones. Towering mountains. We thought Utah was flat. We were careful not to make any playful jokes about certain religious groups. You never know who you're brushing elbows with. Kilby Court is a tiny handsome room. Dirty Mittens played and there was dancing. Boots to the Moon put on a great show, too. From start to finish we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It would be disingenuous to portray a trip of this kind as a vacation. It's true that the road has its lures. It's magnetic. In a sense we're not bound by schedules in the same way we were when we were home. But the truth is, even now, writing from a brand new cafe in a brand new place, we wish we were somewhere else. The next stop, the next tour, the next adventure. It's difficult to leave the body and brain in neutral and enjoy the present. Partial satisfaction. Always looking into the remote. A blessing and a curse both. 


July 21- The UMS, Denver, CO– We steal into Wyoming. Pick up a local paper. There is a mountain man rendezvous and a hatchet throwing competition. We consider entering. Interestingly, the entire trip in the vehicle to this point has been without the accompaniment of any music. The stereo has remained off, and for good reason. We've stored enough laughter to extend our lives the next one hundred years. Three hundred bands, and a single strip called Broadway. This is going to be beautiful. We played an impromptu set at Skylark, as the Dirty Mittens broken down van insisted they stay behind. Bittersweet. We hope to see them again soon.

Day 1 of Tour

Day 2 of Tour

Days 3 and 4 of Tour

Day 5 of Tour


Day 5 of Tour– Salida Cafe, Salida, CO

We rinsed our feet in the Arkansas River. We roamed singing in the streets in search of passersby in the interest of drumming up the cafe some business. By the time we kicked off our set we had a nice room in attendance. The sweetest thing we saw was a dancing pair who twirled and dipped in the shade of a maple tree at the park. And we were treated and hosted by a gentleman named Clark. 

Day 1 of Tour

Day 2 of Tour

Days 3 and 4 of Tour

DAYS 3 & 4 OF TOUR - Alamo House, Santa Fe; Seco Pearl, Arroyo Seco, NM

July 16— Raise your cross hairs and lift the barrel. Single pump action. Chamber loaded. Breathe in. Exhale and release the trigger. We turned loose our rounds on a firing squad of empty sodas strewn across a laundry wire in the back yard. We were in Santa Fe at Greg and Benito's house shooting off pellet guns and sipping from aluminum cans. After watching a day movie in theater we settled into the front yard of the fabled Alamo House, where a musical showcase was staged and everyone would be participating. Several notable locals performed short sets to our delight. Greg put on a delicious beef stew. Several made a climb to the roof. The night's lights were out. A falling star fell. After the sets were done, a jamboree broke out and sounds erupted from every corner of the adobe living room. The night gradually wore out and wrapped us up in a blanket of coyote sounds. 

July 17— Everyone in our crew sprang to life and made a three thousand foot march down into the womb of the earth. The descent to the valley floor is directed by a pebble–covered trail hemmed in with stones, cacti, and sagebrush. The hike led us to the emerald waters of the roaring Rio Grand. Lesser-known hot springs trickled nearby. We took a dip in the river, gazing upward toward the walls of the gorge. We reclined against algae outfitted rocks in warm, pellucid waters. Minnows darted around us begging to know what we newcomers brought. Tiny crawfish nibbled at our feet. We made friends at the springs. Cara, Diana, and Megan shared a gallon of their local beer with us. We said our goodbyes, hoping to see them again for our scheduled show. Off to KTAO radio, a twenty-five year old solar-powered station. On a tip from a local we showed up at the doorstep of the station and spilled into the studio. Rick DeStefano was kind to air us. Five points on KTAO. It seemed serendipitous. Next stop: Seco Pearl. The venue is a gem, a kind of community house with a tiny charming stage curtain and hardwood floors. Kristina, the new owner was generous with us. She prepared some savory plates. Friends old and new came out. It was great. 

Photos by Sara Kerens

See Day 1 of Tour

See Day 2 of Tour

DAY 2 OF TOUR - The Mine Shaft Tavern, Madrid, NM

Climate change. Mountain time. The road fools with your mind. The way is winding and eves of cliffs are on the wings and waiting. Twists and turns. The sun burns. New Mexicans don't know it yet, but we are going to be pleased to meet them. Green chili. Altitude. Out of breath climbing down from the bus. This is like touching down in a brand new country, or perhaps in a different era. Our Albuquerque plans fell through last minute and left us an opening in our evening schedule. On a tip from our friend Aaron we made the jog north well after dark to a rocky lot and the tiny town of Madrid. Some have made a living drilling and extracting minerals from the ground here. These people are sun-touched and many know what the soil feels like in their open palms. We met the country's last living cattleman, John Wayne Haynes. Two years ago this soft spoken gentleman left his Michigan ranch on horseback, driving south and sleeping under a different sky each night for six months. He settled into a nearby teepee and he has no access to electricity. He seemed like a long lost uncle of ours. Exchanging words with him you get the impression that he is living in the future, in a time when things his imagination thought impossible exist. Continents are crossed in a matter of hours these days. Satellites orbit. Radios make waves his soul refuses to brave. He does not wear a wrist watch. The brim of his hat hides his hair and his snow white beard stretches down like a scarf. John Wayne strummed and sang and thrilled the crowd. We might have been among the most impressed. 

John Wayne Haynes, by Sara Kerens


Day 1 of Tour - The 806, Amarillo, TX

We were up till five am the day of departure. Seated around a circular wooden table several of us put the final touches on our hand-cut, hand-stiched debut CD's. Most of us were delirious, but relieved at the culmination of numerous weeks of scrambling and hustling in preparation. After an abbreviated break for a few hours' sleep the clock struck noon, we gave our goodbye hugs and set sail, taking interstate 40 west to the top of Texas. In route we were stopped by an armed officer of the law, excited to send us off properly and with a ticket for driving in haste. No thanks. Continuing on, road-side stops beckoned to us. Our stomachs were broadcasting. Snacks: we had to have them. Half a waking day behind the wheel and slumped in every inch of the bus's interior we pulled up into the dusty town of Amarillo with satisfied bellies. Parking a fifteen passenger bus is like moving a mobile home. After a few laps around the block we fell into the empty room that would serve as our venue. We dropped off the twenty-instrument court in a corner and, with an hour to spare, took a stroll to a neighboring venue, The Golden Cantina. After chatting inside with some of the regulars, we were playing a short set for the happily drinking and clapping customers. Success. Management said they'd be glad to have us on our next time through. On a high note we returned to our scheduled gig and played just over an hour to an enthusiastic crowd that seemed to shuffle in as the sun was disappearing. Or, it could be that Daniel had drawn them all inside, casting a spell on them by bowing the theme song to the Harry Potter franchise on a hand saw. Mysterious. The night took a beautiful turn when one of the locals offered all six of us her home, and we slept like royalty under a borrowed roof. Loaded up and leaving this morning, Merri, our new friend, presented Kelsey with a small ornate box. Inside: a clarinet. Another new friend Liz generously donated the gift based on conversation at the bar. It's nice to make friends in an unfamiliar place. We are already making plans for a return.

Sara Kerens is accompanying us, documenting the trip. Here is a short clip she shot last night. "Saints We Are". More photos and video to come. 

Fox and the Bird CD Release - July 29th

Fox and the Bird album is finished. July 29th Release...

Son of Hermann Hall
3414 Elm Street
Dallas, TX 75226

Years in the making, this is our debut full length titled Floating Feather.

----> Get Tickets Here

----> Check Out Facebook Event

It wouldn't be fitting if we didn't release the album at one of Dallas' oldest venues with our friends in the Beaten Sea and the Whiskey Folk Ramblers. Really glad to have these folks on the bill.



We've had a bunch of songwriters and musicians rotate in and out of Fox and the Bird over the years... some of which still play and others just make appearences from time to time. For the release we're bringing back everyone:

Travis Lawrence
Dan Bowman
Daniel Hall
Kelsey Bowman
Petra Kelly
Wheeler Sparks
Ray Weyandt
Mimo Morreale
Jacob Metcalf
McCullough Ferguson

We'll rotate songwriters and play all the original tunes.

Whiskey Folk Ramblers  

Beaten Sea 

Catch us April 22nd w/ Ryan Becker / lalagray / David Ramirez @ Club Dada

Killer lineup at Club Dada on April 22nd!

9pm - David Ramirez rolls out tunes from his new album Strangetown. http://www.davidramirezmusic.com/

10pm - lalagray brings the piano-driven indie pop. And just plain good songs. http://www.myspace.com/ashleymyrick

11pm - Ryan Thomas Becker does what he does. Charmingly. http://www.myspace.com/ryanthomasbecker

12:00 - Fox and the Bird debuts new tunes, brings back old friends... http://www.foxandthebird.com/

Doors @ 8:00p

Fox and the Bird SXSW Shows This Week

Come hang out in Austin or catch us for pre-SXSW show in Dallas at Club Dada!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

SXSW Reverb Day Pary w/ Beaten Sea, Paper Bird & others
* Early Show! Fox and the Bird, Beaten Sea at 11:00 AM *
Click here for lineup and to RSVP at www.REVERBPARTY.com

Friday, March 18, 2011

FREE SXSW Dominican Joe Party w/ Spooky Folk, The Migrant & others
* Fox and the Bird at 3:00pm *
Click here for FACEBOOK EVENT


Friday, March 18, 2011

 SXSW Charlie's House Party w/ Paper Bird & others
* Evening Show -- 1118a Linden Street, Austin *


Thursday, March 17, 2011

 Club Dada w/ Deer Tick / Middle Brother / Dawes
* Doors @ 5pm, Fox and the Bird @ 7:45p *
Click here for lineup and more info on FACEBOOK EVENT