NORTH AMERICA HOUSE SHOW TOUR – PT. V

Hey again!

Sitting in a coffee shop called Common Ground in Lake Worth, Florida, I’m trying to catch up on blog writing and all the adulting I have been avoiding since starting this tour. Besides registering for classes and finding a place to live for the fall, it’s been pretty responsibility free besides my daily tasks which are still pretty fun. However, strangely enough, all these things pile up and I have this massive list now. Anyways, I know you don’t feel bad at all, so I’m just going to stop fishing and tell you about Nashville! 

Short story, I could eat, sleep, and exist quite happily in this music centred city. We arrived pretty well rested at our new friend Kelly’s home after our time in Maryland, but still feeling under the weather. Kelly made us feel so at home, asking us about tour life and life in Canada, offering me kombucha and gluten free toast from the moment I stepped in, and I knew I’d hit the jackpot. Kelly has a huge heart for community and helping people belong. She has a gift for hosting and leads by example all that she values and upholds in her home. At the beginning of the show, Kelly read “the constitution” she had created in order to smooth things over at these shows, in order that everyone feel comfortable and included. Sadly, there has been racism and sexism present in previous shows and with grace and tact, she eloquently expressed her stance on these issues. There were no such issues at this house show, only beautiful music, laughter and good conversations. I’m very grateful for these hosts and musician who continue to reach out, stand up for what they believe in, share love, and hope with those around them and expand the community to include others. 

Since one of our shows canceled we had an extra day in Nashville! I don’t think anyone was particularly disappointed, especially after we ate some delicious tacos at The Wild Cow. We spent the afternoon getting some coffee shop work done, which for me included doing blueprints for Closet Craft Lmtd., catching up on social media posts and writing the blog. I also finished applying for Student Aid (you never really stop being a student in the summer) and trying to figure out why Canada Post lost my drivers license in the mail. Just like in the fall semester of school, I was feeling sleepy, so I ditched the guys to nap in the car, curtains drawn and sweating out all the chocolate almond milk and tea I had just consumed. It was 100+ F, and this Vancouver born human is not used to it. I joked about joining a nudist colony a fair amount during this week because clothes were just a hassle and it's annoying that you have to wear clothes when you just want to be swimming in a pool instead of sweat but whatever. After our work was done we went to Lightning 100 Radio and talked to the DJ and one of the representatives there who gave us a tour of the place and gave us free tickets to a show at the Frist Gallery that night! Knowing nothing about Nashville besides that we had to experience the night life and some live music, we were excited to be given the opportunity for both. The Frist Gallery ended up being a really amazing contemporary art gallery with a venue for musicians. The space and stage were decorated in colourful and cosmic design and the band performing, ELEL had nine members. It was a full sound and it had everyone dancing and clapping. The audience was not begged to participate, the room was huge and still, people filled the front and danced with loved ones. Nashville was ready to have a good time and enjoy the sounds that made our bodies move. We spent one more night with Kelly, and she and I got up early to walk to the neighbourhood gluten free and vegan bakery. We shared a lot of the same values and allergies which made relating easy but even if we didn’t have this in common, Kelly is a delightful person with a generous heart and she made me feel so appreciated. Thank you for the treat, the laughs, sharing your home and for being an incredible human being! Keep up the community building and never stop reaching out, you’re making more of an impact than you might guess!

Traveling through Nashville and Georgia (peach county!) we noticed a lot of political or religious billboards that made us cringe or laugh. Usually both reactions at the same time! For example, “All I know is everything - GOD” and “Machine gun rentals here!”. Yup. We rolled into Georgia and immediately recognized it as a University town by its university sweat-shirt shops and young demographics. We played a show at Zombie Coffee & Donuts which is a hot spot during the school semester. A few people in the cafe participated by asking us about Canada and our tour and offering encouragement. Two people, in particular, Molly and Tiger, came to support us and also hosted us that evening. They were moving out the next morning and STILL had us stay with them. THANK YOU! Heroes! Come to Vancouver, and I can for sure offer the same!

The next couple days were a huge change of scenery, as we made our way into Florida. First stop was Pasadena, which is rated one of the top beaches in North America, so I was PUMPED! I deflated a little when I realized that we wouldn’t get enough time to explore until Sheldon told me he had planned only for 30 days in July and we had an extra unplanned day. I’ve already thoroughly covered how much I love the ocean and swimming and salt in a previous post so I won’t go there but this week has been my favourite so far. We stayed with Oliver and Kate, and they were amazing hosts! Oliver and Sheldon go back to primary school days in Newberg, Oregon and had lot’s to catch up on. Before they did though, we celebrated Oliver’s first week in his new house and broke it in with a party and sleepover. We started the next morning right with diner style breakfast in a neighbourhood restaurant, which Oliver treated us to! Thank you SO much! As if that wasn’t sweet enough, Oliver and Kate gave us a tour of Pensacola which included the white sandy beach and turquoise blue water. After some sun tanning and ocean frolicking, we got some fresh seafood, including ceviche and oysters!   This was a really good day for eating if you can’t tell. Oliver also made us kimchi ramen from scratch and I got my much-needed dose of sriracha. I have missed sriracha on all my meals more than I’d like to admit this tour. After this much-needed break, sleep, and food we headed to Melbourne, Florida next. 

We all anticipated a house show, but when we arrived in Melbourne we rolled up to the address and it was a clothing shop called Standard Collective. We did not know what to expect but it ended up being a really great night! A handful of artists performed, including a slam poet, and it was obvious from the start how supportive the audience was. Giving us their full attention, talking to us between songs, encouraging us with their clapping and words and participating by coming up right next to the stage for Sheldon's final song Home, this was a great crowd. Michael, someone Sheldon has been in contact with long distance for some time exchanging different creative projects with, brought us to his home for the night. He and his wife Katie served us an incredible breakfast and made us feel very comfortable. Michael mentioned showing us the beach, and I for one was down. When he offered to teach us to surf I was ecstatic! Sheldon and I have both dreamed of this moment for over a decade and it was finally happening! For those who have not experienced the Atlantic Ocean, it is very warm off the south coast of the U.S. and it was a dream to swim in which is good because we did a lot of swimming and somersaulting and falling into it. Surfing is harder than I expected, but we did get the gratifying experience of riding some very fast, large waves, even if we didn’t get up on our feet successfully. I tell myself if I had more than an hour I would have for sure done it, but I do have some very large bruises that prove I at least tried. Driving back to Michael’s, Shel and I both agreed it was a pretty surreal experience and that it felt like we weren’t on tour for an afternoon. As it goes we packed up our sleeping bags and day packs, organized the car and headed out once again. Still, in Florida, our next house show was in Tampa Bay and had been organized through couchsurfer.com. Never knowing what to expect and having low standards is how we avoid disappointment, but this time we were all surprised to find that this was an extraordinary and elevated couch experience. From the moment Todd and Michael opened their door to us before we’d even knocked, we felt welcome and completely spoiled by the thoughtfulness and care they’d put into preparing. They gave us a tour of their home, which was certainly a happy one, and all three of us could hardly believe our eyes. From the home-made dinner, laundry luxury, open bar, spa and pool, actual bedrooms, and midnight snacks, we were completely taken care of. More than that though, Todd and Michael were interested in us and sharing their stories with us. Todd and I discussed community, parenting, education, and faith in a very philosophical way and it was refreshing to find people in completely different seasons of life, age groups, cultures and backgrounds who are making it their goal to make a positive impact where they are. After being spoiled with the heated pool and good food for an evening and day, we were all a little thrown for a loop when Shel left for the hospital again. My buddy had some alarming symptoms and we packed up while he got it figured out. The hospital visit took a little longer and we missed our show in Boca Raton, but we still met up with someone we’d met at the Manhattan show, who offered us some couches to sleep on. James was an amazing host, showing us around his hometown which is iconically known for its white sand beaches, palm trees and seaside shops and restaurants. We ate some really good vegan, gluten free donuts, and some tasty lattes. Between the beaches, sunny weather and gluten free food I was in my element for sure (if Josh was reading this he’d call me basic). James has four of the cutest puppies, all of which were rescued, and it was obvious from the moment we stepped into his home, that this was a safe and happy place. I used quite a few polaroids in his hometown and when I went to stock up again, at a local camera shop he bought some for us for the road! Even though we all only spent a day together, your generosity, curiosity, and creativity were all very apparent and I think you will go very far with your coffee roasting business, photography and music endeavors! You have a place in Vancouver if you ever visit! 

Our last show in Florida was in a town called Lake Worth. This was a smaller show for sure, and I spent almost the entirety of it catching up as I mentioned. But there were a dozen people that seemed to really enjoy themselves and asked us about Canada and then purchased quite a few Love over Hate t-shirts. We really felt the support at this show and made a couple cool connections, we hope we can follow up with on a later tour. After the show the guys found some dumpsters out back and went diving for “treasure”. As they acted like school boys, bonding over there discoveries, I was on the ground filling the role as tour mom, exclaiming how terrible it would be to have a bed bug or flea infestation in our very cramped, packed, warm car. Florida’s humid and hot weather made dumpsters a breeding ground for bed bugs and fleas. Being pretty allergic to all kinds of bug and insect bites I was low key, actually fully, losing my mind at this point. I fell into silence thinking about all the ways them bringing a dumpster knit afghan, a hideous fur vest and a sailor jacket into this car could go wrong. Not my finest moment, or theirs either for that matter, but to be completely honest it is a little funny to look back on now and remember just how sleepless and hangry and close we were all becoming during these days and nights. 

We ended up making it to Pensacola, Florida for our four-hour nap at Oliver’s (where we’d done a house show only days before) and then left for New Orleans to play a show at Peaches Records. Peaches Records was not only a really cool place for a show, and to buy cool records, patches, and enamel pins, but it was in a really central part of town on Magazine street. We were getting weather warnings involuntarily popping up on our iPhone screens and I don’t think we knew just how bad the floods were until Oliver and Kate texted to say they’d abandoned their car and gotten to higher ground. I thought it was super dreamy before they texted, sitting in a coffee shop watching the rain come down and lightning flashes out-side the window, but soon realized this was rather serious. Nothing severe happened, and Sheldon picked up our friends after the show and it all turned out fine, but that was not the last time we received notices on our phones warning us of flooding. We are ever grateful for the support of our friends, family, and hosts; thank you, Nicole for hosting us that night!

If you’re enjoying this tour blog, get more details and pictures and videos, on Sheldoncole’s Instagram(_sheldoncole_) and Facebook where I will be posting shorter updates everyday. The gratitude and joy we all feel being welcomed into these homes and for all the support from all our friends and family is huge. Stay tuned for new music videos, photos, stories and updates next week! Much love!

With joy, 

Hannah

 

NORTH AMERICA HOUSE SHOW TOUR – PT. IIII

Hey friends,

As you may have guessed a lot has happened this week. That is the one thing that remains the same this road trip. We can rely on every day being different and full of new experiences. I will take this moment to apologize for any outrageously poor writing (even worse than usual), I have a fever and head cold, but not to worry. You cannot get it from here and anyone in contact with me is already sick. Go figure, when you’re with the same two people every day, staying in a different home every night, and getting less sleep than during university exam week, the body gives up a little. Anyways, now that I’ve apologized (like a proper Canadian I’m told), let me tell you about our time in New York City! 

Rolling into Brooklyn, NY in the afternoon we had plenty of time before the next show. The neighbourhoods we drove through looked like the scenes from “You’ve Got Mail” with the Brownstone buildings and mature trees lining the streets. We pulled up to a garage door that said “Black Sheep Brooklyn” on it. I’d been googling tattoo shops ever since I’d been in Montreal and was unsuccessful in booking any appointments there, but I found one with good ratings and that took walk-ins in Brooklyn. The owner and tattoo artist were pretty interested in my design and told me I could get in that afternoon. This is my first tattoo unless you count the stick and poke my brother did this past spring, and I was feeling pretty excited and nervous; even more so knowing that the guys would be leaving for the show pretty soon, and I was doing this alone. The shop made me feel really comfortable, and quite honestly it felt very home-like, playing my own music and making sure I was always comfortable. After texting some friends and fam, I felt a lot more reassured and right when I wasn’t sure I could sit any longer (three hours later) it was over and I had a beautiful, bright yellow, tour tat from a tiny shop in New York City. The owners of the shop knew I was late for the show and didn’t want me to walk through Brooklyn alone at night, so they walked over with me. They were really kind people and I could tell they had a heart for the people in their community. I have heard mixed reviews about Brooklyn from my friends, but the majority has told me it is an intimidating place. Despite these reports, everywhere I walked, whether it was through the neighbourhoods or restaurants, I was greeted by locals lounging in their front yards or leaning over their gates or sitting on their Brownstone steps. Most individuals I passed by smiled, waved or started conversation with me. On the second day there, I went for a walk to find some eats. Eating food in certain cities has been challenging due to my gluten and dairy intolerance, but the neighbourhood restaurant Tama was so delicious and reassuring for so many reasons. One reason is that I went from eating delicious, minimalist food in Japan last month to eating American gas station snacks within a couple weeks, and Tama served an Asian - African fusion that had a home made quality. The people there were also very friendly, and knowing I didn't fit in at all, made it that much more meaningful. One very tall African-American woman from Manhattan called me over from the other side of the restaurant asking “did you get a new tattoo hunny? Let me get a look at it!”. I took off my make shift bandage to show my day old tattoo. She asked me all about my experience and offered me some care-taking advice, which included fresh aloe vera plant. She wrapped up my arm again without any hesitation and asked me where I was from before getting back to lunch with her son who had been watching the exchange with a smile. Many friends have told me I have had uncharacteristically good experiences with people when I travel, as I hardly ever meet unpleasant people. I sometimes wonder if it’s because I tend to see only the good side of people or attempt to understand the culture of the people I’m surrounded by, but I may just be very fortunate. Either way, the people of Brooklyn made my time there special and I look forward to returning. Josh also got a tattoo the next day and after it was done, we took the metro from Brooklyn to Manhattan. We saw a view of the city we wouldn’t have had otherwise, so I was glad for the trip. At one point on our journey, we exited at the World Trade Centre site where they have been rebuilding for years and walked down Wall Street at which time I realized where we were and had a little freak out moment. The buildings are SO tall! 

The show that evening was a little different than the usual, as it was at a venue downtown called The Secret Loft. There were two opening acts before Sheldon closed the set, and both were really lovely. I especially appreciated Justin Cole, go check out his music if you like folk/rock. Personally, I’ve heard few artists with that kind of gift for song writing and story telling in such a raw way, and I felt very grateful to be there witnessing these artists pour themselves out. This was the day all of us started to get sick, so I was more than ready to go to sleep, but we were in the city that never sleeps, and we hadn't eaten dinner yet. Josh had connected with an old classmate from his high-school who now lived in NY, and we enjoyed buffalo wings and fries before heading upstairs to where he lived. More often than not, we eat dinner at midnight and “having a midnight snack” has taken new meaning. Once again, we are collectively very grateful for the people that let us crash at their place and welcome us so warmly. On the road again! 

Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania has a pretty established house show scene and there was a FULL house of participants and a full set of artists awaiting us. It was an intense and emotional experience and I was blown away that pockets of people like this existed. These people were all gifted creatives and so supportive of each other and eager to see individual and group growth happen, and it was a unique experience to say the least. Thanks Matt and Zach for hosting us and making us feel so welcome! 

Next we drove to Richmond, Virginia where a very well-seasoned house show host resides. Micah is part of the group called Eaves and they’re on their own tour at the moment! All of us were full blown sick then, and I wasn’t feeling especially social or friendly. However, it did not take long before Micah had us all enjoying ourselves, from the way he served home made, authentic milkshakes for everyone, to taking us out to Cook Out (an all-American fast food restaurant where you can eat a chicken and fries meal for $3!!), to asking us dozens of questions about Canada and our tour experiences, to feeding me gluten free cereal in the morning, and showing me his incredible tea collection, we couldn’t help feeling part of the home. This is all the night before his own tour! Thank you, Micah, for your hospitality, it was a memorable time bonding over homeschool childhoods, weird Canadian lyrics, and house shows. If you’re ever in Vancouver, let us know, we’d very gladly host you! Onto North Carolina! 

The days begin to blend together, but I always seem to remember faces and conversations, not really names and times. I was in a pretty grumpy mood all day, as we drove to Charlotte, North Carolina,  trying to cope with all the flu symptoms in the confines of a very packed van, in the heat, and on little sleep. I’m hoping all these memories will fade and no one else on this tour will remember my death glares and inability to function during these next few days. Either way though, I think we will remember the kindness of the strangers that gave us shelter and fed us. Carter was one of those people, and we met him on couchsurfing.com! He is a flight attendant and had just arrived on a red eye flight that day, just in time to host us. We ended up having a chill time together, and it was exactly what all of us needed. Thanks Carter for the tutorials on how to play the hang and didgeridoo, and making our stay so comfortable and chill! 

We made our way to Pasadena, Maryland, an Atlantic ocean town just outside of Baltimore where one of Sheldon's good friends from Newberg, Oregon lives. We were all pumped to be in one place for more than twelve hours, but also really excited to connect with people Sheldon had history with. Charlotte and her husband Devon made us feel like part of the family, besides the two cats that battled us for priority seating time to time. I played tour mom for a couple days, making sure everyone drank kombucha, ate chicken soup, while doing laundry, overseeing the medicine distribution/portions and running errands. However, I still got some fun in; kayaking the cove and out past where we should have gone probably. Josh and I found this little floating house in the middle nowhere and also some falcon nests with a diameter of six feet! The falcon dive bombed us as we went by, protecting her young no doubt, which made a situation where we had to paddle quickly away from that spot. We became so engrossed in the sights and reaching different points of interest that when it came time to go back, we kayaked into the wrong inlet. Josh and I were pretty tired by this point, and it was nearing dusk. We ended up asking some boatmen for directions and we made it back in one piece, even if the mosquitos got pieces of me. After our adventure, we got to the house only to find we’d been locked out because Sheldon was at the clinic getting blood tests and a diagnosis for his swollen glands and our new friends had stepped out. I am ashamed to say that I lost it a little at the end, saving face the whole time we were lost only to get eaten alive by the ‘squiters. Those who know me, know that I react pretty terribly to bug bites, so when I say it wasn’t a pleasant experience it really wasn’t. They hurt more than my new tattoo, if that tells you anything. So while I’m losing it, madly swatting the air and my skin, Josh is talking about climbing through a window. Thankfully, the neighbour was able to help us out and we survived that whole experience. Sorry for being dramatic. Actually, I’m not it was terrible. The bites were medicated and I forgot about them momentarily because Charlotte and Devon are awesome! A few things I’ve noticed about Baltimore and Pasadena are that there are a lot of lightning storms, people are very pleasant, it’s iconically American looking and it boasts a beautiful countryside. Before heading out on our journey to Nashville, I took a quick trip to Annapolis (a Navy Station) while the guys slept in, and enjoyed the quay, market, and sunshine. 

Some things we learned this week: Canadian debit cards suck in the U.S. (practically useless), the over priced lobster sandwich at Macdonald’s is a mistake, we don’t share drinks or food anymore (ever), and homesickness takes a deeper meaning when you’re actually sick. Shout out to all our Mums and Dads that make that last sentence more meaningful, and for being there for us during this grand adventure! Much love! 

If you’re enjoying this tour blog, get more details and pictures and videos, on Sheldoncole’s Instagram(_sheldoncole_) and Facebook where I will be posting shorter updates every day. The gratitude and joy we all feel being welcomed into these homes and for all the support from all our friends and family is huge. Stay tuned for new music videos, photos, stories and updates next week! Much love!

With joy, 

Hannah

North America House Show Tour – PT. III

Hey friends!

To pick up from the last update, we have finished week three of our tour. It’s FRIDAY and we're in New York City! As always I’m getting ahead of myself, so let me tell you about the capital city of my native land first. We rolled into Ottawa, Ontario ready to play some music and do some sightseeing. Sheldon and Josh had never been on the east end of Canada, so Cam and I played tour guide. Being on the road everyday, in a city for only 24 hours or less always brings out the fight or flight in us; sometimes we desperately want to sleep or hole up in a coffee shop, but usually we want to explore as much of the city as we can. This time we fought the sleepiness and pushed through. The mansion we played in was very elegant and classy. Cam even wore a dress shirt to spice it up a little. Not many people came, but it was one of those cozy, intimate sets where the audience interacted with us and asked questions and listened to our comedy bits. A spoken word artist shared some emotional, thought provoking pieces and I felt really blessed to have witnessed his performance. The night only got better! I walked over to my friends home, Andrew and Kayla Lee, because Ottawa is cute and tiny like that, and we had a great time catching up and encouraging each other. These people have inspired me a lot, and it was lovely to spend an evening with them. The next day, we had brunch at Nate’s Deli, and enjoyed classic smoked meat sandwiches! I don’t know if it comes across in these letters, but food brings me a lot of happiness and so some of the best moments this trip have revolved around food. The guys always tease me about needing so much food, but they know it keeps me from being “hangry" so their’s really nothing else to say. Not hungry Hannah is a happy Hannah. 
      Anyways, after food we walked to the Parliament Hill and like a proper tourist Sheldon yelled “What’s that THING?” about the Peace Tower. Josh, like he’s lived there forever, joined the public pilates class happening on the lawn of the Parliament hill. Cam and I talked about politics of course, and discussed whether the pilates class was being paid for with our tax dollars. What a day. 

So this next part is really fun, because we arrived in Montreal a few hours later. Unlike our usual routine of arriving at a house, we went to La Cagibi, a venue/cafe combined. They compensated us with food and cider, but before I get carried away on food again, let me say that the musicians we shared the set with were amazing! Two artists opened for us, and they were delightfully wholesome, talented and humble, artists. I enjoyed every minute of that night. Sheldon, Josh and Cam played their hearts out, knowing it was the last set with Cam, as he was flying out the next morning. I managed the merch table, had some great conversations with the audience (which was huge, the room was packed)  and took some footage. At the end of the night we went over to Ryan’s apartment (Sheldon’s cousin) who generously hosted us. We split up as a team and half of us stayed with one of his friends, which was different as we have literally been inseparable up until this point.The next day was a free day! Knowing what Montreal had to offer, I took my Texan friend Josh on a tour of downtown. If you’ve never eaten at Crudessance, or Brit ’n’ Chips, you must, and if you get a chance to wander down St. Catherine’s street or St. Denis you wont regret it. We ate really well that day. Oh boy, I’m talking about food again. I took full advantage of my free day, going on a zip-line ride over Old Port, Montreal and packing in as much fun as I could. I did get whiplash, because the guy who was supposed to catch me didn't really, but after some massages from the team and utilizing the home made, gas station resourced sock and rice hot pack, I was back to 💯 . Thanks Josh!

Things change a lot right about now because we all realized that this was our last day in Canada for over a month! We were going to be entering NY State to play a little county show in Warwick. We played an event at a community arts centre, created to raise money for a “school of rock” for kids in the vicinity. All of us enjoyed our time with our hosts, the coordinators of the event and really admire how they threw themselves into their community to promote peace and arts. Thanks for that, friends, keep it up! 

Now the scenery changes little as we head towards a couch surfing show. Sheldon said at LEAST three times that day “I don’t know anything about this show, I don’t know if we have a place to sleep, I just don’t know what to expect”. With these reassuring words in my head, we pull up, and knock on the door. An adorable dog named Maple greeted us, as well as our couch surfing host. The host promptly told us he had invited a lot of people but no one could come. Sheldon is one of those people that doesn’t take no for an answer (and for the most part I really admire this) so Josh and him started knocking door to door inviting people to come enjoy this backyard show. They were received pretty well, or so I’m told; I waited with Maple in the backyard catching the last minutes of golden sun. Sheldon and Josh played a really creative set for some of the neighbours, and they received some great words of encouragement and praise. We stayed the night with this host and in the morning he made us pancakes with skittles, and hash-browns!
          Okay, we’re on the road again! We arrived in Boston late that afternoon and by the time we parked and got our bearings we had unanimously decided that Josh would not drive or sit passenger when we enter the big cities, but rather be in the back with a blindfold on. Josh doesn’t cope very well, let’s just say that. To be fair though, I wasn’t coping super well in the heat that day, so we found a public gym right across from the Fenway Park and paid to use their showers. It is a very funny thing to realize you are comfortable unpacking your luggage to get fresh clothes in the middle of the sidewalk and even funnier when you stop realizing how weird it is. I’m there folks! The nomad life is not for the shy or comfortable, that’s for sure. Today was the the day we played two sets. With fresh, free food in our bellies, we made our way to the community garden in the middle of the city, with all our gear strapped on our backs. There were some painful moments using google maps, and we had to back track but we made it in one piece and as one group and what awaited us made up for any inconvenience. With the sun setting on our backs and vegetables, herbs, and flowers everywhere, we listened while two amazing artists opened the night for us. Curious onlookers joined us, and we had so many wonderful people from all over the world representing their nations that night. I didn’t want to leave this magical environment, but we had one more show that night at a venue called Middle East. Located four blocks from Harvard University, this venue is a key part of the city and boasts five stages in their establishment. Once again, we all had a really good time connecting with other musicians and the people of Boston. Gracie, one of the openers at the garden show hosted us in her tiny studio apartment and we couldn’t have been more grateful and delighted. It’s people like Gracie that have made our trip so memorable, cosy and heartwarming. Before heading to Rhode Island the next morning, we ate a vegan and gluten free breakfast at Veggie Galaxy and it was spectacular. They served chocolate coconut ice cream milkshakes, need I say more? While the guys worked online after breakfast, I took an epic nap in the van, feeling what some have called a food coma. Not eating much the day before and then eating like you’re about to hibernate makes for some sleepy situations, let me tell you.

 On our way to Rhode Island we took a very random stop when Sheldon saw this small storefront on the side of the road that looked intriguing. He said “should we check it out?” and as per usual I was down. There are bonuses to being very similar to your friends, whenever one of us is curious we explore! This stop ended up being one of the best things to happen on this tour! Max Formal Co. is run by Paul and his wife and at first glance we thought we’d made a mistake because we saw lot’s of sheets and pillow cases, but we saw some records and looked through the four boxes. Paul approached us and started a conversation that lasted over an hour, and we left more enlightened and encouraged than we’d walked in. Paul apparently knew we were artists just by looking at us, and told us about his own artistic endeavours. He designs costumes for Woody Allen, runs a linen shop, but most importantly (according to him) supports other artists in the community. He told us about a young man that goes by the name of Shepherd Fairey, who designed the storefront logo and business cards. He told us about how he supported Shepherd’s dream of becoming an artist financially and emotionally, and thought of him as another son. Sheldon and I couldn't believe our ears. Shepherd Faery is an iconic American artist who created the brand OBEY, made the campaign design for Barrack Obama’s election and much more, and this was the man behind the man speaking to us. Paul encouraged us to never give up on our dreams, always love and treat others with kindness and remember the little guys who do the behind the scenes work. That’s some solid advice. We admired some fonts Paul himself had made for costumes in famous movies and then we got ready to leave. Not before Paul asked us several times for our autographs in case we ever became famous someday. He told me he would be looking out for the documentary I’m filming, and follow Sheldon’s career closely. Sheldon and I were beyond excited, almost incredulous, that we had just seen the behind the scenes of two amazing artists. With many stories and kind words tumbling inside our heads we went to one of the best house shows to date. Rhode Island treated us really well, if you can’t tell.
            Our host was found through couch surfer and she is a one of a kind woman. She has started five businesses, is currently the editor of a prominent business magazine.  and is an exceptionally gifted hostess. We were welcomed in a very efficient manner, shown to our rooms, given the three house rules and in a flurry of chaos we all started setting up for the party in the heavy, humid rain. When she told us to expect one hundred people Sheldon and I got huge eyes and promptly put on some nice clothes. It was a night of champagne, twinkle lights, dessert, tents, music, laughter and pleasant scents. The rain even stopped! A more delightful summer party could not have been created and we had the pleasure of filming it, and entertaining the guests. Something that stood out to me about this place was how extraordinarily good these Province, Rhode Islanders were at being neighbours. The two houses on either side of the party were connected by lights and tarp and tents, and everyone mingling knew each other and cared about each other. When our host gave us dinner, she fed us some granola bars that a local refugee family made with the communities support. They also really cared about us, asking us about life in Vancouver and on the road. As if this place couldn’t become more special, I noticed a bee hive in the backyard. It was plain and simple wonderment that I felt, for this place, for the people and for the journey we’re on.
 

There’s not a lot that can top that day, unless you count the day after. On our drive to Connecticut, we all agreed that if we could find a beach along our drive we had to dip our feet in the Atlantic Ocean. Sheldon had never experienced it before and I just really wanted to swim! Josh, like the amazing navigator that he is, found the PERFECT spot where we neither paid for parking, or admittance onto the beach (yeah that’s a thing here) and we dipped our toes in! It was enough of an experience for the guys, but I still wanted to swim. Ask my parents, I more often then not left the security of their supervision to jump in the ocean, whether it be winter or summer. I found a place where I wouldn't break my neck on rock, and ran in. BEST feeling after being in a hot sweaty car for hours. The salt water did NOT help my tangled, nearlydreaded, hair situation but it was worth it. We got to Connecticut in good time, and set up for what would be our smallest audience, in the largest venue. The art director at the gallery profusely apologized for how last minute it was, and how badly they advertised, but Sheldon will play for one or one hundred, he just loves to play music and share friendship with everyone he meets. It was a chill set, I ran out and found some dairy free ice cream and took some footage of the graffiti covered streets. After the show, we all made our way at different times to the rooftop of the gallery. We all had different ideas on how we wanted to spend our evening, and we all sat twenty feet apart, either eating ice cream, talking to loved ones or enjoying a smoke. Coldplay’s Sky Full of Stars played out into the street from a pub below and made it’s way to our ears. Under a sky full of stars, and listening to these iconic lyrics and eating ice cream I stared out at the warm glow coming from other buildings or bridges and pondered for a while. If you had asked me eight months ago what I’d be doing now, it wouldn’t have been this. Yet, I can’t think of a better way to spend two months. As cliche as this is going to sound, I’ve been learning, loving, laughing, praying, dreaming and growing more than I ever have. If you’re enjoying this tour blog, get more details and pictures and videos, on Sheldoncole’s Instagram(_sheldoncole_) and Facebook where I will be posting shorter updates everyday. The gratitude and joy we all feel being welcomed into these homes and for all the support from all our friends and family is huge. Stay tuned for new music videos, photos, stories and updates next week! Much love!

With joy, 

Hannah

 

 

 

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North America House Show Tour – Pt. II

Hey again!

For those of you reading the tour blog, this is the end of our second week on the road. Leaving Canada behind and crossing the border to ‘Merica was a little intimidating for some of the team and very exciting for others. I for one, was pumped for the American parts of the tour, though we were leaving behind new friends and some very inspiring environments. Okotoks for example, south of Calgary claims “there’s a number of things to do in Okotoks” on their entrance to the city. I don’t know about you, but it seems like we could have stayed and found a number of things to do there. We’ve covered a lot of ground in two weeks, let me tell you! 

First stop across the U.S. border was Minneapolis. This was also our first couch surfer gig, our first time in Minneapolis, the first show with just Sheldon and Josh, and our first time playing in an apartment on this tour. My eye was still swollen shut from an allergic reaction to bug bites in Manitoba and I was barely getting by, but the guys were great, stopping for allergy meds, making sure I slept the whole ride and letting me take a break from filming. Even still, I was pumped for this leg of the tour and the amount of energy I felt being back in the city was great. Our couch surfer host was a University student, who has been doing couch surfer for five years but had never hosted a house show before. He was very excited about us being there and warmly welcomed us in, invited friends over to enjoy the set and even made us traditional Indian food. It was a really fun night, and ended with Josh singing his original “fishy song” (if you ever meet Josh, ask him about this. I’m plugging him now, because I believe he will one day host his own late night comedy show). It was then that I realized for the hundredth time how amazing this opportunity was, sharing food, conversations, laughter, music and love with others on this certainly unconventional but worthwhile tour of North America. 

For this next part I will refrain from using ALL CAPS, but I am very happy to tell you that the day after this show we stopped for a real breakfast at Denny’s (one day when I’m making enough money to spare, I’m going to make a Denny’s scholarship for poor starving students and musicians, because Denny’s has been there for me in a big way this year). All this said and done, we left for Kankakee, in the greater Chicago area for a house show. This show was such a treat, because this audience and home has received many traveling musicians in the past. Andrew A of Kept on Hold and Chris Bernstorf (a renowned spoken word poet) have passed through this house and it’s easy to understand why. Our hosts were so warm and generous, setting up the garage to be a performing space with lights, art, posters, couches, gear, and friendly faces. The son of the host performed a spoken word poem before the Sheldoncole set which opened up the night for us really well. For some that night, it was their first time at a house show, but even still many sang along to the songs! We were astonished at how well merchandise sold, almost selling out our “Love Over Hate” t-shirts. I think I can speak for all of the team when I say that we felt very grateful to be welcomed into this whimsical world of DIY decor, cosy couches, home-made dinners, and friendly community. We’d love to connect again, Kankakee! 

After spending the night there, we left to explore downtown Chicago! This place was electric with energy, full of history, sunshine, sparkling canals, culture, pizza, and spectacular sights. One of our first stops was “The Bean”, a bean shaped mirror that reflects all the chaos around it. We did the touristy thing and lay on the dirty ground, put our feet on the bean and took a video of the world upside down. We also sang a song in Spanish dedicated to Lei, Sheldon’s girlfriend. Besides singing this Spanish love song at this touristy hub, we also sang it on two other stages, one a huge empty stadium where we received a couple claps from onlookers, and also a kids festival. I’ve got all the footage to prove it, but if you know Sheldon at all, you’ll believe me. He’s always looking for a place to sing his feelings and share conversation and laughter with others. We finished the day by getting pizza, blood orange lemonade, and getting cussed out by a a very competitive street musician. With the words “you’re lucky you didn't get your legs cut off, this city is rough!!” ringing in our ears we drove to Detroit with all the anticipation of kids on Christmas morning. This may seem strange to some reading this, but the amount of hours Sheldon and I spent talking about Detroit made it seem like the missing piece to my travel experiences– and he wasn’t wrong! 

Something we all realized after about two days traveling together was that we’re all extremely type B which doesn’t help the flaky, disorganized musician/artist reputation at all. We are almost always staying up way too late to enjoy the dying hours of the day, haphazardly packing the van (though I must say Josh has a special touch when it comes to making things fit in our medium sized vehicle) and being almost always late for everything. I can say that it is very hard to predict traffic patterns on ten hour road-trips, so we usually get a lot of grace from our hosts. However, for the first Detroit show at Dessert Oasis it was no different than usual, almost missing our show because we forgot about the one hour time change. Sheldon still played a full show and we were able to connect with many of Sheldon’s friends there. 

Sheldon planned for us to be in Detroit for three days so we could really get a feel for the city and have a much needed break from the long drives and sleepless nights. We managed to visit the MOCAD for a brunch/ DJ set and wander the art gallery. We also enjoyed Jack White’s Third Man Records store, some delicious Mexican food, and of course the backyard show at one of Sheldon’s friend’s home. While in Detroit we also connected with Tim, a videographer who has captured Sheldon’s music before. We filmed Run & Hide in an alleyway, canopied by twinkle lights and covered in graffiti. We also did an interview on the Detroit River, that separates the U.S. and Canada. I could see Windsor’s streets, and my national flag from where I stood and it made my heart so glad. I feel very little change in my attitude or personality when I’m in the states, because I grew up going to Oregon monthly through my childhood. But being right in between made me feel some kind of wonder I've never experienced yet. Maybe you can relate, if you’ve lived in more than one country, or maybe you cant. But the best way I can describe it is probably relief, feeling no longer torn between two countries all the time. I could see the bridge that gave me that sense of freedom and I couldn’t believe that after all these years of not totally “fitting” in, a bridge was what solved that problem for me. Maybe there's a lesson there, I don’t know. On the boardwalk of this river the community would ride their bicycles, with boom boxes playing, strings of lights bedecking their bars, and posters sharing messages of hope or vindication. It was a stark contrast to the somber neighbourhoods in 8th mile that are either completely abandoned or going to ruin. We noticed as we left Detroit the next day that the highways were freshly paved once we crossed into Michigan, and the joy from the past few days were mingled with sorrow. I hope great things for Detroit, and that swift revival would be brought to this city. 

On the last day there we drove back into Canada for our Hamilton, ON show at Andrew Dejong’s home in the country. It was a great outdoor show, with a wonderful turnout, ending with a bon fire, hot tub, puppy snuggles from a dog named Lana Del Rey, and late night chats. My friend Patisha came all the way from Toronto and surprised me!! So grateful for her and others who have shown us so much support! For more details and pictures and videos, follow Sheldoncole on Instagram(_sheldoncole_) and Facebook where I will be posting shorter updates everyday. The gratitude and joy we all feel being welcomed into these homes and for all the support from all our friends and family is huge. Stay tuned for new music videos, photos, stories and updates next week! Much love!

With joy, 

Hannah

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North America House Show Tour – Pt. I

Hello Friends! 

We have completed our first week of the 52-day house show tour! It has been both memorable and a whirlwind all at once. To say it has been incredible would be an understatement, we have met so many lovely individuals and groups of people, and road tripped through some beautiful, scenic country. Two countries to be exact! That’s right, we have completed the first part of the Canadian tour and begun the first part of the U.S. leg. Currently, I am writing this on the couch of a home in the Chicago area (Kankakee), but I’m getting ahead of myself! Here are the highlights from the first show in Vancouver, B.C.  

Leaving Vancouver was bittersweet for me, as I had just returned from studying abroad. However, the fast preparation before our two-month tour was more than enough to create thick anticipation and excitement for new adventures. For all the bandmates going on tour, it was a week of saying goodbyes and packing and moving out. To celebrate the beginning of the long-awaited tour and see all our dear ones before we left, we had a farewell show at SOMA Underground in East Van. An incredible turnout of friends, and friends of friends filled the space and it was the best way to begin our tour. Thank you to all who came out and helped us begin right. 

We had the shortest drive of the tour between Vancouver and Langley, BC. We enjoyed a delicious meal with the host family, shared our music with them and began the slow and strategic process of packing the car. Sheldon’s parents came all the way from Portland and helped with this process. The Steenkamps lent their rooftop carrier to us, which majorly saved our bacon. We wouldn’t have been able to bring anything without it. Like a game of Tetris, we filled our car with what seemed like a lot of gear, food, clothes and sleeping bags, but considering it was for five people, in a five-seat SUV, it felt like a victory! 

Leaving Langley at 6 am, but not gone until after our first stop at A&W (of course!), we headed to Banff on Canada’s 150th anniversary. I’ve never been through the Rockies before and I wasn’t prepared for the beauty that was all around me. Playing tunes on the Merlin, singing songs, trying to stay hydrated in the blistering heat, taking gas/snack stops, and all with the backdrop of green rivers, craggy mountains, and blue skies. On one of those gas stops, Sheldon actually ran into someone he had met on another mountain at a different time for his show on the Chief! She came out for the show in Banff too! Banff did not disappoint, we were warmly welcomed by our friend Iris and her roommates who graciously fed us and hosted us. On arrival, the band set up as usual and I took videos of the town celebrating their country. When I got back to the house, Sheldon and Mila had set up on top of a dumpster and were playing for a crowd of people in the back alley. Everyone was curious and asked who Sheldon was, meanwhile taking Love over Hate stickers and telling their friends to come. After a few songs from each of them, the authorities came and asked us to leave, but the conflict was quickly diverted after we gave them some free Love over Hate stickers, obviously. 

    About this time Sheldon started to lose his voice and partway through the performance, it cut out completely through one of the songs. He bravely pushed through and many told us after they were inspired by what we are doing and encouraged us with kind words and gas money! After the show, we climbed onto the roof of the apartment and watched the fireworks against Banff’s dark silhouetted mountains. This was the same day we drove to Calgary and slept at Cam’s house for the night. 

Next day we went to Red Deer so Sheldon and Mila could film a music video of Live for Love. In the meantime, Cam, Josh and I found the nearest body of water to cool off and sing some river songs. After losing Sheldon’s guitar for the second time and then retrieving it, we continued to Edmonton for what ended up being an epic experience. The show was hosted by a very young, innovative individual and many of his friends and family were present including two massive dogs, four cats, and a ferret.  That’s right, a ferret! By the end of the day, we were all exhausted and slightly delirious, and there are some very funny moments captured that may or may not be in the documentary…stay tuned. This is where I usually transition to talk about where we drove next, but we actually had unfinished business in Red Deer.

    Sheldon and Mila had approached a tattoo parlour in the hope that they could film their music video there. It didn’t work out, however, they DID get free tattoos of the words Live for Love on their arms despite our best efforts to dissuade them. We got some footage and added it to the Sheldoncole vlog, so if you don’t believe me, just watch (sorry Bruno Mars, is that considered plagiarism?). 

The next couple days were a blur, but a very beautiful blur. We played a show at my dear friend Keara’s house in Calgary, and it was a night of singing, raffles, and jamming. Many people bought raffle tickets to win some good ‘ol Vancouver beer, and Cam’s dad bought 15 tickets! In the end, one woman won both prizes, but she left one of the packs for us and so we gave it to Cam's dad. After the show, we jammed with Keara and Colin, and they serenaded us with their amazing voices. We wanted them to drop everything and join us. This is where things get a little crazy. We drove through the night, heading for Saskatoon, so Sheldon could do a radio interview with Daryl Dozlaw bright and early. All of the bandmates had very different experiences of Saskatoon, but I had an amazing time exploring the city. While everyone set up, I took a break from holding the camera and embraced the charm of downtown Saskatoon. It was beautifully sunny, the river was sparkling and I had the best guide one could hope for. When I returned to the house, there was a food truck outside, and the band was treated to tacos! My favourite food! As if it couldn’t get better Daryl sang some inspiring lyrics with themes of reconciliation and social justice and it was followed by Sheldon’s lyrics of healing and love. I’m probably bias, but it was my favourite day so far. 

So far there is a theme of incredibly late nights and early mornings, and it was no different when we drove to Teulon, Manitoba. Besides Josh losing it, screaming “IT’S A TRAP, THIS IS GOING TO BE CHAINSAW MASSACRE” as we drove deeper and deeper into the woods, the drive was good. We were pleasantly surprised when we came up the property. Before us stretched 80 acres of fields, forest, lake, a handmade performing stage, twinkle lights and space pod tents. As the night progressed we realized what an incredible place we’d been invited to. Halfway through the night, someone in the audience yelled “do you want to set the piano on fire?!” to our amazement and with a resounding “yes!!” by all of us, we took a small intermission to set up what would make the most epic tour footage yet. The old, outdoor piano went up in flames behind Sheldon and the band as they sang Live for Love and the sun quickly descended making everything glow red. That was definitely the highlight of the night, and with the sunset came the mosquitos. Most of the gang are city slickers and I would be the first one to say I did not easily adjust to the camping lifestyle. Mostly cause I’m extra allergic to bug bites, but also because I just don’t ever do it. Apparently, our host caught on pretty fast to the fact that Cam and I weren’t super used to the “environment” and he almost persuaded Mila and Sheldon to convince us the TICKS we found in our sleeping bags and on our backs were dangerous. We barely slept because of the anxiety we felt, but I will say that seeing the glowing fireflies and lightning storm made up for it. 

For more details and pictures and videos, follow Sheldoncole on Instagram(_sheldoncole_) and Facebook where I will be posting shorter updates every day. The gratitude and joy we all feel being welcomed into these homes and for all the support from all our friends and family is huge. Stay tuned for new music videos, photos, stories and updates next week! Much love!

With joy, 
Hannah

 

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