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!