Once again we follow Kirsten Thien and her band as they cross the great American continent. Her smart and informative updates from the road have been a big hit with all of you. In this edition we find her communing with nature and that is just one of the things on today’s agenda, as is sowing of the seeds, read on.
May 11th 2012
Town: Newburg, ND
Venue: Suzy Q’s
Finding lodging on the great Northern Plains in ND, just a few miles south of Canada and 467 miles from the last show. North Dakota, historically long on land and short on shelter, is now seeing a major influx of people during the current oil boom. There are no hotels for miles and many of those are booked solid for months. As part of our deal for this show, the club provides a band house, which tonight is the local taxidermist’s home while he is away. Our first clue was “Fred” the deer, whose huge antlers cover the entire right corner of the room. Then there were videos such as: “Squirrels: Skins and Mounts” and “Call’n All Bears: They Come to Eat!” After the gig, I kept it to myself when the woman who had told the band that we were staying at the taxidermist’s house later said to me…”Oh, I’ve gone by there when he’s got squirrel parts laying everywhere to dry.” We’re a long way from New York City, Dorothy. This should give the band a whole new perspective on our version of “Taxi Love.”
Well, if I could have controlled or predicted the ‘seeding week’ this year, I would have. We are in the midst of farming country tonight, and there are a few weather-dependent events every year that can’t be predicted when booking a show months in advance. During seeding week everyone in ‘Ag’ (as they call farming here in ND) will be working 24-7 until the seeds are sowed. Sowing must be completed before strict insurance deadlines. Though the club owner (Susan) knew that turnout would be affected by seeding this week (and she apologized to us for that), she cooked us up a fantastic pre-show dinner (best fried chicken I’ve had, plus a cheese and potato casserole). She sat and chatted with the band, filling us in on the local industry and happenings.
I have heard horror stories of promoters and club owners trying to ‘change the deal’ after you get there and when outside circumstances cut into their ability to profit. (Popa Chubby just posted one of those today from Waikiki!) Though I’ve borne my share of risk (and lost) many times, thankfully I’ve never experienced someone trying to shaft me after the fact. Tonight, Susan not only lived up to the deal with no irony at all, she also went out of her way to make us feel at home in the North Country. For that, I only regret that I couldn’t have moved ‘seeding week’ to last week so we’d all be celebrating right now!
Making lemonade must be a key component to a great smile! After tonight’s show, I sat down with a smiling Doreen for a chat. Doreen wanted to dance tonight and she’d let it out that she was a transplanted New Yorker, so I knew I could get her up with a bit of prodding. After the show, Doreen shared her story with me, which took her on a path from a Long Island kid who had never come in to NYC until she was 17, to a dedicated New York business woman/workaholic, to a recession-affected Manager not content to collect unemployment and take a walk in Central Park. Doreen had to work! So she packed up everything and headed to Canada. With all her belongings in tow, but no work visa, Canada was a no-go. So Doreen landed a few miles south of Canada, here in Newburg. She found what work existed, saved up, and bought the local diner – where she makes her living now. She made lemonade with those lemons. And even though the diner (the only one in 30 miles) was to be closed the next day, Doreen made us coffees to go – with a smile and well-wishes! Southern hospitality, from a New Yorker, in the North Country. Thanks, Doreen.
Driving into North Dakota and hearing our radio spot play on the area-wide country station! We are in Country & Western Music-land. Hearing our own Blues, Soul and Rock ‘n Roll in this context reminds me of the tie that binds almost all forms of American Music together. The Blues are undeniably the common thread among the great popular music genres that America has invented and spread worldwide, from Jazz to Country & Western to Rhythm and Blues, and on to good ‘ol Rock ‘n Roll. Long live the Blues, right here in Country & Western land!
==================End May 11th
to be continued…..
You must also check out her website at http://kirstenthien.com/
Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
photos: Dylan Wissing, Blues411