Touring dreams coming true! (Not right now, but soon!)

Hey folks!  This is going to be a strictly ‘news’ and ‘exciting plans’ update.  I have actually two bits of ‘news’ and ‘exciting plans’ (not respectively, but two items that each contain both ‘news’ and ‘exciting plans’ in them), but only one of them is ready to go public.  Ever since the Folksonomy did eight performances in eight days through the Northwest last July, I’ve been positively itching to go on tour again, and thinking about how to make that happen.  All I want to do is explore this country, see old friends and make music.  Well, I’ve figured it out, and I’m incredibly excited.

Around September, I will embark on a month-and-a-half United States tour via Amtrak train.

I anticipate blogging a lot about the planning process of this (yes, this will help me actually follow through), plus if I actually pull it off I would like for others to be able to do it themselves if they like.  So I’ll just be very transparent about the nuts and bolts of this whole affair.  Here’s what I’ve figured out so far:

– First thing I did was buy a U.S. wall map and Sharpie-dot every place I’d like to visit/play music, including places I’ve only heard about in songs, like Moab and Cheyenne. Before ten minutes had passed there were already over fifty dots.

– Amtrak has 15-, 30- and 45-day rail passes, with improving value.  The 45-day pass is $749.

– A further restriction is that you only get eighteen legs of travel in that time.  A ‘leg’ is any time you get on and off a train, so if you are going from St. Louis to Cleveland and changing trains in Chicago, even if you don’t stop there, it’s two legs used up.

Well, this morning I woke up at 7:30 and started looking at all the different routes, and I even drew up one possible trajectory through the country:

Bay > Reno > SLC > Denver/Boulder > Omaha > Chicago > Cleveland/Oberlin > DC/Baltimore > Philadelphia > Boston > New York > Atlanta/Athens > New Orleans > San Antonio/Austin > St. Louis > Chicago (the one repeat stop) > Seattle/Bellingham/Olympia > Portland > home.

Of course this is still seven months away, and a lot could and will change.  I don’t know where I’ll be able to line up gigs, where I’ll be able to find places to stay, etc.  Still, I’m very hopeful that I can play music in a ton of amazing places for the first time and visit a lot of good old friends.   The reason I’m waiting until September is that it will give me a realistic amount of time to work hard and pay down some debt and save.  And if it works out as well as I think it could, I could see possibly doing this once or even twice a year.  And finally, yes, I probably will be asking a lot of you to couch it.  Thank you in advance.  I can’t wait to see you!

Lots of love,

Shareef Ali

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