Two of us folk singers are ditching our station wagons to tour the country by train instead.
The music and the mechanism that will propel us around the country has become appropriately named Railroad Folk. Here is the story of how we sewed together our tour by train. Elam and I started talking about touring together after sharing our catalog of songs with each other at the Kerrville Folk Festival , the longest running folk festival in the country.
While lots of ambitious collaborations and tour plans and are made during the 18 continuous days of excitement and sleep deprivation. only a few spill over into the 'real world'. The festival's slogan, "It can Always Be This Way", serves as a reminder that this is possible.
It was on the last day of the festival, that Elam and I discovered that we both shared a passion for trains. I asked Elam what he thought about doing our alleged tour by train. He grinned and told me that he was thinking the same thing. This was in June, when gas prices had just hit $4 a gallon in our area.
After the festival, we continued our dialogue over the phone, and through the internet with shared notes, maps, and other resources. We also created a new website, which is parked at www.railroadfolk.com.
Railroad Folk was starting to grow legs. And once we purchased our train tickets, the idea was upgraded to coach class.
We leave this week.
It is going to be a challenge, no doubt. We can only play in cities and towns with a train station. We can only play at venues that are close to the station and have their own sound system. We won't be able to bring a lot and what we do bring, we'll have to haul on our backs, including our guitars. We won't be able to sleep in our cars. We'll have to organize our performance schedule to coincide with the limited train schedule, while also leaving some breathing room for the potential of a late train.
If this sounds like a hassle, consider what we won't be doing We won't be spending a couple grand on gasoline and car maintenance. We won't be fixing flat tires, falling asleep at the wheel, or going into debt for an unexpected car repair. We won't get road rage when maneuvering through L.A, Houston, or the Bay area. We won't have to take turns driving the midnight shift. We won't be stretching the shrinking supplies of gasoline, ethanol, or jet fuel. We won't be further contributing to greenhouse gases that will linger in the skies over future generations of songwriters. We won't have to ask for directions. And we won't have to be the ones waiting for trains to pass by at train crossings.
Look out for us. We may be passing though your town.