When I called Bryce Fletcher Hample of REIGHNBEAU, he was in his Albuquerque studio, painting. The musician was preparing for a show exhibiting seven of his newest paintings at The Harwood Art Center alongside a handful of other New Mexico-based visual artists. Hample’s career as a visual artist is perhaps a little known fact in the music community, but is unsurprising given the delicate and yet diagrammatic quality of his visual work – two qualities which also aptly describe Hample’s recordings as REIGHNBEAU.
Bryce portrait
exhibition reighnbeau
On March 20th, Hample has yet another opening, but this one for his latest album, Blood. Performing alongside friend and collaborator Shey Mertz of BK Beats, as well as GLOWHOUSE and 1960s Sci-Fi Era, Hample will give a free copy of the album to everyone who purchases a ticket to the show, hosted by Sister in downtown Albuquerque. The new album features the dreamy “Milk of Amnesia,” which Hample released as a single, along with a music video, in September of last year. The track showed a departure from the more ensemble-based shoegaze of previous releases like HANDS or his contribution to Family Time Records’ 4 way split 7″, while remaining faithful to REIGHNBEAU’s skillful transformation of his own field-recordings into programmed drum kits.
All in all, Blood promises to show off Hample’s ever-diversifying range as an artist, while also staying true to – and even building upon – the heavily-layered compositional intricacy we’ve come to know and expect from REIGHNBEAU.
Anaïs: Tell me about your new album.
Bryce: I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I’m really excited about it, but it’s a massive collaborative effort. I’m the core, but I’ve involved a ton of friends to perform on it and a couple of them were also involved with the writing process.
Who are you working with?
I’ve been working with Sister Grotto. We’ve been friends for a while now and we both admire each other’s music. We started collaborating two years ago. She sang on a song that I did on this 7” that I did with some friends. She sang on the HANDS album as well. Yeah, so she’s on the first track, “Milk of Amnesia.”And the song “Highways,” she wrote originally and it was really minimal. Then I remixed it because I loved the song so much and wanted to make something with it. We decided to not release it as a remix per se but as a collaboration.
I also wrote a song with my friend Colleen Johnson of Twig Palace. As it happens, her and I connected and started playing music together even though she lives in Oakland. A friend was having an art show that we were both involved in and he convinced us to link up and perform a joint set at the opening. We had good chemistry. So she sings on a lot of the album. In a sense this album is a direct product of that collaboration.
It’s one of those things I’ve been working on for a long time now. A couple of the songs have been released. There’s a video called WISHFORNOW that I made. It’s more noisy and shoegaze-y, but also electronic. That’s probably the oldest song – it goes back to 2013. It’s funny, that sounds really far away now that it’s 2015, but a lot of work has gone into the album and I want to share it while I’m still really feeling it. I’ve been performing the new material with my band so it’ll be really good to have those recordings available. Right now, it kind of feels like everything that’s out there, as far as released music, isn’t a totally current portrayal of what I’m doing.
How would you describe what you’re doing now?
Well, I wasn’t sure I wanted to have a band for a while there. That got me into recording, rather than just playing live music. I hadn’t necessarily been using the studio as an instrument, and so maybe three or four years ago, I decided that I did want to explore that and stop worrying about whether it could be done live. That was good for me to do and I think where we are now is trying to figure out how to translate a lot of these songs that we have recordings of but have never been played live. It’s the reverse dilemma that I was in before. But I’m playing with two good friends – my friend Hannah who’s a singer and my friend James who’s a drummer – and I’m singing and playing keyboard and hitting things.
On “Milk of Amnesia,” there are these great percussion samples. It sounds like you’re hitting some really interesting things. 
Yeah, that was something I would dream of doing when I was growing up playing music. I always wanted to do that – you know, create drum patterns and drum sounds out of things that weren’t drums and know how to sequence them electronically. But I could never wrap my head around it. Those percussion samples on “Milk of Amnesia” are ones that I made myself. A lot of the snares are me hitting shelf mushrooms in the woods in New York with a butter knife. Or like popping ice bubbles in puddles in the winter. I use that sound a lot. But also, I have a friend who has a cabin in New Mexico that I go to to record at sometimes. Hitting shovels on rocks and toaster ovens and all these strange things in the kitchen there.
Do you go looking for a particular sound? Or is it just a matter of exploring all the things you can hit and finding something you like?
I think it’s a matter of exploring. I’m really fascinated with field recording and sound collage.
I’m really fascinated by the field recordings too. There’s this element of chance there.
Yeah, it’s funny. I try to make room for chance but it’s not really something that can be planned for or completely incorporated into one process. It’s more like I’ll get so lost in something and be completely immersed in it, play one part and record that – and love it – but if I’d thought too much about it, I wouldn’t be able to write that same thing. Or if I hadn’t captured that one instant when Idid play it, it would’ve been gone forever. Or even creating new instruments, which is something that I’ve gotten really into. It’s featured pretty heavily on the new album, like using non-traditional audio sources for drums and sampling audio sources and turning them into synths, for example. You mentioned “Milk of Amnesia” and a lot of those instruments you’re hearing are my voice. But, for example, one of the sample recordings I use a lot, which I turned into a synth – I think it’s totally by chance that I found that one little recording and it worked so well.
You mentioned creating instruments. Say more about that.
Well, using samplers is something that’s relatively new to me. But it’s exciting that I can turn a small sound into something enormous. Or use a shelf mushroom recording as a kick-drum or as a snare. Or my voice as a synth, or my breath as a high-hat. Recording myself snapping and clapping. But, you know, there are also samples that are further obscured. Like on FULLOFSALT, the main synth that you hear at first is actually an acoustic guitar that I expansively sampled. I turned each note into a new instrument to be played on the keyboard.
Are you able to incorporate the instruments you create into your live performances?
Yeah, my friend James who plays in the live band and I have figured out the system of using drum triggers, where he’s playing an acoustic drum-kit but triggering that mushroom sample with his kick-drum. So it’s layered in realtime. His impulse makes that recorded sound happen. But I’m also playing keyboard instruments that I’ve created live.
Are there certain performance environments where you feel the samples are best heard?
That’s an interesting question because I feel like, with our current set-up, it tends to be a lot easier to be playing in big clubs where they have good sound systems. But at the same time, I wouldn’t say that’s really where the music feels at home. It’s not really club music. We played a show this summer that was outdoors, at the foot of this mountain, about ten-thousand or eleven-thousand feet up. And that felt really good. It was amazing for us to be waiting to perform but sitting in our tents next to a moss-covered stream. There is something about that forest-setting that feels right.
A lot of your video work happens in desert and forest settings. 
Yeah, the video for Highways. When I first fell in love with that line that Maddy – Sister Grotto – had written, I was driving on that exact strip of highway that’s in the video, at sunset. I knew that I wanted to do something with it. It doesn’t happen very often that I’ll immediately be inspired to create a video for something. There were other options, like I had a friend who wanted to help make a video for it, but I had already decided that I wanted to be true to that original inspiration. I mean, it is just driving on the highway on the way to Cuba, New Mexico from Albuquerque, but to me, that’s one of the most beautiful strips of highway.
Did you also do the graphics for the video?
Yeah, I sourced a lot of them from weird commercials from the 1950s and 60s. But I did know what I was looking for. I feel like sampling from other things can often be written-off as not trying or not as genuine as writing it yourself, but I think if it’s done with enough intention, it’s different.
Sonically, how do you think ‘Blood’ compares to your other work? For example, I hear definite parallels between “Milk of Amnesia” and some of the tracks on ‘HANDS,’ for example, but I also hear a bit of sonic contrast.
Well, I think the easiest difference is that I’ve been making guitar-based music for some years and the last album was a total travel-down-the-rabbit-hole of guitars. And I love guitar, but I feel like I also satisfied that by making HANDS. There are some guitars on Blood, but most of them are altered or sampled, or turned into other instruments, so they may not be recognizable as guitars. The main difference is that this is me now, after having gotten sick of playing guitar. I played keyboard instruments before I ever played guitar and it took me some years to delve deep into guitar and other string instruments, like I studied sitar in India, and also viola de gamba, which is used on my ambient music.
When did you study sitar?
That was in 2009. I went to India and studied sitar for three months with a guru. I’d never really studied music with such discipline before that, so it was a pretty humbling experience. I learned a lot about music but also about myself. I’d recorded an album of sitar music before going and I had to completely re-learn how to play the instrument because I was playing it wrong. I haven’t used sitar on anything since then. I think I maybe will revisit it at some point, but the program of study I was doing – you make sitar your main instrument, your only instrument. You don’t have time to play other ones. You have to dedicate your life to it if you ever want to really know the ins and outs of that instrument. So even though I loved sitar, I wasn’t ready. I’m more in love with sounds rather than any one instrument. People always ask, “So what do you play? What’s your instrument?” And I’ve taken to just saying I’m a composer. That’s an easier way for people to wrap their heads around the fact that I play tons of instruments but not very well. I’m not a maestro at any one; that’s never been my goal. But recently, I also got into R&B, which I think is apparent in the new album.
What have you been listening to as far as R&B goes?
I got really into Frank Ocean and SZA. Oh, and Anthony Hamilton is a funny one. He’s pretty legit. That was were it started. I had a bad break-up and a friend was like, “You need to listen to Anthony Hamilton.” And I was like, “Damn, dude. So right.” It’s kind of funny because I’m not necessarily listening to a ton of that at the moment, but I was for a while, and kind of had no choice but for it to come out in the music I was making. That’s how it works for me. I immerse myself in something, absorb some it.
Is there anything else about the new album you think we should know?
It might be worth mentioning that I have tinnitus. I think it’s definitely shaped my musical journey. It happened when I was playing in a band where we were originally playing pop music and then got interested in doom metal. So we had these ridiculous amps and were trying to be louder than everyone else. I ended up really damaging one of my ears. I had to completely stop playing amplified music for over a year. I got really into acoustic instruments and playing really quietly in a band called Elephant Paintings with my friend Emma who sings on the new album. But our problem was that we were so quiet that we couldn’t perform in certain venues.
Is that something you still have? Are your ears ringing right now?
Yeah, but it got better. I’m playing amplified music again, but my hearing will forever be much more sensitive to volume. I can’t really go to shows that are too loud. But that also maybe has something to do with me making electronic music. I got very interested in composing arrangements for multiple instruments and when I couldn’t do that in a band with super loud guitars, I started to do it electronically. In a live setting, electronic music is something I can engage with more easily because it hurts my ears less.
Do you think it’s influenced what you produce at all? In a way that goes beyond the consideration of volume?
It’s definitely changed the sounds I’m attracted to. For a while, any high frequency would really hurt me. I think I was making really warm muffled music for a long time. And then over time, I realized I was doing that and tried to get better at mixing for balance and not just excluding certain frequencies. I’m less inclined to use instruments that have a harsher or more abrasive sound.
On ‘FULLOFSALT,’ there’s a track – I think it’s the track called “FULLOFSALT” – that jumped out at me because the samples feel more aggressive, or sharper. It’s more jagged than the other songs. 
I think that has to do with two things: one being where I was at as an audio engineer at that time, but also, I was also going for a completely different sound, one that – you were right – is more aggressive. I was listening to a lot of Three 6 Mafia and Crystal Castles at the time. Things that are emotionally more aggressive. I’m still trying to figure that song out. We play it live and it’s great because it’s high energy and it goes over well, but it’s one of those things that makes us ask, “How can we take certain elements from that and make new material?” It’s a challenge.
From time to time, I do have subtle musical identity crises. I like to genre-hop and not confine myself to one sound for the entirety of a project. I’ve been in a lot of bands over the years and I was always disappointed when they would dissolve and I’d have to think of a new band name. It’s exciting to me to finally have a project that can be consistent in its output and can fit under a cohesive umbrella. That’s what REIGHNBEAU is. It’s my main output for music that I’m making on my own and with friends, live and otherwise. It’s a different arrangement, but it’s a shift I needed to make in order to feel like I could keep momentum.


Meet the new collaborators on the block, Reighnbeau & BK Beats who premiere their new track of percussive sample and beat fusion, called, “That Look”. Reighnbeau is the project of Bryce Hample who brings his synthesizers, samplers, drum machines, and harpsichord to the proverbial table, alongside BK Beats, aka Shey Mertz’s synthesizers, samplers, and drum machines. Combining powers and forces to be reckoned with, the two indie electro beat arrangers and shapers forge together a foundry of atmospheric head-space pressure that is provided with a heartbeat and  nervous system aligned by the relationship between the sampled selections and percussive sequences.
On “That Look”, Reighnbeau’s Bryce and Shey of BK Beats translate stares and glares into laser sharp production glances that send beams outward from the speakers. Vocal samples make high and low pitched circles around the mix, as viscous samples of UK dance hall sounding emcees are heard lathered in the electric audio acrylics that Hample and Mertz apply liberally. With the two artists cooking up a collaborative EP on their Nothng Forevrimprint; we can expect further audio synthesis from the two artists in the coming weeks and months. Following the premiere of “That Look”, Bryce and Shey joined us for a unique look inside their collaborative/creative process.
When did you all begin collaborating together?
Bryce: We were in school together years ago, but we began to work together last fall. We had traveled separate paths in music, (Shey producing Hip-Hop and Bryce playing in various groups ranging from experimental to pop) and ended up reconnecting. We realized our styles could work well together, and were excited that we had similar ideas and taste.
How do you both describe your collaborative method?
BK: Living in the same city helps us immensely, but we get just as much collaborative work done via email haha; I find that’s a little easier as I’m pretty private when I work on tunes.
Bryce: It’s a messy balance of deconstructing and rebuilding ideas, experimenting with structure and swapping material to help clean up the edges. So many ideas I would never come up with alone have blossomed out of our collaborations, and it’s refreshing to do something in a different context.
Give us the scoop on how you all created the synth atmospheres and sensations on our premiere of your guy’s awesome cut, “That Look”.
BK: This track started with a 90’s Brit rock sample [that will remain nameless] that I found and chopped up, which we cradled in an eclectic mix of synthesizers and acoustic instruments, like harpsichord and voice.
Bryce: I really like the concept of sampling from my own projects and archives to create new things. Some of the vocals on the track come from a session I did with my friend ‘Twig Palace’ in Oakland, and some of the drum samples I recorded myself. The song went back and forth three or four times until it was complete. I think it ended up being nicely ethereal yet immediate? We both work intuitively and it somehow all fell into place.
Releases in the works that you all are working on?
We have an EP in the works that will be finished soon!
Other up and coming artists and projects you care to give a shout out to?
We are both part a collective of New Mexico producers by the name of Nothng Forevr. Check out our tunes and upcoming live shows here.
Bryce: Also keep an eye out for a new Reighnbeau album that will be out very soon!
Keep up with Reighnbeau and BK Beats.

Hot Springs
Arkansas was filled with mystical trees, extremely thin and tall.  In Hot Springs we were treated well by 'Maxines', a bar venue that has been operating for many many years, they fed us pizza and seltzers.  The sound there was great, we were received well by the small crowd.  We stayed with Bobby, who gave us a thorough history lesson and tour of Hot Springs.  We stopped in a coffee shop where a woman asked if we were a band, Tucker said yes, that we play folky rock.  She asked if we sounded like Dave Matthews Band, and that we had that look.  I told her that she was correct!  She told of how her son unfortunately listens to lots of Phish, and we sympathized. 
Stopped at an amazing lake along the windy drive, with perfect water-skipping rocks.  We ate sandwiches in the sun.  We played with full rock bands for seemingly the first time, two instrumental post rock bands, they had chops.  After the show I mentioned we were looking for a place to stay, and some nice girls offered us a place.  Just then Shaun, who ran the show showed up to tell us he bought a hotel room!  We did not accept, opting for the chance to meet some locals.  We were sleepy and they wanted to drink drink drink so much.  They poured us all shots, and andy ended up drinking them all, and later almost lost an eye to their cat who exploded in his face with claws and hisses.  We slept in the softest bed, but realized we probably should have taken the room... thank you russelville!
We landed at 'Shades of Brown', the coffee shop where Scott works,  got highly caffeinated, and went to the house show to set up.  Goat cheese olives.  BuffaloSwans opened, with lovely lap steel, saw, and acoustic guitar.  We realized we needed to play quietly in the little living room, so andy switched to brushes for the entire set.  It sounded good, without ever having played out set in such a manner.  Some how we ate Taco Bell at 2 in the morning.  The host, Kelly, made us scrambled eggs in the REAL morning, I was very pleased. Her chihuahua didn't like me.
We landed at Tuckers cousin Britney's house, and proceded to Flipnotics for a sparsely attended show, our handful of friends we invited all were there!  We left promptly afterwards, because no one was there to tell us otherwise, and went to P.Terry's for hamburgers.  Back at Britneys, I claimed the bed inside of the sheet fort she built us.  There was a fan inside of it, making the sheets billow all around me. 
The next night we played outdoors at Cherrywood, where we were treated like kings, so much good food, pastries, people, delicious.

Chicago continued...We all had to pee, and Skye discussed the euphoria experienced after you hold your pee and finally release it.  Apparently this remedy is prescribed by doctors for depression.  We walked over a bridge from the post modern architectural future into centennial park and found the biggest bathroom ever.  Walking through downtown, Sally's Beauty Supply appeared before us, and we had no choice but to go in and buy ear-piercing stud kits.  Then we ate more Chicago hot dogs, I had two. Recovering from a hot dog coma, Skye helped pierce our right ear lobes.  This is something that I have thought about for a long time, I always seem to find beautiful earrings on the ground but cannot use them.  It didn't hurt as bad as I thought it would?  Tucker wanted to go first or not at all, but went second.  We look good.  We decided that piercing the right ear has no significance other than that the ear is pierced.  Though sufficient bling may serve to pay our burial costs if we die at sea, we opted for more tasteful plain studs.  Simplicity is a steady mule.  We wandered around on foot and made REIGHNBEAU business cards because it gets tiring having to explain the spelling or write it down on little scraps of paper for people every day.  All of the grocery stores were closed except for Jewel-Osco where we found organic produce wrapped in plastic.  We drove to Rachel and Charles' apartment to cook beautiful delicious dinner.  Beautiful Delicious beautiful delicious dutiful beaulicious. 

Arriving in Cincinnati I am still surprised by the hills.  Every time, I am not expecting it.  It isn't particularly hilly on your way into town.  We arrived at the Eureka Castle where Brodie, Adam, Eddy, Ben, and Steve live.  Somehow their house has FOUR floors (including the basement).  A beautiful music space, ample bedrooms, bathrooms, and a spacious patio out back, looking straight into the jungle.  Wouldn't mind moving in for a bit...  At the Semantics  gallery there were strange post industrial sculptures in the walls, iron man scorpions.  We played first into the ancient wooden floor, expansive ceiling, facing away from the windows in what once was a delicatessen.  This show had the best reception, the best audience, much love in the air.  It felt good, even if we haven't yet played our set without some little thing not going as planned, there was a positive support felt from friends new and old.  Brodie and Adam played bathed in red light, like beautiful babies. 
The next day we wandered the hills, taken with all the strange tall houses. 
We departed in the eve for the short drive to Columbus, we turned onto a cobblestone street and parked in front of a victorian mansion on a hill, the iuka house  We cleared the room when we played, and then it turned into a college frat party. We drove back to Cincinnati.
Morning 2 in Cinci, rain rain rain, much rain.  I walked to the Rohs street cafe for tea.  Soggy.

Arriving in Nashville a day early, I asked one friend if he had recommendations of things we should see.  He suggested a sushi place.  Needlesstosay, I asked my other friend Stephen, and he suggested we go to a honky tonk bar and see some country music.   This sounded much more appropriate given our location.  And we did.  Real musicians playing country standards is something we had never seen.  We ordered a round of deep fried pickles to make it complete.  The best slap bassist in the world played stand up bass while summoning spirits. 
We sought out a free Nashville experience on our own the next day, ended up wandering around, hanging at the coffee shops.  Coffee shops in Nashville are happening places.  We played with Pineapple Explode, who did a solo electronic set.  Aster played ambient keys from the womb, also face crushing insanely distorted electric guitar.  Waverly played drums and guitar singing both very nice nice.  
Nashville has wild strawberries growing all over the place, in front yards, I tried one and it was tasteless.  But nice to look at.

Part 2 in the chronicles of our tour of The America.
After our show in Ames, we ended up staying with a friend Trent, who I had met 4 years previous when playing his venue in Boone, Iowa, while on tour with Yodas House!  Totally random that we should run into eachother.  We slept well in his cozy basement, and In the morning tried to learn a thing or two about synthesizers!   We ate breakfast pizza with Trent + his lovely wife and adorable son before heading to Minneapolis.
The Iowa countryside may seem dull and boring to some, but we were enjoying it, driving through the grey rain, and for the fact that it looks completely different from anything we normally see in New Mexico.  Many beautiful old farmhouses, in various stages of decomposition, patches of trees in the oceans of grass.
Landed at an old friend Jackie's house in Minneapolis, before heading to a show at First Ave, a long standing venue downtown, (a scene from 'Purple Rain' was shot there).  Our friend Hannah and her band 'Crimes' were playing the main stage there, which is a big deal!  They sounded excellent, like a real band, on the level one could hope to reach with a band.  Watch out.   Their set was followed by 'Retribution Gospel Choir', the other band featuring all the male members of 'Low'.  While I love 'Low', 'RGC' really wasnt doing much for me,  lots of rock, but it wasnt resonating, or sticking.  oh well.   In the morning we rode bicycles!  Jackie and her roommates all happen to have extra bikes!  Which was very lucky for us, so we rode to the coffeeshop where Jackie and Hannah work.  This day also happened to be Easter.
Shuffling and shuttling ourselves and all our things a few blocks over to the "Pine Cone Castle', a lovely house full of lovely people.  This trip involves lots of shuffling, in two categories, musical gear, and personal gear.  Everytime we perform somewhere, the layer of personal belongings must be wiped off of the layer of musical belongings to be taken out, repeat hours later upon loading out.  Repeat upon arrival of our accommodations for the evening.  Repeat upon departure.
The kind folks at the pine cone castle were serving up mounds of delicious breakfast foods when we arrived, of all types, vegan, gluten-free, and otherwise.  Following the food, 'JUMBLES' played a duet of ambient keyboard and drum music, in the backyard!  It was a lovely day, though as soon as they finished their short set, the temperature dropped.  We played in the basement, singing though various guitar amps, to friends new and old.  'VATS'  closed the afternoon with hypnotic rusting rustling waves of keys.  While in Minneapolis we were lucky enough to have access to more than one kitchen, which we took advantage of by trying to cook as hearty of meals as we could imagine.  Vegetables curated by bryce and hearty grains/legumes curated by tucker.
Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Our arrival at Johannes house was met with a full five dish meal!  Spaghetti squash, yams, caramelized onions, brown rice, and lentils.  So delicious.  We played at the quaint 'Infinitea'  a little teahouse nestled on the shore of the river in downtown Eau Claire.  We were squashed in a little corner stepping on our own toes, and felt like we were playing too loud for the little space, but it was a good stop regardless.  We went out for a taste of Eau Claire later, Maple bock beer, and later MACARONI AND CHEESE PIZZA.  I had never heard of such a thing, but I will testify that it does exist, and it is best eaten with ranch dressing along side.  Bellies full of cheese once more, we slept while the cutest cat danced around our heads.
Cold!  Morning, and cold! arrival in chicago.  We tried to avoid the toll roads leading to Chicago, but this route put us on residential streets in little towns moving at a snails pace.   We pulled out the GPS "TOM TOM" that Andy's brother lent us, got back on the interstate, paid the tolls, and were on our way.  The venue, 'Township' also had a kitchen, and we had half-off meal tickets, so we ate sandwiches, samosas and lots of french fries.  We used our drink tickets to buy coffee, which really was coffee.  We've been sampling coffee from around the America, and this was by far the best.  Or at least the strongest.  First time playing a bar on this trip!  There was a good sound system!  and a stage (very short, but still).  I tried to win the audience by asking where we should go to eat Chicago style hot dogs, but was met by stony silence.  Oh well.  Albuquerque transplant friends Rachel and Skye came out to the show, and accompanied us to the "RED HOT WEINER RANCH"  where we ate hot dogs and fresh cut fries, for $3.  Deelish.  We slept on a sea of couches in the loft space/house where Skye lives.  Right next to the L train.  Gusts of god sound every 15 minutes.    You get used to it.  We wandered around downtown, used our 'Super Fun passes' to take the train, did various errands, ate more chicago hot dogs, which were more authentic in their toppings this time, tomatoes, pickles, relish, celery salt, hot peppers, mustard, onions....etc.  I moved a dying baby bunny off of the sidewalk near the lake.

Blustery morning in Minneapolis, finally getting down to writing.
Leaving Albuquerque, I awoke to enormous snowflakes falling.  I was in disbelief,
as days previous, the high had made it to 80?  It was actually snowing, sticking in places, cold.  The Raton pass at the Colorado/New Mexico border was closed to travel!  I decided to pack the van as planned, and rendezvous with tucker and andy.  At Tuckers, we came to terms with the fact that we might miss our first show in Colorado Springs.  The road view cameras online were all iced over past Santa Fe, and large stretches of I-25 were closed due to snow, ice, and wind! 
After an hour we started calling the highway patrol in Las Vegas, NM and Raton, to find that the interstate had been opened!  We decided to go for it, we could accept defeat, but not without trying.  The road was fine, and we made it safely to CO springs!  The beautiful loft space we were playing was on a third story in a TALL old brick warehouse building in old town, accessible only by many many little steep stairs.  We played with Briffaut. and our good friend Rence Liam (Dear Rabbit), while snow fell outside.

The next morning all signs of snow had cleared, and we made the short drive to Denver, where we dropped our things off at the lovely 'Teahaus'  (house) where we were to play.  We went straight to City-o-city for the best pizza of our lives.  Amazing magical cheese blends and exotic mushrooms. 
Recovering from a pizza coma, we returned to the Teahaus where Hunter Dragon started the night off with his ambient folk ramblings, keeping us amused with his talk about being a good lover in his mind.  I am a good lover in my mind.
We played to a receptive audience, partly because some were friends and friends of friends from New Mexico!  Mariposa closed the evening, my first time seeing Maddies songs with a full band.  They were tight!  SO Good.

We realized that our Kansas City, MO show wasnt happening, so we no longer had a reason to drive through that route, Going to Des Moines might save us a lot of time and miles?  I got in touch with my aunt Francis in DM to see if we could stay with her, and we adjusted our route to go through Nebraska instead of Kansas.  Eleven hours later, we rolled into Des Moines with the check oil light on.  Francis had 'Guinea Grinders" waiting for us, (ground italian sausage with marinara sauce, fried bell peppers, and melted provolone cheese on a bun.  I had told her that we were interested in having some sausage from my family's store, the "Graziano Brothers" italian grocery and deli, where they also make the best Italian sausage around.  They were delicious, and I ate 2 of them.  Surprise!  Aunt Francis decided to buy us a hotel room!  Probably not our first choice, but we graciously accepted and settled into our room at the Country Inn for the night.  There were free chocolate cookies in the lobby, and we decided to go hot tubbing, so I ate chocolate chip cookies in the hot tub.  Life doesnt get any better. 

The next morning in Des Moines we ate a hearty continental breakfast  and did errands before stopping into the Graziano Bros for sandwich supplies and a tour of the store.  Stepping inside you are greeted by the sweetest smell of  italian spices, all  blending together into an intoxicating melee.  We picnicked in the waterworks park, on a strip of land between little lake ponds.  Best sandwiches ever?  Freshly sliced smoked provolone, salami, pepperoni and baby spring greens.   We watched some fishermen get chased by geese, and were terrified that they were coming for us next.  We played it cool and the geese decied we werent worth it. 

Onto Ames, we wandered around the beautiful university campus, climbed some blossoming trees, climbed a water tower, looked at some jet engines, and wandered back to the venue to find things totally unorganized,  But no matter, the people at the show were great, called their friends, and we ended up having a decent turnout.  We played well, except during the last two songs our bass amp started cutting out, causing tucker to stand in the back next to it, hitting it with his fist each time it cut out, while trying to maintain some solidity to the music,  We made it through, and apparently people in the audience just thought he was dancing instead of punching the bass amp.