Where do I even start to sum up this tour? With all of the tragic world events as of late, it feels selfish to even share my experience, because what does it really matter? I toured, I played my music, I drove A LOT. But, it was incredible, and during this tour - much like my last one - I was awash with gratitude and awe at the beauty and connectedness of humanity, and so it feels worth writing about. It gives this somewhat neurotic cynic some faith, and I hope to live by the example of the boundless generosity I encountered on my adventure.
From east to west, and north to south, I reconnected with countless people who have meant the world to me. I made new friends and fans in places I never thought I’d visit. I saw incredible sites I didn’t even realize were on my path. From Savannah to Maine, from Idaho to New York and back again, I sang my heart out, and I hope it meant something to some people who were game enough to come to a show.
My hosts were unbelievably welcoming and generous, and the audiences were so attentive and engaged. I played in houses, apartments, a garden, a medical office, a fitness club, a nudist resort, at an engagement party, and a house-warming party. Thank you so much to the people who opened up their homes and lives to me - words don't do a great job of expressing just how lucky and grateful I feel.
Now that I’ve gotten all of that touchy-feely mumbo jumbo out of the way (however genuine it was), here’s some lessons from the road:
- There is no gas station squeegee strong enough to get off layers of highway bug guts from the windshield
- The only thing that cleans bug guts off the windshield is a downpour that lasts at least an hour with the wipers on the highest setting
- My mini-cooler is amazing, and I got to eat something green every once in a while. I got it for free while temping in NYC for a fancy real estate company years ago. Thanks, Vornado.
- Turn your front passenger seat into a makeshift kitchen. What else is it there for?
- Dr. Bronner’s really is magic soap, and I used it for EVERYTHING.
- It’s always important to have chips in the car.
- It’s always important to have more chips in the car, for when you run out of your first bag of chips.
- PODCASTS, especially Stuff You Should Know. Now, I know more stuff.
- For when you are falling asleep at the wheel, a good phone call home to mom and dad (of Kickstarter video fame, fast-forward to minute 1:18) does the trick. New Yorkers talk loud and fast!
- Add at least 1.5 hours to your anticipated driving time. Nature calls. A lot. Especially if you are trying to stay hydrated and/or caffeinated.
- When a Motel 6 in Wall, South Dakota is your biggest tour splurge, you know you’ve done a decent job of being frugal.
- Adele’s 21 or anything from Glee are a must for when you (well maybe not you, but me) need to belt something at the top of your lungs. Because you are by yourself, so let it out baby.
Pining away for the next time I can hit the road...
Boy oh boy. I'm about a week and a half in to this tour, and already I have experienced so many things for the first time. Here’s a list:
- Played a show at a nudist resort
- Saw the northern lights
- Experienced the grandiosity of the LDS church in Salt Lake City
- Played a show in a soon-to-be fitness center in Utah
- Saw the Rockies
- Played wonderful house concerts in Colorado, Chicago, and Pittsburgh (more on those later)
- Drove across the entire state of Nebraska in one day, and visited a store in Omaha that had over 1,000 hot sauces
- Drove through the vast landscapes of Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado
- Drove across some flatter states: Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. Lots of cows.
- Payed over $88 dollars in tolls in one day driving from Pittsburgh to NYC (insert sad trombone noise here)
I’m sure you read the first bullet point about the nudist resort and are like “Excuse me?”, so here’s a bit more on that:
Playing a show at a nudist resort: a brief synopsis
I know. You have a lot of questions about this one. How did you even get that show? What is it like to play in front of a room of naked people? Is it like that old saying about public speaking when you should picture the audience naked if you are nervous? Were you naked?
Let’s just say I didn’t book a show at the nudist resort on purpose (it was through a private house concert network), but when I realized it wasn’t your normal house concert I figured that it would at least be an experience. Maybe it would even broaden my horizons and help me to feel more free to be me! Either way, I was in.
I’m not going to lie, the nudity factor took a lot of getting used to upon my arrival. But everyone I met was so lovely and welcoming, I quickly realized I was in a safe place. Though I wasn’t quite ready to take the nudity plunge myself, I embraced the environment. Nudism isn’t sexual, it is about freeing yourself from barriers and not hiding behind clothes. I wore a dress, true, but it was peach (skin colored?), and I bared my naked soul through song so I figured that was equivalent in some ways. It ended up being a wonderful show and experience that included homemade dinner, tres leches cake, and wine amongst the serene backdrop of rural Idaho.
And if that weren’t enough, I was unbelievably lucky enough to see the northern lights for the first time after the show. I almost cried from being emotionally overwhelmed by the whole experience.
Oh, and about playing in front of a group of naked people? Well, its just like playing in front of clothed people because I don’t look at the audience while I'm singing anyway. People are people, you guys.
On other things:
I have so much more I want to share, but I think I will save it for another post. It might get mushy and talk about the connectedness of humanity, just a warning. Plus, how much time do you have to be reading this anyway?
Until next time…
Check 'em out! If you see a house concert in your neck of the woods that you'd like to attend, just email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info! Stay tuned for added shows along the way... #thedebbiemillertour
I am so excited to be writing these words - my newest album 'Live In An Empty Sea', which was community-funded through Kickstarter is finally available on all of your favorite music services.
Copies of 'LIVE In An Empty Sea' are making their way to kickstarter supporters from across the globe. Are you one of them? CLICK HERE for more info!
I am so thankful and grateful for all of the support I received in making this live album.
My first tour was incredible on so many levels. I got to share my songs with so many new people all up and down the west coast, see so many beautiful places, and make a lot of new friends. It has long been a dream of mine to be able to do something like this, so CHECK! I also had a scary experience that really shook me up, which in the end I was thankful for. Because who doesn’t need a good dose of perspective every now and then?
Infinite thank you’s to all of my house concert hosts, and the countless people who helped me put this thing together. CANNOT WAIT TO DO IT AGAIN, ALL CAPS.
In other news, my new album LIVE In An Empty Sea, which was recorded live in front of an audience this past spring will FINALLY be ready for your ears in early 2016! Woot!
I’ve always thought gratitude was a hokey word and I don’t use it much. But I get it now. At every show I have played on this tour, I have encountered incredible kindnesses and generosity in ways I didn’t even know were possible. The fact that anyone is willing to open up their home to me so I can play some songs in it is surreal. And don’t even get me started on the fact that there are people there to listen - I can’t even. So, gratitude.
I was literally thinking these very thoughts just before I lost control of my car last night on Highway 101.
I was following my dear friend, Kate Graves, back to her house after our show at the Santa Barbara Guitar Bar. It was extremely windy, and it had rained earlier on for the first time in months. Out of nowhere, Kate swerved suddenly to the left, revealing a massive tree in the middle of the freeway. Which I was now barreling towards at 60 mph.
I slammed on my brakes and swerved left too, only my car stopped obeying my steering wheel. I skidded back and forth over 3 lanes of traffic for what seemed like forever, and then careened to the right shoulder while my car rotated 180 degrees. I braced myself for an impact.
And then - nothing. My car screeched to a stop about a foot from the freeway barrier and shrubs, completely within the shoulder. Mind you, I was now facing the wrong way - but I (and my car, Badonkadonk) was unscathed. Thank G-d that Kate was also unharmed. I could smell the burnt rubber from my tires.
Two other cars were pulled over due to an accident caused by the same fallen tree, and the cops were already on the way. So I was eventually able to get safely turned around (I might one day write an ode to flares) and go on my way. I 100% ugly-cried to the police officer who helped me in a moment of shock and catharsis. Poor guy.
I’m not telling this story to sound dramatic or get pity. I am sharing it because it was miraculous, and I’m emotional about it. It was a miracle that when my car was skating all over 101, no one hit me. It was a miracle that when my car was doing a 180, no one hit me. It was a miracle that when I was headed straight for the barrier, I didn’t hit IT. It felt like falling off a building, but never hitting the ground.
Maybe it was just luck and chance that saved me, but it felt more divine than that. I had the sensation that something or some force protected me in those moments. Then again, maybe thats how everyone feels after a near-death experience, so what do I know.
And so, gratitude. Gratitude for being alive. Gratitude for miracles, friends to cry to, places to sleep, meals offered, and connectedness. Gratitude for the reminder that life is porcelain, and how anything is subject to change within the blink of an eye.
I’m so excited to share a little snippet from my upcoming live album. I guess this is what happens when you record in front of an audience… #DebbieDoOver
This song is my own twist of a sappy love duet when someone does something wrong, and both people are sorry. For example, this song performed by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow. I got a little writing help from my buddy Dave Beck back in my New York days.
The full song will be on the album. Promise.
LIVE ALBUM = RECORDED. I can’t believe it’s over! The whole night at Empty Sea Studios was amazing, and I really can’t put it into words.
I couldn’t have done it with out the support of my friends, family, and fans. A big huge thank you to the incredible lineup of musicians who added their myriad talents to the performance (Gabriel Wolfchild Julia Massey, Amanda Sue Winterhalter Mya Byrne, Grace Yoo, Matt Hart, Greg Coladarci, and Aimee Zoe). We laughed, we cried, we laughed some more, I did a few Debbie-Do-Overs. The album won’t be out for a bit, but keep checking back for videos and other fun stuff. For now, here’s a few photos from the night.
(All photos by Adam Staffa)
Thanks to all the support I received during my Kickstarter campaign to record a LIVE album, I reached my goal 1 week early, and SOLD OUT the show which takes place on March 14th.
Gabriel Wolfchild (ahem… he’s on NBC’s The Voice this season, #nobigdeal #teamxtina) and the incomparable Julia Massey will be opening up the show. I’ll also be joined by a slew of talented musicians including Amanda Sue Winterhalter, Grace Yoo, Matt Hart (The Local Strangers), Mya Byrne, and Greg Coladarci. Greg produced my first 2 albums, and I’m so delighted he will be here for the 3rd!
As an artist, I get really excited when just one person relates to a song I wrote. So to be supported by so many was truly overwhelming and I am really grateful and indebted to you. I hope the album makes you happy once it’s all recorded, wrapped up in a neat little package, and out in the world.
I am so very excited to announce that I am finally going to record a third album – and that album will be recorded LIVE on March 14th, 2015 at Empty Sea Studios in Seattle, WA.
I created a Kickstarter campaign to help offset the costs of the recording, CD replication, promotion, and design. There are lots of great rewards, including being in the audience the night of the show!! Opening up the night are my good friends Julia Massey and Gabriel Wolfchild.
If you’ve ever been to a live show, you know a lot of my performance involves comedy, off the cuff banter, bloopers and the like. A lot of my songs are funny, and recording them in a studio wouldn’t capture the organic nature of the songs, and most importantly the audience reaction. I’ve been wanting to do this project for quite some time, and YOU get to be part of it! And, best of all – if you can’t make the show, it will be streamed live on the web!
Contributions of any size make a world of difference. I know it is a big deal to ask people for money, and I truly would not able able to do it without you. I am so excited to be able to share these songs in their purest and most raw form.