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After such a musical year, between 52 of 28, my first tour, and recording / performing with my other group Scrap Iron Saints, it’s been a challenge keeping the momentum this year. I’m always looking for ways to keep my live performances interesting and fresh, and it had been years since I’ve played drums while performing; until March, I’d never played them live in Las Vegas.

I’ve never liked sitting down while playing live; I’m probably too self-conscious, but I try to avoid most things that could be interpreted as singer/songwriter. Maybe that’s why I never consistently performed live with my drums; I’d been used to standing up for performances, so even if I was doing something somewhat unique it just felt weird sitting down. My old set-up was a bass drum and high hat with tambourine, so for recent shows I ditched the high hat and set the tambourine on the bass drum, so there’s one drum to hit that covers highs and lows. Less involved, so I can stand up and focus more on singing and whatever other instrument I’m playing. (I know there are other ways to do that, but that would involve me finding a band.) There are only so many beats I can handle while performing and it only works with certain songs, so I’m not sure how often I’ll be doing this. But between that and switching out various instruments, I hope I can keep everyone entertained, maybe even convince an audience I’m a band.

It might get crowded:

Live at Studio 8 Ten

Don’t forget to hit the drum!

Nine states, twelve shows and one live radio appearance later, I’ve found myself back in Las Vegas, settling in and catching up after the longest time I’ve spent away from home. (Although I drove through more than nine states, I only counted the nine in which I performed. Also, I have an old song called “nine states,” and I thought it was a neat coincidence.) It was a strange feeling, packing up and getting ready to head out onto the road, being only a musician for the better part of three weeks. I guess not only a musician, just as far as my profession goes. My instruments were all I really needed to perform my job, and that is a very different feeling. I have these songs, and that is what I do. I write songs and I play them.

People have asked about my favorite and least favorite shows, and that is a tough call. For diplomatic purposes, I won’t go into detail about my least favorite (although I enjoyed them all in varying degrees). I will say I absolutely loved Meadowlark in Lincoln, NE. I performed before an open mic, and the other performers (a very talented and varied group) and coffee shop patrons were very kind and receptive. The house show hosted by Forrest Fallows in Tucson, AZ was great fun. I think there were around ten performers, and a nice variety of styles. Forrest and his friends/fans welcomed me, fed me, passed the hat around, and gave me a place to sleep. They also seemed to truly enjoy my music, which is definitely the point of it all.
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rushmore beekeepers is going on tour in October! I apologize to those of you I have neglected to tell in person. You should know this is a very exciting and scary thing for me.

Confirmed shows are (so far):
October 7 – Kansas City at The Brick
October 8 – St. Louis at Foam
October 12 – Tulsa at The Coffee House On Cherry Street
October 13 – Dallas at Opening Bell
October 14 – Austin at Kick Butt Coffee (Triangle)

I’ll post more info soon. If you know of any great folk-friendly places in/near: Flagstaff, Denver, Colorado Springs, Omaha, Memphis and Little Rock, let me know. (Coffeeshops and houses work just fine.)

Rushmore Beekeepers’ fifth release, Throwing Mud At Your Streetlight, has hit the shelves (figuratively speaking)! Amanda Hawkins (ahhh-design.com) designed (and printed, cut, and sewed) the insert and cover art, which was stenciled and stamped by Carrie and me. It was recorded, like most RB albums, over the course of a few years and, for the first time, all across the Great Southwest: Las Cruces, NM; Las Vegas, NV; and one song recorded at Greene Means Go in Phoenix, AZ, with Sam Greene of flyaway tigers.

All together, Throwing Mud, we’ll call it, has sixteen songs and one blank track; two bonus songs (you know I love bonus songs) are alternate takes from 2004’s Maybe By This Time Next Year: “Gallery Opening” (a song I meant to include but lost somewhere) and a band-sounding “Gravity’s My Best Friend.” It features live favorites “What It’s Like To Be Sad” (aka “The Zombie Song”), “Some Bad Words,” and “Like A Pirate’s Hat” (the last two are originally Like Winter Weather songs — remember them?), and some other songs I love just as much.

<a href="http://rushmorebeekeepers.bandcamp.com/album/throwing-mud-at-your-streetlight">hands out to the sun by rushmore beekeepers</a>

You can buy it at http://rushmorebeekeepers.bandcamp.com in its name-your-price digital version or as an old-fashioned CD, which includes an immediate download to hold you over. (I should note the digital version doesn’t have the two bonus tracks, but I’ll post those as free downloads soon, I promise.) I plan to put some of my “classic” material on bandcamp also, and perhaps some free songs (if you’re good), so check back!

As always, thanks for reading, listening, and just being you.

Zach

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