Antioquia | Honeymoon Express

June 2011 | Minneapolis, MN

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The first missive from the road delivered by Rachel Antony-Levine and Tomas Salcedo, the two newest members of Bay Area genre-busters Antioquia. The band is currently on tour, moving westward towards their Northern California home. Folks in Montana, Idaho and Utah still gotta chance to experience the mojo in person, and they shoot to East Coast in late July, too. Find tour date info here.

Rachel & Tomas - Newlyweds

I suppose we’re on a honeymoon.

We are, after all, traveling and meeting new people. We stay up until dawn almost every night, dancing unabashedly to the sounds of incredible musicians. There have been more than a couple instances of stealthy nudity.

Of course, the people we’re traveling with happen to be four dudes, all of which I can now identify by the smell of their farts. The incredible musicians we happen to be dancing to are the members of our favorite band, who have recently become our band-mates. And generally the clandestine nudity is more practical in nature than romantic, usually as the result of a 24-hour bus trip in unspeakable heat.

So no, it is not your traditional honeymoon. But that suits us just fine, because ever since we were invited to join (really, invited ourselves to join) Antioquia, we knew that life was about to get a lot more exciting and a lot less physically comfortable. After a week of wedding festivities that officially put us past the halfway point of our tour, I think it’s a great time to take stock of our crazy adventure thus far.

onto new routines

Free Rides with Great American Taxi #2

Storms And Roller Coasters | June 1-4, 2011

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John Hartford by Senor McGuire

Great American Taxi keyboardist-singer Chad Staehly brings us another tale from GAT’s recent travels.

We had been thinking there needed to be a John Hartford music festival for quite some time so when we heard that John Hotzie was putting one together with the Dillman family at the legendary Bill Monroe Music Park in Bean Blossom, IN, we didn’t even bother asking what they wanted to pay us. We were going to be there regardless.

It turned out that we’d basically be shooting halfway across the country in a matter of four days, a quick in and out with the destination being Bean Blossom. We added two bar gigs in Lincoln, NE and Iowa City to help us make our way to Kalamazoo, MI for a date with our good friends [and Impound favorites] Greensky Bluegrass. We were joining them for night one at their annual event opening up the beer garden at band favorite Bell’s Brewery. We were thinking about the Two-Hearted Ale the whole way.

The trip started in a sort of foreboding way as we discussed what to do with the new songs and record Todd Snider had just helped us produce in East Nashville. What’s a band to do that’s been grinding out 160-plus days on the road for the last few years and selling only several thousand of their last CD release, all the while barely making a living? Do we give the songs/album away? Do we quit touring and become a YouTube band? We discussed our lives and how it fit into the life we’ve built in Great American Taxi. I don’t know that we ever came up with a definite answer after hours of discussion…for now it was onto the next show.

going down the road

Free Rides with Great American Taxi #1

Don't Let The Hat Fool You

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Todd Snider backstage by Chad Staehly

Great American Taxi keyboardist-singer Chad Staehly brings a tale from GAT’s recent Austin get-together with Impound super pal Todd Snider, a sublime combination of talents that recalls The Band at their wooly best. Each bunch is awful great on their own, but when their Wonder Twin powers activate, boy howdy!

I’m sitting backstage at the stock in trade venue La Zona Rosa in Austin, TX waiting to sound check and reflecting on what will be the last of a four show run. The idea of it showed up as an offer in my inbox a few months ago with subject line “Fwd: TTT” – the three “T”s representing “Texas, Todd, Taxi.” This couch I’m sitting on here in the green room is damp and smells musty, but the mood is good back here as we all prepare to take one more trip with the “Tipsy Gypsy,” Todd Snider.

Great American Taxi has always been an in the moment type of outfit with the neo-vaudevillian Vince Herman at the helm, but Snider keeps everyone on their toes, too. We’ll get a setlist 10 minutes before the show complete with several songs we’ve never played and possibly have never heard, as well as instructions from Todd that we will play the first two numbers of the night in a completely different arrangement and feel. I’ve heard the comparisons before, but this particular habit of Snider’s seems to be snatched directly from Bob Dylan’s playbook. Just last night at the legendary Gruene Hall in New Braunfels, we played the revered Snider ballad “Play A Train Song” about 10 clicks slower with a different feel, but that’s how he chose to deliver that song last night and we had to be there ready to back him up.

And the quirks just keep on comin’

These United States On These United States

Hawaii

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We’ve invited one of our favoritest bands kicking up dust today, These United States, to opine, scribble gutter poetry and otherwise offer artful glosses on the United States. TUS chief instigator Jesse Elliott will drop by from time to time with his take on a different state. He begins with the farthest flung member of the Union…

We’re on the side of the road at dusk, bright red picnic table at a faded old shrimp truck, ginger and lemon and garlic running down our arms, rivulets through salt canyons, skin thick from a day in the ocean, cold wind, hard sun, survival, simplicity. It’s not simple in the easy sense – it’s straightforward. Life gets plenty hard, but it’s not complicated. The highway goes two lanes, the arc of the closest star one direction, the land can only rise from the shore inward, and when it rises, it’s sharp. Twelve letters – a, e, i, o, u, w, h, k, l, m, n, p – make all your words of only those, beauty blooming from infinite permutations of the most elemental. Stone. Sand. Rice. Red. Black. Brown. Green.

First, though, the shrimp – before we got into colors, scenes, landscapes, palms re-planted, we put early desperate automatic knuckles opposable thumbs into the foam around us, pulled ourselves up on the lives of other life. The fish know this. You see them there, just an hour earlier, just under the table of the water, feeding the same way, beautiful, beasts, links in the chain, even the most radiant, a part of something larger, crueler, maybe more ordered – no, not cruel, though, that’s not right – just something hard and simple, forged by fire, an island in an ocean. A string of islands, joined under the surface of something vast. Hawaii. (Jesse Elliott)

Big High Summer 2010 Tour Diary #3

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Well, plans are made and plans change. Our camping in Yosemite turned into a hotel room in Stockton.

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Big High Summer 2010 Tour Diary #2

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The Boutique in Boise, Idaho has secrets. I wonder how many clubs we’ve played that were once brothels. Secret doors, spiral staircases and concrete walls to conceal what was a speakeasy during prohibition are all very fitting with the style of music we are writing now.

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Big High Summer 2010 Tour Diary #1

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One of our fave new rock units is Seattle’s Big High. We loved their recently released debut, and the boys are currently on a West Coast tour in support of it.

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Liberation Tourology with ALO #15

Being in a day-to-day environment 100% dedicated to music reminds me of a summer music camp. Everyone talks music, shares ideas, practices together, and then performs a concert at the end of the day. There are jam sessions on tour buses, songs shared and licks traded.

why you should always bring hot sauce