2O12 YEAR IN REVIEW
What an unbelievable year. Simply amazing. I've been meaning to try and update the road journal but this whirlwind tour has yet to stop.
We saw many miles. Many faces, different places. Up's and down's and all around the land we traveled in peace and sound.
BY THE NUMBERS
Our 2012 US TOUR started July 16th out of Fernandina Beach, FL.
12 national parks
1,048 gallons of recycled waste vegetable oil collected
$4597.00 not spent on diesel fuel
0 carbon emitted while driving on waste veggie oil
Journey4YOUth raised right around US$10,000 which is over $850,000 in Kenyan Currency. (FYI it costs about 30 Kenyan Schillings to cure someone of malaria).
This all is a tremendous blessing. Thank you.
After spending two years touring in 'Clifford' our big red veggie van (pictured above left). We had a big black bus kind of fall into our laps. Being an International Engine & Allison Transmission we knew we had the opportunity to upgrade our vehicle (and our house) so we bought it in April and converted it to run on waste vegetable oil (WVO) the end of July.
This is our 7th year touring. Every year seems to get easier and easier. We learn so much on the road. Which venues work, which venue don't work etc... One of the highlights from this years tour was September 12. Opening for (one of my favorite friends/band) Marinade at their CD Release party at The State Room (Salt Lake City, UT). The 2 pictures above are from that show. Photo Credit: Paul Black at Black Marble Photography.
We left Florida mid July. We just recorded our first attempt at a music video for the instrumental Amazing Grace. There is a fine line on how to record a music video (not that I am an expert or anything). I've always been reluctant to these simple because I just don't want to make a video with me lip synching... I think it's cheesy. 8)
From the first show in Summerville, SC to the last show in Denver, CO. I tried to do something I've never done on this tour. That is write a setlist. I have always been a nerd for setlists. Some people appreciate it, others don't. My appreciation for live music has always revolved around the art of the setlist.
Katie and I took a series of pictures from each show on tour. It was challenging for Katie to be able to capture different shots as well as the evolving setlist throughout the tour.
I recorded most of the shows on the tour. Although it will take me a while to get them all uploaded on archive.org you can go here and the shows I have available will be there. Check back on archive often for I am consistently adding archived shows.
Our show at the Tommy Knocker Tavern (pictured left) in beautiful Creede, CO was a very special show for us. Anyone who has been to Creede knows how beautiful it is there. The surrounding mountain area and drive up there remind me of a outdoor playground. It was one of those shows where the whole place was intently listening and receiving what was being performed. Like a vortex, magical things started to happen. The birth of a brand new song that has a lot of potential.
To the right was Sioux Falls, SD. We played there for the first time last year and had a good show. We always end up in Sioux Falls on a Tuesday or Wednesday so the place isn't packed out however there are always great people listening. (I prefer quality crowds over quantity crowds any day of the week).
As always, Salt Lake City is amazing. We stopped through the Wasatch area twice this year. Big shout out to Talia Keys, Tony Holiday and the entire SLC scene.
I would like to say one thing about the Utah music scene.
It seems most of the bands in that state have gotten bigger and better in the last 5 years. In my opinion; what separates them from some of the other music scenes I've seen is this. All the bands have done it together. That is supporting each other, cross-promoting, friendship, acceptance, and respect. As opposed to cut-throat cliquey competitiveness.
I am grateful to have stumbled upon the Utah music scene, and give gratitude to the artists and people who have helped us over the years.
We made it up to our hometowns in Cincinnati, OH. Played the best show I've ever played at The Loveland Castle in Loveland, OH. Basically this man built a castle with his bare hands. It is a very special place to me. Growing up walking distance to the castle, sharing my first kiss with my wife there many years ago, to getting married there. It was an amazing night. (Castle show pictured left).
We left Cincinnati with our bus running on veggie oil playing a few shows in Indiana we made it back up to Wisconsin. I failed to mention the Monona Farmers Market in last years blog so I made sure I gave it proper recognition. This place is awesome. The market director is a great guy and the vendors/farmers are one of a kind. Thanks again for hooking us up with so much love and organic produce this year!!
Wisconsin has been a great state for us the last two tours. (Pictured left) is a show in La Crosse, WI. We had no idea what to expect from mid-western Wisconsin. Great show. Great food. (Pictured right) was one of the best shows of the tour. Bremen Cafe in Milwaukee, WI was such a great show. The entire Riverwest community is one of the most eclectic and unique neighborhoods we've ever seen. We will do our best to come back and stay an extra day or two next year.
Katie and I were invited to perform on PCTV. Local television station in Park City, UT. It's always fun to go on PCTV. I performed 3 songs and Katie and I did an interview. Pictured to the right is from our first show in Montana. I played at Norris Hot Springs. The stage was a dome! Just below the stage was a huge hot spring with a bunch of people soaking. Another amazing tour experience!
Here are two music videos and our interview.
Off to Colorado!
These are three fun shows. Pictured left was the last show of the tour in Denver, CO. Shout out to Local 46. Awesome space. Great venue. Center is Alma's Only Bar in Alma, CO. Another great venue. Over 10,500' elevation. I couldn't play the didgeridoo because of the altitude! Also, to the right is The Friendly Bar (Centennial, WY). This cowboy bar in located in a town with only 100 people. One of our favorite stops of the tour.
Park Silly Sunday Market (Park City, UT) pictured on the left. Rock Rabbit (Pinedale, WY) pictured right. Both are great stops for us. Lots of people we hold dear to our heart.
Katie and I took the last two weeks off September to get our Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC). This experience is (by far) the most meaningful and important education I have had since high school. (Sometimes I feel it's more important that that). Our teacher Warren Brush is an amazing individual that was created to do exactly what he is doing right now.
Our course was a 14 day intensive course at True Nature Farm in beautiful Boulder, UT. True Nature offers a lot of different courses from sustainable living programs to outdoor survival and wilderness school to permaculture design courses.
Like I mentioned before this is one of the best things Katie and I ever did (in terms of education). I highly recommend checking out their site. Contact Eden. Tell him we sent you.
Our permaculture course ended in bittersweet tears of joy and gratitude. I had the honor to share the stage with some of Boulder's finest musicians/artists. This picture was taken from the show at Red House Farm.
To view the photo album of all the shows/setlists please click here.
New school uniforms for the children, paid for by Journey4YOUth.
For the last few years, Journey4YOUth has been supporting a lunch program for 36 children in Kaswanga Village, Kenya. Katie and I lived in this village during our time out there and although our original intentions were to do other things the children's overall health and getting at least one meal a day has become the sole priority up to now.
Now that Katie and I are certified in Permaculture we are traveling back there in January to speak with elders and other community leaders in the village. Journey4YOUth is paying for a few men, women, and children to get their PDC (out in Kenya). We want to work along side the locals in implement a few permaculture designs in the village.
We have a two very close friends who are coming with us to Kenya. We will also be working on the structure of bringing a group/team of people out to Kaswanga Village in January of 2014.
There are a few more children who still need uniforms. In Kenya, children have to pay school fees in order to go to school. They also need to have semi good condition uniforms or they get sent home.
ON THE ROAD
Katie and I had a lot more shows booked this year so we didn't have as much time to 'go get lost in sights' however, we did our best to balance it out. Below are some highlights of our time in between driving and playing shows.
We covered a lot of ground on this tour. From our bus we saw some of the best this country has to offer. These two shots were taken just outside Boulder, UT.
The picture on the left was taken at -100 feet below sea level (Death Valley National Park, CA). The picture to the right was taken at 10,847 feet above sea level (Medicine Bow National Forest, WY).
Katie and I went to 12 national parks this year. Some of them for the first time. Like Glacier National Park up in Montana.
We saw amazing wildlife. The sacred buffalo in Yellowstone (pictured left) as well as two male grizzly bears in Glacier (pictured right).
We covered new ground. Like going to Yosemite National Park (pictured left). We also went to our favorite place in the whole wide world. The majestic Sequoia's in Redwood National Park (pictured right).
Making it to the shores of the Pacific Ocean has been a goal of ours for the last few years. Crazy to think the last time we saw the Pacific it was 3 years ago in New Zealand.
I feel like I could spend the rest of my life in northern/coastal California and be perfectly happy. So long as it is in a cabin, in some fairy forest, far away from the land of people.
There is something to be said about the power and energy of the old growth forests of the northwest. Notice how dwarf the bus looks underneath the Sequoia's.
We quickly went from cool coastal temperatures to -7 F in north western Wyoming in less than a week. It took us about an hour to get the bus started because the diesel fuel froze.
I finish this blog from the comforts of my mom's living room. It's nice to be back at home for the holidays. Visiting family and unwinding from a year of traveling. Katie and I are so grateful for this whole experience.
COMING UP NEXT
Katie and I are going down to Asheville, NC to play a few Journey4YOUth benefit shows as well as begin pre-production for our THIRD studio album. This is very exciting for us. We both didn't foresee making another album this quickly. But when you know, you know. I'm excited for you to hear what's going on inside my head.
Last but not least, Katie and I leave January 1st for Europe. We have some shows booked in Netherlands, Germany and Africa. Although the purpose of this trip is to focus on our projects in Kenya, we had an opportunity to take the music to Europe.
I never would have thought (7 years ago) that I would have the opportunity to play my music overseas. I am humbled thinking about this.
Thank you for following us; and for your support over the years. Dreams are happening right before our very eyes.
With mountains of blessings and oceans of gratitude.
Brian & Katie Ernst
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