Travel has always been a key ingredient in my music career.
So it only makes sense that, a week ahead of the launch of my debut album, “Wild Heart, Gypsy Soul,” I was on a plane, guitar in hand, new opportunities ahead.
Although this time, my plane wasn’t headed for South America. Nope, this time I traded in the exotic for the All-American. Omaha, Nebraska.
I’d never been to Omaha before, but thanks to a distant cousin who believes wholeheartedly in my music, I was given the opportunity to play at a number of different venues and promote my album before it’s official release.
Omaha was not what I expected. The music scene there is blossoming, and it’s quite the metropolitan city. Conor Oberst, an Omaha native, even opened his record label, Saddle Creek Records, in the heart of downtown. Overall, not a bad destination for my first tour.
The week began with back-to-back open mic performances at 402 Collective and Barley Street Tavern to get the lay of the land and check out the scene. 402 is an artists collective where you can take music lessons and perform at their coffee shop (and the sound system was incredible, I might add); Barley Street is a local dive owned by a former LA musician who is committed to showcasing local talent.
The next night, I joined my new friends, The Omaha Guitar Trio, for a gig at the Ozone Lounge, located inside Anthony’s Steakhouse. We rocked out for three hours and performed a few songs together, including Angel from Montgomery and my original song “Young Love.”
Wednesday night was back to Barley Street for a solo gig. I played some of my favorite covers and originals and we had an absolute blast. I followed it up with an impromptu appearance at The Hive’s open mic, where I met tons of cool people and saw some really fun acts. And, of course, drank really nice whiskey by a local distillery called Dark Horse.
Thursday was the real treat: a night off to spend with my new Omaha buds. My cousin Kyle hosted a barbeque where we feasted on beer can chicken, pork loin and Nutella brownies. The fellows of the Omaha Guitar Trio and the very talented Glenn Thomas were present, and we spent the night jamming, followed by a pretty impressive display of karaoke. The night ended with Glenn and I staging an impromptu parking lot concert, which drew patrons out of the bar to come check us out.
Friday night, we packed up and hit the road for Bennington, a small one horse town outside Omaha’s city limits. The venue, called the Stumble Inn, had the look and feel of an old school roller rink and featured a massive stage and dance floor. Glenn Thomas opened with a number of comedic and classic rock jams, and I followed. We closed the night out coming down off the stage and playing Uptown Funk together acoustically in the middle of the dance floor.
Saturday night was the last gig of the trip, at Stories Coffeehouse. This was by far my favorite venue. I kicked off the night with my set, followed by Omaha Guitar Trio. We surprised and delighted the audience with a joint performance of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity.”
It was an absolute pleasure visiting Omaha and meeting so many incredible folks! If you like the above video, stay tuned; Omaha Guitar Trio will be visiting Portland for a short tour in October, and we are hoping to get into the studio to record a few of my tracks.
A HUGE thank you to Doug and Rena Branecki, who made this tour possible and have been some of my biggest supporters!