and now the news...

Oh Mystery 

Last week I played at the Bucks Head Tavern in Taylorville, you can tell a good pub by the history in there and the people behind the bar and like me a little later on top of it.
I get it done out in it where it needs to be done between here and there and beyond and back again. Sometimes the dog comes, sometimes the friends come, a lot of it I’m on my ownsome. You get thinking and you get a lot of things figured out, then the truck stops and you’re late and you can’t change your shirt and you know the people hugging you can smell the road on you and you get shy but you keep talking, and keep hugging and keep hoping and through all of that keep learning about the people in Taylorville, or Woodstock, or or or or wherever it is you find yourself and you forget what it was about the world you had figured out, but its ok cause you learnt something about the people in it.
In the Eastern we talk about the musicians we’ve met along the way who want the people that see them to be at a distance, to keep the mystery, to not be bothered by them, I get that it can be hard being a node in a weird energy transference and musicians are fragile folks, but it always seemed like they were missing out in some fashion, like they’re only making the signal go one way. Sometimes your soul gets punished a bit by the guy slurring in your ear but whenever I’ve hung on in there I’ve always learnt something I didn’t know before and ultimately that learning is the whole point to it all, the singing and songs and dancing and hearing and listening its all in the mix to help with the learning.
That was not what I was expecting when the road got its claws in me way back when but I’m glad I figured it out in time that I could cease believing in the idea that this whole thing was about me.
So I scrabble around out there and on here trying to make it all make sense and sometimes it does but that’s mostly when you all are involved. Besides that brooding mystery, eccentric wisp on the wind of art inability to shake a hand shit is not something I can pull off that well.
That’s one of the good things I’ve learnt, and was reminded of this week when I saw a photo of me and john the governor of the Bucks Head standing in front of the fire the morning after. My tshirt was half tucked into my belt and my fly was half done up and well, basically I bet you Nick Cave never has had that problem, so I guess I’ll just keep keeping it as unmysterious as possible, practical boots and warm coats and a desperate need to meet every one I get to meet.
I hope to meet all of you out there, to celebrate, commiserate and apologise where necessary. Im making it up as I go along and I’m so glad youre all there to help!
I’ll see you in
INVERCARGILL!
This Sunday even!
And then and then….
In
Picton!
Okarito!
Woodstock!
Island Bay / Wellington!
Auckland!
And
Mapua/Nelson!!!
And that’s just the goddamn beginning or middle or the beginning of the end of the beginning
And there’ll be more!
Australia even! (holla if you want a show)
And then Ireland and then Europe
And then and then and then…
Tickets here!

get in behind 

I get so behind that I'm behind all the things I'm behind in, so far behind I might as well be the ass end of a pantomine horse, hunched with my head nestled right in the things I'm behind in, making excuses about how far behind I am to all the things I'm behind in, behind, beholden, unbelievable...Imagine me the greatest of the greatest of all old sheepdogs,
"GET IN BEHIND"
"Can't"
"what do you mean you can't?"
"I'm already there"
anyway...
I meant to tell you about my show in a couple of weeks in new plymouth, but I just got behind, so far behind, but a couple of weeks is actually pretty good considering who you're dealing with...
so yeah Its been a minute since I, NZ's 37th favourite folk singer showed up in one of my most favourite homes away from homes, new songs, new stories, a new record, old clothes, old ways, old hopes, new feelings, old dog, new truck, old guitar, new cables, whatever it looks like I'll being going in guts first
come join me old friends and new....
now l'm a little less behind, behind the 7 ball, one better
holy improvements

FEED! 

Once, actually about 4 times, I got to sing ‘Welcome Home’ on stage with Dave Dobbyn to rooms full of stranded New Zealanders. I’m not that nationalistic, and have a mostly impossible fear of flags (excluding probably the Tino Rangatiratanga flag and Union Banners world wide), but man it was pretty hard to not be moved by the big feelings and big tears coming back to the stage during those long hot nights. I had to keep kicking myself in the shins and wondering, “How did I get here? This cannot be my beautiful life? This can not be Dave Dobbyns beautiful wife standing beside the stage.” And yet there I was.

I’ve been lucky to do the same with a lot of my songwriting heroes, everytime is like what?

Barry Saunders, Lindon Puffin, Upper Hutt Posse, Luckless, and more, it’s a big list.

Last year or maybe the year before ( I dunno, folk singer time is weird, moving at once rapidly forward and backward all at the same time), I got to do the same with Jordan Luck as part of his backing band; an honor all us easterners got to share. It was big stuff and fun as fuck hearing every word of every song that’s in built into your NZ DNA coming back at you.

Jordan is wry and wise and deep and true and kind and wild and a man with the greatest song writing gifts as well as those of one of the greatest front people to ever do it. As a pretender to the outhouse throne of the temple of fronters and chancers I couldn’t help but feel THE AWE and the AW and of course THE AW FUCK YEAH.

It was great.

We’ve been waiting for a chance to Voltron and form up to get it done again. 

This march that chance becomes a fine thing, and in service to the big things which makes it even better.

A Fundraiser  for the Delta Community Trust, a great organization that go deep for the folks with the big needs, day after live long day.

This year they saw their major regular donation of food (which they shared with two other food banks) suddenly split between nearly 17 more.

There’s a few levels to this,

But the main ones are the big gut kicking pangs that they’re running short and the fact there are 17 (at least) food banks out there in Christchurch.

Its hard to feel patriotic about a land of plenty of not much.

It is however easy to feel patriotic about a land of folks who are down to come and get down and bring a bunch of food when they are called upon.

THAT’S YOU GUYS! 

So c’mon and join us, we’ll do the heavy work, y’all can just sink a few and get busy down the front, while our pals count the cans (and weetbix, and toiletries and tampons and toothpaste and pet food) ya’ll are gonna bring with your cheap as chips tickets (just $15).

These tickets are to cover costs and we’ll pony up the profits to Delta but it’s the food we want! And the solidarity! 

If you’re running late and won’t make the supermarket you can pay $35 (or more) for a ticket on its own!

Grab your tickets right here:

www.forteastern.net

------

Postscript:

The Reason ‘Welcome Home’ is such a mighty beast of a song, is one line, buried right there drawing very little attention to itself. 

“You’ll find most of us here, with our arms wide open”

That’s beautiful and also very smart and aware

The key word being ‘Most’

Very smart Dr Dobbyn

I promise to get teary when we sell this sucker out and get to believing in the most of us again.

This a gig we’re excited about, but frustrated that it even needs to happen.

That said you are all welcome.

As always if the ticket money is tight send me a message we’ll figure it out.

Much love

Welcome home etc 

Back In Town 

ya boy is back, back in the rig, swigs to take, glasses to break, hearts to ache, posters to make, tickets to take, for the songs sake for goodness sake...its been a long time since we rocked n rolled, folk, souled, whatever the hell it Is I and the Eastern do...but here we go again...out of the barlands into the bad lands and the south lands and this weekend the northlands! thats right up in Parua Bay Whangarei heads at the Llama Lounge, a good old fashioned Listening room, and singing room!
and then in a couple of Weeks in Auckland amongst the goods at Studio 1 vintage Guitars for their first live instore session! this is ltd capacity so dive on them suckers!
then a bit after that in Wanaka at Wānaka Festival of Colour in a talking and singing session with esteemed wise ones, julia deans Julia Deans and Ebony lamb Ebony Lamb and wrtiter of soul and taste Grant Smithies Grant Smithies
details for all of these tickets etc at the old creaky web hut www.adammcgrath.net
but that aint it listener, reader, web surfer! no way do you think your easterns will leave you hanging? we've got something big and special and righteous on the come up...if you were around for our gig with Jordan Luck last year as his backing band for the finale of the Barlands run then you will get a hint of where we're heading with this special announcement! info on sunday night! prepare your 3d glasses, popcorn and take the phone off the hook this will be better than something not as good!
in the meantime! check me out in Northland, auckland and wanaka land!
get some!

Lets get small 

I move through the world uncomfortably, too big not to bang my head, break the chair, squeeze between the tables, knees to chin, chin to knees, slumping to get little to not make a scene, 6’4 4000kgs of pure pizza, I drag my frame through airports and cars and queues and bars often uncomfortably.
The big cities though make you feel small but you have to have your ambitions hulk size rather than your fears to stand out. My ambitions are enough to get me out the door no more and in acuallity mostly spites disguised as something else. Mostly spites against my self though my fears bigger than both of us, but like ol’ blue eyes sang ‘High Hopes’ baby high hopes.
But small is good for the soul, small keeps your feet right where they need to be, small is good to start a conversation without too much in the way, small is just roomy enough to let the work happen without too much drama. Tomorrow I’ll walk around Auckland and get that small feeling, but like I said a few thousand of your precious minutes ago, in a post or two back, I’ll be singing the big songs, not big in sales or hits but big in hopes and hand ups. That’s the idea, without a setlist it could all just be cold chisel covers, I dunno whats gonna happen, but I’ll be in Auckland at the tuning fork trying to get as small and as big as I can.
A duality! Two opposing forces fighting in bag full of schrodinger’s cats man it’ll be a racket but hopefully one worth your psychic time!
Kendall Elise on first makes it worth the ticket price as well!
Big city! Big Posts!
Amen

The dark Art 

Ticketing is a dark art…
First it starts with a pre release ticket deal for spark or vodafone subscribers or maybe even visa, you take your rebel soul and you subsume it in desperation, you reward the customers of these beastly entities, if you’re lucky you might get into some ‘partnership’ to curate an ‘experience’
workers sell their labour you sell your magic, everyone is selling, buying and selling and selling and buying, everything is fair game, everything is reduced to a commodity, the real commodity though is bamboozling contracts, which by proxy you are now promoting; via songs you wrote in your room about your feelings. These contracts are now part of you and via you out there sucking souls, hurting heads, requiring 16 years of algebraic learning to make hide or hair,
“If we move you from the friends plan via the mates plan over to the team plan then you’ll get 16gbs of full speed minus 30gb of half time night time minutes locked in for 36 month over a 16 month no return break out party clause”
And then once you’ve exhausted that, you start on the early bird, pre release, get in quick limited before they’re even been numbered tickets,
And then so on and so on until the last minute just released seats deals etc
What I want to know who has these seats? How can we negotiate their release? Are they political prisioners?
Why are they viciously trapped in the same way a solo parent might be into a predatory phone contract?
Whats going on?
Is this shamanism?
Hustlism?
Capitialism?
Its all beyond my pay grade
but c'mon you rock n rollers
FREE THE SEATS
After all that though, the artist might reach the holy highs, the HOLY GRAIL of the rock n roll fleece “progressive pricing”,
SEE BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN SING SONGS ABOUT WORKING PEOPLE TO FRONT ROWS FULL OF RICH PEOPLE JUST $3000 A TICKET
Phew its hard out there,
Especially for the journeyman folk singers
Our 1 ticket-one seat-one price-sell em all or none at all-philosophy is not catching on,
my no ticket under our control more than an hour and half of minimum wage plan, has not caught fire,
The promoters are not knocking down my door, the deafening applause of the public has been drowned out by the sound of crickets and an empty room,
I turn to my side kicks in the eastern and they form like an army of Sancho Panzas and say another windmill boss?
I adjust my lance and my armour and say,
“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!”
Except I don’t say that Cervantes said that, I simply say
My low rent tickets for my show Auckland this Thursday the 18th are ALL for sale at low low prices at the shows tab
Ps
I’m not complaining! Not even pontificating! Just joculating! Which I hope means joking!
I’m the luckiest folk singer on my street and we’ve had some great houses these past weeks and I’m thrilled
Invercargill
Dunedin
Lyttelton
Taupo
Napier
Gisborne
All went off as they say, and my landlord and my spark bill salute your ticket buying prowess!
Thankyou friends!

The dark Art 

Ticketing is a dark art…
First it starts with a pre release ticket deal for spark or vodafone subscribers or maybe even visa, you take your rebel soul and you subsume it in desperation, you reward the customers of these beastly entities, if you’re lucky you might get into some ‘partnership’ to curate an ‘experience’
workers sell their labour you sell your magic, everyone is selling, buying and selling and selling and buying, everything is fair game, everything is reduced to a commodity, the real commodity though is bamboozling contracts, which by proxy you are now promoting; via songs you wrote in your room about your feelings. These contracts are now part of you and via you out there sucking souls, hurting heads, requiring 16 years of algebraic learning to make hide or hair,
“If we move you from the friends plan via the mates plan over to the team plan then you’ll get 16gbs of full speed minus 30gb of half time night time minutes locked in for 36 month over a 16 month no return break out party clause”
And then once you’ve exhausted that, you start on the early bird, pre release, get in quick limited before they’re even been numbered tickets,
And then so on and so on until the last minute just released seats deals etc
What I want to know who has these seats? How can we negotiate their release? Are they political prisioners?
Why are they viciously trapped in the same way a solo parent might be into a predatory phone contract?
Whats going on?
Is this shamanism?
Hustlism?
Capitialism?
Its all beyond my pay grade
but c'mon you rock n rollers
FREE THE SEATS
After all that though, the artist might reach the holy highs, the HOLY GRAIL of the rock n roll fleece “progressive pricing”,
SEE BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN SING SONGS ABOUT WORKING PEOPLE TO FRONT ROWS FULL OF RICH PEOPLE JUST $3000 A TICKET
Phew its hard out there,
Especially for the journeyman folk singers
Our 1 ticket-one seat-one price-sell em all or none at all-philosophy is not catching on,
my no ticket under our control more than an hour and half of minimum wage plan, has not caught fire,
The promoters are not knocking down my door, the deafening applause of the public has been drowned out by the sound of crickets and an empty room,
I turn to my side kicks in the eastern and they form like an army of Sancho Panzas and say another windmill boss?
I adjust my lance and my armour and say,
“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!”
Except I don’t say that Cervantes said that, I simply say
My low rent tickets for my show Auckland this Thursday the 18th are ALL for sale at low low prices at the shows tab
Ps
I’m not complaining! Not even pontificating! Just joculating! Which I hope means joking!
I’m the luckiest folk singer on my street and we’ve had some great houses these past weeks and I’m thrilled
Invercargill
Dunedin
Lyttelton
Taupo
Napier
Gisborne
All went off as they say, and my landlord and my spark bill salute your ticket buying prowess!
Thankyou friends!

The Hours 

36 hours of driving for 6 hours of playing? these are the goddamn statistics we like! backwards, inordinate, immoderate, inconceivably backward, we could just pull out the drive at drive around the block 11,000 times and throw money out the window and get someone to throw you a ham sandwich and some pinapple lumps every 3 hours and maybe install an IV for some road coffee and just tick up your wildbean cafe card and it'd probably all amount to the same thing butttttt then we'd never get to meet y'all, new friends and old, dancers, singers, sitters, chancers, in for a good time, in for a heart time, in for a story, in for a yee ha, in for a penny in for a pound of fleash, whatever it is it makes it so worthwhile to show up for y'all as you continue to show up for us. All these years, all these hours, all these times, all these bad ideas, all these good intentions and here we both are us and you and right in the middle of the set, just before the guitar strings break, just before we say fuck it and get on the floor with you, it all starts to make a weird kind of sense! and therefore proving our proviso, that if weird is the way most taken, then gifts will be the things most given. So good to be out there with the band! so good to be out there with you good good souls. Next week though, the truck stays parked and me, ol' long talking fool that I am, goes north to shout from the big stage about the new quiet Album Dear Companions at the tuning fork! Hoping the vinyl will be here by then! big hoping! but even if it aint' the good strong wonder of Kendall Elise will be there to open the show which I'm sure will make up for it!
c'mon on now!
Auckland! Next thursday! 7.30pm! The Tuning Fork!
tickets at the shows page

Sit in it... 

If only you could sit in the big show for a while, just call it quits and revel in the good feelings and tshirt sales on some eternal loop of wonder and peace. Because friday in port was like that, and dunedin and invercargill and wellington before that. Man!
Well it seems like a good idea when you breaking yourself out of bed to make the ferry for the next one, but it isnt, cause the big wheel refuses to stop and the stick in the mill is gonna get snapped. So we drive on, ready for the next tough show and then the next good one and then so on, etc, repeat, adinfinitum. Maybe till we run out of songs? maybe till we run out of ticket sales? maybe till the knees become knubs?
Regardless, I’ll put the solo shows in the pack for a week and feel them Eastern engines get to warming, and whirring and burning and roaring. We’re making up some covid slowed dates, a million months after when they should’ve been, but feels good to be out in it with the pals doing that thing we made up for ourselves so many million moons back there. Come hang, pre sales put our anxieties in the box but if we wanted no anxiety we should’ve stayed at home, we’ll take what we get as ever and get it done like we were never gonna do anything else!
Tomorrow Night
Taupo, Muesem
Friday
Napier, The Cabana w/ Devils Elbow
Saturday
Gisborne, The Dome w/ Eliot Witters
The Solo shows start up in Auckland at the tuning fork
May 18th

Saints are comin' 

I was feeling pretty shaky, a bit worn out and a bit beat from the rock going up hill and down, but I ended up at the club rooms and the sheds below and it got me thinking.
We’d walk in there half the Saturdays of every season, scrabbling, pushing, piss taking, boots on the shoulder, bags on the back. Inside something magic would happen, wild unfocussed boys being drawn in together, hierarchies of smarts and strength subsumed, power building, hope growing, we could listen, we could hear, we were in the moment, believing in each other, believing our coach when he would say we had something we could prove and we could help each other and we could trust each other and the only thing that mattered was that we committed, to the boys on either side, to the tackle, to the hit up, to the game.
No one remembers that we lost more than we won cause that was never the point we were just in it as best we could, for something to do but mostly for something and somewhere to be. A lot of the boys muddled and stressed in their real life, wonky parents, wonkier futures and yet here we were, being given a chance and some attention from some of the soundest grown ups I’ve ever known. Ones that might call you a fuckwit when you were a fuckwit but also ones that’d come and get you when the lights were going out literally and figuratively.
As I said I went down to the clubrooms today, old Lee Nelson let me in and we talked that the club was closing down, no more teams, not enough kids, demographics, economics, fears of the big hit’s. But he had some yarns and some laughs and it meant the world to grasp a little of the rarefied air before it’s all gone.
I’ve met a lot of folks in the creative fields with not much interest in sport, full contact ones especially and that’s ok but I know it saved a lot of lives and shaped so many more or gave respite, connection, community and offered a lot of wayward young dudes some real things of value and great worth and every now and then as ol’ Lee Nelson reminded me, the piss ups and the punch ups made for some pretty funny stories.
The latter you get to talk about forever and maybe a bit of a smoke screen for the former, that you didn’t need to talk about because its inside you like a ballast keeping you upright when it all looks shaky.
Thanks to Lee, thanks to the ol’ Saints, thanks to y’all for reading this far and coming to the show tomorrow! The tickets are on their last legs and that feels good so jump on ‘em if you haven’t yet, there’ll be a smattering of door sales but not many.
The band is tight and loose in all the right places (oh yeah did I say we had a band tomorrow? Yeah! We wanted to give these new songs a good honouring!) and spirits are high…so yeah so yeah so yeah tomorrow we’ll be honouring those spirits, hopefully your spirit, the spirits of all them old saints and everything else!
Thank you Thank you Thank you
For doing the yards with me!
Tomorrow night!
Tix:
Lyttelton Arts Factory doors 8pm music 8.30pm
Ps
Taupo
Gisborne
Napier
Auckland
You’re next!