2019 Spring Tour - The Journey South

On April 17th I set out on my first tour across the country with my husband Nathan, cousin Gabriel, and friend Jack. None of us have ever taken a trip like this before. 34 days, 5866 miles, 92 hours of driving, 16 shows, and a lot of #vanlife and couch surfing. We set out with a car full of gear, an abundance of car snacks, a months worth of clothes for any and all types of weather, an empty journal, and my baritone ukulele. We were ready for an adventure and not exactly sure what to expect.

First stop - Lincoln, NE

This is my second time to Lincoln and my second time playing at Crescent Moon Coffeehouse. Mark and Melinda are such gracious hosts. Even when we arrived with only 10min to spare before showtime (due to unforeseen weather and flash-floods on our way into Nebraska) they were so understanding and let us jump right on stage.

I really like the people in Lincoln. Even in a coffeeshop environment where 50% of the people in attendance are doing work on their laptops, everyone still takes a moment to stop and engage. I enjoy having audiences that ask questions and chat with me while on stage, especially during a solo show. It makes it feel a little less lonely up there. Gabriel and Jack played a duo set after me and we all sang a couple songs together. It was a beautiful night.

The next morning I had breakfast at the Hub Cafe with my friend, Andrea Von Kampen, a Lincoln NE native and fellow singer songwriter (check out her stuff here! She is amazing!). It was great to catch up with her and get some much needed advice from someone who has experience touring all over the country. Thank you Andrea! Excited to play a show together in Minneapolis this summer July 27th at The Aster Café! Mark your calendars Minnesota friends!

Next Stop - Kansas City, MO

In Kansas City we played at a gym called Next Step. NextStep is a non-profit that makes life-changing rehab and fitness both accessible and affordable to individuals living with paralysis. Almost 10 years ago my cousin Gabriel suffered a spinal cord injury. Next Step, which back then was “Quest to Walk”, was one of the first rehab centers that he went to after his accident. I remember going to visit him there when I was 15. It was great to come back and see Gabriel reunite with people from his past. It was powerful to look back and see how far he’s come in 10 years. There were so many comments from people who met him a decade ago saying, “You were so quiet back then, and now here you are, singing and telling your life story.”

I feel the same about myself 10 years ago. I was so quiet and so afraid of making mistakes. Now I’m writing songs about my fears and singing those songs for strangers everywhere I go. (Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!) It was so great to meet everyone at Next Step. Can’t wait to return again in the near future. Favorite quote from this show:

“This was the first show that, if I could’ve, I would have stood up.”

Next stop - Austin, TX

I absolutely fell in love with Austin. There’s something about it that reminds me of home (Minneapolis) …minus all the snow. I was so thankful to spend some time with my sister-in-law, Madeleine and stay at her place on the east side of the city.

After spending a day in Austin (breakfast tacos at Veracruz, exploring downtown, soaking up the sun by the Colorado river, playing some music on Madel’s front porch…) we packed up the van to head the show.

Our hosts for the house show, Liv and Connor, welcomed us into their backyard where we would be setting up. We were immediately greeted by two adorable dogs (Wally and Winnie), a beautiful garden, and a chicken coop full of a variety of happy chickens. It was wonderful to say the least. Freaque (Gabriel and Jack) kicked off the show and I closed out the night. It can sometimes be hard to have meaningful conversations in a crowded bar scene. That’s why I love house shows like this one. It’s a unique experience to have the opportunity to talk with everyone in the audience and house shows make that experience possible.

Thank you so much Liv and Connor for inviting us into your home and thank you to all your friends that showed up ready to listen to some music! We had a blast. See you again very soon, Austin!

San Antonio, TX

It was so wonderful to spend a relaxing 3 days with family in San An. My favorite part about this time was having the opportunity to collaborate on each other’s songs and recharge for the long journey west. Here is a video of a new song called “About You” from our time in San Antonio:

 Thank you so much to Mona & Tom (my mother and father-in-law) for making us feel so comfortable and at home. It’s always hard to leave San An, but we feel refreshed, excited and ready for the next chapter of our adventure.

Off to the West!

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Lena Bredeson