Travels: Sweet Southern Hospitality #Downsouthtour Recap Pt. 1 Kicking off our summer music fashion tour, Tiffany Thompson and I packed our bags for a 5-day roadtrip down south from Aug 8-13th. Combining house and venue music shows with Kicheko and local shopping, we traveled through Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. Covering 1800 miles, the #downsouthtourwas indelibly encouraging, fun, and life-giving as we connected with a diverse set of communities.
Our first stop was Chattanooga, Tennessee to connect with friends who moved away from DC one year ago. They showed us warm hospitality preparing the guest bedroom, goodie baskets, a full coffee pot the next morning, and time to do some work in their light-filled living room before we hit the road the next morning.
We then made our way to Florence, Alabama to play a house show as well as visit a childhood friend of mine and her husband in their home, which is about 5 minutes drive from John Paul White of the Civil Wars. The house show turned "We are One" festival drew an energetic crowd of many ages as well as food and jewelry vendors. Chairs and pillows set up, displays smoothed out, and guitar tuned, Tiffany belted out a beautiful and engaging performance. Folks enjoyed the performance so much that at the end of the show we did a soul train followed by more merchandise sales. The support and encouragement we received was a perfect start to the tour. The next day, we visited the Billy Reid flagship store. Read it here.
The next stop was Atlanta, Georgia for a picturesque house show, originally slated for an outdoor performance on the terraced lawn. With a setup staged just so, we went inside to change and then...the downpour. Scrambling to save the keyboard, guitar, PA equipment, and merchandise from the rain; we made a series of barefoot runs with the help of our hosts and managed to do a quick re-setup indoors.
The show must go on of course. Our hosts drew in a vibrant and young audience that night. As much there for the music as for tasty wine, light fare, and each other's company, the audience was a tight knit community that whole-heartedly threw its support and good nature behind us. Kicheko was a hit and the audience asked Tiffany to perform well past midnight as we transitioned to the outdoor court where the show was originally envisioned.
Staying up late into the night chatting with our hosts, we shared many a cheers reflecting on the wins of the tour halfway through and thoughts on friendship and the complexities of love. Probably, the best part of our Atlanta night was the impromptu singalong where Jeremy got on keys, Jebb on the guitar, and Tiffany on mic. We sang Billy Joel, Beatles, Rolling Stones - it was joyous and reminded me of my adolescence at summer camps in Scotland where the whole camp would gather round for a hearty and boisterous singalong in the main marquee.
While in Atlanta, we visited Sid Mashburn and Ann Mashburn. Husband and wife as well as business collaborators, their stores are connected to one another in the Warehouse District. Sid displaying a well-polished, well-traveled, and playful store contrasts nicely with Ann's, which presents a brightly-lit space, classic lines, and splashes of sophisticated elements from African beads, coffee table books, and an inspiration wall. Our time in Atlanta was both fun-filled and restful, giving us an extra kick to tackle the rest of the miles and the cities left on the bill. Stay tuned for Part 2 of the recap where I will share about Chattanooga, Nashville, and the rest of the tour.