So I know it’s already almost the end of January, which has compelled us to get into reflective mode on 2013 before the first month of 2014 completely passes us by!
2013 was the first full calendar year for Shiny Shiny Black… since our first trio show was not until Nov 2012 – it felt like last year was really the beginning of things. And what a beginning – we played over 65 events in 2013, mostly in Indiana of course, but also made our way to Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee and even Texas (as guest musicians for a conference event)! We like to travel as a family band, so our 2-year-old Charlotte came out on tour in many cases! This has been like a snapshot of our ideal life… which we are excited to bring even more to life in the coming year.
The Electric Brew Second Sundays
From January to June of 2013 we were very fortunate to have a residency at Goshen’s legendary folk venue, The Electric Brew. This proved to be very important for a couple of reasons: it really helped us to get some roots planted in our hometown, and (little did we know at the time) it turned out to be some of the last concerts that would be performed at The Brew, since they have stopped doing concert events after changing locations late last summer.
Some Dreams Tour – 7 days on the road
In April we hit the road with our dear friend Jonathan Reuel, playing a range of venues, from Bluffton University, all the way to Joe’s Java in Wilmington, OH. This was the first time we took Charlie on the road, and it worked really well. Another highlight of the tour was taking a large painting done by Christa Reuel as our backdrop – people were consistently amazed by it.
South by South Bend
In May we were fortunate enough to play at the first South By South Bend music festival, spearheaded by our good friend Dena Woods – and we look forward to being there again this May for year 2!
TBUSH – in the studio
As many of you know, we have been working on a full-length record since last May. It was a surprising journey, and took us down many roads we did not expect, but we were ably guided by the mighty hands of the good captain Tim Bushong. We are incredibly excited to bring this record into the public eye this SPRING!
Nashville Songwriters Weekend
Late in the summer Nate was invited to participate in the first Nashville Songwriters Weekend hosted by Ignition Garage. Rubbing shoulders with amazing folks like Will Kimbrough, Brigitte DeMeyer and Phil Madeira, Zach DuBois and Andrew Kreider was a great opportunity, as well as performing “Lights On” for their audience with Will, Phil, Brigitte and local legends Joel Jimenez and Jeff Sanders supporting the song.
Making great friends in South Bend
As the year progressed, we made great connections in South Bend, playing frequently at the Chicory Café, which led to the opportunity to open for Cloak Ox at LangLab, a place we look forward to returning to. Other events in South Bend included performing in DTSB’s Red Table Plaza Concert Series, playing First Fridays at the State Theater, The Music Village Music Festival, the Purple Porch Coop, the Firehouse Variety Show and last but not least – The Pool, South Bend!
Yellow Phone Music Conference
Yellow Phone was a great connection for us – an awesome conference with really high-caliber speakers, and small enough that the panelists were easily accessible. We got to meet an amazing group of people too – hanging out with the ladies from the smoking Winnipegger duo Mise En Scene, Martin Atkins, the organizers of CIMMfest in Chicago, and making friends with Wisconsin trio The Traveling Suitcase – who we were able to later bring to South Bend in October!
Chicago Music Summit
Amber went to this one by herself, and I think Kanye West got punched in the parking lot for being… Kanye. Or something. (Or Nate likes to imagine things. And Amber got to hang out and hear from quite a few more cool folks, like Common, Creative Entertainment Network, and the cool cats from CIMMfest and EARs).
In October we embarked on our second short tour of the year, playing several places in Ohio, Louisville, KY, and spending several days with friends in Nashville, which provided to the opportunity to get lost looking for coffee with Jonathan Reuel and Bart Elliott of Drummer Café, eat lunch with Will Kimbrough, and meet up with David Troyer (from our hometown – now in Satellites and Sirens), Brandon Owens – formerly of Satellites and Sirens, and bump into our college friend Stephanie Skipper. Oh yeah, Nate got to go see Nine Inch Nails with Jonathan too… then we went to…
FARM Folk Alliance
This was an incredible event! We should a separate blog, just on this event – but to keep it short, we met the incredibly talented ladies from The Accidentals, were blown away by The True Falsettos, Billy Strings, got to jam late into the evening with our dear old (but not THAT old) friends from The Goldmine Pickers, and played live on a Kansas City radio show, and hang out with Dan Weber, along with another paragraph’s worth of truly incredible people!
LIVE on the Globe 91.1 FM
Goshen College’s Globe Radio came out in strong support of Shiny Shiny Black this year, putting our single “Lights On” in rotation since its release in August, and hosting a one hour in-studio live appearance in December to promote the New Year’s Eve show and discuss what’s next for the band. Thank you Globe staff, and especially thanks to Jason Samuel!
Ignition Music NYE
Somewhere in the middle of all of this, we met our fellow road warriors in Von Strantz… so we invited them to play with us at one of the region’s premier listening rooms, Ignition Music Garage for a New Years Eve show we were organizing. We were also joined by our dear friend and banjo extraordinaire Andru Bemis.
We literally blew the doors off of the place – selling out the show with record-setting attendance! We were able to put more people in the room than any of the national acts – unless you count our friends in The Steel Wheels, who cheated by doing two shows back-to-back. What an awesome way to turn the page on 2013!
Thank you for helping us find our way — to get here, and to the next adventure!