Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tour Starts Tomorrow

Playing one last show in Madison tonight (8pm @ the Brink Lounge) and then I will be off, spending 24 hours a day, every day for 3 and a half weeks with THIS guy, fellow Madison songwriter and best bud Jeremiah Nelson. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Press Release for the US/Canada Tour

Here is the press release as it was sent to the media:

John Statz + Jeremiah Nelson Canadian/US Tour Announcement

Wisconsin songwriters John Statz and Jeremiah Nelson will be kicking off their co-billed 3 week Canadian and Eastern US tour this month including a stop at The International Folk Festival in Quebec, as well as Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Boston, NYC and pile of other shows (see schedule at links below). Back in January John hopped the pond to play some shows around eastern Europe and recorded a batch of new tunes in Budapest with local players. The results are stellar new sound... (Hungarian Americana?). He's offering a free download of "Jackson Hole". Jeremiah has been assembling a catalog of new tunes and gigging constantly the last year. He'll be breaking in some of the new material on the road as well as promoting "Take Me Down the Interstate", his 2008 release. Download "Spaceships" free.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

"Darndest Things" footage

I was spending my Saturday night as any professional musician would, playing Risk and watching B-movies with friends, when I received a call from my buddy Nic Thorson inviting me to take part in a movie shoot the next night. Nic is a good friend of my brother's, and also lives out in Los Angeles, but is home in Wisconsin for a bit making a short film entitled "Darndest Things". He need somebody to play the host for an open mic scene being shot at the New Moon Cafe up in Oshkosh, WI, so I said, "sure, what the hell?"

My role is a pretty tiny one, just saying a few lines that any open mic host would say, and then playing a song (Nic asked for a "slow and tender" one, so I played "Everything To Me", which I wrote in West Virginia last year).

Anyways, Nic posted some rough footage on youtube, which you could take as a trailer if you wish, though Nic is probably coming up with something far slicker for that. The song behind the footage is being played by my friend, Laura Schultz, who also plays the lead role in the movie. I make a brief brief cameo appearance in this footage, but hope you enjoy seeing some cool shots and great music!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tour/Travel Photo Albums Compiled

I store pretty much all of my touring and traveling pictures on Facebook, because it just easiest for me and I haven't gotten into the whole Flickr thing yet. However, that means that only my friends on Facebook are able to see them, and I'd love to share them with all of you. Luckily, Facebook gives you the option to share albums with others by providing a link, so below I have posted the link to all of my travel photos. Hope you enjoy, and feel free to add me as a friend on FB if you wish!

2009 - Recent Travel Pics

Europe - January/February

Warsaw, Poland
Krakow, Poland
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague, Part 2
Budapest, Hungary
Budapest, Part 2
Vienna, Austria
Zagreb, Croatia
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Julian Alps/Soche River, Slovenia
Venice, Italy
Verona, Italy
Rome, Italy

March Tour Out West
Part 1 - Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada
Part 2 - California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota

Alaska Tour - May

Older Albums

First Tour Ever (November 2006) Part 1 - Ohio and Pennsylvania
First Tour Ever (November 2006) Part 2 - New Jersey, Washington D.C., Maryland, Philadelphia, New York City

Southern Tour (April 2007) Part 1 - Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas
Southern Tour (April 2007) Part 2 - Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas

East Coast w/ Dad (September 2007) Part 1 - Cleveland, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware
East Coast w/ Dad (September 2007) Part 2 - Pennsylvania, New York City, Connecticut

Southern Tour (April/May 2008) Part 1 - Illinois and Missouri
Southern tour (April/May 2008) Part 2 - Kansas City, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Dallas
Southern Tour (April/May 2008) Part 3 - Austin, Houston, New Orleans

Summer Tour w/ My Brother (July/August 2008) - IL, IA, NE, KS, TX, OK, AR

East Coast Train Tour (December 2008) - Chicago, Philadelphia, New York City, Wilmington

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Concerts To See Around Madison This Week (7/20 - 7/26)

Was just perusing some of the concert listings this week and thought I'd try and pick something out for each night if possible. I wont make all of these myself, but in a perfect world I would.

Monday, 7/20 - go to the High Noon Saloon for Those Poor Bastards + a couple of other bands. I'm not really familiar with any of the acts (the others are the Black Diamond Heavies and the High Plane Drifters), but any band with "Bastards" in the name usually gets me interested, and they're website lists them as "gothic country". I like!

Tuesday, 7/21 - no-brainer: the Old 97's are playing the Barrymore Theater, and their lead singer, Rhett Miller, is doing a solo set as well. Will. Be. Awesome.

Wednesday, 7/22 - my favorite regular Wednesday night slot in town: The Brown Derby play their golden country hits at the Crystal Corner Bar at 9:30. EVERY Wednesday.

Thursday, 7/23 - Backyard Tire Fire is playing at the Memorial Union Terrace! These guys are seriously a bunch of ass-kicking shit-stompers! I saw them randomly once at the Cafe Montmartre a few years ago, and again at the Wakarusa Festival in Lawrence, KS, and these boys throw down. Don't miss it. Unless, of course, you decide to head out to Waunakee and watch two WHS alumni (Garett Endres and myself) play a Waunafest pre-party show at Mojo's. But seriously, BTF!

Friday, 7/24 - Unfortunately I will be out of town for the weekend, but you should go to the Frequency on Friday night to see my friend Cait Shanahan's new band, Cait And The Girls. Cait is a friend of mine from way back to the Oshkosh songwriting days, and we used to play lots of gigs together. She is a talented performer, go see her. Also playing: Fermata, The Vega Star, and Jenny Is A Boy.

Saturday, 7/25 - Definitely check out Folk On State, which takes place on State Street next to Urban Outfitters, 1-3pm every Saturday this summer. I had the pleasure of playing it yesterday, and my good buddy (and fantastic songwriter) Jeremiah Nelson is playing it along with Scott and Michelle Dalziel.

Sunday, 7/26 - I've got nothing.

Gee, do you think I have sort of a bias towards folk/americana/country/roots music? I'll try and branch out more next time...

Song-In-My-Head Sunday: "Iowa"

So I played a gig on State Street in Madison yesterday with Carrie Elkin, a great songwriter and current resident of Austin, Texas. Her own material was great, and what a voice. It certainly carried through the Maxwell Street Days celebration and down State St.

The highlight for me, however, was her cover of a song I used to love but had completely forgotten about: "Iowa" by Dar Williams, off of the Mortal City album. When I was a freshman in college Dar Williams was one of those songwriters that first got me into writing my own stuff. I had since stopped listening to her, as a majority of her stuff is admittedly pretty cheesy and a little over the top. However, "Iowa" is worth its weight in gold, with great lyrics and a beautiful melody. I'm pretty sure I've heard Peter Mulvey cover the song, as well.

Here is a youtube video of Dar singing "Iowa" at Milwaukee's own Pabst Theater. The video is pretty grainy, but I wanted to share this particular one because it also features Minnesota's Brianna Lane on harmonies. Warning: there is a slightly cheesy talking/folk sing along part at the end, but still a beautiful version.

Small plug: Brianna Lane will be playing with me at the September 3rd songwriter showcase show at the Brink Lounge in Madison!

Lyrics to "Iowa":

I've never had a way with women, but the hills of Iowa make me wish that I could,
And Ive never found a way to say I love you, but if the chance came by, oh I, I would,
But way back where I come from, we never mean to bother,
We dont like to make our passions other peoples concern,
And we walk in the world of safe people, and at night we walk into our houses and burn.

Iowa oh ooo oh, Iowa oh ooooh ooo oh I-Iowa

How I long to fall just a little bit, to dance out of the lines and stray from the light,
But I fear that to fall in love with you is to fall from a great and gruesome height.
So I asked a friend about it, on a bad day, her husband had just left her,
She sat down on the chair he left behind, she said,
"What is love, where did it get me? Whoever thought of love is no friend of mine."

Ioway oh ooo oh, Iowa oh ooooh ooo oh I-Iowa

Once I had everything, I gave it up for the shoulder of your driveway and the words Ive never felt.
And so for you, I came this far across the tracks, ten miles above the limit, and with no seatbelt, and I'd do it again,
For tonight I went running through the screen doors of discretion,
For I woke up from a nightmare that I could not stand to see,
You were a-wandering out on the hills of Iowa and you were not thinking of me.

Ioway oh ooo oh, Iowa oh ooooh ooo oh I-Iowa
Ioway oh ooo oh, Iowa oh ooooh ooo oh I-Iowa

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Airfare Tips?

So I spent the better part of my day hunting around online for a deal on airline tickets to Los Angeles in October. I will be flying from Madison, Wisconsin out to California to visit my brother, who moved there at the beginning of this year. I ended up getting what I consider to be a pretty darn good deal to fly roundtrip out there, $240. I thought that I would compile a list of the few things I've learned about purchasing airfare, little tips and such, and invite people to add to it. Please leave a comment if you've got some great insider info, or a good story, or whatever.

What (little) I know:

* It seems that all of the travel websites (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, etc.) are usually around the same price. Most of the time its only the difference of a dollar or so.

* The worst days to fly are on a Friday or Sunday when everyone else wants to fly out so as maximize weekends.

* The best days to fly are on early weekdays or on Saturdays. Most people don't want to waste the middle of their weekend flying, so if you are willing to do so (as I was in this case), its usually a better deal.

* This one is only useful for Wisconsin locals, but if you live in the southern part of the state as I do, Madison is generally more expensive to fly out of than Milwaukee, Rockford, or Chicago. HOWEVER, it seems that Madison has some good deals lately, as that is where I am flying out of to go to California, and when compared to Milwaukee there was only a $10-15 difference. If you are flying out of the country, you might as well just go to O'Hare in Chicago. The bus ride from Madison is $25 and takes you right to the airport, hassle free, and its usually still cheaper than the Madison airport.

* These days, try not to check any luggage if you can since you have to pay for it. On my recent flights both to Europe and Alaska I was able to carry on a guitar AND a backpack (I'm talking a mid-sized backpacking pack with an internal frame).

* I think that there are some companies, such as Southwest Airlines, that do not book through sites like Expedia, and do provide good deals on their own. I briefly searched earlier today for a list of airlines that don't use travel websites to sell tickets, and could not find one, but that would be extremely useful.

I think thats all I can think of for now, but please feel free to make your own suggestions and correct me or provide your own tips!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

New Album - Recording Tomorrow Night in Madison

For you Madison folks/Wisconsin folks/anyone else that felt like making a road trip this Friday, the live recording, full band show that was scheduled this Friday for the Cafe Montmartre is now being held at the Brink Lounge due to the unfortunate closing of the previous venue. The show will start at 9pm, and will be recorded for the new album, "John Statz & the Cheap Shots" , which will feature almost entirely new material. The cover charge is $8, and also playing are Chicago's fantastic Cameron McGill & What Army, and my good pal Jeremiah Nelson with his band, the Shifty Switches. Hope you can make it out!

Thanks to Rich Albertoni for the great article in the July 10th, 2009 edition of the Isthmus! Here is an excerpt:

"Since returning to the Madison area in 2006, Statz has built one of the most rigorous tour schedules of any Madison musician. This year, he'll be on the road at out-of-state destinations for more than four months. Later this summer, he'll embark on a four-week tour of Canada and the northeastern United States.

A double major in music and history at UW-Oshkosh, Statz frequently uses historical themes in his songwriting. With song titles like "Best Girl of '16" and "Letters from Southeast Asia," Statz sometimes takes on the persona of a war soldier in his compositions."

Read the whole article and interview here.