DAY ONE: ON THE ROAD AGAIN (Alamosa, Colorado)

We started our drive to Alamosa from Colorado Springs on a beautiful, bright morning. La Veta pass was a breeze, soaring up and over and cutting through the thin air. I thought the pass would be dangerous; I remembered it as a treacherous journey; but it was nothing, a snap, over and gone before I even had time to realize we were descending the incline. Lio slept in his little cabin, we listened to some weird podcasts, Conor told jokes, we laughed, then we kept grinning.

Alamosa is a dream. Having lived here for a few years in my early 20s, I am reminded of the magic taking place, the wildness of those years, and then reunited with the beloved hearts of some of my favorite people on the planet. Allison, a dear old friend with a million passions and talents, cooks dinner while entertaining all of the kids and keeping a vibrant conversation up. She’s miraculous, and before we can even blink, she presents several kinds of glutenless homemade pizza and raw milk and coffee to fuel the rest of our night. We fill her beautiful adobe house with vigor and excitement. As we’re standing in the driveway talking, a huge UPS truck flies up to drop off our t-shirts from Starman Press in Minneapolis. I dance on the gravel, so excited. Friends stop by to say hi, and then we whisk off to the venue.

The Cottonwood Syndicate in Alamosa is a new art collective of San Luis Valley artists who work and sell their art together. They are superbly talented and running an amazing space that doubled as a venue for our first show of tour. Kids danced and played with toy cars as we sound checked. Friends old and new mingled and perused art. Lares and Bothe began with an awesome set of banjo/electric guitar rock songs. We loved it, and the kids danced and bopped. In fact, the whole crowd was dancing and bopping. Conor played next, introducing The Changing Colors to some new faces and fans. While we played, I was overwhelmed by the smiling faces looking back at us. So many old pals, so many memories. Deb and Frank, two of my old radio station/jamming friends, were there, front and center – after the show, Deb came up and said, “I want to give you the shirt off my back. Want it?” She unbuttoned her top layer to reveal a Ryman Auditorium long-sleeve. “I can get another – I have friends in Nashville,” she winked. Then she went into the bathroom, changed out of her shirt, and gave it to me. Love is an understatement, folks. I wish I’d taken a picture of us together. Deb has been such an inspiring and loving presence for me over the years.

Rocky came, and Becky, and Luette, and Julie and Melissa and Bella and Allison with all of the kiddos. So many floating faces representing such a magnificent place. I know we’ll be back here very soon.

I feel like this is the start of a new era for us. Prior to today, we released an album in August, went on a three-month-solid 11,000 mile tour, then landed in Colorado, where we’ve spent the last three months changing bank accounts, license plates and insurances, reworking our live setup, writing new songs and arranging them, judicious recording experimentation, adopting light day jobs to sustain ourselves, and just enjoying being in one place for awhile. We were all geared up to do another long tour this year, but now that we’re here, we’re just realizing we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to just BE. We may gratefully forego some of this running around and the total stress of booking long stints in order to, you know. Create. It’s true that our son will go to school in a couple years, and we’ll have to plant ourselves and maybe save touring for school vacations and summers and special occasions. (Which means we’ll have just as much time to tour as ever, no big deal.) But the main thing is, I want to spread out on my living room floor and hook keyboards up to weird things and test how they sound. I want to run mics from amps to other amps to pedals and old things we find on Craigslist. I want to experiment, to write songs together, to bask in the day-in-and-day-out of recording and to put out noses to the grindstone. When we get home from SXSW, we’re going to hit it really hard. It’s going to be amazing. But between now and then is a two-week long sojourn to Texas with and to some of our favorite people. Yip yip.

I can’t even say how excited I am to spend our SXSW experience gettin our freak on with pals from around the country.

We’re off to Taos now, so these pictures are in no particular order. We love you, Alamosa, and we’ll see you soon.



















  Ariel Meadow Stallings wrote @

Hey Katey! I just wanted to let you know that we’re republishing this post you wrote on Offbeat Families: http://offbeatfamilies.com/2012/01/taking-baby-on-tour on our sister site, Offbeat Home & Life next week. Would it be ok if we included this photo (https://travelingoldenhearts.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/img_4897-303.jpg) with a note at the end directing folks to catch up with you on your blog? Email me! ariel@offbeatempire

  Allison Cruse wrote @

So. Much. Fun. I wish we could keep you a little longer! Have a wonderful tour and come back soon!
Love, Allison


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