Editor's note: If you appreciate posts like this and want ANC to continue publishing similar content, become a paid subscriber for as little as $1.35 a month.
Musician Laura Meyer has spent the majority of three years living out of a car, driven over 100,000 miles and played nearly 500 shows. She has “lived at the mercy of tires, tip jars, and the kind souls who fill them.”
Laura, who is proud of the fact that she built her career “the old-fashioned way,” with an investment of years on the road, will treat live music fans to a set of old and new recordings, tonight and Friday in Redding.
This seasoned singer, songwriter and performer transfixes audiences with her early sweet, innocent folk songs, plus work from her new album, “Been Here Before.”
“They’re my new babies and I also think they’re the best I’ve ever written,” boasts Meyer of the “Been Here Before” recordings. “I’m also featuring a lot of the hits from past albums, because people still request them and there are some gems in there. The newer ones are darker, bluesier, and feature more complicated guitar parts.”
I talked to Laura about recording, life on the road and her upcoming tour across the pond.
You’re interviewed in a San Luis Obispo Tribune piece about the rise of “do-it-yourself tours.” You seem to be getting quite adept at life on the road.
Thanks. I’ve been living on the road full-time for over three years, so I’ve had some time to adapt.
What’s the most challenging part about being on the road?
I’ve found the most challenging part is stopping! Ha. I’m in a different city just about every day, so now I have friends scattered across the country. Once I’ve finished visiting all of them it’s time to start all over again! I’ve been able to get to know my fans on a personal level and some of them have become my closest friends.
Seriously, most of my struggle has come from maintaining my health, especially in the cold climates, and trying to finance my tours and new releases. Many people don’t realize that I’m 100% independent, which means I do all of my own booking, promoting, and web maintenance, not to mention driving, performing, writing, and finding time to be creative and hopefully sleep a little too. It takes a lot of time and energy, and I don’t have the security of a steady paycheck. I have a tip jar.
This year, you’re headed to Europe. Do you have any idea what to expect from European audiences?
I’m extremely excited for this tour. I performed in Ireland, England and France a few years ago, but this coming tour is by far the most ambitious one I’ve planned. The hospitality I received overseas is unparalleled, and I’m already getting a great response to the new material, through my mailing list and website. I think this tour marks a turning point in my career.
UK, Germany, Italy and France. Are you giving yourself some time to sightsee?
Hmm … I have a show nearly every night (I’ll be over there for two months) so I’m managing my expectations. One thing I’ve learned about touring is there’s always “next time.” I used to try to see everything when I got to a new city, but I’ve learned the pleasure of peeling back a little at a time, and saving some of the mystery. One thing that’s going to be great about this tour is that I’ll be taking trains instead of driving, which will afford me lots of time to write (and to figure out where I’m going)! I’m writing a book inspired by my travels, and I’m sure whatever I manage to soak up this spring will be a big chapter.
Five albums ain’t too shabby.
I actually have ten recordings, but not all of them are available. I’ve made a recording at least once a year since my junior year of high school, kind of like a school picture. I definitely need to record and “release” my songs, so I can move on to the next. They’re always pouring in, and the faster I can move them out, the faster I can get to the next one. I guess this kind of parallels my touring lifestyle, ha. See a common theme?
What’s the first thing you’re going to do after the tour is over?
Good question. I don’t know, because tour is never over. I’ve just been offered a summer tour with an Italian booking agency, so I might be hopping back over there shortly after I land. I’m sure I’ll be ripe for a new album, so it’d be nice to find a wealthy rock-loving philanthropist and produce another band recording (if you’re reading this, please email me). Regardless, I’ll make a new record when I return from Europe, and a new record always means a new tour. But I see myself touring differently in the future. I’d like to have my own bed.
Many thanks for doing what you’re passionate about and enriching our lives. Did you remember your rice cooker?
No rice cooker this trip, sadly. Fortunately I mostly stay in people’s homes now, so I travel with a saucepan and a skillet.
Catch Laura on the first leg of her Western World tour tonight (Thursday, Feb. 17), 8 p.m. at Maxwell’s,1344 Market Street, Redding and Friday (Feb. 18), 8 p.m. at Vintage Wine Bar and Restaurant, 1790 Market Street, Redding.
Click here for more about Laura, including music, video, bio and blog.
Adam Mankoski is a recent North State transplant who feels completely at home here. He enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner own HawkMan Studios and are the creators of Redding’s 2nd Saturday ArtHop. Email your NorthState weekend events to email@example.com.
This portrait of Adam Mankoski was created by Shasta High School students Chance Norman and Kenzi Bell.
A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.