my week(s) with the elwins
5am. I’m a weepy, disgusting, bedraggled mess – eyes red, hair a mess, reeking of bourbon and barbeque, sitting in the Austin airport the Monday morning after south by, on one hour of sleep, going through my trip photos and smiling my face off. I have The Elwins’ album ‘And I Thank you’ on my headphones and my heart is full to the point of bursting.
This trip wasn’t anything as I’d imagined it would be – that said, as long as I’ve been dreaming of touring with a band and heading south to SXSW, I made the decision to come along with The Elwins so late in the game I didn’t have all that much time to plan or even imagine the trip. It certainly wasn’t anything like my last jaunts to New York and Iceland, which were all about exploring and food and shopping. No, this was so completely different – all about the journey. For days we’d truly see nothing but a van, a highway, a rest stop and a stage (and honestly, like a million mcdonalds). A crummy motel, a KOA campground, the living room floor of a friend or a generous stranger. I upped my count of American states I’ve been to ten-fold, but really, it was more like states I’ve been through. I didn’t get to eat peaches in Georgia, no fresh Florida orange juice, none of my local treat hunts. What I did get was 2 weeks with 4 of the best men I’ve ever known.
My eyes well as I write this – truly, the screen is so blurry I can’t see what I’m typing. Forget what unbelievable song writers they, what incredible musicians, fantastic performers. All these things are true. Forget how good the album is, Feurd’s amazing moustache, their adorable faces… let’s talk about the guys themselves.
Let’s talk about Matt. There’s his beautiful voice and huge talent with lyrics, sure but then there’s his gentle nature, how warm and open he is, how sensitive to everyone around him and how much he cares about other’s happiness. How loving he is with the others guys, and how affectionate, how unfailing generous and supportive. His way with people astounds me. Let’s talk about Feurd, and not about his phenomenal musicianship, but his boundless energy, his constant enthusiasm, his ability to encourage, his incredible work-ethic, his wonderful straight-man sense of hour, his curiosity and genuine interest in those around him. Let’s talk about Chris, his sensitivity and ability to read a situation. His warmth and kindness. His staggering intelligence, his optimism and his way with words. His beautiful heart. And Travis – all the things about the quiet drummer with the heart-melting smile that just floored me. His absolutely wicked sense of humour, his overwhelming love for his friends and family. His mixtapes! The guy made a 23-hour playlist that never failed to hit the right note. His passion for searching out great songs is so inspiring to me, and I’m a bit ashamed to admit just how much his musicianship knocked me for a loop. I shouldn’t pigeonhole drummers, I know, but I was stunned at the depth of Travis’ musical intelligence.
Endlessly patient, kind, generous and sweet… to say The Elwins are more than the sum of their parts may be just about the biggest understatement I can think of.
It will be a week before The Elwins finish up their first American tour and return home to Tronna to play the closing night of CMW (Sunday March 25th at Rancho Relaxo, since you asked), and I know already how quiet the coming week will be. I’m coming home to my loving husband, my kitties, my bed, and the exhausting concept of yet another week of music festivals, but the music in my heart is going to be coming home at 120 miles an hour in a big silver van. God speed, Elwins – get home safe, and soon.
Less ‘end of summer camp’ over-emotional ramblings and photos to come, there’s only about a million.
If you haven’t already checked out their cover of Beyonce’s ‘Countdown’ they recently recorded with Luke Lalonde of Born Ruffians, now’s a good time as any. Obviously, I’m biased, but it’s badass – especially when you’re waiting for a connecting flight in Denver.