A Tour Diary: Aisha Burns Reports from Europe
I’m a huge fan of Aisha Burns, from her careful instrumentation with Balmorhea to her excellent solo career. She’s journeyed off to Europe with her friend Jake Woodruff (the Dreamtigers); he’s playing with her, as well as a solo set of songs by his own band. They’re hitting up Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and more; you can find her dates in Europe HERE. But, more importantly, I called in a favor and asked her to check in with us if she had time, and she’s graciously agreed to offer a glimpse into her European travels. Read on to hear for details, and go pick up her album, Life in the Midwater, courtesy of Western Vinyl.
I left home two weeks ago with two bags, two instruments and an immense sigh. The kind of sigh that’s linked with letting go, this time of pre-dawn wake up calls, of sleepy songwriting, of juggling all the pieces of a musician’s patchwork life. My favorite part of life lately is that every few months I begin a countdown to a great departure. This time, 2 flights and 10 hours later, I stepped off a giant winged creature and strolled into Paris, France.
I don’t really know how to describe all that’s happened since then, but perhaps its always best to start at the beginning. I’m on this trip with Jake Woodruff of Dreamtigers, who’s joining me on guitar and playing solo sets of his own. After landing in Paris, we watched the baggage turnstiles empty and learned that my guitar, merch, and all our clothes were somehow still sitting cozily in the DFW Airport. Lovely. We arranged for them to be delivered the next day to a friend’s address that we hoped was still correct. Touring for seven years has taught me how to cross my fingers and believe it. So, after being picked up by our dear friend and driver Herveé, we set out on our mission to immediately locate (read: devour) baguettes and Camembert cheese. This was followed shortly by croissants and Nutella, after which I laid down to take the riskiest of all international tour naps–the first one.
There is this thing that happens when you make the senseless mistake of downing a 20 oz evening coffee in the Austin airport before flying around the world–You don’t sleep on the plane, and you arrive a jet-lagged, excited, yet exhausted mess in the morning. I set five alarms for safety and fell into an instant sleep.
When I awoke, my body decided it just realized the sickness in it. Typical. I am notorious for getting sick on every tour, and I do mean every tour. I attempted to smile through it, and we ventured to the city centre. After four visits to Paris, I finally saw the striking, molten glow of the Eiffel Tower at night. Notre Dame to my right. Beautiful stone structures all around. I love my home, but tell me, what man made thing is as beautiful as this place?
I’m realizing I could walk you through every moment of each day or I could fast forward and tell you that our house show in Paris was wonderful. That the subsequent 12-hour drive took me through the Swiss Alps, and into Italy where I slept in a town completely surrounded by mountains. They revealed themselves in the morning, and I stood at the edge of a Lake staring at what looked like a European postcard come to life. All the colors of fall dangled from the trees and mountainous peaks towered over everything. A girl I’d never met before named Margaux hosted us kindly. We ate roasted veggies and polenta until we could move no more. And then this nearly perfect stranger gave me her bed! In Mantova, Italy, I felt at home in a place I’d only been once. In Padova, I met my dear bandmates Rob Lowe and Michael Muller for our first of two shows together. They’re in the middle of a whirlwind 10-day European tour, playing old songs from when our band Balmorhea was a duo. Two tours moving in entirely different directions crossed paths for just a couple of nights. So, there we were, a trio of Texans reunited in Italy, perhaps stereotypically but truthfully, over pasta and pizza.
Nights like that–when you pull up to a venue in Italy and find two friends you love like brothers, and you meet your Italian booking agent who has become a friend over the years, and you all sit down at the same table and everything feels so familiar that you could trick yourself into believing you’re actually home–nights like that make the world feel so incredibly small.
There are more adventures to tell of, but for now, I’ll stop here. You can visit aishaburns.tumblr.com for more photos or follow me on instagram @aishaburnsmusic. Hope all is good and well back in Austin! Someone, have a breakfast taco for me. I miss them.