Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Cutest Town

Angelica New York
All Photos by April Brown

Nothing could've prepared me for Angelica, NY.
I'd never been to upstate New York before. In fact, this tour is my first real experience in the Northeast corridor above Manhattan. I've traveled a lot in my life, but most of my travels have taken me to Everywhere In The Middle. Out there, rural towns often look similar regardless of where you are; there's a familiarity to the locally owned groceries, the sights of silos along the highway, and the dusty old gas stations. Whether you're in your own hometown or half a country away, rural towns all have the same sort of energy, and the best part is that it always feels like coming home.

Angelica New YorkAngelica New York
Angelica New York
Angelica New YorkAngelica New YorkAngelica New York

Angelica was sort of like that, but...different. This little place was so perfect: It looked like the set of a movie. Its town hall and its churches were all perched perfectly in a roundabout that encircled a beautiful park with a gazebo. And just off this roundabout was a gorgeous little cafe called Black-Eyed Susan. That's where we played.

Black Eyed Susan Acoustic Cafe Angelica New York
Angie Atkinson Ashlie Lauren Smith Black Eyed Susan Acoustic CafeBlack Eyed Susan Acoustic Cafe Angelica New York

This community is small, but it is so vibrant. The cafe was quiet, and I definitely toned down the usual howling-at-the-moon style of country rock that I do back home. Ashlie and I brought them some piano-and-uke-accompanied, acoustic versions of my tunes. But the support of the audience was amazing; they were an engaged AND an engaging audience. We had conversations, and singing my songs for them felt like just sitting down and quietly telling stories.

Angie Atkinson Ashlie Lauren Smith Black Eyed Susan Acoustic CafeP6301654
Angie Atkinson Black Eyed Susan CafeAngie Atkinson Black Eyed Susan Cafe

Black-eyed Susan is stunningly beautiful, a converted old home in the heart of a row of shops that are so perfect and quaint that they belong in a Norman Rockwell painting. Owners Don and Karen were gracious hosts, helping us all evening long with whatever we needed and feeding our hungry bellies with delicious food made by Karen herself.

Angie Atkinson Jim Schwartz Black Eyed Susan Acoustic Cafe

We also got treated to Jim Schwartz, a local musician who kicks off the music weekends at the cafe. He was so delightful...his whimsical set and charming conversation after were among my favorite parts of this tour so far.

Can't wait to go back the next time we're in the area.

Friday, July 6, 2012

On the Road: Johnny Rockets Lounge

Angie Atkinson Kelly Fragale Six Flags Johnny Rockets Lounge
All photos by April Brown

This whole tour has been a labor of love. Personnel changes, scheduling snafus, logistical nightmares. There was even one venue that went out of business a month before tour. It was almost like the universe was daring me not to do it. But I stood up and said, "You know what, universe? Poopy on you." And I dove head first and hit the road.

Guitarist Kelly Fragale, tour manager April Brown, and yours truly braved the tear-inducing traffic of the George Washington Bridge and made our way up to Queensbury, NY, where we played our first gig, Johnny Rockets Sports Lounge at Six Flags Great Escape Lodge. We were immediately met with obstacles: small crowd, no readily available electrical outlets, a new PA system that we'd just bought and were guinea pigging, and a Yankee game to compete with for audience attention. At first it seemed almost like a cartoon drawing of the Most Awkward Gig Imaginable.

But it was amazing.

Angie Atkinson Six Flags Johnny Rockets LoungeAngie Atkinson Six Flags Johnny Rockets Lounge

The PA sounded great, we got tips, we sold two EPs, three people signed up for the mailing list, and we even got 'em all to turn away from the Yankee game! Plus, after the crowd had cleared out, the bartender, staff, and their friends stuck around and listened to Kelly and me just jam for awhile, taking turns sharing songs and stories. It couldn't have been more fun or memorable.

I also got to sport one of the fabulous pieces made for me to wear on tour by Rachael Oglesby of softspoken. SO gorgeous. Thank you, Rachael!

Oh, and the best part? THE most comfortable beds ever. Thanks, Six Flags and Johnny Rockets, for getting us started off right!

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Angie Atkinson Softspoken Crochet Fringe Top
All photos by April Brown

What a performer wears can be almost as important as lyrics and melody. Angie always chooses her performance clothes carefully, thinking about the venue and what mood she wants to set. As she's talked about before, dressing for a coffee shop gig is completely different from dressing for a gig at a dive bar. Packing for tour is especially tricky, because you have limited space, but still want to look and feel your best on stage.

Recently, Angie was fortunate to partner with Rachael of the Etsy shop softspoken, who sent over a package of some really wonderful handmade pieces for Angie to wear on tour. The tops are so beautifully crafted and soft, and fit Angie's style perfectly. She chose this gorgeous fringed crochet top for her second show of the tour, Black Eyed Susan Acoustic Cafe in Angelica, New York.

Since Black Eyed Susan veers more toward fine dining (the food is absolutely amazing, by the way) Angie chose to layer the crocheted top over a black tank dress instead of wearing it with her usual short shorts. Still a bit bohemian, but also a sophisticated choice.

Check out the softspoken shop as well as Rachael's blog for more of her incredible clothing and accessories.

Angie Atkinson Softspoken Crochet Fringe Top

Angie Atkinson Softspoken Crochet Fringe TopAngie Atkinson Softspoken Crochet Fringe Top

Angie Atkinson Softspoken Crochet Fringe Top