In these trying political and social times, Damien Jurado has come up with a novel idea for his latest tour. The Pacific Northwestern singer-songwriter has been on plenty of tours in his decades-long career, but this is the first of its kind for him. Woody Guthrie is the jumping-off point, as Jurado struck by a man who would simply travel across the country with his instrument, sometimes even hitch-hiking from city to city. He’d show up wherever there were big crowds – labor camps, union strikes, and play. The plan is that Jurado will hit each of the 50 states to perform – with the aim of playing some places that never get big-name artists.
In June I will be starting off on the beginning of what will be my 50 State Tour. Check out what inspired the idea. pic.twitter.com/qaEVzAGoJ7
— Damien Jurado (@damienjurado) April 21, 2017
He elaborates in a Facebook post:
“It started as a dream as I drove past so many neighborhoods and towns on my way the “major market”. I have watched our choice to connect to the experience in front of us dwindle away, only to be replaced with connection to a screen. We are told what is success, sold what is the “it” thing, and fed what people think we should know. Its not that any of those are bad, but on their own, they are nothing. We are nothing without the connection to one another. We are blesssed to live in a beautiful world FULL of incredible people. If that isn’t worth getting together and celebrating, I dont know what is. Join me in celebrating our country and the things that not only make us the same but also the beauty of our differences. #50statetour”
He released a video to go along with the tour announcement, and in it he discusses what inspired him to embark on this special tour. He recalls his youth attending hardcore and punks shows and how struck he was by the feeling of community. He goes on to explain that when he was there, he simply knew that these were his people, where everyone was accepted regardless of age, race and sexual orientation.
Today, he worries we are losing that connection – and festivals are far from the antidote. He complains about the disconnect between artists and the audience, how nowadays the musicians never spend time hanging out with their fans. The goal of this tour is to connect with the “true” fans, music lovers far from the major urban centers that drive the touring industry, in a hope to truly connect with them (considering the depth and quality of Jurado’s output, that shouldn’t be an issue). He mentions in the video “becoming a citizen of Tennessee” or “hanging out in Texas for a week” and playing as many shows as possible, wherever possible.
Considering the wild nature of this tour announcement, there are no official tour dates announced yet. But keep an eye out because there is likely more news on the way from the indie folk troubadour.