Thursday, May 27, 2010


I left for the west coast on March 8th.

I performed at least one show, sometimes more in:

Salt Lake City, UT
Sierraville, Capitola and Eureka, CA
Ashland, Yachats and Portland, OR
Seattle, WA
Bozeman, MT
Pueblo, CO
Mankato, Minneapolis and Duluth, MN
Appleton and Green Bay, WI
Traverse City and Detroit, MI
Somerville and Waban, MA
Morrisville and Benson VT
Saugerties, NY
Venango, PA
Chicago, IL
Fairfield, IA
Omaha, NE

Sorry if I forgot any place.

Big smile.

For better or worse, richer or poorer, whether I've poured the concrete foundation for my career or I just took a huge piss... I did that.

Thank you for allowing me this "yay Jeremy" moment. Obviously, I couldn't have done it without your support. Yay you.

Back to the west coast in two weeks.


House concert at the Storch residence. This house concert was supposed to be somewhere else. Our original host fell down the stairs and broke three ribs.

Luckily, Teresa is from Omaha and her mother and father still live there, still residing in the house Teresa grew up in. Ma Storch was willing to host the house concert on two days notice - even with Pa Storch in Canada on a fishing trip, celebrating his retirement. Thank you Ma Storch!

I got to meet some of Teresa's home town fans, who were quite complimentary of me and my efforts. We didn't have the turnout we would've had at the original venue but considering Ma Storch had only a few days to pull it all together, it was a huge success.

Tomorrow, I'll cross the border into Colorado.


See video of this performance at:

After a few days off to hang with bro and pseudo-cousin Rachel in Chicago (where we watched "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" and I HIGHLY recommend it to those of you who have not been "turned on"), then a night with my childhood chum in crime Matt Olinik (thanks for the steaks!), I made my way to Fairfield, Iowa.

Lisa and David hosted this house concert and it was beautiful.

Scheduled to occur outside, the weather did not cooperate so we moved it indoors.

I'm still really out of it. The days off didn't do much for my energy levels seeing as how they were spent staying up late, talking to friends. Sheila, a guest, talked to me after the first set. I love Sheila. She said "you're an amazing musician, but you look like you'd rather be somewhere else." Shit. Shit, shit, shit! I mean yeah, okay, she might be right a little but goddamn it no one's supposed to see that! I'm a pro!

I felt like I had just awakened in my 7th grade biology class with no underwear on and nothing but an apple to cover my shivering, shrunken shame. I quickly defended myself and made excuses. "No, no! I'm very happy to be here... I'm just tired... 10 weeks... futons... my voice isn't where I'd like it to be..." and so on. Sheila and I talked about how her kids wanted to do what I was doing, and I said something along the lines of "well, if they don't have a choice, they don't have a choice. You either have to do this so you do it, or you don't have to do it so you don't." That's my feeling on it, in all my "wisdom".

Sheila woke me up. My second set was far better. My show tomorrow will be far better. I think I'm going to rejoin myself and quit whining like a little princess. Thank you Sheila.

Thank you, Lisa and David for making me feel so at home.


I'm mentally and emotionally drained. 2.5 months of straight touring, fresh out of the gate in this new career path. That's a big bite. I've found that, after what I went through with Julie and turning 32, I have little fear of things. I feel there's nothing I can't handle. That's because there's really nothing that I can't handle. There are, however, some things that I shouldn't try to handle. Maybe 10 weeks straight to start a "new job" or lifestyle is one of them

The voice is exhausted. The songs are coming forth with good energy, but I'm on auto pilot. I know what I need. I need to sit in Monument Park and write new songs. I need to stay in one place for a week. I need to revamp the show, as it feels stale to my ears. I have one more week until I can do that.

This is not a gripe-fest. I'm sharing this with you, dear reader, to show you it's not easy. I'm living it, I'm loving it, there's nothing I'd rather do in the world. I'm just learning new things about myself, and one of the things I've learned is that touring 6 weeks straight is enough... at least until I can afford hotels, or a van and not spend so much time trying to slumber in my Honda Fit or on floors, futons, rolled-up dirty clothes, air-mattresses...

Still high off the previous days festivities and income (albeit slightly hungover), I reunited with Ruby Tuesday and we headed west (I love that word) to Chicago for a show at the Tonic Room.

Big, big SUPER big thanks to Michael at Chicago Underground for hooking us up. Jarod Facknitz and Anne Marie came by and watched the show, I don't think I've performed for my brother in years. If you've heard/seen his work you realize he's an intimidating force, so when he's in my audience I picture him getting "pantsed" by Brian Harvey back in 2000, his testicles exposed to half the Holly High School class. All's well.

We played our songs and we gained a few emails. Bro and I went out for drinks and a bluegrass circle afterwards.

To purchase Jeremy's debut CD "Gimmick", sold out at shows, visit right now!


How great it was to be playing a show in the same backyard where:
- I tortured my siblings for so many years.
- I hit countless home runs to clinch countless World Series rings for the Detroit Tigers.
- scored touchdowns.
- kicked field goals.
- built forts.
- climbed trees.
- drank.
- smoked.
- sat alone on the night of my senior prom, wondering if I was missing out on anything, quickly deducing that all I missing out on was a frivolous expense and, after taking a lonesome swig of Southern Comfort, went back inside the house to watch The Simpsons with my mom.

The ghosts of my blue collar childhood danced in front of me. I tried to contain the excitement I had over finally performing for my grandparents and family on my mom's side, who rarely get the opportunity to see me. Ma and Pa Facknitz invited many of their friends, a few of mine came as well.

This weary traveler received just what the doctor ordered. Thanks to everyone - my family, my parents, friends, the birds, the squirrels, zippity doo dah.


One more week to go.

NORTHEAST TOUR DAY 14-15 - Hanging in Meadville, PA, Holly, MI

With no scheduled stages to folk for two days until the house concert in Holly, we chilled.

Our hosts in Meadville put us up in their beautiful old house downtown. Friday night we had a cookout with their friends. I watched dogs chase cats and ate myself silly, all after a full day that found me walking along the tracks to downtown Meadville for lunch, thrift shopping, phone calling, people watching.

On Saturday morning we drove to my boyhood home in Holly, just a quick 5 hour jaunt compared to the drive from Vermont to Pennsylvania 2 days before. Ma and Pa Facknitz greeted us at the door. Teresa had a lot of day-job work to do so I visited with the rents in lounge. The Facker-Fogies have the house in tip-top shape and I have a feeling the house concert tomorrow is going to be a swell time.

NORTHEAST TOUR DAY 13 - 5/13/10 - Sprague Farms and Brewery - Venango, PA

After we bid adieu to the state of Vermont, we headed west for 8 hours until we came to Sprague Farms and Brewery in the small town of Venango, Pennsylvania. It feels good to be in the mid-west. I know some people won't call this area the mid-west but I will. I can spit to Ohio from here. The people are warm and kind. It's the mid-west.

It also feels good to pull up to a farm and brewery after 8 hours on the road. "I'll take two please", I said, referring to the plump, live chickens, "and I'll also have a beer."

I kicked off the night and T followed, then we joined forces as we usually do. The crowd grew as the night wore on and found us most entertaining at the end of our set, making us wonder why they had us play so early in the evening (6-9pm). No matter. It was a swell payday and I gave a CD to some college age kids in Americorps (sp?) who were obviously in to the show but chose to spend what little money they had in their pockets on barley. I debated with one girl at that table, another Michigan native, about which state was more beautiful - Michigan or Colorado. She was drunk and I was homesick for my mountains. Getting nowhere, we agreed that they were both beautiful, but Colorado doesn't have near the amount of goddamned mosquitos that Michigan has, so I win.

See the pics of the brewery. One of the coolest stages we've played on yet.


Teresa's brother Steve joined us for this evenings festivities. We waited for him to come home from work before making the 2.5 hour trek up to Morrisville for our show at the Bees Knees.

Maybe it was the fact that it was a Wednesday, maybe it was the fact that I was billed as Jeremy "Ficknitz", maybe it was the fact that we made about $20 each for a five hour round trip, maybe it was the fact that I miss my cell phone service... either way I felt homesick after this one. Homesick for which home, you ask? Um, I don't know.

Momma said there'd be days like this.

Delightful staff and swell people though, at The Bees Knees.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

NORTHEAST TOUR DAY 10 and 11 - 5/10 and 5.11 - Chilling in Benson, Vermont with no cell service.

Day 2 without cell service.

I'm not sure anyone else still exists on the planet, as I am no longer receiving Facebook updates on my Blackberry. Panic, insanity setting in. If the rest of the population has indeed ceased to exist, I shall continue to record my thoughts for future species or possible visitors from outer space.

No, Vermont doesn't have cell phone service.

I can't talk on the phone.

I can text, but it's delayed.

My internet works if I store the phone behind the cactus by the window facing west, but as soon as I remove the phone from this "magic spot", I lose service. Plus, it pricks my finger each time I reach for it.

I am... LOST.

Nice scenery to be lost in.

So what did I do without seeing my casual acquaintances "effing" Farmville updates? I wrote. I got a few nice tunes in the oven and I'm excited to finish them. I worked on some booking and marketing via Teresa's brother Steve's computer, I chilled. Bought some new shoes. Not much to do, so not much to report.

Thanks to Steve Storch for letting us crash at his man cabin in the woods.

Monday, May 10, 2010

NORTHEAST TOUR DAY 9 - 5/9 - Inquiring Minds Bookstore - Saugerties, New York

Teresa had a ton of day job work to do and wanted to spend some time with her brother. We were looking at a 2.5 hour drive one way to Saugerties for a tips-only gig on a Mother's Day afternoon. Not exactly a sure thing. Of course, when I booked it, I forgot it would be Mom's Day.

She thought she'd make more money doing day job work and I knew I'd make more money playing the gig solo. So off I flew - all by myself, like a big boy! - to Saugerties, NY.

When I started there was one person in the corner of the coffee shop with earbuds plugged into their laptop. By the end of my last song, a small yet very appreciative crowd had built up to about 14. I made a new friend in Andy, who caught my second song, stopped dead in his tracks, stayed for the whole show, purchased a signed copy of "What A Day!" and bought me dinner afterwards (thank you, Andy!). Again, I'm amazed at some of the connections I've made and continue to make on this 10 week voyage.

Andy and I talked about life, the pursuit of happiness and other Mother's Day subjects. I called my mom, who's as excited as all get-out for the house concert in Holly one week from today. I dedicated the show to her and all mommies everywhere.

Taking full advantage of rare alone time, I drove slowly back to Benson, Vermont, stopping frequently to smell the lilacs and appreciate my surroundings.

Two days off ahead. Going to write. Going to relax.

NORTHEAST TOUR DAY 8 - 5/8 - House concert in Tinmouth, Vermont

Today was not your typical work day.

Today was more like visiting the residence of an extended family member you don't really know.

You see a lot of people, you talk to a lot of people, you feel pretty comfortable with your surroundings, you don't know everybody's name but you realize that's okay because they probably don't know yours and you play with the dogs and kids mostly because they're less awkward and the conversation takes less effort.

At least that's what I usually do when I visit the home of an extended family member I don't really know so well.

Cullen and Kimberly hosted this event and we thank them a bunch. Thoughts of holding the concert outside were quickly squelched as 48 degrees and hail pounded the roof of their small, adorable house. I did snap a picture of the rainbow that followed... right before we started folking in their kitchen.

NORTHEAST TOUR DAY 7 - 5/7 - Briggs Carriage Bookstore - Brandon, Vermont

Today I was instructed by a dear friend of mine to make it fun day. So I placed my finger on my chin and I thought to myself, "What can I do to make this day more fun?" and began a list. At the top was "get chocolate ice cream and not wipe my face for at least a half hour."

And I did it.

If you sing, you know that dairy isn't good for the voice, and so I struggled mightily through my first set at Briggs Carriage Bookstore in Brandon, Vermont.

It was a phucking phlegm phest.

Teresa has played here many times before and has a super fan in Priscilla, who walks to the venue to see her play whenever she is in town. I'd like to think that the standing ovation Priscilla gave us at the end of our duo set was for both of us, but I think it was mostly T's.

Sold a few CD's and connected with some great people, per usual. It's funny how, if you're not careful, you can start taking it for granted. Everything becomes a job or the norm, if you do it long enough. Every night is really special though... the deep, artistic conversations with strangers who are now friends, the support these new friends give you for what you do... it's hard to convey in blog form but it's pretty sweet. Pretty sweet indeed.

NORTHEAST TOUR DAY 6 - 5/6 - Amazing Things - Framingham, MA

Dan Cloutier is a writer, and a damn fine one. He hosts the open mic at "Amazing Things" in Framingham, Massachusetts every Thursday and Teresa had scored the headlining "feature" for us.

All of the talent at this open mic was solid. I was blown away by the stylings of Levi Schmidt and Kim Jennings to name just a couple. Of course, I was also blown away by Teresa's Boston family who had made the trek, including but not limited to: John Linn, Tim Riordan, Kara Kulpa and Barb Kessler who sang on Teresa's "Stream Of Concrete".

We played our 45 minute set for the 13 or so in attendence (a small crowd for the night - quality not quantity). Tried to shoot video but my batteries died. My camera devours AA's. Snapped a couple of pictures. Kara played violin on "Independence" and Barb joined in for three part harmonies on Teresa's "Abigail".

It was like playing with a band again. We were folking on with our bad-ass selves. It was a special night.

P.S. - Looking at the calendar I realize that in two weeks I'll be on my way home to Colorado. I'm tired, but good tired. I'm already starting to create the fall tour of the midwest, where I'll be hitting Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas (if you got connections, help a brother out. Thank you). I look forward to the respite but I'm not wishing my life away. I'm having fun everyday.

Thanks for your continued support!

Buy the 2002 release "GIMMICK" with the (smash hit) songs "SONGWRITER STRIKES BACK" and "BETTER THAN US", HERE!

NORTHEAST TOUR DAY 5 - 5/5 - Local 121 - Providence, Rhode Island

Teresa's friend Sara took us both out for a fine meal in downtown crossing (Boston) before we hopped on the interstate for Rhode Island and my first show ever in "The Ocean State", The Speakeasy at Local 121 in downtown Providence.

Providence is a fab town - I've been there twice now with too little time to explore - but I love it. This place was posh, and my unshaven face propped on top of my Denver and Rio Grand T-shirt left me feeling a tad out of place. Joanne Lurgio brought and extra vat of beauty with her songs and voice. She kicked off the festivities for the small and vocal crowd who had made their way downstairs to see us.

Yes, downstairs... it's a "speakeasy". Shhhh!

I then took the second set, and played what was probably my best show in a while, dusting off some oldies ("Sweet Wedding Bells" and "All Of That To Me" the latter of the two having found it's way back into my set on an almost nightly basis) with Teresa taking the headlining spot - and rightfully so, seeing as how she brought the most people.

Big thanks to Jess who set this up, as well as Jen and Jose.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

NORTHEAST TOUR DAYS 3 and 4 - 5/3 and 5/4 - Jeremy makes up with Boston.


I knew that Monday, 5/3 was going to be a tough day for me. It was the day I was planning to return to the scene, my two block hell for a year and half.

I took the train downtown from Waban, stepped off and began walking from my old T stop, Kenmore. I stopped and turned around halfway up the stairs. I found myself looking around for an old lady to help or a homeless person to talk to.

I was stalling.

With no one in sight, I walked up and mingled among the throngs of people headed to the Sox game. I mosied into my old record shop, where I had purchased the UK version of "Rubber Soul" on vinyl for $14 (best purchase of my life). I made my way to my street but before turning I stalled again, this time to call my mother. I just talked to her, told her how I was, where I was and that I was indeed, again, stalling.

Finally, I made my way to the old place. It was odd... I would turn suddenly and see a tree, or picnic table, and I'd have to shake it off. Like, I thought I was having a nightmare or Vietnam flashback. No, this is real life, I'm actually here. My God... but it was okay. I put on fresh goggles. I took pictures and posted them to facebook. I looked up towards the 6 story roof of my apartment and laughed about my opium-induced, suicidal thoughts that crept in when I wasn't looking back on that one night in the spring of '06. I don't think that I was seriously thinking about it, but it was as serious as I had ever thought about it and it haunts me to think that the thoughts even crossed my mind because I love life, I always have, even at that moment I knew I loved life. I just wanted out and had no idea how to get there.

I walked around the stadium. It was a gorgeous night. The area has improved. There's a Guitar Center a block from where I lived. I loitered in, strummed some chords, played some piano and didn't buy a thing. This is what I usually do in a Guitar Center.

The plan was to hop on a train around 9 pm before the game let out and make my way to an open mic at Lizard Lounge (where my hero, Michael Penn had played) for a 2 song performance. Call it resistance or fatigue but I wasn't really all that excited about it.

I guess I looked alone, maybe a tad forlorned... his energy reached out to my energy, for whatever reason.

The passerby in his mid-twenties said to me, "You want a ticket? I got an extra ticket."

"No man, I don't have any money."

His friend says, "He'll give it to you for free, he just wants to to give it to someone who'll appreciate it. Will you appreciate it?"

They could tell instantly that I would, because I want you to picture my face lighting up like a Christmas tree right now, which it did.

"Yes! Wow! Thank you!"

The three of us walked together to the gate for a few seconds, and again I said "Thanks, you guys". The second guy reaches into his pocket.

"You say you don't have any money on you? Here - get yourself some food and some money." and he gave me $40 worth of gift certificates.


The guy who had handed me the ticket smiled wide at me and said, "Jesus loves you, man. Jesus loves you." Now I'm like a little kid, ecstatic, in shock and disbelief and so happy that this is what God and the Universe has planned for me for this evening. Rather than open mic for a night of pseudo work, I'm going to be treated like a spoiled little rich kid. Nice.

They had to go in another direction, so I said thanks again and just walked in. Still in shock, I "bought" a hot dog and a coke. I realized that the park wouldn't just redeem my certificates for cash, but they'd give me cash as change. The certificates came in $5 increments so I purposely spent $6 here, $11 there to get the max amount of change back. I thought about paying it forward... giving some of them to a family, or military... but I didn't. I kept them for myself. I don't know why I did that. I did, however, give money to each and every street performer I passed after the game.

The game was a blowout, the Sox won 17-8. I couldn't have cared less about the outcome.

At every home Sox game in the middle of the 8th inning, they play "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond and everyone sings along. It's a tradition here. I went down to the seats behind homeplate (after purchasing 3 bottles of water to get my maximum amount of change) and walked the aisle parallel to the field. I looked back at all the people singing and with my water, I sang back at them. I belted it out, pumping my water in the air. It was such a fantastic moment and it may sound cheesy, but Boston and I made up with each other right there. They said they were sorry, and I said it's okay, and we joined arms and sang Neil Diamond together.

I realized that I placed a lot of anger on Boston that was really meant for the circumstance I was in, as well as myself. Yes, this place is harder than most other places. That's truth. The weather sucks and so on... but in reality it's just another big stinky city with unhappy people and shitty weather, just like Chicago, or New York, or Detroit, etc. I placed the anger on Boston because I "had" to forgive my circumstance and the abuse it was putting me through and I "had" to forgive myself for tolerating it. It was easier to hate the city than my circumstance. At least that's what I've gathered so far.

Ah, self-awareness. I have so far to go but at least I'm finally going.

And "good times never felt so good".


I thought about what happened Monday. That and Mr. Ernie Harwell died.

To every boy and girl who grew up in Michigan loving the Tigers, he was a 3rd grandfather.

Love you Ernie. Thank you for everything and Godspeed, you beautiful human.



Teresa had invited me out to play Cambridge, Somerville and introduce me to the folk scene that had adopted her for ten years. This was something that I had missed in my year and half residency, and I wanted to see for myself that it existed.

Not only does it exist, not only is it chock full of quality people, but the talent! Oh! The talent! Jaw dropping. Left me asking what the hell I was doing there, hogging the stage.

I was able to bear witness tonight at The Burren. As I said Teresa and I hogged the stage for a majority of the night... it was a small crowd, it was good to practice, we needed the work and no one seemed to mind. Getting us off stage isn't always an easy thing to do. Plus, T's friend Kara was joining us on fiddle, jumping in on "Brushed Off By Julie Ray" and such, and I was just having a pant-load of fun with that.

My old pal Bylsma, a former co-drone from my job at TNT Vacations (see the song "Unemployment? Check!") came by to say hi and see the new "John Boy". My cousin Brad, in town on business from Michigan, was able to steal a few minutes for his jet-setting self and share a beer or three with us.

If you live in the Boston area, you owe it to yourself to peep some of these artists...

(list coming soon)

Thanks Burren.

NORTHEAST TOUR, DAY 1 - 5/1 - House concert in Waban, MA

And so begins the trip back west. Or, so ends the midwestern tour.

Ah, who am I kidding? There are no endings or beginnings anymore. I do my thing in different places. When I go back home, it won't be for long, and I'll be gone again - and while I'm home, I'll be doing my thing back home. We all just keep going, right?

Tonight I played a house concert at Karen and David's in Waban, a village of Newton, Massachusetts. Julie (my ex) was the family nanny for many years and they were the first people I met out here in Boston. They welcomed me into their homes 6 years ago with open arms and have loved me ever since. They were my safe haven, my break from the intense intersection of I-90 and Shoot Myself Ave. where I lived downtown for a year and half. They are my Boston family.

Teresa and I joined forces again. This was our first official performance together in exactly one month after touring together and playing 21 shows in 3.5 weeks back in March. At times, it felt like riding a bike. At other times I wanted to stop the songs and say "What are you doing? What am I doing?" but I'm not sure the attentive and extremely sweet living-room audience of 26 noticed a hitch. That's the beauty of playing your original music for open people who aren't familiar with it. You can always play the "I meant to do that" card.

After the show, the fire pit was lit, booze was consumed and people partied 'til after two. I however went to bed, since I had been up early for hot yoga, helped prepare the house for the evening box social and was plum tuckered out.

Big thanks to Karen and David for putting me up, and hosting this fantastic event.