December 3rd, 2014
WHOA! I can't believe an entire month has gone by since I've written, especially with all that's been happening. Life hasn't slowed down any in the last few weeks, that's for sure.
After a few days of catching up on sleep when I got back from the fall tour, I quickly got back on the road with a new group of fellas; My Politic. We traveled through Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina for a week of shows and it was a blast. We met some great people along the way and played for some really fantastic audiences. By the end of the week I wasn't ready for it to be over. We drove through the night after our last show so that I could be on an early morning flight out of Nashville on my way back to Montana where I was lucky to arrive just in time to catch the tail end of a very dear friend's wedding. From there my exhausted body and immune system gave out on me and I came down with what I was sure was Ebola or the plague. Luckily I had planned to rest and relax at home with my parents until Thanksgiving so I had my dear mother by my side to assure me I wasn't actually dying and to feed me soup, tea, and 'hippie' herbs until I was back on my feet. I got to enjoy a great Thanksgiving with so many friends and family members before quickly flying back to Nashville. I had decided fairly suddenly I would be relocating homes and had a very short time frame to do so. I chose to move a little farther away from downtown and into a place that was a lot more affordable, and I had one day to pack my entire room and move out of one place and into another. Now I'm sitting in my new bedroom (which is actually just an attic in some friends' home) and enjoying a slightly slower paced week. The attic is a little cold, and I'm fairly certain it's more than a little haunted, but it's also hidden behind a secret bookshelf door in the house, so obviously I love it. I think it will make a good story someday too.
I'm beyond excited for Christmas and my time off this month before all the craziness of the new year starts. There are so many big things in the works for 2015 already and I can't wait to share some of them as everything becomes a little more put together.
OH! And I almost forgot, today was the BEST. I woke up to a text from a friend telling me he'd heard Fickle Heart on the radio the night before and I could hardly contain my excitement. Although I've still never heard myself on the radio, I was thrilled that my own songs were actually being played on the air! Almost immediately afterward, I received the sweetest review of the entire album from a blogger, as well as a very generous email from a fan in France, and my first paycheck from iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon! It was a great way to get me motivated for the day and to reassure me that things are going to work out. This year has been such a roller coaster and I wouldn't trade a minute of it. I am beyond blessed in a thousand ways I never imagined and couldn't be more grateful for days like today, and years like this year.
October 29th, 2014
I apologize for disappearing from writing for so long. The past few weeks have been beyond anything I ever could have imagined. I'm exhausted to a point I didn't know was possible, and I've fallen in love with places I didn't know existed. It's incredible how eclectic the landscapes are in just one country, or even just one state. In the past few days I've seen everything from beaches to dense forests, deserts to giant cities, canyons to mountains, and everything in between. Driving along the west coast was filled with some of the most breathtaking sites I've ever seen. We wound through deep, tall forests of redwoods, which immediately gave way to rocky cliffs, and ocean views. San Francisco was especially beautiful and I felt like I could stay there forever. I could stay a lot of places forever..Coeur d'Alene, Seattle, Portland, San Diego, the list goes on and on. We reached the Grand Canyon right at sunset on Monday and I thought I might sit on that ledge for the rest of my life, watching the colors of the canyon change. My heart will always pull for Montana though. That's one thing that has been solidified in my thoughts on this road trip. I will always go to Montana. I'm ready to get back to Nashville for now though. I'm most excited to sleep in my own bed, and go for a run, and cook a meal that is more than granola bars or easy mac. It will be a short stay in Tennessee though. I hit the road again after only about a week off. This time I'll be touring with a group called My Politic. They're a fantastically talented crew and I can't wait to start a new adventure with them. We'll be staying a little closer to home this round (Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina), and it will just be a week long, but then I'll be headed back to the mountains again for some real rest and family time over Thanksgiving dinner. I'll have lots of stories to share at the table this year, that's for sure.
I am always astounded by the kindness of people I meet along these journeys. Whether it be someone I've never seen, someone I haven't talked to in years, or someone I know well, people continue to amaze me with their graciousness. So many new and old friends have taken us in, fed us, come to support us at our shows, promoted us, given us gifts, advice, and well wishes beyond what I could ever dream of. Watching the way people open their hearts to others because of music is an incredible experience to witness and I'm so grateful that I get to see it and be part of it every day. This tour has tested my faith in myself and my future in more ways than I can count, but every step of the way I've found another person waiting to lend a hand and encourage me to take another step forward. This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life, and it's because of the people who make it possible. Tomorrow is the last show on this leg of the road, and as ready as I am for my own bed, it's a little bittersweet. I'm sad this round is over, but I'll remember these moments for the rest of my life, and I can't wait to start making more memories in each coming adventure.
October 8th, 2014
We're more than halfway through tour and I can't believe it's coming to an end so quickly. We've been spending the last few days in some of my absolute favorite places in the world; Missoula, MT and Glacier National Park. It's always breathtaking in the park, and this time of year was no letdown. The colors are just starting to change, and the peaks of the mountains are topped off with snow already. We drove up Going to the Sun Road to Logan's Pass, where it was closed, but the view was incredible. Afterward we hiked up to Avalanche Lake, another one of my favorite sites in the world.
Missoula has been as great as ever too. Our show was a blast and it's been nice to catch up with so many people while showing the guys around my college stomping grounds.
We're headed for Coeur d'Alene tomorrow, Spokane on Friday, Seattle on Saturday, and Portland on Sunday, playing shows in each city. I wish we had a little more time to explore the areas, because I love the pacific northwest, but I'm hoping we'll get to catch at least a few cool sites while we're driving around and performing this weekend.
I'm excited to meet a few more people on the rest of the trip, and thrilled to announce that I'll be hitting the road almost immediately again after I get back to Nashville. I've been working hard on another small southern tour in November with a fantastic group called My Politic. We'll be touring for a week around Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee. It's another experience that I just can't wait to get started on.
Until then, I'll keep you posted on the rest of this western adventure!
September 26th, 2014
I'm finally back in Montana, my absolute favorite place in the world. Today marks three weeks that we've been on the road, and what a wild ride it has been. My computer crashed while I was in Utah, so I haven't had the chance to write since then, but now that it's back up and running, I'll catch you up.
In the last few weeks we've played more than 13 shows in 8 different states, visited 4 national parks, driven thousands of miles, and met about a million new people. It's mind blowing how incredible this country is, there are so many things to see, and folks to meet! Some of my favorite things so far have been:
Manitou Springs and Estes Park Colorado
The hot springs in Steamboat, Colorado
Moab and Arches National Park in Utah
The Tetons and Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park
The Beartooth Highway
and Montana (of course)
Every single city we've stopped in so far has been filled with exciting and friendly people who have taken incredibly good care of us. We've had so many people give us a place to sleep, a meal, a few drinks, gas money, or just advice, and I am continually amazed by the hospitality and kindness.
I'm playing a show in my hometown tomorrow and can't wait to see all the old familiar faces. It's been so fun being home for a few days. I got to show Zack and Chris where I grew up, we went fishing, shot some guns, took the horses for a ride, and played a small show in Billings to a very gracious crowd. We've also been able to finally catch up on some sleep, run errands, and actually relax for a bit, which has been much needed.
There are about five weeks left on the road, and tons of places left to visit. I'm sure it will be just as exciting as the first few weeks have been, and can't wait to see what else we find!
September 10th, 2014
I apologize for the gap of silence, it's been a wildly busy few weeks. We've been on the road nearly a week already on tour and it's been incredible so far. The album was released last Thursday and I was so excited to finally get it out to people. I've gotten so many incredible reviews from people since dropping it, it was an amazing feeling. I released a video for the title track (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXRb7u1AziU) and was overwhelmed by the response. I couldn't believe how many folks shared, commented, and liked the video. I have incredible people on my side, and they remind me so often of how lucky I am.
I made it back down south just in time for the show in Nashville to kick off tour and celebrate the album release last Thursday. The next day, we got on the road. We played St. Louis on Friday, Columbia on Saturday, and Wichita on Sunday. I loved every single show. People have been nothing but welcoming and so so kind with their words. I'm thrilled that people are liking the new music.
After our shows over the weekend, we continued on to Colorado, where we camped for a couple of nights and drove towards Denver. We'll be playing shows tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday again around the area (Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver) before doing some more camping in the mountains. It's been really fun showing Zack and Chris (my bass player) this side of the country. Neither of them has been this far west before, and it's hilarious to see their reactions to the different climate and landscape. Yesterday we found a sunflower field, and I even got a little giddy. I CANNOT wait to get into the real mountains and show them where I grew up.
We were hit by a drunk driver on Saturday after our gig in Wichita, but luckily all of us were fine, and although it was dented pretty well, the car still drives. We are headed to a mechanic today though to make sure nothing serious happened. Hopefully that was our one and only bout of bad luck for the trip and it's out of the way early.
Tour is only just getting started, we have about 7 more weeks to go, but I am having the time of my life on this new adventure so far and can't wait to see what else this trip has in store for us!
August 23rd, 2014
I've been cooped up inside all day since my video shoot was, (once again), canceled due to rain. I found my way to Bozeman on Thursday to start shooting, but we've been rained out every day so far. Tomorrow morning we're up at the crack of dawn to shoot, whatever the weather is, and hopefully we'll get some great work in. I'm tired to sitting around in the drizzle. It hasn't been a completely dull stop here in Bozeman, though. Last night I spontaneously ended up on top of a mountain with some of my best friends and went skinny-dipping for the first time. It was hilarious and freezing cold, and we had a blast. I think I laughed the whole way back to town, (between the teeth chattering..)
It's been strange not working on the album anymore. I've been dedicating so much time to it the past few months, I feel a little lost now that it's out of my hands. I am DYING to see/hear the final product when I get back to Nashville. It'll be a crazy couple of weeks between now and then. I'm headed back to my hometown next week to spend a little time with my parents, my horses, and my thoughts, then I'll be back off to Nashville with only a few days to spare before the album release and tour kickoff. I can't believe it's already so close to tour! It's going to be wild spending two full months on the road, and I can't wait for the adventure to begin. We'll be playing so many shows and seeing so many new places along the way. It's going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for sure.
It's been a great break here in Montana, but I'm ready to get back to work soon. I'm not very good at relaxing, and I'm getting a little anxious for all the craziness the fall will bring. I'm mostly caught up on sleep (and my sanity) and I'm ready for the exhaustion/excitement of tour and the album release to begin on September 4th!
August 13th, 2014
Sorry for disappearing off the grid for so long. I needed to get away from the world for a minute and remember where I came from, so I've been hiding out in the mountains of my homeland the past couple of weeks. It's been so refreshing to be home. Sometimes I get caught up in the craziness of life and forget just how magical Montana is, and how lucky I am to be from such a place. I spent the first few days with family on the lake, then made my way to Missoula to work on videos, booking, finalizing the album and a little bit of playing around in the hills. I got to join in on a 15 mile hike on Sunday to summit Lolo Peak at 9,600 feet. I haven't hiked like that in over a year and although it nearly killed me, it was one of the best days spent with people I love, seeing some of the most beautiful views. I touched snow in the middle of summer, swam in a glacial lake, climbed rocks, and crawled my way to the top of a mountain where I drank champagne with the best people. It was the best day.
The album is very nearly coming to a close. By Friday we will have all of the master mixes finished and then it'll be out of our hands and off to the printers. I'm beyond ecstatic for the release coming up September 4th and have so many butterflies already. I can't wait to share this piece of myself with everyone and get back on the road for tour in less than a month.
Alongside the rest of the world, I was shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of beloved actor, Robin Williams on Monday. My emotions actually caught me off guard, as I wept for a man I didn't actually know. Some of you know that suicide is an issue very dear to my heart and something I have even struggled personally with. From the time I was about 12, I dealt with severe depression and anxiety, and for many years, didn't believe I would make it to 20 years old. Then when I was 19 I lost my cousin to suicide while she was staying with my family. It was one of the most difficult periods of my life thus far and I am incredibly lucky and grateful that in that time I was pushed to find the help I needed. I am now happier and healthier than I ever imagined was possible, and I ache for those who haven't found that yet. When I heard the news of Robin Williams, I hurt for him and his family. It's hard to believe that a man who made so many smile, could be hurting so deeply inside. Never in my life have I felt so much loss over a person I never had the chance to meet, but I legitimately mourned this man who impacted my childhood without knowing it. What an incredible person to have so much influence that the world would feel sincere loss. I just pray for anyone else who feels the way he must have. From my own experience, I wish I could tell every single individual fighting their own fight that it DOES get better, there is always an alternative, and suicide is never a solution. There is so much joy to be found in this life and I hope all of you know you are loved and needed. I hope you never give up. I hope Robin Williams is at peace, and I hope his family will feel the warmth of the world's giant group hug happening right now.
My very first tattoo was of a small semicolon on my left wrist and symbolizes a meaning that I hold very dear. I hope it will have some meaning to you: "A semicolon is used in a place where the author could have ended the sentence, but chose not to."
July 14th, 2014
I don't know if anything I've ever done has made me feel so many emotions at one time. I've never been as excited, stressed, exhausted, confident, nervous, overwhelmed, proud, or anxious as I have been while spending these past two weeks in the studio. I never could have imagined the work that would go into a studio record, and it's been such a wild ride trying to keep up with it all.
This week we've been working on vocals and it's been very up and down for me. These songs are so personal and important to who I am as a person as well as an artist, and it's a very emotional experience to get in the booth and sing each line. I feel like I've poured my heart and my soul into each lyric and each melody. At times it's been the most frustrating feeling, when something doesn't come out just right, or when I struggle with a line, but other times it's been incredibly rewarding and overwhelming to hear something that's only been in my mind come out perfectly in a song. We only have two more days of vocals and one day to finish any overdubs before we're completely done recording. It's amazing how quickly the whole process has flown by. I feel like just yesterday we started with pre-production and suddenly we're on the last few days of tracking. There's still loads more work to do though once we step out of the studio, and I'll be keeping busy with all the editing for the next few weeks.
The fall tour has really started falling into place and I'm thrilled to get back on the road in September. It's going to be an even crazier journey than the first and I have no idea what to expect this time around, but I know it will be a wild adventure nonetheless.
I was so excited when I finally received my t-shirts and stickers this week (irawolf.bandcamp.com/merch) and was blown away by how many people started snagging them so quickly. I thought I would have loads to sell on tour, but as fast as they're going online, I might just run out before we get on the road. I'm incredibly grateful though, heaven knows my wallet is too.
I started getting really stressed again about money last week. I haven't had an actual income since quitting my jobs before tour in April, and we had to add an extra studio day, bringing the price of the album even farther over budget than it already was. Two months without a job and my entire savings in one project has put my bank account in a very unsettling position. I've literally put all I have on the line for this record and tour, and although it's all been a huge risk up to this point, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'm on the right path and that everything will work out the way it's supposed to. I've always been a strong believer that things happen the way they're meant to. I'm also beyond blessed to have the fans, friends, and family supporting me the way that they do, and I try to never take that for granted. I have some really great people on my side, so no matter what happens, I know I'll never really be without.
July 3rd, 2014
After four days, 48 hours, and about a million different takes, I've finished my very first studio session experience at 1092 Studios! It's been so surreal to work in such an amazing place and I'm beyond grateful for the opportunity. It's still hard to believe that it's actually happening sometimes.
The Recording People (Becky and Sean) are working as hard as ever and have been putting in so many extra hours to get everything put together and sounding great. We've also been so lucky to have some of Nashville's most talented musicians on each session. Everyone has brought so much to the record and it's starting to sound exactly as I always imagined it. The hardest part now is being patient. I'm just too excited to hear the final product!
I will say that it hasn't been the easiest week of my life. It's definitely been a lot more work than I ever could have guessed, and at times it's been almost more tiring or frustrating than I thought I could take, but the highs far outweigh the lows. The blisters on my fingers are so worth those few perfect guitar takes, and the longest days of running on only a few hours of sleep are some of the days that I'll remember for the rest of my life.
I've been so consumed by studio life this week that I almost forgot about all the other exciting things coming in the near future. I finally have some official 'Ira Wolf' t-shirts on their way to my door next week, along with a big stack of wolf stickers, and I can't wait to see how they all turned out. Zack and I have also started to fill out quite a few dates for the fall tour and I'm getting really excited to get back on the road and start meeting people out west! Everything is happening so fast, but I love every bit of it.
It's crazy to think that exactly one year and one week ago today I landed in Nashville literally by the flip of coin. I didn't know a single soul, I had no job, no home, and no idea what I was doing here, but I've always believed that the biggest risks lead to the greatest reward. I can't believe how much hard work it's taken to get to the point I'm at this week, but it feels better than anything in the world. Everything is really starting to fall into place and I once again feel as if I'm doing exactly what I should be doing. Surreal as it may be, I am actually living out everything I always dreamed of, and THAT is one hell of a feeling.
June 23rd, 2014
This record is happening so fast and I'm only getting more and more excited for it as we dig deeper into ideas and instrumentation.
We've been working hard on all the pre-production this week and auditioning different musicians to find the perfect fit for the studio. I'm so thrilled with the players we've found, they all are bringing such a cool vibe and sound to the project in their own unique way. We'll be in the studio in less than a week and I'm dying to hear what all the songs will sound like once everything starts coming together. I'm still recovering from all the travel and lack of sleep over the past couple months, but I think I'm starting to get used to the fact that my lifestyle no longer allows much rest time. It's fun to be so busy, and I'm loving all the excitement as the album gets closer and closer to it's final product. Can't wait to share it with the world!
June 11th, 2014
I’m sitting on another airplane right now typing this. It
seems that airplanes have become a common writing place for me these days,
which is nice. I love being in flight and watching the clouds, the towns, and
especially the mountains when they come into view. This week I’m headed back to
Montana to sing the national anthem at Nitro National Pro Hill Climbs. It’s
been a tradition since I was a kid and even being in
Nashville, I couldn’t miss it this year. I’m excited to be back in my hometown,
it will be a much needed few days of relaxing and reflecting on all the big
changes going on in my life.
As soon as I landed back in Nashville from Fargo last week
we went to work on the album. We’ve been doing arrangements and
instrumentation, recording demos and perfecting lyrics, and cutting down the
song choices to the select few that will end up on the record. It’s been
exhausting, but so exciting. I can’t believe how hard my producers, Becky and
Sean work. They’ve put in over eight hours a day with me and then they go home
and work continuously on the demos and arrangements. I feel pretty lucky to
have them on my side. I’ve been putting in quite a few extra hours as well with
booking and planning the next tour along with practicing and gearing up for
recording day. It’s all happening so fast that I’m having trouble keeping up,
but I know it will all be worth the hard work this fall.
I’ll be back in Nashville next week to start auditioning and
rehearsing with potential musicians for the studio sessions and then it’s just
a matter of a few weeks until we’re recording. I’m going to try and soak up as
much mountain air and quiet, (and sleep) as I can this week while still getting
a little rowdy at hill climbs, and then head home ready to take on this next
few months of craziness. I can’t wait!
June 3rd, 2014
I'M MAKING AN ALBUM!
The Kickstarter project was beyond successful, thanks to some really wonderful people, and I start recording in just a few weeks! Today I met with my producers to begin working on pre-production (arrangement, instrumentation, lyrics, etc.) and I'm only getting more and more excited about the project coming together.
Tour flew by way faster than I could have ever imagined. It all seems like a bit of a blur now that it's done. I think by the end of the month I was already exhausted, then I added a last minute trip to Fargo, ND to perform at a high school graduation party for a very sweet family. It was such fun weekend, but between two all-nighters in a matter of four days and all the travel, by the time I landed back in Nashville, all I wanted to do was sleep for a month. I won't get much of a chance to rest up though with all the album work and tour booking I have left to do this week.
Zack and I are performing our first Nashville show since tour tonight. It will be nice to see some familiar faces and wind down the performing work for a bit. I'll have tomorrow off because I'll be at the hospital most of the day. It's nothing major, but my vocal chords have been under a lot of stress due to my ever worsening acid reflux, so the doctors will be putting me under anesthesia and using a camera to look into my stomach. It sounds pretty gross to me, but I'm really hoping they can finally find a cause and a cure for the issue. I'm actually looking forward to the excuse to sleep most of the day. Then Thursday it's straight back to work with the producers. We are checking out studios and deciding which we'd like to use, and continuing with pre-production.
Life doesn't seem to be slowing down at all, but I'm having the most fun trying to keep up. I wouldn't change a minute of this crazy ride for anything.
May 24th, 2014
Today I landed back in Nashville after 22 days on the road. I can't believe how fast the past few weeks flew by, it's all a big blur of music and travel and new people and some of the greatest memories I think I'll ever make. I'm feeling so overwhelmingly blessed that I've had the kind of opportunities that I have had this month and I wouldn't trade this experience for the world. I feel like I'm right where I need to be and doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing, as if every mistake or wrong turn has led me straight to this point in my life. I've never been so excited for the future or more sure about myself as an artist. This tour proved to me that my music can connect with people on such an incredible level and I feel honored to share that kind of a connection with someone I've only just met. It's truly been inspirational beyond belief.
I ended my 365 photo project today and it's almost hard to believe I've been away from Missoula for a year already. So much has changed and happened and it feels like I only started this big journey yesterday. I guess time really does fly when you're doing what you love.
We have a few days off here in Nashville before a couple more gigs in Knoxville and Atlanta to close out the tour, but there's no time to rest. There's still so much work to do for the next tour and I have meetings this week to start figuring out logistics of the album so we can start working on it next week, plus the Kickstarter project is in it's final week ( http://kck.st/1f6Ay6z ), so I have a ton of work to do still. Everything is happening so fast that I'm having somewhat of a hard time keeping up, but I'm loving every minute of it. Even at my lowest when a show doesn't go as I hoped, or when I'm completely exhausted from late nights and long drives, I remember that I really, truly am doing what I always wanted to do. That is an amazing thing and I am eternally grateful to anyone who has made it possible. Life really is beautiful.
May 17th, 2014
We are already two weeks into our eastern tour and having so much fun. We've had quite a few stops along the way and just landed in upstate New York last night. It's a lot colder now that we're up north, but it's so fun to be in the cities. We played three nights in NYC and then in Boston, and I loved seeing so many familiar faces from Berklee. We are staying with Zack's parents for a few days now while we play lots of shows in Fredonia, Lewiston, and Buffalo, and then we will have a day off to sleep. I think both of us are exhausted, but it's all been so worth it. I love meeting all the new people and seeing so many new places. It's truly been an amazing experience so far and I still can't believe I'm actually living out my dream. People have been immensely supportive too. I am halfway through my Kickstarter project ( http://kck.st/1f6Ay6z ) and have raised $2,513 with two weeks left to hit $5,000. It will be so awesome to get into the studio when we get back to Nashville and start working on the fall tour.
I've been getting some great feedback from people about the new material at each show which makes me really excited for the new album. There are just too many good things happening and I'm so grateful for the opportunities I've been given. We are headed to a rehearsal for our gig tonight in Zack's hometown of Lewiston, so I'm off, but I'll write again before we finish our trip.
May 8th, 2014
I'm officially on my very first tour! It's been six days since we left Nashville, and so far it's been nothing short of an amazing experience. We played our first show in Savannah, GA to an incredibly fun and wild crowd who partied with us until the wee hours of morning, and it was so worth the exhaustion we felt the next day. We've made stops in Hilton Head, Charleston, and Myrtle Beach and are playing in Richmond, VA tonight and I have loved meeting all the new people and sharing my music. Between gigs at night, I've spent a lot of time on the beach, and life feels a bit like a dream at the moment; it's hard to believe all of this is real.
I launched a Kickstarter campaign about two weeks ago to gain support for my new album and the next tour out west ( http://kck.st/1f6Ay6z ) and I'm am blown away by the level of support it's already received. The goal is $5,000 and has to be reached by May 31st or I don't get any of it. It's almost reached $2,000 already which is astounding. I can't wait to get the new album recorded and be able to tour west in September.
I'm learning a lot about tour life, music, and myself, yet again with this new adventure and am so excited about the future I can hardly contain it.
It's about time to jump up on stage here in Richmond, but I'll keep writing as the road continues!