32 Days on the Road - Detroit Edition
Getting back in the swing of things - seems like that's what we are always doing, whether is acclimating to sleeping in a different hotel every night or coming home. Supposedly, its good to have a routine. We usually do have one, it just changes with the seasons.....or by the week. After a fantastic weekend of breaking out of a tight schedule, I thought, why not blog about it?
Everybody needs a break
Addressing the need to stay still for a while for our well being and productivity, we've been home in the Motor City since July 6th. Its now July 30th, and an action packed few weeks its been. Studio time, acoustic dates, some weekend long regional travel, and all the fun stuff like paying bills, catching up on household chores and booking shows. But we took Saturday night off this last weekend and got a lot of mileage out of a great night out!
A week in the studio about an hour and a half from our house... Mixing - Dylan is astonished by how good things sound.
We had a no-cover gig w our friend at Motown Harley Davidson - thanks for everyone that came out and bought merch to support our studio work!
First we checked out the Trumbull and Porter hotel in the Corktown Neighborhood of Detroit to see Chef Jay, a friend from a group we watch Walking Dead with when we are home. The public spaces are fantastic - with a great courtyard and stage where they have movie nights and music. Its a great little oasis and reminds me of the Beer Gardens in Texas Hillcountry. We sat at the bar and tried some delicious appetizers recommended by Chef Jay - Tomato Tartare and a Tuna dish. Still dreaming about it.
After that we headed to my "Alma Mater", Cafe D'mongos --- A little history
To me, to know Detroit is to understand Cafe D'mongos. Its a treasure of a speakeasy/dive bar owned and operated by one of my favorite people on the planet and long time entrepreneur in the city. The place was there pre Quicken Loans, long before the massive gentrification we are seeing in the city. For a time, all that existed on this strip of Griswold was a tiny synagogue and a greek strip club across the street. But Dmongo's stood strong like the little rabbit hole in the middle of a city, with its welcoming patio and cute facade. Relics from the city's history, for better and worse, art, and an often coveted collection of personal items decorate the place. Mr Mongo had owned it for a long time - it was a Jazz Club in the 80s. He reopened it in the 2000's to the delight of many, and it is in my opinion, Detroit's family room. A diverse cross section of friends that can only be described as family. If you aren't family, you will be.
Rich Cole, Mike Skill of the Romantics and Larry Mongo on the left at Cafe D'mongo's
A little more history
On a personal note, Mr. Mongo hired me to sing at his club when I was going through a very difficult time in my life. I'll never forget the night I was there squeezed in next to the piano singing, as my phone buzzed incessantly in my purse. A barrage of profanity laced messages followed from an ex, angered that I had exercised the sliver of self confidence I had remaining to part ways. Over the course of the next few years Mr. Mongo gave me work at his barber shop when I was drowning in self-doubt and overwhelmed by my circumstances. He hired me to sing, and as always - provided with his staff the little slice of heaven on earth that is Cafe Dmongos.
We met with friends at D'mongo's and had a couple cocktails, reunited with the staff and regulars there. We were asked to jump in and perform with the house band, which of course we did. What a great time of impromptu music. And as we wrapped up, who should walk in but Detroit's own Romantics. Rich Cole's wife who got up and sang one of their hits with Mike Skill. Also, in the house stepping up to the mic, Judge Mathis. Proving once again anything is bound to happen at Cafe D'mongo's and you never know who will walk in.
After that we headed to Mexicantown, the go-to for after hours food (if you are not in the mood for a coney). Wrapping things up at around 3:30. Sleep and up early in the morning
In a van down by the river.... Gorgeous weather. Sometimes an hour by the water is all you need to recharge. Looking across at Belle Isle in Detroit