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the i just go by my name tour

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February 17th Milo is coming to NOLA



Abandoned Hamster Wheel Tour


Jonathan Brown and Roses on a Good Day (full album)

Dear Universe, Thanks for September #AbandonedHamsterWheelTour

AbandonedHamsterWheelJournal # 4

As soon as I walked into the One Stop in Asheville, I recognized the bartender. My old buddy, McIver, from College of Charleston, was serendipitously there. I hadn’t seen him in 10 years.

During my set that night, I got a message from a young man who saw me perform earlier on this tour. I won’t say his name, but I’ll paraphrase his message. Basically, he’d been going through some rough stuff and suicide began to seem like a viable option. Basically, he said my song Collapse made him think twice. He said that song saved his life.

All of a sudden all of the uncomfortable details of touring didn’t matter anymore. It didn’t matter that at some of the gigs the audience is so light, they seem to be floating away. And it didn’t matter that some days, I drive five hours for the gig, make no money, and have no place to sleep.

Even the uncomfortable reality that my hometown, Greenville, SC, turns out to be seemingly impossible to book, even that didn’t matter.

So what if I lost my soap, and had to buy new soap, twice. Who gives a fuck? I wrote Collapse to save my own life; it wound up saving someone else’s. Thanks universe. It’s all worth it, so obviously all worth it.

Abandoned Hamster Wheel Tour Journal #3

For a lot of reasons that started a long time ago, The 806 in Amarillo was amazing. Thanks to Maze Forever, Mania, and Daniel Carlos Ramos, Lawless Southern City landed in Amarillo about five years ago. Daniel shared that album the old fashioned way. He handed out hella burned CDs to all his buddies and then like magic, unbeknownst to me, I developed a familiar audience in that town. It’s a surreal experience to venture into a place you’ve never actually set foot, and have people already know your work. Kyla Collier, Thomas Thompson, and Daniel Carlos Ramos screamed “I’ve Never Been Happier” at the after party, and I sorta wanted to cry because I didn’t know my art could travel that far.

Next stop, Tulsa. It was most likely unsafe driving that far, being that tired, but lesson learned. I’ve made a point to put sleep high up on the priority list after that trip. I was so tired that after the show, I forgot my bag, the one with my Roland sp404-sx in it at the venue. Jeff, one of the owners of the The Nitro Lounge, drove to my Couchsurfing-host’s house at three in the morning and delivered it. Thanks Jeff. Thanks universe. Thanks Couchsurfing. Thanks Tulsa. The Nitro Lounge in Tulsa opened its arms wide and caught me.

In Little Rock I got the chance to relax, do laundry, and eat humus. And man, it’s the little things. The show was a small gathering at Guy and Liz’s house. It was so lovely to do something low-key after grinding so hard for a week straight. Guy and I met at the UNO MFA, and we’ve been tight ever since. I wish I got to see him more but I’m grateful for the little time we shared. We belly laughed at the past; we shared excitement for the future. Liz and him are perfect for each other. So cute. Barfably cute together.

Memphis was kind of a bust. It got rescheduled to October 1st, but Richard, my host, put me on to Tigran Hamasyan and that’s some damn good music. Some serious math jazz right there.

I definitely want to play Records With Merritt in Kansas City again. Ann, who runs the spot was so welcoming, so gracious. Shortly after I arrived, she hooked me up with a bacon cheeseburger, fries, and a stanky IPA. The crowd at Records With Merritt was so into it. Money-wise, it was runner-up for best show of the tour so far, taking second to Amarillo. It was an honor to share the stage with FaceFace and Lord Agave. They’re super great dudes who make fantastic music.

The Urban Sandbox in Chicago reminded me of my roots. To see young people share their art and support each other brought me back to the importance of community. So much of writing is a solitary experience. But the refining of it, the workshopping of it, the sharing of it, that takes people. And pretty soon, those people help shape the art, but they also shape who you are. I met Tyler Smith at The Prague Summer Program in 2011. We’ve stayed in touch. Wrote letters. And in Chicago two three nights ago, we ate pizza and drank Russian 40s on his back porch.

Last night, Minneapolis was a bit awkward at first, but it ended well. The dude who ran the spot thought I was a singer songwriter with an acoustic guitar. The crowd was so not expecting me, but they warmed up pretty quick.

This morning I got to explore the 5th Element record store and pick up some new tunes and a sweet Rhymesayers snapback. I’ve wanted to walk through those doors for ten years. Today was the day.


I wanted to update this AbandonedHamsterWheelJournal more than I am, but the last three days, I’ve had over eight hours in the car between each city. Today feels like a vacation. It’s only two hours to Eau Claire, WI from Minneapolis. Tonight I rock out with Midwest Mayhem Wish me luck.

All the love,

Jonathan Brown

AbandonedHamsterWheelTour Journal #2

Dessa has this commencement speech I’ve watched at least 18 times.  Hands down, it was one of my top five lessons of all time to teach.  Every class for the past three years got the business on that one.  Dessa speaks of the value of failing with conviction.  I’m not going to totally spoil the punch line or attempt to paraphrase because you should see it for yourself.   But last night, I was reminded of the part where she talks about the Panera Bread gig.

Last night the crowd was thin.  See through thin.

Sean Marka touched the stage and rocked all the way out with his band. He just started Weapons Records.  Love the hustle.  LOVE the hustle.  “Quit your job, start a business and read more!”  

Lo Fi, another guy who touched the stage, is a one-way plane ticket to another planet.  It’s a turbulent ride in a good way full of type of bumps that make you hold your breath and nod your head sporadically. If you and Neil deGrasse Tyson dropped acid and he whispered space facts on the back of your sweaty neck.  My words aren’t doing Lo Fi’s set justice.  You gotta see him in person.

Chief and The Doomsday Device rocked the stage exactly the way his name says.  His rhymes and beats captured our attention like he was the president with his finger on the big red button.  His suitcase full of gadgets and do-dads pumped out apocalyptic boom-bap.  Did I mention fantastic transitions?   Seamless.

Symmetry, the homey from Grid Squid Entertainment, had the daunting task of kicking off the night; he rocked it like a gentlemen.  He spoke to us, not at us.  We felt connected, not preached to.  And I love that shit.  I love it when hip hop artists don’t do the when I say hip, you say replacement, stuff when the crowd is thin.  Kazee Queen joined him for one song.  And she really STOOD ON THE CHAIR AT PANAERA BREAD.

Side note:  Sometimes you wake up covered in what you worry could be bed bug bites.  It’s during those times your worry grows into the suspicion that your car is festering with pests that need to eat you to stay alive.  Calamine lotion helps with the itch.  Alternate nostril breathing mitigates the subtle anxiousness.

On to the next one.  Fort Worth bound.  Ohhhh snap.  And I got a piece of real press today.  Here’s a link… http://amarillo.com/entertainment/get-out-music/2015-09-02/brown-aims-provoke-thought-through-music


Article in the Amarillo Globe News


#AbandonedHamsterWheelTour 1st Journal

I woke up under a Donald Trump piñata, and beside a wall covered in stuffed animals at Super Happy Fun Land.

Donald Trump Piñata

I should explain. If ever you get the chance to actually go to Super Happy Fun Land, please do. It’s like stepping inside the mind of a giant mad genius. Oh, and this mad genius is wearing a pizza truck for an earring. And this delicious pizza truck stays open till 3ish.

Brian, the gentleman who runs Super Happy Fun Land, was kind enough to let me sleep there for a night. I’m rarely one to refuse hospitality.

During my set, a gregarious kitten walked on stage. I pet it during the whole third verse of It’s Not Your Fault. That was a first. How awesome would it be to have a kitten on stage all the time?


#tourgoals #catcircus

But that’s the fun part. Nothing is consistent. Everything is always always changing.   Tonight I playing on the smallest PA I’ve ever seen. It’s three kittens big at most.

Driving through the sticks of The South, you see some wacky stuff. And by wacky, I mean racist. Earlier today I was reminded of how privileged I am when I came across this sign.


Translated, this sign says, “You will most likely get fucked up right here if you’re not white.” Eek. Or maybe it doesn’t say that. Maybe the owners of this establishment only want to ensure that tasers and confederate flags are readily available at a reasonable price for all people of all races. But I doubt it.

Here’s a #tourlife hack. Get a gym membership to Planet Fitness and shower there. Sure, they have exercise equipment, and yeah, I get my elliptical on, but a shower when you need it is so clutch.