Friends end Midwest summer tour at JAC


Submitted photo Facing Winter will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday at Jackson Avenue Coffee. This will be their last performance of their 2014 summer tour.

Megan Ivey, Verge Editor

Facing Winter vocalist Justin Birchard and solo artist Chris Darby will make Jackson Avenue Coffee their finish-line performance of their summer tour 7 p.m. Saturday.

Birchard left his fellow band members of Facing Winter and joined long-time friend Darby on a 10-day tour. Birchard said it was an easy touring experience because he has been friends with Darby for years.

“We met in an open-mic in Chicago about 10 years ago,” Birchard said. “We’ve been playing together regularly ever since.”

Both artists used the tour to showcase new music.

Darby is performing music off his new album ‘“Cabin Songs,” which will be released at the end of September.

Birchard said he used the tour to test out some new songs.

“I’m kind of getting the feel for the songs that could be on the new Facing Winter album,” he said. “It has a dual purpose. I’m getting ready for songs on our new album and Chris is starting to promote his new album.” Facing Winter’s new album will stick to the heart of acoustic indie vibes.

“This new album will be a little more towards the acoustic indie rock kind of stuff,” Birchard said. “It will be a blend of upbeat songs and somber, introspective ones.”

The tour expands from Illinois to Colorado, with show locations also in Missouri and Iowa.

The tour has included varied types of performances, including an online webcast as the opening show and a “remote cabin” show. Birchard said the remote show was for his friends and family.

“My little brother moved off the grid to a cabin in Blue River, Colorado,” he said. “We thought it would be cool for him to invite friends and neighbors and have a little acoustic show there. It was intimate and fun.”

Birchard said the mountainous terrain made singing vocals a new experience.

“It was at 11,000 feet, so it was a little tricky singing,” he said. “We were getting a little bit out of breath, but we managed to pull it off.”

Birchard said touring the Midwest has given him some interesting stories.

Being surrounded by mountain goats was one memorable event.

“Before one of our evening shows, we went on a hike in Colorado,” he said.

“When we came back there were all of these mountain goats around our cars, and they were licking our cars. It was pretty bizarre.”

While no mountain goats will be present at the JAC, Birchard said he is excited to return to the atmosphere of Charleston.

“Being out on the road you don’t know what to expect,” he said. “Some people treat you really well, and to some people you’re an afterthought.
Dan (Reible, JAC owner) always makes us feel at home.”

Facing Winter plans to finish recording by December and release a new album sometime next spring.

“Cabin Songs” is currently available as a presale digital on Darby’s website

Megan Ivey can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].