Gideon Irving's The Horse Tour Hits The American West
Gideon Irving, a multi-instrumentalist couchsurfing troubadour, spent most of the past decade creating elaborate shows and performing them in private homes of all shapes and sizes, and occasionally in more traditional contexts like theaters and festivals (including a triumphant debut at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2015 and 2016 and two critically-acclaimed, sold-out runs in New York City in 2016 and 2018).
He has visited over 600 homes in nine countries on four continents. The New York Times critic called him "so easygoing and free of cynicism that you may contemplate hosting him, too" while The New Yorker described him as "Pee-Wee Herman's hootenanny cousin, springing delightful surprises on his guests." In what Gideon calls "a logical next step" in his journey - which so far saw him traveling by bicycle, on rollerblades with a modified shopping cart, and by automobiles - the eclectic musician embarks on the most ambitious of his projects to date, The Horse Tour - a musical horseback endeavor across the American West, traveling with his hoofed companions.
Departing from Creede, CO in September of 2019 and concluding in Yellowstone National Park in October of 2020, the tour will meander through New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming. Gideon will be traveling alone with two horses through public lands, national and state parks, Indian reservations and large sections of the Continental Divide Trail as well as The Pacific Crest Trail. Armed with nothing but his voice, body, and a few portable musical instruments, Gideon brings his Stove Top Folk -"a unique blend of songs, stories, and theatrical curiosities" - to America's rural homes largely bypassed by touring popstars and ignored by mass media coverage.
Sept 10th: Departed from Creede, CO towards Continental Divide Trail
Late September: Pagosa Springs, CO
Mid October: Santa Fe, NM - planning to do several shows in the area
Late October / Early November: Grants, New Mexico
Mid-November: Pie Town, New Mexico
Late November: Somewhere within the Tonto National Forest
Mid-December: Outside Kingman, Arizona
Mid-January: Joshua Tree, CA
Early February: Malibu, CA (and the surrounding areas)
Late March: Ojai, CA
May - June: Small towns along the Pacific Crest Trail
Early July: Ukiah CA
Mid-July: Arcata CA
August through September: TBD across Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming (perhaps Montana)
Gideon Irving explains: "Horses inspire a sense of wonder and power. This world is no longer built for horse travel. Horses can bring you to the most beautiful parts of this country where no van, bicycle or shopping cart can go. I have become remarkably disconnected from the planet, animals, plants, myself and I'm looking forward to noticing it more living with those elements in a way that is challenging and new for me. It's unreasonable to travel by horse. I like to think of myself as a great fan of the unreasonable and an advocate for making things more difficult. Also, sharing this wild big dream that has been incredibly hard to realize is meaningful to me. I'm at a place where I find these challenges and the hardships interesting and worthwhile. I feel capable and excited to share the triumphs and failures of such a journey with my audiences and fans near and far."
For Irving, who grew up a secular Jew in New York City and, by his own admission, has had a very limited relationship with the outdoors and animals, the Horse Tour proved a massively and challenging experience which entailed significant sacrifices, tons of learning and meticulous preparation. "A basic rule of horse travel is it will be twice as expensive as you expect it to be and take twice as long. I imagine it will be twice as emotionally overwhelming and exciting as I expect as well," says the musician. "But the notion I had turned into a dream, turned into an obsession, turned into a plan - and before I knew it, I spent all my money, started fundraising in every possible way left everything I knew, and I moved to the middle of nowhere to study with cowboys."
For eight months, Gideon has been living in the remote town of Boulder, Utah (population: 200) where the local residents, Mormon and otherwise, have been his hosts and instructors in horsemanship and essential horse riding lore. Irving also underwent a course on survival skills on the trail - everything from camping, navigation, foraging and finding water, up to first aid and care for horses in emergency situations. "It's an eclectic bunch of mentors, all of whom are friends. They've been incredibly generous and ask so little in return" says Irving. "Sometimes I give them some money, but in most cases, all they ask is that I make myself available to do dishes or help run errands," he explains.
The performances on The Horse Tour will feature mostly brand new songs from the album Glitterbones Bargain (listen here: https://mynameisgideon.bandcamp.com/) , accompanied by a banjo, a penny whistle, harmonica, jaw harps, and possibly a boomtooty - an instrument Gideon would like to invent along the way. All performances are available for a voluntary donation from the audiences and a place to sleep for the artist and his horses; no pre-sold tickets are required. Attendance will be determined by a home capacity and the host's discretion. To book a performance, inquire about his up to date route and schedule, or offer support logistically, socially or financially, email email@example.com or visit www.mynameisgideon.com.