Join us as Eve Essex reveals one of her crazy stories from being on tour.

(photo credit: Alice Plati)

In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the avant-pop artist, Eve Essex, shares one of her stories from being on the road. You can check out the story below:

After releasing my first solo album Here Appear in 2018, I set out from Brooklyn for a few dates with Kayla Guthrie. The first show was a promising start, at an energetic DIY space in Philly. We’d planned the tour in deep winter, optimistic for sunshine and mellow, spring road trip vibes. But as we departed for our next stop in Washington D.C., all promise of sun was quickly wiped out. A haze of slush and hail fell down on us, and the highway slowed to a crawl– a nor'easter was howling across the eastern seaboard. 95 and all routes east had been shut down over the Susquehanna, because wind threatened to blow cars off bridges. With 70 miles to cross and 3 hours until soundcheck, we frantically detoured inland for another bridge that was maybe still open, alongside seemingly all of 95’s traffic. Crossing into rural Maryland hours later we knew soundcheck wasn’t happening, but the show still felt possible.

As we raced through rural forests, downed power lines– still sparking in the road– repeatedly forced us to change course. Eventually we descended into a valley of rolling farmland, and encountered true chaos. Our path was strewn with trapped vehicles. The storm had turned narrow, dirt roads into deep wells of mud. At the bottom of the valley, all paths converged where an 18 wheeler had skidded into a ditch, blocking traffic across a tiny, single-lane bridge. Hundreds of cars swarmed, many now losing power or running out of gas from idling so long in the cold. We joined the exodus of drivers wandering open, muddy fields in the dark, desperately looking for a phone signal and a place to pee. Eventually the hopeless mood broke, the honking dissolved, and commuters began banding together to take charge of the situation. Jumper cables were passed down the line. Self-appointed traffic cops directed crowds with flashlights from the roofs of their cars. 4x4s with tow chains pulled cars out of ditches and mud. Incredibly, we watched dozens of motorists assemble to push the jackknifed tractor trailer back onto the road with their bare hands. As we inched back toward the coast and cell service, we accepted the reality that making the gig was now impossible.

Google Maps had been short-circuiting all day. At this point it went totally off the rails and our parade of traffic wound its way into random suburban developments. Blind or desperate trust in the app’s directions trapped massive Greyhound buses into tiny culdesacs, where they performed thousand point turns and demolished mailboxes. Confused homeowners gaped from their lawns as their streets were choked with traffic well past midnight. We never made it to D.C., insead landing in Baltimore, our next tour stop. After loading our gear into a friend's borrowed apartment we set out (on foot) to find food around 2AM. At a 7-11 checkout counter, panic struck as we realized Kayla’s wallet was gone. We dug through the car and turned all our bags inside out. The wallet was nowhere, and we fell asleep exhausted and resigned.

When we woke up, Kayla was amazed to find texts from her roommate: another victim of the traffic nightmare had discovered her wallet somewhere in the mud. He’d been heading north to Brooklyn, and delivered it to her house that morning while we slept in. The apartment we were crashing in was furnished solely with a futon, an elaborate stereo, and about a thousand LPs. After exploring a botanical garden, we devoted ourselves to digging through the record collection. I found Carla Bley’s Escalator Over The Hill, and selected it purely for its baroque metallic gold cover. Completely transfixed, I listened to all 6 sides through in one sitting. The following night we played a wonderfully intimate show in a Baltimore loft. The drive back to New York after was, to our relief, completely drama free, and Carla Bley remains my favorite musician.

Keep up with Eve Essex on her website, Instagram, SoundCloud, and Twitter.