made it to Plovdiv, Bulgaria. a cozy club called the Bee Bop Cafe. first show with Midas Fall, who brought a little friend with them.

hope to see you tonight.



raised by swans's photo.

eyes still burning after an extended and tremendously emotional good-bye to Moscow, where i was treated with such open love and kindness that i feel i’ve left an enormous new family behind.

so exhausted and stupid with heartache that i walked off a train without my suitcase in Austria where i’d arranged to have some more CDs delivered (please forget previous panic-stricken emergency message, now deleted – apparently someone has found my suitcase somewhere near Vienna, and i will hopefully get it back in a week or so).

as for my dear friends Kirill, Zlata, Lera and Jenya, who took such lovely care of me, i miss you terribly already. because of my missing suitcase, there will be no samogon to toast you with tonight upon my arrival in Sofia. this makes me sad. on top of being so far away from you, i also lost my beloved green journal at SVO, along with the copy of ‘The Golden Finch’ that i bought in Bamberg. clearly i’m not fit for travelling today. but in all the chaos i have been holding tightly to the memory of our last embraces. and so i am okay. i hope you are too.

спасибо, Россия. thank you to all who helped arrange this very special show, for the beautiful hugs and gifts and conversations you travelled so far to bring to me, and for the lovely moments we shared before, during and after my set. thank you ДИч for having me. the past two nights i sat in my cozy little hostel room surrounded by memories of all of you, the team translating your messages and comments from for me, and i felt like i was being held by all of you at once. i will not forget you. thank you for welcoming me, for stomping and clapping along to ‘night fighter’, for stopping my heart (and the song in its first few notes) in the most shocking and lovely way when i started singing ‘still inside you’. thank you for putting up with my awkward banter and struggles with the microphone stand.

long after the show, K, Z, L, J and i walked to Red Square in the blowing snow – the first snowfall of the year. the square was wonderfully deserted, the snow swirling kaleidoscopically about in the spotlights, the sky huge and glittering. we laughed together, and explored, and drank together, and as Lera said, it felt like our weekend had lasted a whole month. i have felt so brilliantly alive in Russia. and so loved. thank you for that.

i hope to come again next year to see you all again. possibly to St. Petersburg too. the thought of these possibilities makes being away from you all easier to bear.

before i board my plane for Bulgaria, i must also say thank you to Andria, a once-stranger who became a friend over the past two hours. in spite of all she was in the midst of herself, once she found out about my predicament(s), she drove me all over the city to track down my CDs, and back to the airport, and has even offered to hold my suitcase for me when it surfaces. i cannot thank her enough for saving me today. people are fucking awesome.

speaking of fucking awesome, much love and a good night kiss to my Russian friends. i will see you soon.


some experiences are too intimate, too fragile and beautiful, to be put into words. i don’t know what to say about last night that i didn’t already say to everyone in between songs, and after hugs, and handshakes, and the clanking of beer mugs. but i want to thank you anyway, formally, once more. thank you all so very much for coming, and for contributing your presence to such a warm and emotional night.

today i floated above the cobblestones in old Bamberg. i woke up feeling wildly alive, in spite of closing down Eckerts (and also availing myself of my excellent hotel’s after-hours beer fridge). i covered miles and miles and miles this afternoon, up staircases and steep, narrow streets, through cathedrals and parks and along the Regnitz, and only felt stronger and lighter when i returned to my hotel.

(important: when i left my hotel, i noticed right away that the Stolpersteine outside the main doors had been freshly polished; the polish still foaming on the brass. this was an impossibly moving moment to me.)

the show was sold out, and Sigurbjörg and Nora were wonderful, and the Villa Concordia staff so kind and generous that i felt i was among friends from the moment i arrived.

and then i climbed the echoey stone staircase to the concert hall, and i sang, and my heart soared to be there, so close to all of you. to have a Steinway piano for ‘depth charges’ and ‘Öxnadalur’. i was treated so well by everyone.

and then, perhaps best of all, i met the loveliest people after the show; people who had come from Ukraine (who had hitchhiked, no less(!) i hope you made it safely to your mountain today, Sofia and Nadia), Cologne, Lithuania, England, Iceland, Norway, Italy, Frankfurt, Berlin, Czech Republic, China (via Bamberg), and Rwanda (via Iceland). and of course, everyone who came from Bamberg itself.

if i have missed any locations, i apologize. i have been into the beer fridge once again.

i am humbled. but as one of the amazing young women from Ukraine said to me, in her wonderfully blunt way, “we didn’t come for you – we came for us.”

and she was absolutely right. we were all together last night. simply and beautifully. it was not my night; it was ours.

much love,


p.s. you all know that i don’t post pictures of myself really ever, unless i am a tiny blurry dot on the horizon, or have my back to the camera, or am swallowed in shadows. but Martin sent me this photo today (taken by Stephan Obel), and it sums the night up to me. and as much as i don’t care to have my face exposed so explicitly, that smile is because of all of you.

Villa Concordia, 10/11/15 (photo taken by Stephan Obel)
Villa Concordia, Bamberg, Germany – 10.11.15
(photo taken by Stephan Obel)



Bamberg, Germany: tomorrow evening.
almost exactly one year ago, in November 2014, i was invited to play in Bamberg, Germany by a wonderful man named Martin Beyer. at the time it seemed like only a dream, to both of us, that this could happen. but Martin was determined to have me be a part of the 5th (and possibly final) year of his esteemed “Bamberg liest” festival, and so we began communicating in earnest to see what could be done to make it happen.
and now it is November 2015, and i am typing this on a hotel lobby computer in the heart of old Bamberg, autumn leaves blowing about on the cobblestones outside, and less than a five minutes’ walk through winding alleyways from Villa Concordia, the beautiful, towering old building and artists’ residence where the concert will be taking place tomorrow evening.
no more typing now. Bamberg is waiting to be further explored, and smoked beer is waiting to be consumed. for all who are coming tomorrow evening (and to those still considering the possibility), the doors will open at 6:30 pm, and admission is free. Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir will be reading some of her amazing poetry, and then i will sing.
with great love and anticipation,
Villa Concordia, 10/11/15

deadline for the heart of Iceland: nine days.

even amidst the lovely narrow streets and tolling bells of old Bamberg, i can’t stop thinking about the current state of emergency regarding the future of Iceland’s Highlands. in its usual quietly relentless way, the national power company (Landsvirkjun) has been working on a blatantly illogical proposal that will ensnare and then destroy the wild and beautiful heart of the country it has already taken so much from.

please consider supporting Gætum Garðsins (Protect the Park) in its goal to protect the Icelandic Highlands as a national park – much more information is available on its facebook page:

and also please visit the wonderful Heart of Iceland site, where a petition can be signed:

finally, an articulate and emotional explanation of the potential effects of Landsvirkjun’s proposal by Andri Snær Magnason and Björk at a recent press conference (article in Icelandic, text in English):–u…/…/2015151109189

thank you.

come join me and Icelandic poet Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir tomorrow evening at Villa Concordia in Bamberg for a very, very special show, part of the 5th annual Bambergliest festival. doors are at 6:30 pm, and admission is free.



thank you for a beautiful night in Toronto, and for the warmest send-off i could have imagined. my heart will still be glowing as i head for Germany.

thank you also to dan, TWiMFeST, and The Tennessee for having me.



regarding touring:

i’m reckless with live shows because i love them so much. i don’t care whatsoever about making money from them (perhaps to my detriment) – all i need is a way to get to and from the city or town the show’s in, enough to eat so that i don’t pass out onstage, and somewhere to sleep, even if it’s just a tent or a hollow tree. if i’m bringing a band with me, it’s different – i need to make sure that the musicians playing with me get paid (and sleep indoors), because they’re taking time away from their lives and jobs and families, and i’m hiring them to help me out. but alone, i only have very basic needs, and once i have those needs in place i will go anywhere, anytime. as an example of how much my desire to play for all of you trumps common sense, right now i don’t even have a flight home from Europe booked, because i can’t yet afford one. i’m crossing my fingers that some people come to the shows, and that i can sell a few CDs.

otherwise i guess i’m building a raft. but this is fine with me, this uncertainty, because without taking chances, nothing awesome ever happens.

i have no booking agent, no manager, no label, no publicist. no official outside help with the business side of all of this. all of the November dates in Europe are happening because of the direct intervention, financial support, co-planning and generosity of some amazing people who i’ve only had the pleasure of meeting online so far, through countless exchanged emails. i crammed as many shows as i possibly could into the three weeks i am away from my part time job in November, and am intensely pleased and proud to be playing in all of the cities i am playing in. but i’m sad to be missing so many of you as well. still, maybe it’s not clear just how much work, planning and cost goes into this sort of thing.

the show in Bamberg, Germany is happening because of an arts grant a wonderfully determined and generous man named Martin helped secure, not to mention a whole lot of thoughtful and exhausting planning on his part. i first heard from him one year ago, and we have been working on this show since then, slowly but surely. i wouldn’t have been able to afford to fly to Europe in the first place if it hadn’t been for him, and that’s where all of this started; how i am coming to Europe at all.

Moscow is only possible because of the combined efforts of a small group of lovely people who first wrote me many beautiful letters and then decided amongst themselves to team up and pool their money to help fly me to them for a private show, because they knew i would be relatively nearby, in Germany. again, i couldn’t have afforded to go at all without their direct help and fundraising. they have been incredible over the six months we have been making our arrangements.

finally, all the dates between Bulgaria and Offenbach, from the 17th to the 27th, are thanks to the planning, past knowledge, patience, and generosity of Liz and Rowan of Midas Fall, who were kind enough to have me along on part of their tour when i was looking for more shows to play. they’ve toured Europe before, and without being allowed to join them, it would have been a real struggle to find places to play. it’s difficult approaching a club as one person, with no space between being the artist and the booking agent. or at least, i’m hopelessly terrible at it.

of course there has been endless planning and expense on my part as well, from rehearsing and writing new songs to arranging visas and an IDP and sending CDs to sell to renting a vehicle while i am over there and somehow saving money to pay for fuel, food, and accommodations on my nights off. but the credit lies most with the people above for this tour. and this message is here not only to say a heartfelt thank you to all of them, but also to try once more to explain that i am never ignoring any of you when you ask me to come to your town, or choosing one place above another. it’s just that as a completely independent artist, who must work a part time job to pay his rent, i have very limited resources.

so i always appreciate any help i can get. i’ve been successful in setting my own shows up in the past, and will continue to try, but remember that you only see the successfully booked gigs displayed on my sites. the many, many failures are invisible.

i’ll learn a lot from this tour, and don’t plan on stopping after this. i’d like to try to finally play some shows in the USA in 2016, among other places. you are so close, but there are costs involved even in just crossing the border as a musician, and i’ll have to have at least a few shows guaranteed. this has stopped me in the past, but if i can make it to Europe, i can make it to you. and everyone else too.

so that’s all. know that every time i read the name of another country or city or town in a comment or email my heart races and i wonder how i could get to you. i just want to strap my guitar and Number Six on my back, grab my compass and start walking.



2 new songs ready to sing at 11 upcoming solo shows.
3 weeks away from Bamberg, Germany.
4 weeks away from Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and the 1st date of a 9 city European tour with Midas Fall.
5 november: overseas/underseas solo show, Toronto, Ontario. the 1 year anniversary of Öxnadalur. tickets disappearing.

11 upcoming raised by swans shows now trackable here.

image below: ‘sightings’, via Bandcamp. born inside my chest in Berlin, Germany, 09/05/12. Victory Day. recorded and released 07/13. dedicated to my grandfather, and Berlin itself.  on 26/11/15, i finally get to sing it back to both of them.

purchase for 1 dollar or more and help put petrol into my tiny rented car and nutrition into my body while i am far from home. purchase any or all of my music from Bandcamp and know that you are helping me do the same. and that i am grateful.





dangerously excited to finally officially announce some of the European dates i’ll be playing in November (more to come, possibly).

grateful beyond measure to Midas Fall for having me along for part of their tour, which is a celebration of the release of their third album, ‘The Menagerie Inside’. and of course to Martin Beyer, once again, for starting all of this by inviting me to Villa Concordia.

i’ve been dreaming of coming to Europe to play since i released ‘Codes and Secret Longing’ way back in 2005.  and even before then.  still finding it hard to believe that it’s actually happening.

more (but still rather sparse) details here, but i’ll be adding more over the next little while as they come to me.  for now, just know that i’ll be there soon.

much love,


10/11 – Bamberg, DE – Villa Concordia (w/ Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir)
17/11 – Plovdiv, BG – Bee Bop Cafe (opening for Midas Fall)
19/11 – Bucharest, RO – Fabrica Club (opening for Midas Fall)
20/11 – Iasi, RO – Underground Club (opening for Midas Fall)
21/11 – Cluj Napoja, RO- Shelter (opening for Midas Fall)
23/11 – Zupanja, CR – Cafe Bar Okac (opening for Midas Fall)
24/11 – Trnava, SK – City Club (this one’s still uncertain)
25/11 – Loukov, CZ – Barkà Kafe Bar (opening for Midas Fall)
26/11 – Berlin, DE – K17 (opening for Midas Fall)
27/11 – Offenbach, DE – Hafen 2 (opening for Midas Fall)


advance tickets for november 5th at The Tennesee in Toronto are available here.

since this night is only a small part of a festival, and i’m only a small part of the night itself, i’m afraid that i have no control over whether there will be tickets available at the door on the night of the show (dan tells me that the night may sell out, as a matter of fact).  so i apologize to anyone who doesn’t have the means of buying tickets online.

i did ask dan (the main organizer/promoter) for a possible solution, and he’s been kind enough to offer other options – please get in touch with him at either or add/contact him via facebook (he goes by ‘dan monologues’) if you’d like to make alternate arrangements.

more very soon.