WOODEN NICKEL: A hidden gem venue in a small midwestern city FORT WAYNE

So, last night we played at the coolest spot in the city, Wooden Nickel. I can safely say that because, while I don’t know Fort Wayne all to well, I almost couldn’t imagine anywhere that’d be better. I’ve done over 200 shows in my career, over 25 this year and this is sincerely one of most interesting venues I’ve ever played, and has one of the friendliest, motivated, knowledgeable and encouraging venue owners I’ve come across, Bob Roats. He’s been essentially running the local scene here in Fort Wayne for decades and decades. Not only has he been operating and maintaining multiple branches of the Wooden Nickel record store, all with great prices and selection, but he’s always incorporated the element of live music in the store. This impressed me because it’s something many record stores don’t do, but Bob explained to us the reason he had always known it to be an essential component of the relationship between store and scene(this a smart guy). I was blown away when, before the show, he casually mentioned that the rock super-group Foreigner had come through and done a set back in the day. Later we found out Bob was instrumental in establishing Record Store Day, which was been successful in raising annual vinyl sales by 37 percent. Mr. Roats also filmed our entire set in HD. If you’re reading this and are a touring act, part of one, the Wooden Nickel is a place you absolutely HAVE to hit up if you’re coming through Indiana. If you like music in general and are in the city, go browse their collection of records and have a nice conversation with Bob. Trust me, this place is one of a kind.

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We’ve really enjoyed our stay in Fort Wayne. My Aunt Cherie and Uncle Bob bought and cooked us awesome food, let us crash in their basement which was a lifesaver. My Aunt Cherie went out and supported us at our show and just made us feel right at home. She’s always been a huge advocate of mine in my musical aspirations and in life in general. My cousin Jacqui, her husband Scottie and their kids were nice enough to come out to the show and get dinner with us after, it was great seeing them again. I can’t tell you how comforting it is to know you have a family that has your back and supports what you do, it’s priceless. If this particular tour has taught me anything it’s that, when it comes to family, mines the best.Image

Right now we’re packing up to leave this city and are on to the next one, Lafayette, two and a half hours away. My Grandparents(who are the main contributors to this tour and the reason we’re able to be here right now) met in Lafayette many years ago. For my entire life I’ve heard the story of my Grandfather attending Purdue, living with his brother and his brother’s wife and child. My grandmother was hired to babysit my grandfather’s nephew and somehow, my grandfather convinced my grandmother to marry him. They’ve been together for over half a century, they’re a huge influence on me. So, Lafayette kind of feels like a home coming for me. It seems like a nice town, hopefully I haven’t idealized it, I tend to do that sometimes. Either way, I’ll let you all know later.

Much Love,

Penn

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