Tidings Café: Texas Trouboadour

Leaving a day job to perform music across the country is a fantasy for many, but a reality for traveling singer/songwriter Chris Parriera.

The former Ashlander stopped by the Tidings Café to perform and played the songs "Chasing a Muse" and "Nevada Air."

"I go on the road specifically to tour. I like to see new places and visit new towns and visit old friends," Parriera said. "Right now I spend about six to eight weeks on the road each year, about two months, and the rest of the time I'm working to save money so I can go travel."

Parriera spent a year living in Ashland before moving to Austin, Texas, in August 2008. While in Ashland, he hosted the open mic at Northwest Pizza and was a regular at Liquid Assets, Tease and the former Jefferson Brew Pub.

"There's a great community of musicians in Ashland," Parreira said. "Everybody's very supportive of one another and goes to each other's shows. They're just willing to lend their ears and just be good listeners."

Parriera added, "The open mic at the Wild Goose is a good example of that. That's probably the best open mic I've been to in the country."

Ashland remains a special place for Parriera.

"It's kind of a pit stop for me. I spend a couple days and play several gigs and go on from here."

Parriera's travels don't just serve as an opportunity to explore; they also serve as his inspiration.

"It's a big cycle. I travel, I meet new people, I write songs about the experience and then I need to go out and play them to people," he said.

This inspiration shines through Parriera's music on songs such as "Nevada Air." As he sings with sleepy, sincere eyes, "I'm walking the streets down in Reno/this place ain't no city of light/there's a pawnshop next to a casino/there's two old pawnshops next to a bar." His descriptions aren't flattering, but they're beautiful. The song is the musical equivalent of a gritty black-and-white photo of the Silver State as Parriera describes The Biggest Little City in the World.

"Chasing a Muse" is also a snapshot of a path most of us will never travel. As he describes driving in the middle of the night, it becomes clear that Parriera has a lot of time in his head, but the song gives the audience insight as to why he chose this path.

"I just thought they were a good range of what I play," he said about the songs he chose. "I guess they're both about traveling, which is probably what inspires me the most. It keeps me sane."

Parriera got his start in Arcata, Calif., playing at open mics in the area. He has been playing guitar for five years and writing songs for four.

"I started going to open mics, just as an audience member at first, and then I finally got up the nerve to play and then found that I really enjoyed it. From there, I started playing shows, and from there I started travelling whenever I could," he said.

When he's not performing, Parriera books his own shows, which involves plenty of emailing, as well as venue suggestions from other musicians. He also records his own tracks.

"I want 100 percent creative freedom. I don't think people should be making money off my work, so I like to keep it," Parriera said.

Although Parriera loves what he does, he admits that he doesn't do it for the money.

"It all just goes back into my gas tank, but that's all I'm looking to do," he said. "Breaking even is pretty lucky, but I don't do it for that, I do it for the experience."

Parriera plans to hunker down for the winter, but he will be back in Ashland this spring, but fans can check www.myspace.com/chrisparreiramusic for updated tour information.

"Winter's coming up and it's harder to travel," he said. "After this little run of shows, I'm going to hide under a rock and just be creative."

Check out Parriera's performance at www.dailytidings.com or check out the Tidings Café group on ConnectAshland.com at www.connectashland.com/group/tidingscafe.

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