Inda’s Back, in Full Trucker Mode

"Our energy was so good . . . the zone we were in musically was unbelievable.”
Inda Eaton celebrated the return from her national tour with Jeffrey Smith, her band’s percussionist. Carrie Ann Salvi

   Inda Eaton celebrated her newest CD, “Go West,” by doing just that on a road trip from New York City to Los Angeles with stops including Philadelphia, Phoenix, Boulder, Colo., and Casper, Wyo. After an “epic drive from Milwaukee in full trucker mode,” she arrived home in Amagansett last weekend in time to perform on Friday night at Guild Hall at the “Way Out East” show with Caroline Doctorow and Nancy Atlas.
“Trucker mode gets the job done at the expense of all rational thought and life training,” she said on her blog.
   Her tour included “a little hospitalization” at an inner-city hospital in Phoenix. She left wearing only a hospital gown and sunglasses, determined to play a show two days later at the Hard Rock Hotel in Phoenix. She’d planned to “go blading, get adjusted, and a pedicure,” and ended up instead “face down on a stretcher.” With major sciatic inflammation, she said last Monday, “I couldn’t move . . . I couldn’t get off the table.”
   “You can’t [make up] this stuff,” she said during a TV interview on “Good Morning, Wyoming.”    
   The “mere two days in the hospital” put the whole tour in jeopardy, the musician said, but thanks to acupuncture and reiki she was able to do the show in Phoenix, sitting down, in flip-flops. She took the stage in 107 degrees, using crutches. It “took a week to return to the cowboy boots,” she said.
    The “boys deserve a medal,” she said of her “band of brothers,” Jeffrey Smith and Curt Mychael. “It made the music more emotional and tight. Our energy was so good . . . the zone we were in musically was unbelievable.”
    Even with “gargantuan medical bills,” Ms. Eaton was able to stay positive. “Here’s what’s good,” she said. “The music is good. In that zone, everything is right.”
    House concerts were also part of the tour, as promised on her pre-launch Web site, for supporters like the one who wanted her to play a surprise party for his sister. She said the band drove 20 hours straight in Delmer, their 31-foot mobile kitchen/studio, knocked on a door, and threw a surprise house concert.
    It was all part of her grand plan to “connect with everyone’s family.”
    “You have this art project,” she explained, and “people near and dear to you might not even know about it.” It was epic, she said: “Old fans, new fans, family, that was a total success.” A high percentage of show-goers bought the CD. “People pop it in the car after the concert.”
    The music translates well in a live situation, having been recorded live to begin with. She even managed to pull off a video shoot while in Los Angeles, which she called another miracle.
    The “carrot at the end of the stick” was the welcome home from her family on the East End, both personal and musical, whom she thanked on the stage of Guild Hall Friday night. Mr. Mychael, her guitarist, and Mr. Smith, her percussionist, were dropped off in Milwaukee on her way home, but Mr. Smith flew in to play Friday’s show. Ms. Eaton said they prepared on the road, in Delmer, by listening to Ms. Atlas and Ms. Doctorow’s music.
    The pair, who she said are “as different as their shirts,” are friends, and all three together put on a show that not only worked but received a standing ovation and encore from a packed house. Also brought on stage were Russ Seeger on guitar and fiddle, Neal Surreal on keyboard, Brett King on bass, and appearances by Mamalee Lawler on vocals and Job Potter on harmonica.
    The band will reassemble in December after a little decompression, Ms. Eaton said. “We are so vibrant and alive when we travel. That is why the road is so addicting. TV, radio shows, and all that — there’s probably some adrenaline in that. You feel invincible.”