You can carve another notch in the handle for local aspiring singer/songwriter — and Angier native — Paige Johnson.
Miss Johnson recently announced her “All My Friends Summer Tour.” It includes stops in Nashville, Tenn., Myrtle Beach, S.C., Angier, Dunn and Cornelius, N.C.
“This is the first time any of us have gone on a tour, much less planned it ourselves from start to finish,” Miss Johnson said. “We started talking about this idea back in February as we were preparing for the ‘Country on the Outskirts of Town Valentine’s Show.’”
Joining her in the tour will be a pair of Chicago-based singer/songwriters, Allison Mahal and Van Isaacson.
The duo performed for the first time in North Carolina during the Valentine’s show.
“After having so much fun getting ready for that show and then seeing everyone’s reaction to us playing together, we knew we needed to do it again, but we wanted to make it worthwhile for all of us and make it a big deal,” Miss Johnson said. “So we got together and decided to take on this whole tour idea.”
She said the planning began almost as quickly as the show in February came to an end.
“From that weekend in February we started planning, contacting venues, coordinating our schedules and working on logistics for the tour and we haven’t stopped working on it since,” Miss Johnson said. “We just announced the tour lineup last week and the response from our friends and families has been absolutely amazing.”
Personally, this is the first time Miss Johnson has taken on the challenge of taking her talents on the road to different venues.
“For me, as we start this tour I’m very excited and a little nervous just for things that may go wrong or change as we go along,” Miss Johnson said. “You know, three 20 year olds in one car for over 1,200 miles and very little sleep and bad fast food — what could go wrong?”
Mr. Isaacson seems to match Miss Johnson with both enthusiasm and thinking about the tour. He admits he’s been practicing quite a bit in anticipation and is looking forward to the challenges ahead.
“At this point, we have done most of the logistics stuff, so now it’s just focusing on the music and sets themselves,” he said. “So far, this tour planning has exceeded all of my expectations of what it would entail, and I can’t wait to play with the girls every dang night, and sometimes during the day.”
Miss Johnson said her two companions on the seven-stop, eight-show tour have been performing together since they met while serving internships at Music Garage Chicago and both are very versatile.
“Van Isaacson began playing when he was 6 years old and has learned many instruments over the years including piano, violin, guitar and mandolin,” Miss Johnson said. “He’s originally from Chippewa Falls, Wisc. and he now lives and performs in Chicago.”
Mr. Isaacson is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago where he majored in contemporary, urban and popular music and music business.
“I’m pretty dang excited for this new adventure for all of us, especially with these two very talented friends of mine,” Mr. Isaacson said. “They’re great to play with and to hang out with, so it’s gonna be a fun time.”
For Miss Mahal the tour is a chance to expand on her own love of music. She is originally from Lombard, Ill., but has spent the last three years studying with Miss Johnson at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., where she is pursuing a degree in music business.
“She has always loved writing songs and singing,” Miss Johnson said. “Her biggest inspirations are her parents, Rick and Sue Mahal, and folk singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile.”
Miss Mahal is just as excited and is looking forward to her first organized tour.
“I am so excited for this tour,” she said. “Hitting the road with my three best pals, life couldn’t get any better.”
As far as the tour itself, it will involve something she’s not really used to doing — country music. Miss Mahal said she has began the process of learning new material among other things.
“I’m having to learn a lot of country songs that I never heard before or haven’t ever played at a show,” Miss Mahal said. “Getting ready for this tour has been crazy, for sure. It’s even more than what I expected.”
Miss Mahal credits Miss Johnson as being the force behind the tour. She gives her friend credit for opening the door to a new opportunity for her as a performer.
“Paige is so great with logistics,” Miss Mahal said. “So its been a true blessing to have a fully-booked week because of her. I’m obviously looking forward to playing music with these two throughout the week, but I’m also super excited about the road trip and seeing new things.”
As part of the tour, Miss Johnson will once again host “Angier Unplugged.” The show will take place Wednesday, July 11, at 7 p.m. at Johnson Properties, 48 Progressive Parkway, just outside Angier.
Miss Johnson uses the “Angier Unplugged” series to give local singers/songwriters an opportunity to showcase their talents in front of an audience in a cozy setting.
The trio will also perform the same day beginning at 11 a.m. at the Red Barn Restaurant in Angier.
The other local stop for the tour comes the following night. On Thursday, July 12, the tour comes to The Cellar, located at 108 N. Wilson Ave., Downtown Dunn. The show gets underway at 7 p.m.
‘All My Friends Summer Tour’
‘Angier Unplugged’ Local Stops
Wednesday, July 11, 11 a.m., Red Barn Restaurant, Angier
Wednesday, July 11, 7 p.m., Johnson Properties, 48 Progressive Parkway, Angier
Thursday, July 12, 7 p.m., The Cellar, 108 N. Wilson Ave., Dunn