Christopher Chaisson lives in Holliston, MA and has been writing songs under the name The Young Leaves for over 8 years.
What was the food highlight of your year?
This year my band, The Young Leaves, went on a 30-day summer tour and I set out on a quest to find the BEST donuts ever. We passed through a lot of different cities with all sorts of "gourmet/artisan" donut shops and I tried them all. However, I found the greatest donuts in the entire world in Pittsburgh at a place called Better-Maid Donut Co. It's essentially this hole in the wall, ran by some huge Steelers fan who lives for nothing but donuts and football. There's nothing fancy about it, and admittedly the place looks like it hasn't been cleaned or decorated since the 1960's, but it's hands-down the best donut experience you'll ever have. It's old-fashioned, meaning he makes nothing but cake donuts, and he only makes a limited run per day. But again, I can't stress how incredible they are in their craft and deliciousness. I did the 13 for $5 deal and crushed all 13 donuts in about an hour. I felt sick, but in that horribly good foodie way. So worth it.
What was the music highlight of your year?
The musical highlight of my year was most definitely The Young Leaves summer tour. We went out for 30 days in June and played from Boston out to Minneapolis, down to Orlando, and back up (like a gigantic triangle spanning half the country.) For some, touring can be an absolute nightmare, but I adore it. If I had to chose a specific moment on tour that made my year it would be when we visited Springfield, IL for Dumb Fest 2. I had no expectations heading into it, but the whole thing ended up being a beautiful arrangement of music, skateboarding, and DIY culture. I had never been to Springfield before, but everyone was so ridiculously friendly and the bands were all fantastic; it was everything I love about "punk" or "independent" music or whatever. I hope they continue on with making it an annual thing, and maybe we'll play it again! Also, the band Looming from that area were great. I hope they're still doing their thing as well!
Was there a moment when food and music came together in a memorable way?
One of the best dudes I've ever met through music is a guy by the name of Matt Evans. He plays guitar in an awesome band called Old Flings and, in addition to being a great guy and songwriter, he also LOVES barbecue with a serious passion. He set us up a show in Asheville, North Carolina and when we arrived he had us hop in the bed of his truck and took us to a gas station. This was no ordinary gas station, though. It had a built-in BBQ dive with some of the most serious pulled pork and hush-puppies that I'd ever eaten. As with most barbecue, it's all in the sauce and that place delivered. Later on that night we ended up seeing Jim Wilbur of Superchunk at our show trying to help a band fix their broken down van. It was great. Just great.