RON HARTMAN/CHRONICLE PHOTO

Tobi D’Amore said he and his family, including their dog Leo, have been settling down a bit after four years on the road. He performed at the new and expanded Brewstation this past weekend.

COTTAGE GROVE – Tobi D’Amore started feeling his first real sense of community when he was a bartender living in New York City a few years ago.

“I’d bring 100 friends with me with the band I founded, the Bone Chimes,” D’Amore said after performing a special Fourth of July weekend set at the Brewstation on Saturday. “It didn’t matter how good we were, we kept getting booked because of our fans. But I kept getting more and more confident and I was getting better. And the band stuck with me. … The bar was such a big part of all that. Finding a community to be a part of is so essential.”

Now, D’Amore, his wife Danielle, and their dog Leo have made their home on the road, covering 46 states and 80,000 miles while looping the country twice over the last four years. 

“We did just under 100 shows that first year, just taking any gig I could get,” D’Amore said. “Then we started getting more picky after that.”

On that first loop, the Axe & Fiddle was one of the stops they had marked on their map.

“We went right past here, but we never made it to Cottage Grove,” D’Amore said. 

They finally landed in Lorane, where they grow their own vegetables and, of course, work with their neighbors as part of a community. 

“Living in a 24-hour RV has shown me that a lot of ‘things’ are not really ‘things’,” D’Amore said. “It changes you. I lived a very pushy life before.”

D’Amore’s show Saturday was a tribute to great American songwriters. From Petty to Parton, and from Croce to Cash, he paid tribute to many of his musical heroes. 

His own original songs, however, particularly “Living the Dream” and “New York Streetlights,” make this guy worth going out of your way to check out. Nearly all of his original music is fresh and vibrant-sounding. 

Just wanted to let the community know.