Bathing, sometimes, was also luxury.
"About the apex of that tour was going through Colorado and the mountains," he said. "It was snowing everywhere, and all we had was peanut butter and jelly in the cooler. My drummer asked me to make him a sandwich, and we didn't have a knife."
So, he scooped peanut butter and jelly out of the jars and spread them on the bread with his fingers.
"I probably hadn't showered in three or four days at that point," he said. "I didn't tell him until after he'd consumed the sandwich."
Travel is much better now, Donehey joked.
The singer said the band has a lot of plans for the New Year, but added that he wasn't making any resolutions.
"I don't really make resolutions," Donehey said. "I can't help but wonder what the motivation is behind resolutions. I suppose my only resolution is to be motivated by love and gratitude, but that's not a tangible thing."
Donehey feels that most resolutions are fueled by fear and pride, by an ultimately unnecessary need for acceptance from the crowd.
"I made a decision a long time ago that I don't want to live my life based on that."
Instead, Donehey lives by faith.
"Here's the deal: everybody is trying to accomplish something when they're singing a song," he said. "Whether you're singing that she thinks your tractor is sexy or 'Amazing Grace,' you're saying something."
Of course, some performers aren't really saying a lot.
"They just want to entertain. They want you to sing along with them and then go home drunk and happy."
Tenth Avenue North aspires to bigger things.
Donehey said, "We sing about things that have given us joy and set us free, that have freed us from pride, guilt and shame. How could you not want that for other people?"
Not that Donehey necessarily writes entirely from the perspective of trying to reach other people. He starts where he is, with him.
"There's a really cool verse in the scripture, from Psalms."
Paraphrasing, Psalms 49:4, he said, "I listen to wisdom and with the music of the lyre; I will solve my riddle."
He explained, "A lot of people write songs to put on a record. I write because I write to un-riddle my heart and to really figure out what's going on."
Not everybody who writes songs looks at writing the same way, but that's the way he sees it.
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.