Singer-Songwriter – Blogger – Guitarist – Content Creator – INTJ
A topical Vlog this week…I am a diehard kinda fan for VERY SPECIFIC things and musicians. I’m not the catch all “live music fan” (but DANG I am glad those troopers exist…they are warrior fans on another level). I’m not a sucker for every folk singer, or pop song…but when I latch on, I latch on hard.
This vlog talks music mostly, but fandoms can spring from anything. I made it a point to hunt down (and drag my very kind travel companions) and try Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants in both Las Vegas and London Heathrow when I was passing through. I will probably try to hit every Ramsay restaurant I can as I travel. WHY. I DON’T TOTALLY KNOW…except I think he delivers excellence. And Mary Chapin Carpenter delivers excellence. And Gaga nails it every time. For me…maybe not for you. And that’s ok, too.
Hey, it’s a thing now! I have to say, it’s been really fun making myself film things this week. It gives me a new perspective on what I’m doing, or perhaps prods me to be a little more engaging with my day to make it vlog-worthy (WHAT IS REAL????). This week’s is still more of a “daily journal” format but…I’m hoping it will evolve into a more topical weekly jam soon. As with everything, it’ll evolve. I hope you enjoy!
Here we go! Don’t all good things start in Januaries? (That’s totally not true but a LOT of good things start in January). Through a very gracious gift from a friend, I now am attempting to take a GoPro camera with me on my excursions every week. I explain a little in the vlog, but I feel at a loss sometimes when people ask me what I do for a living. I do a lot of things. Booking agent, social media consultant, guitar teacher, guitar player, movie maker, etc. I thought perhaps the visual medium could capture more of what I do in an effective way…plus I have always wanted to get better at film making.
I am currently in love with Casey Neistat’s vlog – he does one a day. He is a champion. I am starting with one a week. We’ll see how this all shakes out. And here we go:
LOOK AT THAT. My eBook came out last year, and I was pleased. Then my friend Sorrel Brigman messaged me and asked if I had considered an audiobook version and would I like her to do one. My answers were, “No…you can DO THAT? And OF COURSE I WANT THAT!” So Sorrel so kindly used her voice skills and her studio skills and here we go. It’s available in audiobook via Audible (which is via Amazon) right now.
It always takes me a week or so to really feel like it’s the new year. I guess I am a slow poke in that regard, and I always internally cringe at the “new year new you!” advertising that comes at us from all directions. BUT…I am a sucker for a new year, I really am. I like the self-imposed idea of a blank slate, as long as it’s not mentally crushing me.
It’s been a busy one thus far! I’ve been stalking Elizabeth Wills over at Congress House Studio while she tracks her amazing-sounding album with Mark Hallman producing. It’s going to be stellar. I’ve never heard another voice like E-Dub’s and the songs are aces.
I just started teaching my next round of classes at Girl Guitar this week…what a fantastic group of people. We’re going to have a lot of fun this semester, I can tell. Check out the website for the next round of offerings when they are posted!
And next big thing coming up – I’m honored to play in Kiya Heartwood‘s band along with Anna Harris for Kiya’s CD release. Her new album Palo Duro is just stunning. And I’m playing electric. Watch out, world. January 23 in Austin!
A little ambient swell practice with the volume pedal on Kiya’s lovely song:
So those are a few of items on the Busy List. My list also includes keeping Susan Gibson busy (she’s booking workshops and coaching sessions too as well as gigs! susangibson.com for info!)
And…a renewed spirit for writing songs has come around, because new years will do that to a brain. Let’s see what this new batch will bring. Wish me luck. I wish you luck. Happy New Year!
Everyone’s doing end of the year lists! I wanna do one!
Lots of stuff was spinning on my playlists this year (I guess playlists don’t spin, whatever), and here’s a non-comprehensive list of things you should check out.
Brandy is one of the coolest-but-still-grounded people I know, and that really comes across in her music. This is her first full length solo record, and it’s stunning. The sounds swirl and lift and turn you upside down and back again. You’ll have these songs stuck in your head but you won’t mind. BUY THIS ALBUM.
Michael is a certifiable songwriting and guitar genius, and lucky us, we get both those things together every time he makes an album. He excels at telling us stories about characters that on first glance we don’t think we have anything in common with, but MOC always finds that thread that takes his songs from observation to personal. BUY THIS ALBUM.
I could go on for days about the talents of Emily Shirley (artist, photographer, designer, hip person) but let’s focus on the musical one. She writes smart songs that hit you where you live…and they’re wrapped in this perfect piano-based pop. Oh, and she sings like sunshine. So there we go. BUY THIS ALBUM.
Shawnee’s got a voice that gets in the cracks and really brings the emotion of a song to the surface. This album feels like you just sat down and had a chat with a really smart writer, and that’s no small feat when making a record. Look for really cool stuff from her in 2016, too! BUY THIS ALBUM.
The Rifters are a trio of super talented (and really cool) guys whose music is basically the soundtrack of anyone who has lived or grown up in the Southwest. Their heartfelt songs are punched up to another level entirely by the fact that all three of them are stunning instrumentalists. BUY THIS ALBUM.
You didn’t think you’d get a list from me without some hardcore pop music, right? While 1989 basically stayed in heavy rotation all year, I did make room for some new pop glory. This album is a little bit of a sleeper. Carly Rae Jepsen had a massive earworm hit with Call Me Maybe, and then we wondered if she was one of those one-hit-wonders. She is not, though nothing on here has hit the charts that hard. As a whole album it works great, and is full of lush production and good hooks. BUY THIS ALBUM.
Oh come on. Buy it like the rest of us.
Hello from Austin, Texas…it’s nice to be back and amongst the sunshine. We had a grand last couple of days in Stockholm after the tour officially ended. The charm of that city never let up, and we saw old stuff and pretty stuff and pretty old stuff.
THIS WAS OUR HOTEL. Thank you, cheap online hotel booking site! The rooms were tiny – we had bunk beds, a small space to turn around in, and that’s it – but what else do you need when you have the city of Stockholm to wander in?
Susan got a deck of cards and we went up to the “boatel” restaurant and played King’s Corner for a while…the cards had Swedish tourist spots on them and we had a card with our own boat on it!
We shopped for souvenirs and found what is “probably” the best souvenir shop in Old Town. I dunno. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.
We stayed in Gamla Stan – “Old Town” – and that’s where the palace is. They have quite a few museums on site and we toured the Royal Armoury, which is full of suits of armor and old garments worn by royals and the “Coach House,” where they keep all the coaches that used to carry the Kings and Queens. THIS STUFF IS REAL IT IS NOT JUST DISNEY!!! Enlightening.
I did sing Bedknobs and Broomsticks songs in my head on repeat…
We also happened upon the changing of the Palace guard! This guard just started her duty when we were there. Watching tourists all day is either a total drag or kind of entertaining…not sure.
Then we headed over to the Nobel Museum. The Nobel Prize was started by Alfred Nobel at the turn of the 20th Century and was actually awarded while we were in Sweden this year. They have all kinds of artifacts, one of my favorites being Malala’s scarf from her speech before the U.N. when she was 16 years old. Awesome.
One last “fika” (coffee) stop in this really old (like ca. 1400) monastery turned prison turned other things finally turning into a coffee shop underground next to the palace. Incredible setting…though a little creepy to think the little cubby you were sitting in probably held some prisoners 500 years ago. They didn’t have wifi to entertain themselves.
Then Gamla Stan bid us goodbye as we walked to the train station to catch a ride to the airport…
We had a good 3 day stand in Åmål and got to wander around the town a bit. It was a cute downtown area and I had my first real experience with what I call “glitter frost,” where the humidity would freeze all over everything and just sparkle. Kind of awesome.
Our last day there was Santa Lucia Day, which is a holiday and Swedes eat a lot of these saffron roll things for the occasion. When in Rome…eat the saffron roll.
Our hotel for the weekend…nice spot to land.
But hell if I knew exactly what to do in an elevator emergency.
Then it was off to the last gig in Karlstad, hosted by Burt Deivert, an American blues mandolin player who has lived in Sweden for a long time. He and his wife Eva were wonderful hosts and it was the perfect way to end our trip! Afterward he let me play his sweet old Gibson guitar, and I looked very serious doing it.
Burt and Eva’s whole backyard was covered in that “glitter frost”…amazing scenery.
Then we said goodbye to Sofie and Susan and I headed into Stockholm for a day of touristing before the flight home…
We got to visit the glorious old Swedish manor turned hotel called Baldersnäs Herrgård this week. One of my favorite stops on this tour!
Not sure if it was the fact that the grounds reminded me of Lara Croft’s Tomb Raider house from when I played the game briefly in 1998 (before I decided I was terrible at it):
…or that it reminded me of Taylor Swift’s Blank Space video set:
…OR that it was a quintessential piece of old school aristocracy and I could stand on the steps and survey the land and pretend I had to go watch someone tend to my horses.
The grounds also lead to an incredible tree preserve and a (surprise!) lake.
Fetch me my gloves, I think I shall wander the garden for a spell.
We’ve had great shows and met great people, but I am super glad we’ve had some time to stop and see some cool landmarks on this Sweden tour! Aside from the generally stunning vistas we see daily, here are some highlights.
This runestone lives on a hill near some farms outside Kristinehamn. It’s from about 600 A.D. and is one of 4 in the area. No national park, no fence, just walk up and say hello to something that’s 1400 years old.
Kristinehamn is also home to a Picasso sculpture on the shore of Lake Vänern…it’s tall.
We hit a gorgeous day on the lake…most days have been pretty gray and rainy. The nice Swedes keep apologizing for the dark and cold, but I don’t really mind, knowing that it’s an unseasonable 80 in Austin right now. I’ll take the winter for a little bit.
Up next…a manor called Baldersnäs Herrgård!