Folk Alliance was a total sleepless blast. So much happened that week…gigs, a long drive, lots of friends, lots of business, lots of late night hallway roaming, Mandy funded her Kickstarter, I wrote a song in a hotel lobby, I saw a bunch of my favorites play…it was rad.

Valerie Fremin took it. She’s amazing.

As a new year usually makes me do, I have been pondering my 2017 and thinking about what I want for 2018. I am a sucker for reading a lot of self-improvement tomes and articles, and I very much enjoyed this one, which wraps up 2017 and sets a good scene for planning the next 12 months.

A lot of cool things happened for me personally in 2017. While the general social and political climate was stressful and hard to deal with on a daily basis, music and opportunities for my world were actually…incredible. Things I did not have on my radar at all happened, and opportunities I had only dared dream about came to fruition in “screaming color” as T-Swift would say. (I’m vague on purpose but if you want to know, bring me a coffee and I’ll tell you all about my year). Social Thinkery (that’s me) worked with some delightful people and 2018 looks to be no different.

Did I plan for that? Mostly…no, not step-by-step “these things will happen in this order” kind of plans. But 2017 proved to me that the more I show up and do my thing, the more doors open. Sometimes (ok a lot of times), I don’t even QUITE know what I am showing up for.  Taking work opportunities with folks led to more work. Vlogging led to really monumental experiences. Writing songs and playing them led me to a fantastic new musical project for 2018 (news on that…soon). None of that stuff was planned, but it was dreamed about and angled toward. Which got me to thinking…

We sometimes think of dreams and goals as either things that will take off like a rocket the minute we jump on…or giant, almost insurmountable boulders we must roll up a hill until we make it or pass out and give up.

IMG_6049

I don’t find either scenario to be the most true (though those are definitely goal-reaching scenarios we have all experienced). I envision goal-setting as more like keeping a balloon afloat in the air. You have to kind of boop it along…follow it when it takes a weird turn, stay nimble and flexible while you guide it to where you want to go. Tiny little shifts in direction can send you off to a new direction entirely. Micro-focus to keep the balloon floating, macro-focus to make sure you don’t lose track of the vision


IMG_6048

As we all embark on 2018 together…I am going to keep this picture in my head when I think about my goals. Keep them in the air, stay open to shifts in direction, and…have a lot of fun with all of it.

Happy new year!

Favorite 2017 Pop

30 Dec
2017

Everyone makes lists…I came up with this 4 item list from a simple stat: the pop albums I listened to most this year. Bonus acoustic-ish renditions of songs added!

Here they are:

Lorde: Melodrama

This didn’t get much radio attention (which, for pop, is still a marker) but the critics loved it, and I think it pieces together as a whole work so well. This is a great sophomore effort from Lorde, and it was co-produced by Jack Antonoff, which is always a good thing.

Bleachers: Gone Now

It’s Jack Antonoff again! This is his project, and it’s thrilling pop with perfectly messy production. He’s good at this. “Don’t Take The Money” is my life mantra.

MUNA: Around U

Um, oddly…the only non-Antonoff produced album in this list. I found this band through a Spotify algorithm (poetry in math I guess), and I fell in love immediately. I think 2018 will be a great year for them, so if you want to be cool and say “Oh yeah I know them” when someone brings them up in June, listen NOW. The album as artform is alive and well here.


Taylor Swift: reputation

Surprise! This one came swooping in when the year was winding down, and I was suspicious of this new Swift trying to replace my love of 1989, but dangit, she did it. Non-stop since November 10th. It works as a piece of art (and the singles, which I was not super in love with, make way more sense in context). There are certain tracks which beg for their own spotlight: check out “Delicate,” “Dancing With Our Hands Tied,” “Dress,” and “Getaway Car” for starters. But just listen to the whole thing.

Perseverance is key, but follow your gut.

IMG_5705

We did it. I won’t take credit alone, since everyone who commented on these posts all month long really helped me keep the momentum up. Some lessons gleaned along the way:

– Drawing is fun! As a kid, I always liked to do it. I wasn’t great at it but I took Art in high school and wasn’t awful. But then I chose Guitar, and I stuck with guitar, and somewhere along the way I dropped the idea that I had any proclivity for visual arts. Weird how that happens. I am not claiming I have any now, but I enjoy doodling, so that’s good to know.

– I could have typed prose and thoughts and whatnot, but for whatever reason, I took this month as a reason to doodle.

– My handwriting is, well…it’s mine.

– It’s nice to do something analog. Notebook paper. Pens. No screen, even for 15 minutes at a time. More less is better.

– Doing a Thing every day for a month is…hard. I’ll admit it, a couple of days I’d neglect to post my drawings (or they weren’t quite done yet or whatever), and I’d post 3 in a row at a time. I make the rules so it wasn’t cheating, but it was interesting to see the mid-month slump and subsequent sprint to the finish line.

– Doing a Thing every day for a month is satisfying! I got back in touch with why I love blogging. It’s good to have a record of your time. And…I don’t want to stop drawing things. Dan gave me a book called “How to Draw Almost Everything” so I’m basically set.

– And now? Now it’s time for a snack.

IMG_5702

Honestly. I get a lot of these types of things in my inbox, because I am a sucker for them. There are about 46 new “morning productivity” blogs every day. Like a list…a list that is much the same as the other lists…will finally crack the code for my mornings, and lead me to fame, fortune, and unending workflow. (Most of these lists are written by 25 year olds, by the way…telling).

So here’s mine. Start it. Do it. When you stop doing it, maybe take a break, and then start it again. Keep doing it. Get messy, be late, be a space cadet about it, but do it. That’s all.

Now go and do.

IMG_5365 (1)
ABQ.

IMG_5378

IMG_5393
L.A.

I’m a sucker for an out the window shot from a plane. My own are preferable, but any time I see one on Twitter or the like, from anyone, I dig it. There’s something still magical about the fact that we can launch ourselves into the air and fly over the country or the ocean in a few hours. I don’t mind airports, I don’t mind lines, I don’t even mind the cramped seat, though one of my goals is to be able to upgrade from coach every now and then. Bring on more of it in 2018.

IMG_5347

On Thanksgiving night, Mom and I watched Rear Window for perhaps the 10th time in our lives. I have always loved Hitchcock as a director, and while I love the bombastic Technicolor thrillers like North by Northwest and To Catch A Thief, I especially love this films where he tests his filmmaking by limiting his space. Rear Window takes place in one room, essentially. Rope was filmed in one room with ONE CONTINUOUS SHOT.

Sometimes when you limit something about the thing you are making (the space, the tools, etc.), you open up many possibilities. It’s good to remember.

Some of the best lines from this movie:

Jeff (Jimmy Stewart): She’s like a queen bee with her pick of the drones.
Lisa (Grace Kelly): I’d say she’s doing a woman’s hardest job: juggling wolves.
———-
Stella: We’ve become a race of Peeping Toms. What people ought to do is get outside their own house and look in for a change. Yes sir. How’s that for a bit of homespun philosophy?
———-
Jeff: I just can’t figure it. He went out several times last night in the rain carrying his sample case.
Stella: Well, he’s a salesman, isn’t he?
Jeff: Well, what would he be selling at three o’clock in the morning?
Stella: Flashlights. Luminous dials for watches. House numbers that light up.

IMG_5346

I saw this quote on the wall at the Country Music Hall of Fame and it stuck with me. No one is cooler than Dolly Parton. No one.

top