It is warm enough in Austin tonight that my ceiling fan is on and I am chewing peppermint gum in an effort to not want to crank the AC. Tomorrow we leave for Red River, NM, where I understand it is (to quote a local) “freaking cold” and snowy. Being as I have a new reputation lately of only being able to comprehend packing for the current weather I am experiencing, SusanG posted a helpful Facebook post to bring a hoodie. This is probably because last weekend we left Austin and it was 85 and 2.5 days later I had to borrow a sweater to handle the 40-something it had turned in my absence. DECIDE ALREADY, TEXAS!

Anyway, the month of March freaks me out a little. In that it almost freezes me up in terror when I think about it.

March 2012

That that looks like “Weeeeeee! We’re on tour!!” Which, yes. I do enjoy it. However, in an effort to be a little more like my two favorite bloggers (Altucher and Trunk), I will go a little more in depth into my “on tour” thought process.

A LOT of my job is not the “on tour” part, it’s the “book the next tour” part. This requires email, Google, energy, and a lot of time to sit and think. Oftentimes these things are present on the road but do not align. Energy comes when I wake up, but then we usually have to drive. There is often a lot of time to sit and think when driving, but no wifi. If we’re at a venue there *might* be wifi, but that is not the time to sit and think. After it’s all done I usually just want to sleep.

Traveling finds its own pleasant rhythm but it is not my rhythm of “get things done.” I’m still learning to adapt to this so that I don’t

a) fall behind with all my jobs
b) not enjoy the traveling because of that

This coupled with the fact that we are going to ARIZONA which is exciting but a brand new market whereupon I usually end up a stressball because I booked the gig and it is far from home and if it sucks, well then. I don’t expect any of these gigs to suck but there is always a fear of the unknown.

Why do I share? I don’t know. It’s a picture into the brain of the perfectionist booking agent/Rubicon employee. I really am looking forward to leaving the state for a while and seeing a whole new one in a gig capacity. (I can get an Arizona ceramic pig!)

And like I said, I do enjoy the travel…I read more (out loud sometimes!) and see places and meet people and see friends and we laugh a ton on the trip. It’s not a burden but it’s a balance.

Just like figuring out what to wear in frozen Red River when it’s 85 in Austin. Plan ahead but enjoy the moment.


We had a fun weekend in Dallas and Fort Worth, and now I am currently obsessed with affording a downtown loft in a large city. Probably Austin, but dang…Dallas is cool downtown! Who knew?

Currently freaking out over March looming closer. I will be gone most of the month and I am trying to figure out how to make everything work. How to make work work, mostly. SXSW happens the week I am in town, and that is always overwhelming but fun. Go. With. The. Flow.


Jeri+Renee: Blame Sally

This summer Susan opened for Blame Sally in Denver and I had perhaps heard of them before but hadn’t been exposed to their music. They were AWESOME. I have trumpeted their brilliance since that day, and I was thrilled to find out they were doing a house concert in New Braunfels on a Sunday that we happened to have off after a long gig weekend. It was the perfect way to wrap up the weekend and by the time we sat down there were only front row seats left. This was ok with me but I couldn’t really fit more than two Sallies in a photo at a time.

Also in a twist of good fortune, I was right in front of the awesome Jeri who is a fabulous guitar player. I was trying to soak in some technique for my current electric studies. It turns out we admire some of the same players. I can spot a Duke Levine fan anywhere.

Anyway – I’ll say it again. Go see Blame Sally and buy their records. One of the few bands I’ve seen lately whose albums hold up to their live show. As Martha would say, this is a good thing.


Emily asked me to play a gig with her next week and we got together last night to actually…you know, work on songs together.  It was so fun.  I got out my Telecaster and I might just never put it down again.

I was rather attached to the electric guitar in high school. I had a Korean Stratocaster and spent hours with it. I can still hack through some Mary Chapin solos because they are that engrained. Then somewhere along the line I decided to focus on acoustic guitar and writing and left the electric behind. I’m realizing I missed it and I’m so glad Em is giving me the chance to work on things again!

I’m still using my Telecaster I got in college and I love it. It’s a Nashville Deluxe model so it has a Stratocaster pickup in it…maybe in homage to my first guitar. One day I’ll get a Strat again, but I have to start maximizing this one first.

More soon…the name of the game right now is ambient swells practice!

I’m sad and I don’t even know why. If I started rattling off my favorite singers it would probably take me a long time to get to Whitney, just because she was never huge on my radar. I was a teenager when the VH-1 Divas Live thing came around, and there was no doubt Whitney has the “it.” Listening back to all the tracks currently flooding my Facebook stream makes me go, “I love that Whitney song! Oh yeah, THAT one too!” It’s a nostalgia trip and humans are good at nothing if not reminiscing. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” takes me back to rocking out on a Casio keyboard in my room. Those were the days. It dulls the tragic aspects of the situation a little to go back all the way to the good stuff.

People ask me sometimes about wanting to be “famous.” In my hometown, the music industry is exactly what we see on TV. You either get famous or you go home and make it a hobby. I’m not totally sure what people think I am doing since I am obviously not “famous” and yet am seemingly repellent to finding a “real job.” Texas has proven that there is a rich industry of people making a living in music that rely neither on fame or on playing covers in the corners of Mexican restaurants, and I am grateful I found it.

There are so many better written articles about the Machine of Fame in this country than what I can squeeze out in a blog post…about how we the public create our fame martyrs to entertain us for a while until we knock them down and leave them for dead. I read an article that made the point that at some juncture the powers that be in the music industry make the decision to keep you alive or let you die based on how much money you could make them in each scenario. A bit conspiracy laden, for sure…there aren’t death panels in the basement of Warner Records or whatever, deciding who gets another album and tour and who gets a cocaine supplier…but it’s interesting that Sony Records raised the price of Ms. Houston’s digital albums hours after her death.

So we all feel bad and we post tributes and Facebook notes for the people who, before the breaking news on Twitter of their passing, we considered washed up tabloid fodder or tragic gossip blog entertainment. The tributes are heartfelt, but they come from a place of guilt as much as anything. We feed the machine and then we hold memorials when the machine spits out our fallen idols and starts chewing up the next round.

Morbid? Yep. I feed the machine too…I’m a guilty party.  The game will continue to get played regardless of who participates.  The Enquirer is not in danger of folding any time soon.

The best I can think to do right now is repeat the mantra “garbage in, garbage out.”  Take in the good stuff and reject the bad.  So now I’m gonna go jam out to “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”

Alright, so month 2 of 12 months of experiments is underway, and as explained below, I’m calling this one The Early Month. This has actually turned into a bit of a misnomer because while I tried, I cannot quite tweak my schedule to get up at 5 AM at this juncture. There is rarely the chance for me to go to bed before midnight, and I do not roll well with less than 7 hours. I have learned this about myself, and I accept it.

But! All is not lost. Knowing it is Early Month has definitely helped me focus more on a few of my own personal project things, which are always first to be ignored. One of which was that video below, which as far as I can tell is now done going “folk viral” but the 1.5 days of hit-counting were entertaining.

I’ve also tried out using the first hour of my day as my own creative time, which worked the first few days. Then I shifted to working an hour or more in the evening on things (new songs, guitar, etc.) That’s interesting because that wasn’t the case until I started the month with the intention of doing that. Intention is key, apparently. This is the understatement of the year, and 1600 self-help gurus just smacked their foreheads in a “Duh, Jana” moment.

Twitter Joy

I hung up a photo of Gordon Ramsay over my desk as an extra “get writing!” incentive and I tweeted at him. He followed me right back. Soon my goal of opening a rustic but chic restaurant with him in Santa Fe will come to fruition. Or something.

I kept waiting for someone to do this, and no one had picked up on the hilarity of this “Sh*t People Say” meme and how singer-songwriters are pretty stereotypical sometimes. So I did it.

It’s going mini-viral, which in my world equates to 1600 hits in 2 days. That’s not bad. Better than I’ve ever had on a video before.

I maintain that I can mock because…I’ve done every single one of these things.