…gigs will come. Get the guitar that is.

I’ve been enjoying the heck out of my new Epiphone…we have bonded faster than most any other instrument I have owned. This is a good thing because Susan asked if I would bring it to Amarillo next week and play a set with her band as a pinch hitter electric player. After my mouth stopped gaping open I said yes. Then I started practicing.

Luckily the functions of my job with The Susan Gibson Band over the years have allowed me to know a lot of cool players and record a lot of shows. I have been shoving the live versions of songs in my ears as played by folks like Michael O’Connor, Billy Masters, Gabe Rhodes, and Lloyd Maines. If I can manage a little bit of their guitar tone and magic, I’ll be satisfied. It’s nice to have so many examples to listen to and learn from.  Lloyd also had a spare delay pedal he passed down to me which…makes for good mojo right there.  It is called an Ibanez SuperTank but online reviews refer to it as the Potato Bug, which it does indeed look like.

Potato Bug
Tater Bug

I was also entrusted with Dan’s old pedal board that he used for years with porterdavis.  That thing has some excellent mojo in it, too.  I don’t actually have enough pedals yet to justify using it, but I’m gonna do it anyway.  Thou shalt not leave thy mojo at home is a rule I read once somewhere.  Also I’m in gear acquisition mode so I’m sure there’s a new pedal out there somewhere with my name on it.

I played a LOT of electric guitar back in high school and then switched over the acoustic in college…it’s really great to have a reason (beyond it being fun to do) to pick it up again.  So there we go…mojo workin’.

One of the things I’ve been working on is setting up an office space. My awesome roomie Katie is the queen of decorating, and she encouraged me to co-opt the dining room for an office space so that I could in fact sleep in one room and work in another. It’s been awesome.


The first thing Katie did was take the door off the kitchen pantry (ssshh don’t tell, we’ll put it back) and we got two trestle stands from IKEA to lay it on. This is genius and I might now and forever always use a door for a desk, though I have not priced doors lately. The cool thing is the hole for the knob works great as a cable keeper for everything that plugs in underneath. The desk is big enough for my blueberry iMac (which I use for word processing when I need to NOT BE ON THE INTERNET) and my laptop as well as various other desky things. I lined the wall under the calendar with my favorite musicians (mostly guitar players) for inspiration. I got the map at a teacher supply store…a really good place for giant, cheap maps. This is not a Canon ad.



Across the way I have a SECOND desk, which isn’t complete yet but it is the Analog Desk (making the other one the Digital Desk). If you notice, there’s nothing on this one that plugs in or could get wifi or ring or anything. I got the idea from Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon, who uses his analog desk to storyboard his ideas. I stocked it with index cards (which are a really fun and easy note-taking and doodle tool, I have discovered) and such, though I need an office supply store binge sometime to really trick it out. Susan bought me an old school pencil sharpener in Tulsa when I saw it in an antique store had a nostalgia freak out about it in the store…we used those things all the time in grade school. Sometimes you could waste a lot of time pretending to sharpen your pencils perfectly until the teacher yelled at you to sit down.

Old Man PawnStars

The Old Man from Pawn Stars bobbleheads over the whole thing, a reminder to keep on task, but keep it hilarious.

Epiphone Riviera P93

I got a new guitar. It’s pretty gorgeous. (I’ll be loud and proud about my pretty guitar). My friend Geno (who owns Red Leaf School of Music – music lessons anyone?) also helps out at Larry Land Music in Bastrop. He’s been harassing me to come out and visit (just kidding, Geno only gently suggests), and I finally did. Just to look around. Which is always a mistake when the “looking around” is in a guitar store.

I’ve had this desire for a hollow body electric for a while now…they have a bigger body size and since I am so acoustic oriented, they’re pretty comfortable for me to play. I had put it on my “get eventually” list, but then this Epiphone Riviera P93 was hanging on the wall and from somewhere a voice boomed “IT SHALL ME MINE.” Ok, it boomed from my head.

A part of my staying home all month project, I have been getting rid of some things. A couple of pieces of gear are staying in the family and going to live at Susan’s house, and a couple more got Craigslisted. Everything lined up and I brought home the Riviera last weekend. So far so good…it’s a joy to play. I haven’t geeked out over a guitar in a long time, so this was fun. Now to learn a Chuck Berry riff!

Time for another Ask Jana…whereupon I get to gratuitously pretend to know things I don’t know, but I promise I am using an educated guess as best I can, fueled by my morning breakfast of cottage cheese spiked with green chile. (I suggest that any time you add one food item to another, you can use the term, “spiked.”) Here we go.

Panflute Flowchart
Bonus FYI

Can you explain to me the difference between Americana and Country music? – Dani
Whatever I say is probably going to tick off some ethnomusicologists and some diehard country fans and some diehard Americana fans and then maybe even some polka fans. (Deep breath). I personally think Americana doesn’t really have a textbook definition, because it’s a term that has risen in popularity over the past decade to describe anything slightly out of the mainstream that is not full on Nashville-ized country. Thanks to things like T Bone Burnett producing everyone cool and O Brother Where Art Thou?, Americana actually got put on the popular cool kids shelf for a minute, and it still resides there in some respects, although the term is easily watered down because EVERYONE uses it to describe their music. I think Americana at its core utilizes the traditions of music brought to America from other countries (reels and jigs from Ireland, polkas from Eastern Europe, the banjo from Africa, etc.) and molds them together. Appalachian music, bluegrass, and the blues are all derivatives of these immigrant traditions, and I think Americana smushes those genres together even more. They combined with the story-telling traditions of traditional country (or Country Western) and formed this giant all-encompassing genre called Americana. Country itself has some pretty defined parameters, thanks mostly to it residing in its mother home of Nashville for so long, and being tied to a commercial core. While country has adopted some traditions like Western swing, it’s a lot more uniform in its definition versus Americana. I hope even one sentence in this diatribe makes sense.

What’s the name of the guy who invented the zip tie and is he rich now? – John
According to Wikipedia, an electric company named Thomas and Betts invented them in 1958, so they are not that old. I’m not sure if Thomas or Betts got credit for it, or whether they had a bitter fight about it. I am assuming both of them were rich since they are on Wikipedia.

I want to know why all the parks are empty. – Jenny

I think parks are one of the essential elements in a civilized and happy society…national, state, and city. We all need nature. I’m sure there’s some study somewhere about open space and happiness. Plus all that oxygen the trees spit out (Note: Iamnotascientist). The odd turn of events is that often parks are creepy to go to alone because there are a lot of things like trees for bears and psychokillers to hide behind, so this might keep people out of parks. Thinking out loud.

Does it make sense to you that mermaids are half human/half fish? I mean really they should probably be half human/half whale, because you know, the whole mammal thing? – Jamie

Jamie, that is a very astute question that I have never thought about before…and no, it does not make sense. A couple of thoughts popped in my head. If we addressed the whale thing, number one no one wants to see a mermaid that big, and also, baleen is not as attractive on a girl mermaid as smaller teeth. Secondly, do not discount the magic. Mermaids are magic. They are pretty. They have shimmery scales. So how did mermaids come about? MAGIC. And sometimes…magic and logic don’t live in the same zip code.

What’s the color of the wind? – Jeff
Pocohontas even took this a step further in her feature length Disney movie and asked, “Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?” This tells me (because Disney clearly knows what they are talking about) that the wind is probably a rainbow of colors. However, when I think of wind in my brain, I’m pretty sure it’s a pale blue.

If the moon were made of cheese, would you eat it? Heck I would. I’d go back for seconds. – Taylor

If the moon came down here and kind of settled down for once and it was made of cheese, I would probably eat it. But the moon is still really far away and I don’t have the astrophysics skills to figure out how to get there, and Central Market has a pretty awesome cheese section, so I’m good.

Why is there no ‘religious left’? – Pam
Pam went political. I like it. My initial reaction is that there is, in that I know a lot of church-going Democrats. But Pam is right in that there is no unified political movement called the Religious Left. When I was getting my poli sci degree at UNM we did a pretty in-depth reading about how Karl Rove was responsible for mobilizing a LOT of conservative, church-going people with interesting tactics like…campaigning in churches (yes, for real!). Mobilizing that base to vote really upped GWB’s numbers. I think that because no one on the left has really made a whole movement out of mobilizing a certain religious group, no one’s defined the religious left. Fascinating.

At what age were you able to correctly spell…Albuquerque??? – Craig

I am not sure…I remember using “ALB” and “ABQ” a lot, but if you chant it, it comes out pretty easily. A-L-B-U-Q-U-E-R-Q-U-E.

What brings tears to your eyes? Any recent examples? – Jon

Well, I am helping out with a thing called Soldiers, Songs and Voices at the Bugle Boy in La Grange, where veterans (of any war but focusing on newly returned vets who are trying to re-acclimate) can come twice a month for free guitar lessons and songwriting classes. The organization provides free guitars for the vets and local songwriters are volunteering their time to meet with them. We had a training session last weekend and listening to the things soldiers face when they are in the service and when they return back to “normal” life definitely made me tear up. Here is the website for more information on the program.

How did you get to work with Rubicon music and Daniel? What was that journey like and how you are inspired by it today. – Le
This question is so good it gets its own post, forthcoming!

Do you feel that your great musical talent is a product of the genes from the Pochop or the Woods family? I am betting on the Woods side because I am almost certain that your uncles in Kansas gave all their music ability to you because they can’t even carry a tune in a bucket. Uncle Dave thinks you got most of his musical ability but he considers himself a good tenor because he sounds pretty good ten or twelve miles away. – Linda
This question is from my awesome Aunt Linda, and as you can tell, I come from a long line of characters on both sides of the family. I’m not sure where the musical gene came from, but I think there must be a procrastination gene in there too because I practiced guitar so much to avoid doing things like chores and homework, so there’s that.

If you didn’t end up as JPO the Super Merch chick, amazing folk troubadour and all round renaissance lady….who else may you have been? – Zach

Why thank you, Zach. Flattery gets you everywhere. I think had I not moved to Austin to fumble around for a while, I would have gone to UNM to get a Masters degree in History, which probably would have lead to a PhD in History, which would probably mean I’d still be there, a grizzled, jaded grad student obsessed with commune culture in 1960’s New Mexico. Yep. It’s better this way.

What does the “permanent press” setting on washing machines really do? – James

I smell a class action lawsuit, because I can guarantee millions of people have used that setting and not one of their articles of clothing has remained “permanently pressed.”

When will we ever grow up? – Leilani

I hope we don’t. I mean, I hope we all become financially solvent working members of society, but in terms of selling out to any sort of “here’s what everyone else did” mentality, I hope we don’t.

What is one hour martinizing anyway? – Corey

Man. The only thing I can think of is that is has something to do with Martin Guitars, Martin Sheen, Martina McBride, or Lockheed Martin?

How can a brown cow give white milk when she only eats green grass? – Brid

All from a PINK STOMACH! I tell you what, though…if you squish all the colors of the rainbow together you get white. Or is that black? No one would drink black milk, though.

1) What is your favorite coffee? 2) Red, green or Christmas? – Christina
I finally finally have a favorite type of coffee. Before I always just kind of drank what was around or on sale. This is still oftentimes the case, but at home I buy Seattle’s Best Number 4. Number 4 is awesome, and when they are out at Target and I have to get something else, I can tell the difference and I regret it. It’s flavorful but smooth, and not burny. Starbucks is great but there’s that often screamed “THEY BURN THEIR BEANS!” which…whatever. I don’t think the biggest coffee company in the world is burning their beans, but perhaps they roast them to a different degree than some folks like.

Also my rule of thumb is chicken = green, pork and beef = red, breakfast = Christmas. Yummo.

Should white people boycott The Cracker Barrel? – John
Yes, but not for the reason you think. Cracker Barrel actually keeps white people white and doughy because of the amount of whiteness in their food. I had a meal there a while back that contained: a biscuit, grits, gravy, and potatoes. That’s a lot of white to be rolling out on one plate. It was a youthful indiscretion and I am sorry. (Note: I like Cracker Barrel, I really do).

It’s been an abnormal July because I’ve been home for most of it, as opposed to touring. We leave in July 31st for a tour all the way to Washington and back, so July has made me batten up my home hatches and appreciate being in the same bed every night.

It’s been awesomely busy…I’ve been working on some projects for Susan (whilst she takes an actual vacation for once yay!) as well as Rubicon, and working on a project of my own. It’s an eBook. I can’t tell you exactly what it’s about because I haven’t finished writing it yet (which may cause you to shake your head and say, “Maybe you shouldn’t be writing a book yet, Jana!”) but I PROMISE IT WILL BE SO AWESOME…if you have interest in or care about the music business. Or me. And if you don’t care about me then…get off my blog.

That was rude, I didn’t mean it. Keep reading.


To list some of the “month at home activities” I’ve been doing…I had a Nerd Day with Elizabeth and saw the LBJ Presidential Library as well as the Ransom Center, which is one of 5 institutions in America to have an actual Gutenberg Bible. That was nerdalicious. (As I typed nerdalicious I cringed but I’m keeping it. KEEPING IT).


I got to hang out at Congress House Studio for a day whilst Elizabeth recorded something awesome (you’ll hear it when the album comes out which has no date nor even a time frame yet so do not ask…it was a demo for kicks). Congress House and Mark Hallman have worked on some amazing albums by people like Ani DiFranco and Eliza Gilkyson, so I was definitely happy to soak that vibe in.

It’s been rainy and not 117 degrees here which has made it all the more pleasant. I was certain I’d be curled up in the fetal position by now because last year was awful here, but it hasn’t been really been hitting 100, which makes me want to dance and I think is contributing to my progress on the eBook and things. Clouds and rain make me want to Write. I also look at this photo of a coffee mug (warning, cuss word involved) when I need a kick in the pants. I am close to buying it but haven’t yet.

I’ve got a gig this weekend with Katie and Emily, I found a used guitar I am in love with and now have to sell some other gear I don’t use anymore to justify it, and I moved a lot of furniture because I got a new bed and got rid of the old one. My office is almost set up, too.  This is a lot of shuffling for me, people!  I must have missed Spring Cleaning and am making up for it.

Oh, and I have a coaching session next week with my blogging hero, the equivalent of a blogging rock star in my world.  SO EXCITED.  She asked for my Myers Briggs type.  I am in INTJ.  This will ideally tell her all she needs to know about me to tell me what to do with myself. I’m sure I’ll be worked up into a ball of nerves by Thursday.

And that…completes this much needed and meandering blog post…abruptly, because I am pragmatic in my perfectionism, says the INTJ page.

Michael O'Connor and Jana Pochop

Something cool happened this weekend. I played a show with my good friend Michael O’Connor, who I also work with on the booking agent side of things (this made scheduling this gig quite easy). He is an amazing songwriter and guitarist…I’ve been watching his guitar skills for years now since he plays with Susan sometimes and several other folks around these parts. We’ve been on stage together before but this was our first “real” gig together.

The plan was so song swap back and forth, which we did. Before the show we got together and Michael learned a few of my tunes (which he doesn’t even need to learn things to make them sound good) and played mandolin on a few…I now insist those songs must have mandolin on them when we record them. I learned a couple of his songs so I could back him up on rhythm.

At some point during the gig he turned to me and said, “This one’s in A minor – take it.” Now sometimes I get told to take a lead and I think “Aaaaaaaaahhhhhh!” However, I’ve been playing on Susan’s stuff and with my friends for long enough that my first thought was, “Yay, A minor!”

I hung in there and played along with Michael on a few more, and he was super encouraging. He told me I was tasteful. I told him it’s because I didn’t want to mess up, so I played less. (Maybe I shouldn’t reveal my secret).

My point is we had a lot of fun and some good folks came out to hang with us, and that is pretty much why I’ll sign up for a gig anytime with MOC.  I’m looking forward to more whereupon I will wail (tastefully) on more tunes.  Perhaps a monster has been created.  I will play lead for you for a sandwich and a ride to the gig.

Michael O'Connor and Jana Pochop

Katie took this photo of Elizabeth taking a photo…it’s one big musical family here!