I am pleased to announce that my eBook “Money & Heart” is available exclusively on Kindle for a limited time promotion…and it’s heavily discounted! That’s how you roll on Amazon and I’m just happy to be in the massive behemoth of a store and available on your iPad or Fire or Galaxy or giant face phone or whatever you have.

Get it here.


I am also offering a new service on Social Thinkery called “Pick My Brain.” You get my brain for a long chat AND you get some follow up notes from me after out meeting. This is exciting, and if you feel like you’re sitting on a big pile of potential (that’s you) but you’re not sure on your next step…I can help with that. If you just need some clarity on your web presence or social media strategy, I can help with that, too. Stuck on how to book better and more gigs? Guess what? Yeah! Click here to pick it.

Because I want an owl timer here, that’s why.

I’ve been blogging less due to the fortunate circumstance of getting some ducks in a row regarding some new ventures 2013 has brought my way.

The first is my new consulting service called Social Thinkery. (The Facebook Page is here!) You can read the website but basically, I like talking about social media, touring, and booking for independent musicians. I could just talk to myself about it, but that gets old. I decided to make it official and talk to others about it. Sometimes it’s just good to bounce ideas off someone, or have a plan and a person to be accountable to for the work that needs to be done. This is what folks can find at the Thinkery, which I think sounds British, which therefore makes it fancy.

Bugle Boy

I’ve also signed on to book for the Bugle Boy in La Grange, TX, a little over an hour from Austin and one of the best listening rooms in the country. Some fine folks run that place and I am honored that I was asked to help out. Booking a venue is a whole other beast from booking an artist and routing a tour. For one thing, there is no routing because buildings don’t move. I like that. It’s been a joy to research artists and go through lists of past performers there. It’s the perfect job for a folk music junkie!

There’s more good stuff on the horizon which I will talk about later…like in an hour…when the owl hoots.

A cool thing that’s happening is that I book for both Susan Gibson and Elizabeth Wills, both fantastic songwriters with impressive careers. The really cool thing is that they have been friends for about 20 years, and they are finally getting to play some shows together. They’ve had a chance to work things up to where it’s not just both of them onstage at the same time, but they play and sing on each other’s tunes and it’s a true collaborative show.

Susan Gibson and Elizabeth Wills

Their show at Poor David’s Pub on Friday night was their 4th together, and it really showed that they had come into a confidence and ease with each other’s music. They have fairly different styles but they work well together, like…like…PB+J? Sonny+Cher? Dolce+Gabana? Yes. Like Dolce+Gabana.

They have one more booked this year at The Bugle Boy on September 14th, but these duo shows will remain few and far between by design. They’re special events and part of that is keeping them scarce. So what I’m saying is…get thine tickets right when they go on sale!

Now to have a frank talk with them about coordinating their outfits. It’s about time. I’m thinking orange sparkly jumpsuits.

Alien Typewriter

Old school booking agent.

I’d eventually like to write some grandiose manifesto about how to form a team to back an independent musician for guaranteed success in business and life…but in the meantime I have some thoughts for folks out there who either:

a) don’t know what a booking agent does
b) want to know if they need a booking agent / if they don’t
c) which booking agent they need if they need one

These are all of my own opinions and not gleaned from anywhere else, but I’ve been doing it for 3 years now and these are the situations I have encountered.

1. Booking agents book shows for musicians to play and to make money. This involves tour routing (so you’re not driving 10 hours, back-tracking, playing too close to other venues, etc). This takes a lot of time, and each artist’s needs/wants/circles are different. Some like to play every night, some don’t want that. Some tour north, some east, some in Texas, some never in Texas, some all of the above. Some play solo some play with a band. All of them should, ideally, make money doing it. I mean PROFIT, not just break even. That’s the ideal…there’s situations that counter that assertion but they are special and always an investment for a higher goal.

2. You need a booking agent when it gets too crazy to do it yourself. Not that you just don’t WANT to do it yourself…most people who are sane do not want to book themselves (see above, it’s hard) but should do it anyway. When you are at the point where your schedule is too intense and your other artistic obligations are inhibited by the time spent booking (because your shows are successful and your fan base is growing and it’s getting crazy!)…THEN you find a booking agent. Don’t think a booking agent is going to advance your career if you are not ready. You as the artist must to the work and prove that you need the agent…your shows are crowded, your fan base is growing, there’s buzz. Booking agents don’t create buzz; they find venues appropriate for your buzz level.

3. Here’s the deal – sometimes I get asked to book artists because I have a good reputation from working with who I work with. This is fabulous and affirming and flattering. Sometimes I get asked to book artists I have never seen or heard before. Like I said, it’s flattering…but you don’t WANT me booking you if I don’t know you. You want your booking agent to be so 100% on board that they are begging you to let him/her book you. You and your band are probably great, but if I’m not on the train, find someone who is…even if they are not a full on booking agent. Enthusiasm and willingness are worth a ton, even when experience is lacking. Experience comes. Enthusiasm cannot be forced or faked. The other thing artists need to do is pick the agent who has experience with the things they need. I book solo artists mostly…sometimes a band gig comes up, but I don’t typically book toward venues who only take bands. That’s for another agent. I don’t book rock music, or jazz, or country. I book singer-songwriters, who have a particular culture, set of demands, and venue set that I have gotten familiar with over the past few years. Find the right fit! Interview, investigate, ask around. People love to talk about good folks they have worked with and encountered out there.

That being said, and I know I sound cranky but I just want y’all to seek the right fit, I DO love talking about any sort of booking, and I probably do have ideas. Never be afraid to hit or anyone up who works in this business because there will be some good nugget of knowledge gained, I’m sure.

Now go out there kick some butt. We’ll be knocking on your door before you know it.

Map on the Wall

I was obsessed with maps as a kid. I got it from my Dad, who would sit and read atlases for fun, not even because we were going anywhere. I’m not sure how you could read an atlas, but he did it. I never went that far, but from a young age I was perhaps not-so-stealthily removing the free map from the National Geographic Magazines from the school library and deciding they should be on my wall.

For fun in 2nd grade, I kid you not, I took it upon myself to copy every flag from every country in the encyclopedia. You know that “flags of the world” section? Instead of just looking at it in the book, I made my own. Apparently I had a geography itch.

I’m not sure about the flag part of it, but the map orientation has certainly parlayed into a fun time booking shows for people. I’m currently webbing tour routes through The Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest, the Southwest, and the Northeast. I’m finding that for all my map staring I still have no general guesstimate on how far Portland is from Denver (20 hours, ideal gigs: Boise, Salt Lake City…help me). It’s daunting and fun and interesting all at the same time. Once I find a proper SLC venue it’ll feel less daunting. Come on, Utah!

Oh hi, it’s been a minute. I have been the opposite of lazy but that’s no excuse because I am a BLOGGER and bloggers must BLOG.

I’m in full summer tour planning mode for Susan. We are headed up to Montana in July and August because it is going to be so unbearably hot anywhere South of Wyoming, in my guesstimation. I’m glad Susan figured out early that North is the place to go. We will be hitting up some of our usual places in Colorado and Wyoming and Montana, but also heading east to Washington and Oregon. This is great but I am having an issue called The Rocky Mountains.

Rearview Mountain

They’re gorgeous and big and you can’t really go THROUGH them, you must go around them. This makes sensical routing harder. But I will do it. We have to get from Portland, OR to Alamosa, CO in one week. It will happen.

Um ok wow.  I am still spinning.  The benefits of Folk Alliance are many and varied.  We got to make a lot of good contacts for The Boss…DJs, venues, all that.  I saw some amazing music that inspired me.  I got to be at a professional conference in my field and go to panels about useful topics.  I got to hang out with some REALLY COOL folks.  I’ll just kind of rehash the haps in photo form and insert slightly witty things between in hopes of  keeping your attention.

We got to Memphis after a fun gig in Little Rock — it’s always good to book shows to and from conferences because conferences are expensive, even for folk musicians.  We checked in and I was aghast that the Marriott in downtown Memphis would let 2000 music business peoples run around for 4 days.

We were told a sign is handy sometimes when you’re playing a showcase so that people know who you are, so Susan made a sign out of flaming duct tape that I had purchased in Arkansas.  It was awesome.

Prepping a Folk Alliance Sign

Then we had some time to clear our minds for the impending rush of crazy. I felt kind of glazed over with trepidation at the amount of hands I was going to shake and people’s names I was going to hear. Deep breath!

Susan had her first showcase at 10 PM that night and it went well. I was in hand-out-postcards-to-everyone mode. Everyone has their name tag on and you do this weird glance thing where it’s like “Hi there!” and then you look at their stomach and try and see where they are from and what they do and – I’ll say it – what they could potentially do for you – in one glance without making it too obvious. But it’s obvious, and we all did it, so it was fine.

Beth Wood

Right next door to Susan’s showcase happened to be Beth Wood, another one of my favorites, which was a taste of the enormity of awesome at this conference. We lined it out driving back yesterday and Folk Alliance is this: Three floors of the Marriot, maybe 30 rooms to a floor. Every night from 10 PM – 3 AM there is music in each room in (mostly) half hour time slots. So every half hour in 90 rooms someone is playing. It boggles the mind. All you need to do is walk up and down the hall and you will hear goodness. And if you missed someone in one room, chances are they are upstairs playing later that night. This is all in conjunction with the main floor where we took over all the ballrooms and meeting rooms – the Official Showcases were held there. Pretty impressive.

So anyway, after Susan’s showcase we wandered the halls and found good stuff.  And now I’m kinda tired because I’m not recovered from all this so give me a minute to remember what happened on day 2, haha.  Hm.


The other night we played a rousing game of Would You Rather, a Christmas present from my dear sister.  This game consists of predicting what your fellow players will say when you ask them something like, “Would you rather smell through your feet or breathe through your fingers?”  It’s something that makes you ponder.  Or wonder.

There’s also the part of the game where you make up your own “Would you rather?”  You try and create a scenario complex enough so your fellow players disagree with each other.

It’s a low key week except in my own head, where I’m playing a huge game of “would you rather?” with myself.  It results in me waking up ridiculously early and then kind of…wandering.  There’s a lot to do.  Would I rather renew my expired car registration (oops) or work on an awesome promo video for Susan’s new record or email 40 people or read the New York Times or postpone my jury duty summons or make coffee or write a blog post (look what won right now) or figure out WordPress?  That was just the last 2 hours.  I’m not whining, though…just trying to keep it all straight.

Maybe I’ll hit the coffee first.  Add cinnamon.