Girl Guitar

I’m happy to say I’ll be back for my second round of teaching with Girl Guitar in Austin. I taught songwriting this Spring and had the best time and met the best people. If you’re in Central Texas and you fall under the scope of “Girl with Guitar”…I’d love to see your face in class. Enrollment is limited. We’ll start September 17th and go through October with 6 week courses.

CAGED Lead and Theory

The CAGED theory is a way of revealing patterns of notes on the fretboard, therefore helping you to remember where all the notes are positioned. This is immensely helpful for finding new ways to play chords, find arpeggios, or being able to pick out a quick lead part in any key. This class will make you popular at parties and folk festivals, among other health benefits. CAGED Lead and Theory is taught by Jana Pochop.

*Please note: CAGED Lead class does not participate in the Girl Guitar Showcase.*
Cost for First-Timers: $160 (includes t-shirt)
Girl Guitar Alum: $135
*Get a friend to sign up and get $25 off!*
*Please note: Class fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. To sign up please email*

CAGED Lead with Jana- Thursdays, September 17th, 7-8pm



This class is designed to help you draw inspiration from your own life and use that inspiration to find your unique voice as a songwriter. You’ll learn how to get motivated to write, how to get all those wonderful words out of your head and onto paper, and how to arrange them into beautiful songs that could not have been written by anyone else but the one and only YOU! Songwriting is taught by Mandy Rowden, Jana Pochop, Cass Brostad or Jane Gillman.

Cost for First-Timers: $160 (Includes t-shirt)
Girl Guitar Alum: $135
*Get a friend to sign up and get $25 off!*
*Please note: Class fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. To sign up please email*
Songwriting with Jana-Thursdays, September 17th, 8:15-9:15 (No class October 15th)

Last month I had the fun of joining my friend Elizabeth Butler for her music video shoot outside of New Orleans. I played acoustic guitar on her song A1A (Settin’ Myself Free) and she asked if I would join in. Kira Small (from Nashville) and Solveig Whittle (from Seattle) were also going to be there, and OF COURSE that was a big fat Yes.

Susan (who is now given the title Perpetual Road Buddy) and I landed in Slidell and she took it upon herself to document me getting hair and makeup, which if you know me, you know pretty much only happens when someone is getting married or someone is doing a music video.

“This comes off, right?”

We headed down to the Honey Island Swamp and set up. Filming included running through the song, I don’t know…15 times? Oddly as the shooting progressed I messed up the chords more. Luckily, everyone was lip-syncing and I was chord-syncing so it all sounds glorious anyway!

Also, we learned no trip to Slidell is complete without stopping at La Pines, where Guy Fieri himself descended from the Food Network heavens and declared that it was good. They definitely had the largest onion rings I had ever seen and an excellent muffaletta. Boom.

And here is the final cut! Props to Troy Warren for directing and editing. Many many thanks to Elizabeth for having us along!

Note 1: Day 3 of my Kickstarter for my next record and WOW. I am humbled and frankly dumbfounded by the generosity that has been shown. I kind of figured I’d be pre-selling a lot of $5 downloads (which is awesome) and threw in the house concert option as an “It’ll round out the list” thought. AND PEOPLE ARE PURCHASING HOUSE CONCERTS. And ceramic pigs. And eBooks. And Trilogies. Mind blown. So excited!  Get you some.

The Bugle Boy

This post is about the other album project I’m thrilled to be a part of planning this Fall. Last weekend, Susan gathered her band consisting of Billy Masters, David Carroll, and Ray Rodriguez and recorded a live show at The Bugle Boy. It was amazing. I see a lot of Susan shows and they’re all great, but sometimes extra magic gets sprinkled in and this was one of those nights. The room was sold out, the sound was amazing, the crowd was stoked to be there, and the band was excited to play. All of the warm fuzzies were in place to make a stellar recording. We listened to the rough tracks this week so Susan could start whittling them down to a track list and everything sounds excellent. She has a tough job of choosing.

Susan Gibson Band at the Bugle Boy

The other amazing thing is that during the break at the show I was wandering around filming things and when it was time to start I meandered back to my seat and found…this guitar in it.


My buddy Geno was selling it, and I fell in guitar love, but decided that I needed to pay my taxes instead (I am half grown up). Susan knew this and apparently she swooped in and decided it was to be my…CD recording night bonus? Man. I was surprised and thrilled and maybe drooled a little bit. Like, a drool of appreciation. It sounds killer, mostly due to the work Geno put into it when he had it. It’s full of good mojo!

Anyway, Susan’s album will be out in February and I am so excited to help get things ready.  It’s a good time for new stuff.

I’ve been inspired by a whole mess of people on acoustic guitar but lately I’ve been hesitantly (but with love and enthusiasm) paying a little more attention to my electric playing.  I aim to incorporate it more into what I do live, and I’ve been looking at the folks who taught me what I like.  Here are my top 4, culled from Youtube.  It’s rare that I do a Youtube post but heck, show and tell, right?

My first guitar hero. John has played with Mary Chapin Carpenter for…ever. He plays EVERYTHING…electric, acoustic, all the other things, AND something called a Martin Backpacker (aka “The Stick Guitar”). I got one in high school because of him, and he signed it the very first time I saw him with MCC in Santa Fe in 1998. We go way back. I have popped up at Mary Chapin shows from Denver to San Francisco and Atlanta to Austin and he always says hello. A gentleman and a very tasteful guitar player who knows when to let it rip.

Another genius I was introduced to through Mary Chapin, Duke is the master of tone. I was certain he was using all kinds of crazy pedals for his sound and I read an interview somewhere that all he uses is a tremolo and a delay. It’s all in his hands and his brain. I was kind of hoping I could buy a magic pedal but alas, practice it is. Here’s a mini-lesson with Duke in which you can see magic flow from his fingers.

Lloyd is pretty much the godfather of pedal steel guitar in Texas and has played with everyone, but he’s also a master of the dobro, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, and this Papoose short scale guitar. When he plays this solo with Terri Hendrix I get goosebumps EVERY TIME. Another of of those humble, nice people who deserves all the acclaim he gets.

Dire Straits. Sultans of Swing. We all know the Knopfler tone. I think his composition “The Way It Is” consists of the most perfect guitar riffs ever. I aspire to this.

I LOVE THIS STATE. I’ve had some super fun trips to the Bay Area but never spent any time in SoCal, so when a good friend said Susan and Elizabeth should play in Huntington Beach, that sounded like a great idea. I would move here, but I’d need a job and all I’d really want to do would be to hang out in hip coffee shops and wait for cast members to Glee to walk in so I could stare at them from behind my latte.

We’re staying and playing in Huntington Beach, but yesterday we took a field trip to Santa Monica to McCabe’s Guitar Shop. Stringed instruments everywhere. Amazing inventory and variety. I played a $5000 Eric Clapton model guitar which pretty much made my day.

Eric Clapton Martin

These are our digs – a loft provided by our generous host (Thanks, Tom!). I’m trying to figure out if I can fashion the same kind of chandelier at home but with old GoGurt tubes and birthday candles.

Huntington Beach

Here’s what I look like when I’m playing every Mary Chapin Carpenter song I know and Elizabeth is helping me remember all the words. This might have been “Why Walk When You Can Fly.”


The ladies played a killer show last night and there is one more tonight! Good times. Thanks to all the folks at the Huntington Beach Art Center.


Tomorrow we fly back and I will go about trying to build a palm tree in the apartment complex yard. Wish me luck, or just send me some frequent flier miles so I can visit again.


I had my last group ukulele class this week with Kevin Carroll and I have to say, I’m a convert.

See, what happened was…about a year ago I got a ukulele because EVERY. ONE. IN FOLK MUSIC. HAS ONE. It’s a little cliché but they’re fun, right? Except that it sat there because I had some conflicting information on it (note: uke is not just like playing guitar upside down…someone told me that and my brain got confused) and then just didn’t pick it up that much except to plunk.

Kevin, my friend and Austin’s premier edUKEcator, was offering a 6 week group class and I figured a little group peer pressure would get me on the road to learning it a little better.

What I found out, thanks to Kevin’s devotion to the instrument, is that it’s NOT just a tiny guitar or a toy or the thing they play when they need Hawaiian music in a movie scene (although it is very Hawaiian, which is cool). It’s a really unique, adaptable instrument that is above all really fun to play.

We covered pop tunes, folk tunes, we learned a blues shuffle (uke blues yay!), and started getting into 20’s and 30’s tunes…those songs that Flapper Girls would dance to back then.

I have to miss the last class because I’ll be traveling, but Kevin sent me away with the assignment to play the uke on stage soon and record it. I will do it. Who wants to be a Flapper Girl?

Jeremy the Tour Guide

We had a great time in Bozeman, Montana on Thursday. We stopped by the Gibson Guitar factory to see if we might look around, and while they only do tours on Wednesdays, a nice employee named Jeremy took us through the factory anyway. We saw how a guitar gets made starting from a flat piece of wood all the way to the final cased up instrument.

Wood Ready to be Cut

Neck to Body

The Lacquer Room

And THEN to make a great day greater, our good friend and amazing musician/writer Walt Wilkins (who lives in Austin) just happened to be in the neighborhood and came to the gig at Peach Street Studios. That never happens a few thousand miles from home…except in Bozeman. The Live From the Divide series they do there, run by Jackie and Jason Wickens, is a gem of venue and atmosphere.

Susan Gibson and Walt Wilkins in Bozeman, MT

go get Walt’s new album Plenty – it’s amazing.


…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’.

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!