Tuesday, December 25, 2007

It’s not luck; it’s chutzpah.

Current mood: accomplished
Someone told me last week that i was "very lucky." Oddly, my first instinct was defensive rather than agreement. I've mellowed a bit since then, and I'll agree that from conception, i've been lucky. I was born into a great family with very little drama. My mom kicked cancer's ass, and both of my parents are still alive to see me doing what I love for a living.

But luck just gets you started.

Things don't just "fall into [my] lap." If i just sat around my house with my dog and wrote songs, I wouldn't be doing any of the things I love.

I've always been a pro-active person. In high school, I did homework all of the time, read constantly, and freaked out at the possibility of getting an A- on something. It wasn't because of any parental pressure. If anything, my perfectionism probably drove them crazy. And yes, I know my attitude was a bit extreme, but i knew i wanted to go far far away to a great college. And if i didn't get the grades, i wasn't getting a scholarship. So i worked my ass off. Now my NYU degree in political philosophy is hanging on the wall next to my guitars, and i've moved on to a career in music, but...

I'm tired of hearing people complain that they can't do things, or that they are unlucky. If nothing is happening, go make something happen. if you don't like the way your life is, then change it.

That's what's so inspiring about my friends. People wonder why all my best friends are artists and writers. It's not just a like-minded career; it's a whole attitude. I surround myself with people who inspire me. I do not like constant complainers or naysayers. I have no time for people who put me down or condescend.

The past two years, especially, I have decided to go after the things I want. Oddly, it's not really "things." Instead, i guess, it's opportunities, moments, and experiences. It's amazing where being confident in your skills can get you. It's not luck; it's chutzpah.

My favorite things over the past year or so are not things at all...
It never hurts to ask. You hear that advice all the time, but I suggest following it. Here are things that happened this year because I decided to brave it and ask.
- Playing piano with the Nashville Star House band, even after i didn't make the final show.
- Playing accordion with Dan Bern at Headliner's (who, by the way, wrote the songs for Walk Hard .. highly recommended)
- Play musical saw with Cowboy Jack Clement and Fluke Holland in Nashville
- Play accordion with the MuzikMafia folks in Nashville (so John Rich probably thought i was nuts, but who cares?)
- I didn't get to play with John Prine or Elvis Costello, but I did ask. And you know what? It didn't hurt to ask.

And the most recent exciting adventure...

The Peter Searcy band was on tour with 7 Mary 3 this past week. I am embarassed to admit that though i had heard of the band, I had not heard any of their songs. And when I told people this prior to the tour, they all responded with a raspy, a capella version of "I have become ... cumbersome." How did i miss this song, you may ask? The 1 song of 1995? Refer to earlier in the blog where I mentioned how all i did in high school was homework. I missed the mid-90's because of scholarship dreams, ha.

Anyway, i first met up with Peter and 7Mary 3 in Dayton, where I missed their set. We had to leave right away to get the rest of the band back to Louisville.
But in Lexington on Friday, i heard their whole set, and was really really impressed. It was a straight-up rock show, and the guys in the band were some of the most gracious, smart, genuinely good people I've ever met. Remember why artists love artists? Inspiration. It's all about inspiration.

I asked if I could play accordion with them on some of the softer stuff, and the following night in Cincinnati, they let me. I wasn't sure how their crowd would take the accordion, but according to the message boards, it was a hit. I also played piano on two songs, and boys, if you're reading this, I'm ready to tour with you. I also can't wait to hear the new record. All my favorite songs of the evening were new, softer, alt-country tunes, with thoughtful lyrics and beautiful melodies.

What else is there, really? Except maybe accordion and chutzpah.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Things I'm doing

Things i’m doing
Current mood: jolly
- Learning to play Chopin's Minute Waltz in under Two Minutes. This way, if i'm ever playing a radio program where I run out of songs with exactly Two Minutes left, I'll have the perfect piece to play. And it's in the public domain because it was written B.C. (before copyright). The metronome is my best friend.

- Almost finishing my record. I have a duet i'm putting on there, and i've been trying to find the perfect surprise guest for the CD. My goal is to have whomever i choose recorded by January 5. It's the only thing left to record. Duets are really difficult to write. I'm pickier than usual about my lyrics because someone else has to sing part of them. I wonder if Elvis Costello is available.

- Promising my dog that I'm going to take him on a walk everyday. It doesn't seem to matter to him if i walk him around the block or around the neighborhood. He's happy either way.

- Looking for a 6-pin to 6-pin firewire cable that has vanished from my house. This is the only thing I don't like about having roommates. Not that they have done anything with this said cable ... but sometimes things are put in places that i would never look. This makes me wonder if it's even worth beginning a search. But i really need the cable, and i really don't want to go buy another one.

- Trying to choose a photo and graphic designer for my record cover. I'm out of money, and i hate asking professionals to do it pro bono. Maybe i'll do it myself.

- Painting again. I used to paint all the time.

- Stretching in the morning. I want to be bendy.

- Thinking about maybe getting my hair cut. I mean, not short -- i would freak out. But i've never had a professional cut my hair. I've always just trimmed it myself. Am i missing out on something fabulous? Maybe i'll make a video blog of "My First Haircut." I wish Stacy at Joseph's did hair. She did the most beautiful makeup last week at my photo shoot. Maybe i'll have her recommend someone, and we'll bring along the video crew.

- Learning that Henry Miller is not good treadmill reading. I should go back to Harry Potter.

peter searcy tour this weekend
Tonight: Dayton, Ohio
Tomorrow: Louisville @ noon for WFPK's Live Lunch
Tomorrow night: Lexington
Saturday night: Cincinnati

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

i just love headliner's

i just love headliner’s
Current mood: chipper
Headliner's Music Hall in Louisville, Kentucky, is one of my absolute favorite places to play. Some people like it because when you're onstage, you get a lovely view of your own band in giant mirror across the room. I like to position myself in front of a pole, so i can't see myself, but i can still see Peter's orange pants. They are always the highlight of any good rock show.

I just like it because it feels like a great rock show. Big enough to have higher-than-average energy, but small enough to see the crowd.

Code Red and Marion Square kicked off the evening, which was a really nice opening to the evening. McCall's got this beautiful voice and had on a sassy shirt to boot.

My band took stage right after Marion Square. Most of the crowd at that point seemed to be there for them, and honestly, they were quite rude as I took stage. This amused me immensely, and at that point i couldn't wait to play. A few boys thought it would be clever to "dance country" to the bluegrass song i opened with ("Whisky in the Faucet"). They just looked stupid. The best part was that pretty much everyone who was there -- most of whom had never heard me before -- stayed for my whole set. I sold loads of CD's, and the band got compliments galore. There is nothing i like better than playing to a challenge -- a crowd who doesn't know my music or my act. it's much more satisfying when these folks have a good time at the show than when my mom tells me i'm good.

My favorite part of the evening was when "Blue Dreidel No. 9" morphed into "The Immigrant Song." Peter and I had planned this, but i was not expecting the amazing Steve Cooley to jump in playing Jimmy Page note-for-note. I yodeled a verse of that, and went back into the Dreidel tune, and cleared the path for Peter Searcy to rock.

Peter Searcy's rock show was full of sweat, Eric's killer guitar licks, orange pants, twirling drumsticks, and boots on the piano. He is a true performer, and it is soooooo much fun being in his band.

I played accordion on one tune for The Muckrakers -- a tune which should be available for download on their webpage. They're melodies are so smooth and guitars so pretty. And they are history nerds, like me. Love that.

Digby was destroying the place with their sweet pop rock when i had to leave early to take a drunk friend home.

But i wasn't ready for home yet, so i high-tailed it to Third Street Dive to dance dance dance to Johnny Berry and the Outliers. Steve Cooley was two-timing that night.. playing with JB after me. i jumped onstage to sing "Jackson" with Johnny, and also another old yodeling tune, "Cowboy's Sweetheart." My favorite moment of the night was when I yodeled a chorus, then turned the stage over to Steve Cooley for a guitar solo -- and instead, he yodeled. Who knew?!

The yodel brings out happiness in all who hear it. I suggest you give it a try.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Music video!

Music video!
Current mood: energetic
So many cool things... i made the bestseller list at the amazing earx-tacy record store. 5 baby!
Getting airplay ALL over the country. Today i heard from a station in Wyoming that's spinning my Chanukah songs. I'll be yodeling on live TV tomorrow morning, for you Louisville-area viewers (FOX). I'm finishing my real record up on Thursday & Friday.
And today i posted a video for the "Blue Dreidel No. 9". Check it out and repost as desired!