Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Good music with good people.

Current mood: thankful
Category: Music
Short blog today, just to say how much I love playing music.

I always get stressed out before a show, and I don't think most people understand how much work goes in to properly promoting and putting on a good one. Will anyone be there? Will the sound guy understand how to EQ my accordion? Will anyone be there? Did the show get listed in the newspaper? (Velocity failed us this time, sadly, but LEO done good, good, good.) Will the opener start on time? Will anyone be there?

And booking a show six days in advance is especially tricky. But Shannon will be in his hometown for Thanksgiving, and he's a big shot now (stupid Major Labels stealing away Louisville's own!). So luckily, a show with the two us big enough news that the local media cares.

He and I decided to do one of those big Thanksgiving Eve shows. (Will anyone be there?)

I've played with tons of people over the years, but Shannon's voice and mad pickin' skillz continue to amaze me.

And because of the beauty of the Louisville music scene, he and I have approximately one billion mutual musical friends. I suspect one million of them show up to sit in tonight. It's gonna be gooooood.

Lookout for surprises, yodels, haikus, accordion solos, deep basses, high tenors, nostalgia, friends, music, magic, smiles, and lots of laughter, all the things for which one should be thankful.

See you there! (You'll be there, won't you?!?)
Monkey Wrench
1025 Barret Avenue
Louisville, KY 40204
9:00 Douglas Lucas
followed by Brigid and Shannon
and friends
$7 cover. (or walk in with a guitar case and fool the doorman)

(Will anyone be there?)

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Meeting my hero

Current mood: jolly
Category: Goals, Plans, Hopes
With all this blog controversy, -- and here I thought I was just posting a funny story about a break-up and my redhead temper being squelched by good-deed-doing -- I realized I haven't written about any adventures lately.

So in the category of Crossing-Off-Lifetime-Goals: I met John Prine on Friday!

I've known his band members for a couple of years now, just through various Nashville escapades and mutual friends. But I had never met the man himself. Most people know that one of my main goals as a musician is to someday play music with John Prine. I don't want to open for him (although, upon thinking about it, I think I DO want to open for him), but really I just want to play accordion or saw or sing with him on his music.

I love playing in other people's bands. And John Prine and Elvis Costello are my two favorite songwriters. It was a lifetime goal to play with them.

In May, I got to play with Elvis at the Palace.

On Friday, I didn't get to play with John Prine. But after the show, I met him backstage and introduced myself. He knew about me (how could he not -- i've told everyone near him that I want to play accordion with him), and he said that the next time he came through Louisville, he'd give me a shot. Whoo hoo!

He also was incredibly kind and seemed like the wise man I figured he must be. He graciously signed autographs for the folks in line, and he signed a ticket stub for my mom just before he left the theatre. My current profile picture is a lovely photo of me with John Prine as well as the amazing Tim Krekel and his amazing sweetie, as well as Dave Jacques, John Prine's bass player.


And more ... I haven't been able to announce this yet, and it's been killing me.

But now I can.

On January 17, you'll be able to hear me perform live on: A Prairie Home Companion, a radio show I've wanted to be on for years.

Even better, we're taping this particular program at the Palace Theatre, the same stage where I got to play with Elvis.

Good things are a'happenin'. Stay positive, be a good person, and ask for what you want.


The Monkey Wrench
It's going to be a really fun show. Shannon's in town for the holidays, so come request your favorite Galoots song. Bring your incoming family. Get a babysitter. It's going to be a great night.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wow, you never know who’s reading your blogs...

Current mood: amused
Category: Romance and Relationships
Apologies to my readers for removing my last blog. I didn't think I said anything offensive in referring to "the ex," but apparently he reads my blog. Who knew?

I'll just write a country song to re-cap the general idea.



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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Where’d my small town go?

Current mood: relaxed
I laugh about how everyone in Louisville seems to know my business (or some weird version of my business) before I do.

But the weirdest thing just happened. I went to my neighborhood microbrewery ... and didn't know anyone there!

First, I watched a movie at a friend's house, then came home, intending on going to bed before midnight. But my roommate is home. She is great, but I felt like being by myself. I've been like that a lot lately actually. (Sorry, gentle roommates, my winter hibernation is coming early, and I'd rather not subject you to my moodiness. I blame the weather. El NiƱo, perhaps.)

And when I feel like being by myself, then I go out. That probably seems odd to you, but it's something I learned in my years in New York: the art of going out alone.

Usually, though, when I go out, I see someone I knew.

But I just went up to Cumberland Brews, scanned the room to make sure I wasn't unintentionally snubbing anyone (it's a smalllllll town, remember?), and was surprised to not recognize a soul. So I ordered a glass of Pinot Noir (stalkers, take note -- she drinks Pinot when she drinks wine, which is generally only when the pub doesn't have a hard-liquor-license), sat at the bar, and did the New York Times crossword puzzle from the LEO. Well, technically, I didn't complete it. But i worked on it diligently until my glass was empty.

Then I came home.

Weird. Where is everyone on this Saturday night at 12:15 am? How can I go out and be alone when there's no one to wave to?

I am such a bizarre creature.

It was really pleasant though. Cumberland has good Pinot. And it was nice to not have to tell anyone I was leaving. Still, it felt like Bizarro-Cumberland.


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Friday, November 14, 2008

Hold the show? No way, baby.

Current mood: smitten
So you've read my blogs, and you know that I am spontaneous and unpredictable. I always say yes to a free concert ticket or an invitation to dance to Johnny Berry music or a last-minute road trip.

But I am a stickler for an on-time concert start.

I love Louisville, but my one complaint about the music scene here is that bands rarely ever start on-time.

It's a vicious cycle. The bands don't want to play to an empty room, but the room is empty because bands never freakin' start on time.

I should say right now that almost all Production Simple shows start as advertised, or within 15 minutes of said-advertised-time. Thank you, fine friends at PS for allowing we music-lovers to plan our evenings appropriately.

Can you imagine if you could really and truly catch several acts at different clubs all in one night? See _______ at 6:00! Then head across the street for ______ at 7:30! Then head across town for _____ at 9:00! And then call CitiScoot to take you (and your car) to see _____ at 11:00!

I've been obnoxious about starting on-time (and early), and last night's show at Gerstle's was proof that we Louisvillians can do it. There was a great crowd when Danny Flanigan took the stage at 7:59 (thanks, Danny!), and David Mead was on by 10:00. Beautiful.

I had a blast playing last night. It was a different set up. Me on piano, mostly, and Danny Kiely on upright bass, with some Peter Searcy thrown in on the cello. I might try adding some light drums to the mix and make that my alternate set-up.

Props also need to be given to the amazing crowd last night. Gerstle's was a listening room for the most part. The club owners turned off the TV's. Kevin, my favorite grumpy sound man, was all smiles because the music was fan-freakin'-tastic. I sat on the floor during most of David Mead's set (except when i was beckoned for a musical saw solo here and there), and I listened to him sing gorgeous songs off his To-Be-Released record, Almost and Always.

Another cool thing (sorry I'm rambling) about last night's show, was looking around and seeing so many of Louisville's musicians and songwriters in the crowd, mesmerized. So if you missed the show, or you don't know David Mead's music, please go to his page and listen. Or forget that, go straight to your local independent record store and just buy any of his five records (the pop/rock section, most likely). Trust me, and trust a room full of musicians, all listening intently, wishing we could write melodies like that.

And then today -- great Live Lunch by Todd Snider. I sat right up front (though not on the floor this time) and laughed a lot.

Tonight: John Prine. Don't know where my seat is yet. I'm flyin' solo, though, through a streak of good luck, so I'm betting it's front and center.

Cheers. Go buy that David Mead record now.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Screams, shouts, and text messaging.

Current mood: rejuvenated
In October 1996, I was living in Greenwich Village, at an NYU dorm. I was doing homework one night (surprise) alone in my dorm room, when I was suddenly distracted by a savage uproar. I heard a few individual screams, but it was mostly the sound you get when you breath heavily into a microphone, trying to imitate a crowd of people screaming. It was in stereo, coming through my window. My window faced an alley, and the shouts and screams of New Yorkers were echoing up the close walls. Someone stuck his head out of the apartment window across from me and screamed bloody murder.

I shut the window, terrified.

Had we been bombed? Was the world ending? What was happening?

Afraid to go outside, I called my mom, in Louisville, Kentucky.

She answered right away, and I told her what had happened.

"You really don't know?"

"No, there's no one around, but people are screaming. I'm not sure what's going on."

She laughed and told me I'd been working too hard before explaining the cause of the mass hysteria: "The Yankees just won the World Series."*

I hung up the phone and went outside.

Never had I seen such mayhem. It sounded like the zombies had attacked. People were running down the streets, screaming, shouting nonsense, climbing lampposts, attempting to run up the sides of buildings, standing on cars, and generally freaking out. I walked over to Broadway and witnessed taxi drivers tossing cigars out their windows at passersby. Strangers were hugging. The screams turned into joyous high-fives and chants. It was a beautiful thing, and I didn't even know it was baseball season.

Tuesday night in the Highlands of Louisville was comparable to October 1996 in New York.

The screams, the high-fives, the random guy-with-guitar walking up and down the street singing Woody Guthrie tunes at midnight, the cars honking and waving flags. The thrill of having voted for someone who actually won. It felt like a community, more than ever.

Yes, Kentucky is a Red State, and embarrassingly enough (to me) we were the first state to be called, which I was alerted to via text message from various friends across the country.** ("With 0% of the vote in, Kentucky goes to McCain." What's that all about anyway? 0%?) But thankfully, that was the only time that John McCain had the lead all night long. And also thankfully, I live in the Highlands, a beautiful oasis of blue in a desert of red. (Like Austin, Texas, I presume.) A place where they don't tell you you can't sing country music if you think recycling is important and you have friends of all races.

Anyway, it feels really good to be excited about doing something positive for the world.

Thank you to the wonderful messages from all over the world. It seems everyone in Europe and Asia was more concerned about our presidential election than most of America. Here's to the USA joining a forward-thinking, global community.

Maybe someday the entire world will be jumping up and down climbing lampposts and high-fiving Cuban-cigar-smokin' taxi drivers.

* I should point out that the Yankees won the World Series 4 out of the 5 years I lived in New York, and they've not won since I moved away. Something to think about.

**By the way, can I tell you how much I love text messaging. I was texting Austin, Boston, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Baltimore, Chicago -- Grant Park even! -- ... all... through... the night. Beautiful! I love immediate contact and information. I could feel the excitement through my wee little phone.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The World.

The world.
I am staving off a migraine. Unsuccessfully. It's going to have me within minutes, but I needed to write.

My mind has been in knots for months now, it seems, about this election tomorrow. I spent the last month in the UK, where everyone I met is globally conscious. And conscientious. And worried about how America will vote (or not vote) tomorrow.

I don't sing political songs. (Except for the occasional "Flag Decal" cover by John Prine, which is actually extremely political... hmmm...) I try to keep politics out of my songs for the most part because I enjoy the distraction of the stage.

What most of you don't know about this happy-go-lucky, smiley-faced, pippi longstockinged, pollyanna, is that my NYU degree is not in film or music. It is in: Politics. Specifically political philosophy with an emphasis on American political policy and structure. I am secretly obsessed with this stuff. I wrote a huge senior paper on why there is absolutely no reason we should vote --- and yet, how some undefinable factor in the equation tells us that we absolutely must vote.

So this is my little political blog. I'm restraining myself tremendously.

You know, forget it. I'm not holding back.

I'm sick and tired of hearing seemingly smart people say things like, "But his middle name is Hussein!" or "But he's going to be assassinated!" (And now for an appropriate use of annoying internet slang: WTF?!?!?) It's 2008, not 1958. It was bad enough back then, but for now, it's just embarassing. I'm a self-employed small-business owner, and I'm not afraid to vote for Barack Obama.

The rest of the world will be watching us tomorrow. Let's not embarass ourselves again.
At least go vote. I know I'm the millionth person you've heard this from. And, honestly, if you're reading my blog, then I'm probably preaching to the choir.

So thank you, smart, motivated, citizen.

And if for some reason things don't go right, I'm staring at the business card of the General Consul of Ireland. I'm gonna get me an EU passport, after all. Everyone over there was concerned about the welfare of the planet, not just a few Christian folks in America.

For now, I'm hoping this migraine is just cumulative stress of electoral angst. Funny, my first migraines started right around November 2000. Maybe eight years of them is enough...

My official endorsement: Obama/Biden.
And for Congress: Yarmuth, of course.
And let's finally get rid of Mitch McConnell while we're at it?

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