Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I am super-tired. Yesterday was one of the more typical days-on-the-road. We got up really early, hit the road, did a TV show, then had hours to kill before load-in. It was a lot of coffee-shopping and WiFi borrowing, trying to catch up on emails and doing my continual task of planning tours that never seem to come through as well as I'd like.

Raul Malo was as pleasant as anyone could be. I don't know why I was feeling shy yesterday -- that is unlike me -- and didn't ask if I could play with him. Even the minute the show ended, he turned to me and said, "You should have played accordion or saw. Why didn't we work something up during all that down time?" I know, I know, it was dumb of me. "Next time," we laughed, "next time." We sat around and chatted after the show, and I got a picture of the two of us. I never asked Elvis Costello to pose with me, so I guess it all evens out.

The funniest part was pre-show when folksinger and WoodSongs host Michael Johnathon was giving Raul and me the run-down of the show. He basically told us that fifty-five bajillion people would be listening and watching the program (that's "programme" for you Brits), so don't mess up. I must say, I was impressed with what a tightly-run ship it is. "A Prairie Home Companion" was much more loosely organized backstage, as was "The Early Show" back when I used to work for them, so it was kind of bizarre to see a group of volunteers who had things timed down to the second. I loved it, and as a artist, I appreciated not having to worry that something would go wrong.

Y'all know me, I LOVE an organized crew, so it was perfect. At 6:54, Raul and I were ready to go on-stage, and at 6:59, we were live on the webcast. At 7:59, the show ended. We encored, including saws, yodels, and opera, and signed a little fewer than fifty-five bajillion autographs, but still plenty of them. Dan Canon played a killer bluegrass guitar for me, and lent lovely background vocals, and was good company for a 17-hour work/travel day, which I appreciated much.

Also, the folks in Lexington were super-nice, and it was good to know I might actually have a good audience if I ever play that town again. Which I think I should.

I'm ready to start organizing some weekend tours. You folks in the Carolinas, I've been promising you shows forever. Can anyone help to book/promote them? Or maybe host a house concert? If I've got a house concert on the books, I'll absolutely book shows around it.

In the mean time, I'm off to book more Scottish shows for next year ... I just can't get enough Scotland.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Band full of zoo animals.

I had one of those super-fun shows last night that reminds me why I like to perform live so much. First of all, it was at a swimming pool and not just any swimming pool. Lakeside is an old rock quarry that is now a Board of Health-certified chlorinated pool that is huge and fun and still has tall cliffs and rocks on the bottom. My band, as usual for this gig, wears swimsuits (alas! no Speedos this year), and swims before, after, and between sets.

The sound engineer, roadie, drummer, and I also decided that we should have an ice cream cone eating contest. Unfortunately, I was not at my most competitive last night, and I lost, being only able to finish two vanilla cones. Thanks much to the teenage Elizabeth, who brought me a cone to the stage during my first set, at which point I decided that we should probably only play one more song.

Then eight-year-old Dylan decided that I might want a bite of something savory to accompany my sweet, so he brought up an inch-long piece of soft pretzel to the stage. Thanks, Dylan! It only slightly made me feel like we might actually be in a zoo. I can understand wanting to feed the band though, so I played along.

The best part was during my set break when another awesome teenager came up to the stage -- I kid you not -- carrying a massive home-grown watermelon. She'd read my blog and knew not only that I LOVED watermelon, but that I was craving a sweet, homegrowner, with seeds. Best. Fan. Ever. Thanks, Mary Kay!

Oooh! Almost forgot another best time ... a cousin of my mom's (and therefore mine, I suppose) showed up unexpectedly from Minnesota. We hadn't seen him since 1985 or something, but he saw my show posted on Facebook and decided to fly down and surprise us. How awesome is Facebook?

Good times. Today is the WoodSongs broadcast/taping. This morning Dan Canon and I were chauffeured to Lexington by FWT, the best road manager in the world. We taped two songs for broadcast on the 12:30 WKYT (CBS affiliate), so if you happen to be reading my blog from Lexington, tune in to the WKYT, likely around 12:45.

WoodSongs tonight ... really looking forward to playing. Raul Malo, Brigid Kaelin, and, of course, host Michael Johnathon. www.woodsongs.com for detailed info. You can watch the webcast live at 6:59pm Eastern, but check in earlier today to make sure you have the proper plug-in.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Shows this weekend

Some chances to see me actually play music this weekend:

Sunday night (Aug 29)
Lakeside Swim Club
6:00-8:00 full band show
Lakeside is a private club, so come out Sunday evening if you're a member there. And if you're not, well, ask a friend who is to bring you along. I play the set in a swimsuit. But not a sexy swimsuit ... I was a competitive swimmer at one point, so I'm a Speedo girl all the way. Peter Searcy might be in a sexy swim suit though, so that would be worth convincing your Lakeside-member friends to buy you a guest pass.

Monday August 30
Not to brag or anything (well, sort of), but this show is kind of a big deal. Like a million-listeners and more web viewers kind of a big deal. And the other musical guest is Raul Malo, who was opening for John Prine the last time I saw him.
If you're near Lexington, Kentucky, come down to the live taping at the Kentucky Theatre and here's the link for tickets: http://www.woodsongs.com/tickets.php
While you're browsing along the WoodSongs website, you might notice that the WoodSongs show that tapes 2 weeks after the show I'm on, features Billy Bragg and Wanda Jackson. See? Told you it was a big deal.

If you are NOT in the Lexington area, you can watch the show live on the internet: http://www.woodsongs.com/webcast.php Cool, eh?

Okay ... off to celebrate the Zip Code Day of Aladdin, Wyoming! Oh, and happy wedding day, Beth and Kris.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tricks, Zip Codes, Weddings, Wyoming.

One night last fall when I was out to dinner with some friends discussing their recent engagement, someone asked that inevitable question, "When's the wedding?" The superstar couple had the date set and the bride-to-be responded, "August 27."

Now I've got a fondness for numbers, so I immediately started thinking aloud, "Eight-twenty-seven-ten. Eight-two-seven-one-oh. 82710. I wonder whose zip code that is?"

Not missing a beat, the savant groom-to-be responded, "Aladdin, Wyoming," to the absolute shock of the bride and most everyone else at the table.

FWT was so impressed, or should I say skeptical, that he immediately grabbed my iPhone and typed "82710" into Google.

Folks, when you're trying to play a public trick on your friends, always remember to clear your Google history. FWT announced, "Hey, you looked this up already!! It IS Aladdin, Wyoming," at which point the groom and I giggled and fessed up. It would have been a fun trick had we gotten away with it.

The wedding is here ... this Friday... but I can't help but wonder if the folks of Aladdin, Wyoming, have anything planned for the weekend. I tried emailing their Chamber of Commerce, but apparently it's just a wee unincorporated town. I'm also feeling sad that that I missed my Highlands' home's Zip Code Day on April 2, 2005. Maybe next April, you folks in Chickasaw Park (40211) can have a party on 4-02-11. I certainly hope that Beverly Hills has plans for this coming September 2 (90210, duh).

Happy wedding to my friends, and Happy Zip Code week to Aladdin, Wyoming!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Who's buying the Ostrich Eggs?

I'm borderline-obsessive about shopping locally, but I am a sucker for Whole Foods. The Whole Foods in downtown Austin might as well be Wonka-land for an organic-loving vegetarian like me, and despite the lack of chocolate rivers, the bulk aisle at our local Whole Foods makes me giddy with possibilities. I adore Amazing Grace and Rainbow Blossom, and I shop there as often as I can, but there's something about the size (not to mention that I could make a lunch out of the free samples) of Whole Foods that makes me happy.

My mom and I stopped by this weekend. While we were gawking at the beautiful display of chopped vegetables and fruit medleys (seriously, did they hire a Barney's window display artist to stock that aisle?), we noticed some fun bouncy balls across the way, next to the mushrooms and eggs.

"Mom, look at that! What are those???"

"I don't know, but we should go explore and find out," she immediately replied.

And that's when we saw the sign: Ostrich Eggs $19.99

Seriously. I mean, I know ostrich eggs exist, and I know that, from time to time, people eat them. But isn't that restricted to fancy Napa restaurants or reality TV shows on the Food network? It seems completely bizarre that my local health food store would stock many -- oh there were not just a few -- ostrich eggs.

I picked one up and was surprised by it's heft, particularly the thickness of the shell. I even shook it a little and contemplated spinning it on the floor, you know, that old hard-boiled-or-not test. But I put it back, figuring I wouldn't want to purchase a shaken-up ostrich egg (do they explode like a soda?), so I shouldn't shake someone else's.

What's troubling me now is: there must be some demand for ostrich eggs, or Whole Foods wouldn't stock it. And there must be a big demand to stock as many as they have. But who are you people?

I know I have a few thousand blog readers, and most of you are in the Louisville area. So I think the odds are pretty good that at least one of you is an ostrich-egg-buyer. Who who who who?? And what are you doing with it? How often do you buy them? How many do you buy? Private message me if you wish to remain anonymous, but I really must know...

And now for a few PSAs:

You should vote for my awesome attorney and good friend Tara Mooney Aaron, who has organized a fantastic panel for this year's SXSW in Austin. She's super-smart and super-clever, and I think she'd be a brilliant addition to the festival. Plus, having her there would make me want to attend SXSW even more, thus giving me another opportunity to go to Austin Whole Foods Wonkaland. Click here to vote for her.

You should also vote in the 2010 LEO Reader's Choice Awards, and maybe vote for me if you want for singer-songwriter and/or blog. I hate asking for stuff like that. It feels like student council. So I take it back (kind of), just vote because you are enfranchised, but vote for whomever you want. You can vote once a day.

If anyone's interested in buying a sweet Volvo 240, my former roommate is selling hers on Craigslist and moving to NYC. Another blog entirely about that one ... she is awesome.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Two good shows happening tonight.

FWT just asked me nicely if I could please "write a funny blog today." Apparently, I have not been on the top of my funny-blog game, which I suppose is true. I'm still getting back int he game. Although yesterday I linked you to Jim Welp's column which is LOL-funny, so that should count for something, right?

Well, today might not be so funny because it's too early in the morning for a musician to respond to pressure. Instead, I'm going to write about what's going on in Louisville tonight. There are a bunch of good shows happening, two of which folks had kindly asked me to share-the-bill at one point in the planning stages. Unfortunately, back when said shows were being booked, I had no idea what part of the world I'd be in. Since the one time in my career that I had to cancel a gig make me sick to my stomach for days (despite the 3-month advance notice I'd given), I never take gigs that I'm not 100% sure I can actually play. It's just bad form, I think. But now that I'm in town, I'm both bummed that I couldn't play, and slightly glad ... because I wouldn't have been able to choose.

So anyway, here is some info on two fabulous shows happening:

Rudyard Kipling
Adam Arcuragi
Sandpaper Dolls
American Freedom Machine
show starts at 10:00, get there earlier

Tonight at the Rudyard Kipling is Adam Arcuragi, an Americana-but-not-so-Country-as-"americana"-might-make-you-think Artist originally from Philadelphia, but makes his home in New York when he's not on the road. He's got all kinds of fancy press to validate him, like from World Cafe to All Things Considered, and several big newspapers and magazines in between. His MySpace page says "Death Gospel," but I think that must be in the same jest as Shannon Lawson's page that describes his music as "Crunk." From what I've heard of Adam Arcuragi's music, he could get away with "gospel" for sure, but the "Death" part just seems to show that he likes to have fun with his songs. It should be a really good show tonight, and I'm going to try my best to get by and sit in on a tune or two on the ol' accordion. His songs are soulful, for sure, and reminded me of the good parts of Conor Oberest and Will Oldham. You may have heard Adam's tune "Bottom of the River" on places like NPR or in places like a Wal-Mart commercial.

And in small-world news, Adam also happens to be recording while he's in Kentucky, doing some work at Shangri-La studios, where I happened to have recorded West 28th Street. That's the same studio/producer where Ben Sollee and These United States have recorded.

And maybe my favorite part of what promises to be an already good night at the Rud is that Adam Arcuragi is sharing the bill tonight with Louisville's favorite all-girl a cappella group: The Sandpaper Dolls. I really like them. I've probably only seen them live about four times, but they blow me away every show.


Sam Hadfield CD RELEASE
in-store performance at Earx-tacy at 5:00
CD RELEASE PARTY for "Brook Street" at Zanzabar with Trapper Haskins and Shadwick Wilde at 9:00 pm

It's always, always, always important to support our local musicians, just as important as shopping at local shops and recycling. I first heard of Samuel Hadfield when he asked to perform at the Townes Van Zandt Tribute I organize every January. Now, plenty of musicians want to perform at that show, and many of them have never heard of Townes. That's okay with me because at one point in my life, I hadn't heard of him either. And it's better to come to good music late than never to find it at all. But Sam was barely 21 or something and he was already a huge TVZ fan, so clearly, the guy had some good music history training at one point during his time growing up in Paducah, Kentucky.

His new record is heavily influenced by Townes and many other good American folk singers. I've only heard a couple of tracks, but I liked what I heard. And it's only his first release. Watch out for him on the Louisville scene, and go to one of his shows. He's a good writer, a good singer, and a good performer. Not much more you can ask for, right?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Funny article and pop-culture reference. Exciting!

So I love reading my local weekly papers, mainstream, alternative, and whatever else. It keeps me in the social loop, especially since I've been hibernating during this recession economy. Yes, that's why you haven't seen me popping in and out of open mics, and on and off stage at my favorite people's weekly gigs. This week's LEO had me laughing out loud multiple times, so I thought I'd share a column with you. To those awesome non-Louisvillians who read my blog, the column I'm sharing is universal, so go ahead and click away.

Jim Welp's column almost always makes me laugh out loud, but this week's column I found especially funny and even a bit touching. (Yes, I'm a sensitive artist.)

I first laughed at the references to a lawn made up of eggplants and lemongrass, but was completely blown away when there was a reference to my music.


Read away, friends ... it's worth it. And order Jim's book while you're at it. He's a most excellent writer.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How do you people do it??

I feel like I'm a pretty organized person. Former (and current) roommates may be laughing, but I'm not talking about my ability to put away my shoes or my dishes. I'm talking business here. I am obsessive over my receipts, I reconcile my bank and credit card statements monthly, and I am never late to anything business-related.

My personal and specifically household life, however, is a mess.

How in the world do you people with steady jobs that require you to be in the office from 9-5 EVER get anything done?

I mean, I get up at 8ish, make tea or decaf, and start answering emails, booking shows, blogging, cataloging receipts, trying to get a walk or workout in there, and MAYBE at least one day a week, play a little music. You'd be blown away how little music I ever actually get to play. I teach piano lessons, so that takes up some time. But really that's only 15 hours a week when you do the math, so I feel like I have no excuse.

I create my own schedule, but I somehow feel like getting to the library or the dry cleaners or the post office or the bank is a completely impossible task. Not to mention putting away dishes or sweeping a floor or, hell, even unpacking from when I moved back into my house a year ago. How do you people DO this?

I'm discovering that many of you have housekeepers, something I once thought was only for the insanely rich. Now I see that they are, perhaps, for the insanely busy.

All I ever do is clean the kitchen. It's a step up from when all I ever did was wash dishes. My fancy new (okay, "used") dishwasher has allowed me to do more than just slave over a hot sink, so now at least I have some time to wipe the countertop and MAYBE clean the grime off the stove on occasion, but I still don't have time to walk around the house with a duster.

Do you people have those wacky time-travel necklaces like when Hermione wanted to take twice as many classes at Hogwarts? Or do you all have housekeepers? Or do you make your kids do it? I am completely baffled by your ability to keep clean houses and get your dry cleaning, while somehow being tucked away in an office all day.

Anyway, I'm impressed.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Brrrrrrr, I miss July already.

I like the heat. Even the 100 degrees isn't as miserable as a single glance at my friends' Facebook statuses would have you believe. Of course, I'm glad that I'm not a roofer or landscaper, but even so, I haven't minded taking leisurely walks in the heat. I just don't force my giant black dog to accompany me.

I haven't even been to the swimming pool often, so it's not because I have pool access that I like the heat. Honestly, Lakeside's water is over 90 degrees, and that's just not that refreshing to me. I can't swim laps in it, and diving in feels like a therapy pool. I prefer running through the sprinklers if I'm looking for a cool-down.

Some of you love the cold. I think you are weird. It's okay; I have lots of weird friends, apparently. But I can't help remembering how miserable last winter was. It was in the single digits for weeks at a time. Pipes froze, electricity went out, my heating bill was well over $200 (and that was with never letting it go above 64), and everyone was depressed.

Remember that depression? Call it Seasonal Affective Disorder, or call it Arctic Weather Sucks Disorder, but whatever you call it, it was bad. No one smiled at the drive-thru or skipped down Bardstown Road carrying a sack full of fresh locally-grown peaches. The only thing that made me smile last winter was the discovery of house useful my Gag Gift of a Snuggie™ actually was. Whenever I feel like saying, "It's too hot," I remember how February made me shiver.

So I like the heat. I prefer my sundresses to my Snuggie™, and yesterday's gorgeously perfect 76 degrees actually made me sad a little. Sure, it made me feel like running out for school supplies, but it still reminded me that another winter is headed our way, and I STILL haven't booked a January Australian Tour.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Catching up, new albums, funny stories.

I feel like we have some catching up to do. For starters, the watermelon I picked wasn't ripe. It had turned a light pink, and it smelled glorious. Much of it, however, was still a pale green. That didn't stop me from devouring about 1/4 of it, and I wasn't all that surprised when it tasted every bit as delicious as a store-bought melon. Fact: unripe homegrown melons taste like "ripe" store-bought ones. Lesson: grow your own, and it's okay if you're impatient.

What else? I'm going crazy wanting to make a new record. It's not for lack of songs, as I've got several albums-worth already written. I've also had a few label offers, but my gut tells me to hold off and not sign anything just yet. They've all got good parts and bad parts, like any business deal, I suppose. My hesitation is that I don't want to end up still having to do all the promotion/booking work myself, as I have in the past, and then end up having to write checks to someone else. Stupid music industry.

But I've got some good shows coming up this fall, and it would be a shame not to have something new to promote.

Philadelphia, I'm coming to you in December. It would be nice to have some shows along the way ... maybe DC/Baltimore? Huntington, WV? Anyone out there have any ideas?

Anyway, just checking in, reminding you that I am indeed still an active singer-songwriter in addition to being a blogger (by the way, since everyone else is pandering for votes, I might as well link y'all up to the LEO Readers' Choice Awards http://leoweekly.com/readers-choice/ in case you feel like voting for me or anyone else), and that I should be recording and touring. Both of those things are on the horizon.

As for the rest of the weeks, I've got a hilarious story about FWT's high school reunion, other antics of our trip to Lubbock (on which my dad decided to join us), and a few other rants and raves.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ripening melons and records...

I have a watermelon patch in my front yard. It's very big, and it's winding its way around the basil plants, making friends with the mint, and trying to intimidate the thorny rose bushes. My cabbage is beginning to cower at the melons might, but all it does is make me giggle.

First of all, baby watermelons are just about the cutest thing in the world. They are right up there with basset hound puppies and travel-sized toiletries, and I want to slice their wee striped rinds open and see if there are doll-sized watermelon seeds within.

But I wait.

I'm not a patient person, so this is no small feat. I'm impatient in my career as well, never sitting on a finished record for months, as I'm repeatedly advised to do. No, I can't wait around and hide while I send the CD to publications and collect press quotes. I must record and release and travel and sing. You'd think I'd take a lesson from my watermelon and wait for that tiny seed to blossom and ripen.

The tricky thing with watermelons, however, is knowing when it's sweet enough and ripe enough. They don't sweeten once they are picked, so if picked too-soon, it's only good for carving those fancy fruit salad baskets -- or for composting, if you, like me, haven't yet found your inner Martha Stewart.

I've thumped and smelled and looked and listened, but I'm still no good at knowing when the watermelons are ready. I guess it's much like knowing when to release a record -- you just can't know the exact moment. Of course, the nice thing is that I've got five melons in the yard, so I suppose I can spare one.

I think I'm gonna pick it ... stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bringin' the show.

I have a general belief that you should ALWAYS bring "the show," whether or not it's a huge festival or a wee benefit concert. Bring the show even when you don't feel like it. Bring the show even when you're not getting paid what you're worth. Bring the show because you are there for the audience, and they deserve the best.

Tonight, however, I'm not bringing the whole show. That doesn't mean I'm going to suck; it just means I probably won't show off. (Yeah, I know I tend to do that sometimes, but so what? Where else can you show off if not in show business?) No piano and accordion at the same time, and probably not any yodeling acrobatics. I think instead I'll play some new songs. Even I sometimes forget that novelty songs are not the only thing I can do.

That's what I like best about evenings like this: trying out new stuff. Open jams and open mics can be gruesome at times, but Louisville open jams tend to be populated with good musicians who just want to play. I'm really looking forward to sitting in with some old friends, meeting new artists, and having an audience for some new songs.

I don't get to play new songs very often these days. Most of my shows have been in other countries or new cities, where I'm trying to sell my current CDs. When you're trying to sell records, you have to play the songs that are ON those records, not the new tune you're obsessing over.

Anyway, I'm hoping I get to see some of you out tonight at the Zeppelin Cafe in Germantown at 7:30. Come say hi, and don't be angry if I don't see you first. I get tunnel-vision when I'm playing, and I often ignore my own family. It'll be nice to just play one set, maybe sit in on accordion with some folks, and host the evening with its array of other singer-songwriters and musicians.

HullabaLOU was awesome, but I didn't exactly get to mingle with the crowd afterward. I love a big festival, but playing a neighborhood bar might be my favorite.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Vacations would be better if hotel rooms had pianos.

Forgive me. I've been on vacation. Well, sort of. I tried to leave all things business behind, which only means I'm waaaaaay behind now and have probably made a few enemies in the process. Plus, it wasn't exactly vacation, like lying on a beach in Mexico would have been (jealous, @Loueyville!!), but rather it was endless driving on long stretches of highway, rushing to visit family and friends, making sure my dad was entertained (he came with us), playing with energetic nieces and nephews, and attending FWT's high school reunion. The whole trip was super-fun and it was great catching up with all my favorite Texans, though I am completely queso-ed out and exhausted. As always, I fit far too much into my week off. Now I need a vacation.

I also went a little stir-crazy because I didn't bring a single instrument with me. I knew from trips past that I wouldn't have any alone time, which means I wouldn't get a chance to play or write or sing. When you bring a guitar on trips that involve friends and family, you get the same reponse as you carry in your luggage, "Ooooooh, are you gonna play for us????" I don't like to be a jerk, but playing for a few people in a living room is really awkward, plus it seems sort of self-righteous that I would be carrying an instrument for the sole purpose of gracing my friends with a concert.

So in all those times I shoved a guitar in the trunk, paid for the extra big carry-on, and lugged it in and out of friends' homes, I rarely ever played it because there just wasn't time. This trip, I thought I was being wise by leaving it at home. Not so. There must be something about knowing that an intrument is nearby, or that I could at any moment excuse myself -- even if, in desperation, it seemed rude to retreat to my room -- and go play a few notes. Knowing that it was impossible to go make music made me kind of crazy this time.

I've never been so happy to be home. Yesterday, I spent an hour playing Bach Inventions on the piano and keybaord, even changing the keyboard sound to a harpsichord just for kicks. I played scales, and I worshipped the circle of keys. I tuned up the violin and played "Turkey in the Straw" with a bow that has just barely enough horse hairs to make a sound.

I even started getting a hankering for a new instrument -- a feeling that I thought I was over when I purchased my favorite guitar ever a few years ago. But no ... IAS (Instrument Acqusition Syndrome) is back, and is as fierce as ever. I'm thinking I might need a ukulele this time. Travel-size, and small enough to sneak into a house without having to give a concert, hee hee...

I've got some funny stories to share, but they'll have to wait until another day's blog. In the mean time, it's nice to be back, and I'm going to be a bit more regular with the ol' blog. Thanks for reading. Ooooh, and I'm playing at the Zeppelin Cafe (Burnett and Hickory in Germantown) on Wednesday, August 11 (tomorrow), at 7:30. It's free, and it's an open jam, so bring out your instrument. Just be prepared that I might want to, um, acquire it...