Sunday, December 31, 2017

Don't Let a Day Go By.

2017! What a crazy year. Can I tell you how I'd mentally prepared for this to be the absolute worst year? And it's not like it was amazing, but MY MOM IS STILL ALIVE! (Hi, Mom, this must be weird for you to be reading. Sorry. But I'm glad you're here!)

We spent this year how people should spend every year -- savoring every minute and always telling people you love them.

Here's one of my favorite Peter Searcy songs -- and #funfact: he and I recorded this in the same studio in LA where Michael Jackson made THRILLER. It's just acoustic guitar and piano, with classic Searcy vocals and classic Kaelin harmonies.


Thursday, December 21, 2017

UK TOUR DATES announced!!

Come see us? We are a fun duo. Video below to learn a bit more about the new album and who we are...

I've got a proper press release for UK media, but if you're reading this abroad and you have a friend in the media, newspapers, blog, podcast, radio show, music promoter, music fan, or anyone else who might enjoy a fun show that's smart and sassy and a little bluegrassy, then please connect us! Indie artists like me can't afford the fancy publicists and management that other Europe-touring musicians I know have -- they've just got access to resources that we don't, and it makes a big difference in their reach. I happen to know that we are just as talented (and honestly, Steve Cooley is more talented than anyone put together). Even just a friend with a blog who posts a wee bit about our show is a huge help to getting bums in the seats. SEE YOU SOON!!!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Earth-obsessed + Brigid's Gift Ideas #1

Did y'all see that video of the turtle with a straw up its nose? It made its way around Facebook about a year ago, and it has haunted me ever since. I can get a little obsessive about trying to save the world (re: taking PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN LOUISVILLE -- something that is just not done), using cloth diapers most of the time, not eating meat, recycling (duh, don't even climate-change-deniers recycle by now?), feeling guilty about oil miles when I buy bananas, and even having a home birth (though truthfully I wouldn't have had kids at all if I wanted to be really helpful to the planet). Anyway, you see how I can be obsessive?

Our family's latest thing is carrying around a set of bamboo utensils with us at all times and making sure we also have an aluminum straw. Remembering to use them has been a challenge, but I imagine I'll get used to it. Friends in Europe or California are probably not at all surprised or weirded out by this because y'all figured that out, like, 15 years ago. But Americans are slow adopters at things that are good for the world.

Anyway, aside from remembering to use the straw, it'll also be a challenge to NOT LOSE IT. Like, if I'm at Twig and Leaf and we all extract our reusable straws, then will we actually remember to return it to the diaper bag? So far, so good. Just think of all the turtles I've saved!

So that's my gift idea for you.  If anyone knows of a local shop that sells them, let me know, and I'll edit this post to include it. (#oilmiles)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Selling my house and EATING YUMMY FOOD!

House for sale! We finished fixing up and remodeling the house I bought when I was 24, you know, back when you get get a mortgage just for breathing and didn't have to show much more than a driver's license to prove you were good for it. Anyway, it's a great home with excellent bones and shiny new floors, appliances, fences, shingles, paint, driveway, and more. Its location can't be beat either -- on a quiet street in the heart of Schnitzelburg, but steps from Eiderdown, Finn's Southern Kitchen, Hauck's, The Post, Lydia House, Bean, and even a new cupcake shop!

Here's the listing with all the beautiful photos:

Now we wait for someone to buy it.

In the mean time, David and I celebrated our first date night in months and the end of this project with a vegetarian tasting menu at the Fat Lamb (like them on Facebook, friends!). I won a meal in an internet contest (seriously!!!) and we slurped up every morsel of deliciousness at this fabulous restaurant. It's the only place in town that I know of where you can just show up and get a multi-course gourmet vegetarian meal without calling ahead and special ordering or without being made to feel like a weirdo. The Fat Lamb has plenty of meat on its menu, but the chef's wife is a vegetarian. So you know veggies are considered people too.

Photos below. I would have more, but my phone was stolen by a big meanie yesterday, and my iCloud doesn't have all the photos I actually took.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Oversharing, overasking, and Benyaro music.

This house-renovation thing has been all-emcompassing, and boredom has set in. I've been using miter saws, measuring baseboards, estimating angles (correctly!), and all the while sitting there thinking about blogs and essays and songs I'd like to be writing rather than caulking. So here's a quick update of something I managed to do in between installing backsplashes and quarter-round.

I went to a house concert on Tuesday! 

It required a babysitter and a lot of energy. It was at the most beautiful home I've seen in ages (mid-century-modern or 'MCM' as the kids say) and with the most spectacular art collection I've ever seen in a personal home. I was nervous because I didn't know the hosts very well, and I was going alone -- not knowing a single other person there. But I went, and I had a blast, even though I overshared and asked far too many questions of the musicians. At one point when I asked, "So when you get home from this 3-month-tour and you walk in the door, is your wife just going to hand you the baby and run?" and then a lovely and kind woman looked at me and asked, "Are you okay?"

Yikes. I assured her later that, yes, I am okay. But dammit, this solo parenting thing is hard, both for the spouse who travels and the one who stays home.

BUT THE MUSIC! The music was grand. The company was grand. The evening was grand. Only one of my kids was awake when I got home at 10.

The music was provided by Benyaro -- a duo from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. They were delightful company and great music.

If you've never been to a house concert, YOU SHOULD GO! They are my absolute favorite place to hear music, whether it's a solo artist I've never heard of or a band I superfan for. It's so relaxed, that even people with anxiety can enjoy themselves.

I'm playing a house concert on Friday, November 17, in Scottsburg, Indiana, and I think there are a few seats still available for it. RSVP here:

Thursday, November 9, 2017

48 hours in Austin, Texas

Last week I took a quick trip to Austin to surprise my BFF on her 40th birthday. It was a well-executed gift plotted by her husband, and it meant we got to spend 48 hours together hanging out and playing with each other's kids. She hadn't met Angus yet, and I hadn't seen her or her kids in 3 years.

It also meant: VACATION FOOD!

Breakfast tacos!

There was an organized swanky birthday cocktail hour and dinner at Truluck's in downtown Austin, which had a tasty vegetarian entree. It was really just a brick of tofu on a bed of wild rice, but it was done surprisingly well. Also, the desserts were family-style wedges of cheesecake, chocolate cake, and carrot cake, and a pile of blackberries that wee Angus devoured pretty much singlehandedly.

Lyzz's birthday cake was Tres Leches with amazing frosting and shaped like a unicorn. It was perfection.

Also, BREAKFAST TACOS. I don't know why they haven't made their way to Louisville (don't try to convince me otherwise -- your $10 breakfast "tacos" are not done right and cost 5x what they should).

My superhero power of having perfect travel weather continued, as it was 70-80 degrees each day and perfectly pleasant. We played in Zilker Park, rode the train and visited the brand new Central library.



New library in Austin. Elephant chairs!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Matching doorknobs or macarons? No competition...

Freight Elevator turned into a bar!
photo by Daniel Stephen
You guys, I'm so far behind in everything because I've been working non-stop on this silly house because apparently people care about switch-plates matching closet doorknobs, which I think is completely absurd and, like, didn't you guys ever read any fables? I mean, material things don't matter, right? Anyway, material things do seem to matter, and so I've been sanding and painting and gardening and power washing and staining and doing all sorts of things that make my knuckles ache and my fingers shake.

Things I have also been doing, however: gigging like crazy.

Last weekend I played possibly the coolest event I've ever been to. It was a Bacchanal party at The Speed Art Museum here in Louisville, where I played a 90-minute set with the fabulous Laura Ellis (and equally fabulous Dennis Ledford and Scott Lankford) for beautiful people dressed in ancient-themed attire. The freight elevator had been turned into a red-carpeted bar, complete with muses handing out pomegranate cocktails in silver goblets.

One day I want to go to an event like this and not be working, though I admit it's kind of a fabulous job to mix and mingle with beautiful people, even if I'm just hanging around because it's too crowded to load out my gear.

Here are some photos of the fancy evening! Now I'm off to the paint store  as soon as the babysitter arrives. I'm sure that I owe you an email or a phone call. First, I have to sand the kitchen and put up a backsplash because I'm told people care about that sort of thing. Me, I prefer macarons...

Monday, October 30, 2017

Crockpot chili, house concerts, and 18th century dress!

I hosted a house concert last night, and it was just the most fun, pleasant little experience. My house isn't very big, so I didn't invite many people and ultimately had to decline a few people's interest for the sake of everyone having enough personal space in my living room. Still, it's amazing how much room you can find when you move the furniture out of the way and bring in a few folding chairs. We had a nice group of around 20 adults and 5 kids. It was plenty -- any more would have been uncomfortable -- but it was the perfect mix of neighbors and friends and family.

And The Black Feathers were just brilliant! I say "brilliant" partly because they live in England, and that's a very British word. Mostly, however, it's because they are really, really good. Tight harmonies, great picking, and just really pleasant to listen to.

It makes me want to build an addition onto my house purely for the sake of hosting house concerts. Or at least knock down that pesky living room wall.

I did make a crockpot chili that was popular -- though I think I used too much cinnamon.

Fabulous photos here:
Crockpot chili!

Also- I had 7 gigs last week, and one of them was a fantastically fun show with an 18th Century band that required Fancy Dress! My neighbor sews beautifully accurate historical clothing, so she dressed me. Then my Wee Angus promptly messed up my laces and undid my scarf, which made someone dressed like a RedCoat walk past and shout "Madam!" while covering his eyes. Oops. I'm an 18th century tart! But playing the musical saw and the mandolin was fun.

Monday, October 23, 2017

UK Tour dates... almost ready to announce...

I'm currently trying to fill in dates on this United Kingdom tour that I've booked for February. Some of the dates have been really easy to fill, but I'm now trying my best not to have any days off. Days off when you're on tour just mean you have to 1) pay for a hotel room and 2) not make any money. I've been staring at a Google doc I made, and my eyes are spinning now.

Here's what I'm looking to fill:

Sunday 28 January & Monday January 29 in Dorset or Somerset or South Wales
Saturday Feb 3 in Northumberland or the Scottish Borders or even Glasgow would be great

Anyone have any leads or ideas on pubs/venues/folk clubs or maybe even interest in hosting a house concert? House concerts can be as small as 10 people ... you don't need a huge place :)

In other news, I am hosting a House Concert at my place on Sunday, Oct 29. It's the Black Feathers, from Gloucestershire, England, and they are just wonderful. Message me if you're interested in attending ... it's looking like it'll have to be an indoor event because of weather, so I'll have to cap the RSVPs at 30.

Here's some of their music:

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Fixing things and gardening.

Wee Angus running through Dages Paint!
Have y'all ever flipped a house before? I am sort of doing that, except that it's a rental I've had for 14 years. And it's only ever cost me money because something major breaks and because pretty much every tenant -- no matter how nice a person -- has left the house damaged in some incredibly expensive way. (I swear, I've never been much of a Hobbesian, but being a landlord has given me reason to lean that way.) So really, I suppose, it's the opposite of flipping ...

Anyway, we are getting rid of this house, and we're fixing everything properly, unlike the people I bought the house from, who just sort of polished some things up and sold it to a sucker like me.

Fixing things up properly, it turns out, takes a lot of time and money and energy.

But I'm happy to see this lovely house shining again. I love old homes -- their history, their details, even their dirt. Schnitzelburg was a dairy farm back in the day, so the dirt there now is basically a massive compost bin (that doesn't smell). Gardening in Germantown made me feel like I had an exceptionally green thumb before a neighbor pointed out the amazingly lush history of the dirt.

Stressors abound lately, and throwing in selling a house just makes it laughable.

I know, however, that my life is pretty great. It's great to have a home to unload. It's great to be able to use that money to fix up my parents' home. It's great to be able to buy local for fixer-upper supplies (Dages paint got all my money, yesterday!) It's great to be married to David, who knows how to fix everything. (Also, he's really hot.)

Update on my mom here:
Ways to support indie musicians:

Monday, October 16, 2017

Blogging from the chemo lab.

Gooooood Monday morning, y'all! I'm writing from the Norton Cancer Institute where, for the first time in months, I'm able to accompany my mom to her doctor's appointment. I lost my nanny in August, and it's been a struggle to piecemeal childcare. My in-laws are visiting this week, however, so they're snuggling wee Angus, so I can snuggle my mommy.

Things I'm observing: it's been 3 months since she's been able to have treatment because her blood counts have been off, making it dangerous to have chemo. Good news/bad news, of course, because no treatment gives the tumors time to grow. Good news is her hair is growing back.

She'd been dying her hair red for about the last 10 years because she had this redhead daughter and had just always wanted red hair. Because of the dye jobs, none of us ever noticed if her hair was graying or not.

It's grown back, is about an inch or too long, and I'm here to tell you that at 66 years old, her hair is 98% brown. She has a super cut tiny white patch on her upper right forehead -- and that's it.

She's also been having some fun with her faux-hawk for the past month and dying it various bright colors that fade after a couple of days. Today she's sitting in a hospital chair, hooked up to a bag of fluids, scrolling through Facebook, with a burgundy stripe in her hair.

No word on whether there's treatment or not today -- I hope she can have it -- but in the mean time, I'm making good use of a rolling desk and hammering out emails and blogs this morning to catch up with work.

Super fun weekend of playing music with friends! Belknap Festival was brilliant. Photo below.

Ways to support indie musicians:

photo by Robert Pieroni

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Mommy-tracked in the Music Biz. EYE ROLL.

A music business friend I hadn't seen in ages asked me what I've been up to lately. "Oh, just gigging, doing self-employed work, hustling, playing lots" -- all of which is true.

His response? "Oh, I didn't think you'd been playing much since you had kids."

It's making me CRAZY, y'all. I didn't realize it was possible to get Mommy-tracked in the independent musician business, but argh, it is, and it's irritating as can be. Longer essay on that to follow, but this is just my blog, you know.

Anyway, I don't always tell you, dear readers, about every single gig I play -- and that's mostly because I play a ton of private events and that just seems mean to tell you about. Like, hey, y'all, I'm playing this amazing house concert this weekend, and the homeowner is making 3 kinds of chili and an entire buffet of desserts and YOU CAN'T COME NANNY-NANNY-BOO-BOO!

Just for fun, here are some photos of one of these house concerts. Maybe they'll inspire you to host your own event because aren't party-leftovers the best? And bringing live music to your living room is something you'll talk about for years on end.


United Kingdom I've got dates available:

  • Monday, January 29 in Somerset or Dorset or South Wales or Bath/Bristol?
  • Saturday, February 3 ideally somewhere between Yorkshire and Edinburgh, but, hey, I'm not about backtracking. 
I'm all about work these days, y'all. Work work work work work work work.

Also, I'm selling my house in Schnitzelburg. Anyone want it? 1350 sq ft? 2/1? You know it's hott there right now.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Sukkot celebrations and tricks.

Graham as a pumpkin in 2013. 
We spent last weekend building a shed, or as I like to think of it, preparing for Sukkot. Y'all, I think I'm going to start getting *really* into Sukkot. I grew up more Jewish than Catholic (interfaith parents), but I still didn't know what Sukkot was until I learned my kid's preschool canceled school for two days because of it. Further research revealed that Sukkot is probably the holiday behind Thanksgiving -- not necessarily a cultural appropriation, but more, like WHAT A GREAT IDEA FOR A HOLIDAY, LET'S ALL DO IT.

This year Sukkot happens to coincide with some houseguests who are not Jewish, but always very inquisitive about Jewish traditions. I'm tempted to play the most wonderful tricks on them and make sure they are get a chance to craft a proper "Sukkot hat" and attend the "Traditional Sukkot Seance" while making sure everyone at the table is wearing the "Orange Sukkot Scarf." But not everyone things my jokes are funny, and I don't want anyone to think I'm being mean, rather than playful.

Instead, I think I'll just, as stated above, get really into Sukkot, and we can all have Thanksgiving in October. Because, really, Thanksgiving is just the best holiday, so why not have two? Or, more accurately, I suppose we'll have Sukkot, and then we'll have Sukkot again the fourth Thursday in November.

BUY MY CD PLEASE. Or download it for free, whatever, but maybe buy a t-shirt?

Monday, October 2, 2017

Laundry and marriage and folding boards.

I mean, why does it matter how you
fold DIAPERS when they are just
gonna get POOPED on anyway?

How do you all sort out laundry with your partners? 

For years, we each just did our own laundry. But three years into David traveling all the time, and his laundry piling up because I didn't want him spending our family time doing laundry on the weekends, I decided to take over laundry completely.

I honestly don't mind. It's not like I love laundry, but I do work out of my home office, which happens to be right next to the laundry room. So when a student is late while I'm teaching, I'll switch a load, or while I'm creating invoices or answering emails, I'll switch another load. I generally do 6-8 loads of laundry on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and it's finished.

I thought it was working quite well.


I apparently do not fold his clothes properly.

This is not surprising, and it should in no way be construed as a "man has wife who does his laundry, but is critical of her folding techniques," even though I suppose that would be a factual headline. I am the one insisting on doing the laundry, however, because I am tired of the massive piles of dirty clothes on the floor and doing everyone's laundry helps keep me on a schedule.

A few weeks ago, he said he would rather me not fold it at all than to fold it incorrectly.

So I stopped folding his clothes. Sometimes I carry up a wad of clean clothes in a laundry basket. Sometimes I just lay everything flat in a big pile and put it in his office to deal with. I'm not sure I love this, however, because now there is just a big pile of clean clothes rather than a big pile of dirty clothes, so how is this solving a problem?

He asked me, "Would you like me to show you how to fold them?" I promptly replied that if he enjoyed being married to me, he would absolutely not teach me how to fold his underwear. But since it seems important to him, I would watch a YouTube video that shows me the way he likes them folded and adjust accordingly.

He has yet to send me such a video, so the wads of clean clothes continue. I suggested that he maybe create his own YouTube video, but then I thought that might make him a huge enemy to all women -- a video of a man teaching his wife how to fold his old fraternity dance t-shirts probably does not endear him to the world.

And, my friends, he is very endearing. He just cares a little more about right angles and matching socks than I do.

I asked a friend about this, but she was no help because she uses a FOLDING BOARD. Someone point me in a more civil direction?


Gratuitous photo of adorable children just because:
Brothers holding hands on the sidewalk.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Mental health checkup & irish fest photos.

My husband's snapchat, ha ha!
Hey friends! I think my antidepressants are working. How's that for straight-talk about mental health? I've been a bit of a mess since my live-in nanny went on vacation 2 months ago. I can't decide if it's because I haven't been able to work or because I haven't been able to go to yoga, but I need to find some sort of regular childcare so I can do both. Today, however, I have a babysitter, and I've escaped to a coffeeshop to answer a bunch of emails, build invoices, and book tours. Tonight I am playing a 3-hour gig with the best bluegrass band in the state, and that is something to look forward to. I still have 105 unheard voicemails, but it feels good to want to get out there again.

Also, there are $484 flights to Paris from Cincinnati, so don't be surprised if you see me checking in to the Eiffel Tower at some point. I need a break, and Angus needs a passport stamp.

Irish Fest was good fun, and here are some highlights:
My cargo bike loaded with my guitar, saw, accordion, merch.

Princess hair!
View from soundcheck. Steve Cooley and Mike Schroeder.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Louisville, Kentucky t-shirts for Those Who Drift Away.

MY SECOND RUN OF T-SHIRTS HAS ARRIVED! If you ordered one at my CD release show, I'll get it to you ASAP. Wayne & April, I haven't gotten any sans fleur-de-lis yet, but I'm working on it. The rest of you, I'll send you an email, or message me.

Shirts are $20 no matter your size, and I would LOVE to sell one to you. I mean, no one buys CDs anymore, so if you're just streaming my new album because you like everything digital, then how about buying a shirt? It's grey, so it works well with your minimal wardrobe. And my name is on the back, so mostly you can have a cool shirt with Kentucky on it. And don't we all need one of those???

Fall has consistently been my busiest gigging season, and this year is no different. I'm doing a zillion private events, from Rosh Hashanah celebrations to fancy soirees, but in between I've got a couple of public gigs.

This weekend: IRISH FEST!
Bellarmine University. I'm emceeing the event, so I'll be there both days all day. It's all ages, and you get a dollar off if you're a Zoo member.
I'm also playing two sets of Celtic-inspired songs with Steve Cooley on banjo and Mike Schroeder on mandolin. It'll be a fun event, and if you're vegetarian like me, you have an excuse to eat french fries all weekend.
Saturday 9/23 on the Main Stage at 2:40
Sunday 9/24 at the Cralle Theatre at 12:15


Monday, September 18, 2017

Nashville wrap-up and Monday Morning music.

Crazy morning bed-head princess hair.
Monday morning, y'all. Entirely because of the title, here's a video of Adam Holmes with me on accordion and backup vocals before he released his first album. We're doing a live thing on the BBC, recorded on the Hebredian Isle of Lewis, just before we played HebCelt Music Festival.

Monday is particularly difficult this week, as I'm just returned from a week in Nashville. The AmericanaFest is one of my favorite weeks of the year, a time when I get to catch up with industry friends from around the globe and see music. This year I didn't get to see as much music because I had my babies with me. Not ideal, but I brought a babysitter with me to manage times when I was at panels or lunches or interviews. She was wonderful and made the conference possible, but I still wish I could have gone solo to the event -- it's really hard for me to clock out of parenting and into music-ing. Re-entry is easier because I'm happy to see the boys, but leaving them without anxiety and list-managing? SO HARD.

Anyhoo, I'm off to edit a little interview that Michael Young did with Joan Osborne that I got some video off. Will share in a bit! She's a hometown hero, and wow, is she smart.
Photos from Nashville: