Rain Showers and Cherry Blossoms: A Musical Guide for Late Spring...

It was an unusually (or perhaps not-so-unusually) wet winter here in the Pacific Northwest. As a southern girl hailing from a state that prides itself on warm weather and sunshine, these last few months have been tough and I'm ready for blue skies and rising temperatures. 

Several weeks back I went on a road trip with an incredible group of folks, and as it usually does, my time spent playing DJ in the car rekindled my love for sharing music with others. Last November's Hot Tea and Sweater Weather: A Rainy Day Musical Guide post received such a warm response that I decided to create another list of tunes that have been playing through my head as of late (note: the Spotifiy playlist link can be found below). Without further adieu, here are the Rain Showers and Cherry Blossoms songs that have been my soundtrack for this season of life:

  1. Leif Vollebekk: Vancouver Time - This album is one of my favorites of 2017 thus far. Sometime songs give you that feeling of falling in love; this entire record does that for me. This one will be clearly time stamped in my life. Indeed it is Vancouver time.
  2. First Aid Kit: King of the World - There's a third part harmony there in that chorus that I go for every time. Do I hit it every time? Meh. Do I smile every time? You bet I do.
  3. Josh Garrels: Pilot Me - My prayer in life. Genuine and beautiful. Over the waves and through every sorrow; Savior please pilot me... 
  4. The Revivalists: Catching Fireflies - This tune reminds me of late nights back home spent at the Vinyl dancing (or not dancing) with some of my favorite people. This New Orleans group never ceases to make me smile.
  5. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros: Man on Fire - I have to admit there's a little skip in my step as I amble down Broadway listening to this song. And for whatever reason, I just love that music video.
  6. James Taylor: Little David - Dad. James Taylor always reminds me of evening hours spent in the garage with Dad hovering over the record player testing me on who sings what song.
  7. James Taylor: Mescalito - As a young girl, Dad pointed out these three songs as a genius album sequence.
  8. James Taylor: Dance - I must agree. They are great. And One Man Dog will forever be one of my favorite albums of all time because in my mind it will forever be tethered to those late nights spent with dad.
  9. Aofie O'Donovan: Stanley Park - James sent me this song months and months back. I think of running the seawall every time I listen to it. 
  10. Melanie: Brand New Key - Mom loves this song. And if you know my mother, you probably get why; it's just fun. And let's face it, Mom, you're pretty fun.
  11. Suzanne Vega: Tom's Diner - I first heard her name while traveling in the countryside of the Czech Republic. Sitting around the campfire we didn't speak the same language, but I realized that when I sang none of that mattered. I finished my song and a little Czech man turned to me and said, "Suzanne Vega. You are Suzanne Vega."
  12. The Flaming Lips: Do You Realize?? - "And if I were a man I'd wear a 3-piece suit and it'd be covered in blood and I'd be Wayne Coye of The Flaming Lips..."
  13. Jon Foreman: March (A Prelude to Spring) - Jon and his march. This man really knows how to capture the melody of a season.
  14. Hurray for the Riff Raff: Look Out Mama - Ohhh, hearing this just makes me want to return home to the South. To walk barefoot along the shores of the Bay. Past the alligators I hardly see but know are there. All the while waving away the mosquitos with one hand while waving hellos to the neighbors with the other. 
  15. Wilco: One Sunday Morning - A conversation in song. A diatribe set to music. It's beautiful.
  16. Punch Brothers: Julep - I have distinct memories of wandering aimlessly around campus last Spring while listening to Julep on repeat. It's funny the places a song can take us and how far from those places we can come.
  17. Lake Street Dive: You Go Down Smooth - If her voice doesn't do something for ya, I just don't know what will.
  18. John Mayer: Who Says - It's been a long night in Austin too. I'm heading for you soon, Texas...
  19. Courtney Marie Andrews: How Quickly Your Heart Mends - "Go on and forget, act like we never met. Leave with your new friends. How quickly your heart mends..."
  20. Sleeping at Last: Every Little Thing She Does is Magic - Just be yourself and the folks you are meant to find will find you...
  21. Cake: Short Skirt/Long Jacket - I am constantly shocked by the number of Canadians I meet who have never been exposed to the musical stylings of Cake. These guys shaped my teenage years. I still text my brother lyrics to this tune out of the blue. Without hesitation he always texts the next line back. I miss you, Jeff.

I'll leave you for now with these twenty-one tunes as I eagerly and not so secretly hope for sunny days and rising temperatures.

I do hope you enjoy.


99 Words On Being Yourself...

Be yourself. That's all anyone can ever ask of you. It's the greatest compliment you can give to someone; to just be yourself. To be yourself without fear of judgment - that's what makes relationships grow, friendships blossom, and walls come down. And I realize that the people I can most be myself around, are those that I appreciate the most for they've taken the time to notice the magic I hold within and in turn have shared theirs with me. 

Just be yourself and the folks you are meant to find will find you. 

Happy Friday, y'all.



Kickstarter: Be A Part of My Next Album...


I'm excited to announce that I have launched my very first Kickstarter campaign!! You can CLICK HERE TO GO TO MY KICKSTARTER PAGE.
I recently was face-timing with my Papa and was explaining to him what all a Kickstarter campaign entails. He asked some great questions that I thought I would spell out and explain here for anyone with similar questions about the campaign. Here it goes:

  1. What is Kickstarter?
    Kickstarter is a global crowdfunding platform focused on creativity. The company's stated mission is to "help bring creative projects to life.” In essence it’s a place where projects can find investors and investors can find cool projects. 
  2. Tell me a bit about you project?
    I am setting out to make a new album. My best one yet! I’ve spent the last two years writing songs that I'm proud of and that I believe represent a cohesive body of work. I’ll be working this summer with producer Daniel Mendez (Head Above Water Music) at his studio in Austin, Texas. Daniel has worked with artists such as Heart, Duran Duran, and Dashboard Confessional. I will be hiring a band full of some of my favorite musicians who will help take my bare bone songs into full-fledged works.
  3. Where can I find your Kickstarter Page to donate?
    You can find my Kickstarter page and learn more about how you can be part of the project here: CLICK HERE TO GO TO MY KICKSTARTER PAGE!
  4. How much money are you hoping to raise?
    $5,000. Through outside investors and personal funds (i.e. money I saved from playing concerts), I was able to put forth the down payment to start the pre-production process with Daniel. I spent the last week of December at his studio in Austin and played him some 60 songs in 5 days. We sifted through and picked out a solid set of tunes for this record. I was very fortunate to be able to fully self-fund my last 3 albums. However this project is unlike any I’ve set out to record before and the $5,000 I am asking for is essential to get this record off the ground.
  5. Where does my money go? 
    Every dollar of the $5,000 we are setting out to raise will go towards the recording process: paying the musicians, reserving the studio, renting gear, etc. And if by some miracle there's anything left over, that money will go towards the printing of physical copies of the album and promoting the album.
  6. What do I get if I invest in your project?
    I have set up some really awesome rewards for those who contribute to this campaign. You can find them on the Kickstarter Page. It includes everything from a download of the album before it is released to me coming to your house to play a concert for you and your friends. 
  7. What does an “All or Nothing” project mean?
    Kickstarter is an all or nothing crowd-funding site, which means that if I do not reach my $5,000 goal that I do not receive any pledges for this project and no one is charged. If the project is successful then investors are not charged until the 25-day campaign comes to an end (March 26th).
  8. How does the Kickstarter site make money? (Papa was very intrigued by this)
    If a campaign is successful, Kickstarter receives a percentage (5-10%) of the money raised (ie: if I raise my goal of %5,000, Kickstarter will take some $500 as their fee, I will actually receive only $4500). If the project is unsuccessful, no one is charged (neither the investors nor the project creator) and Kickstarter does not make any money off the campaign.
  9. Is there a video I can watch to tell me a bit more about your project?
    There sure is!! You can watch the video above!

If you've made it this far down in the post, you are amazing! Thank you so much for your consideration!! We have 25 days to raise $5,000!  My hope is that together, with your help, we can reach our $5,000 goal, and I can begin this next season knowing I have the all the tools to make this new record the very best it can possibly be!!





Running High, Running Low...


Sometimes I lace up my running shoes and leave my house at night with no clear path and no idea of how many miles lie ahead. I go based on feeling knowing the number of kilometers my training schedule says I should do, but listening instead to what my body feels. And so I head off, in the dark, without my headlamp, and a mile and a half later I find myself on the False Creek seawall, my path illuminated by the streetlamps. And I feel good and I continue on. And I realize I’m not thinking any real thoughts. Meditatively listening to the same song in my headphones on repeat I’ve no worries at all. I’m not even aware of the blister slowly growing on my little toe or the fact that I’ve been running for over an hour. I just feel good. And so I continue on. And I pass through Yaletown and turn back before reaching Stanley Park. And running across the Burrard Street bridge I realize I can see the stars – the first time all year I’ve seen them from the city. And 11 miles later, I’m lying on the floor of my room thinking it’s been a while since I’ve felt this good.

And the next morning when I awake I contemplate making breakfast, but the running high from the night before quickly has me thinking otherwise and I lace up my shoes knowing that a repeat of yesterday’s route on tired legs will be excellent training. Sometimes I actually do consider my training schedule. And sometimes I misjudge how warm I think I'll get while out on my long run. And I wear a short-sleeve shirt and leave my gloves at home when it's 41 degrees outside. And somewhere around mile 4.5 it starts raining. And by mile 5 I can't feel my forearms or my fingers. And I laugh at myself realizing this isn’t funny at all. And I begin cursing the air as I watch other runners in their warm water-proof jackets trudge along past me. And I stop. And I walk. And I think why the hell am I doing this to myself? And I suddenly realize walking isn't helping. I'm only getting colder and more wet. And so I start running again. And I come to the base of the Burrard Street Bridge thinking how just 15 hours earlier this felt so good and the stars were shining and I could have gone on forever. But now the blister on my little toe is in the forefront of my mind along with how much I hate the cold rain and how I would give most anything for a warm shower. And I know in that moment that I’m not running home to take that shower. No. These 10 miles lead me straight to the pub.

Sometimes running feels amazing. And sometimes it really sucks.

Just be committed to it, it’s mostly mental.

My buddy sent me this Aoife O’Donovan tune this morning. Appropriate.



8 Albums That Shaped My 2016...

I'll be the first to admit that I am not a huge fan of end-of the-year lists. I often find them long, opinionated, and tiresome. All that said, don't think of this as my list or a ranking of records in 2016, but rather as a post highlighting a few albums that came out this year at just the moment I needed.

In truth, these 8 albums (along with a few other single tunes) have been the soundtrack to my life for the last 12 months. They've provided me with the melodies I needed to get through a year that, if I'm honest with myself, has been a bit of a struggle on many fronts. Each of these artists have played my heartstrings in their own way, some more than others. I've listed the albums below, not in any sort of ranking order, but rather in the order I first heard them. 

Courtney Marie Andrews - Honest Life: I first heard Rookie Dreaming in the early months of this year via a pal of mine. This tune hit me. Hard. Courtney is the type of songwriter that makes me want to be a better songwriter. Her lyrics are thoughtful and genuine. I traveled down to Seattle in early May to see her play. Our paths crossed again in September when by happenstance we were playing neighboring venues in Bellingham. Her band of fellas are some of the nicest, wittiest folks I've ever met. Good people making great music; that's pretty much the dream. This album is gold. Favorite tune: Table for One

Margaret Glaspy - Emotions and Math: This little lady came across my radar early this year with the release of her single "Somebody to Anybody." Her full length album "Emotions and Math" was released by ATO records in June. I took my parents to see her in May when she made a visit to Vancouver. My mom and I met her for a quick hello after her set and co-purchased her vinyl (I gave her $5 Canadian dollars and my mom the remaining $5 in USD - thanks again for spotting me, Mom. I still owe ya'). Her growl is like none other and her songs cut straight to the point. As a writer, it's an album I can listen to again and again. Favorite tune: Black is Blue

Logan Vath - In the Presence of the Kingdom: I don't even know where to begin with this fella. After years of musical interweb back-and-forths, our real-life paths finally crossed earlier this year when I was on tour in Virginia. I first heard the entirety of his EP a few months before its release. Logan's songs are heartbreaking in the best way possible. His writing comes across as intentional and experienced. In terms of shaping my 2016 this one has done so. I think my sister Taylor's description of him is my favorite I've heard so far, "He has such a calming and soothing voice. Like a cloud or a fluffy bean bag chair." He's well worth the listen. Favorite tune: The Candidate 

Joe Purdy - Who Will Be Next?: I spent a few good weeks in early June really soaking this one in. It can be real political and preachy at times, but overall it makes me smile a little smirk each time I hear it. His voice is steady and that Rhodes piano playing throughout brings a certain feeling of warmth to my soul. Favorite tune: Kristine

Gregory Alan Isakov - Gregory Alan Isakov with the Colorado Symphony: I've been finding comfort in the music of Gregory Alan Isakov for years and years now, however this past January his tunes were there for me when I needed them the most. His was one of the first shows I attended when I moved to Vancouver in 2013. In early August of this year, in a little venue in Washington State, I stood alone amongst the crowd quietly reflecting on all that had occurred since moving to Canada. The highs; the lows; the growth; and the changes. Every last one of my heartstrings was pulled that night. Before I left, I purchased all 4 of his albums on vinyl - the Colorado Symphony one included. This album has been monumental in helping me come to terms with the fact that I am now the sole owner of a record player. Favorite tune: Amsterdam She'll follow me down any street no matter what my crime.

Hiss Golden Messenger - Heart Like a Levee: This album was a much needed late-in-the-year boost. I'm not sure how I would describe this one other than simply great. I find that I don't consciously know all of the lyrics to the tunes, yet I can sing along to each song word for word. My introduction to this was on a 10 mile run in which I downloaded it on my Spotify and set out on my route. I was instantly captivated and lost in the music. This is one of my favorite discoveries of the year. I missed him when he played in Vancouver in October, but he's high on my radar for next year. Favorite tune: Highland Grace

John Moreland - High on Tulsa Heat: I truly am a sucker for the sad ones. John Moreland is the type of storyteller that breaks my heart yet keeps me coming back for more. I honestly haven't given this entire album a fair listen as there are a certain few songs I find myself playing on repeat. Thank the Lord I didn't find him until the late months of 2016. I was far too much of a mess to be able to handle the depth of heartache in his writing any earlier in the year. He's a comforting sorrow, a gentle giant, and a man that I am going to be keeping an eye on for years to come. Favorite tune: You Don't Care For Me Enough to Cry

Dori Freeman - Dori Freeman: This little lady just barely sneaked in on my list. I was driving back from Seattle after a weekend of seeing Courtney Marie Andrews play, when an unfamiliar voice began to fill my car. There are some songs that when you first hear you can't let go of until you know the name of the person singing. One of my favorite things about this album is that I've only given it a cursory listen, but am already loving it. I still have time to get cozy with it, but from what I've heard so far I have a feeling I'll have no trouble at all doing just that. Favorite tune: You Say

And there ya' have it. Though there are a slew of other wonderful tunes that came out this year, I found that each of the 8 artists above have all deeply resonated with me in their own way. 

Here's to all of the new music 2017 will bring.