Tomorrow…

Marks the one year anniversary of the release of the Boomerang CD.  I timed it just so it would launch on my sister’s (got just one) birthday.  She and I never had much in common growing up…She was valedictorian, where I was scraping by with A’s (in the classes that interested me) and D’s (in the ones that didn’t).  She was 7 years ahead of me but, we went to the same high school.  I remember by Biology teacher (who gave me my first failing grade) said with a sigh “Oh I wish you were more like your sister”.  She was quiet and cool as a cucumber where I was mouthy and couldn’t sit still.  The principals knew us both.  One for her excellent achievements and model behavior and the other…for being disruptive in class.  I didn’t intend to.  Things just blurted out.  I remember in the 5th grade my eyes were dry so I kept rolling them around.  Felt really good actually but, unfortunately my teacher, Mr. Cole took it as a response to the speech he was giving us at the time when in truth I didn’t even realize he was talking…  I guess you could say I was a bit of a daydreamer.

Anyway, throughout the years we’ve made attempts to find common ground and as true siblings we sometimes locked horns but all in all we know the other would jump when in need.  My sister doesn’t know how much she’s inspired me over the years.  She’s not the kind you can just say that to.  She isn’t comfortable with direct flattery.  I always admired how she would chip away at a giant task continuously until it was completed where I would easily get distracted and off on another track before completing what I started out to do.  I was plain and tom-boyish where she was described as “exotic”.  She invested in Microsoft and Starbucks where I just bought their products (and faithfully I might add).  Should I go on?  In the last few years I learned more about what I thought were my pitfalls and how in a normal day to day world they are just that but, in a less conventional life…they are considered strengths.  Kevin once asked me if I understood how big it was that I wrote 20 songs in the past year and a half.  At the time, I didn’t.  But, If I step back from the personalization that it’s me that did it.  If anyone else told me they did it I’d be impressed.  Why do we do that to ourselves?  I know there’s a fine line between modesty and pride but it should be ok to recognize your strengths and take pride in them, shouldn’t it?

So, my sister whether she knows it or not, inspires me.  I remember when I was much younger and looking at state colleges, she encouraged me to apply to Juliard.  I didn’t of course.  That seemed too far of reach but, just the fact that she…one who is practical thought I should meant a lot.  I know the fact that I don’t share her ability to methodically follow the steps has been a frustration throughout the years so, last year…I sent her this email:

And this image was attached:

Proof that I had completed the (a) project.  The CD for my dad’s birthday and had released out into the world.  I knew that was a kind of birthday gift she’d truly appreciate.  And she did.  She’s not one to gush but, I could tell she got the meaning behind it and appreciated it.

This year I don’t think my present will be as grandiose.  I did email her a funny card (which will go into her junk mail folder and she’ll discover sometime next week and remind me how she doesn’t know why but, my emails seem to end up there and then I remind her again how to right click on it and select the email address as on the “safe senders list”…yeah…that’s the sibling stuff) and tonite I’m going to spend a nice quiet evening in and write.  I never intentionally sat down to write so I don’t know what will come of it but, at least I’m going to give it a try.  Maybe she’ll inspire me to write a song or maybe it’s just to try but, isn’t that half the battle?

Either way, thanks for listening~

‘ali

Weekend update and the return of the goddesses…

Sound cheesy?

Maybe, but I got no other way of explaining it… 

So, Mere was the first to arrive (late Thursday night).  But, before that…I hopped over to my lesson with Moppet and I was in the weirdest funk.  Had a hard time keeping from tearing up.  I felt like a weirdo.   Couldn’t figure what was the cause of it and thought about cutting it short a couple of times but, just pushed through it.  I thought maybe it was the back pain but, I’ve had worse and not acted like this.  Everytime he showed me something I couldn’t handle (as in he’d play what’s in my head easily but, I struggled to play it myself) I would tear up.  WTF.  I had a talk later with Keen that seemed to help put it into some kind of perspective but, at that moment I just felt this sad kind of pending doom.  I  went home, practiced some and started tidying up the mess that was my studio in preparation for the weekend guests.  This was going to be a chicks’ weekend.  It was about g/f’s reminding eachother just how much we rock and man oh man was I sooo looking forward to it.  Sooooo nothing against my friends here…I just was in a wicked funk and re-inforcements were definitely needed~

So, I was tidying up my mess of a studio making it “guest ready” (as my mom would call it) when I got a txt from Keen asking if I was going to the Aussie open mic and that he was there.  I thought and thought…I could and should clean more and then I thought about how I’d been feeling that day and it seemed he was on his own there and friends don’t leave friends on their own (unless it’s a growth thing like the time Miche wanted me to join her for dinner but she’d never dined alone so I was on txt standby but, she put her big girl panties and had her first solo dining experience…but, I digress).  So, I did a couple more quick things, grabbed Martin and headed on over.  Turns out he wasn’t alone.  His roommate was there but, still.  I’m taking credit for being a good music buddy.  Jesse runs the open mic and he’s…he’s…well, cool but, there’s a better way to describe but, I can’t find the words for it other than “good soul” and later I found out he’s almost as big a James Taylor fan as I am so that made him ultra cool in my books~  As far as the music went, I started off with “Anyway” because it’s my melancholy song and I needed to get it off my chest.  Then, I played “the more you love” (formerly called Fears and the one I wrote for my nephew) and dedicated it to Jesse’s dad who surprised me by his strong response to it.  Then, someone actually asked for the “Baby” song.  How cool was that~  And even better, I heard a few voices echoing the words “baaaaaby” as I sang em.  That’s the one.  That’s the song that’ll last.

Anyway…in between our songs I was talking to Keen and telling him about the last few days and how sad I’ve been and not sure I can put my finger on it.  “Like a sense of defeat that I’m not going to be able to play well enough in time.  Like I’m going to lose my voice by the time I can play well enough to play guitar on the recordings”…even as I said it, it didn’t feel quite it but, close.  Can I tell you what’s scariest about all of this?  I’m still on the happy pills that helped me quit smoking so, it must be something pretty damn big to cut through those…

Mere arrived and in true fashion we got food that was bad for us, cracked open a bottle of wine and prattled on for hours and caught up then crashed, then I got up and did a half day at work, while she followed  a list of txt instructions that led her to a cool coffee shop, then the beach then back to my studio.  Then, I got home and went to the ultimate escape…that spa I was telling you about by the bay…(could I afford this?  No, but, this is Mere we’re talking about and I know the wonders it did for me and I was sure it was exactly what she needed so it had to happen and its not like I suffered, as a matter of fact it nearly fixed my back as in the next morning I woke up and I could stand up straight right off the bat and I do believe I even danced around the studio to celebrate 🙂  It’s still creeky but, I’ll take that victory and reminder never to take my back for granted again~

But, right…let’s get back to the heart of it.  Jan and Michele made it the next morning.  They rented bikes from the place I bought mine and Mere got a chance to meet Moppet and agreed with me he’s the perfect person to be teaching me right now…”Just the right energy”.  We bike all over the place…by the beach, by the bay and then celebrated ‘National Tequila Day” followed by more biking and then an attempt at a swim in the bay followed by nap on beach, followed by Thai food, followed by far more wine than necessary and much needed girl talk.  I needed the outside perspective to get to the heart of what was making me so sad.  I started the same conversation I had with Keen about the fear of not being able to learn guitar fast enough to be able to play on the recordings before my voice gives out (which for some reason I think will be soon) so, do I depend on someone else to make the guitar part happen?  Jan made an excellent point about Mick Jagger and how he doesn’t play guitar but he totally got his songs across.  Do I trust Russ to play them in way that totally reflects me?  Answer: Hell Yes.  So, what’s the problem?  I rambled a bit to find the words and said something like “It’s not so bad if I can’t play all the songs as I hear them in my head but, it’s the depending on someone else to play them for me…what if Russ’ band makes it big before we record?  Then, I’m screwed trying to find someone else who can get inside my head and play the songs how I hear them (and trust me, that’s not easy to find) and then the words “trust” echoed in my head and I said it…”or if he does something that I just can’t accept or forgive and I have to cut off all ties and I am, screwed again”…and a flood of memories of about this time last year and the months that followed surfaced and like an artichoke at one of my family’s dinners growing up…in the shake of a lamb’s tail it went from full to plucked and carved down till the heart was painfully exposed.  I was terrified of leaning on someone else again, opening  myself up and being vulnerable to someone else to make my music happen.  So, I think I’ve been secretly sabotaging the recording process because I didn’t want to have to rely on someone else to make it happen, afraid of history repeating itself, of losing the ground we’ll make and I’m pretty sure I don’t have it in me to go through that particular brand of dissapointment again…as I type this I’m wondering if I’ve gone too far in how open one should be on a blog to a bunch of peeps/shadows from the US, Canada, Russia, Great Britain, Czech Republic, Spain, Malaysia, Germany, China, Netherlands and Indonesia (at least that’s who’s been reading this month) and as I read it back it seems a bit melodramatic but, remember this is me “on the inside”.  I think I’m pretty much incapable of feeling anything lightly…and you know what?  Fuck it.  This whole thing is about writing from the heart and finding out once and for all if I really am  just some unidentifiable “odd bird” or if there really are others out there than can relate to the ways I think and feel.  So, that’s what’s been eating at me.  I don’t know how to explain that to Moppet or if I need to.  Maybe I just needed to figure it out myself and then decide whether I should take the risk with him.  So, I’m going to take the week off from lessons, figure it out and start back up next week with with a decided approach.

And that’s why the “Goddesses” tagline this week.  Because if you’re lucky…you’ll have a varied set of friends (or one who can magically do it all).  And you may never know ahead of it who has the particular insight that will help you unravel the mystery you’re grappling with but, you do know you can count on them to step up and try until you do get it sorted and that is what happened throughout this whole weekend.  From the ironically timed changing of traffic lights to the perfectly timed opening of parking spots where there are so few and far between to the right words that cut through the fog.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I am a very very lucky person.  I hope I give to them as much as they give to me but at the very least women…my fellow goddesses…I am ohhhhh so grateful that  I found each of you~

Amazing weekend and just as I predicted…tomorrow when I wake up, I will be primed and ready to take it all on again.  Fk the past.  Can’t fix it.  Can’t undo it.  Let it go, and tell it to get the fk outta your way cuz you got other places to be and remarkable things to do. 

Now, I’m gonna stop writing and you’re gonna stop reading so we can both get on with making remarkable things happen.

This week, nothing planned but, that’s usually when something cool happens and when it does, I will post.

Thanks as always for listening and inspiring me to keep on.

‘ali

PS: The woman who took my order for breakfast this morning said I had a wish coming because the cost of my order ended with 3 matching numbers…never heard of it but, who am I to argue with hope?  Two guesses what I wished for and what hill it sat upon…

😉

PSS: lil example of the goddess magic…passed this today after we randomly decided to check out the La Jolla farmers’ market…

Like any of us come across this every day??

Open Mic and yes, it was way cool…

“Otto…You are fkn adooooorable you are~  I don’t know if you see that as a compliment but, I mean it to be and you sucha baby face and so you get that tag”.  For those who don’t know, Otto runs the Open Mic at Hensley’s flying elephant where Red and I braved the stage last night.  Red got there first and signed us up for 7:45 which is good because Michele was running late from work and wouldn’t get there until at least then.  I walked into the dim room and saw dark tablecloths and candlelight on each table.  For half a second my heart skipped a beat thinking maybe there was a private party and no open mic that night (which would’ve really sucked considering how much angst poor Red went through).  This time it was Serg n Anne, Brad, Nat, Michele (who made it just before the last song~) and a group of Red’s friends were there.  Was a nice mix 🙂  Oh, and Charles 🙂  Charles made it too~  Sergio put in a request for a shout out song to a friend of his (who wasn’t speaking much to him and happened to be there) so I did.  I got Vehklempt just before playing.  Don’t know…maybe it was nerves…maybe I was just sensitive to the tension and sadness in front of me but, I pulled myself together just before I started singing “The other Side”.  I was so embarassed…I could feel the tears running down my face.  Charles swears they couldn’t see em from out there but, at the time I was sure they were all like “Damn…don’t fall apart woman, it’s just a song…”.  I didn’t put it on youtube.  I almost did thinking “they know this is about imperfection at its best” and that my voice isn’t very strong because I’m holding back from bawling but, then I thought If I keep posting crappy moments like that no one in their right mind is going to be even remotely interested in CD II.  Plus, can I just say this here?  I knew I wore the wrong undertop.  I should’ve gone with the higher black one but went with the white one that sucks in the gut (which I needed) howeeeever, it sucks the fat in and up so I was nearly busting out and flashing the audience.  Nothing wrong with a little cleavage…something wrong with a one sided bust out.  Holy crap <sigh>…I’ll know better next time~

It was awesome all around oh and no…sushi guy did not show up but, I didn’t even notice, I was so in the moment.  Got some really great feedback from the staff there and a “see you next week :)” from Otto.  I’d say something but, no point.  I think once a month would be nice though.  I really like it there.

Tonite…Serg is hosting Trivia night at our old pub up there in Carlsbad for the first time and I really want to be there but, I know I shouldn’t make the drive 3 days in a row.  Gotta preserve the old Trooper.  It’s night like this that make me want to move back there.   The longer I stay down here the more torn I am.  I think when I can afford a newer car that could easily make the trip the point will be mute but, sometimes I miss our instaconnect and always an option to do something just about every night.  I know…I am pretty whiney these days…WTF.   Will shake it off soon, I swear.

So…possibly Thursday open mic then my good friend Meredith arrives later that night for the weekend with Jan (the awesome photographer’s wife and Meredith’s good friend…we like her~).   It’s a recharge weekend for all of us so no doubt I’ll be like a bullet train again come Monday~

Till then…thanks as always for listening~

‘ali

PS…it’s too dark to see but, at one point Serg grabbed the flip cam and did a span of the room.  Too big a file to post here but, thought you’d get a kick out of a shortclip moment of Serg n Anne…

Serg n Anne Moment

PSS:  Walking Still

Weekend Update and the tapping of feet…

Another weekend flew by. I took Martin in to have Russel lower the action on his “something” hoping that it would eliminate this kind of “buzz” sound that happens when I don’t hit the string just right. Took him just a few minutes so practiced away on one of the shop’s guitars while I waited. And then he handed Martin back to me with a prideful grin on his face. I sat down and eagerly started playing the chords that have been bothering me and the buzz was still there…”oh crap, it’s me”. thunk…was how it felt when I realized I couldn’t blame the crap sound on the guitar. I felt so sad…and then I felt bad when I saw the look on his face. He said something nice about the good thing being that since I hate it so much it’ll push me to fix it and that Martin’s strings tend to run closer together (aha…so I have fat fingers as well, nice~) and I just pushed through a smile and fought back the tears that are welling up even as I type this damned thing. I hate being emotional like this. But, it was a real dent in the structure of my dream, you know? When I first made the decision to go for CDII I was determined I’d be good enough to play guitar on the recordings and on stage and not make it sound like you’re at our little sister’s recital but, a full fledged concert performed by an artist. Maybe I was a bit delusional in thinking that could happen so quickly (if at all) but, everything I’ve done up to now…well if you’d said I would a few years ago I would’ve thought/said you were delusional. I looked at the calendar and the hope of doing this all within the 2 year time frame (I’d given myself) was dim. A nightlight would be blaring in comparison.

I feel worse looking back because I think I even forgot to say “Thanks” for the work he did. He shouted at me to get out to the beach that day (I think his way of saying take a break, there’s more to life) to which I shouted back “The bay~” as I hobbled out the door (yes, my lower back is still killing me dammit won’t it just fix itself already). So, as I made my way home (I walked the few blocks there) I tried to reassemble the order of things in my head…could I do the concert first and then record? That would help with the funding of the CD…would anyone show if there wasn’t a CD yet? What if it was more interactive where the audience got to vote on which of the 14 songs would go on the CD and which songs would be the bonus track? Thinking if I did that by November I’d still somewhat make my goal and then…by then maybe there’d be a big enough base that the CD release could be at the Belly Up….hrmmmm…..and there I went…getting grandiose again…will I ever learn?
I thought back to the other day when Brad sent a notice out that Need to Breathe would be performing in LA and we should go…to which I replied with a reminder of how much I hate L.A. (sorry LA peeps…the place just puts my nerves on end for some reason) and that I prefer small venues like on the boat because then they’re accessible for chatting and signing CD’s…or we could be bold and just tell em we’ll come if they’ll hang out with us after the show. His response…2 words…”be bold”. Yeah, why the hell not? Oh not to tell em they have to hang out with us but, why not be bold? What have I got to lose but, time (and possibly what’s left of my pride)? Why not just say “What’s it going to take to be your opening act?” First response I know “How bout you need to be bold enough to get up on stage and perform a set”. Sht. OK.

So, what is standing in my way? Me. So, as soon as I got home, I got some shorts on, threw a couple water bottles in the basket and hopped on my bike and started riding and kept riding until I’d come full circle around Mission bay (about 14 miles). I told myself when I started that a stop at the sushi place on the last leg would be my reward but, by the time I got to it I just wanted to keep going and so I did to home, cleaned up and walked over to the local Cantina and made a grapefruit margarita and guac n chips my reward instead~ The bartender recognized me (not for my music but because I’m in their tequila club) and we got to chatting and so I asked her what she thought of a pre-CD concert where the audience got to vote on which songs would make the cut and which song would be on the bonus track and she said “yeah…now that one I’d go to!”. So, I smiled and sipped away and felt clever again.

Sunday…oh I was so proud of myself for getting laundry done, drove up to my doc’s office but, it was closed so went for the next best thing…my favorite nail salon with the big giant massage chair…I went for all the extras and kept pushing the button for lower back and 45 minutes later I was mobile again and on my way to the Fish Joint to meet up with Red. I asked if we could practice in the outdoor room in the back and got a thumbs up (and crp so sorry I didn’t take a pic cuz its a cool spot.  Will the next time) so there we sat and went over his song for tonite’s open mic. We had a hard time connecting…his fingers wanted to play a rhythm mine didn’t get a vice versa. He did tap his foot (after much nagging) and then we decided that we were both hungry/thirsty and practice would go much better if we fueled up.  We went in and both guys were working (which I love because they’re so much fun to watch).  I scarfed down my favorite (Mango Madness) and then a sashimi salad and some hot sake to soothe my dry, froggish throat.  Red was in recovery mode so he just sipped on the sake for a while til he got his bearings and then I knew he was good when he ordered calamari and a beer.  There’s something about that place.  I always feel like I’m on vacation when I go there.  I love going there Sunday’s the best because that day I’m usually wound up thinking about the pending Monday morning and what needs to be done.  Before we left I turned to the other Red and said “So, are you working tomorrow or showing up to cheer us on at the Open mic?”  (see…that’s me…being bold).  He seemed flustered so I repeated with a smile and added “because those are your ownly 2 choices…” (even bolder).  I also promised I wouldn’t be nervous like last time to which he agreed wholeheartedly I so was…nice…The poor guy didn’t know what to say after that.  I think he agreed it would be one or the other but, not sure which.  I guess we’ll find out tonite~  The couple next to us go into the conversation so and said they might be there as well.  So, anyone’s guess who will be there tonite.  I haven’t even really thought about what songs I’ll play or how many I’ll get to play but, I think I’ll bring the Uke because it’s so much damn fun.  I’m also bringing the new Flip so there’ll be plenty of footage and most definitely will video Red’s song “Walking Still”.  I was going to include a sound clip from our practice session last night but, when I grabbed the recorder this morning it was set to 0.  WTF??  New recorder but, same model so how it could delete all recordings instead of one at a time I do not know.  Lucky there were only 5…note to self…backup the recorder daily…

However, I do have a pic of our meal at the FJ.  Will post that instead 🙂

Wish us luck, will post the update and as always, thanks for listening~

‘ali

The makers of the meal...

The meal...

An he said “What??”

Yes, I did screw up the nerve, grabbed Kala (my Ukelele) and headed down to Humphreys to the songwriter’s competition on Tuesday.  It was so cool.  I didn’t practice, I didn’t even take the Uke out until the last few minutes before going on stage and I volunteered to go first 🙂

I just chatted with other musicians in line and then went up to the bar and put my ear piece in and listened to some of my favorite lighthearted moments during my guitar lessons.  Totally put me in the right frame of mind while I watch Bonnie Raitt on the big screen.  She sooo rocks~ 

I got called up and I smiled and relaxed and told em my song was short so I had time to tell them who I am and what I was doing there and then…I played “If He Were Mine” on the Ukelele.  If you had told me even a month ago I’d be doing this I would laughed my ass off but, there I was…looking those judges right in the eyes and smiling and seeing them genuinely smiling back and we were all truly “enjoying the music”.  Rocked.

I stayed on and listened and watched and learned through a few other acts and talked to Richard (who hosts it) and then the back pain kicked in…dammit.  I politely excused myself saying I was called in to work (I hate admitting I can’t do something simple  like ehm…sit in a frkn chair”.  I missed out on some acts I would’ve really liked to have seen. “Next time” I said.  I would definitely stay through the whole thing.  As I was walking out I stopped at the sound booth and asked the engineer if I could get my copy of the video they took and he said they had technical problems and weren’t taping that evening….He said What??  I thought about all the people I talked to and told them I’d post it on youtube to share and my heart just went “thunk”.

So, yesterday…I did some research, asked some friends then went out and bought one of those flip HD video recorders and made this figuring can’t do anything about not getting that particular moment recorded but, nothing stopping me from recording my songs anywhere or anytime else: 

If He Were Mine

Hope you like it 🙂
Had brilliant lesson today.  Russ taught me some cool bits to enhance the story of “walking still”.  Going back to practice them now before off to bed.
Sunday is practice with Red n Sushi.  Then…Monday night we play at Hensley’s open mic~
Stay tuned and until then….thanks for listening ~
‘ali

Weekend update and the return of the Family Jam…

So, pulled something in my lower back Thursday night trying to exercise off some of the “look at me I’m free from smoking” weight and Friday I hobbled around the office like I was on my last leg and seriously questioned whether I’d make the drive up to north county to see my friends and join in the “Family Dinner night”.  I love those nights.  It’s been a while since we  had one and I’ve missed them.  It’s just a super laid back come when you can and catch up and hang out and enjoy some really great food/wine and when all are well fed and happy then bonfire and the musical instruments come out to play.  What was great is that more people joined in on the singing.  It felt more collaborative than in the past and I liked that.  I love hearing others sing.  Especially those that don’t normally because then its not about entertainment but, self expression for them and that’s way cool.

Alan is here visiting from Ireland.  He’s dating one of our good friends (which makes him brilliant).  He’s  also a solid musician in his own right.  Has a unique voice and style.  I don’t know if he writes any of his own but, he does a great rendition of others (like David Gray) that he makes his own.  Ana was there and she sang too and I heard Carrie and Anne singing along to “Baby”.  That’s totally my dream…to sing that song and when it comes to the chorus to pull back and hear tons of voices singing “baaaby….baaaaby”…I just love picturing it :).    Ana’s Ryan is really funny too.  He started playing a few months back and he picked up Seagull and started playing this cool song like a fkn pro and we’re all getting into it when all the sudden he stops and looks up and says “oh yeah, I forgot to learn the bridge” and shrugs his shoulders.  I don’t think he or Red know what naturals they are.  Cracks me up. Oh and Red was there~  I lent him Seagull to practice on until our open mic on the 19th.  We practiced some in the living room and the funniest thing…I had this odd deja vu thing where I noticed his feet were flat on the ground and he wasn’t switching chords on the beat…so I said “you gotta tap your foot” (how many times have I heard that directed at me…seriously John?? How many???) and he gave the same response and I just laughed and it all clicked into place.   Sometimes you need moments like that to remind you you’ve actually progressed.   If I can bare it, I’ll video tape it for him tonite so he can (like me) see/hear it over and over.  It’s a big deal him coming up on stage.  I want to be sure its a great moment for him.

I got home late that night and slept like a baby…until I woke at 6am with a sharp pain in my lower back.  Fk a Dk (I believe those were my exact words).  The rest of the weekend was filled with just about every concoction and heat/ice combo you can think of (smooshed peas anyone?).  I practiced some and sang through the pain which really…I’m sure my neighbors were like “jezuz woman just give it a rest already”.  Somewhere between a yelp and a screech.  I don’t know when to give up.  I really don’t.  When I wasn’t practicing I was laying on the floor with my legs up over one of those big exercise balls, icy-hot patch on my back, head on a curvy pillow remote/cell by my side and bowl of cheesy puffs on my belly watching the weekend marathon of Harry Potter flicks (I never said I was cool, nope, not once).  It felt like such a wasted weekend except that I listened to the play back of my last couple lessons over and over again and then recorded my efforts on Sunday evening.   This morning on the drive in to work I listened back to the Sunday practice and low and behold…voila…what do you know…I actually played the rhythm and for the most part on track~   Not an easy one.  If you’d heard earlier renditions of my attempts you would’ve said “Why don’t you just hire someone to play that one?”.  I’m sure you would’ve said it nicely too but, with a slight cringe as in “for the love of Pete don’t make me tell you just how awful you sound”.  I felt so much better after listening to it.  Like, even though the weekend didn’t go as I’d hoped it would…maybe it went the way it was supposed to.   Funny how often I’ll give that line to someone else and full on believe it and yet when I direct it toward myself I’m met with resistance…

Ok, so pain or no, tomorrow Kala and I head out to the songwriter’s competition.  They video tape each performance so, if I don’t look  or sound like a complete baboon then I’ll post on youtube for you all.

Till then, hope you had an eventful weekend and thanks for listening~

‘ali

Ryan, Red n Anne

Can I just talk about my lesson?

I know…I said I’d shuddup and get back to work but, its my lunch break and it’s still bugging me that I didn’t write this down…

Yesterday I had a lesson at 5.  I’ve been keeping Sunnie in the car because a: there’s not much room left in my studio with 4 guitars, a keyboard and  a Uke and b: because I’m so addicted to music now that I want to be able to play it anywhere, anytime~  There seems to be some…how do I say it…unspoken irritation with me leaving work early for my weekly lesson so I generally wait until a couple minutes before 5 then race to the garage and down the road to get there almost on time.  You see…I don’t have kids (who play sports or go to doctor’s appts during work hours) nor do I have a spouse (that expects me to be places in their support) so I don’t have any “valid” reason to leave work early.  I thought about calling out like they do <moch sigh> “Gotta take Martin to his <rolling of eyes> guitar lesson…see you all tomorrow” but, I don’t think they share my sense of humor.

Anyway…as usual, the moment I walk into the door and see their faces the stress of the day just glides off and out the door and I head in, in great anticipation of what’s going to happen next.  Yesterday, Drew (that’s my new nick for him) was there and he showed me his new turtle “Herbert” and lamented that he feels odd naming the turtle Herbert since well…since he’s a girl.  How fkn endearing is that?

I told him how Michele is a turtle “aficionado” and that she’d tell him to name the turtle whatever suits it and since Herbert was the first name that came to mind then he was good to go.  The funny thing was I totally spaced on her turtle’s name.  I knew they should talk and I said I’d hook em up so she could tell him all she’s learned on feeding, caring etc., and when I told her about it later last night she said “Myrtle”.  Ohhhh holy crap.  How could I forget that her turtle’s name is Myrtle and that Myrtle is a boy~  Yes…I agree…these two must meet.

😉

Back to the lesson…There was a red Uke in the corner and his v cool new electric guitar hung up on the wall.  I pulled out my newly printed list of songs for the CD and explained that the ones in bold were definites (there are 18 songs on the list and I need to narrow em down to 12) and the others were maybes.  Either because I wasn’t sure about them or they were unfinished.  He showed me a more upbeat rhythm for something…can’t remember but, I know we did go over a section of “Boomerang” that was nagging me….maybe it was for that but, anyway…he asked which if any of the “maybe” songs could use that rhythm and “This time around” came to mind.  I tried to tell him how this song is going in two different directions…minor chords to major or all major and I have on my tape recorder but, I listened back to it recently…its me singing while driving with a CD playing in the background that had the beat I like but, I just sounded retarded.  The concept was great and I get what I’m trying to get from it all but, to have someone else listen to it just made criiiiiinge.  So, I let it be (I hate that I did that).  We worked on the chords and he strongly felt all major was good so we focused on those.  The rhythm gave it a much lighter feel to it.  Again with most of my songs having a sad factor I was glad to have something more upbeat.  The song is really about a woman who bumps into an old boyfriend who’s returned after living far off and the dynamics between the two.  I really like it.  I just know it’s not finished and am pretty sure it wasn’t going on the CD until yesterday.   How cool is that?

I can hardly wait until next week’s lesson to find out which song will be the next to go from a pale MAYBE to a bold YES…

Oh and yes…when he asked if there was anything else? I pointed to the Uke and said can we play that one again?? He smiled (knowingly), we did and it was a brilliant end to another brilliant lesson 🙂

:-))))))

Ok, now I shuddup and get back to whatever it is I was doing~

An Aussie Open mic and the unexpected Guardian…

I didn’t put this one on my list of to do’s because I wasn’t sure if I’d actually go to it (but, I did :))…a couple months back I saw a notice on craigslist (you have that?  craigslist.org…I looove it) about an open mic coming to my area and it sounded warm and friendly so, I screwed up the courage and I went.  This was the first time Red drove down to see me and Jen n Michele joined and I don’t know if the girls just picked up on how unnerved I was or what but, all three us got what I would describe as “bombed outta our goards” and poor Red had to watch over us.  The next day followed with a public notice on Facebook apologizing to Red for having to put up with us and he forgave us but, I just couldn’t bring myself to go back to that place (I’m pretty sure we were those kind of annoying drunks that I blog about – eek).  I kept getting the weekly reminders and notes about how much fun it is and so finally…last night…I went back.  I re-connected with the guy who runs it and Keen and his drummer Dan were there and it was almost immediately comfortable.  The doorman pointed to a rack to safely set Martin on.  I did and he stood there patiently waiting his turn.  Since it starts later and I’ve got a day job I emailed ahead requesting to be one of the first to go.  I was THE first which was cool.  I told them a bit about my story and I got applause for the part about it being like my 7th open mic and why I was doing them.  I felt a short surge of panic when I (for a moment) forgot the chords to “Baby” but then, they came and I just went on with it.  I caught myself a couple times drifting off and when I did I lost the connection with my audience so I consciously made the effort to click back in with them.  One guy walking in, stopped mid step and faced me for a while.  It was a surreal and cool moment.  I played “Fears” and then got a shout out to end with an upbeat song (to which I laughed and explained how I didn’t have much of those but, decided on “Walking Still” because it is “hopeful” and got genuine applause at the end.

Jesse made a great comment about the little experience I have and what would it be if I kept at it (which was really encouraging).  His dad was there and I still find this odd but, he loooved “Fears” which I think people would find it a bit hokey but, I keep hearing over and over the opposite “that’s some good shit”  “that’s about all of us”.  So, I guess you never know.  Just write it, play from the heart and you never know until you do who will relate to it.  Very cool.

I waited for Keen to play before heading out.  Sat through a couple more singers in between.  Calmly sipped on a glass of chardonnay and chatted with the boyz.  So, here’s the cool and interesting part…while Keen was up there playing…Dan pulled away from the table and planted himself in obscure locations and just sort of watched over Keen.  A very serene kind of thing but, he was totally focused on his friend and making sure he had the best sound and his full attention.  I thought about it and wondered if Keen knew about this guardian of his…can he see it or sense it from the stage?  Then I thought back to when I was on stage and the girl who turned off the pool table lights ahead of me as soon as I started singing and how supportive that felt.  And mid way through a song when I was feeling nervous and a girl walked right passed me and looked straight at me with a smile that said “you’re doing good but, give us more” and I did almost immediately.  I wonder if they know that we see and sense them?   Thinking back,  I’m surprised I didn’t see it before…how many guardians there are out there who almost instincively take it upon themselves to give us that extra nudge we need to proppel us forward.

Even the fans on my facebook music page or on Jango even.  I wonder if they know the effect that each comment has on us?  Sure the ones who know me do but, what about the ones I’ve never met?

Well if not then here you go…big insider info.  I’m betting that every musician is the same in that we need you guardians to push us and to help re-direct us when we drift off course. Without you, we’d just be like…like “cardboard”.  Haven’t made that analogy in a while but that’s it.  That’s how it feels. 

Speaking of drifting…I’d better push myself to get back to work.  Martin is great but, he couldn’t make the rent~  or at least, not yet…

😉

Hope you all have a great weekend.  Tonite is family (the kind of friends who become family) dinner Italian style and was instructed to bring our music with for afters.  Love those nights.

More on Monday and until then, thanks for listening~

‘ali

PS: If you ever find yourself there…order the “Aussie Burger”.  Trust me.  Wow.  Yum.

guardian on the side...

 

Weekend update and the going from dipping of toes to diving in…

OKOKOK

Where to start.

So, first off, did I tell you about the lesson I had on Thursday?  It was awesome as usual.  Russ and I continued to work on “If he were mine” so that I could play it on my own but, with more style that my strum strum thing.  I didn’t want to copy what was on the CD.  That was someone else’s style and I liked it a lot but, I need to stand on my own 6 strings now.  Or, maybe 4….

So, mid way through I can tell he’s getting a little frustrated.  He doesn’t get why I can’t just relax and play like I’ve got “all the time in the world”.  I told him because I’m stressed.  I’m here on my lunch break which is an hour and because projects are behind at work I technically shouldn’t even be here and my boss called and txtd me during it but, it was too late to cancel and frankly…it wasn’t my fault things were late at work and I’m a bit sick of re-adjusting my schedule because no one thought my deadline was important enough to do their part to keep it (yes, I’m venting).  Ok.   So, Russ being…well Russ, stepped out and came back with 2 Ukuleles.  I laughed and was eagerly anticipating what he was up to.  I’d never held let alone played one of these things but, I was just that stressed I was like “you just tell me what to do and I’ll do it”.  He takes Martin and sets him aside and shows me the chords to play (slightly different and yet…totally got it) and we played…and played…and I giggled like a school girl and then I hit the red button on the recorder and we played as I sang with much more levity than ever before.  I was having so much fun that I totally missed a line in the song and he had to remind me to go there.  I listened back to that recording several times over the last couple days and I just beam at that moment of laughter.  It totally blew back every grey moment of that day (and there were many).  So hmmm, they were right.   Laughter is the best medicine 😉

Saturday morning I woke up in a small panic because I was starting to forget what the chords looked like.  I hopped on my bike and headed over to the shop, hoping on all hopes that Andrew (omg I just figured out his nickname~) knew how to play the Ukulele…locked my bike, walked in to see Moppet (Russ) behind the counter and I think I jumped up and down.  I did several times that visit and I don’t care who knows.  Told him I was worried about forgetting the chords and did he have a really cheap Uke I could get to practice on (I know, I know…my dwindling budget but this isn’t like a pair of boots or another shirt I don’t need) and he went into super cool shop guy/sensei mode.  He brought me the super cheap one (shirt) and then showed me the “performance model” (boots).  I heard the sound from each and went for the boots.  Knowing this Uke will be on the CD.  No fuss with trading up.  On it was the imprinted name “Kala” which from my life in Hawaii I knew meant “Princess”.  I knew Bort would be pleased that there would finally be a “female” (as he believes all guitars should be) instrument in my collection.  And to top things off the boots were on sale so I rode away feeling pretty proud of myself.

But, before I rode off I chatted with his friend who told me how much he enjoyed our lessons and what a cool student I was (to which yes, I jumped up and down and claped and pointed at him and said “Aha…I knew it~” as I thought in my head “take that Takanawa” which is my nick for a student who he mentioned is so devoted he takes lessons twice a week).  She was so cool that something just came over me and I said “well, should we play one for her before we go?”  So, we did.  Right in front of the register.  We pulled up seats.  I pulled Kala from the carry bag and he picked up a guitar.  She stood between us  and seemed the perfect audience (she totally was).  I got nervous and couldn’t look up at her even once during the song but, at least I did it but,  noticed her bobbing back and forth which he pointed out before was the intention and I smiled and sang right there…in the shop with the front door open and people passing by.  It was so cool~

So, off I went home to practice a few more times and to record (totally forgot to bring recorder with me to the shop) and then on Sunday I took Kala up with me to friends’ get together up in north county.  Lee and Kerry were there and I don’t know if I’ve ever sung in front of them or not but, I warned em I really wanted to before they left.  So, just as they were getting ready I reminded them and I brought Kala out and (still not sure how to) held her just so and played with what I’m pretty sure was right.  It felt like I had all the time in the world and I was really happy playing it.  The best part was seeing the bobbing in the background and totally getting what Russ was talking about.  I’m soooooooooo learning~  It was a great afternoon with friends.  Charles was there and I made sure he knew about the next open Mic at Hensley’s (I still feel like such a jerk for forgetting he’s not on facebook and ye need to tell him the old fashioned way).  That’s going to be a very cool night in more ways that one 🙂

So, today…I had the day off but still worked some just to ease my mind for tomorrow.  Then I rode my bike along the bay for a good hour.  All the while listening back to practice recordings and actually enjoying listening back to most of them.  When I got home I remembered that its been a couple weeks since I said I’d call that old theatre.  I emailed them a couple times but, no reply so I was worried they were blowing me off.  As  a geek though I know how often email gets dumped into your junk or spam folder so I decided to give it another shot and I called and the owner picked up~  It forwards to his cell and he was driving so he pulled over and we chatted.  I reminded him of my impromptu drop in with Michele a ways back and my goal and so forth and he came back with several questions and for a moment I was confused and wondering if he just didn’t want my kind of business.  Then he asked what night I wanted to do it and I told him on a Thursday because of my kind of music and first official CD release and all and he said “well why on earth would you do that instead of a Saturday??  Seems to me you’re dippin your toes in the water when you should be diving right in”.  To which of course I replied “wow…you just pretty much described me to a T”.  We laughed and I said OK but, I’m on a tight budget and he said OK, the cost is the same.  Its the same (reasonable) base with % of sales.  How cool is that??  Told him about you all and said we had to video tape and he said that was OK to bring someone in for that but, he has his own sound/lighting guy.  I cringed as I asked how much he would be…’oh no dear…he’s included”.  Am I the luckiest girl ever or what??  Seriously…really…this is just insane.  He’s going to sell the tickets, promote it (my name will be on a Marquee) with his long list of customers and local hotels interested in what’s happening.  He thought my chances for filling the place were better for that night for that reason and I agreed.  So, now…deep breathe…I told him I needed about 4 weeks to focus on the recording but, I’d at least give him 8 weeks notice and he agreed.  So, that’s it.  The CD release will be at the Carlsbad Village Theatre (built in 1927).  I love old theatres.  I love this old theatre.  I passed by it many times when I lived just outside of Carlsbad Village.

Michele will be here in an hour for “whatever dinner that’s totally off the maps bad for us” and I know the first thing that’s going to happend when she walks in the door…I’m going to (you guessed it) jump up and down, clap my hands and say “you won’t believe it…guess what guess what guess what!”.  The poor dear.  I don’t think anyone in our  circle of friends knows just how much spazziness she puts up with…

Anyway…just keep swimming/aka singing….

Thanks as always for listening and update coming this week~

‘ali

Can't you just picture it??

Monthly Update…

It’s July 2nd already…a day after Canada Day and 2 before our Indie Day.  My choices are drive up to be with friends but, no fireworks or no friends, hop on my bike and fireworks.  Knowing me, I’ll do both.

So, first off on the update.  Here are all the countries that came to visit the website/blog in June:

How cool is that?

And there were more unique visitors to the website in June than any month since it’s creation last August :0)  I have  a lot to celebrate this month:

* Made the goal of 1,000 fans on Jango

* Increased the fans on the facebook page to 61 (goal 1,000)

* Started rehearsing with a band for the CD

* Found Martin (the guitar that truly fits me)

* And the biggies were playing in front of people at the Sushi n Open Mic and at Hensley’s.  Total shift has happened because of those and the level of support I got from my friends was…well I’m just getting verklempt so I’ll stop there.

The only downslide was the big dip in the savings for the recording by buying Martin but, it had to happen (Michele said when she saw it that I “Finally” looked natural holding a guitar) I know I’ll find a way to make that up and get back on track. 

What’s next?  Ohhhhh something really special…

We’re going to get Red up on stage.  Yup.  He’s going to play the song he wrote while I sing it.  It’ll happen sometime this month and I’ll definitely make sure its recorded for you all because its gonna be a very cool moment I promise you…

That’s my report and I’m sticking to it.  Not sure what will happen this weekend music-wise but, I’m sure something will and I’ll tell you all about it on Monday~

Til then…have a great weekend and thanks as always for listening 🙂

‘ali