Weekend Update and the Backyard Bday Jam…

So, as I said before JD had invited me over to a bday jam at his and his wife’s place.  My first time there and I’m always nervous going to someplace new (but, when aren’t I nervous about anything new).  I foolishly assumed it was his bday and nearly brought a six pack but, opted for a fresh pineapple (that way it was a healthy and more gender neutral gift and good thing) and since I discovered on arrival it was his wife’s birthday (whom I was also meeting for the first time) and I was rather proud of my last minute switch (though I missed my custom of flowers and a bottle of wine and promised her for next year).  What a beautiful home…little pond in the front and filled with eclectic furniture and in the back are wild flowers growing here and here and in the middle…a large canopy with amps and mics galore and string lights and even a set of lights from the porch that acted like little spot lights for later in the evening.   I drug M with me and glad I did since Jeff was litterally the only person I knew when I got there.  Everyone was so warm and inviting and reminded me of my group.  I was glad to see he’s surrounded by so many good people.  Jeff is good people (and I’m not just saying that because he reads this~).  Oh and I had a chance to chat with his younger brother (who totally idolizes him which is so endearing) and found he plays guitar but, doesn’t like to sing….hrmmmm…yes…I did ask and he said he would jam with me n Jeff sometime and see how it goes…

At one point Jeff sat next to me and asked if I was nervous to go up there (ha, when aren’t I) but, I did and got up and told the brief story of how I fit into the scheme of things and played who knows what songs then asked Jeff to come up and play guitar on BNYD, took off the sunglasses and gave it my best.  I love that song.  Always fills me up when I sing it.  Such a good story in my mind.  I sometimes dream that Miche n Rick (who it’s written for) would be on one of those eharmony commercials (how they met) and BYND will be playing in the background…love to dream…

Sunday, Nat picked me up at 6am and off we went to the annual Bay Bridge Run (walk). It’s a fundraiser for the Navy and the one day a year they close up one side of the bridge to foot traffic.  So, you know i just had to go and takes photos every frkn step of the way~  We met up with a bunch of others from SD area and all went at our own pace.  I wish we coulda stayed and celebrated with em after but, I’d double booked myself and headed back up to meet Red at the Irish Breakfast and a chance to hear the Clay Colton Band play at that Boars Crossing place in Carlsbad Village.  It was class in session and what a great class.  I’ve followed (not stalked kind but, kept one eye on him) Clay for years.  I remember when he used to step up on stage with Brehon Law back in day of Tom Giblin’s Irish pub and back then he was more country or screamer rock and not quite my speed but, I admired how much of himself he put into it.  I would compare him to some of my more established musician friends and think he wasn’t quite that caliber.  That’s a strong statement I know but, it’s followed by this: I watched, I listened and what I heard was an amazingly tight band with great sound, great confidence, versatile list of songs and great energy.  I’d say he’s even surpassed some of those I used to measure him by.   Good on you Clay.  You’ve worked your ass off for it and totally deserve it.  Oh and they even have a drum that light’s up~  It really fired me up to keep up the gym/lessons/open mics and getting that trio together.   Did I mention what the bartender said at Hensley’s after the last open mic?  He said I was very different with a band beside me and he liked it much better.  I totally agree~  Now to find out if Jeremy was kidding or really up for giving it a go…

Backtrack to Thursday…I met up with Red for lunch and then he turned to me all wide eyed and said “I feel like playing music”.  LOL.  If only you could’ve seen his face.  How could I say no?  So, we headed back to the cottage, pulled down a couple guitars and went out on the front porch and played.  Damn, he’s come a long way~ He had Flogging Molly’s “Worst Day Since Yesterday” down patt and was teaching it to me~  It was cool to learn a new rhythm.  We found out later it’s one of Nat’s fav songs so he’s agreed to work on it with me and we’ll perform it at one of the next open mics…

So…what’s next?  Well, its chemo week so frog throat and blech but, I think by Monday I’ll be ready to head back to Hensley’s…April (one of my chemo nurses) asked me yesterday when I was playing next…I like how they nudge me here and there.  Oh,  and I just checked my phone calendar and there’s a reminder of Friday to sign up for the Avon Voices songwriter’s competition.  Am pretty psyched for that.  I’ve also been thinking how much I’d like to go back to the Thursday night open mic at Fish Joint but, it’s kind of hard to go there when I can’t have sushi (they’re like frkn artists at it too)…Dr H says by July I can partake again and for the most part I’m cool with it. It’s just been a big part of my diet since I lived in Tokyo back in my early 20’s.  I think I was a big fish in a former life.  Possibly Sea Lionness…just saying.

Clay Colton band (with guest Gary from Bad Blokes on the far left).  See what I mean about the glowing drum??

2 more days till the Avon Songwriter’s Competition….whoooooooooo, coool~

Thanks as always for listening and following along.  More to come~

‘ali

Weekend Update and the Taking of Chances…

So Friday night was the second triumphant return of Brehan Law to the Old Gibs and this time (as promised) I brought my camera to capture it all.  On the stage was their infamous leader Ned (on mandolin and guitar), Brad (on drums), Len (on the Bodhran),  Johnny (on guitar) and Pauly (on every stringed instrument known to man) and 2 lil special guest artists (on mini guitars) Johnny’s kids; Ciara and Justin (see pic below).  I think I took 600+ pics that night and posted some on the facebook fan page to share…the band was as kickass as ever but, those two on the stage totally stole the show whenever they climbed up there.  Justin “I want a banjo” would look at me, then up at the sky then when I mouthed the words to the song he’d follow along but, for the most part he was either in his world or staring up at his uncle Ned in wonderment.  He is destined to be a musical great I have no doubt.  At one point he came up to me and grabbed my hand and lead me to the front of the stage…I didn’t get it at first but, after watching his lips move I got that he decided it was my turn to come up there.  I was so enamored by his actions but, these were big dogs (musically speaking) and I wasn’t quite ready to invite myself up there so after several tugs I detoured him back to our table.  His sister by the way is just as comforable on stage as he is and quite the charmer (as you can see :).  There were so many people there I hadn’t seen in a long time and others I just keep bumping into lately so it was nostalgic and oh, I can’t think of the word right now but, cool will have to do for now.  I skipped out of there before the “afters” were announced because I knew I had to reserve my energy for the next day…

Saturday I had two, no three things on the calendar.  First, was a cancer walk…ok, not walk but, a pub crawl where the procedes went to cancer research (Susan G. Komen) but, I was still nauseous from the week of chemo (more so than ever, go figure) and couldn’t bare the thought of the smell of booze (to everyone’s surprise and dismay) so I had to cancel that and the birthday party of a good (and missed) friend at a wine bar later that day.  In the middle was a community festival near Escondido but, a place I’d never been near a lake I’d never seen and man oh man what a gorgeous site that was to see (I love lakes almost as much as the sea and I reallly reaaaaly love the sea).  Pauly had told me about it and had invited me to come and have fun and join in the jam part of it.  Wow.  This was one of the coolest communities I’d ever witnessed.  Not in the Pollyanna kind of way but, the camera saw it…these people…wherever they came from and however different their stories…were like one big happy family when they all got together at their old firehouse yard to put on a few bands and grill some good eats and just forget their worries (whatever they may be).  I didn’t need to touchup any of the photos…they just reflected what my mind’s eye saw and it was so cool.  Ned showed and Brad and there were several bands that played and the more they played the more I wanted to find a way to sneak my guitar and Uke bag out from under the stage and pretend I never brought them but, at one point Ned did what Ned does and he gave me a moment of wisdom…he pointed out the rosemary bush and pulled some from it and rubbed it into his hand and said that the scent is calming and it works if you use it before you go on stage…so we rubbed some into our hands and I thought to myself…he’s so full of shit but, I love him for trying…at almost the very end of the day I remembered mentioning to the Nordic that I needed to fix my right shoulder that day so I could play the martin and I pictured myself having to take it back because…and that was it…what kind of excuse was I going to use this time…”well, they didn’t invite me so I didn’t play”…”my shoulder was bothering me”…”I was going to but, I was so busy taking pics that we ran out of time…”.   Then the moment came (like it does) where I bolted into action before my brain could think of another reason not to and I went up to Pauly and said “before this ends I want to play one song” and then he went to Brian (who ran the show) and asked and Brian waved me over and said ‘go get your guitar” so I did and then more musicians kept going up on stage for the current jam and it looked like they weren’t ending that song anytime soon so Brian said “just go up and tell em you want to play” and I stood there like a lost little kid and thought “jezuz ali when r u going to stand up” so, I walked up to them and ask if I could get one song in before we close it down and we’re about to…and get this…they were all receptive in a big way and made way for myself and Pauly up there on stage.  I got nervous for second and called out to Ned in the mic asking if he’d play guitar so, he came up and I showed him the chords and then he looked at me (in that way he does) and said “go on, you’ve got it, why not play it yourself?”  So, I did.  And you know what was so cool?  Once I started, I looked over at Pauly and there was Pauly…fiddle in hand and…Ned next to him with mandolin in hand and I did the intro to the song “By New Year’s Day” and gave it my best.  My voice was full and it felt really good having a team with me on stage and then…I heard a beat and looked back and one of the drummers from the day had joined us on stage and unlike I usually am…I was totally in sync with the drummer and not worried a bit about keeping time with him.  It was a great fit~

After the song, we got great applause and someone shouted out “one more song!” but, I know Brian was keen to shut it down so I bowed out then he said into the mic “yeah, one more song” and I swear I was like a little kid at Christmas so I turned to my band for the day and called “Rainy Night in Soho” (from the Pogues) and showed em the key and we got into it and man…I wish I’d recorded the sound but, to me it was better than ice cream with caramel and chocolate or champagne even.  Oh and one of the seasoned musicians from earlier got up and joined in as well…Why did I deny myself this for the past 20+ years??  WTF people.   If you have to ask yourself the same question then it had better be while you’re reclaiming that part of yourself you’d set aside cuz if anyone gets anything from these damn blogs I hope it’s not to waste another day ignoring your own creative endeavors because life is ten folder better with them no doubt.

If that wasn’t enough…Brad and Pauly had agreed to join me on stage at the open mic at Hensley’s last Monday and true to their word they were there when I arrived.  Ana, Nat, Ilene, M and low and behold even Vivenne showed~   Who knows what we played…Boomerang…ehm…Piece of Cake (which Nat said later was her fav) oh and for the first time I played “This Time Around” which I’m nervous to sing because the end has a couple high notes my voice only sometimes wants to sing.  Later, I talked this guy Erin (who plays as well as the likes of Jack Johnson) joined me on stage for BNYD (which seems to have become my test song for duo moments) and it went really well considering he tried to back out just before because he didn’t know it and he wasn’t “comfortable” trying it on stage.  Don’t tell him but, I totally pulled a 180 and was like “you’re not comfortable??  hellooooo isn’t what open mic is all about?  trying stuff you’re not comfortable with?  I mean, you are a musician right?  I mean, Jeremy played it without hesitation and blah blah “…oh and that reminds me…when we first got up on stage I said something into the mic about working on getting my own band together and these two were kind enough to step in when Jeremy walks by and pipes up….”I thought I was in your band~”  HA~   Yes…see….just a little patience…give em some time to mull it over and voila…Ali gets her way…life is good and don’t let me ever tell it otherwise.

So, next musical moment is this Saturday’s jam session over at Jeff’s.  Next week is chemo so I’ll be out of it but, I’ll try for the following Monday open mic and who knows wherever else this trail will lead but, I’m on it and eyes wide open and ready to report as it always.

Thanks again for keeping up with all these stories and keeping the faith that it will just keep growing from here.

Til next week…ahaaa 4 minutes left to post…let’s see if I can find a pic to go with this before the deadline strikes~

came across this at the Festival…so fitting, don’t you think?

😉

Ciara and Justin…

Weekend Update and the Return of Momentum…

So, let me start off by apologizing for not keeping my end of the bargain these last couple of weeks.  I said I’d post every Wednesday by 5pm PST and my brain just went off the rails and into lala land and well, even when I got home to write I just had to look up photos of a church that’s burried up to its neck in the sandy beach of a small town in northern Denmark (now, that was not my fault, Nordic brought it up during our session today and you know that kind of stuff distracts my brain until I see it for myself so I did and now onto the writing…) there’s just no good excuse so sorry and thank you Roy for snapping me to. 

Now, this is all stuff I wrote back then and then blanked out before finishing so, imagine it’s Wednesday, May 4th when you read it…

So, last Thursday I met up with my peeps in PB and went to the Black Pearl’s open mic.  Jesse missed the msg I was coming but, the list was open so I got to go on second which was cool.  Especially since it doesn’t start til 8:30 and one of my peeps has little ones at home that he proudly tucks in each night.  It was a smaller crowd but, inviting all the same.  While I played…the guys around the pool tables paid little mind and even my two peeps were chatting away.  You get a little twinge of “aw maaan” when this happens until you remember when it was you sitting out there and a band you loved was on stage and it didn’t stop you from chatting while they played.  It’s just our nature I’d say…and I also remember that despite the fact I talked through most of their songs I’d be whistling and clapping loudly the moment they finished.  I’ll leave it for the social scientists to figure out.  I was just glad my guyz came to see/hear me and we got a chance to catch up.  They’re a big source of emotional support those two :).  Oh, and one of the big lugs from the pool tables came by and told me that he knows they’re playing pool but, he wanted me to know (on behalf of em) that they thought I was “really cool” and I should “keep at it” and then we hugged (of course) ;).

Saturday was originally scheduled to do open mic at that Gilmore Music Store up near long beach but (yeah, I know we’re all getting sick of hearing it) I saw pics of me from a couple nights before and said no way (no fkn way).  When I go there I’m gonna look and feel like “me”.  Hey though…at least I’m not sitting on my ass scarfing down blackberry pies (though that sounds reaaaally realllly good) and whining about my mis-shape.  I’ve been diligently going to the gym and working with my trainer (ok, so what if he’s a hunk.  I’d still work just as hard (ohh pinochio)…so, hopefully next month we’ll be there (it is getting better already I can see) and like Nordic says “don’t think about now…think about September” our goal month for me getting back to me.

Sunday was really cool…I went up to San Juan Capistrano to meet up with Jan (my fab ole workmate/friend) n Osni (her fab hub and my fab photographer).  Got some great lessons as we strolled through the mission grounds and surrounding areas.  They are a couple of the easiest ppl on the planet to be around and inspirations for healthy living.  I was so restless when I got home that I couldn’t just sit at home so I made M join up with me at the old gibs where a young marine sat next to us and immediatly commented on my camera.  He was into photography too so I showed him the day’s pics and tales of greatness n disaster with my camera when he shows us a txt on his phone from his brother “Osama killed today”.  Talk about surreal…the moment completely shifted the energy in the whole place.  What an excruciating mix of high fives and somber faces.  You gotta know that Carlsbad/Oceanside sits very close to Camp Pendleton so Marines are a common part of the social mix here.  The door man (I call him Brooklyn) came up to me and I pointed to the screen and he looked at me with this sad eyes and made a comment I couldn’t possible re tale as eloquently but, it was something to “Yeah…I see it…and I see all these people doing their high fives but, mostly I see my buddies and their buddies who died because of all that”.   Once again I felt like I did that Thanksgiving where there were several TV’s and each person in the room had their own remote and on their own channel when I thought the view I had was one the whole room shared.  It’s moments like that that remind me that I do live in my own little world and not everyone has the address.  If I didn’t mention…where we were was at the Old Gibs (back in the day it was Tom Giblin’s Irish pub, named after Ned’s father) and I can’t tell you how many times I’d go there to see Brehon Law play and how many good  friends I met through that place.  There are quite a few times I’d think about it while watching them on stage what it would be like to get up and sing with them but, that was before I made the pact to learn guitar and get over my 20+ year, stupid fear based hiatus from singing.  I looked over at the stage and saw my friend Jeff Diamond up there warming up on his guitar and it took me a moment (stupid brain) before I put 2 and 2 together…this is…Sunday…Sunday is when Jeff hosts Open Mic at the old Gibs…I never make it because I’m usually asleep by 9 when it starts (and because the memories of that stage intimidate me)…it’s past 9 and I’m not sleepy…so, I paid my tab, ran home, got the martin and came back and signed up.  My heart was pounding like you wouldn’t believe.  I also brought the camera back with me to ease my stress I could play “the photographer”.  “Yeah…I’m just here to capture the moment and maybe play”.  By the time I got back I was 8th on the list so I was in for a long wait.  But, it was really cool to experience all the different types of musicians up on stage and I captured some pretty cool moments which I’m most proud of (I posted em on the facebook music page) but, the big moment was when Jeff called me up on stage…I decided to pull from a memory of an old musician friend (0k, I was their groupie big time), Scott from Leo Swift (yes, I’m an 80’s girl) who when standing on a stage overseas decided to take out a camera and take a pic of the audience for his keepsake (and for his mom).  So, I took my pic and said it was for the blog and then Jeff took the camera from me and I started to play.  I honestly don’t remember what I played but, I got a better response than I expected and on the third song I asked Jeff to come up and play (By New Year’s Day) which he played flawlessly I might add and I was free to sing my hear out (which I did) and I notice a couple cozied up together at the edge of the dance floor swaying to the song and at the moment it clicked in my head this song…it’s bigger than Miche and Rick (the ones I wrote it for)…when you see someone affected by your song like that…it makes all of it worthwhile and then some.   After I finished these two trendy boyz came by and paid me the best compliments and you know me…I reached out and hugged em both like they were long lost brothers.  They really made my night and playing on that stage is something I’ve imagined (and avoided) for several years.  One more milestone checked off the list~

A couple days after I got an invite from Jeff to join him and his peeps at a bday jam session Saturday, the 14th and can I just tell you how psyched I am for that?  This is what I’ve wanted to do for so long and I just had no idea how to make it happen and now it seems the momentum has returned and the music (again) is taking its own natural course.  I just love it~

Of course there’s more but, it belongs on Wednesday the 11th’s blog so off to refresh the Mimosa then back to blogging because I did say both by 5pm PST today and a deal’s deal~

View from the stage…

Thanks again for listening~

‘ali