10-30-2009 | Tour Video 3
"Shake Your Aspen" (tour video 3 of 3). Watch it on You Tube!
10-18-2009 | Tour Video 2
"The Good, The Bad, and The Doobie" (tour video part deux). Watch it on You Tube!
09-25-2009 | Tour Video 1
Iím happy to announce the first tour video is complete! Watch it on You Tube!!
09-23-2009 | New York is for Glovers
jean and I originally intended to spend this week in Maine, driving north up the coast. However, we landed in Gloversville, NY on Monday and decided to stay put at SkyHeart Studio. Our generous hosts, Hannah and Michael, offered us a private, downtown loft for the week, and weíve spent the last three days relaxing after our 3,000 mile drive across the country. In addition, Michael owns and operates a baking company called Sugar, and he keeps us sweet by feeding us chocolate covered ounce cakes, peanut butter bar cookies, cheese cake, blueberry pound cake, and plates full of other homemade treats. I feel so spoiled here (and so full of delicious goodies!).
Looking around, Gloversville is a beautiful little town that history distinguished and time deteriorated. It would be a lie to say Iím sitting in the midst of a thriving economy. Several store fronts and apartment buildings have For Rent signs posted in the glass display windows. The Glove, a historic downtown theatre, has a fundraising thermometer above the main entrance that says, ďHelp preserve and restore our theatre.Ē Only $20,000 of the $200,000 goal has been reached, and the edges of the signís paper have started to yellow with age.
However, in spite of the poor economy, there is an irresistible charm to this place. Yesterday, I went for a run along the Rail Trail and thought about what the town must have looked like when business was booming. Over 200 glove manufacturers used to call this area their home, and according to local report, one out of every three gloves in the world was made in Gloversville at the height of production in the 20th Century.
Although the history of Gloversville is leather-filled, Daniel Storto is the only glove maker still in town. His little workshop produces top-of-the-line gloves that have been featured on covers of Vogue, Vanity Fair, and 2wice. Thereís a picture of Nicole Kidman hanging from his store window, and sheís wearing elbow length black gloves crafted at that very shop. Though he keeps irregular hours, I hope to see Daniel at work before we leave for NYC on Saturday.
09-03-2009 | Hold Me Closer Outrageous Dancer
Pig Out in the Park is one of Spokaneís huge food festivals. This year, 42 food vendors packed into Riverfront Park to tempt hungry visitors with every cuisine they could possibly desire. My mom and I opted for Tastiní Texas BBQ sandwiches and fresh ears of sweet corn from Southern Roasted Corn. My dad went for Eldon's famous sausage sandwich and an ear of sweet corn.
Pleasantly full, we found seats for the eveningís live music entertainment, Too Slim & the Taildraggers. Too Slim was already a song or two into his set, and a small crowd of enthusiastic fans had huddled close to the stage. Standing at the very back of the crowd was one rather distinct man. He was tall. He was sweaty. He wore a white bandana and blue muscle tank. His moves were so extreme that I dubbed him Outrageous Dancer the instant I saw him. ODís dance style was a fusion of mosh pit hops, pelvic thrusts, chicken dance arm flaps, and a move Iím coining as Stomp the Grapes*.
As I watched OD flail to the music, two young girls stood up and started mimicking his moves. It was the most hilarious spectacle to see. And in the midst of Too Slimís blazing country rock guitar solos, Elton John popped into my head in the form of a parody. Hold Me Closer Outrageous Dancer. Iíll let you know how that lyric writing goes.
*Stomp the Grapes is executed by standing with your feet 24 inches apart, toes pointed out. Lift one foot up and slam it into the ground. Lift your other foot up and slam it into the ground. Repeat. Ta da. Youíve now learned how to Stomp the Grapes.
07-21-2009 | The Awesome Pile
Holy schamoly. Iím in the middle of booking a US tour. Exciting? Yep. Disappointing? Sometimes. My inbox is like Christmas each morning. I wake up, brew some strong coffee, and start opening emails from venue bookers Iíve contacted the day before. Most of the folks that respond are super helpful and straight forward. Itís actually better for an artist to receive a solid ďweíre bookedĒ right away rather than a ďweíll look into it and get back to you.Ē I walk a fine line of wanting to hold a date open and just pushing forward. Iím sure bookers feel the same way. How the heck do you judge an artist based on a myspace page or an Electronic Press Kit (EPK)? Especially when you receive hundreds of solicitations a month. Sheesh.
In college, I used to do part time booking for a coffeehouse as well as run the sound board during shows. Thinking back, I really enjoyed artist solicitations for the most part. I still have stacks and stacks of demos of all genres. Some are awful. Some are awesome. Some are just plain scary. Like the lady that played new age music and worshiped Oak trees. Anyway, hereís hoping I make the awesome pile. And yay for tour booking.
05-06-2009 | Me, Folklife, & the Muppets
Yay for May and the Northwest Folklife Festival! If you like music, dancing, food, and fun, Seattle Center is the place to be on Memorial Day weekend. In addition to a solo performance, Iíll also be attending the song circles and leading a Muppet Sing Along to kick off the opening of the EMP|SFM Jim Henson exhibit. The great news? The Festival is free! Even better news? Free is the Festival! Kermit the Frog and I hope to see you there.
Mahna Mahna News
Iím on the cover of Victory Review Magazineís May edition! What a wonderful surprise!! Read the Northwest Folklife Festival write-up here.
Thank you to everyone that pre-ordered my new album, Pyro Aesthetic. With your help, I was able to raise $1700 and finish the project. Rest assured youíll be seeing a copy of the new EP in your mailbox soon and stay tuned for the official release show dates!
04-02-2009 | Too Sexy For My Hat
Last Saturday, I went for a stroll in the rain with my Flip Camera. I recorded my feet as I was walking, my face as I was talking, and a bunch of road signs. Then I jumped in some puddles and danced around like I was Right Said Fred. Too sexy for my hat.
Thanks to the magic of Windows Movie Maker and a bottle of red wine, Iím happy to debut a music video of the event as well as preview one my new songs, ďCount of Three.Ē Enjoy!
02-18-2009 | Cupcakes Part Deux
Wow. I thought I knew my cupcakes but apparently a few other folks have some delicious suggestions. Iíll have to give the following places a try!
Sugar Rush Baking Company
02-07-2009 | How to Really Bake My Cupcake
Valentineís Day is a week away and thoughts of cupcakes are baking in my head. In case you didnít know, Iím a huge fan of cupcakes. And Iím not talking about those imposters found at grocery stores decorated with crusty blue frosting and rock hard sprinkles. Iím talking about fancy cupcakes made with love by specialty shops. Here are my top three shops of the moment:
New York Cupcakes
What shop really bakes your cupcake?
01-30-2009 | 80% Heck Yeah, 20% Hell No
Recording an album is eighty percent heck yeah and twenty percent hell no. From past experiences, a majority of the time in the studio is spent being creative and embracing everything crazy that happens. Contrary to that, a small amount of time is spent asking the question ďIs it all worth it? Will anyone but me actually like it???Ē For my new project in particular, I float between jumping for joy and wringing my hands in nervousness. Why? Hypothetically, itíll be utterly different from everything Iíve ever done. Piano based tunes featuring little or no acoustic guitar. Synthesizers, MIDI tracks, backing vocals, random keyboard sound samples. All of it will be in the mix. The lyrical approach is slightly different as well, but I havenít quite put my finger on how. Perhaps itís just more straightforward and less metaphorical. I donít know. I find it hard to tell since Iím the writer trying to be a reviewer thatís trying to see into the future. Talk about mental hoopla. Ultimately, however, I want to compose a whole bowl of poppiní fruit instead of just offering another folkiní mango. And I want to have a whole lot of fun. So, in the spirit of fun, here we go. Heck yeah.