i am sitting on the starboard
of your only way
back home


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Friday, March 30, 2007

Jana's Perfect Albums: Songs for a Hurricane

Songs for a Hurricane: Kris Delmhorst

In this new and happy age of instant song gratification from iTunes and every other download service around, I sometimes worry that the digital music revolution will leave the art of the full album in the dust. Sure, the mass marketing of radio and commercialization of some of the more "popular" forms of music make it easy to have the radio hit of the summer on your iPod without the fluffy filler of tracks 2-10 filling up your hard drive.

However, I am a firm believer that there are many artists out there who put care and attention into crafting not just one or two, but WHOLE albums worth of fabulous songs! It's awesome. There's a trick to theme, to flow, to exposition and resolution. A good album is like a good novel, without all that bothersome reading involved (unless you're a liner note junkie like me).*

Hence, dear reader (or readers if this is a good day), I offer you a new series of CDs that I consider to be "Full Listens." Albums that master the point of relevance, theme, and brilliance. The whole shebang, as it were.

Songs for a Hurricane -- yes, it was made pre-Katrina, and the point is not the weather. Well, I don't think so, anyway. Even though there are such aptly-named titles as "Waiting Under the Waves", "Weathervane", and amazingly, "Hurricane"...it's more of a giant metaphor that works. Sometimes weather gets a little cliche. I'll admit that I resort to talking about the weather a lot...in my daily life and in my writing. Something so huge and planetary affects our individual lives so much. I suppose we should pay attention, hm?

Kris' album takes the form of a storm's path as metaphor for human relationships...the impending malay summed up in the first track with the line, "Waiting under the waves...I am sorry that we're sinking but we're sinking just the same." Well, ouch. "Weathervane" offers some tasty, eerie guitar work along with the personal affirmation of, "No more weathervane...I'm gonna be the wind." Yeah! Who wants to be shoved around all the time?

To me, the central song of the album is "Hurricane," maybe a microcosm of the project at large. The song itself seems to track the storm's progress...a good little clip at the beginning, a powerful chorus, a quiet, eye-of-the-storm bridge...and then a guitar solo at the end that could bring down a house.

JANA RANT TIME: The guitar solo is becoming a lost art, so when songs like "Hurricane" put it back where it should be, you know I'm going to take notice. Remember Zeppelin? Hendrix? Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues"? The Gin Blossoms' "Hey Jealousy"? (Sorry...I'm just being random). Killer guitar solos, all. Then somewhere in the late-90's, in the effort to cram as many repeated mind-numbing pop choruses into a 3 minute song, the guitar solo went the way of plastic grocery bags in San Francisco. So anyway, any time someone remembers that guitar solos are not just filler, I'm going to point it out. Thank you.

Kris' voice is a unique one, and her writing is intelligent but accessible. She's a Massachusetts folkie who spends time on the West Coast, and those bi-coastal writers always seem to have a nice outlook on life. I highly recommend any of her albums, but start with Songs for Hurricane in celebration of the impending rains of spring.

"Babe, you always were a hurricane, the way at first you'd rage and then you'd rain. All that calm there in your eyes just felt like a lie...it always changed."

* To my English degreed friends, which are many...I am just kidding.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The World is Flat

Today my business partner "J" and I had a video conference meeting, nearly 1000 miles apart from each other, in different time zones, sitting in our respective home offices. I am amazed at technology and life and how the two meet to form community and create productivity.

My guitars are my main tools, my car gets me to gigs, but the internet...kind of facilitates it all in some cosmic, overhead sense. Welcome to Globalization 3.0.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Practice Time

So...sometimes I like to figure out a guitar solo and play it over and over and over until I feel like it's time to move on. Tonight was one of those nights. The song: "Slave to the Beauty" by Mary Chapin Carpenter. The Telecaster doesn't make it to gigs ever because...I am a folk singer. Go fig.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Snot by Southwest

Porterdavis at SXSW 3.15.07

I thought I'd riff on the popular hobby of making fun of the SXSW (TM) brand behemoth here...some of the happy little knock-offs I encountered last week:

- The geographically oriented South by South Congress and South by South Lamar...simple street names. I can handle that.

- The more obvious ripoffs like...South by San Antonio and South by San Jose. Oh, and South by Northwest. That one makes my head spin. Perhaps my favorite is South by Way South, in case you're not South enough.

- Then there were the more flippant copycats...almost too cool for SXSW but still able to mock it by ripping it off...South by So What? and Free by No Charge. (Now we're getting into the territory of "Anything by Anything Else" is free game).

- The best? Ok, maybe not the best. But the one that stood out? FXFU. You figure it out.

My blatant title is derived from the unfortunate circumstance of being sick for most of SXSW week. This severely cramped my desire to stand, walk, breathe, or do anything but sleep. I did manage to see some cool music, though. Pam Tillis played in a parking lot. She was so totally on Country Music Television a decade ago. I happily stumbled in on Porterdavis at The Gingerman...they are one of my very favorite local groups and they rocked.

Melissa on the Rocks...rocks.

Melissa on the Rocks
totally amped it up for Cafe Caffeine's stage on Sunday...and then Melissa and I tromped over to B Exhibition Studio for the GoGirls Showcase. I played right after 3 Kisses, the band that was on Wife Swap. They are awesome people. They have a song called Swapping Wives. They have wonderful senses of humor. :)

And here I am a full week after encountering the cold virus of the century, feeling much better and looking back on 2 weeks of really fun gigs. The Jana Susana Banana Rama was just fun...the GoGirls gig was inspiring...my St. Patrick's Day show at the Irie Bean was a nice little window into Spring weather and blue skies. Last night I saw an incredible lineup at Maria's Taco Express...Cindy Cashdollar, Redd Volkaert, and Elana James...all who have played with Bob Dylan and a plethora of other people...all hanging out at Maria's in South Austin on a Wednesday night. These are certainly grand times indeed.

Swingin' joy at Maria's Taco Express

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Friday, March 9, 2007

The Banana Rama

The Invasion of the Janas (not to be confused with the Invasion of the GoGirls) was a successful little endeavor and a grand old time. Jana Losey and her kickbutt guitarist /co-writer/producer/Patty-Griffin-fanatic Melanie Peters played a couple of great sets this week, including headlining Jana Susana Banana Rama at Genuine Joe's. Jana's album Bittersweet is full of great hooks and songs that you want to sing along to the minute you hear them (which poses a problem if you don't know the words yet). They did have the good fortune of running out of CDs before getting to Austin (which means a lot of people have Jana CDs), but I got one from the fresh batch which includes 4 live tracks. Quite the deal, I say. Here's a photo of all of us in one shot...Janas in the front, Melanie's back side (sorry, Melanie...but you do run nice sound! Hehhehheh), and Susan!

If you were there, I hope you had a grand time, some good coffee, and thanks for coming! Mucho thanks also to Aaron for the booking, the promotion, the great coffee, and for being such a nice dude. :)

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Sunday, March 4, 2007

Press Release

This is the first press release I've ever written besides things for "Communication and Journalism 151" (that was a fun one)...it was quite entertaining on my end. I don't know how it was for the people I sent it to. We're gearing up for the Rama in 2 days!!



For more information, contact:


FEBRUARY, 2007 (AUSTIN, TEXAS) -- One day in Myspace Land, two Janas formed a bond that could only be derived from years of nicknames and subtle joking about a certain tropical and delicious fruit that rhymes with their given name. One was Jana Pochop. The other was Jana Losey. When the two meet at Genuine Joe's (2001 W. Anderson Lane) at 7 PM on Tuesday, March 6, 2007, there is nothing left to do but throw a Jana Banana Rama and have a good time. Add in the extraordinary songstress Susan Gibson and you have yourself a party and another name to mess up the rhyme scheme. (Thankfully it worked out).

About the songwriters:

SUSAN GIBSON is always happiest on the move. Even though she’s settled into a home in the Texas Hill Country, she still puts upwards of 60,000 miles a year on her customized Freightliner van. Outer Space is the name of Gibson’s new recording, which stretches her musical boundaries with its roots-rock sound and is easily the edgiest work she’s ever done. The new album also includes a live version of the Gibson-penned “Wide Open Spaces,” which Dixie Chicks propelled into one of the all-time best-selling country songs.

JANA LOSEY has performed for Broadway audiences, the hippest of NYC nightclubs, LA hot spots, and everywhere in-between. With all that stage experience, you can't help but be struck by her confidence as a performer. The air of been-there-done-that, so take THIS, gives her piano based singer-songwriter sultriness a hint of sensitive-pop meets boy-rock. Not your typical chick singer, thank goodness. Touring this winter with co-writer and guitarist Melanie Peters in a gas-hybrid vehicle, and using 90% recycled or reused materials in the office, Jana is concerned about and committed to our planet. Not your typical show, not your typical hype.

JANA POCHOP is a singer/songwriter in Austin, TX whose thoughtful folk-pop works for people. Recently relocated from New Mexico, Jana is out to prove that a History degree does not mean certain professional death if you turn it into useful songwriting fodder. Catch a show at her weekly Downtown Artist Market residency or at the GoGirls SXSW Showcase in March. (Rumor has it that her lyrics are stuck to a fridge in the Midwest somewhere, too. She hasn't confirmed that yet).

Jana Susana Banana Rama
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
7 PM
Genuine Joe's Coffee
2001 W. Anderson Lane, Austin, Texas
No cover

More information can be found online at:

Jana Pochop: www.janapochop.com
Jana Losey: www.janalosey.com
Susan Gibson: www.susangibson.com


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