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


follow janapochop at http://twitter.com

follow supermerchgirl at http://twitter.com


Subscribe in a reader

Jana Pochop
Jana Pochop
Promote Your Page Too

Join My Community at MyBloglog!
Add to Technorati Favorites
podsafe music network

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Just Another Monday Night...Sorta

Monday night took me to Artz Ribhouse on South Lamar, a bastion of BBQ and good music on the Austin scene. I got to play the break set for Sarah Elizabeth Campbell and The Banned, which was an honor. SEC is one of those singer/songwriter legends that Austin is lucky enough to have living right here. I knew I was in good company when I read this quote: "There is a place for music like this, in our tape deck, in our hectic lives, in our living room, in our CD player, in our car, in our jogging pack, on our radio....It is about, among other things, listening and learning, giving in to love and falling back out. Sarah Elizabeth writes these kinds of songs, as only a gifted artist can." (Mary Chapin Carpenter said that. Heck yeah.)

Thanks to my buddy and fellow songwriter Amanda Pearcy for the gig lead and the pics!

Labels: , , ,

j.Po Thots: Songs are like Ecosystems

Yep, still thinking.

I had a conversation with my Red Leaf guitar prof Kevin (who rocks the world) the other day about how songs are like mini-ecosystems. He's a deep guy. I played him my newest song and we've been examining it and prepping it for the adult world with a bit of editing and tightening up of form.

Now, in college I lived with Beth the Biology Major for almost 4 years. We got along swimmingly and still do (now she's Beth the Med School Student), and she would tell me interesting things about biology and cells and science that I would promptly forget. I would tell her how I hated writing 20 page papers about the civil rights movement, but it sure beat chemical equations in my book. Point being, I am not exceptionally science-y.

Beth in study mode. Some of us still wonder how she got into med school, hehheh.

However, I am in the process of deciding what to do with the bridge of this song, and Kevin and I were discussing the merits of keeping it, modifying it, or taking it out all together. All viable options, really. There aren't really any rules, but you do need to be careful. Kevin pointed out a song is like a mini-ecosystem. It's got a LOT of parts going on in its 3-5 minute little lifespan, and being careless with the placement of any of those parts and drastically modify the song's effect on the outside world.

This bridge in this song (it's called "Blonde on Blue" for future reference, because it WILL be on the next album) is a lot like...oh, maybe an ant species or perhaps a...bit of wildflower growing in a field. Sometimes, you can remove something from the system and it's ok...for whatever reason. The ecosystem will adapt and grow. Sometimes, though...if you take a species (or a bridge) out of the system/song carelessly...you train wreck. Something is missing. Things fall apart and break down. Then you're stuck.

Point being...writing bridges is not for pansies, and I am learning more and more to appreciate each segment of a song that seems to flow into the next so seamlessly. A scenic view is made up of thousands of pieces of a system all pieced together and working in tandem, just like a verse-chorus-bridge progression. Nice. Maybe all of Beth's learnin' taught me something after all.

Labels: ,

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Little Zia in My Life

Some of you may have figured out that I am a little attached to my New Mexican roots. I suppose that's normal for anyone in regards to where they grew up. Growing up, I did my fair share of whining about the general lack of things to do on Friday nights, lack of coffeehouses to hop around to (there are some fine choices around the state, I know...teenagers will whine about anything), or lack of concerts landing in the general area (I have seen Mary Chapin Carpenter play 5 times...once in Santa Fe, twice in California, once in Denver, and once in Atlanta...I have been forced to travel for my Chapin fix). But really...if that's all the bad I have to share, life in the Land of Mañana is pretty sweet, right?

Before my friend Steph left for the Peace Corps in 2003, we made a pact that when she returned, we'd get tattoos together. I kind of picked out something in my head but wasn't exactly sure it would ever happen, because I am kind of a chicken and two years is a long time. Sure enough, when Steph got back from Malawi (SE Africa...she's hardcore), and after we took a month-long road trip to Seattle and back...we made an appointment to get tattoos and I got a little nervous.

I knew I would be moving to Austin shortly, and I wanted a piece of New Mexico to go along with me. I have always loved the Zia sun design, an ancient Native American symbol that lives on the state flag. While the normal symbol has 4 rays on each side of the sun, I opted for three. I like threes, and each group of 3 rays means something to me. Ask me sometime and I'll mess up my explanation.

New Tattoo

Fast forward to this past weekend, and when acquired my newest piece of Zia art. Kyle Gross is an awesome artist and jewelry designer who shows his work at the Downtown Artist's Market every Saturday...where I play for a couple of hours each week. I have gotten to know many of the artists there and respect their work even more after getting to know them and a little about their craft.

A couple of weeks ago I asked Kyle if he could replicate my tattoo design in one of his copper pendants. Of course he could. I now proudly sport a little bit of home around my neck, and I think it's very cool that no one else has one like it and a friend of mine made it.

Zia necklace made by Kyle

I highly suggest checking out the Downtown Artist's Market at Mother Egan's on 6th Street, or any market around your area (this blog is global, yo)...and take a moment to chat with the artists! (Mean people don't make pretty things, so it's not a scary proposition, I promise.) Also, check out the Stone's Throw Studio website for a sampling of Kyle's work. But you can't have a Zia. Ok maybe you can.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Labels: , ,

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Photo Essay No. 1: Low Key Weekend

Electric Sky
Friday afternoon clearing...

Rainy Austin Saturday
But not for long!

Laurel the Irie Bean Barista
Rainy days make for good times at the Irie Bean and Laurel makes good lattes.

Sunday Morning Lift
Sunday morning blog time.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Mysterious J

The Mysterious J
Filming our first video at UNM...

I guess I should actually let you all in on the "J" that I reference so much in this blog. He's the quiet, behind-the-scenes sort, and his goal in our venture is to never be recognized by face, only by accomplishment.

J and I met as interns at PBS when we were in college. The first day we worked together, J gave me a ride home because I was oh-so-carless. I knew right then he was the right sort to be working with. It didn't take long...I would say about 3-4 months into our internship, before we had big plans for road tripping and making documentaries and touring the country. I think some people thought we were a bit naive about making our living creating art.

However, a couple years later and a few thousand miles traveled across New Mexico and to Austin and back a few times...our business partnership is on track and growing at a rate we can't even fathom. We are tackling the issue of living in separate states, but the glory of the internet makes it all possible. We've got an online office, we can video conference if we want, and we realize the connections we are forming in both New Mexico and Texas are essential to our company's future. J is now working for PBS and pioneering New Media there, and is the Web 2.0 Guru in my book.

In an interview, Mary Chapin Carpenter once described her friend/producer/guitarist John Jennings as her "most necessary friend." I immediately thought of J when I heard that. I know that music is a hard business, and I know being an entrepreneur is tough as well...and I can't imagine anyone I'd rather tackle the whole shebang with than J.

Keep an eye out for the Mysterious J when you see us on the road...but no guarantees you'll be able to spot him!

Labels: , ,

Friday, July 27, 2007

End of Semester Sleep

I haven't had an end-of-semester sleep since...well, December of 2005. It's very identifiable. I go into a zombie-like state and sleep very, very soundly for a weekend or more. I am actually only stirred from my current one to write this blog post because...well, I like to post every day. I would do a Friday feature except my brain won't operate enough to pick anything.

End of WHAT semester, you ask? We had a big Red Leaf extravaganza last night at Lambert's...students played, the house was full, Porterdavis rocked the house's face off (and houses have big faces). My women's Monday night songwriting group did a cover of Landslide by Fleetwood Mac. I did a mini-set. The Red Leaf kids' Rock Camp covered The Doors. I couldn't believe it. It was so good. 9 and 10 year olds can feel Jim Morrison's pain, apparently.

But anyway, this evening I am going to stare at the wall a little, and then I am going to go back to sleep. I hope to awaken tomorrow refreshed and ready for Semester II. (Folk Music Grad School does not give you as long of a break as UNM did).

Peace, out.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lefsetz's Reality is Right

Tell 'em, Bob.
Bob Lefsetz has it down. He's a veteran of music biz analysis, and in fact "The Lefsetz Letter" has been publishing for the past two decades. That's a lot of one-hit wonders. I've been following his music business blog for a while (which was formerly print, because as on it as he is, Bob was not blogging in 1987), and most recently have been thrilled by his exuberance for country music. He's got a multitude of posts about Keith Urban and Nashville songs which capture my sentiments about love for the Nashvillian style. I always go for a good song about driving and roads (and Wide Open Spaces, of course).

Susan Gibson sings the "real" Wide Open Spaces.

Anyway! Bob's post earlier this week about "The New Reality" really hit home to J and I as we are in the daily trenches of navigating not only the music-life but the Web 2.0-life as well...and figuring out the best way to join the two. He's right when he says all the trackback links in the world won't give us economic stability. We know we have to have our "stuff" together in terms of...well, I have to be a musician. We can't build a business around an artistic pursuit that we're not very good at. That's my own daily battle. Something I fight with intention, folk music grad school, to-do lists, and old fashioned inspiration. J has the same deal, too. He works in pioneering New Media forms (blogs, web content, networking, community) at a very old media kind of television station. (BETA, anyone? BETA does rock). He's getting skills that are the nuts and bolts of any type of visual media form, but he's learning how to apply them in 2007 terms. And 2015 terms. And 2050 terms. It's swell. He blogs about his life in the trenches over on New Media in the Land of Mañana.

In the meantime what are we to rely on? Music is getting cheaper, and free...and that's fine. No one like me wants to (or would be asked to) sign a major label deal. (I'm not one for a complete personality remake and a quick trip to rehab. Ooo, snap).

Short answer: we rely on YOU. If you're reading this blog, J and I have a dream of a livelihood that involves you. We're a community. Maybe you know us personally. Maybe you like a song or two or lots (thanks!). Maybe you are totally on board with our plan to tour the country in a bio-diesel bus. Whatever level we connect on, J and I appreciate that immensely. We need you along for the ride.

We can promise you, our Rider-Alongers, these things:

- an honest pursuit of music and writing...I'm just going to be me, and J is just J.

- an appreciation of you as a member of our community.

- cool t-shirt designs, because EVERYONE needs a cool shirt.

- our response will be to give back. We want to be teachers and good stewards of our gifts.

- a lot of not sleeping, a lot of driving, a lot of eye-straining, a lot of finger-bleeding...good times! Hard work is ok by us.

- probably some other stuff, too, like Caribbean vacations and diamond encrusted belt buckles...but we'll stop there for now.

Like Bob says, "The hardest part is getting noticed." Thanks for noticing. Really.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Labels: ,

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I Move Your Blood

We haven't had a video in a while...Live at the Santa Fe Brewing Company on May 22, 2007. One of my newest tunes!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Constant Tourist

St. Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe

On more than one occasion in college, my best friend Jamie and I would position ourselves around key touristy areas in New Mexico...places like Old Town Albuquerque or outside St. Francis Cathedral on the Plaza in Santa Fe...and pretend to be tourists.

We would acquire (probably really bad) versions of an accent, be it Southern or Canadian or British...and proceed to have a discussion about the strange cultural intricacies of New Mexico. Our favorite was The Salsa Debate. It went a little bit like this:

"Jamie, salser is a dance. You dance the salser."

"No, Jana. Salser is most definitely a sauce. For tortillas and cheese and stuff."

"I am almost positive that there is a Latin American dance called the salser, and you can take lessons."

"Well you must have been at a cooking school because you chop up a bunch of tomatoes and chile, add cilantro and something else, and that is called salser."

"No, it's when people wear really frilly costumes and shake a lot...on the DANCEFLOOR, JAMIE."




Then we'd kind of taper off, pretend to look at a statue, and examine the looks we got from people as they wandered away (probably far, far away). The key element of this argument was always pronouncing the term, "salser." It adds a certain je ne sais quoi, does it not?

There's a couple of points here.

1. I miss my Jamie! We met the first day of college (literally, the very first night in the dorms as doe-eyed freshmen) and have been inseparable ever since except for when she has to work or when I have to live in Texas.

2. I hope I am always a tourist...and not the joking kind. I hope I always find myself in a new place, and always have the courage to ask questions about where I am and to take photos without fear of...looking like a tourist. Ok ok. And maybe even pick up a silly knickknack or two. See? I'm not ALL curmudgeon.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, July 23, 2007

My Heart is all a'Twitter

Not like you need another way to keep up with me. Isn't a calendar of all my musical engagements, a Myspace to comment your heart out, a Flickr photo pool of things that happened, and a blog that is growing to be gargantuan (well, ok...7 months worth of posting anyway)...ENOUGH?

No. Silly.

If you're not familiar with Twitter yet, gather the kids around the computer and prepare to be amazed. See that box over there? Over there. On your left. It's green. That's my Twitter Box, where I twitter. They're kind of like mini-blogs, though you will really get a look into the randomness that is my brain this way. There's no editing, and each twitter can only be a few sentences long. Useful how, you ask?

Check in that Twitter box and I will be sure to post the latest gig news (venue locations and times are always nice to know but fluid in the musical life)...or maybe a good show you should attend around town...or maybe when I'm sitting at a truck stop in Amarillo I'll twitter you all and gripe about the hash browns. You never know what kind of excitement will pop up in the folk 'n roll life.

If you're not always attached to the internet, you can get my Twitters via text message on your phone, too. Or set it up to have them pop up as an IM. I really don't ever want to be as far apart as we have been ever again, dears. This is forever.

Here's a Twitter FAQ for more reading goodness.

Here's a cool artist named Sara Bareilles whose album just exploded all over iTunes, and she has a Twitter page. It's nifty to chart the life. She misses her plants. Check out her tunes on Myspace...good stuff!

That's Sara B. She Twitters.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, July 22, 2007

My Library vs. The CEOs

The pursuit of knowledge.

There's a great read from the NY Times posted over on Cultivate Greatness about the libraries of CEOs...what do the movers and shakers read? Turns out...poetry. And ancient weather logs. And fiction. And non-fiction. Classics. All of it.

My first thought was, "You people have TIME to read?" I got into a habit in college of viewing most reading as a chore, with pages of text to be scanned as quickly as possible while leaching just enough information out of them to write a good paper and make a sound argument. Survival mode, I called it. Don't tell my profs. After a semester of 2 or 3 history classes, 2 political science classes, and whatever else I packed into my schedule...the last thing I wanted to do over breaks was read.

The good thing about those classes was...I ended up with a pretty nice library for myself...in terms of what I am interested in, anyway. I have a rather large collection of modern American history, with a good emphasis on 1960's social movements and the counterculture. Lots of Vietnam War analysis, too. Fascinating time period for our nation, for sure. I also have quite a bit of poetry, from Rumi to Eliot to Whitman to Parker (I love me some Dorothy). I always found it to be more apropos to my attention span.


Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

- Dorothy Parker

Mmmm. Right now my reading stack consists of Never Wrestle With a Pig (folk music grad school assignment), Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Mere Christianity, and Lost Highway: The True Story of Country Music. I don't always make time for it, but I do my best.

This times article makes me want to devote a bit more attention and purpose to my reading schedule, and what these CEOs read appeals to my history studied brain, too. I am a fan of primary sources...anyone can go and write an analysis that sounds half decent, but if you want to think for yourself, the best bet is to surround yourself with facts that are as pure as possible. I'm sure that's how these CEOs keep their decision-making caps fresh and their mind making those strange connections that hurtle their visions forward.

So my question to you is...what do I need to read next? What's in YOUR library?

UNM's Zimmerman Library, where I spent most of my college years. Really.

Labels: ,

The Show...doesn't always go on

So a gig that was supposed to happen tonight did not happen...for whatever reason. It was going to be a fun one with my collective of songwriter buddies, but there will be others and this kind of thing has happened before. When you are dealing with a venue and often a booking person completely separate of the venue, wires are bound to get crossed every once in a while. I've seen it happen at every level of performance, from coffee houses to 5000 seat venues.

So while my friend Miguel and I hung out, waiting to see if the gig was going to occur...something cool happened. Miguel pulled out his guitar on the sidewalk along 6th Street and set up his case and started playing. I took my guitar out and jammed along with some lead. In about a half an hour we had $5 in the case which...as Miguel pointed out...if you find the right bar, is 2 beers each. Nice.

I had never busked on 6th Street until tonight. There's a weird mixture of people down there...the typical college crowd, some clearly underagers who are either just there for the atmosphere or sporting some seriously fake IDs, lots of panhandlers and homeless, and the tourist families who are clearly wandering around after dinner wanting to see this "Weird Thing" Austin has going on. A couple of people took pictures of us from their cars while stopped at the light. Hopefully we'll end up in a few "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" slide shows. We were part of that "Authentic Austin" for a while tonight...so even though the gig never moved into the bar, we made our mark on 6th Street anyway.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Best Friends Network

JP and SG at Bark in the Park (Photo credit: Jennifer Hayes)

You may or may not recall (depending on how steel trappish your mind is) my gig last month in San Marcos to benefit the San Marcos Animal Shelter. It was "Bark in the Park", there were belly dancers, folk music, and fire breathers. Ok, no fire breathers, but I think there might have been spicy ketchup on the condiment table. And there were dogs everywhere, and it was a grand time.

Jennifer Hayes from the Best Friends Network came to do an article about the event, and you can read it on their website (and check out a sweet photo of Susan G. and her dogs/touring companions). Thanks, Jennifer!

Best Friends Animal Society runs a sanctuary in Utah that, according to their website, "is home, on any given day, to about 1,500 dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, birds and other animals." Wow. I mean, I let in the occasional stray cricket, but that is hardcore. The neatest thing is that they are a national advocacy group as well...so on top of the fabulous sanctuary, they do awareness events and programs across the country.

I know that when I am settled (perhaps in my tiny house) I will be one of those people who collects those homeless souls that happen to wander by. Cats, especially...they can spot a sucker a mile away and it's usually me (or my parents...I inherited the quality from them). In fact I should probably be more wary of typing this...I hear internet use among felines is rising exponentially. Hm.

(lolcats. fyi.)

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Feature: Tiny House

I first became enamored with tiny houses after reading this San Francisco Gate article. It seems that this is a trend that might be growing a bit, and actually encompasses a lot of issues confronting us socially and politically. Oddly, the trend might be boosted from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the popularity of (probably ill-named) Katrina Cottages, as blogged about over on Consumerist. Sometimes necessity in crisis brings about a shift in thinking.

First thought upon seeing the photos of these tiny habitats was..."Yeah I could never do that." Then I got to thinking...I lived through 4.5 years of college in various dorm rooms of differing sizes. My sophomore year, I lived in the smallest room in a collective apartment...the room which my roommates affectionately termed "The Closet." (And here I always wondered why people were trying to hang their coats on my stuff.) I am currently living in a studio apartment, which is more than enough room for me and my collection of things.

In fact I've recently taken to mentally paring down my belongings even more. While I do keep quite a bit of memorabilia like photos and mementos of cool things I've done, I absolutely abhor knickknacks and touristy crap that people buy just to prove they've stood on a beach in Hawaii. (Or maybe they didn't, and they just bought it at a thrift store because someone ELSE stood on a beach in Hawaii, bought the thing, flew it back home, and decided that instead of being a marker of ultimate culture and coolness, it was dust magnet. But I digress and maybe I am a curmudgeon).

I do realize that choosing a lifestyle such as that of a touring artist means...I will be living in a cramped space for a while. I have also decided that there is really no need to acquire a lot of stuff, like perhaps an armoire or an entertainment center, if I will be spending more time in a vehicle than in a house for a few years. Maybe deep down I hope I'll just adapt to the Life of Less and be able to graduate to a more permanent Tiny House. How cool would that be? They're aesthetically gorgeous, they're cheap ($5 a month for utilities? No way. Yes way. Dude.), and they're still mobile. You basically park your house. If you feel like living in Montana one summer and Santa Fe in the winter, you just pack your house. Brilliant.

Who knows where I will be living in 9 months and 9 months after that (maybe on your couch...yes, YOU)...but it's always nice to have several plans in place, eh? In the meantime...check out how Dee does it in this cool little vid:

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Powered by ScribeFire.

Labels: , , , ,

Albuquerque TribVid is up!

It seems like eons ago we were in Albuquerque, filming a TribVid segment with Amedeo. Eons translates into mere weeks, and it's online for the world to see already. Thanks, Amedeo! We had a grand time. Our behind the scenes exclusive was posted back in May when we were on tour, and here's the result. Neat how that happens!

Powered by ScribeFire.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pass it on down

This is my niece, Andrea. She and the family visited Austin last week or so, all the way from Minnesota. Minnesota shares many commonalities with Texas. Both can be hot and muggy. Both have a large amount of beer in them. Neither are as focused on cheese production as Wisconsin is. We're a lot alike.

Anyway, Andrea started playing guitar last year. When she visited Albuquerque last June, she took home my old electric guitar (Chinese-made Fender Strat -- it's what I learned everything on). Apparently, she's forsaken things like homework and food for practicing, because the girl can rock. I think I remember how far along I was into my first year of guitar playing...and I think Andrea has quite a few more things figured out than I ever did.

I had the fun of debuting Andrea to Austin at my Irie Bean gig last week...she wasn't nervous one bit. I used to feel like hurling before performances in high school. Yeah, that's a feeling to avoid. Anyway...the song was great and I hope it's just the tip of the iceberg!

I have other nieces who play guitar...it's turning into quite the musical generation. I hope to get them down to Texas soon, too. I need more guests at my gigs. Maybe one day we'll be like the Marleys and an entire tour can exist with just family members taking part.

"Wait. Do I sing a verse or a chorus here? Dangit."

Here we are at the dining room table, and I'm attempting to chart out one of my own songs for Andrea to take home. That's cool. One day soon, Minnesota, you will hear "You're Gone I'm Not" at a venue near you, I hope.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Happy Birthday, J!

a little Bob Marley (J's favorite) to mark the day...

J is someone who always has the right thing to say even when I think maybe I should take up burger flipping, who has a knack for vision and scheming, and who is an inspiration as a human being...I am blessed and honored to have him as my business partner!


Folk Music Grad School

So...I told myself I was going to have to treat life in the post-bachelor's degree world as "Folk Music Grad School." I've got friends working their butts off in medical school and getting PhDs in Political Science and Musicology. I am mucho impressed with them.

While I would not trade the experience of my undergrad years for anything, I know my path at the moment involves non-academic education. To be a singer/songwriter and entrepreneur I need the freedom to work on it as much as possible, to be actually gigging, and to be around people who know what they are doing. Austin seems to be the right place for that.

I had decided a couple of months ago that I somewhat missed the scheduled, formatted rigor of college, and if all my friends were continuing their educations to be who they wanted to be...why not me? About that time I stumbled upon Red Leaf School of Music and their Professional Development program. A few emails and chats with Dan, the owner and founder, and I was ready to go. Dan understood the grad school metaphor immediately, and put together a pretty rigorous set of classes for me. I've been in it for 6 weeks now and feel like I am growing like a...red leaf. :) I am loving every minute! Even though I have been doing this for 12 years already, and it is flattering when people say, "WHY are you taking guitar lessons? You play guitar already," -- that's precisely the answer. I play guitar, and I love it. If I love it, why would I not steep myself further in the craft and the art of it all? I suggest you all take a look at something you love to do and see what your next step is...you'd be amazed at how things that are old hat are suddenly fresh when you collaborate with the right teachers.

Next Thursday, July 26th at Lambert's on 2nd and Guadalupe, Red Leaf students will show their stuff and party hardy, and I will be doing a set as well (then I'll party...or perhaps party during my set?) Porterdavis (Dan's awesome band) will be playing that night too. Sounds like you need to be there, huh? I thought so.

Red Leaf Big Huzzah!
Thursday, July 26th
Lambert's on 2nd and Guadalupe (map)
7:30 PM

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Powered by ScribeFire.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Promise

Something about this day tells me...this next year is going to be something, my friends. I can't even promise specifics because I don't know them, but stay on for the ride my friends. Stay on for the ride. Thanks for being here!



Are you Stok'd? I am.

Morning. Going to work. Sometimes I'm out late at a gig or up late practicing or just plain up late. Sometimes I need the help of caffeine to get going in the morning. Usually I brew my own (right now it's New Mexico pinion coffee), but some mornings I don't get around to it. So there's about 56 gas stations on my way to work, and I stop at one. I am filling my cup, examining the cream flavors, and there in a creamer-like container but with a distinctive black look...is STOK.

So just in case you don't get enough caffeine in your daily cup, you can add a shot of STOK to amp it up to 11 (Spinal Tap style). The cover of this baby says, and I kid you not:

Not for those under 18, pregnant, or caffeine sensitive.

Wow. I mean, I guess if you're "caffeine sensitive" you're an idiot if you pile it on, but...is it going to stunt the growth of millions of 16 year olds across the nation? What's IN it? Whatever it is...

It tasted good.

Labels: ,

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Live in Taji, Iraq

Yeah what did YOU do on your Saturday? Play music in Iraq? I didn't think so.

Well this is just neat. When I was between sets at the Downtown Artist Market today (translation: bugging the artists), I was chatting with Zoey who makes really awesome jewelry from maps and musical scores and a multitude of other things that I love. She lived in Washington, D.C. for a time and of course I found out that she TOTALLY got to see Mary Chapin Carpenter before she was...like...Grammy-winning Mary Chapin Carpenter. More like Plays-at-Bars Mary Chapin Carpenter. Too flippin' cool. But I digress...

Zoey told me she was talking to her friend Kenny, who is actually Corporal Ken (idon'tgivelastnamesontheinternet) stationed in Taji, Iraq. And since I was folking it up on guitar while they were talking, Zoey held up the phone so Kenny could hear...all the way in Taji. That kind of blew me away. This technology thing the kids are using these days is amazing.

I wonder what time it was there. Do Corporals ever sleep? Or are they like Chuck Norris, who just waits?

So here's to the fine men and women serving in Taji and across the Middle East...now get some sleep! :)

Labels: ,

Saturday, July 14, 2007

iSoy de BURQUE!

I am from Albuquerque. A Burqueño. Burquean. iSoy de Burque!

I remember trying to write my address in school as a kid. I'd leave out q's and add q's and r's and soon I'd hail from Albuquerqueque or Albuque or something along those lines. For a while I realized addressing an envelope with "ABQ" was suitable enough for the post office.

Now I am old/stubborn enough to appreciate the quirks of my hometown and I love to tell people where I'm from, all syllables intact. Yes, it rhymes with turkey. I'm not eating meat anymore, or I'd hit up Schlotzsky's for the Albuquerque Turkey. Bugs Bunny did indeed take a wrong turn at Albuquerque. The Duke of AlbuRquerque wandered in 300 years ago and we're still here, minus one "r". We're known for our Balloon Fiesta, our green chile, and our "Mañana" attitude. (Meaning "tomorrow." Why do today what you can do tomorrow? Let's have a margarita and make tortillas).

As all locals do, we shorten it sometimes...ABQ works in writing. "Burque" is the preferred slang when you have to say it out loud, though. You've gotta use that gutteral "u" and roll that "r", too! Everyone with me now..."booourrrrr-kay." Or something like that. I'm still a white girl.
Apparently, Mayor Chavez (or Mayor Marty, affectionately), wants to re-brand the town as..."the Q." Excuse me? What's the slogan for THAT? "Get in line for The Q"? (Get it? Line...queue...Q? Bah dum ching). This is not going to fly. Not for me and not for the fine folks over at iSoy de Burque! They've set up a website...and a revolution. I bought myself a fine t-shirt to show my pride, and to protect a certain way of life.

You can't just re-nickname a city. That's ludicrous. And folks across this fine nation aren't going to all of the sudden say, "Hey...you know, now that it has a one letter nickname, I suddenly want to go to The Q." Next thing you know we'll be Q-Town or some such nonsense. A city as weirdly named as Albuquerque should be embraced, not mass marketed for easy commercialization. Burque is a term of affection, given by generations of locals who know the place. I'm not knocking Mayor Marty's love of the place, but something that looks nice on a letterhead is not my standard for cultural revolution.

iViva Burque! -- and buy a shirt.

Labels: , ,

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Feature: Baghdad ER

Baghdad ER

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Labels: , ,

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Socorro is translated as "HELP!" in Spanish, FYI. Oy. Hehhehheh.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What if libraries were never born?

Sniffle. I fondly remember the days when I'd go trekking up the hill in the blazing heat of Albuquerque, past open fields of prairie dog holes and a Circle K...to visit the public library. Well, sometimes mom would drive me, too. And it was only a few blocks. I digress.

Over on the Freakonomics blog, there's an interesting post about what would happen today if libraries had never existed and we tried to create one as a brand new previously unheard of endeavor.

What? Give away books for FREE? Let people use, savor, and internalize their content without paying for it? Multiple times?

Yeah, they're right. It would never fly. The big publishing houses and the big box booksellers and oh...I dunno, Clear Channel would probably all freak out and lobby lobby lobby and demand that every book be paid for before any valuable information could be leached from its pages...all in the best interests of the authors, of course. (::cough cough:: and their own pockets ::cough cough::)

While we have libraries, and I've been expanding my brain on the good words of poets and novelists and essayists and historians for years, this debate is wild and a'ragin' (like that? That's a fake word with TWO apostrophes in it. Probably picked it up from a book in the library) over in the land of Music+Commerce.

Should music be free? Books can be read for free. Why can't we listen to a CD for free? Why is the RIAA so concerned with nickle and diming every last cent out of every album sale? Why have they wasted so much time, effort, and customer loyalty on lame encryption that actually gives people's computers a security defect? I'll give you a hint: it's not because they're concerned the songwriter on track 9 won't get paid for the CD sale.

Am I SAYING CDs should be free? Not at all. That would be like shooting my foot while it's in my mouth...or something. I hope to make some dough from my art on discs. (Or perhaps my art in files...downloaded by you in your PJs. Whatever works.) That's part of being a musician. Some of us don't like to admit it, but we pay rent and eat Ramen, too.

But but but -- much like Freakonomics argues that libraries do several things to help the book industry -- like foster lifelong readers who buy books, introducing people to new authors, letting people just try things out...this can be said of music. too.

Maybe I won't buy a random CD off a shelf just because the cover is pretty...but what if my friend emailed me a track and I liked it? I would buy the rest, or go looking for more by that artist. Or even just buy that track, which is $0.99 more spent on that band than would have been if I had never been exposed...for free.

Maybe iTunes making it to easy to hack up an album into bits is bad...I am a big believer in the album as a whole entity. Then again, if a crowd of 1000 hears me play a song, and 400 people go home and download that track for a buck, that's awesome. Those 400 people probably wouldn't all have laid down $15 for a full CD, but with the download model I've got my song in 400 new heads. Am I losing money? Am I gaining exposure? Which is better? A wise person once told me, "You can die from exposure, not from too much cash." This is true, I guess.

There's no definitive opinion to end this blog post tonight, folks. I'm just thinking out loud.


Monday, July 9, 2007

Working on a new one...

This is what I go through...all the time. I should probably quit, hehheh. Maybe one day you'll hear this song at a show and go "hey, I saw that on the internet before it was finished!"

Labels: ,

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Gone Country....

I'm about to set out to the boonies for some rest, relaxation, and family time! Very excited. We've got out of towners coming in. (By "we" I mean me and the 8 million dust bunnies I frantically swept out from under my bed this morning). Whilst you miss me terribly, make plans to hang out at The Irie Bean on Tuesday night. I had the pleasure of playing a show Friday night with Joanna Barbera, and she is awesome. GREAT songs and GREAT voice. We're going to repeat it all over again on Tuesday at 8 PM, and the beer is 2 dollars. Heck yeahs.

Be well, and happy 7/7/07! I dunno what it means, but it can't be bad.


Mika Brzezinski Censors the News (thank goodness)

We have here someone actually taking a moral stand against all the schlock that's thrown at us on a daily basis, and oddly it's someone who is employed by the schlock-throwers. Brzezinski is passed the Paris story THREE TIMES by her producers, and she tries to burn it, rips it up, and shreds it. She never reads it.

She's not an E! anchor. She's not re-capping for the American Idol pre-show or whatever. She is a journalist. Her job is to inform people about their world and how events are affecting them. Paris Hilton has no affect on our lives. Maybe one day she will, if she decides to put her fame and fortune to a higher calling...but for now, Paris Hilton walking out of jail does nothing for me. Or you. Or the war or the genocide in Sudan or the flooding in the Midwest.

If all the ABCCNNBCBS anchors would take a little care with what they spend hours and hours shoving down our throats, maybe we'd all be a little more educated and prepared to deal with the world, hm? Thanks, Ms. Brzezinski. I lost fewer brain cells today because of you.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, July 5, 2007

We love the Sound People

Being sound of mind and sound of body are important, yes...but having good sound at a gig is gold. Cheers to all the awesome sound people out there...you make what we do easier and happier.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Perfect Albums No. 4: Stones in the Road (and Happy Independence)

Warning: much spew-y admiration and lyric-quoting to follow, but deal with it. I do it because I love you all.

Perfect Album No. 4 is Stones in the Road by Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Oh it's about time, you say. I'm kind of a big Chapin fan. I have been since I was twelve. I remember the day it happened clearly, too. I was riding around the neighborhood on my bike, listening to the local country station on one of those hip headphone-radio-things (why I never got hit by a car because I couldn't hear traffic, I'll never know). "He Thinks He'll Keep Her" came on the radio, and I don't know if you can skid to a halt on a pink Murray bike, but I probably did. The voice, the words, the jangly guitars and absence of...yes, the almost ANTI-twang. I said, "Whoa."

Not long after that mom and dad bought me my first guitar, and I started lessons. The first song ever charted out for me was "He Thinks He'll Keep Her." That was in 1994, the year that Stones in the Road came out. MCC was riding the waves of Grammy awards and CMA awards and anything else they could throw at her, and here comes this decidedly non-country-dare-we-say-FOLKISH album. It changed my life. I devoured every song and every lead part I could figure out on that CD, and I do believe it has played a huge role into how I look at songwriting to this day.

"Why Walk When You Can Fly?" - an anthem. A means and a mantra to live by.

Why take when you could be giving?
Why watch as the world goes by?
It's a hard enough life to be living...
Why walk when you can fly?

Hm. Reminds me of a quote from President Kennedy:
"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too." Except with music, haha.

"Stones in the Road" (the song itself) -- probably would be classified as top o' the list for Perfect Song as well. It was the first song I ever played at a guitar recital. I played and sang (gasp!) with accompaniment from my guitar teacher. I thought I was one bad-arse 7th grader. It gave me the bug which enables me to be writing this blog post today from Austin. Wow.

Anyway, "Stones in the Road" is what is so great about Mary Chapin. It's melodic and gorgeous for one, but it addresses things our society needs to be aware of...and does it with a historical perspective. Check out a verse about the assassination of Robert Kennedy:

When I was ten my father held me on his shoulders above the crowd
To see a train draped in mourning pass slowly through our town
His widow kneeled with all their children at the sacred burial ground
And the TV glowed that long hot summer with all the cities burning down
And the stones in the road, flew out beneath our bicycle tires
Worlds removed from all those fires as we raced each other home

FYI: it is flippin' HARD to write something about a turning point in national history like that, and to pull it off with grace. Sakes alive.

Oh there are groovin' tunes on here, too. "Shutup and Kiss Me" was kind of a Number One on the charts. "Tender When I Want to Be" makes me want to dance (which if you know me, is kind of a miracle).

"The Last Word" is a bitter diatribe against someone on the wrong end of a failing relationship, and the genius here is that the title of the song...is never said in the song itself.

You can have it
I don't want it
And when you've got it
I'll be gone.

Mmmhmm. Don't tick a songwriter off. Actually, go out of your way to tick a songwriter off...maybe you'll spur a Grammy.

So after this whole roller-coaster of a mantra-igniting, history lesson-giving, foot-tapping, bitterness-brewing, grace-giving record is over, you're left with "This Is Love."

If you ever think of me let it be around twilight
When the world has settled down and the last round of sunlight
Is waning in the sky, as you sit and watch the night descending
A car will pass out front with lovers at the wheel
A dog will bark out back and children's voices peal
Over and under the air, you've been there lost in the remembering
And if you ever wish for things that are only in the past
Just remember that the wrong things aren't supposed to last
Babe it's over and done and the rest is gonna come when you let it
And this is love.

Thanks, MCC, for lighting that spark of independence in a kid with a pink bike.

Happy July 4th from Austin.

Here's He Thinks He'll Keep Her from...probably about the time I discovered the song. Nice.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Picking a Partner

I bought my Martin OM-15 when I graduated from high school. I am pretty sure I stashed away for quite a while and added a pile of graduation cash to buy the thing, and I still had to get a loan from my mom to cover it all. The 15 series is on the cheap end of the Martin line, but for an 18 year old it was still a big investment.

I bought it from Grandma's Music in Albuquerque, because my friend Ben worked there (who was to be my future duo partner! Yay!) and because it was down the street from my house. I had done my research and knew that for the money I had, the 15 series was probably going to be my best bet...but when you get to Grandma's and a whole wall of mahogany is staring at you in various sizes and shapes...you get a little freaked out.

So I played the D-15 and the 000-15 and the 00-15 and the OM-15, and I played 2-3 of each kind...and I A-B'd them against each other and I checked all over for scratches and dents. I went back at least 4 times over a couple of weeks, and while I thought I wanted a plain old D-15...the OM was it. It was warm, it had depth, and it played really nicely. Strange how guitars from the same factory made of the same wood can vary so much.

So I traded in my Sigma classical guitar that I had started lessons on when I was 11 (I kind of regret doing that but I totally needed that steel string) and took the OM-15 home. I will probably "upgrade" at some point for gigging purposes, but I won't make the mistake of trading this one in. I don't even think Martin makes this particular model anymore. This one has been across the country and at almost every gig of mine, so we'd kind of bound for life now.


Monday, July 2, 2007

"It tasted good."

Beverage stop in Socorro before the gig...Susan and Rochelle and I are comparing our horrible nutrition habits. Vitamin B6, people. B6.

Make it to the end and you can hear about bubble gum beer.

Labels: , ,

Impact of a No Impact Life

Colin Beaven is No Impact Man...he's trying out a year of living in New York City without making any negative impact on the environment. That means, according to his site, "no trash, no carbon emissions, no toxins in the water, no elevators, no subway, no products in packaging, no plastics, no air conditioning, no TV, no toilets…" Yeah, I know. It's impressive. He's not going cold turkey on consumption, but he's been whittling away at things one at a time. His apartment no longer has electricity. He stomps his laundry in the bathtub. He has a box of worms that compost things. Colin's got a wife, a 2 year old daughter, and a dog. They're all no impacting, too.

While I am definitely looking to simplify my life, get rid of possessions I don't need and not acquire new ones...and while I think being vegan is a really good way of being healthy, respecting the planet, and decreasing your footprint left on the planet (which I am still trying to be hardcore about but I'm not lately and I just need to DO IT already because I've already been basically a vegetarian since the 90 Day experiment except for when I'm weak but we're GETTING THERE OK?, haha)...I could not do what Colin is doing. Well, I guess I could, but I'm not going to.

However, Colin posted something that rang true to J and I. We are trying to build a company that covers a multitude of goals:

- work for ourselves
- create art and put it out into the world
- further the careers of other artists we believe in
- travel and see the world -- and enjoy and appreciate everything in it
- be happy to wake up every day

Plus others, but I need to save some for other blogging material, haha. So anyway, sometimes I feel like we sound pretty pie-in-the-sky-optimistically-naive to people. Music and business and happiness and positive impact...well la de dah, right? Guess what, folks? Someone's gotta do it. J and I will.

And we'll miss out on some things for it. Like someone paying our benefits for us, and sleep, and going home at 5 PM every night and not working weekends...but we're cool with that because we love this. And we're glad that by reading this blog post, you're along for the ride. Grab a bag of pretzels and settle in.

What measures happiness? Colin posted this in his blog not long ago and it rang true to us...so don't worry about our pies and our skies, because I think we'll be just fine. :)

"As for the personal or individual level, members of the new branch of the psychological profession who call themselves "positive psychologists" say that we are on a "hedonic treadmill." We earn more to spend more and then have to earn more to spend more and then…We get a quick burst of pleasure from our purchases but no long term increase in happiness. Meanwhile, many are stressed by working all the hours to do jobs they don't believe in with people they don't care for.

Increases in the baselines of our happiness, it turns out, don't come from money once you've achieved an income equivalent of something like $40,000. What the positive psychologists say happiness does come from, on the other hand, is strong interpersonal relationships, doing what you are naturally good at, living a life that is in accord with your values, and achieving meaning by connecting to something larger than yourself." - No Impact Man

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Bark in the Park: 6.30.07

Yesterday was a fabulous day to head down to San Marcos and play a gig. I left a relatively sunny Austin, and by the time I got 15 miles south or so it was raining. Uh oh. I was pretty sure that the prepositional phrase, "in the Park" meant that this shindig was outdoors. Rain is great but not on gig days, eh?

However, by the time I got to San Marcos it was clearing and although muggy, the temperature was quite pleasant. It was not 112 degrees, is all I'm saying.

Bark in the Park is a great event where dog-owners and dog-lovers get to convene in a great venue, eat dog treats (the dogs, not the owners...unless you're into that?), and hang out and listen to music...and it all benefits the San Marcos Animal Shelter. Beautiful! I got the priviledge of sharing the stage with Paul Wilson, Pete Kalla, Jason Marbach and Barbarosa, and Susan Gibson. Susan even let me borrow a puppy so I wasn't left out. (Right now the only thing living that fits in my studio apartment is a fly that came in the window on Saturday and won't leave).
The very first act was Midnight Breeze, a troupe of belly dancers. I'm pretty sure I've not ever shared a stage with belly dancers before, and it made me want to go work out. Or have an extra beer, one of the two. Let's all take a poll:

You probably know me too well.

Labels: , ,