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


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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Biology Lesson with my cousin

Cleaning out some files (of the digital kind), I found this tiny little clip I had ignored from my tourage of New Mexico last year. We were at the Very Large Array looking at Very Large Rabbits. This made me laugh out loud...but maybe you have to know my cousin!


Susan: There's another very large rabbit.
Rochelle: That is a big rabbit!
Jana: Shoot, it's the jackalope.
Rochelle: Oh it is.
Jana: Just kidding.
Rochelle: Is it?
Jana: Jackalopes don't exist. They have elk horns.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

The Fridays

Why am I so tired today, was my question until about 3 minutes ago. I can't seem to get a momentum going, so I've done things like answer loads of backed up email and go to the gym at a very slow pace, and then I took a nap. Then I realized I saw 4 nights of live music this week out of a possible 5, and the other night I was working and then playing it myself. And I was very good about not sleeping in and getting up at a consistent time each day. They say that's good for you, I'm kind of wondering about that right now!

So...I will proceed to Target at a snail's pace but might pick up some caffeine on the way home. Who says productivity doesn't start at 3 PM on a Friday afternoon? Rock and roll.

Also this post will be just text, to demonstrate my laziness, haha.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008


Dan and I spent a good chunk of Tuesday mixing a tune with George, who is a most excellent dude and a really cool mixer. He took "Blonde on Blue" and brought out some neat aspects of our recording (what I like to call "hairy piano" now) while we watched and soaked in the mixing process. Mixers get the fun job of getting the picture of what the artist and producer want/aim for while giving their own touch to the project. I suspect we could give "Blonde on Blue" to 5 mixers and come up with some pretty different sounding tunes, even though it's all the exact same set of tracks I played on. Cool.

"New Mexico Boy" is mixed to the point that I smile like a dork when I hear it, so I call that a good finished product. Yay for growly, sweaty guitars!

That night we saw Girlyman play at the Cactus, who pretty much rocked the room and were a joy. Dan produced Girlyman Nate's solo record so it was neat to see Nate play. Go see them. Actually, they're in Albuquerque tonight, for you Albuquirks.

P.S. Here's Mixer George playing bass on Letterman a couple weeks ago with Jakob Dylan. Cool.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I believe...

I believe in patience in building a good life

I believe in working with people who are good human beings foremost

I believe in preparation and doing right by your values and morals the first time

I believe in stumbling around and trying new avenues

I believe in aiming for abundance and expecting great results

I believe in trusting my gut

I believe in hard work

I believe in fairy dust


Monday, June 23, 2008

Book No. 5 Begins

I try to contain most of my songwriting in one main book that I take with me just about everywhere. I do this because it's nice to keep songs in one place as they evolve so I can track their progress and easily revert back or switch gears while keeping all the ideas intact. It's also good to be able to flip through and find bits of things that never made it into a tune; sometimes these spark a song of their own or are waiting to be used in some other new idea. It takes me a while to work through a whole blank notebook, but it's satisfying when I finish one.

I started my first book ("Green"...used September, 2001 through January, 2003) by accident during my freshman year of college. I probably bought this book to take notes in political science class or something, but ended up using it to write songs instead. Green is the book where my first few complete songs came together, including "24/7," which some of my beloved former roommates still request! Sometimes I indulge them, haha.

Purple (February, 2003 - March, 2005). Purple had a lot going on. Apparently I was into saving the rainforest while writing, so this is coffee paper. I guess it's made with...coffee leaves? The pages had a nice brownish tint as if someone had spilled coffee all over them, so if I was ever careless with my morning brew it didn't matter.

Here's Brown (March, 2005 - March, 2007). As plain as one can get, I bought Brown in San Francisco when I was there for a political science conference in college (nerd alert, that's me). It has absolutely nothing on it or in it, which I liked quite a bit. Again it is made of all recycled stuff, so the pages were brown and rather unthreatening. It was with this book that I started tracking all the places it went in the front cover. This one went to Atlanta, Denver, South Dakota, San Diego, Seattle, Salt Lake City, and Austin (before I moved here) among other places. It also holds my backstage pass to a Mary Chapin Carpenter show. Thems good times.

Orange (April, 2007 - June, 2008) has just been retired as of today. Again, nothing on the outside and nothing on the inside. It did have a sleek black strap to keep it shut. The pages were white and fairly starchy feeling under the pen. It could make that movie-like scratching sound with a pen if you wrote fast enough. Orange traveled less but it did go on two tours of New Mexico, all around Texas, Seattle, and New York City. Not bad. I filled this one in just a year. Blazing fast on my schedule; all the others took two years to fill.

Meet Black (June, 2008 - ????). Just purchased. Nothing in it yet. Hasn't been anywhere. Excited.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

EP 1 Check-In

Well. We've got one tune mixed and 4 more to go! What a process. One I will discuss more after we have a few more mixes under our belt and I know what I'm saying. It's a cool thing, to see a baby song grow up and sound like something that fits in with your iTunes playlist full of other artists. Neato.

On that note, things I have been listening to lately:

Mescalito: Ryan Bingham (I saw Ryan open for Patty Griffin and he caught my attention. For someone opening for Patty Griffin to catch my attention and not just leave me thinking, "Man, I wish Patty was playing now" is a triumph. The record is great).

Trouble In Mind: Hayes Carll (Anyone who writes a song called "She Left Me for Jesus" wins. Same for "Bad Liver and a Broken Heart").

All I Intended To Be: Emmylou Harris (How cool is she? She makes great records, period, end of story).

Here's "Red Dirt Girl", my one of my favorite Emmylou tunes.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What the Cool Kids Buy

Um, the new Susan Gibson album is out. Let's just pause for a minute to allow you to go purchase it from her website, or perhaps download it from iTunes. "New Dog, Old Tricks." Clickity click click. Got it? Good.

We all know I can wax poetic about the songwriting skills of Ms. Gibson all day. This record has some new tunes and a bunch of Suz tunes that she recorded with her former band, The Groobees. Those are great records but not readily found these days...and since Susan performs these tunes at her shows, it makes sense to let the people take them home. Give the people what they want, I say. (Unless the people want chocolate covered cauliflower. Then the people are wrong. But usually they are right. Usually).

So you can get to know Susan a little better, I present one of my favorite videos of our New Mexico tour from last year. Spontaneous song creation is the name of the game. I wonder why this one didn't make it on "New Dog, Old Tricks"? Strange, haha.

Oh yeah...to make things even sweeter, some of the proceeds from sales of this album go to Blue Dog Rescue. An awesome cause AND new music. I like.

Here's some linkage to keep you busy:

SusanGibson.com (buy it here, too!)
Susan's Myspace
Download "New Dog, Old Tricks" from iTunes

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Run-ins with the law and other sight-seeing in Texas

Hey kids! I've been MIA because my good friend and college roommate, Beth, braved the Austin heat to come visit and hang out. We packed a lot into a few days before she jetted back west to be a med student. Here's Beth carrying around her loot...er...bag of ice. Hey, I said it's been warm here.

I think I fulfilled my mission of showing Beth the Live Music Capital of the World in style. When she flew in Friday night, we headed over to the legendary Continental Club and caught part of Guitar Shorty's set. He's one of those blues legend types, and he puts on an entertaining show to say the least. He plays guitar with his teeth, feet, and even his butt. (I know. I'll find a video soon.)

On Saturday Beth was kind and carried my gear for me when I played at the Art Walk in downtown Elgin, about 25 miles outside of Austin. Cute town and very nice people! I played in the Bremond House Gallery, a fabulous old building with wood floors and a pressed tin ceiling.

That evening we saw my good friends Blue J play some jazz and then headed over to the Green Mesquite to see my buddy Geno play. That's a lot of music in one day, but all of it was delish.

On Sunday we headed down to Gruene Hall to see Nathan Hamilton play, where we met a cool couple from New Jersey and chatted for a while. The randomness of these things is the fun part! After that we headed up to San Marcos and rented some tubes to float down the river.

Now, I've floated before and Beth hasn't at all, but I had never floated with beer along for the ride. It seemed like the Texan thing to do and since it was so blazing hot, we bought some (hence the bag of ice above). And we were floating along lazily when a cop on an ATV on the bank beeps his ATV horn and Beth says, "Haha, what's he going to do? Pull someone over in a tube?" And then we realized he was pointing at us. Oops.

So we paddled over to shore and apparently, glass bottles are a no-no. Only cans on the river. Since we were obviously clueless to this fact and all-around harmless looking kids (I'd like to think so, anyway), he just took our beer and let us float away. In our defense, Beth's from Colorado where the rivers are such that you're probably wearing helmets and praying for your life when you're rafting down them so there's no time for beer rules, and I am from New Mexico where you don't float down the river because you'd just be scooting through mud. We are new at this. I'm pretty proud that my first run-in with the law involved me in a bright yellow plastic tube.

So we floated to the end and happened to land outside the San Marcos River Pub, where Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines were playing that night. More live music from my favorite people! That show managed to make Beth have a giggle fit and tear up all in one evening. I call that a good show (though, as those who know her well can attest, giggle fits are frequent. We like that about her).

So that's what's up...I made it through without a criminal record and a tan. I call that a successful weekend.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Day at the Market

Pike Place Market. My favorite. On a grey, rainy Seattle day. My favorite.

Inside people were their usual flower-buying, honey-sampling, coffee-sipping selves.

Outside the vendors stayed under awnings while the bright fruit and veggies made up for the gloom.

Finish it off with a free sample of the mint mocha chip frappucino at the first Starbucks ever. Sweet!

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Oh Corporate America.

Three Stories.

Before I proceed, I will state that I totally love small businesses, hope to officially start one this year, and frequent them as much as possible. One of the many things Albuquerque and Austin have in common is embracing the small business owner and having a populace that is conscious about where they buy their goods.

That being said, I have had 3 really awesome experiences with Corporate America lately, and had to share how one can learn from these peeps, too.

Case 1: Starbucks. Ok, I'm a bit of a fangirl. I consume a lot of my Austin caffiene at the indie shops, where great people hang out and work, but when I want a cup to go with a predictable taste, I head for the Bucks. Plus, my sister lives in Seattle and I have visited both their headquarters and the first Starbucks store ever (on the Pier, check it out), so I feel an affinity. Plus their people are generally pleasant to talk to and get health benefits, so I respect that. Anyway, apparently a while back some of us registered Starbucks card holders (I know, nerd alert) had a day or so where our points were not available. This did not affect me in any way because I didn't try to use my card at that time. Lo and behold one day I get a package from Starbucks, and in it is an apology note for the card issue and a POUND OF ESPRESSO ROAST. Huzzah! That's how to treat a customer...one who didn't even know anything had gone wrong. Lesson: Go the extra mile without question and without exception.

Case 2: Southwest Airlines. I usually fly Southwest because they're usually the cheapest and fly to cities I frequent. Their in-flight jokes are a welcome break from the generic safety lecture (I swear one flight attendant said, "If you are flying with more than one child and must choose which one to put an oxygen mask on first, please for the good of us all, choose the child with the most potential." Mwaha). So I was a little delayed getting out of Seattle this week because they had to fix a problem on the aircraft. Didn't bug me at all. In fact, I posted on Twitter: "made it back to austin with only one delay getting out of seattle. plane doodad fixing. good for them fixing the plane. i love southwest." It did not occur to me that I was Twitter friends with Southwest. It also did not occur to me that they would ever track Tweets about them. But they do, and Southwest wrote back: "We LUV you too. And glad to hear we have our doodads in order. Sorry for the inconvenience." Shucks. Lesson: the personal touch goes a long way to making a lifelong fan.

Case 3...Oasis Disc Manufacturing. To be continued tomorrow because It's 3 AM. Right.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

EP 1 Check In / When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth

It's still coming, this little record we made. I have enlisted the services of a talented friend and graphic artist, and she was the recipient of a large and laborious email brain dump of artwork ideas. Hey, she asked for it! I am excited to see what she comes up with.

Dan and I also had some options in figuring out who is going to mix. We think perhaps we have narrowed it down and that excites me. However, our new mantra is high intention / low attachment, so we'll just see what happens, eh?

I have also decided to go cardboard on the packaging, recycled. It's a minor thing but if my CD doesn't contribute to the piles of plastic everywhere, that would be nice.

And that's that.

On an unrelated note, here's what happens when you let my niece, Erica, and I close to my nephews' plastic dinosaur collection.



Sunday, June 8, 2008

Tori II: Bouncing Off Clouds

I know, this is the second Tori post in a week. But the benefits of having a really devoted fanbase mean there are really great quality Youtube videos of you around. This is my favorite track off Tori's latest, American Doll Posse.

Note how she plays TWO pianos at the same TIME. One behind her back. I know it's probably easy for her but it looks dang impressive.

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Friday, June 6, 2008

A Sorta Fairytale

Tori Amos is brilliant. I love this live version of "A Sorta Fairytale." Talk about commanding a stage. Presence, dress, voice, musicianship, confidence, all of it. I won a front row seat at one of her shows when I was in college, and it changed my perception of live music. I will admit I was not familiar with much of her music before the show, but I was instantly converted.

This is probably my top Tori song, and not just because it mentions New Mexico, haha. In fact, the "Scarlet's Walk" record is one of my favorite records period. It creates amazing soundscapes and is beautifully written.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hello Seattle!

Chipper, which is not me at 6:45 am going to the airport.

Hello. I have no new photos of anything exciting, but Photobooth always comes through. Well, depends on what your definition of "come through" is, but it provides imagery anyway.

I am about to have a lot of new photos, though, because I am (procrastinating on) packing to go to Seattle for a few days. My niece Jenny is graduating from high school and I get to see it all go down. The graduation, I mean. So excited and so proud!

It seems like yesterday I was playing with my Legos while Jenny sat in her little baby carseat because she was a...baby. There are perks to being only a few years older than your nieces and nephews, and one of them is that you can share toys when you're little. Bonus. Except I probably didn't want to share my Legos. Sorry, Jenny.

I'll also be hitting up the honey and fruit and flower stands at Pike Place Market. And the coffee...Seattle really does know its stuff. I have been told to bring a hoodie, which is a foreign word in this 95 degree Texas heat.

Other random thoughts for the week:

- pancakes for dinner is almost as good as pancakes for breakfast.
- not all laundromats are created equal.
- don't let a hornet fly in your door because it's hard to figure out how to get it back out.

Now please excuse me. I have a date with my caffeine destiny.

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Wowsers for Mary Chapin Carpenter

You've all heard me gush poetic about Mary Chapin Carpenter, one of the main reasons I picked up a guitar in the first place. Some argue that her rise of fame in the country music market was a weird abberation. All I know is that if I had looked to other popular people as mentors in the mid-90's when I was just starting to be curious about music, I might have picked up a karaoke mic and be hitting the American Idol auditions now.

(Not that there's anything wrong with that).

But anyway...over on Country Universe, one of the blogs I read to keep up on all things Nashville, there's a series being posted about the 100 Greatest Women in Country Music. While entirely subjective (the joys of blogging), the list is great so far and it's been a joy to read. I knew MCC would probably rank pretty high...and she came in at No. 29 today.

While reading the article, none of the information was very new to me...except to see it all spelled out at once made me realize what a formindable career MCC has had. Check it out:

- 10 albums over 20 years
- The tune Down at the Twist and Shout in 1991..."earned her the first of five Grammys...beginning a historically unprecedented domination of the Best Female Country Vocal Performance category, which she would win four years in a row."
- In 1992 the album Come On Come On "would bring Carpenter to the peak of her popularity. It spawned a stunning seven hit singles, practically unheard of at that time."
- He Thinks He'll Keep Her (my gateway drug song to MCC's music) brought about Chapin being the "first country artist nominated for Grammy’s Record of the Year for a non-crossover hit."
- In 1995 , "the Best Country Album category was reestablished after a thirty-year absence, and Stones in the Road was the winner." It was double platinum by then and Chapin's first that was entirely self-penned...no co-writers.

Wow. Wow! Now, we all know a career is not summed up in Grammy awards (although I have cleared a place on my cherry-colored particle-board bookcase should the moment ever arise), but Mary Chapin was breaking down barriers left and right as a woman and a songwriter in this genre. And she made a huge difference for a lot of people...when I was but a wee wannabe chordist...I heard intelligent, smart tunes and you had better believe I was paying attention to the fact that Chapin was writing them herself and playing them herself. Makes a big difference.

There's my Sunday warm fuzzy. Thanks, Mary Chapin.

If you squint, you will note MCC in the middle and me to the immediate left backstage at a concert in Atlanta in 2005. Surrounded by a bunch of fun people decked out in flamingo garb. This is probably a long story for another time, but it was dang amazing.

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