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


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Friday, October 31, 2008

Danapo and GO VOTE!

Do it.

Last night Dan and I played our first gig together...it was a bit of a warm up for our show in New Mexico. It was great in all aspects...we had fun playing music together, some of our favorite people came out to support us, and the weather was perfect. Who can beat that? Oh, and Dan found good parking. He wins.

Dan+Janapo = Danapo

When I play bass, Dan calls me "Sassafrass." Hehheh.

Photos courtesy of Ron Baker - thanks, Ron!

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tracking the Early Year: 12 Hours By Car

It is 750ish miles from Austin to Albuquerque, and that takes 12 hours to drive if you're doing right by the speed limit. I'm not one for stopping anywhere to stay the night, so I just do the whole thing in a day. That thought informed the chorus for this one -- some days Albuquerque feels so far it might as well be across the Atlantic. Then again it's nice to know a 2 hour plane ride will get me there, too.

The rest of the song is a true instance of coming out in about 2.5 hours on a Saturday morning with much coffee and Garageband to keep track of things. I'm pretty sure none of it existed before then. I remember feeling exceptionally accomplished for it being 11 AM on a Saturday when I finished it.

It was the first song we tracked for the record, and when it came time for some percussion, Dan thought quarters would have a ring to them...so somehow he compiled a handful of quarters and I stood there for the entirety of the song dropping quarters back and forth from hand to hand. A few made it to the floor, but mostly I was an adept quarter slinger. It makes me think of a ghost walking down a hallway. The banjo added a nice vibe to the whole thing.


i am numb, i am numb
two shots per feeling is my rule of thumb
and i am tired, i'm so tired
of being the one who sets wind to the fire

it is thin, wearing thin
life is a butterfly stuck on a pin
i am still, i lie still
behind enemy lines and i have taken my pill

'cause i don't know where you are
two hours by plane means twelve by car
that is the way we are
twelve hours apart by car

here i am, here i am
spilling my soul on a string and a can
can't you see, can't you see?
i always thought maybe you'd be good for me

but i don't know where you are
two hours by plane means twelve by car
that is the way we are
twelve hours apart by car

every day looks the same
if the sun makes it up then i'll be ok
'cause every day looks the same
if the sun makes it up then i'll be ok

'cause i don't know where you are
two hours by plane means twelve by car
that is the way we are
twelve hours apart by car

Words and Music by Jana Pochop
© 2008 Patient Grasshopper Music (ASCAP)

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Sunday in Luckenbach

Sunday brought about a benefit concert in Luckenbach, Texas to help the Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe in Galveston rebuild after Hurricane Ike. A bunch of people and artists turned out, and it was a glorious autumnal-like Sunday afternoon. And I had never been to Luckenbach (with Waylon and Willie and the Boys)...so Katie and I took it as a good excuse to jet on down the road. Plus, SusanG! was playing. I mean, come on. We also got to see Band of Heathens and Ray Wylie Hubbard. Awesome stuff.

Miles Per Hour
My hand at 60 mph.

Luckenbach Crowd
Excellent crowd, lovely day.

Susan Gibson and John Greenberg
Susan Gibson and John Greenberg.

And I got to see my PUPPIES that I had missed since I have not been Merch Girl for a couple of weeks. Aww.

Look at that face.
(I stole these last two from

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tracking The Early Year: New Mexico Boy Part II

(Part one of this non-saga lives here).

"New Mexico Boy" was pretty fully formed by the time I was playing it out a lot, but it's actually gone through a few major "renovations," if you will, to get it to the version you hear on The Early Year.

It's a long song. It has five verses. That's indulgent, but I like them all, so I wasn't going to chuck anything out. It got its first facelift when I was at the Life's A Song workshop with Terri Hendrix. We got some one-on-one time with Terri to go over whatever we wanted, and I played her this song. She had the same assessment about the length. At that time the chorus was:

Drunk on Friday, home by 2 AM
Mass on Sunday, bread and wine again

You wonder who's your saint

Cuz sure as hell you ain't

Does confession to the Mother bring you joy

New Mexico Boy?

When you sing that 3 times, it makes your long song even LONGER. Terri drew some lines through the "saint/ain't" lines and said that's what needed to go. She was right. But I still LOVED that line.

I went over that with Dan and he suggested those lines could be moved to the bridge, which at the time was kind of taking up redundant space:

Airport's running out of planes
Scared you won't wake up the same

Airport's running out of planes

So not only do I have this really long song but I'm REPEATING myself. Right. A little cut and paste and we ended up with what you hear now:

Airport's running out of planes
Scared you son't wake up the same

You wonder who's your saint

Cuz sure as hell you ain't

And it worked, and it was all there, and the choruses were shorter, and the heavens parted and birds sang. Well, in my mind, anyway. This songwriting stuff is hard work.

New Mexico Boy Lyrics

superheroes, superstars
live so far from where you are
where crazy things fall from the sky
but nothing's shown you how to fly

cruise all night and sleep 'til noon
tortillas, juice, and old man gloom
spread butter on your daddy's bread
turn off the news, go back to bed

drunk on friday, home by 2 am
mass on sunday, bread and wine again
does confession to the mother bring you joy?
new mexico boy

no history you care to claim
no county kickbacks in your name
just a pack of dreams rolled up your sleeve
to make it big you'll have to leave

drunk on friday, home by 2 am
mass on sunday, bread and wine again
does confession to the mother bring you joy?
new mexico boy

airport's running out of planes
you're scared you won't wake up the same
you wonder who's your saint
'cause sure as hell you ain't

cinderblocks like hollow hearts
stacked up in piles along boulevards
a fortress in your own hometown
but this ain't china, walk around
no this ain't china, walk around

drunk on friday, home by 2 am
mass on sunday, bread and wine again
does confession to the mother bring you joy?
new mexico boy

Words and Music by Jana Pochop
© 2008 Patient Grasshopper Music (ASCAP)

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Numbers and Koozies

Well it's been a while, not for lack of activity. I have been spending a lot of time in preparation for the annual JP Project No. 3 in Albuquerque -- where I take a special guest back to the Burque, we have a house concert in a cool house, and I get to see everyone I miss and meet some new ones I'll miss by next year.

Last year Susan was our special guest, and this year I'm happy to say Dan is making the drive. We've got some surprises for everyone, which means...REHEARSAL. And Jana tries to remember all her parts because her brain is small, and she starts talking about herself in 3rd person. Sigh. It's all fun, though.

I have been working on a little film aspect for the night and it involved me crunching some numbers, and this one stuck out...the number of miles I have driven as a Merch Girl (well, I didn't drive most of them, I sat most of them) This number is since July, when I started merching, so it's really only 3 months worth:


No wonder I feel like I need a massage!

On a slightly unrelated note, this is what my favorite Fort Worthian, Amy, made me with masking tape and sheer genius one night. I realized I hadn't properly given it blog time. Yep.

Merch Girl Koozie

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Merchtober Video

Thus explains the banana comment from the previous "out of context video" (Phil asked!).

I especially like the "whoosh" sound the banana makes flying out the window....

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Makers Who Make Stuff

Kids. I have ended my round of 4 gigs in 4 days this weekend and now I seek the services of a massage therapist for my shoulder. But all is great and every show was fun. I songswapped at the Irie Bean with my good friends Emily Shirley (who also did the stellar graphic design on my EP) and Kimbo. Much fun and stage banter!

This weekend Austin hosted the Maker Faire, and the Art of Texas market that is so kind to allow me to minstrel around with them set up at the Expo Center with the Faire. Such a cool thing -- it was a whole fairground full of robot builers and crafty people and cool t-shirts and recycled crafts and speeches and presentations and fire and loud noises and gluten free scones. That is just a list of things I observed...I'm sure there was a lot more.

Now, I've noticed that it's a lot harder to document one's life when you're the one living it...hence I did not take a single photo or video the whole time. Merch Girl needs a Merch Girl!

I DID see Mr. Bill Murray himself at the Maker Faire. I didn't want to interrupt his wandering around, but I did glance in his direction meaningfully several times, even though he never came directly by me, haha. I try.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wanna Be a Merch Gurl?

Ok kids, my buddy Phil over at AllThingsPhil.net is cool enough to sponsor a contest whereupon you can win your very own copy of The Early Year! And since the contest, which he so cleverly designed, involves coming up with a witty Merch Girl t-shirt slogan of your very own...the grand prize winner gets their rock star slogan on a t-shirt made by ME. Because I like to Sharpie things. You even get to pick your t-shirt size. It's like the Gap but custom.

Merch Girls Aren't Groupies

So go be witty, and if you're witty enough...you too could be a Merch Girl.*

(*Except not Susan's. She already has one. You'll have to find your own folk-rock star to tour and make funny videos with).

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Monday, October 13, 2008

More Radio Waves!

My blog buddy Heather hosts a weekly radio show called Lyrical Venus featuring female singer-songwriters on KRUU in Fairfield, Iowa...and she was stellar enough to ask me to be on her show this week since The Early Year is out and about and looking to dress up and hit the town.

See her nice post about the whole shebang here.
She even got ALL her facts right. That's impressive.

Here's a link to her radio station blog...

And here's a link to LIVE STREAM the interview tomorrow (Tuesday, October 14th)...Lyrical Venus starts at 9 AM Central time...I'll be on sometime during that hour. Tune in, kids. Support the awesome radio people who get the word out about the discs that we singer-songwriters make. Thanks, Heather!!

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Out of Context

I'm really beginning to get into this editing thing...so much control, haha. Some randomness from the gigs this past weekend in Fort Worth and Stephenville...

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

At the Fairmount in Fort Worth

If you squint, you can see the band.

Blogging from the merch table...our buddy Amy is here with HER video camera, and she just informed me that she has video of me singing along to "Happiest When I'm Moving" from about 12 minutes ago.  I thought the filmmaker was supposed to remain BEHIND the camera, Amy, hehheh.  The Merch Girl (TM) is a trademarked term to be used only with official permission and affiliation with Susan Gibson, Inc.  Or something.  Yay Fort Worth!  I like it here.

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Starting At As Low As $44.99 a Night Records

In Nashville...no, I'm not out of tour videos yet. Mwahaha.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

First time on the radio...

Susan had an in-studio at KFAN in Fredericksburg before her gig in Comfort this weekend, and I was of course along to document. She is always nice and introduces me around and plugs my record...so Rozzie, the awesome DJ at KFAN, took a copy of The Early Year and while we were driving to Comfort, we heard New Mexico Boy on the radio!

So you always hear those stories about hearing yourself for the first time on the radio. Usually it involves pulling over if you're driving and crying or something. I couldn't pull over because Susan was driving, and there was no crying...but we did scream a lot. Because I have a camera attached to my palm everywhere we go these days...it got caught on film.

So cool to share it with some of my favorite peoples. The good life indeed.

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Bowling in Comfort

Susan played at Phil's Firehouse this weekend in Comfort, Texas...Phil's is a neat venue complete with 4 lanes of bowling. The kind of bowling where real people have to set up the pins after you knock them down. So cool. Phil was nice enough to loan me bowling shoes for the night because I like to wear bowling shoes.

Bowling Shoes for Merch

The set up:

Gig and Bowl

The gig was definitely a strike and not a spare.

Susan Gibson at Phil's Firehouse



Of course...the merch:

Merch in Comfort, TX

If every gig ended with bowling...well, that would be sweet.

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Monday, October 6, 2008

What we need is a MONTAGE.

Back in Austin after a fun weekend merching in Comfort, TX. It was an exciting time, but that's for the next blog post. In the meantime it's nice to sleep on my own pillows. Producer Dan and I had a check-in today and we're already talking EP 2...The Early Year is out now and it's time to think about the next step. I'm excited already! We'll start tracking in early 2009.

Here's a music video I edited in the car...clips and things. Yay! So much tour video, so little time.

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Tracking The Early Year: Blonde on Blue

(Go to Jana's Myspace page to hear this track!)

"Blonde on Blue" was the harbinger of all the songs to come for The Early Year. It came together from a bunch of pieces of things I had lying around for a while, but in a very present, descriptive way that made me think, "Huh." Sometimes you surprise yourself when you finish a song; this was one of those cases. It informed the rest of my writing for this record and continues to do so, because I appreciate the honesty and descriptiveness of the moments in the song.

The vibe was brought on by a tuning I had just learned/stolen from Susan (who says she learned from Ani DiFranco...share the tuning love!) -- EBBF#BE. Try it, you might like it. It's got a fantastic sound to it. Then came the riff, then came the melody, and there we were.

The whole thing is yet another fictitious story from my head, but I feel like a lot of the detail is stuff we've all actually experienced. Passenger seat, cigarette ash glow out the window, stopping for gas and coffee, all that road trip stuff.

The chorus was inspired at first by the image of blonde wheat fields and blue sky -- prominent things in my vision of a road trip because so much of my life's road tripping has involved New Mexico, Texas, and Kansas. "Scorch on sun" was actually a bit of a placeholder line in my head when I first played it for Dan, who promptly identified it as his favorite...so it stayed, and now I love that image, too. Weird how things spill out and you're not quite sure they will stick until you try them on someone else.


I am sitting on the starboard of your only way back home
There is weed and rocks and turnstiles that we have to get around
The rearview mirror betrays you, oh my god I hope it does me too
Something in this breakdown's bound to show just how bound I am to you

I could fall in love
If only I could follow through

The minor ways I operate, they are shifting with your hands
And all I care is you come with me while this world and I take each other in
Orange friction ash on air from smokes that pass the while
Keep one mile under the limit, your passenger is volatile

I could fall in love
If only I could follow through
Like ink on paper, scorch on sun
You on me, blonde on blue

I am an editor of tongues you say, I always skip my turn
And these scratched out words I am telling you; they are making my lungs burn
Oh forgive my innocence and my array of messed up starts
We'll find ourselves a redemption town, we'll meet our Maker's Mark

I could fall in love
If only I could follow through
Like ink on paper, scorch on sun
You on me, blonde on blue

I think I am useful
I'll take good notes along the way
I'll prove that 2 stops for gas and 3 for caffeine is all we need anyway

I could fall in love
If only I could follow through
Like ink on paper, scorch on sun
You on me, blonde on blue

Words and Music by Jana Pochop © 2008 Patient Grasshopper Music (ASCAP)

Track Info:
Jana: vocals, acoustic guitar, Backpacker guitar, banjo, piano, bass
Daniel Barrett: background vocals

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Friday, October 3, 2008

That Talented Suz

Susan Gibson is just brimming with talent. Of course you are all familiar with her killer songwriting and guitar skills...but maybe you weren't aware of her multi-instrumental gifts and her calligraphy experience.

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Thursday, October 2, 2008


Yep, we made it home. We had one other minor adventure on the way back involving the dogs getting sprayed by a skunk outside of Dallas, so we had 3 hours at a car wash at 10 PM with tomato paste and vinegar (thanks, Beth!)...but we made it back only a little smellier. Ok, much smellier. But it was an adventure as always!

Here's a tune from Susan in Charleston, SC...the real version is "Gatesville" from her latest record, but perks of being a Merch Girl include improvised songs for you. Sweet! It's kinda my new fave...

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Tracking The Early Year: Paper Rock Scissors

(Check out the player over to your left on the blog or go to Jana's Myspace page to hear this track!)

"Paper Rock Scissors" went through quite a few formations before getting to its finished form. I was taken with the playfulness of the game itself, except usually when people play it there is something at stake, giving it the potential to have important consequences hidden behind the simple "1-2-3-go." My favorite part about this song is the layers it has were unintentional when I wrote it; I don't sit around thinking about how people are going to interpret things...but after talking it through with a few writer friends, it's like this tune is a disco ball. It reflects very differently on different points of view. Nifty.

It's the first song I wrote in the DADDAD tuning, which is fun as all get out. I stole it from Patty Griffin.

When we tracked it, I got to bust out on the snare drum and tambourine...and previously I had requested to Dan that there be hand claps somewhere on the record. Dan decided if a track was going to have them, this was going to be the one. We clapped through the whole tune twice, making for a total of 4 sets of hands clapping. ("What is the sound of 8 hands clapping?") That's also the only instance of anyone but me playing an instrument on The Early Year...it was good to have a hand clap buddy!

For the guitar track we went for a smooth Duke Levine-like vibe because...Dan and I both love us some Duke Levine (he plays for Mary Chapin Carpenter a lot. A lot).


Took an offer for a ride to Amarillo
It was 23 miles by a drunken crow
Be careful who you talk to when you roll down your window
And you can't call home

Cause I'm from great plains and greater superstition
And my mother I know - she is a very good Christian
Between church bell chimes and late night dimes
I never really was

Now paper beats rock and rock beats scissors
And the note on the table cut me to slivers
And I quote God in the middle of the night
When I say, "Let there be light"

Started asking around 'bout where the circus went
I got pointed to a prophet in a Bible tent
And the preacher leaned and the people cleaned
Down in the river with the water and the lye

So I got held up for the winter in Wichita
I guess something didn't read on the radar
It said "Jesus saves" on family graves
But I knew they didn't always intertwine

And now paper beats rock and rock beats scissors
And the word on the stone broke me to splinters
And I quote God in the middle of the night
When I say, "Let there be light"

Get down into the cellar
The storm will blow over, the storm will blow over
Everything's gonna get better
The war will blow over, the war will blow over

And now paper beats rock and rock beats scissors
And the word on the stone broke me to splinters
And I quote God in the middle of the night
When I say, "Let there be"

Paper beats rock and rock beats scissors
If the book is so good why can't we deliver?
I quote God in the middle of the night
When I say, "Let there be light."

Words and Music by Jana Pochop © 2008 Patient Grasshopper Music (ASCAP)

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tracking The Early Year: New Mexico Boy

This one makes me smile because it kind of brings a neat story full circle for me. Susan Gibson was nice enough to sing background vocals on this tune, and by now you all know she is one of my favorite singer-songwriters and has been since I was in college.

We met in 2001 when she played in my Music Appreciation class. I was a freshman thinking about majoring in political science but secretly wanting to find a way to be a musician (and had been doing as such since about 5th grade). There wasn't a whole lot of example around Albuquerque of songwriters who toured and recorded on a sustainable level. Success to me meant a record deal and VH-1...which was totally out of reach. But THEN...I see this songwriter perform in my class who is making the music business work as a career without selling out to MTV, and who is writing honest and brilliant lyrics with a powerful guitar style.

Um, hello? I was smitten. Suz came back to New Mexico a few times over my college career and we got to know each other a little more, and when I moved out here to Austin she offered her help countless times to this very green-behind-the-ears kid new to the scene. She didn't have to do that, but she did. Lately I've been her Merch Girl and have gotten to see parts of Texas and the USA that I probably would not have for a while otherwise...and I'm psyched to be able to do my part and work the merch table magic.

When I opened for her during a couple of tours of New Mexico last year, I would always request a little harmony love on "New Mexico Boy" because she made it sound fantastic...so it was a no brainer to preserve it for posterity on The Early Year. Thanks, Suz, for everything.


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