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


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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wake up wake up we are fortunate

My old apartment is empty and locked. That's my alarm clock in the
middle of the room because for some reason I am a horrible packer and
it sat out a long time.

Katie helped me clean and move the last things out. I don't know how I
got a friend like her but you can't have her. I don't wish moving from
a third floor on my worst enemy. I think I went up and down stairs 100
times this week. Having friends help made it so much better.

That being said my grumpiness is over and I am excited for my two new
living spaces and the opportunities it will afford.

And next time I'm going to own less crap.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

On Song Contests, Competition, and Judging Art

I've been meaning to address this thought since last weekend but I've been knee deep in packing boxes. As of Thursday I will have to be completely out of my place, so phew! No more time to procrastinate. I'm kind of sick of updating my Facebook status with something involving boxes, packing, or re-locating said boxes to a new place...but that's what's on my mind so that's what you FB peeps have to see. Anyway.

The Songwriter's Serenade Contest in Halletsville turned into a really fun weekend. It was part of the larger Fiddler's Frolic competition, where I guess fiddlers from across the nation gather to...fiddle. It was cool. I was selected as a semi-finalist so I was one of 20 writers that performed Friday. The top 10 on Friday moved on to Saturday. I did not make the top 10.

That's a weird feeling because as an artist and writer I vacillate between "I AM AWESOME" and "MAYBE I SHOULD GO BE A BARISTA SHUTUP JANA" and then there's the between nitpicky things like "you should be practicing," "you should be making money," "you should do something with that song," "don't tell me what to do with my art," "I am cooler than that dude/girl/hamster over there," and other sundry and not very pleasant thoughts.

I also have genuine emotions that run more like "I am so happy to be here," "this is such a cool experience," "I'll do better next time," "judging contests is subjective," etc. It's a giant mind mess, really. All of us who write or compose or play out constantly spout the mantra that Art is Subjective and hey man, what works for me might not work for you. But then we throw ourselves at the mercy of songwriting judges just in case what we do works for them. And then we try not to be jealous and jerky when it's not. It's a weird process.

I guess my ultimate thoughts on the whole thing are that there ARE some solid criteria for a good song, and those can be judged. Period.

My thoughts on Halletsville are that my performance was not my A game. I didn't show up in that way that day. I played "Paper Rock Scissors" which I believe is an A game song. When you don't perform up to the standard of the song, how does that get judged? (That's a rhetorical question).

Long blog post summed up: I'll keep entering these things, I'm pleased with my reaction to not winning (i.e. no crying and screaming haha), I will improve my head game for competitions such as this, and in the process I always meet new and interesting writers. Win.

(And watch out next time cuz heads are gonna roll heehee).

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Halletsville Songwriter's Serenade Contest

Ready to rock. I'm contestant no. 16.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Is it May Yet?

My apartment is a mess. I will spare you the photographic evidence. I've been pretty scattered about packing because I usually am with moving but I have a little brain trigger that allows me know EXACTLY just how long I comfortably procrastinate before I get myself into trouble. This trigger works especially well for me with two things:

1. Writing history papers
2. Packing boxes

So I've been hacking away at it, but the other day I was chucking some things into a box and I had the sudden realization that since I will be splitting my time between Austin and Wimberley, I had to think about which box was going where, and then consider the contents accordingly. AND MY HEAD EXPLODED. I got over it, and I will live. The big stuff gets moved Tuesday. I have time.

In other news I'm an aunt to the cutest little puppy on the planet (sorry, other pup owners). We picked him up from our Crossroads hosts in Winnsboro...he's going to be a great van dog and my buddy when I'm living in Wimberley. His name is Romeo, but we've added "Dub" to his name (short for "W")...not for the President but because we got him in Winnsboro, he threw up in Waxahachie, we stopped for dinner in Waco and he sniffed around, and he lives in Wimberley now. A true dog of W's.

Look at that face.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Quarter of a Million Miles

250,200 on Susan's van when we were driving back from Winnsboro this weekend...congrats, Suz! That's a lot of bathroom stops.

250,200 Miles!  Congrats, Suz

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

At the Crossroads Again


We're driving back from Winnsboro, TX...Crossroads Music Company is a great venue about an hour and a half east of Dallas. It's run by my good friends Lynn Adler and Lindy Hearne, and the lovely and talented Kate Hearne. It's a wonderful listening room and one of my favorite venues ever.

There was a full circle moment for me because last July I opened for Susan at Crossroads (re-live that thanks to the glorious blog archive) and it was my first weekend as being a merch girl. I was kind of along for the ride as far as being useful goes, and it was fun and a great weekend.

But here we are almost a year later and I am now The Merch Girl, Tour Monkey, and whatever else you wanna call it. We went back to Winnsboro with much excitement, and I got to play with Marian and Kate (who is a killer guitar player). Susan then rocked the stage with Marian (she works all the time) with a great show that sucked the crowd in from the get go.

At the end Susan had me and Kate up to play the song that Susan and I wrote together called "Still Lovely When You Cry." Then Lynn joined us for "Wide Open Spaces"...Kate called it an estrogen fest and then Susan deemed it "Festrogen." That might not sell well on t-shirts.

Jana Pochop, Kate Hearne, Marian Brackney, Susan Gibson
Me, Kate, Marian, and Susan

Girls at Crossroads!

So there we go. So fun to return to the beginnings of merch girldom as well as hang out with such good people. There's more to this weekend story but that's another blog post...

Photos by Lindy Hearne! Yay Lindy!

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Trust the monkey

She's got my phone & credit card :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Holy Kerrville, Batman

Katie and Jana

Firstly, my Easter gig in New Braunfels was lovely and full of good folks and Katie sang my song "Ritalin" because she rocks it and it was so good. Thanks, Katie!

All right. So in case you're not familiar, the Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk Contest is "the thing" to enter if you are a singer-songwriter. Every year. Rain or shine. You send in your 2 songs and then in April, you check the New Folk Finalist list. You kind of check it with maybe one eye shut and one squinted toward the screen because there's always a morsel of hope. This was my second time entering.

So yesterday I squinted at the Kerrville site and did not see my name and was not surprised because there are people like Lucy Wainright Roche on that list. (I love her, go see her).

So then I kept reading about what happens and then there on the site it says: "In addition to the above finalists, we selected regional performers to appear at the BALLAD TREE to sing one of their songs."

And then I saw THIS:

Woooohooo! I got a little giddy. And maybe told everyone I know. And announced it to the whole lobby at Red Leaf. And I'll be toasting with Adler & Hearne in Winnsboro this weekend when I open the show at their lovely venue Crossroads Music Co. Even neater. And I get to play my tune on the same day that Susan is playing her main stage set at the festival. Neatest.

So this news doesn't ultimately help me pack boxes or send out emails, which is what needs to be done this morning...but it's nice to hum to in the background.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Forward Movement

Driving the Kickbutt Truck

Well all right. This weekend was productive...but first:


I went to a sunrise service this morning but it was raining so they moved it indoors and it was more of a Cloud Service. But that's ok, too.

On Thursday The Landlord and I got to work moving the merchandise out of the trailer I will be living in...or as she says, "We have to move the merch out so the merch girl can move in." She also suggested we just leave it in there because...merch IS my job after all. Somehow sleeping on pallets of CDs seems like it might give me back problems, though.

This all involved putting the stuff into the back of a kickbutt old Ford truck. This also involved the Boss getting a kick out of making me drive this behemoth of automobilia.

Kick Butt Truck
Collector's item. Awesome paint job.

I did a good job. No one died. No trees were taken out. I did make the Boss do the reverse back up the driveway. Trees WOULD lose their lives if I had to go backwards.

Riding in the Truck
Respect trees: don't drive into them.

We loaded up the merch, whereupon I found some retro stock, hand drawn by the artist herself. It's kind of a bright shirt. I got jokes about perhaps getting a construction helmet while I wore it. Thanks for that, friends.

Retro Merch

Friday was heading to La Grange to merch at the Bugle Boy (no, I did not wear that shirt) and see Susan and Beth Wood songswap. What a show. They complimented each other perfectly and I recommend you find yourself some Beth tunes.

Good buddy Katie and I spent yesterday cleaning and sorting...we're not done and we need a trip to IKEA, but soon I shall have a homey little space. Photos will happen when I decorate, yo. And in the meantime...I NEED TO PACK. After I play a gig in New Braunfels. I need a nap.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Move '09 Update

Dallas Traffic on a Friday
Home is where your iPhone is?

Erm...so I made the leap of buying some Rubbermaid bins today to put stuff in. I suppose that's start. It is April 8th, so I have about 22 days to get my act together. Except I'll be on the road the next two weekends, so...subtract 6 days or so. That leaves me with about 16 days. I Twittered that I would almost prefer chucking everything over the balcony and being done with it, but that would not be proper.

The good news is I have secured a great room in a great house that is about 3 blocks from the music school here in Austin, and the couple I am renting it from couldn't be cooler. Yay! It's strange how things work out sometimes. Or all the time, in my case. I call it "woowoo."

So when I'm working at Red Leaf my commute time will be about 3 minutes by car...I haven't walked it yet but it's short. And when I'm being a tour monkey I basically live on site. I like to chalk it up to reducing my carbon imprint.

Or something.


Monday, April 6, 2009

I got a good review.

That's always awesome to see/hear/read. This is kinda my first big print one, though...from Austin's INsite Magazine. I just picked up a few today to send to people. Or maybe like 20. You know. When you get compared to one of your favorite songwriters EVARRRR you get little happy.

You can read it here in larger print. Thanks to Josh for the JPEG!


Dear Gleason Booth who wrote the review,

If you ever need a beer*, a kidney, or a slightly used 13" television, you just give me a call. Thanks for that.

PS: *Yes, even imports.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Quirk on the Road

Field of Wildflowers

It seemed that everywhere we went yesterday brought us interesting interactions. I opened for Susan and Dana Cooper at Opening Bell in Dallas last night (FUN FUN show), but we started the day in Houston. Breakfast was at Taco Cabana, where a man was holding up the line because his receipt was wrong. He was threatening to call a branch manager and report the staff, all the while our glee at walking in before noon so we could score breakfast (11:56 AM) withered away while he ranted. Now, I don't know much about tacos but I do know this place has a menu of things that cost $1.50, so could his receipt really have been that big of a deal? Weird start to the day.

We stopped for diesel somewhere in north Houston and a car full of...I believe Buddhist monks (wearing the orange garments, anyway), were getting gas. I was dog-watching, but Susan and our friend Amy who was along for the trip said that all four of the monks in the store bought lotto tickets. They couldn't decide if they should have followed suit because the karma would have been good or the opposite.

The Road

We drove up 45 to Dallas and decided to stop at the ginormous Sam Houston statue in Huntsville to walk around. Such a neat little spot right off the road, with a giant likeness of Sam himself. The dogs probably enjoyed the big field the most, but we loved the wildflowers that are popping up in reds, yellows, pinks, whites, and the ever-present bluebonnets.


The Opening Bell show was super fun and the room was great and the company greater...

And then Susan and I had to head back to Austin afterwards because I have a Red Leaf showcase this afternoon. We thought a night drive would be better than sleeping a little and waking up and driving to make it back. So there I am in downtown Dallas, tapping on the convenience store window because they lock up at night even though they are open. The guy behind the counter asks what I want...and since I can't browse the aisles, I ask if he has Red Bull. He goes over to the fridge case and grabs 3 sizes and displays them in the window for me. I point decidedly at the mediums and pantomime "FIVE" at him (long drive...caffeine for two).

At this point he walks around to the front of the store and opens it up and says, "Nice girls get to come inside the store in the middle of the night." I'm sure he deals with a lot of not-savory characters. And he probably wonders why this kid pulls up in a van and wants to buy 5 Red Bulls. So I complete my transaction in the safety of the inside and then we're on our way.

I told Susan that while that was another quirk for our day's list, that guy probably thought the same about us. So it goes...

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hal Ketchum Sings Backup for Jana

Susan took this shot. We saw Hal Ketchum at Dosey Doe in Houston tonight. Hal had hits in the 90's on country radio, and anyone who knows me knows I have every 90's country song memorized. So I sang along to Hal songs a lot. Susan finds this amusing.

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