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


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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stuff I Hope to Accomplish On Tour

So...yay it's all fun and joy when you're "on the road" and "going places" and stuff...except there's a weird psychological time warp when you're traveling daily. Let me explain it.

Logic: You have so much time to sit and do nothing between cities that you have plenty of time for making phone calls, reading, and attending to other things of self improvement.

Actuality: Who knows. Where it all goes.

Part of it is that Susan and I set up our mobile office in the front and spend hours booking, talking about booking, routing, dealing, wheeling, whining, dining, whatever you call it. We get a LOT done, even though spurts of Waffle House jokes arise inevitably.

After spending so much time on the laptop, reading and writing words, the last thing I want to do is spend some more time reading and writing words. My favorite form of "Jana Van Time" is making short films in iMovie. It's creative, but completely different from anything else, and usually hysterical. Plus I have something to show for it at the end.

I also have a weird distaste for holding phone conversations longer than 3 minutes in a small moving vehicle with other people in it. So phone chats are usually out. I like to think it's being polite to my fellow passengers.

That being said, I'm not into self-limiting behavior, and a month is a long time to be driving around, so I'm setting some goals for myself.

There's talk of starting to record EP 2 in July (BE STILL MY HEART) with Dan, so I have some song clean-up to do on the new tunes...and some rehearsal to do on the done ones, too.

Making different types of films while continuing my usual output is on the list. One of my year's goals is a 20 minute piece on being a Merch Girl, and another is to mimic the shorts that were included with the new Tori Amos album. Except not mimic TOO much...but go for the vibe. Work on my cuts and editing.

I've been playing guitar on some of Susan's set while she plays banjo, so we have plans for rehearsal when we have off days with no gig. That makes me excited. I have a lot of fun being the rhythm guitar player.

There's a lot of back end business stuff to attend to on my front...when I get back in July I want to gig with my new and beloved Trio...I need a business plan drawn up for the next album because I need to SELL THEM. (Imagine that. Do you have The Early Year yet? Do your 10 closest friends?) All the stuff I get paid to do for other people gets backburnered for myself. This is not a complaint because I'm learning tons...but after a while you feel really behind.

Oh yeah, and I want to read at least one book and write songs.

It's manageable, with focus and discipline. It's all fun so there's no worry that way. The best thing to do with the van bubble is to make it work in my favor instead of against me. I get to see some really pretty scenery along the way, too.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kerrville Folk Festival

Backstage Parking

All right, this is my 3rd year in Tejas and my first time at the Kerrville Folk Festival and all I can say is HOLY CRAP everyone is right. People rave about the Kerrville experience and it was just as cool as they all said. Which is rare to happen, by the way.

We rolled in and I played the Ballad Tree as one of the high falutin' Regional Selected Artists (finding my name in the program made me yelp with joy)...but it was very laid back and fun and I met about 8 New Mexicans at the Ballad Tree. Which is an actual tree, or used to be, with a kickbutt stage next to it. It's a mini-hike across the massive campgrounds to get there, and up on Chapel Hill, no less...I felt like I needed to hire my own monkey for the trip.

Ballad Tree stage.

Tuning and chatting.

Would you be my monkey?

I want that little triangular pop up trailer on the corner.

Then it was back to the mainstage area where I looked tough and checked in Susan's merchandise so that people could buy buy buy. And I had the night off from sell sell selling.

Merch Check In

Katie and I wandered backstage to the staff kitchen, where they served us some (what I assume were) vegan tamales and black beans and rice. Tasty. The whole staff was so happy to be there, too. Made us feel good.

Band food!

Then it was time for suSANG to rock the festival's face off, which she did. It was neat to wander the backstage area and also through the crowd and hear everyone's comments about how great the show was.


David Carroll, Karen Mal, Susan Gibson, Marian Brackney
Yay again!

Afterwards we wandered around the campgrounds, which is the other main attraction of a 3 week folk festival...the mini-compounds that get set up and often have traditions of gathering for 20+ years. My favorite happening was when one of us exclaimed in the middle of the road, "We need a guitar!" And then a passer-by said, "I have one." And it turned out to be my friend Grace who I had met at a songwriting competition...so we all sat in the middle of the road and passed Grace's guitar around in the dark. That's what they call a Kerrville Moment.

We had a late night and an early morning so we drove home...but I've got plans for next year already. I had better practice my tent-setting-up abilities...

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Yay Terri!

Yeah, those are my buddies Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines jamming with the Indigo Girls in Austin last Thursday...and Terri gets to sing her own VERSE! Yay! That is the ultimate in folk music cred right there, to sing "Closer to Fine" with the Girls. Terri's opening for them all weekend...so cool.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

@susannng on mainstage kerrville!

Jana Rockin' the ballad tree

Thanks for the photo boss! :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Things to Do in the Van

A hint of the salsa song...and various hijinx...

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Hometown Tour

What an intensely fun weekend that is now over and it's already Wednesday. How did that happen?

We started off last Thursday in Lubbock with a show at La Diosa, a fancy wine bar downtown. I had only ever driven through Lubbock previously, one trip involving college bud Beth and I taking way too long to get through town and we're not sure why, and another involving college bud Jamie and I taking way too long to get through town and we're not sure why. We're tried straight through and we've tried the loops, which makes me believe that Lubbock has what we have termed "The Lubbock Time Warp." Thankfully we stopped there and weren't just passing through.

Rear View

The next day it was off to Albuquerque for my hometown show at The Source. I think the door people laughed because everyone that came through the gate was someone I had to scream at and hug. I also was so busy talking that I TOOK NO PHOTOS. Dangit.

We did score some salsa from the lovely folks at El Pinto (who Twitter, too)...Jim was cool enough to come to the show and bring us a 6-pack. We were the hit of every place we went to after that because we always came bearing salsa. Thanks, Jim!

Since we knew El Pinto would be representing that night, Susan and I set up the Mac between the front seats, I pulled out my guitar and crunched into the passenger seat, and we wrote a very clever El Pinto jingle (if I do say so myself). The Albuquerqueans seemed to dig it a lot, so we're going to get a solid recording...because stuff like that needs to be shared, haha. What else are you going to do on a 6 hour drive except write songs in the passenger seat?


Then it was off to Susan's hometown of Amarillo for a gig at her old stomping grounds, OHMS Cafe. It's a fancy wine bar now (it was a more laid back cafe when she was an employee there), and I had some of the best food ever. It's nice to break the convenience store streak for dinner.

One neat thing to arise from the whole trip is that Susan is playing banjo onstage more (she is a killer banjo player) and I get to come up and be the back up guitarist for a few tunes each night. When there is a banjo vibe, anyway. (So far both wine bars have required a banjo, just so people don't think they're going to an uppity show). It's been awesome, and I didn't even implode when we played "Wayside" for the first time onstage with no rehearsal beforehand. It helps that I used to wear those Groobees records out in college. Nifty.

We've got our June tour almost all wrapped up in terms of logistics, I'm performing at the Ballad Tree at the Kerrville Folk Festival tomorrow, and we leave for Montana/Idaho/Wyoming/Colorado/Northern NM in a couple weeks. I need a nap!

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dub the Puppy

Pretty sure I'm an aunt to the cutest pup on the planet. Who doesn't need to see this face for a cheer up?


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Monday, May 18, 2009

A Big Day!

Someone buy me a corsage or something. :)

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Three Fridas

At La Diosa in Lubbock. Lovely venue and lovely people!

The art is my favorite.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Westward Bound

I found Bueno Chile in a grocery store in Austin last week. It was probably an omen that
I have to go to Albuquerque this week. Or something.

Whew. As evidenced by my photo posting from the road this past weekend...we were around. Lovely house concerts in Houston and San Antonio, and two stops at Buc-ee's, the second time during which I caved in and bought a t-shirt. This truck stop sells everything from cast iron dutch ovens shaped like Texas to silk flower arrangements to pickled quail eggs (I AM NOT LYING). Susan and I did admire a girly cut tee with the Buc-ee's Beaver bedazzled on it in rhinestones, but I went for a more traditional print.

This week we go to Lubbock, Amarillo, and ALBUQUERQUE. This is my first show there since November and my first non-house concert there in...two years. It's nice to play at a venue in your hometown, and AMP Concerts happen to be the people that hosted the very first house concert I ever attended, and the artist playing happened to be one Susan Gibson. Weird, huh? The circles that come back around again never cease to amaze me.

My Big Giant Accomplishment of the weekend was getting the Boss set up on Twitter. She's going to be a great Tweeter, I can tell already.

...As long as she doesn't tweet embarrassing things her tour monkey does....huh....

Maybe I made a mistake. :)

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Yes I did just buy a t-shirt at a truck stop.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ballad of the Merch Girl

Thanks, Conrad!

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These are shots from the Red Leaf Show at the Gibson Showroom last month. My Monday Night Songwriter's Group ladiez, Emily and Melissa, are so fun to play music with. I was just thinking that I hope I always portray my joy and gratitude for music when I play.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Status Report


Where the heck have I been? I don't even know. I finished moving last Thursday, as evidenced by the empty apartment below. Then I spent Friday kinda half-arranging my two new spots. Then I planted some chile plants on Saturday and slept a lot. Sunday was spent at Luckenbach for a great women's songwriter festival at which Susan headlined and kicked major butt. I forgot my camera. Oops.

I think my little ball of stress compartmentalized during the weeks prior to the move because I felt like crap this week. Saltines were a diet staple and that was about it. Meh.

Now I'm sitting at Patsy's Cowgirl Cafe in Austin, watching Susan and Mark Jungers songswap. It's quite enjoyable. I think I'll live. Also who wouldn't live when one gets to wake up to this view just a two minute walk from their TRAILER. Yeah, that's right.

More in a bit...time to pack in on up and drive home. The gig was fun. I am the only nerd sitting at a table in the venue on a laptop. Used to that.

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