June 21, 2004

The gig yesterday at See Sound Lounge was absolutely incredible. The place was packed, which they were very happy about since it was a Sunday and Father's Day. The front of the venue has a huge window which was opened to let in the breeze and it managed to draw some passery-by in as well while we played. We didn't set up under their big movie screen, rather we were right next to the bar and the window facing the street. Brian Quist came in with his cameras and filmed the entire event.

We met some fantastic people there, including a guy named Spencer, who gave us some great ideas on other Seattle venues to play, and some radio stations to contact about our material. He also said we should consider playing in the beautiful state of Hawaii. If we can swing it, the whole band would have their airline tickets and hotel accomodations paid for, and we'd be the exclusive band for one venue for a several weeks' stint, earning whatever they were able to pay us. (But when you're in Hawaii for free, you've already been paid, really.)

We were also offered another gig to play for an opening of an art exhibit. It's involved with the Seattle Art Musuem and would be a high-profile, high-exposure show, but we would have to stay through the evening of July 1st, and we simply don't think we can make the drive back to Columbia, Missouri in two days, in time to rest and rehearse for our Fire in the Sky show. But the man who offered us the gig is on our list to keep in contact with!

Prior to the show I conversed with a woman named Dinah Brein who is a songwriter whose music has been placed on numerous television shows and movies, who's been in Nashville for a decade, been in LA for a while, and is now in Seattle. She shared some advice, and we chatted for a while about my goals and direction, and she took my bio and other materials to peruse. I will be keeping in contact with her to see if we can establish a beneficial working relationship. A publicist can really make the difference between a flop and a successful show when you go to a town in which you are virtually unknown. They set the stage before you get there, setting up in-studio performances with radio, interviews sometimes on TV, usually radio, etc. It generally works better in catching people's attention than does putting up flyers on telephone poles, although that's something else that a publicist can line up if you get some people working for you.

The last time Michael and I played in Seattle as a duo we were at the Intiman Theater in Seattle Center and that was 4 years ago. Several people in the audience who had been to THAT show noted the change, the growth, the improvement in that time. Many people came up to us and commented on our chemistry onstage, which has been there from the start and is the reason this whole thing began. It was a very cool way to get back to our roots. At that time, four years ago, Michael's favorite song of mine was 'Sometimes Sun, Sometimes Rain' but now it is a newer song called 'All Along.'

We had a sound-duo (two people running sound for us) and one of them was a friend of the family named Lisa, who was one of my brother's very best friends from college until his death. Her drummer, Dave was also there with her helping with sound. At one set break, there was a group of people who had asked about my brother's death and were given the story behind 'Find Heaven.' Although we'd opened the show with it, they requested we play it again, so we made it the finale. The people who had requested it were very appreciative (one of them had recently lost a brother) but the sound guy was also teary-eyed over it. He's never met my brother, but said he felt he knew him through the music, and through what Lisa had told him. We all felt like he was there somehow, especially since my brother's probably the person most responsible for my love of and commitment to playing music.

Finally, perhaps the most special part of the day was having my grandmother Glenda there, who hasn't seen me perform live in over 6 years. She's 80 years old but looks and acts 60, and managed to calmly accept the hot venue, the loud music and the slightly tipsy people. She loved it. Her word was 'awesome.' And I thank her for requesting 'People on a Train,' because it may well be the best tune we performed that night, and most likely will be chosen for the live DVD footage that will be accompanying the Nashville EP. Thank you, Grandma! And if any of you reading this haven't seen it in my liner notes for my CDs, my grandmother is the true voice of an angel, the first person I knew closely who can sing like nobody's business.

It was a great day...the only thing I didn't get to do was talk to my father personally. He was gone and I had to leave a message on his answering machine. I don't think he'll ever make it to one of my live performances unless it's in Sandpoint, ID. Oh well, I still thought about him all day. It was Father's DAy after all.

June 17, 2004

Wow! Being in the Northwest, in my home territory again, makes me remember what it was like to look FORWARD to summer rather than DREAD it. Although the intense heat and humidity of Missouri is something you get used to after a while, it can never compare to the memories of my childhood summers when you could play outside for hours and only break a light sweat, it took a bit longer for those deadly ultraviolet rays to burn you, and the nights cooled down to where you could sometimes even see your breath, but you still didn't feel like you needed a jacket. It's light here until 10:15pm, the sky a beautiful indigo above the evergreens. The mountains and the water still take my breath away and I'll never get sick of this view.

It's so good to see my family again. Although my sister isn't here and I miss her very much, I get to see my mother, father, step-parents, grandmothers, cousins, and old friends. (I think I might even see some aunts and uncles and extended cousins this trip, too.) We're pretty concentrated in Washington and Idaho.

Since Michael and I are playing this Sunday (Father's Day) at a new martini bar in the Belltown area of Seattle (the area of the city the record label I am on was named for) we decided to do some pre-promotion for the show and get some strangers interested in coming. We saw a poster for an open mic yesterday at a Starbucks here. We showed up a half an hour after it had started and realized it was the last one of the year they were putting on and that it was primarily for students of the nearby high school. We signed up anyway (slot number 8, which ended up being place number 4 since nobody else had really signed up on the sheet - people were just being called out by name by the MC since everyone knew everybody else) and decided to play Gravity since everyone was only allowed one song. We were greeted by warmth and interest immediately, and the MC said we should play another tune. We'd definitely travelled the farthest and were the oldest ones there so our butts needed a break! :) Seriously though, we sold CDs to several attendees and hopefully those will multiply to be heard by more and more ears. There is NO wasted gig. And besides, my cousin Betsy won a free cup of coffee for us by guessing how much the MC paid to buy his pants and tailor them. She guessed $23, and it was $20, so she was closest. We also saw this kid named Dan get up and thrash around on-stage like every great rock star down the ages. He had Elvis, Mick Jagger, Robert Plant, and Trent Reznor down pat. He's one to watch for... :)

We did however, have to learn a little lesson about the venue we are playing at. We foolishly thought that since they served food, minors would be allowed and told several people at open mic who were interested to definitely attend. However, Washington liquor laws are much stricter than in other states, and now we don't know if these teenagers can attend, even with parents in tow. We were disappointed, but at least we got those CDs into their hands, even if we don't see them this Sunday in the crowd.

We've nailed down details with an independent filmmaker here named Brian Quist (he's fabulous - check him out online if you get a chance. He did a movie called 'A Day in the Hype of America which won the Rhode Island International Film Festival for best documentary - along with many other things) who's going to film the live show this Sunday and also film me being interviewed. This will be cut and spliced and put into DVD/CD format and hopefully tagged onto the end of the Nashville 5-song CD, so people will get their money's worth in a different way than the usual 11 or 12 song CD.

There may also be a publicist in the crowd who could get the band into the Bonneroo Festival here in Seattle - a GREAT one to play for exposure! All in all this is going to be a very productive trip.

Happy Father's Day to any dad that reads this...

June 11, 2004

Michael and I have decided to try to be ahead of the game today, and we spent all day and evening packing up the car in preparation for our trip across country to the northwest, even though we don't leave for another 24 hours. We plan on playing our D'Agostino's gig from 7-10pm, then breaking down and getting a couple of hours of driving in before we snuggle up in our comfy little car seats (yeah right) for a nap.

Our itinerary is to get to KC by 1 or 2 am Sunday, sleep for a few hours, then get up and drive all the way to Denver Colorado by Sunday evening. We then plan to head up north, passing through much of the southwest corner of Wyoming and to Idaho Falls on the next day. Our last day will be a long haul through southern Isaho, over into Oregon, then straight northwest to Seattle.

Great things are going to happen while we are in Seattle, including a gig at a new venue called See Sound Lounge. The gig might be filmed by an indy filmmaker there, who would then cut and splice pieces of an interview with me to be used as DVD footage on the Nashville CD.

Belltown was also recently contacted by a publicist who's going to come out to the show and meet with me. Some of the band members and I were talking the other day about the fact that I have a booking agent and everything else, but I really need a publicist! So perhaps this will work out. Apparently this woman has lived in LA and Nashville, and deals heavily with radio promotion, which is exactly what I'm looking for.

I will also be thrilled to see family and friends, some whom I haven't seen in years. We will also be attending my high school reunion, and it will be interesting to see what has happened with everyone in the intervening years. We also intend to enjoy the drive as much as possible, seeing some landmarks, some quirky roadside attractions like the biggest ball of twine, and whatever else floats our boat.

Then we will race home for what may prove to be one of our most exciting gigs: playing on Faurot Field for the pre-fireworks show on the Fourth of July. We can't wait to play where the Rolling Stones did... :)