March 25, 2005

My recent trip to Nashville to discuss my next project was awesome. Michael accompanied me and we stayed at the home of my producer, Matthew Wilder. Matt and I discussed which songs we'd like to work on together for the next 5-song project. We are even more focused on creating radio ready singles, since that is what we were"hired" to do by the people who are investing in the project. They will pay for the recording and mastering of the project, and possibly even the packaging, as well as give me a stipend for my travels. This is essentially my first 'publishing deal'. The object is to get the songs heard by as many industry contacts as possible, get the tracks on radio or purchased by a major label as part of a deal. Meanwhile, my first 5-song EP "Out of the Wilderness" continues to be presented to industry contacts, and is doing very well on college radio.

While we were in Nashville this time, we discussed the showcase series Matt Wilder will be directing, which is hosted by ASCAP. It will take place once a month (I will probably go once a month or every other month to showcase) at a club called 3rd and Lindsley. We went to the club to check it out. Great sound, good crowd for a Monday which bodes well for our Tuesday night showcase, and one of the places alternative-rock talent is being searched-for right now in Nashville. Matt ended up sitting next to a man I didn't recognize, but was soon introduced to me (I won't give his name in the interest of his privacy). As we chatted I learned more about this man's history, and realized I was in the presence of someone very important. It was only when the night was over and we were in the car on the way home that I learned just HOW important this man is. He single-handedly was reponsible for getting Celine Dion her first hit in America, persuading radio to play it. He has managed bands ranging from heavy metal bands like Slayer to country bands like The Judds. He's the type of man who could take you under his wing and make your career happen. And, he was down-to-earth and easy to talk to. He will possibly be at my showcase on the 26th, which makes me a little more nervous, but mostly I'm excited about performing. Although details are not finalized, it looks like Michael will accompany me on Djembe if he can make the trip, and possibly some of the amazing musicians who played on my first EP and who I've talked about a lot in previous blogs, on my website, and in my newsletter will also perform with us that night.

Speaking of those studio musicians, we had a chance to have dinner with Gary and Jerry and their families. Mexican food! These musicians raise cool kids! :)

I also had a chance to work out in an awesome YMCA. I'd been wondering about those 'cool gyms' which are kept at a lower tempetature, like 60 degrees or so. It was almost cold when we got in, but it made my workout easier, I didn't feel as sweaty and uncomfortable, and supposedly you burn more calories working out while also trying to stay warm. I'm running an average of 7.6 miles 6 times a week, and I guess I'm publishing this in my blog because I'm proud of myself. Running and working out like a mad woman is a way for me to test myself physically and mentally, and push my boundaries. It is also improving my performances, breath support, posture, strength, etc.

My mother sent me an Easter basket, it was the cutest thing ever. I get all sappy when I talk about my mom. She is one of those wonderful women who remember every holiday and make you feel so special by sending you something. I ate all the chocolate right away. When it comes to candy and gifts from my mom, I am like a five-year old at Christmas!

April is going to be a great month music-wise, with the band playing on Sunday the 24th for Earth Day in Peace Park, the Nashville showcase on Tuesday the 26th, and a second time opening for Little Feat at the Blue Note on Friday the 29th. Into the wild blue yonder!

March 12, 2005

The Officer Down Benefit Concert on February 26th was you can see by the current date, it has taken me a while to absorb and reflect on everything. Although I could go into extreme detail about the night, as it is burned into my memory as a nearly flawless event, there are only a few very simple things that really need to be said.

Meeting Molly's parents, others who knew her, and meeting Curtis Brown (the other officer wounded that night) was incredible. I hugged them, and tears that had been threatening behind my eyes all evening finally came forth. That was the moment it ALL became worth it.

The songs felt so right that night, imbued with higher meaning.

God was with us, guiding us. Must have been, because the band played better than ever, and I don't say that from an egotistical place, I just believe that it was meant to be a great night, even beyond us. The crowd gave us a standing ovation, which was a wonderful feeling since I truly felt it was not just about the music we had played, it was about the feeling we had given people. I hope, as I said that night, we gave them a little joy and a lot of hope.

The people who were there in the crowd that night receive my warmest thanks, and the appreciation of everyone in the band, and of the organizers, particularly Tim Fancher, who started the whole thing.

Next we must send out many thank you cards (and this will also be a digital thanks) to all the media supporters, those who gave donations, ticket outlets, and private individuals who helped make it happen. We will remember those who gave of their time, talent, energy, and hearts.

Perhaps in another e-mail I will speak more about the songs that night, some of the experiences I had meeting audience members, the venue and the cool things that happened, even a few amusing stories, and some of the post-show facts like how much money was raised, etc, but for now, let's just leave it at this: it was as it was meant to be. And it was phenomenal.

My heart, once again, goes out to Molly's family and friends, Curtis Brown and his family and friends, and my warmest thanks possible to everyone who supported the concert and the Officer Down Fund in whatever way they could.

Marisa, Shawn, Anthony, and Michelle: you guys rock! Family is what it's about.