Welcome! Here you can read all about my songwriting quest. It follows my adventures in making and finding music that builds community and defies traditional music industry tenets. You can expect to find videos, photos, and musings about music that makes me smile, as well as insight about ways that musicians are skipping the middle men and singing right to the fans. Thanks for coming!


Ani DiFranco at Ex'pressions College

A couple weeks ago--thanks to truly amazing friends and my quick typing fingers--I was the first to respond to an email saying there was an extra ticket to see Ani play at Ex'pression College in Emeryville. It was a pretty sweet setup. They get these great artists to come in and perform to give students the opportunity to film a live show. So my friend Ellen and I got to stand ten feet away from Ani as she belted out some new stuff.

Here's the link to the show. (The stream still isn't showing the entire show which is very annoying, but it's a good taste.)

The really interesting thing about Ani is how raw she is and always has been, about her politics and her relationships.  And it seems like now--she's with the man of her life and has a 3-year-old baby--her gritty relationship song days are over, but her political songs are back with the same poetry and intensity that sometimes gives me goosebumps.

I have to admit that being in a less angst-filled relationship has resulted in me listening to her less. But hearing her now was like seeing an old friend who has gotten her life together in a really positive way.

Oh, Ani DiFranco, how you've carried me through many rough patches.  Thanks for helping me never feel ashamed calling myself a feminist.


Not Music News...

So unrelated to anything music, GOOGLE found my blog!! Yea! I finally stop watching and look what happens!  Those little spiders hadn't seen anything I wrote since this blog was still various shades of ugly purple!  How embarrassing:

But now when I click on my Page Rank I can see the last time Google put my blog into their Rolodex of sites to tell people about when they search:
Does this matter?  In the grand scheme of things, probably not.  I'm sipping dubiously on the Kool Aid.  All of these tools that give you "insight" into how many people look at stuff and where exactly they're from is feels great.  But unless you're selling something specific and going to use the information to change the content of your site, it's really nothing more than a time suck... But suck away, because it's captivating!!


Another cover: Gillian Welch "Look at Miss Ohio"

So here's what happens when you don't spend the extra 4ish hours to awkwardly sync up video from a Flip to the audio of a Zoom:

For this one I hooked my Zoom H4n up to the laptop and used the internal camera on the laptop.  Dang. I've been under the impression that you can have crappier video if you still have great audio--and I think there's a lot of truth to that--but I think this shows it's nicer to have both! 

Maybe I'll try again.


The Bazaar Cafe

I just had a lovely night at The Bazaar Cafe way the hell out there on California at 22nd.  I've been hearing about this place for a long time now.  It's kind of a songwriter's hub/haven in SF.  It seems to have a pretty similar crowd to the Hotel Utah folks, but without amps and mics.  You come to Bazaar to listen.  I was messing around with an iPhone for a few minutes before I felt unbelievably rude.  Not that anyone made me feel that way, the place just commands that kind of presence.  Okay, I'm digressing.  The point is the cute little community these guys seem to have. Super talented and it seems like they hang out... (I promise not to be creepy.)  Here's a picture of the cafe.  So cute!

Actually, I noticed this little group the first time I was at Hotel Utah.  I had been to a few terrible open mics* in SF and then stumbled upon this little place where everyone was really talented.  Even the songs that I didn't like that much were really well done.  And right in the middle of me thinking "Man, these guys are great.  If only they were friends too..."  Some guy gets up and sings one of the host's songs!  He covered a friend's song!  Check, check, and check.  It does exist! Yea!

So here I go... Me. Next Thursday. Bazaar Cafe. 7:30. 

*At Amnesia once--and don't get me wrong, I adore that place!--right after I sang there was a man who came up and made the audience shout out Beatles songs for him to whistle.  He could whistle really well, but he had no idea how any of the songs went.


The Japanese Storyteller Returns!

Yea!  Hurray!  So I was mistaken the first time around.  This is not really a music thing.  BUT it's still awesome.  Kei Sakaguchi (the storyteller) teaches kindergarten in Japan and reads all over the place, in Japanese and in English.  So in the US he's been going around doing guerrilla readings.  He even went into various bookstores and asked to read.  Super cute.  And I gotta say, getting people to smile while they're on their way to MUNI is no small feat.  Well done!!

He also read a great Japanese story about farting, but I think that deserves its own separate video.


Cover: "Bien o Mal" by Julieta Venegas

Things I learned from making this 2 minute cover:
  1. Putting a video camera on a box doesn't mean you will automatically get your full head in the frame.  (This might have been a happy accident!)
  2. Trying to sync video from a Flip and audio from a ZoomH4 leads to approximately 4 extra hours of work.  However, it's not impossible.
  3. But it is impossible to do a silly cover video and not feel 12 years old.
  4. Despite the time it takes and the assured ridicule, it's fun to make silly videos.
  5. A fake drum solo will drown out most swearing.


Video Songs!

Ooooh!  I get it!! I wrote early about Pomplamoose and how they started this thing they called Video Songs. (A funny side note is that when you type "video song" into google, you get a link or so of Pomplamoose and then a ton of links to Bollywood songs.  I have this awesome image of the two being related.  But alas...)

Anyway, on their myspace page they've got a ton of subscribers, BUT only 3 subscriptions.  (I hope you're sensing the mysterious tone in my voice.)  Hmm.  Interesting.  So tons of people want see you, but you only care to see 3 people.  What could that possibly mean??  You guessed it!  VideoSongers! They are in the process of starting a movement.  A movement of 3!  Hear what you see and see what you hear in a video.  It's a good way to counteract the glossy, video-madness of today.  I like seeing (and showing!) what's under the hood. 

Get your head out of the gutter.

And stop clicking on my hyperlinks and navigating away from my page!

...I really need to figure out how to have them open in a new window.  Ideas??