Singer, Songwriter slash Mom
Archive for August, 2012
23rd Aug 2012 Posted in: Blog Comments Off on There’s fun, then there’s FUN

So…there is nothing really FUN about sitting in a hotel room for 18 hours working on songs. But it’s the only way for me to focus, and…FOUR MORE, baby! I plowed through four more half baked ideas and they are just about done! Now, THAT is fun.

21st Aug 2012 Posted in: Blog 1

As anyone who has any online connection to me knows only too well, I just ran a  Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for my new album.

(And as soon as I’m done with this post, I’m headed to an undisclosed location to finish a few more songs I’ve been working on. Nothing like a deadline to get me motivated.)

Alright! Before I tell you about Disneyland, here’s an update on the Kickstarter premiums. I’ve got four scarves knitted and am almost done with the fifth, with six to go. (Knitting is the perfect Daily Show activity.) I’ve got a baking party scheduled for August 29th. (Thank you Michael Mariani, Kay Giles, Jane Handel & Sasha Heslip for spontaneously volunteering Kitchenaid mixers and baking assistance.)

Okay! So, last week, I had a blast fulfilling the first of the big premiums: Disneyland, baby! I know everyone doesn’t love Disneyland, but I really do. Not in an obsessed pin-collecting way, just in an appreciation of the imagination and creativity on display, as well as of the Fascist efficiency with which everything is run.

Here is the lovely couple – Claire and Kyle – with whom I had the pleasure of launching a no-holds-barred assault upon the Happiest Place on Earth!

The Kickstarter premium was for a Nightmare Between Halloween and Christmas blowout, but the generous person who purchased the premium gave it as a summer getaway to her daughter.

So instead of embracing creepiness, my friend Megan Bergkvist and I spent a day in the summer sun running for Fast Passes and guiding the lucky couple the quickest way through both parks. I was afraid it would be jammed, but it was one of those charmed days where the park is surprisingly not that full and we went on everything. It’s so satisfying to go on the wet rides when you are really hot. My usual strategy of going to Disneyland on a cold Wednesday in February doesn’t allow for this.

Not to brag, but I know where the cameras are on the rides, see?

But I’m not as cool as these guys. I don’t know who they were, but I had to show them to you because they were so awesome.

Happy couple again…see how they are able to stand alone? Not that crowded!

Okay…here’s something really weird. Along with the new Cars Land and reworking the entrance to more accurately depict the way California looked when Walt Disney came here, they’ve added a new attraction in California Adventure. It’s the “Mad T Party.”

Yep, not content to co-opt Hip-Hop on the Disney Channel, WDC has embraced the culture of Ke$ha and offers a nightly RAVE in a back alley of their Hollywood Boulevard.

“Inspired by Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland,” complete with a Cheshire Cat MC and a grungy looking Alice on backup vocals and a bar that sells a “Drink Me” cocktail.

Here’s an official photo of the band:

This is really strange, right?

In the candy store in down the block they were selling neon colored cookie bites that seriously looked like they might be dosed with Ecstasy and Cheshire Cat lollipops to, apparently, keep your mouth from drying out. I mean, really, WTF? I thought it was so weird, and that’s before I spotted the “Goth Goodness” candy corn. I know Disney culture can be strange and dark (and that’s one reason I like it), but this was pretty crazy!

Okay, so anyway, we ended up going  down our own rabbit hole when we took the Monorail to Downtown Disney for dinner and a cocktail. Sitting at the outside bar, our attention was drawn to a mesmerizing couple – a blonde with smeared black eye makeup in an extremely short quasi-Alice in Wonderland dress and her girlfriend who was kind of Walrus-like. I’m not going to say too much about it because I might have to incorporate them into a song, but I’ll just tell you that a table was tipped over and there were tears and it was all very, very dramatic. And then, we looked over at the next table and saw this.

Do you see it? Just above Megan’s hand. The ladies will know, because there’s only one sticker shaped like that.

Yes, someone patted that guy’s back and stuck upon it the protective sanitary sticker from a new bathing suit. These are the little moments that make a day at Disneyland so entertaining.

Alright! One Kickstarter reward down, 137 to go! This coming Saturday: the Steve Nicolaides cinematic adventure! Because I’m flexible and so are my lovely donors, it has evolved from a Search and Rescue themed narrative to a bizarro “down the rabbit hole” luncheon. More soon.



Oh, and P.S.: the Kickstarter is over, but if this post inspires you to commission me to take YOU to Disneyland, I’m totally willing to talk.


14th Aug 2012 Posted in: Blog Comments Off on Last Secret Supper for awhile: Elvis!

Hey, fellow heat stroke victims –

This Friday August 17th is the last Secret Supper for awhile, as I’m hunkering down to finish writing and complete preproduction on my new album. Edible Ojai was kind enough to run my article about these suppers. You can read it here.

So! I hope you’ll join JB White, Charlie Bosson and me for an evening of food and songs about and by Elvis. We will dig below the surface of the man with works by Gillian Welch, John Trudell, Jesse Winchester and, of course, Paul Simon.

And we will dig below the surface of the food Elvis loved, with re-engineered versions of his favorites. For example, instead of fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches, we are having:

Velvet Elvis cocktail
Black-Eyed Pea Crostini with raisins and wilted greens

Peanut Soup with Plantain Croutons
Sweet Potato Biscuits with Ham, Arugula and Basil Blackberry Balsamic Drizzle
Marinated Collard Green Salad

Chess Pie

Suggested pairing: a light white like a Sauvignon Blanc or an IPA would be nice. I’ll have ice for you to put your bottles in.

It’s the usual: $40 at the door, made out to “Fractured Atlas,” includes cocktail, dinner and the show. BYOB if you’d like wine or beer with dinner.

Hit me back to reserve your spot. We’re going to eat under the trees, because it’s just too damn hot to be inside.

Hope to see you there!


P.S. For those of you who would still like to participate in my “Icing on the Cake” Kickstarter campaign and all its fun prizes, it closes this Saturday! It’s not too late to get in on the cookies, pasta sauce, personalized concerts and Guerilla trip to Disneyland. Click here for all the details!

9th Aug 2012 Posted in: Blog Comments Off on Alan Thornhill & Martin Young THIS Saturday

Hey folks – it’s been a bit of a dry spell, so I think it’s time for a summer house concert!

On Saturday August 11th, we’re hosting Ojai songwriter/singer/guitarist Alan Thornhill and stellar guitarist Martin Young, recently returned from Nashville to his hometown of Ojai. It’s the usual drill: potluck at 6:30, show at 8:00. Email for reservations and directions. Donations $20/person and it all goes to the guys.

When I was first starting out as a musician in the 1980’s I had the good fortune to befriend Alan and Martin, and they’ve both played with me at a number of shows – most recently at the Art Center summer music series. They have a long and celebrated history of performing together in Ojai, and I’m stoked to have the chance to host them at my house.

Okay! I hope to see you on the 11th! Write me back for reservations/directions.

About Martin:

Martin is a professional musician who has played and performed for many years all over the U.S. in major markets along with national TV shows such as The Tonight Show, Letterman, Good Morning America. His longest running gig was on the road and in the studio playing guitar for country singer Clint Black for 16 years. Martin has also performed with Martina McBride, Don Henley, Lori Morgan and Chely Wright. Martin is now producing independent artists for custom CD projects and running Music City Demos in Nashville and Ojai.

About Alan:

Long recognized as a notably brilliant player (winner of the prestigious Telluride Fingerstyle Guitar Championship,) his distinctive sound has been featured on numerous recordings (Kate Wolfe, Chris Hillman, Hoyt Axton, The Rincon Ramblers and more.) While his melodic playing captivates audiences of all ages, from concert halls to festival stages, it is simply a stunning accompaniment to what is called by many “one of the most beautiful voices ever heard.” Alan’s a singer admired by his peers and beloved by devoted fans and mesmerized first timers.

This award winning songwriter (American Song Festival, Mavric Music Awards) has been well-covered by Kenny Loggins, The Desert Rose Band, The Cache Valley Drifters, Chris Hillman, Michael Parks, Jim Messina and others. His place among the best was confirmed with the release of his solo album, “Sittin’ Out the Rain.” A spectacular showcase of Alan’s definitive songwriting, guitar playing, and vocal flair, the album, recorded in Nashville and produced by Pat Flynn (New Grass Revival) has been very well-received. “Sittin’ Out the Rain” has quickly become a favorite with fans and a testament to the talented guitar player, singer, songwriter, ‘guitarpenter’ from Ojai, CA. “Sittin’ Out the Rain” has just been chosen the winner of 2008 Mavric Music Awards-Album of the Year. Also chosen was “Lovers’ Question”, Country Song of the Year, and “Martin’s Tune”, Instrumental Performance of the Year.

Alan’s next solo release “Silver Morning” is a collection of thirteen original songs produced by Alan and Jim Monahan. The arrangements are more acoustically flavored and allow the artist and his songs to speak for themselves. Along with Alan’s guitar and vocals, “Silver Morning” includes Jim Monahan; Fender bass, weissenborn, and mandolin, Bob Nichols; drums and percussion, Tom Ball; harmonica, Gabe Witcher; fiddle, Randy Tico; fretless bass, Angus Cooke; cello, and Jeff Elliott; flugelhorn. Engineered by Steve Miles, “Silver Morning” was recorded in Santa Barbara and has received enthusiastic response from fans, old and new.

Alan’s latest release is ‘Guitarpenter’s Dream’ , an album of eleven original instrumental pieces recorded at home over the past Winter and Spring. Alan had often been asked about recording a collection of his instrumental songs, and ‘Guitarpenter’s Dream’ is just that. Recorded at home , this record has captured the warmth and melodies of his unique guitar style, as well as an occasional crackle of the fireplace, and the warmth of the 1928 stone house where it was recorded. Guitarpenters Dream was nominated for 2008 Mavric Music Awards Instrumental Album of the Year.

It is said that “an evening of Alan’s music is like nothing else”, and his albums are well worth a listen, a “rare documentation of musical jewels” from this guitar player, singer, songwriter, teacher, guitarpenter’ from Ojai, California.