I went to the Northwoods for two days and it was glorious

I just got back from the Great North Country.

I went up for three days with Rob to a visit a friend who lives alone on a small island on a lake in the summertime.

I wish, of course, that I could have stayed longer.

I got in a canoe and headed out one morning by myself, which is what I did as a child and as a teenager for many long hours on Lake Vermilion.

You can bring an old guitar and a notebook and you can write songs floating in the shadows along the shoreline in a small bay with a virgin shoreline, never marred by human occupation, just the round lake stones, the green moss, the ferns, the tall grasses, the birches reaching up fresh and white.

You can step out into the cold clear water along the shore, holding your canoe by it's rope like it's your pet horse, and you can walk in the fine off white sand, feeling it luxuriate beneath your toes, feeling the water rejuvenate your ankles. You can see all the tiny fresh water shells, the smooth rocks, the tiny crayfish.

This is who I was again for a brief moment this early summer. 

Tonight, a show at 6pm at the Aster Cafe.

Later this week a songwriter workshop at the Chicago Public Library in Flossmore, plus a show with Rob at the Blue Island Brewery in Chicago.

This coming Saturday, a special house concert in Minneapolis.

In the meantime, this morning my car has to make it to the dealership because the engine is missing and the engine light is flashing furiously.

We're lucky to have made it home from the Great North at all!

 

first feedback on my second novel

Last night I invited a friend over to Rob's house for dinner.

She is the first person who has read my second book.

It isn't even a book yet, it's a manuscript hoping to become a book.

No one has seen it but this one friend of mine.

This friend has helped me in immeasurable ways.

From early on in this full time artist journey, she's arrived with armloads of fun cheerful groceries with beautiful crackers and cheeses from Trader Joe's and chocolate covered almonds and other neat fun stuff that has kept my spirits up. She has slipped me cash when I didn't ask for it, didn't know anyone knew, didn't know how to respond.

She knew what I needed before I did.

How?

And why?

There's no telling how one person can be this way, so kind and generous and concerned.

This friend is also very wise and has given me really valuable feedback on my recordings and songwriting for many years.

She also has been very helpful about the books because she has some background in publishing.

How does a person like me get so lucky to have a friend like this?

She has known me for twenty-two years and she hasn't given up on me yet.

So, I invited her for dinner and made a marinated pork tenderloin on the grill.

I made grilled corn and cut it off the cobs and made it into creamed corn with bacon and cream. If you want to know how to make this, it's pretty much what I just said, and it's awesome.

We also had broccoli, and grilled bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

We had raspberries and whipped cream for dessert.

We drank a bottle and a half of white wine.

We sat on Rob's back patio and looked at my gardening efforts which are looking promising.

In the midst of all this, she gave me her observations about my new manuscript.

She thinks it's really good.

She liked it.

She thinks it follows up the last book the way it's supposed to but she thinks it can stand alone as well.

We talked until midnight, throwing in every other imaginable topic.

I am grateful for nights like this one.

I am grateful for friends like her.

Friend, if you're reading this, I love you.

a lot to learn

I have had a lot to learn.

My mean Mom used to always say, and sometimes still says to me, "Boy, you've sure got a lot to learn."

My mom isn't as mean as she used to be, but that could be in part because I don't have as much to learn as I used to...haha!

Probably true.

I had a lot to learn about feeling ashamed about my Dad and what he did and what happened to him.

Before he lost everything and disappeared, my Dad went around acting like he was a big shot, "a showboat" as my mother used to say about him.

She used to tell him he had a lot to learn too. He did.

Also my Mom said often to me that I was just like my father, which meant that I was an arrogant self centered good time charlie showboat of a person.

I did a lot of bad things in my teens and twenties and thirties and forties. Not drugs and crime type things, just poor conduct, poor treatment of others kinds of things.

I was a good mother, thank God. I mustered everything I knew about being a good person and focused it all on my children.

I still made a lot of mistakes, but my kids and I are all very close, so again, thank God for that.

Before I could learn any lesson I first have had to identify what the fear is.

So, the fear of being a bad person who would in the end cause my own ruin and demise has been a real part of my life.

Also the fear, or presumption, that people wouldn't like me because of my shameful family history has hung around me like a shroud.

I have been angry at people, feeling misunderstood or not understood.

I have felt isolated.

I have felt embarrassed about my conduct, unable to control my actions, acting in ways I regret, out of resentment, anger, bitterness.

In some moments I have said too little, unsure of how to act.

In some moments I have said way too much, determined to show people who I am, what power I've got under the hood.

All this leads to shame and a guilty conscience and a lousy feeling you just can't shake.

Sometimes I think these are some of the ways people get depressed.

Trapped in your own way of thinking and relating that ain't working for nobody least of all yourself.

I am rising above this shit now.

I am rising above it but keeping my feelings and my expectations and my desires straight, like straight out from my heart, not up too high, not down too low, just straight out from my heart to the hearts of others.

My Dad died before I ever got back to him.

I will say to him today if he's listening, "Dad, I loved you. I love you still. You were a bad ass boss of a guy. I learned a lot from you, good and bad. I'm sorry we all turned on you. I'm sorry we never got back together. I'm gonna make it up to you the rest of my life. I'm gonna play your favorite music and I'm gonna do what you never were able to do. I'm gonna be a happy successful person. And I'm gonna always wear cool shoes like you did Dad."

   

Miracles happen when fear is replaced by love

Miracles happen every time when fear is replaced by love.

To make this less unbelievable I will also clarify that there are only two things for the human mind, fear and love.

What do you think of that?

I've read it from guru types for years, and guru types have been saying it since the dawn of man.

Certainly, Buddha and Jesus talked this way.

Yesterday I worked with a client who consults with me weekly to keep his creative writing project on track.

We both think it's working. He's writing his first novel; it's getting written and it's excellent.

Yesterday I thanked him for being one of the generous and kind souls who bailed me out in Chicago.

I thanked him and I added that if he would like, he could take a discount off of my next few sessions, in case he felt he would rather be reimbursed.

I told him that several people had given money, some of them kept giving after it was clear that I had the bare minimum of $60 for gas back to Mpls, and maybe $10 for a sandwich.

He said that my asking and his responding had set off a chain reaction and the three things he had been selling on ebay that weren't selling but were each priced at $60, the amount he had given me, suddenly all sold over the weekend after he gave me the $60 donation.

So he said that the giving of $60 had created a payback by the Universe and he was rewarded with a sale of $180.

Do you hate reading stories like this?

Are you fuming at how lame it is for me and my client to make these connections and decide to attribute these events to the working of miracles?

Well, get that chip off your God given shoulder and join the party of life! Jump in the beautiful spring fed lake of love.

It's awesome living with a joyful feeling of faith that makes everything possible and nothing shameful.

One thing too is to be able to recognize when you are thinking in terms of fear and to quickly turn your thoughts into thoughts of love.

Ten years ago I hated a lot of people, a lot of things, a lot of situations.

I don't any more.

I think all my touring and my endeavoring to succeed these last few years, and living with the humbling truth that I used up all the money I had, and all the credit I had, and still didn't turn around my career and make it profitable, these are humbling facts.

You can fake it until you make it, but if you run out of gas on the freeway to success you will be pushing that car and you can't fake that.

When things get tough like that you have to start working in the currency of miracles.

You have to start exchanging fear for love if you hope to survive.

If you don't want to end up with the red scarf or the bathrobe tie belt around your neck, you have to learn a way to turn your straw into gold.

Not money, feelings.

Fear into Love.

Will you be able to stave off depression and suicidal thoughts?

Maybe not.

Maybe you need medication for that.

Maybe even then, it will be bigger than you are.

I knew a lovely man who was a minister.

He had a very loving wife and teenage son.

He had a congregation of people who loved him, including me.

He became so overwhelmingly suicidal that he checked himself into the Mayo Clinic lock in psych ward in Rochester, MN.

One morning, accompanied at all times by a guardian because they knew he was suicidal, he was being guided from his room to the cafeteria for his breakfast.

He turned suddenly.

And in front of the attendant, and others, he threw himself through the plate glass window in the hall and plunged to his death four floors below.

This man loved his family, he loved his God.

But literally nothing was going to stop him from ending his life.

I have no idea why.

On this note, all I'm saying is give peace a chance.

Let Love Rule.

You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one.

I hope some day you'll join us.

And the world will live as one.

 

 

creative again!

It feels good to be creative again! Yesterday I did some gardening finally in Rob's backyard.

I've been talking about gardening since I was in Germany and my beautiful fans there inspired me with one of their lovely gardens.

I got back saying that even though the house I live in isn't mine, it is my only home, and the home owner has said, "Garden away!"

But the work of the second "A Girl Called Sidney" book hung over me and kept me from doing anything else.

I was booking tours for my summer because that had to be done, I was continuing to make appearances for book events and music shows, and I was finishing the manuscript.

Those activities are all necessities.

But gardening is soulful pure joy.

So finally yesterday, the Chicago trip successfully completed, the manuscript turned in, I put on my bikini top and a pair of cut off jean shorts, a straw hat, a pair of flowered gardening gloves, and my knee high green Hunter rubber boots.

I got out of the garage my beloved Vermont style garden cart, my spade, my trowel, my small rake.

I found so many beautiful little plants coming up, some blossoming already.

The clump of raspberry bushes I planted last year has many blossoms, and many delightful yellow and black small fuzzy bees were there! Bees! thank God they aren't all dead, at least not yet!

Rob's back yard is the wilderness to Rob's front porch which is civilization comparably.

You all saw the porch fix up earlier this Spring.

That project felt like a necessity to me because I wanted to sit out there and write.

And I do!

But Rob's backyard is a city lot size, and fenced in with a tall wooden fence all around. The center is all grass but there are a wild variety of plants growing around the perimeter.

I am allowed to discern for myself what should stay and what should go.

Sadly, quite a few undesirables lost their lives yesterday, ending up in my brush pile in the far corner.

However, there were quite a few new volunteers, especially the Black Eyed Susans, who reseeded themselves along the stone path at the back by the garage and I let all of them stay right where they put themselves because they're so cute and cheerful.

I found a little Maple tree trying to grow from behind the fire pit.

The little Maple was very strong and brave to assert himself in such a difficult spot so I transplanted him, thinking he will have the fortitude to survive the move. He has a place of honor now in the middle of the grassy yard and will hopefully be there for a hundred years or more.

I hope he makes it.

It was a wonderful day. I felt like my old self again. Or like my favorite self.

 

ways of writing

I see from writing this daily blog that there are different ways of writing.

The post I wrote as an S.O.S. two days ago was written in haste while traveling.

The post I wrote yesterday was written back in Mpls after eight hours of driving.

Last night's post could be edited.

I could rework it to be clearer, to communicate more literally what I was thinking about on my eight hour drive.

But I like these posts that are more like a sketch that only alludes to the actual punch line but maybe never actually says it.

I think poetry can be that way.

Maybe people like to just have things gestured to, a wave of the hand in the direction of what the speaker would like you to see.

A photograph where something is happening but we cannot say for sure....maybe people find these things to be tantalizing.

My youngest child, my son, has been on a train from Budapest to Belgrade these past twenty-four hours.

He is living the strange magic of travel right now.

Travel can be insulated by money so that the traveler is shuttled from one oasis of wealth to another, from one beautiful brunch to another beautiful dinner.

But travel can be raw and exposing and can make you see, really see what it's all about.

Nothing can be explained fully, no person's inner life can be laid plain.

Nothing can be fleshed out to full satisfaction.

The best food, the best sex, the best love, the best music, the best gardens, the best conversations, it all slips through our fingers like sand.

What do we really have?

What can be captured?

The hummingbird comes to the hanging baskets on the front porch every day now and I can barely get a glimpse of his beauty before he is gone.

 

 

Tonight

Tonight I'm back in Minneapolis at Rob's house contemplating the mysteries of this world.

Suicides this past week have me thinking about how we support each other in life.

People make all kinds of mistakes and errors in judgement, and we are holding people to high moral standards lately with the #MeToo movement and more.

But do we know how to help people deal with their failings and failures, their aberrant behaviors, their bad thoughts, bad words, bad deeds?

Do we want people to have an overnight epiphany and change like Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol?

Are we able to give people the time and forgiveness it takes to change for the better?

I'm not saying that everyone has a guilty conscience.

But maybe everyone does.

I have grappled today with the way I panicked yesterday in Chicago.

There are many reasons why money has been such a challenge for me in recent years.

I have been honest about all of those reasons.

Some are about trying to make an artistic career full time late in life.

Some have to do with the way I left a conventional secure situation to more authentically pursue who I thought I could be.

I sent out an S.O.S. yesterday because being in Chicago with so little money scared me.

I felt that if anything, one little thing went wrong, that I'd be in real trouble.

I made a guess and asked my fans.

They responded with so much support, psychological and financial.

I am so grateful.

Do I deserve their help?

I don't know, but they knew and they gave it, and that means everything to me.

.

 

S.O.S.

Help! If you’re reading this and you are in a position to make a donation to the arts, please consider helping me, a full time artist, out today with gas and food money to get back from Chicago tomorrow. I am praying that people will buy my music today at my show at the Homewood Street Fest. if you want to help out you can send me money through facebook messenger cash, through paypal to my cy@courtneyyasmineh.com email address or through my gofundme.com Courtney Yasmineh New Album fund which has gone into overtime.

any help is greatly appreciated, love to you all

Chicago today and tomorrow!

I have an author event and a solo street fest performance today and tomorrow in Chicago!

I am leaving now to drive down and I plan to get into the city early and just walk around my hometown a bit.

This is a very great opportunity for me to reach another audience with my book/books and with my music.

I don't look forward to the author events because I don't love the feeling of being an author in that tribe of people.

But I love writing books and I love my books.

I write from a place of a songwriter writing about the life and perspective of a songwriter.

I don't know if I will write books later that have nothing to do with music and are just social commentary.

I might do that.

But right now anyway I'd MUCH rather play you a song on my guitar than read a passage from my book out loud to you.

Honestly, I hate doing that.

But this attitude may be obstructive and I will continue to try to be open minded about it.

I read today from my first published novel at 6:30pm in Chicago and I have the six hour drive to get my attitude straightened out.

I am very very grateful to be invited to do this.

I will remember that I'm very grateful to share my work with a potential new audience and I will enjoy reading out loud from my book.

I will.

I promise I will.

too much time on my hands

Wow, now that I have finished the manuscript for my second novel, which took me less than a year to complete, I have a lot of new time on my hands!

I didn't realize how much of a drain it adds to your daily life when every waking moment there is a big project hanging over your head that you should be working on.

Damn does it feel good to have that off my to do list! 

I walked around yesterday feeling untethered.

But it's not so much untethered.

It's more like I have been dragging the anchor of my little tugboat and suddenly I pulled up the anchor and can go so much faster with so much less effort!

Woohoo!

I think too that sitting around writing a book also takes all that time away from doing things like booking gigs and playing gigs which actually bring in money.

Also, all of my jogging, walking, bicycle riding brain time has been devoted to the finishing of the novel as well, which means I wasn't generating new ideas in the realm of planning tours or writing songs.

Also, I want to make some new music videos for my new album!

This has to happen asap.

Money is always a factor in making music videos and I think I may return to my gofundme.com page and think about setting up a new fundraiser to make three music videos for the new album. The music videos I have done for my songs have really been my very best way of promoting my music besides being there in person putting on a show.

Music videos!!!!!

In the meantime, here is the porch this morning in a rain storm. I was out at 6am. I don't need to get up this early now that the book is done.

But of course it's a four book series so I might as well keep the habit going because I will have to start book three some day soon.

Don't think about it!!! Too soon!

I'll probably start it in the Fall.

Once the music videos are done!

 

Book Two is turned in!

I finished writing my second book yesterday.

It's the second novel in a four book series about a girl named Sidney who's a songwriter.

The stories are based on my own life and on my struggle to become a full time artist.

It's four books because it has taken me fifty-seven years to become a full time artist who can support herself, even if it is by the skin of my teeth.

I am driving to Chicago for two appearances this week.

I leave on Thursday morning and drive straight to an author event at a bookstore in Chicago in the evening.

I only have about two hundred dollars to my name right now and my credit card is maxed out so I am just praying nothing goes wrong.

The second event on Friday is a solo music performance at an outdoor street fair that I am very excited about and they are paying me a nice amount to play but they aren't sending me a check until later in the month.

I hope people will buy my recordings. I can't sell my books there because the publisher has a book table at these Chicago events and she gets all the revenue from any of my books she sells until my initial advance is paid off.

It's a tough world, people.

Everybody is always trying to make a buck off of everyone else.

Until you are playing that game yourself you don't recognize the signs of it in everyone else.

I remember a drummer I used to work with yelling at a guy who came up to us begging on the street.

He yelled, "Forget it brother, you're just gonna go buy some crack with it. Yeah, well, I gotta buy my own crack!"

Haha!

The struggle is real.

The hustle is mandatory.

heavy load

People in my family have made a lot of mistakes.

I'm being confronted with the trail of mistakes as I finish my second novel about Sidney, who, as you probably know by now, is based on me.

Thank God for a guy at the 318 Cafe the other night who came up to tell me that he had read my first book in the Sidney series and loved it.

Rob was standing near me when the guy came up and so Rob was a witness to what this man said.

He said that he read my book fairly quickly, thinking to himself that it was pretty good writing.

He said that he reads a lot of literary fiction so he feels he has a good sense of comparison.

He said that when he finished my book he suddenly thought that I was a really good writer, like, a real writer, like much better than he had expected.

He said he thought about that for a while, not really being sure.

So, recently he decided to read my book again, to see how he felt about it now.

He was very excited to tell me, and Rob, that he thinks I'm a really good writer. He thinks it's a really good book.

He says the second reading clinched it because it seemed even better the second time through.

I told him that I look forward to him reading book two.

Book two is finished now and I'm sending it in today to the publisher.

The publisher can accept it or reject it of course.

That's how these things go.

What I have taken away from the writing of the second book is that the people in my family made a lot of mistakes.

Sidney makes mistakes.

I have made many many mistakes.

I try not to have any regrets though.

I married a man I ended up feeling I had to leave, but along the way I gave birth to three beautiful people and have had the great gift of being their mom.

How can you regret a romantic alliance that brings three great people into the world and into your life?

I don't think I can separate my mistakes from my blessings, my mistakes from my dreams, my mistakes from my successes.

The successes have been few, yes, I see that.

The successes have been few in my family too.

But I am going to keep trying.

last night

Last night I went out to Excelsior, MN to a small cafe with live music where I have played shows for almost twenty years now. I wasn't on the bill, it was a fellow Mpls musician's show. The songwriter and the backing musicians on the bill for the evening were all really great.

I think that trying to be an international superstar takes it's toll on my friendships, the relationships I have with other musicians, and my own psyche.

Having grand expectations and lofty aspirations sets me apart and makes me feel apart.

I feel like I have to be excellent, nothing short of excellent, the very best me I can possibly be, the very best me that is humanly possible every time I do anything or go anywhere.

That's a lot of pressure.

Clearly, no one else cares but me.

But not so!

Other people who have helped me, or those who have endorsed me, those who have put time and energy and money into supporting my music all care too.

Nobody wants to go around telling everybody how great this one music artist is only to have that artist make them look bad by Sucking Royally when they finally get up on stage.

I got invited up to play a song.

I could have declined, knowing that I didn't have time to warm up my voice, knowing that I was stepping in with someone else's guitar and sound set up.

I thought it would be lame to say no because everything wasn't perfect.

I thought I should just get up there, no pressure, and be a good sport and have fun.

But it ain't that simple when you've been going around with a megaphone on social media for years now proclaiming your right to the throne of international superstardom.

So, of course, I only played okay. You knew that's where this was going, right?

I played okay enough that when I ended my song the crowd asked me to do a second song, which was not part of the plan.

The artist who's show it was joked that I was stealing the show but let me play one more.

So, I mean, I wasn't terrible.

But Rob Genadek happened to be sitting at the bar when all this went down, and his critique afterwards was not positive.

Rob just says, "Well, you and I know you can do better, and you should do better. You must do your best at all times. This was a six out of ten for you and that isn't what you want."

He's right.

As my kids used to say "It sucks to suck."

I will endeavor to do better....again..and more..and further..putting the past behind me but remembering the mistakes so I don't make them again.

What did Rob and I agree I could have done better?

First, my voice was thin and pinched on the high notes because I didn't have a chance to warm up.. I could have skipped going to the high parts if I knew I wasn't warmed up rather than subject the audience to less than great delivery.

Second, my guitar playing was too loud and aggressive for the way the other artist had his guitar set up in the sound system. I should have either taken a moment to get the guitar turned down in the system or, better yet, I should have played more sensitively based on how the guitar sounded in the room to be sure my voice and guitar playing were in the correct balance. Instead I sort of did that, but I also sort of let it rip on parts of the song and it got kind of sloppy and too loud sounding.

Third, my guitar parts that I play on electric guitar are one thing, the parts I play when I have accompaniment are another thing, and the parts I should be playing to make the songs work when I play solo acoustic are a third thing....or at least they should be if I'm going to sound like a bad ass professional in any situation. What I did last night was sort of an amalgamation of all three that was not well honed, well thought out, or well executed. I was just sort of staying afloat rather than being in command on the guitar.

Okay, there it is.

I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me.

Thanks to fans who came to my last two shows

I had some fans at my last two shows this week.

Someone at one of the venues asked me if the people I was sitting with after my performance were friends of mine and I said, "No, they're fans."

The young bartender was surprised and said, "You mean you don't know them personally?"

And I said, "No they're real fans. They are here for my music, we don't have a personal relationship, it's about the music."

I liked that conversation because it reminded me not to take the fans for granted, and I won't.

Fans, unlike friends for the most part, actually want to go over the play by play recount of the performance you just gave.

Other musicians don't want to do that, for the most part, and neither do your friends and family..unless they happen to also be actual fans.

I've had fans on tour invite me to their homes for a nice dinner on a night off and they have said, "We wouldn't be inviting you if your music wasn't good."

Ha! There it is! Well, I love that!

Earning the privilege of calling someone a fan of my music is something I aspire to with everyone who comes in earshot. 

So, in the past two shows I had fans attending who were forthcoming with the play by play analysis afterwards.

Things they said that I particularly liked (and I don't remember anyone saying anything I didn't like which is awesome):

-they said that my banter on stage about the State of MN auditing my taxes is funny and an attention getter (thanks State of MN, for that)

-they said the all electric rock set at Mortimer's was very tight and professional(which I was happy about)

-they said the long show at the Underground with switching of guitars, and the requisite fussing with the sound because there's no sound guy, seemed casual and personal but kind of meandering (agreed, and also, I get something out of having to do the sound and learning to make the longer show work...but I'm learning in front of an audience so thank goodness it's a pretty forgiving audience there)

-they said that my talking about most of the songs before I play them has become a trademark of my performances and they like the talking

-they said that the talking is charming and brings people in but the songs are surprisingly truthful and have an edge that you maybe don't see coming from the nice cheerful talking....is that good?....they thought that was cool...like there was a 'fuck you all' element to the songs themselves that is not foreshadowed in the introductions...I used to have a guy in my band who would say "I don't know why, but at the end of every CY performance I have a burning desire to get up on the mic and yell 'yeah! fuck you all!'".....haha! Awesome! Rebel yell!

The fans also said they like this blog, and they can't believe how honest it is and that I'm very brave to do the blog the way I'm doing it.

Well, it's not that brave. I'm not talking about my love life or my favorite sex positions.

I think it's somehow therapeutic to me to share these daily posts after thirty or more years of writing every morning in journals that no one ever read...well at least I hope no one read them. A lot of those journals are still around, in boxes in Rob's basement mostly.

If I die and people become curious about my life, those are the daily writings to get your hands on. 

This blog is all one theme, something like, "How to become an international superstar in twenty years or hopefully fewer and how to go from riches to rags and hopefully, eventually, to riches again by pursuing what you love most"

Maybe the best of these blog posts can be compiled into a new book once my four book series about Sidney is completed...or sooner even!

Cheers mates!

Here's to the fans!

if you work hard and don't worry what will happen?

I am working hard every day right now.

I suppose saying you're working hard might be like telling other people that you're a nice person; the person you're saying that to will think to themselves that they will decide for themselves whether you're nice or not.

Hard working is not an expression I would ever have used for myself, but other people have been using that expression about me, so I'm considering it.

Hard work, for me, has always been things like carrying twenty bags of mulch up a hill to add to my garden in the Springtime.

I used to live in a house with a big garden up on a hill in the back. When I think of "hard work" I think of bringing up the mulch.

With the mulch, whether I used my awesome little Vermont style wheel barrow (that I have in Rob's yard now) or whether I carried a bag or two at a time on my shoulders, it was just as hard because the hill was steep.

The garden itself was not what I would call "hard work" because I loved being out there so much, I loved the plants, the turtles, the woodchuck mother and her babies who came to eat sugar snap peas off the vines. I loved that my children grew up in all of that, at least for a while.....

So, hard work.

Making songs is not hard work, but making them good is hard work.

"Staying up for days in the Chelsea Hotel writing Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands for you."~Monsieur Dylan

Until you've stayed up for days writing a fucking monumental tribute to the one you love you maybe haven't truly experienced "hard work".

I haven't stayed up for days doing anything ever.

The harder I work though the better my life gets.

Yesterday I busked in downtown Minneapolis, and yes it was raining.

I did not cancel.

I really really really needed the money because tomorrow is June first and a couple of bills are due.

I am sorry to report that I am living close enough to the brink of ruin that money from busking had to be deposited today, but that's the truth.

On the other hand, while I was worrying earlier this month that there wouldn't be enough money by June first to cover my bills, low and behold the busking opportunity came through and now there is enough!

I didn't need to worry, but I did need to keep working hard.

The worrying didn't help at all.

The bottom line for me is that spending all of my time writing books, writing songs, editing my manuscripts for publication, recording songs for others to hear, doing tons and tons of self promotion that is necessary to get the word out, setting up shows from here to Timbuktu and everywhere in between, traveling to all the shows everywhere and playing the performances.......these activities are a privilege and a joy because I'm so grateful I am able to go forth as an artist.

These activities don't feel like hard work most of the time.

They feel like the dream come true.

Busking today Nicollet Mall 11:30-1pm

I'm busking this morning 11:30-1pm on Nicollet Mall.

Come support the efforts of a full time artist!

editing the manuscript for my second novel

Okay, back at it.

I'm going to work hard today and tonight on the editing of my second novel in the "A Girl Called Sidney" series.

I'm also seeing two of my favorite clients slash students today.

92 and sunny in Minneapolis.

my morning at the beach

I went to the beach at Lake Nokomis on my bicycle this morning at 9am.

They say it's going to reach 98 degrees in Minneapolis today.

The beach was glorious.

I wore my bikini and I swam.

I brought my Sunday New York Times from yesterday which I had not finished yet.

I laid on a beach blanket and I read my paper.

I had a jug of ice water with me.

I read an article about how young scientists in their twenties, worldwide, are working together to rid the oceans and the world of plastic waste.

I'm telling you, there's a beautiful life out there if you are willing to live it.

Glory to God in the highest.

I ride my bicycle

Yesterday I made my favorite bicycle trip in Minneapolis.

I start at Rob's house which is near the Minnehaha Falls.

I go past the falls and see the statue of Hiawatha with Pocahontas wading in the waters of the creek.

I ride the trail that goes along the creek past Lake Nokomis and then out to Lake Harriett.

It's about five miles each way to go all the way around Lake Harriett and then take the bike path back again to the falls and to Rob's house.

I'm not a spandex rider. I'm a cute bike with wicker baskets and wearing a sundress kind of rider.

I absolutely love to ride my bike.

I first started riding my bike around when I lived in Park Ridge which is a northern suburb of Chicago.

In like 1970 I started riding my bicycle all over my neighborhood, exploring.

I didn't ride fast then and I don't now. I rode slowly to look at the tree branches meeting in the middle above the streets.

I rode slowly to stop and pick up turtles or frogs and move them to safety.

Yesterday I stopped to congratulate many proud duck parents out with their ducklings waddling across the paths.

When I'm out on my bike I'm silent, I'm not using any fuel but my own, I'm not making any pollution, I'm not hurting anything or anyone.

And I'm Free!

The other thing to say about the ride yesterday is that I had my favorite destination from last year in mind when I set out.

Last year I stopped quite often at the Lake Harriett bandshell pavilion and bought myself some kind of treat.

Yesterday I was thrilled to see that they were open for the season and I bought myself a seared walleye sandwich and a glass of cava.

Cava and a walleye sandwich proved to be the best lunch in the world.

The sandwich is perfectly prepared: the walleye itself was beautiful, the dill tartar sauce they make themselves was divine, big slices of ripe tomato, crisp shredded lettuce.

You gotta go.

But I swear, getting in and out by car would wreck the whole thing.

In my humble opinion, driving around in cars sucks.

Don't get me wrong, I love my car, it's all paid for, it's a Jeep, and I love it.

But it's so delightful to literally breeze past all the cars lined up at the stoplights and just keep on riding!

Bicycles are freedom.

Well, okay, I don't know that a Chinese factory worker in the middle of a bicycle traffic jam on the way to work could agree with me.

But I can only work with what I've got.

Also, I have a memory of an old man up on Lake Vermilion, a guy who lived full time out on Birch Point when I was a young girl.

He must have been in his eighties when, one morning in mid summer, I happened to be out walking my family dog past his place.

I was maybe ten years old.

He was out in the middle of his driveway tinkering in front of his garage with an old bicycle.

The garage door was wide open and I could see that this guy had a lifetime of boat motors and everything else in that garage.

As my dog and I were walking past his property he saw me and waved.

Then he got up on that bicycle and started pedaling.

He was wobbly at first and I thought he might fall.

I stood and watched him.

He got going pretty smoothly and took the bike out onto the road.

He headed down in the direction we were going so I kept walking with the dog, watching the man on his bicycle.

He went for a while and then made a fairly smooth u turn and headed back, coming towards us.

When he got up close I could see his face, beaming with the biggest toothy old smile you can possibly imagine.

Just as he was passing me, this man I had never spoken to and didn't know at all shouted out, 

"I feel like I'm eighteen again!"

That's the spirit!

That's what a bicycle ride can do!

Roll on summer!

Back from Duluth

I'm back in Minneapolis from Duluth.

What did I learn?

I learned that if you keep chipping away at it it can get better.

In the past I have sometimes felt less than embraced by the Duluth music people...the ones who run the radio stations and the record store, the ones who run the venues and the concert halls.

Two days ago in Duluth Rob and I played in studio on KUMDFM radio at noon.

We then headed over to the wonderful Electric Fetus record store for an in store performance.

Later at night we played a set after the "Highway 61 Band" from Duluth at 10pm.

It was a big day musically speaking.

I felt like I came closer to having some meaningful relationships with the music people in Duluth, and with the live music revelers as well.

I always try to have this type of a model for any town. Arrive, play everywhere to promote the show during the day, then play the show at night.

I saw again that I have a lot of energy when I'm having a day like this because I'm so excited for the performances and for the chance to win people over.

I really enjoy trying to win people over.

I think that's one reason why I like to spend a lot of time alone, because winning people over does take a lot of energy.

Also, writing this daily blog is a way to be connected to others through my own lense, and through my own art, which is the way I enjoy connecting with the world the most.

Someone, maybe the Buddhists, say that there are three ways to pursue enlightenment.

One is to be of service to others.

Another is to worship and contemplate your God.

Another is to pursue a means of self-expression.

I am falling firmly into the self-expression approach, but in doing so I feel that I am able to be of service to others. I can be an inspiration, a voice, a mentor.

But also, in my own effort to summon the Holy Spirit for my own sake in my writings and performances, I am also worshipping at the altar of the Lord.

So, practice makes perfect and I continue to pursue the illusive excellence.

 

 

Editing a manuscript of literary fiction is not for cowards

 

Right now, and throughout this summer, I am traveling around the upper Midwest for shows from Duluth to Chicago and points in between.

When I'm not traveling I am continuing to work with other artists, helping them with their projects as a consultant.

When I'm not doing either of those things I'm working to edit my manuscript for my second novel.

 That's what this post is about, whittling down a too long fiction manuscript.

 What I'm finding is that just about any piece of writing can benefit from being shorter.

Haha! Sad but true.

I do not follow this line of reasoning with my blog posts however because these posts are intended to be my morning pages and are done stream of consciousness with only a one minute spell check and grammar type of edit process. The blog is for me, and hopefully for readers, to identify with the flow of an artist's life over time. This blog is meant to be taken as a gesture of comradery and trust between myself and those who are interested enough to partake.

None of the above applies to a work of literary fiction. 

The way I see it in literary fiction, you have to earn the reader's trust, and you earn it by not sending them off on wild goose chases.

I learned after the publishing of the first "Sidney" novel that a reader can interpret almost anything as a goose chase if that's the way they read.

I consider this to be a plot driven mentality, and for me personally, it has less of a place in literary fiction.

For me the good novel of artistic value is not like a mystery novel or an historical novel.

Literary fiction for me is a genre that embraces character analysis and philosophical themes that land somewhere beyond the plot of the story.

Morality can be played out through plot by a character getting what he deserves, and that is played out in the plot.

But there are subtle issues of the heart and the mind that do not play out so obviously.

The points that I am trying to make about "Sidney" in book two sort of hover above the storyline itself, like how her values are changing, and how she sees the lessons of the things that happen to her.

So, I am reading and rereading chapter after chapter, trying to hone the subtle themes so they are clear but not ruinously obvious for the reader. I don't want to wreck the vibe by stating it all so clearly that there is no art left at all.

As I strip away parts that I added to the manuscript originally, I notice that the things I'm taking out are like colors that make the whole painting muddy.

I took out a chance encounter with a girl from school that Sidney had because I realized that the reader was with me in that chapter and that I ran the risk of losing the reader off on a tangent of wondering if this new girl was going to become more important and have a bigger role in what was going to happen. No, she wasn't going to, she was just going to pop in and pop out. Well, that's the kind of thing I probably can't afford to risk with my readers right now at this point in my storytelling. I probably shouldn't make them meet a new character and start thinking about her, only to have her disappear and never be mentioned again.

For me, I would have enjoyed the luxury of having this other girl appear for a moment just to show the reader how Sidney is reacting to people she runs into from her old life. That is interesting because it could show how Sidney is changing.

It may be interesting, but it isn't worth the risk of bogging down the story and losing the reader, and making a boring second book, and getting bad reviews from people who read it, or worse yet, having it not get published at all because it isn't captivating enough.

Maybe someday I will be like Theodore Dreiser and publish long works like "Sister Carrie", but I seriously doubt it.

I may complain about editing but I probably want these cleaner smaller books.

I love to hold the first "Sidney" book in my hand when I talk about it from the stage. I am always gratified by the feeling of the slim yet substantial paperback book that has the beautiful cover of the guitar made of flowers, and I love knowing that a whole world of a young girl and her most difficult winter is completely intact inside these neat pages. 

I hope that this second book feels that same way for Sidney's college years.

Writing novels is hard work but it's very stimulating and it works your brain and your heart in new ways all the time.

Here's book one. You can buy it on amazon.com or order it from your local bookstore.

Many public libraries have copies now as well.

Or you can buy a signed copy from me at my next show.

Hopefully book two will be out soon.

Mister Dylan's birthday week

 

Tomorrow I head North with Rob to do several performances in Duluth.

Duluth is having a "Dylan Fest" to celebrate Mister Dylan's birthday.

I don't know whether they are extending a formal invitation or not, but either way, I don't think the great man will be joining us.

I wonder how he feels now.

He wakes up and swings his feet over the side of the bed like everyone else, I suppose.

But upon his first footstep of the day he is already Bob Dylan.

I hear that he's making whiskey these days. That's fun.

He's a fun guy I think.

I would like to meet him but only if he could somehow sit through my live performance and then he would have to say to someone, "You know, I like her. I want to meet her."

That's how it would have to go down.

I know his music, and I would want him to know mine. Then, if he liked my music, and he wanted to meet me, we could meet.

This may still someday happen.

Or it may never.

Either way, I'll be playing two or three of his songs and about ten of my own this Wednesday night at The Rex in Duluth, 10pm, in honor of him and his brilliant music.

This is his birthday week. I bet he's having fun where ever he is.

Happy Birthday Bob!

Earning Respect


I think it's true that you have to earn people's respect.

You can't demand it. You can't guilt them into respecting you. You can't convince them that you deserve their respect.

You earn it by your actions, by the quality of your words and your actions.

Yesterday I played a show in Minneapolis at a big neighborhood arts festival.

First of all, they earned my respect yesterday because the scene they created was vital and fresh.

Rob and I walked around before and after our performance and everywhere as far as the eye could see there was live music and bright displays of original art.

The people looked happy and they looked healthy.

There were lots of people on bicycles. Lots of people with tattoos, some of them beautiful and original.

There were lots of hair colors and hair cuts that were creative too.

It was not as diverse a crowd racially as I prefer, but hopefully Mpls is heading more in that direction.

So, for the most part, NE Minneapolis had my respect last night, for sure.

What is wonderful and new for me in this city is that I had their respect last night as well.

Ah, to feel appreciated.

I felt appreciated last night for my musical performance. Rob felt it too.

It was a singer/songwriter/roots/americana primarily older white crowd at the venue where I was invited to play.

There were five bands on the bill I think.

Often those other musicians give me feedback after my performances that is insult thinly veiled as compliment.

I always dread talking to any of them after I play.

But this time it was different.

I could hear the appreciation in their voices.

I could hear their respect for what we had done.

I know a songwriter in this city who has made twice as many albums of original songs as I have made.

He writes often on social media that he doesn't get enough appreciation in his hometown for his music.

It's a constant lament of his.

But all of his lamenting only makes his people respect him less.

My dad was like Rodney Dangerfield, the old comedian who used to complain that he couldn't get any respect.

My dad would yell at me, "I'm your father and you need to show me some respect!"

I was nine years old when I responded for the first time what became my standard answer, "A person has to earn another person's respect."

I would say that and then run before I got hit.

I thought it was a brilliant statement then, and I still think so now.

A songwriter cannot yell at the audience to shut up and listen to him sing.

A father cannot yell at his child to demand respect and get it.

I could not get the respect of my peers in Minneapolis until I gave a performance that they could feel for themselves to be worthy.

Last night was a musical breakthrough for me.

Rob and I felt appreciated for the performance we gave.

The performance was worthy of appreciation.

The respect we felt from the audience was real and honest and the feedback we got afterwards was real and honest, and positive.

Hallelujah.

I love New York City

 

I LOVE NYC.

I can get perspective on my self in New York.

I have a ritual of buying the Sunday New York Times and reading as much of it front to back as time allows on a given Sunday.

If I'm in Europe I usually can't get a hold of an American version of the Sunday NYTs, and that's a total bummer, because the issue they put out in Europe is an international version that is very thin and doesn't include any of the coolest stuff.

But when I'm in America, I find it, I buy it, and I sit down and read it.

All these years of Sundays with the New York Times has taught me many things, but one of those things is that I love thinking of myself as a player on the world stage.

I love thinking of myself as a citizen of the world.

I love thinking about all the people who made mention on any given Sunday as my peers in the world of doers.

I look at the pictures, I read the articles, I think about the people.

Refugee, athlete, politician, banker, business owner, writer, artist.

I am their comrade in the Great Struggle.

On a rare occasion when I find myself in the midst of it all in Manhattan, the teeming madness of all levels of education, privilege, hardship, brilliance and insanity, all swirling around me, and I myself a contributor, an agent of my own personal brand of message and movement, in these moments I am lifted by the Spirit and I catch a glimpse of that which is profound in our collective motion.

I get on that god forsaken subway train, screeching with overuse and declining age, screaming out it's need of improvement, and I ride with every other Human taking the risk, once again, taking the leap of Faith, to be part of the New York experience.

It is gritty and it is intense.

You see a young girl sitting across from you on the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan, or from SoHo to the Upper West Side, with gorgeously tended luxurious long blonde hair, flawless skin, the "J'adore Dior" wide strap cross body bag in white with gold lettering emblazoned across her slim chest; a teenage girl carrying a purse that costs twenty-five hundred dollars. You are disgusted? You are overjoyed to revel in the spectacle of her rare fresh beauty?

You see a filthy young man, grimy with the black soot of the streets, of the subway, with a big tabby cat in a dog harness, chained to a filthy bed pillow, a cardboard sign saying something about needing to buy cat food. You wonder whether people are calling social services for the young man, maybe as young as seventeen. You wonder whether anyone has called an animal rescue. You wonder if the NYPD take the animals away and bring them to a shelter.

The New York experience is alive and well if you want to partake.

It has not died, it has not moved elsewhere.

In New York, I heard so many young people speak of "changing the world for the better", "making the world a better place", that I believed them, I believed in them, I believed it was possible.

In New York you see the worst of who we are and the best of what we could still become, if we have time.

New York City is the capital of the world and I am and always will be one of it's grateful honorary citizens.

This photo is Sheep's Meadow, Central Park, New York City, May 18, 2018.

Momming it up

 

I am momming it up big time in NYC this week.

I am staying with one of my daughters, in her room with her in Williamsburg.

My son is graduating and there are festivities for two whole days.

I am basking in the glory of seeing all of my three children graduated from college now.

Wow.

I know that I have played my cards very close to my chest these past ten years, and that many of the people who have supported my music and my artistic career haven't been aware that I was also raising three children at the same time that I was making albums and touring.

It's fun for me to be enjoying the fruits of all of these long years of concerted effort on the home front and out in the world.

This graduation week is the end of an era but the beginning of a whole new life for myself and for my family.

Love to all.

hang on for the ride

My summer season is about to kick off!

Tomorrow, NYC.

Two separate trips to Chicago for performances in June.

LA at the end of June.

A North Country Tour in a 1970 camper van to play concerts from Lake Vermilion to Grand Marais in early July.

Germany for outdoor concerts, streetfests, beachfests, beer garden fests, the first three weeks of August.

I am interested to see how this all shakes out, personally, musically, and financially.

Full speed ahead.

 

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is today. I like it. I'm happy about it.

My mother is coming over to this sweet little house and I'm making a quiche.

Nina is here and she made some muffins with fresh raspberries and sour cream.

Rob is making mimosas.

My mother will be her usual self I'm sure. Smile face.

You've seen the front porch, but now I have the back little patio set up with umbrellas and outdoor furniture from my past life.

It looks fun out there too.

This is a fun place to live, that's for sure.

I'm grateful to be here and grateful to have a mom and a daughter on hand to celebrate the day with me. And a Rob too.

This week I go back to NYC for my son's graduation and Justin Trudeau is giving the commencement speech which is going to be awesome.

I'll sleep on an air mattress in my daughter's room in Brooklyn for three nights.

It is totally worth whatever discomfort must be endured.

I will make a pilgrimage up to Central Park.

When I went to New York four years ago, I thought I might never come back to Minneapolis.

In truth, I hoped I would never have to come back.

I love putting the past behind me.

And my time in New York was the greatest freedom I have ever known.

Two of my children were there, and Ava came out very often to visit, so everyone was always around.

But I went there to work at being a full time independent artist.

That part of it I found to be impossible.

I did a lot.

I made many inroads into the music industry that are some of my most valuable relationships now.

I toured the East Coast extensively and I made a kick ass rock record called "Red Letter Day".

I also had long hours to walk with my little dog in Central Park.

I walked The Ramble almost every morning.

Often we sat with a coffee and a croissant at the little cafe in the park and watched the other dogs and their owners.

We walked to the statue of Balto and I would read out loud to my dog the plaque with the story of how Balto saved the children of Nome, Alaska when the vaccine had to be brought through by dogsled.

Central Park was my moment of freedom in this life of mine.

I may never again feel as free as I did then, single, unencumbered, for the first time in almost thirty years living alone.

But strangely, and I didn't predict this at all, I felt frightened and lonely too.

New York didn't throw open all of it's doors and roll out the red carpet for me.

I felt isolated in my pursuit of a viable music career.

That feeling persisted and worsened as my money ran low, and then ran out.

I stayed, living off a line of credit, hoping my ship would come in.

In the eleventh hour I had no choice but to go back to Minneapolis, where I could figure out a way to live and keep going with my promising but not fulfilled dream.

So, I came back.

I knew I could live with my mother, but I also knew that might be too hard on both of us.

Rob said I could live at his house.

I said, "Okay, but just until I can figure out what to do next."

Well, here we are at Mother's Day two years later and I'm so grateful to still be here.

I have a clear mind and I am light hearted.

I have cast out much of the darkness that has plagued me most of my life.

All three of my children are unencumbered by the dark discouragements I have felt so often.

I see their light.

They are the great gifts of my struggles.

Thank God I was able to be firm with them, I was able to be kind to them, I was able to encourage them.

Thank God I didn't ruin them with the bad habits I knew so well but forced myself to gradually unlearn.

I successfully protected them from my darkest self.

When I couldn't protect them from it, I tried as hard as I could to make up for it.

And to their credit, through their parents' divorce and their mother's financial upheaval, they were true to themselves, true to their own courses.

They are individuals forged of their own steel.

I honor them this day.

They are the greatest gifts I have ever known.

a book event and a rock show in the same evening tonight

Tonight at 7:30pm I will read from my first novel that came out almost a year ago. 

"A Girl Called Sidney: The Coldest Place" has already made my life better in many ways.

I intend for it to be a four book series.

I want to chart the life of a girl who has a dream of being a great artist, but she barely even knows that about herself, at first.

She does what comes naturally. But then the confines and conventions of the world close in around her and challenge her.

She has to actually think about it and make conscious determined choices.

There is this vein running through Sidney's story.

Another theme I am trying to play out is to show how a girl in a bad family is hurt by the uncaring actions of family members.

That's one thing, but it's entirely another when the girl becomes her own worst enemy by acting out in bad ways because of how she was treated.

I hope that by the end of book four, after Sidney has been audited by the State Of Minnesota tax department (hahahahaha), she will have risen above all of it and will be a paradigm of great determination and good will to all. But we shall see!

Tonight at 9:30pm I play a rock set as the opener for another artist's EP release.

Rob Genadek will thankfully be joining me for this performance because it's much easier to play a rock set with drums!

And Rob brings the party with his backing vocals and his energy on stage. Rob, maybe because he's a drummer at heart, cares a lot about the groove and the tempos and that really keeps a songwriter like me on my toes. I tend to be all about expressing the profundity that I feel in the words and melody. When Rob is accompanying me he drives the songs in an energized way that's fun for everybody. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to be on stage with him tonight after doing mostly solo shows lately.

See you about town if you're in Minneapolis tonight!

And love to you where ever you are.

I think it's gonna be a good night.

 

Today is 100% Positive

 

Today is 100% positive!

I'm going to the University of St. Thomas this morning to be a featured artist for a music business class.

They are graduating seniors in the music department, specifically studying the current lay of the land in the popular music industry.

I'm excited to hear their presentation about my work.

Their goal was to study an artist in the Twin Cities who has a lot of promising things going on but who wants to succeed at a higher level and to give that artist a business plan for how best to move forward.

In light of my recent great reviews for "High Priestess And The Renegade", I am very encouraged and very motivated.

I welcome all of their input today!

Tonight I am having dinner with a friend who I originally met here in Minneapolis, but when she and her husband moved to NYC I helped them find their first apartment and our times together in NYC have been some of my favorite memories.

Tonight we'll have dinner at a restaurant I love that has just changed ownership, and because my friend is a food expert, truly, I will have a wonderful time getting her critique of the new management.

All in all a truly positive day.

 

The taxman came and left

I'm going to break my blogging rules and post a second entry in one day today.

The MN state taxman came to Rob's house, asked many questions, and left.

As I said earlier today, they are auditing the last three years of my MN taxes.

I was truly amazed that the bulk of the questions were intended to determine my "intent" as an artist and entrepreneur.

It seemed novelistic; a perfect scene for the "Sidney" series, book four.

I sat there answering questions like, "How long have you been doing this activity?"

I said, "You mean the songwriting and singing?"

He said, "Yes. We're trying to determine what level of expertise and commitment you have and what ability you have to make this a business that makes a profit consistently."

So there I was talking to the taxman about how my grandmother gave me a guitar for Christmas when I was eight, how I wrote a song and played it for my church choir director when I was ten. How my choir director invited me to perform my song at one of the first "acoustic services" at the big Lutheran Church in Chicago in 1971.

My life played out before my eyes today. Everything I've ever done, every effort I've ever made. 

The taxman may end up telling me I can't declare all the expenses for my touring and making of records.

I could owe more than $!00,000 in back taxes if they decide this is my hobby.

He asked me how much time each day I devote to the activity of being an artist.

I said twenty-four-seven.

He smiled and said, "I'm actually going to write that down. I think that's probably true about you."

We'll see what they decide. 

But no matter what they decide, the State Of Minnesota gave me a great gift today.

I got to try to prove that what I'm doing isn't a folly.

I discovered in the process that I'm proud of what I've done, I'm proud of who I am.

I saw myself in the taxman's eyes and I love what I see.

The Taxman Cometh

 

The taxman cometh. Today. To Rob's house. A taxman who makes house calls. Yuck.

He's from the State Of Minnesota tax department.

I've always loved the State Of Minnesota.

I hired a tax accountant in the State Of Minnesota every year to do my self-employed post divorce taxes just so that I would be sure I was doing everything right and so that I wouldn't get audited. Sad.

I used to be a doctor's wife...fifteen years ago...and for a long while I had child support and alimony, and a savings account.

When my last child turned eighteen, four years ago, I went cold turkey on getting any external financial help and committed to succeeding as a full time artist. Success would mean being able to support myself comfortably. 

I am not at all comfortable yet, but this month will be the first month that my new MN subsidized health care kicks in and that means one less $440 payment per month. My asthma medicine will go from $100 a month to $3.00 a month.

I finally have purified my soul of the blood money of the divorce and I can begin again with a clean slate.

This is the beginning of a new era of artist survival for me and I'm excited about it.

And let's not forget that the plane tickets to Europe for our August return tour were purchased yesterday by the promoter I'm working with, so there is a lot to be excited about.

But in the face of fairly dramatic financial challenges,

with a currently empty savings account,

and a currently maxed out credit card,

here comes the tax man.

I'm going to be polite and nice and answer all of his questions.

I'm going to resist the urge to offer him a beer and play him a few songs on my guitar.

Wouldn't that be funny?

"Here, buddy, have a beer. I'm gonna play you a few of my songs on this here guitar."

One of his concerns is whether what I'm doing is a hobby or a full fledged career.

If it isn't a career then I can't write off my expenditures.

"This ain't no hobby, Dude. Have another beer. I'll play you this new one that says 'fear is my enemy and money is my rival'."

 

laundry list

I have been told that in any entrepreneurial effort you'll know when there is too much for you to do on your own, and that will be a sign of progress or of impending success.

I've also been told that in the music business an artist doesn't need a manager until there's something to manage.

Right now I am managing it all on my own, but it's enough work for more people than just me.

There are still three more shows that need to be booked for August Europe tour.

The press I'm getting right now is fantastic on the new album, and all of those reviews need to be read, sorted, quoted, posted, and put on the Press page of this website.

We need to do a fundraising campaign to collect the $2000-3000 it will take to make a "Hey Lulu" music video here in Minneapolis ideally with the real Lulu herself. And then organize and make that video asap while the album is doing well and getting excellent reviews.

I need to finish the editing of the second "Sidney" book and get that to the publisher...by a month ago.

The state of MN needs all my bank statements for the last three years for tomorrow.

The fall tour schedule should be addressed right now: East coast and West coast tours, September and October. Inquiries need to go out now for these.

Daily blog, but I ain't gonna delegate this 'cuz I love it and it loves me.

What else? Play the shows on the calendar right now. Play the house concerts that I adore so much. Fly to NYC for my son's graduation..with the plane ticket my kids pitched in for me, and sleep in my daughter's new tiny room with her for a couple nights.

Drive twice to Chicago for shows in the month of June. 

Figure out how to scrounge up the money to buy another box of my own book to sell at all these upcoming events. The distributor is giving me 40% off retail.

Wish list? I wish I could make small envelopes with a cd and one sheet of "High Priestess.." to send to American reviewers with an extra note quoting these Europe reviews that have come in. I would love to send out one hundred cds to one hundred blogs, music magazines, record labels, etc. in the US right now. What's keeping me from doing that? Time and money. It should get done!

One of my darling children arrives today for a week long visit. This slows me down, but it is also more important than all of this put together.

Another darling child is begging me to fly to Denver..at her expense..to stay with her in her brand new apartment and visit her brand new job and be a fun good mom. I have to make time for that in June...or July probably.

The other darling child graduates next week and I will be there to hear Justin Trudeau give their commencement speech so I got that one right.

Also, the plane tickets for the Europe tour in August were purchased last night and that is one huge hurdle accomplished.

I will continue to Pray to the Great God of American Record Labels that someone will pick up this fabulous album of mine and throw some industry weight behind this colossal effort.

Keep calm and carry on, as the English like to say.

Oh my God!

So what's the goal?

The goal is to be doing the right thing at any given moment.

That's all anybody can do.

 

 

personal style is cooler than fashion

In my humble opinion, personal style is cooler than fashion every time.

When Scott Schuman started doing his Sartorialist blog in NYC, the people he photographed were all personal style.

Some of Scott's followers, maybe myself included, thought that Scott became more fashion industry minded as his blog became more and more famous.

I remember one of his photos where he had become the arbiter of good taste and was commenting on what the exact length of a man's dress shirt should be beneath his suit coat. Scott was getting dictatorial on his followers it seemed to me.

But then Scott went to some exotic places and photographed people wearing original and beautiful combinations of all sorts of things. He branched out geographically and sartorially, and he gave us all something to think about when it comes to clothing.

When fashion dictates then it's no fun. When people who love fashion start telling everyone what's classy and what's trashy, they take all the fun out of it.

The indigenous peoples of the world have often dressed with great creativity and flare. Photos taken in the early nineteen hundreds of Native American women and men show their majestic attention to detail. Their use of sueded leather and fringe and beads is still just about as wonderful as it gets to my way of thinking as far as fashion goes.

In a parallel universe there is, for me, the punk black leather and silver studs styles that are supremely urban and make me think of New York and London.

A black leather jacket with a tulle skirt, or tutu, is one of my favorite combos for stage wear.

I love when great fashion designers take street or indigenous elements and make them into a head to toe ensemble that works for modern life. 

I don't love when wealthy women buy the whole thing from the designer and just walk around in somebody else's concept. And then the next season they buy a whole new concept head to toe from somebody else and just wear somebody else's idea all over again.

The fact is that human beings had to design clothing from necessity. We don't have fur. We're the only creature on Earth that has to put something on to protect our bodies in most of the places where we live. Okay, hermit crabs do too.

So, like it or not, you get dressed every day. And every one of us is making choices. Some are dictated by cost, but wearing your hair long or short, tied up or hanging long, which t shirt with which slogan printed on the front, some of these choices are allowed to most anyone at any budget. 

One of the homeless guys in my neighborhood in New York wore bright colored pipe cleaners twisted in his long hair. It looked cool.

I want to feel free to wear whatever makes me feel free. 

If I want to wear flowers in my hair I don't want to end up not wearing them when I leave the house because I'm afraid someone will look at me with mockery in their eyes.

I want to be brave.

I won't mock those who wear something that makes them seem a slave to fashion. I won't discredit someone who does not exercise their creativity in their choices of clothing. I won't criticize anyone, for anything, because we are all trying to survive either psychologically or monetarily or both.

I'll just walk around in my tutus and my flowers and my fringe jackets and my black leather with studs, and mind my own business.

 

what's your goal

Sometimes when I work with people in the music industry they will start a meeting by asking, so what is your goal? Where is this all heading for you? What are you hoping to achieve? I used to always think to myself, "Why are you asking me this? Every singer/songwriter has the same goal. Everybody wants to be Bob Dylan, right? Why make me have to say it?"

Well, it turns out that everybody doesn't want to be Bob Dylan.

I am noticing what may seem entirely obvious to you but has not until recently been obvious to me, which is that everybody is different and everybody's vision of where their efforts are leading is different.

Last night I played on a bill of four songwriters.

Every time I do that I think I know what that will look like.

But in fact I am always surprised. Each human being, when laid plain upon the stage, comes up looking so unique.

Each person who performed last night was a walking Victorian length novel full of trials and tribulations, strengths and foibles, brave gestures and missteps.

It's beautiful and heartbreaking to watch someone stand alone at a microphone, guitar on a strap, strumming and singing their own compositions.

You see what they are hoping to be. You see it. And you see what is in their heart. You see it. And you see what they are, not what they may become, that is unknown to you and maybe to them as well. But you see where they are right then.

Everyone should do it. Write a song, strap on a guitar, go sing it on a stage someplace.

It's a great leveler. It's a great revelator. 

Here's me last night working at this craft:

Statements of good hope and good will

Sometimes it's best to just write out the statements of good hope and good will. 

I love seeing little plants poking up their heads right now in the early Spring of Minnesota.

I love that the big old Martin guitar may have a crack in it but it still sounds pretty damn good.

I love that my little dog sits out on the porch with me when I'm writing now and he stands up and growls at the big black fly who comes to be nosy.

I love that my barbecue grill is set up on Rob's back patio ready for business and my kids are coming to visit soon.

I love love love that my son is graduating next week and I get to go hear Justin Trudea give the commencement speech!

I love that I get to play an hour long solo set tonight at a nice little songwriter place in Minneapolis and see if I can win people over.

I love that there is so much promise in the world with young women in Africa tending orphaned elephants now as real work that can help both the people and the wildlife.

I love that there is so much promise all around.

hard work or talent

Some people want to put an artist in a box because they don't really like your lifestyle.

Mark Knofler famously sang, "that ain't workin', that's the way you do it, you play the guitar on the MTV, no that ain't working that's the way you do it, get your money for nothing get your chicks for free".

He was talking about some manual laborer making fun of rock musicians.

I don't know how hard some musicians work compared to how much they get paid, but it seems like Beyonce works very hard.

Bob Dylan seems to have worked hard his whole life even though he had plenty of money from early on, that's the same with Beyonce.

Yesterday someone told me I shouldn't compare myself to great successful artists for two reasons. Reason one is I haven't made money and won awards like they have, and reason two is it makes me look bad to other people when I talk about those artists because people think I'm saying I can relate to them like I consider myself to be their equal.

Well, I do consider myself to be their equal, as in, all people are created equal. I think that way.

Also, why do I want to have on my radar artists who have not broken through?

Just so we can all be in the struggle together?

Honestly, I don't think we're all in the struggle together anyway. I think if you're creating solo works you are going it alone and nobody else is on your path with you as much as you might like them to be or as much as they might wish to be.

It feels like Billy Jo Armstrong singing, "I walk this lonely road, the only one that I have ever known, don't know where it goes but it's only me and I walk alone".

So when somebody says to me, "Oh well you just work so hard and if you work that hard at it for that long something's bound to happen."

Yeah, sort of, but you can't just make it about how hard and long an artist works at their craft.

That's the scariest part! 

What if I put all my efforts, all my money, all my time into one big dream?

What if I fail?

What if it turns out that there's a missing ingredient to my formula and that missing ingredient is the one thing that money or hard work or effort can't buy. 

Is there an illusive thing that is "talent"?

Maybe it's an aptitude, an interest, a passion, an affinity.

I don't know if anyone knows about that word talent.

I don't like to use it.

But there is some sort of "je ne sais quoi"; the special something, the "I know not what" that a great artist has in any medium.

I don't know what I can do about that, certainly, absolutely nothing.

Claude Monet painted the waterlilies from the bridge more than one hundred times.

Only a few of those paintings are considered masterpieces.

Hard work, determination, passion, resolve. But what made a few of those efforts brilliant?

Luck, achievement, inevitability, talent.

Je ne sais quoi.

Here's Claude out having a cig by the bridge and the waterlilies, looking like a boss:

 

 

Asking for what I really want

 

I really want to get back to Europe for the thirteen shows I have booked in August.

I'm not sure where the money is coming from to pay for the tickets, rental car, and gas.

We have places to stay for free along the tour route so that's great.

I want it to work out and will keep working to make it happen.

I didn't have it figured out when i said yes to the first show invitations that came in, but if I had said no to those, it could never happen.

Spring forward and the way will open before you.

In my ten years of touring in Europe I've been hoping for true fans who would invite me for some of their best events of the year.

If that is starting to happen, and I love the people and the places I'm invited back to, then I must make it happen whatever it takes.

I don't want to chicken out right when things are finally starting to get good!

So, I will keep asking for the answers to the big desires.

Is there enough money to go to the grocery store this morning?

Maybe not, but the cupboard is not bare.

In the meantime, am I setting up shows from Lake Vermilion to the Baltic Sea and back again?

Yes I am.

Also, the State of MN is auditing me.

I don't have money to pay for representation so I'm going to represent myself.

They say they don't know if my music business is real or if it should just be considered a hobby for tax purposes.

I am going to the first meeting with them next week.

This does not feel like no hobby to me.

 

A few days of silence strung together

What I need is a few days of silence strung together.

I didn't mean to get that right now, but it's what I got.

I have students and clients I'm working with, some every week, some every once in a while, maybe ten people all together.

This week so far I've only met with one of my regular clients, others have been out of town or had complications in their schedules.

I was gearing up to get worried, and also to start putting the word out for more students.

But there's a manuscript hanging in the balance right now and in every way it's my top priority.

The story is written but the manuscript is too long for the publisher's preference. I've been asked to cut out quite a bit. 

I'm talking about the second "Sidney" book here, and I really really want that to come out as soon as possible, so, like I said, this manuscript is my top priority.

Well, this is perfect timing, or as my mother loves to say, "God's timing is perfect Courtney."

Okay Mom, I hear ya.

Yesterday was when I noticed the shift happening, in the afternoon, after having no shows or big interactions with people since Sunday afternoon's house concert.

I felt my mind clearing in a way that made the manuscript easier to read. Yesterday afternoon I was supposed to have another student come, but instead I had the whole day in silence, no one at the house but me and my little dog. We went for a long walk in the morning. I went out again for a jog in the early afternoon.

I came back from jogging, took a shower, put on a favorite sweater. I lit the candles on the front porch and brought out black bean chips and my favorite salsa. A glass of white wine. I brought out my laptop and opened up my manuscript to edit.

I felt the silence all around me like a cocoon, protecting me, protecting the work I still need to do to make that story sing for readers.

But the beautiful thing is that I could see the value of the work I've already done and I could hear Sidney's voice telling her story again. I could hear the wind in the trees and see the sunlight on the water.

I don't have anyone coming today either. The bad news, of course, about no students is no money coming in. People don't pay you when they miss a session, it's just not the custom. So I'm getting creative with the carton of eggs I have in the refrigerator, and I'm finishing up small amounts of anything in the cupboard.

Am I afraid? No!

Am I grateful for this time to focus on what is most important to me? Yes!

 5am this morning with candles lit for extra fortification...

 

 

discouragement

If I let the negative feelings creep in, I get discouraged.

Sometimes I don't even know what has flipped the switch, but suddenly I can't enjoy the moment.

There has been some small gesture from the outside world; an email saying they're sorry but I was not chosen to play their summer festival, my mother saying that I'm looking tired. That kind of thing can get me down and I don't realize it.

I get a vague dissatisfied feeling going, an unrest, a bitter taste setting in.

I hate when it happens and the truth is that something like that happens all the time.

These moments are the pea under the mattress for sleeping beauty, and no matter how many mattresses they piled up for her she could still feel it and she couldn't sleep. Get over it girlfriend. Snap out of that obsessive crap and get on with your life.

That's what I have to tell myself. I get so scared when my bank account is on the edge of disaster. I get so bummed out if I have a feeling that anyone was disappointed in me.

Today I have about ten of those things hovering around me like bats circling my head.

Make them go away!

I almost didn't write this daily discipline or daily meditation of mine because I said to myself, "I'm not in a good place and I don't want to taint my blog when it's been going so well." 

Well, if I'm going to write this every day then some of the days have to reflect the fighting the good fight moments.

To me, being able to wave away the circling bats of discouragement is one of the keys to being a productive person.

My new song "Missing Us" on my "High Priestess And The Renegade" album talks about the bats too.

You can listen to it right here for free because I appreciate your interest in my blog posts so much.

10_-_Missing_Us.mp3

Keep it simple

I played a house concert yesterday afternoon, on a sunny Sunday in Minneapolis.

The small house was full of people.

I achieved what I always pray I will achieve, which is some kind of holy communion between the listeners and myself.

So beautiful, to witness the songs being the thing valued by us all for a brief time.

I didn't draw this, but I'm very high on acoustic guitar shows right now, so this is me today:

Crow's nests as primary art forms

 

Two days ago a guy said to me that he is not creative at all and that he has no creativity.

He works in a technical sales field.

I told him that I think every human being is creative.

Crows are creative, for God's sake.

Have you ever read about how crows like bright colored things or sparkling things?

I've seen crows nests that break my heart with their creativity; a bit of tinsel from someone's alley Christmas tree or some bright colored thread woven in, a metal key tucked down in the center.

 When you get dressed you make choices, or even if you wear the same thing every day, you made choices when you went to buy those things. If your job requires a uniform then you are even more creative when you're off duty because you could wear literally anything in the world during your off times. Whether you choose to wear a Grateful Dead t shirt or a pressed blue dress shirt with your jeans, not to mention what sort of jeans, you are creatively making a personal statement.

You can't hide from the necessity to be creative for survival.

When you eat, what you eat, how you eat crosslegged on the ground or high on a bar stool, you are creating your reality from sheer personal freedom.

The bird's nest is a primary art form but also it's a utilitarian construct.

Setting up your first apartment is an exercise in creative use of space, limited finances, limited materials. To make yourself feel comfortable and happy takes creative energy.

Okay so I think the guy was wrong about his way of thinking of himself, but also, because he thinks of himself that way, he may be overlooking opportunities that come to him to be more creative.

I think of the Tarot card of the guy crosslegged on the ground pouting over the cups he has in front of him. He's disappointed and bored. A magical hand is offering him another cup but he's so glum that he can't see the gift being offered.

To me this is what creativity is.

It's a gift given to you every day every minute to be used in how you deal with every single situation from your food, clothing, and shelter, to your interactions with children and adults, to how you spend your free time.

Not exercising your creative choices or not being aware that you have them will make you frustrated and sad.

Also, and more importantly, there are more satisfying and less satisfying ways to be creative.

It's creative to go to a flea market and make personal choices, purchasing things that you think reflect your values. That's a way of using your creativity. 

It's also creative to sit down and write a letter to someone you love.

It's also creative to try to make the letter have lines that rhyme.

It's also creative to try to make up a tune that goes with the lines.

It's also creative to decide to go sing what you wrote to the person you love.

 Here's the guy who's pouting about how life is no fun and how he has no good options.

This is from Tarot.com:

Four of Cups

Four of Cups

The Four of Cups refers to a restless time, when you have become dissatisfied with life and disappointed with where you now sit. Feeling stagnant and longing for change, your heart is questioning its options, and you may find yourself pulling away from the world. When the Four of Cups comes up in your Tarot reading, beware becoming so self-absorbed and ungrateful that you cannot even see the joyful opportunities that are right in front of you. A more open outlook can change everything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The porch is ready for creative discussions

The front porch is ready for creative conversations.

A friend is coming this evening to help me break it in.

We're going to light all the candles and sit out talking until it gets too chilly.

It's Rob's front porch so Rob will undoubtedly join in at some point as well, but he keeps long late hours at the recording studio so we never know when we'll see him.

I like that I have some free time coming up the next few weeks and I plan to sit on this porch rain or shine and finish editing my manuscript for book two in my "Sidney" series.

I will also be summoning the spirit with an acoustic guitar and a songwriting notebook from time to time in hopes of making a new acoustic album this year.

I am also taking maybe two or three new artist consult clients over the summer.

I charge $50 an hour and you can come sit on the porch and work on your prose, poetry, songwriting, or music business questions with me. Day or evening, weekdays or weekends.

I have a license to teach high school creative writing and literature in Minnesota, and many great references, and my clients range from age 15-80.

The porch will hopefully still be getting a new rug, three hanging baskets, and possibly a canvas curtain that can be drawn across the far end to shelter from windy days.

So far so good though.

Summer, here we come!

My health insurance experience yesterday

I went to a state office yesterday. Going to state run public service offices is like going to the dentist for me. No fun.

But what a wonderful experience I had!

First, which I considered a very bad sign, I had called these people on the phone to ask why my application was being rejected on their website.

The person on the phone asked me a lot of questions, the last being whether I had "Windows" or whether I was working from "an Apple product". I said I have an Apple laptop, but that it's only two years old and I never have trouble working on line with it.

She said that the state run website for applying for health insurance is not "Apple friendly" and works best with Windows. She advised I make an appointment, come in to her office, and apply on line with her help on her office computer.

Wow. Well, here we go. 

So I went in yesterday. There were some people ahead of me finishing their appointments. None of them spoke English as their first language and none of them looked like they were prospering in their current circumstances.

I had a happy hour show and had to be at the venue by 4pm so I was dressed for my performance. No, I was not wearing my tutu skirt, but I was wearing my black slip dress with the silver bugle bead trim and a "heartbreaker tour" t shirt, black tights and rocker boots, my favorite camouflage jacket, and a black beret, black eye liner and mod pink lipstick.

I thought to myself that I was about to be treated badly. I thought to myself, "these women work for the poor and the dispossessed. They don't want to see some able bodied woman like me coming in here looking sassy and scamming the state run health care system. Claiming that I'm a full time artist is not going to inspire sympathy."

Well, so, I sat down across from the desk of a very beautiful young black woman with an exotic name and a foreign (to me) accent. She was very kind, very dignified, very compassionate.

What do they say is an indication of a person's character? It's something about if you can treat everyone you encounter with the same respect regardless of how much higher or lower than you they appear to be, and regardless of what they can do for you, then your character is pure.

The young woman who helped me at the health insurance office treated me with understanding. She first said that she liked my outfit. I said, "Thanks. I like your hairstyle." Her long black hair was piled into a high heavy coil and twisted into a braided bun. It was gorgeous.

Then she explained that she needed to ask me several questions to see f I was going to be eligible for their health care options.

The first question she asked, and probably not the first question she usually asks, was "Are you self-employed working in a creative field?"

Ha! Wonderful! She had already made this easier for me. I smiled and told her how three years ago I had decided to make my art projects and performances my way of living. I explained that I considered it an entrepreneurial venture and that I invested every last cent I had, hoping it would all perfectly dovetail into financial success just as my savings was running out. But alas, I was only now beginning to see a trickle of a "profit" on my efforts. Although I had earned $25,000.00 from my music and writings in 2017, my touring and album production costs had come to almost the same amount. The line they care about on your US tax form 1040 is line 37. My line 37 "adjusted income after expenses" for last year was $1016.00. Full disclosure, I received donations all year from fans and supporters, to the tune of another $15,000.00 but the IRS doesn't consider the donations through gofundme.com to be "income".

So, I qualified and starting pro-dated to April 1st, 2018, I now have health care provided by MNsure. If I start making a real profit I will no longer qualify. I hope I make a livable profit starting this year! I hope I don't qualify next year! But in the meantime, it's a game changer for me because I have asthma, I take medication every day and the inhaler I use costs over $100 for a month's supply without health insurance. On my new plan, my inhaler is $3.00 each month. My health insurance I had purchased for myself for the past ten years was now up to $440.00 per month for the premiums. So with my medications I was paying over $500.00 a month.

I wonder how you feel about this as you read it. Maybe if you are a Europe friend or fan you are thinking that it's ridiculous that we even have to do things this way in America. Maybe if you are American you are thinking the same. Or maybe you are thinking that someone like me should go get a "real job" that has health care benefits.

Please comment as you wish.

I will say that I used to think that if I hadn't "succeeded" as an artist by now that I would go get a full time teaching job. Now I'm not sure that I could get myself hired at this point in my life, and I'm not sure I could actually do the job well. I've become what I've become. I feel like I am now the unique product of all of my touring and performing, of all my personal efforts to wear my inside on the outside. I don't think I could pull myself together enough to fit into a system now. 

I love my life. I'm grateful to have the freedom to make things that I believe are of value and inspiration to others. I like that I feel like a contributing member of society, but contributing what I feel is the best use of what I am as a person, with all pistons firing. 

I'm working the hardest I've ever worked in my life.

Do I deserve nearly free health care?

I don't know, but I'm damn glad to have it.

 

Freedom to express with no constraints

 

So far, I am finding the daily blog to be a good outlet for a different kind of self expression. I don't really express myself in my fiction writing. In the "Sidney" four book series I'm working on, Sidney is the one who is expressing herself, and although the character is based on me and my own experiences, she has become a character in my mind and on the page. What I write for that series serves the story more than serves me. The story has to move along, be concise, stay focused. Readers don't like to be lead off on wild goose chases...tangents...that end up feeling like a waste of their time.

I love nothing more than to sit somewhere beautiful with a trusted friend or two, with a bottle of good wine, and explore every tangent we come up with for hours on end. Freedom to explore the depths of your own subconscious, to dream out loud, to remember things you'd forgotten about yourself, the people you love, the life you've lived.

Writing a daily blog for me should be just that same way. No constraints, no apologies. Ideally liberating, but not incoherent.

The blog for me is not memoir. I'm not writing stories of my personal experiences. I'm writing inspirations. I'm writing morning thoughts on the possibilities for the rest of the day. The days go by quickly. Each morning holds great promise. The blog can serve as a determination to make the day worth living.

Songwriting is another thing all together.  Also a discipline, maybe, depending on what kind of song you want to write. Someone recently said to me that the songs I write should be simpler now, easy to understand on one listening. Maybe. But my one and only hero Mr. Dylan does not seem to have prescribed to this theory. I don't want easy songs but I do want wonderful songs. I want to stand up in the palace and know what I'm singing and why. Why am I singing this to these people? I always ask myself this question. Why am I singing these words to these people? Why indeed. I think there has to be a good reason. The reason for me has to be that the song feels important. The song feels important even if only in a vague way, and it's importance has me thoroughly captivated. That's what I want in a song. 

So I continue to explore with this blog. I want to see how far it can be pushed and spread, like rolling out pie dough into a wide smooth circle. I want to keep pushing at the edges of what I think is possible with this.

Today is a new day.

I won't add a photo today so that the words can be their own image, and the words can stand in place of a photo.

 

How Private to keep this

I've been writing a daily entry here for a couple of weeks now.

I can't tell yet how much to publicize it or whether to let these daily musings be found by the person who takes the time to look more closely at my website.

Yesterday's harmless little post about fixing up Rob's front porch seems to have lost me some followers on twitter and instagram.

Why?

I don't usually lose followers on social media. Not even when I post political comments, not even when I use swear words. 

So weird! I think that the photo of a porch I posted on Instagram seemed lame af possibly because it isn't the actual porch I'm working on, it was a stock photo from the internet. Also, it was a little blurry and Instagram doesn't look cool when it's blurry. 

Also, and this is not my personal opinion but could be the opinion of some, cute old front porches aren't cool.

Cute front porches and photos of cute front porches are for decorating magazines and dorky lifestyle magazines.

Cute front porches are not for rock goddesses and international superstars.

Do you think it was just the poor quality of the photo or do you think it was the subject matter as well that made some people hit their unfollow button?

Answers accepted below.

Either way, I see the bigger question being whether I should continue my new practice of writing the morning blog, attaching a photo to it, then posting the photo and the blog link on all of my social media pages. I will keep writing the blog posts either way but I could stop posting about them on my social media pages.

One good thing about posting the photo every day is it makes my pages look more diversified because the photos now are everything from an old guitar to a first Robin Red Breast to a porch full of flowers. Usually my social media pages are filled with pictures and videos of me in live performances plus announcements of shows and reviews and radio airplay. 

I started this daily blog in part to make a daily connection with fans who I sometimes only see once a year on tour, but who know me as a person not only as a performer. I know already that some of these fans are enjoying the daily connection and even if they don't read this religiously every day they like that they can pop in and see what I'm up to.

So for me it is not a question of whether I should keep writing about anything and everything including front porches.

It's more a question of how to make sure I am doing everything in my capabilities to build relationships and widen awareness of myself in the world as an artist and that I'm not turning people away by careless errors like blurry stock photos. Blurry stock photos.

For this morning, let's try this actual photo of the porch I'm working on in mid spruce up.......and let's see how it's received.

 

Set up the front porch for summer

I'm excited about Rob's front porch.

He's excited about sitting out there and so is the dog and so are the kids and so are the friends and a few neighbors.

But I'm excited about setting it up.

I need to go buy two new cushions and I am doing some mentoring today so I should make enough money to go buy them.

The porch has my good old white wicker furniture and a wonderful yellow bench.

So's it's already off to a good start.

When we were on tour in Germany last month many houses had tin buckets and clay pots planted up with pansies and even geraniums.

Today in Minneapolis it's going to be 67 degrees so now is the very first possibility of such potting projects.

I'm going to do what I can with about $70.00 to spend.

Later tonight I am going to my first meeting at the recording studio on Nicollet Island in the Mississippi River where I hope to make a new album of the most front porch style music I can possibly write.

Folk.

Music.

On a front porch with an acoustic guitar and flowers everywhere.

 

 

 

Songwriter Sunday Morning

 

Sunday morning coming down.

Songwriter church.

In the golden Springtime light through a small stained glass window above a small electric piano/organ.

A mug of hot coffee with heavy cream and dark chocolate.

Two trusty guitars.

The black Martin is the one I sold and then regretted selling two years later.

My friend who bought it gave it back without being repaid.

He got his two years of fun out of it. So kind of him.

It used to have stickers so as of this week it does again.

Ready for summer, that's what that guitar is.

Songs about the spacious beauty of life lived close to the ground, with many things stripped away.

Beauty is easier to see when you have fewer choices, when beauty isn't crowded out by too many things, too much opulence, too much abundance.

Later today, the small glass dish of black raspberries like tiny jewels.

The small stack of good crackers with a small wedge of a rich delicious cheese.

The one bottle of a very nice dry rosé to share with a friend.

Speaking of which, there's one called "MADO au provence", with a drawing of a woman on a bicycle on the label.

The bottle is clear glass and it has a clear glass stopper instead of a cork.

The nice man at the wine store suggested that the bottle could be later used to make one's own infused olive oil.

I'm going to do it!

Either fresh rosemary sprigs and garlic cloves, or oregano and garlic and maybe whole peppercorns.

"when Holy water was rare at best, barely wet my fingertips 

now I have to hold my breath, it's like I'm swimming in a sea of it" ~Peter Mayer

I can revel in abundance on a sunny Sunday morning in April with the Spring and the Summer stretching out before me.

"so let the sun flow through your fingertips

warm on your hands in the afternoon

the ice is gone and the summer's come

I know you never dreamed the sun would come again" ~me from my song Seven Times As Lucky on the Beautiful Lonely album

Songwriter Sunday morning.

Kimono Sessions Summer 2018

 

I feel a new era of my music coming on.

Monday I'm going to a meeting at a recording studio on an island to begin talking about my new simple solo folk album.

I have ideas about a new time coming of reveling in the guitar lifestyle I've been creating these recent years.

I have an idea to make some music videos this summer at a campsite in Birchwood, Wisconsin.

Everyone's invited.

Rob Genadek has a Volkswagon camper van from 1970 that runs great.

I have a canopy with mosquito netting in case of rain.

Joe Pollock doesn't know it yet, but he's filming these sessions while he camps with us.

I want to invite other female songwriters to play solo acoustic original songs.

I want my daughter, the artist Nina Luna, to be one of the guest performers on her acoustic guitar.

Women wearing kimonos playing acoustic guitars, hell yeah.

Fringe jackets, cut off shorts, Frye boots, kimonos.

It's not a festival, it's not glamping, it's an on location music video shoot that feels like all of that but without the hype.

Just us doing what we do.

Guitars.

"cuz if you can sing it with a guitar, it's all that matters if not to them, then at least to me"

Yeah Baby.

If you have a fringe jacket or a kimono you don't want any more, reconsider and start wearing it, or send them my way.

hashtag psyched on life this morning

 

Macklemore knows what's up.

 

 

Fringe Jackets Are For Girls Who Play Guitars

Fashion falls in line with girls who play guitars and boys who skateboard.

That's part of street cred.

I like fringe suede jackets.

I don't want dark hair right now, or short hair for that matter, but I do still like this fringe jacket and so if you see me around town, I'll probably be experimenting with different ways to wear this old friend again now that my natural blonde hippie hair thing is coming on.

I'm gonna get out of bed and go play dress up.

Write a new album now

I have done some interviews this week about my new album that's just been released, "High Priestess And The Renegade".

One thing that became very clear to me is that all of the stories about this album circle around April 2016 when I had to give up my tiny gem of an apartment in New York City.

I had to give it up even though I adored being there. I adored the apartment itself, and the city, the two block walk to Central Park, me and my little dog sitting in the outdoor cafes, meeting up with my glamorous children for drinks, riding the subway to play songwriter showcases with my guitar strapped to my back. 

I felt like I had died and was living in Heaven.

But strangely, at night, alone in my beautiful room, I felt frightened, untethered psychologically. 

I was truly afraid for myself for the first time in my life.

I had the overwhelming feeling that what I was doing was wrong.

It was wrong financially. I went deeper into debt every month, hoping something would happen with my career that would perfectly dovetail with my running out of money.

But there was more that was wrong.

One night I went to see one of my daughter's songwriter showcases and came back late from Brooklyn on the subway.

I had my guitar with me on my back, and a small amp.

I was wearing high heeled boots.

My phone had lost it's charge and I couldn't check the subway app to be sure I was on the right train.

There was a transfer involved near Time Square, I was sure of that, so I got off and set out on foot to find the right connection.

I kept walking in the underground tunnels but it seemed that some of the trains to the Upper West weren't running that late.

I climbed the steps to the street and walked some more.

Eventually I saw a familiar subway entrance, ran down the steps again and caught a train bound for my neighborhood.

By the time I walked home from the train and climbed the three flights of stairs to my little apartment, one of my knees was hurting badly.

The next morning when I woke up my knee was swollen.

I stood and could barely walk.

Frightened at the prospect of being unable to take my dog for his long morning walk, or carry my laundry to the laundromat two blocks away, and of being unable to carry my guitar on the subway to tomorrow night's gig, I called an old friend of my family in Minneapolis.

The man I called was an orthopedic surgeon.

I told him about my knee and he asked many questions.

Eventually he said that it was called "overuse" and that moving to New York City at the age of fifty-five to pursue your dream with a guitar on your back was probably going to put a strain on your body.

I knew it had put a strain on my body and my mind.

The pressure to succeed was something I created because I didn't want to lose my little slice of Heaven.

I wanted to sustain what I had created.

But alas, I could not.

My knee and my credit card balance were both protesting.

And my mind was giving in to despairing thoughts.

I didn't give up.

I got forced out.

I was forced out by the facts that I couldn't ignore.

I came back to Minneapolis, screaming NO! on the inside.

Some part of me is still screaming. This can't be how it's all going to go down.

The great thing was getting to work with Rob Genadek on the "High Priestess" album and seeing that through with recording and touring.

But it's such a big beautiful world.

I would love to go to Nashville, I've never been there, and live on somebody's sofa and make an old style country album and wear cowgirl clothes.

I don't need to be in New York right now, I've accepted that.

But I need to start something new.

I love starting a new album, fresh beginning, new perspective.

Can I make Minneapolis my Nashville Skyline?

What I have in Minneapolis is my bicycle, a few people who love me including my mom, and relationships I cherish with a whole community of creative music people.

I can write the album I'm dreaming of now, the songs I wish I was singing now.

My mind is pretty strong now, my knee is pretty good, my finances are rough but thanks to staying with Rob, not dire.

I'm going to write a new album now.

Here are some pictures and people that inspire me right now:

 

Image result for willie nelson age at height of careerImage result for dolly at fifty with guitarImage result for emmylou with guitar

 

 

Alternative Folk Punk

I recorded a folk version of my song "Scrutiny" six years ago this week.

I wore a flowered dress and played my acoustic guitar. 

My black touring Martin guitar had stickers of butterflies on it, and my initials.

I got that guitar back recently from a guy I had sold it to when I was moving to New York City.

To sell it, I had taken all the stickers off and cleaned it up. 

I thought I was leaving this phase of my music and my life behind.

No more folky stuff for me.

But Rob Genadek bought me that guitar for my very first Europe tour ten years ago.

And I like wearing little flowered dresses.

I can't just walk around in a tutu and a black leather jacket all the time.

I gotta have some variety. I got to express the full range of who I am!

This picture was offered to me by the weird machinations of Facebook this morning.

What's that weird thing they say to you?

"We care about you and your memories." 

This picture was posted six years ago with a caption about how I was at Rob's studio that day recording a folk version of my new song "Scrutiny".

I love it.

I'm so thankful that the nice guy who bought that black guitar was willing to let me have it back.

I'm going to put new stickers on it!

Also, I have several songs from my newest album getting on the folk charts in the US, UK, and Europe.

So, folk never left me.

I'm not switching genres, I'm embracing who I've been, what I've done.

The "genre" for my new album has been labeled by me and by others as alternative folk, and as alternative folk punk.

Rock and roll springing from a folk singer sensibility with an emphasis on energetic sass and brash in your face New York City vibes.

What?! Is that a sentence?

So Beautiful

 

I love to love Beauty.

I had a mentor in creative writing, a woman named Carol Bly.

She was the ex wife of the poet by the same last name.

Carol helped me with my first manuscript, when all of the four "Sidney" stories were written out as one big memoir.

I didn't end up publishing that version, the memoir version, and I thank God I didn't!

There is much more beauty in my fictional writings.

Fiction allows for magical thinking.

There are ghosts in real life, but they can be so much more in fiction.

Charles Dickens wrote fiction based on his own life, and he had ghosts too.

I think of how he wrote "A Christmas Carol" and how it held such power and such simple beauty.

When he first published it, the story became immediately popular because it resonated with everyone.

It was full of dark truths but at the same time it was so full of Beauty.

There was nothing else like it, and yet, it was instantly so familiar.

Charles Dickens could write beautiful stories because he was a beautiful soul.

Carol Bly thought a lot about what made good writing.

She thought that the character of the writer was the core ingredient.

She wrote in one of her essays something about how there are stages of development of human character.

She said that the simplest level was to have a love of Beauty.

The next was to develop a love of Justice.

The third level was to develop a code of Personal Principles.

The fourth was to be able to sacrifice those principles for the Greater Good.

 

Charles Dickens knew this, you see it in his works.

 

Something to aspire to, to be able to live by all four:

to enjoy a love of beauty

defend your love of justice

live by your own code of personal principles

and be prepared to sacrifice those principles for the greater good

 

I will endeavor to live by all four.

 

And every day I will revel in the Beauty all around me.

I'm in a working class neighborhood in Minneapolis this morning.

A newlywed Robin couple are trying to decide whether Rob's front porch is a good place to build their starter home.

I'm watching them from the front windows.

They are beautiful as they look at me, first with one eye, and then with the other.

The April snow is melting and there is a freshness that only a Minnesota morning captures in my mind.

I'm going to take my little dog and head out to the mighty Mississippi for a long walk.

We'll head over to the beautiful Minnehaha Falls which has been an ice palace all winter but now has the mad rushing waters of early Spring.

Beauty abounding.

 

 

Generate Content and Pray

Tell the world what you want.

Ask out loud for what you want.

I want to get my music heard by people in the music industry who want to help me break on through to the other side.

I send emails to record label executives.

They listen and write back with compliments and encouraging words, which is promising.

But no one has said, "Okay let's do this!" yet.

I'm looking for the right American label that will be excited about who I am and what I'm doing.

I want to be playing shows every night most of the year in cities across the country and the world.

My live performance abilities are the best they've been in my whole life and my songs are strong enough to do a whole concert of original pieces and feel great about the entertainment value and the message.

I am playing over 100 shows a year across the US and Europe but for all of my travels I am only a little above the break even mark financially right now.

I play to filled rooms, but very small rooms.

I want some power behind me that can promote my music to radio, book me in better places for more pay, get the press that my new album deserves.

In the meantime I believe in staying focused and generating quality content.

If the content is great enough and I am consistent and persistent, and I keep doing the heavy lifting on my own, eventually the industry will believe.

If you're reading this, consider sharing my website with someone you think might like my music.

I will continue to generate content and I will continue to pray.

 

 

Spring forward and the way will open before you

I think it's a Rumi quote that says something like "spring forward and the way will open before you".

That's the kind of expression that people like my mom don't like.

It's ridiculous.

You can't do anything without making sure you're prepared and have the proper supplies.

But I have found, quite to the contrary of the Boy Scout motto "be prepared", that if I spring forward the way does open before me.

So, what do you make of it?

 I am planning to return to Germany in August. I've been invited back by many people and venues to play in some lovely situations, and I want to say yes.

So I'm saying yes.

I don't have it planned out.

And there isn't the money in the coffers to cover the expenses.

How will it happen?

It will be a tight rope walk!

Why did circus people ever make up a trick where you tied a tight rope across an open area, high up off the ground, and then attempted to walk across the rope?

Why did anyone ever make up such a dangerous and frivolous folly?

Well, I can's speak for the circus performers, but I can speak for my ideas about touring.

I want to be with the people so much.

I want to play my songs and test them out in places where I know no one and see if the songs can be a bridge.

I am seeing that my songs can be a bridge.

These people are not inviting me back because we've all become such close friends.

They're inviting me back because they're as excited as I am about my songs and their potential in the world.

We all see something shimmering, promising, in the music I'm making.

We are trying to capture it, forward it, share it, fan the sparks into flames.

So it is a tight rope walk to make it happen but it is a beautiful act of faith as well.

"Fear is my enemy, money is my rival.

Gratitude is the remedy and love is my survival.

Hold me up, hold me high.

Don't let me fall."

The obsession continues as I add more dates to my summer schedule here on the website for the world to see.

 

This French painting by Forain is so wonderful to me in part because the female tight rope walker decided it was appropriate to wear a tutu when she attempts this death defying feat, as do I when I attempt mine.

Stand And Deliver

"Like a rose under the April snow, I was always certain that love would grow"

...that's a line from the Star Is Born movie soundtrack that Barbra Streisand made in the Seventies.

I had that whole soundtrack memorized in High School.

Singing along to great recordings is one way to hone your craft as a vocalist.

Sing along to Aretha Franklin and you will learn something for sure.

I'm going to sing a lot at the piano today at Rob's house.

It's snowing in Minnesota on April 14th, snowing so much that my concert for tonight has been cancelled.

(I'm pretty sure it's being rescheduled, and the new date will be announced later today, thank God.)

In the meantime I am singing at home today.

I used to say that I didn't care about the vocalizing and that I wasn't a vocalist.

I used to say I wanted to be like Bob Dylan and make it all about the words.

Well, I owe Mr. Dylan an apology on that because when I listen to his recordings I can hear his brilliant phrasing and passionate delivery.

His recordings are very much about his voice.

Nina Simone's version of his song "I Shall Be Released" is just as much about her vocal delivery as his recorded version is about his voice.

I see now that even in alternative genres, alt country like Lucinda Williams' recordings, or alt rock like Adam Duritz from the Counting Crows, these singers are singing in a purposeful and captivating way. And they have been successful doing it that way.

I seek to find breadth and depth in my vocalizing now. I'm into it.

I like to watch Beyonce's Lemonade album/movie/music video for inspiration and tutelage.

There's a lot to like and a lot to learn there.

As I accept more invitations to perform solo, I feel that I have to bring the spirit with my voice and my words.

I'm going to work on my guitar grooves today too, which are the other important component.

Stand and deliver.

 

 

Consider The Lilies Of The Field

I am considering the lilies of the field, and as far as I can see, they are lucky indeed.

The expression about how the lilies of the field don't worry about how they're going to survive comes from the Christian Bible.

I think about that a lot as an artist.

Last night I couldn't sleep because I am so scared about money again.

In the month of April I am editing the manuscript for my second novel.

That's what I planned to do, that's what I'm doing.

It takes me a lot of time and effort, but no one is paying me to do it so I'm not bringing in much money.

Thank God for the other artists I mentor, and thank God for the live performances I have lined up.

But right now I'm down to the empty cupboard and the empty piggy bank, and the nearly maxed out credit card.

So, I pray. And I consider the lilies of the field.

I indulge in a fair amount of magical thinking, wishful thinking.

I believe there are valuable lessons in staying the course through thick and thin.

I'm not hurting anyone else by my choices at this point in my life.

I love the idea that these difficult times are galvanizing my determination and my abilities as a writer and as a performer.

Or, put another way, if I had a million dollars right now I may very well not be trying as hard to finish the second novel in my series.

If I had a million dollars right now I might not be trying as hard to make every performance extraordinary for my audiences.

Also, if I go today and find myself a regular job, I might not be as determined to continue with my performing and writing.

I probably would not be sitting here writing this if I had to be at work in two hours.

Well, we don't know what we would do in other circumstances, and we can only live the life we're living to the best of our abilities.

I feel so strongly compelled to continue on my path that I am unwilling to give up right now.

I am terrified by the financial aspect, but I am delighted by the freedom and the creative work.

I am purified by the pursuit of excellence.

So I continue.

And I remember the lilies who want for nothing.

 John Singer Sargent 1885

Solo Residency on Wednesdays

I started doing a solo residency at the Underground Music Cafe in St. Paul, MN before I left for Europe.

I have picked it up again now that I'm back. This time it's four Wednesdays in a row 5-6:30pm.

I am so grateful for this opportunity.

There's a lot I think is important about doing these shows.

One thing is that I get to look forward to it every week.

I think live performance art is addicting because there are so many factors that impact the success of the event.

One great thing about being on tour is that you are playing the show all through every night, often in a new city to a new crowd.

When you know you're going to play the show again the next night, your mind is constantly aware of improvements that can be made in the performance.

When I'm back in Minneapolis my live performances become less frequent.

Every show feels like an isolated event. There's no chance to perfect it the next night.

The next show might be a week away, which, after the exquisite privilege of playing to a crowd every night, feels like an eternity.

I am so grateful to be able to look forward to returning next week to the Underground!

Last night I didn't have my small acoustic amp for my acoustic guitar because my gear is so different for touring in Europe.

I've played for a month relying on an Orange Amp simulator going direct into the house system, and it was great, but for the Underground I get a better sound for the audience if I bring my two amps for my two guitars.

I didn't like the acoustic guitar sound I had last night at all so I skipped some of those songs and stayed on my Guyatone the rest of the show.

Next week I will for sure have my acoustic sound right.

Another thing about the solo residency is that there is this fun continuity with a listening community when you get to say "see you next Wednesday!"

That is such a joy!

I wish I could always say that at the end of every show everywhere I go.

I love love love the people I play to.

The people are everything to me. The people and the songs.

When I sing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", I always look into the faces of the people when the lines come, "I used to live alone before I knew you".

I used to live alone before I knew these beautiful people, of all ages, in so many different places, who all love the communion of the live performance, the words standing out to all of us, anointing all of us with their beauty. 

Again I think of the Peter Mayer song I quoted in an earlier post, a much less famous but arguably just as beautiful expression, as he startes the song with this verse:

"When I was a child each week on Sunday we would go to church

pay attention to the Priest and he would read the Holy Word

Consecrate the Holy bread and everyone would kneel and bow

today the only difference is that everything is Holy now"

Damn straight Peter Mayer!

So the next thing I think of about this Solo Residency I'm doing is that playing solo is another discipline.

When I play with a full band it's a certain type of animal. I often play with an all male backing band and I can feel their testosterone at my back on the stage like a hurricane blowing. There's a lot of force in a four piece rock band set up if it's super tight and everybody's really good at what they do.

I often end up dancing and shaking my ass and waving my arms in the air a lot because they don't need my guitar on the verses hardly at all.

It's super fun to just get up and party like a rock star during your own performances.

And it's so much easier!

Then there's the beautiful duo arrangement that I have been touring with for the past two years.

Music producer Rob Genadek brings a stripped down drum kit with electronic triggers that give a beats-in-the-house vibe to my shows.

Playing as a duo with Rob's drums and his excellent backing vocals is a revelation for me musically. 

The songs are made important by the way they are arranged in the duo.

And when I play with Rob Genadek I am playing up to his standards of excellence.

He has no patience for inaccuracies in my guitar work.

He has no patience for fumbling around between songs.

He has no patience for poorly delivered stories between songs, or poorly delivered lyrics during songs.

When I am on stage with Rob G I am bringing the best I got to give.

If Rob ain't happy nobody's happy and only if the music is great is Rob happy.

So, my solo residency every Wednesday is like playing my same show after the bottom has dropped out.

It's like playing my same songs with nobody there to save me.

I can watch the people in the audience at this small Underground Music Cafe.

The lights on the small stage are not blinding. I see everyone perfectly.

I have just played every night for a month as the duo.

I was cheered on to do many encores on those nights.

We were all in Holy communion those nights.

I am excruciatingly aware of what the shows can mean..to me..and to the listeners.

Can I bring what I know is the way and the truth and the light when I play solo every week at the Underground?

Is it possible?

There are things I can still control.

I can continue to be precise in my storytelling, to be accurate and concise in the delivery of the songs.

I can bring the same burning intensity to the words, the same driving determination to the grooves.

There is a lot more to distract me and there is very little to support me in doing a performance at this level of Belief.

The casual nature of the situation, playing for only a tip jar in a place with a fairly low expectations vibe, is not easy to rise above.

And I don't want to rise above, I want to bring everyone in the house with me!

Can she do it?

Stand and deliver.

Stand and deliver.

Fashion thoughts for summer festival performances

Yesterday the organizer of a big Midwest festival called to invite me to be on the bill this summer.

The festival has some "heritage acts" from the Sixties and Seventies, bands that are still together and still touring that started out and had hits during the early decades of rock and roll.

And they're adding in some emerging artists like me.

I am psyched, man.

He asked if I do any "vintage" covers in my concert sets.

On our Europe tour last month I was playing "You're A Big Girl Now" by Bob Dylan (my one and only hero), "I Don't Want To Talk About It" which is well known as a Rod Stewart recording, and ending shows with Dylan's "I Shall Be Released".

The festival organizer was happy.

We also talked about the look of the festival and I said I'd get into my Woodstock vibe for the show.

Which brings me to one of my favorite subjects which in my mind is a whole intellectual and creative pursuit called "what I'm going to wear for my next tour".

I find this topic to be endlessly captivating.

I feel like I have three basic vibes in my repertoire.

I got the fashion-girl-slash-Elton-John thing like this:

      

I got the New York City punk rock vibe like this (with a tutu):

    

And I got the fashion-girl-gone-western thing like this:

  

So the fun fun fun is to think about what to wear on stage this summer..and on the road trips from stage to stage!

If you see me around town, I'll most likely be doing a test run of some hybrid of all of the above, based of course, on what's already in my closet.

You are what you dream!

 

   

 

 

Good And Evil

Folks, there is Good and there is Evil, and if you think there isn't then I am here to set your ass straight.

I have had so many great one on one conversations in the past few weeks, and a theme running through them all has been the motivations of others and the benevolence or malevolence in their intentions.

I have been the Evil. I have been the ugliness, the bitterness, the striving, the grasping. I'm not sure I've ever hoped something bad would happen to anyone....oh wait, no, I have. I used to wish that one particular husband would die. There I said it. I did do that.

So people can have good motivations or evil motivations.

I have seen the subtle and the not so subtle lately.

I think that when you are trying to do something big and you are really taking risks, the actions of others towards you have an exaggerated effect on you.

If somebody is nice, boy, you notice it.

If somebody is discouraging, or manipulative, or worse yet undermining, you feel that.

So, in my recent conversations I have been so very uplifted by confirmations that I'm not imagining things; Good and Evil are real.

Most people try to stay on the Good side and only slip from time to time into the Evil.

I have slipped a lot, for sure.

But, like, even though I was really over that one husband, I didn't try to poison him or anything. And now I'm actually very grateful that this particular ex husband is in this world. I thank God he is! He brings a lot to the people I love most, in many ways.

I love staying in line with Good now. I love how it feels to be all filled up with Love that is brimming over inside of you and all around you.

There's a magnificent song I have been singing for many years written by a guy named Peter Mayer.

On this tour's last concert in Germany, the night before Easter Sunday, I added this song to our set.

I almost couldn't sing it because I was so overwhelmed by the words as they were coming out of my mouth.

My brain and my heart were both on fire from the magnitude of the words I was singing.

The second verse says.....

"....when Holy water was rare at best, barely wet my fingertips, now I have to hold my breath, it's like I'm swimming in a sea of it"

Amen, Peter Mayer.

How do you capture this feeling for yourself?

How do you not have this feeling be a fluke?

It's like getting good sex right with a true companion.

You can learn to have this feeling any time, all the time.

The revelation to internalize is that this feeling is your soul in perfect communion with the Good.

Free yourself, free the world.

You purify your soul, you clear your mind of Evil, you clear your heart of yearning or hatred, and you are swimming in the Goodness.

You can then work magic.

You then have access to the Glory.

For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory.

This is from the Christian "Lord's Prayer".

The kingdom and the power and the glory are not yours or mine. They belong only to the Good. If you can align yourself with Good and eradicate your Evil you can partake of the kingdom and the power and the glory.

What do you think of this?

I maybe am finally understanding what all the hymns I sang in church choir were telling us.

I don't want to make a blog about religion.

I do want to acknowledge that I am reverent these days to the powers of Good and Evil.

 

 

Fear is my Enemy and Money is my Rival

The duality of my circumstances is a message from the Lord that is not lost on me.

I just completed my tour in Europe.

I generated enough money to pay for all the expenses and to pay Rob what he rightly deserves for being away from his recording studio for a whole month playing 26 shows in 32 days in foreign cities for the promotion of my music.

After all is said and done it was an artistic breakthrough, a spiritual breakthrough; many lessons learned, many fears assuaged.

But this morning I am walking up to the bank with a bag of sixty dollars worth of coins...literally from my piggy bank...to make sure my health insurance payment doesn't bounce.

The piggy bank is supposed to be a fun thing that we use like once a year, when it's really full, for something fun like a family party.

Okay, so I'm having to use the piggy bank to make sure the health insurance check (which is $880 because I missed last month worrying about tour expenses) doesn't bounce. What does this say? What does this say about me? What does this say about my career as an artist? 

I'm going to decide right now what it says.

It says, "Get back Devil!"

It says, "You can't bully me, Money!"

It says, "Any day now, any day now, I shall be Released!"

You know why the gesture of bringing the bag of coins to the bank makes these powerful statements?

Because it says I am grateful that I have health insurance three years in on being a full time artist.

Because it says I'm resourceful.

It says I will do whatever it takes to maintain my artistic independence.

I am aware of the wildly audacious choice I am making to be a full time artist.

I am willing to make the inevitable sacrifices.

Every lifestyle has it's price.

Every job has it's unpleasantries.

Freedom.

I have my Freedom.

Fear is my enemy and money is my rival.

I believe that faith means that I should stay on my path and be so grateful that there were enough coins in the piggy bank to make up the difference this morning. What a miracle!

I have everything I need!

I'm drinking coffee with dark chocolate in it right now at 7am on a Monday.

At 8am I'm going to walk up to the bank which is two miles each way.

I love to walk and it's a true luxury and a great blessing to have the time and the health to make that walk.

Today I'm meeting with a group of college seniors at The University of St. Thomas to discuss their final project for their major in Music Business. They have chosen to represent the music artist Courtney Yasmineh as an "artist management group" for their senior project. They've been following the release of my new album and my Europe tour and working with Prof. Steve Cole on new strategies for better visibility for my music in the marketplace.

Isn't that a wonderful miracle?

Also, later today, I get to work with one of the artists I mentor. A great guy who is a corporate executive is working with me on his first novel and today we'll be going over a new chapter. I am getting paid to do that, so I will be able to stop at the grocery store on the way home. And tonight, I should be able to empty a few coins out of my pockets back into the piggy bank!

Fear is my enemy and money is my rival, gratitude is the remedy and love is my survival.

Keep the faith.

Fortune favors the brave!

 

 

 

Bringing The Spirit

 

On this just completed month long Europe tour Rob and I talked about our friend named Kale, a great musician who has toured as part of my band in the past. I was thinking of him because of something that he said once on one of my earlier Europe tours.

I had just finished a long concert in a small club where every table was full by getting back up on stage alone with acoustic guitar. The audience was asking for encores and the band didn't know any more of my songs, so I was going to do the encores solo. I hadn't expected encores so I had to think of songs to play on the spot. 

I was very moved by their appreciation that night. I felt very strong because of their encouragement. I sang alone, three more songs, each time encouraged to continue by the audience. No one was talking. No one was leaving. The staff was all lined up at the back of the bar facing me, listening.

When I got off stage, I was very emotional. I went to where Rob and Kale were standing at the back of the club. He and Rob both said that even they had been moved to tears. Kale then asked me why the hell, if I'm capable of that kind of performance, that I don't do that every night. I laughed it off. "Ha! I can't do that every night! This was a perfect set of circumstances that came together and made those encores possible. I can't just get up anywhere any time and make that happen! It's impossible."

Well, on this tour, I didn't do that every night, but I did it with much more consistency. Most shows were like that. Most of the time I got on stage at the beginning of the concert and I thought right away, it's here. The feeling is here already. I've got this one. We are all going to love this night.

Why am I thinking this way now? How am I able to make what I thought was a fluke and a miracle into a consistent outcome?

To some degree I have more acclaim now so my reputation precedes me and people are already prepared psychologically to sit down and listen carefully for two and a half hours. This is sort of true at least some of the time. Or at least there may be a few people who come prepared and they set the tone for the audience, even to the point of telling the non-believers to shut up...which they do from time to time.

The venues are better because I'm getting some traction in my career. This is also only sort of true because we did play some small cafes or bars that literally only accommodate like twenty people tops so it isn't the size of the venue that is significant. Better venues can refer to the culture of the venue, whether the owner sets a precedent of quality listening when there is live music being performed. If the owner of the club or cafe or restaurant comes up to the microphone and introduces me in the language of the area, there is a much better chance that people will be good listeners, for example.

So the external circumstances matter. If the sound is good, I'm more inspired. If the sound tech is good and also encouraging and excited to be working with me for my show, I feel more honored and I act accordingly. If people are already seated and they stop talking when I step to the microphone, well, that makes it easy. 

My days are hopefully over of playing places where no one really wants to listen to a songwriter play heartfelt original material. I have hopefully payed my dues at that level of anonymity. At first you just play where ever you can play to whomever or to no one even.

But now I have a new sense that once I'm given the platform so to speak, I had better be prepared to take full advantage of the opportunity. And this is where Kale's comment that night really comes back to me. I want every performance to have the same glorious outcome. So how can I ensure that?
 My idea today, after talking with a true friend for long hours here in Minneapolis, and after talking with true friends in Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, over the past month, my idea now is that the answer is the spirit of God and it's within me. I bring the belief that I can summon the spirit of God, like the Holy Ghost or something, summon that spirit to the sacred space where I'm performing. Whether it's a bar or a church or someone's back garden, I will summon the Holy Ghost by my intention and my belief and my own reverence for the music and the lyrics and the story that I am telling. I am telling some kind of profound story in the way each song is chosen for that evening and the way that each song is introduced, what is said and what is unsaid. The way I look, the way I act. My tone of voice in singing and in speaking. These things communicate a clear and undeniable message to the audience. I reveal more of myself than I can comprehend. The audience takes what they want, rejects what they don't want. The audience is unable to connect with the spirit if I cannot lay it all out in a meaningful way for them. 

The responsibility is one hundred percent mine. If they don't care, I have not made it possible for them to care. If they aren't listening, I have not cut through the noise and the chatter and the meaningless drivel and presented them with something to care about. 

Some people I know in the US tell me that I'm "big in Europe" because people are different there. I'm not any "bigger" any where in particular. That isn't true. And people aren't different either. Human beings all understand the profundity of the spirit of God.  Young and old, all nations, all walks of life. All religions. Even disbelievers know the truth of deep emotion.

So I wonder now whether I can stand and sing alone, without back up singing and drums, without Rob when he can't come out on the road with me. Can I make the magic happen every night in every town, alone on stage with just a guitar? Is it possible? Will the world prove me wrong or will I be able to give the gift of the spirit, one performance at a time?

I'm going to set up a series of solo shows and head out to discover the truth.

 

Conversation Yesterday With Ava

My daughter Ava is brilliant and beautiful and people like her a lot. She has had many options since she graduated from college a few years ago.

She is a horse woman through and through and for a while she was a horse trainer in Colorado, training young horses, training aspiring equestrians of all ages too.

She made enough money to survive but her work was affected by holidays, snow storms, people's changing plans. Sometimes I helped her out when she couldn't pay her bills.

She got an idea that she wanted her own apartment, maybe that was the start of the change. No more living with a female room mate, a boyfriend, or her parents. Her own nice apartment.

She started applying for "real jobs", "regular jobs", "desk jobs".

She landed one in Denver and it's a whopper!

She has her own apartment and didn't need anyone to co-sign.

She is working very hard but she says that she loves the structure and high expectations. Plus she loves that the office is very hip and full of young ambitious people who are fun and funny. 

Okay, so that's the awesome news about Ava.

She called me yesterday and we "decorated" her new apartment by facetime on our phones.

She asked me how I was doing, and when Ava listens she really listens.

I told her that the audiences on my recent tour were my best yet. I also said that the money was enough to pay for everything and pay Rob and I was able to cover my health insurance and all my basic bills, but there was nothing beyond that. So I'm back to survival mode.

She said, "Mom, but you just went all around performing to rooms full of people in Europe who love your music. That's a huge thing."

I agreed. It's hard to hold it in your heart when you're back in snowy Minneapolis and there isn't enough money for more than basic groceries.

I told her that I taught a mentoring session that day and took our family dog for a long walk along the Mississippi.

She said, "Mom, you're making a choice to be able to go for the long walk, to work on your writing, to practice your music. Hardly anyone has that kind of freedom."

She talked about how much freedom she had when she worked as a free lance horse trainer.

She talked about how she works ten hour days almost every day now.

She said that she doesn't want to have this lifestyle of five days a week ten hours a day forever but she is enjoying the structure and the rewards.

She said that the young people at her work look happy but that some of the older people look unhealthy from the routine.

Trade offs.

We agreed that life has trade offs.

No free lunch.

My other daughter who's a songwriter and performer, Nina, recently watched the Lady Gaga documentary.

Rob and I watched it during our tour.

Nina and I agreed that Lady Gaga's level of fame includes a huge personal price tag that doesn't appeal to either of us even though we appreciate her work and even though we both take our own music seriously.

"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

Kris Kristofferson was probably right. So was Janice Joplin when she sang these words.

But nothing left to lose is beautiful freedom from grasping, palm open.

My dad was a stock broker. He used to say, "Another day, another dollar."

Maybe another dollar to give to the homeless guy who stands out in the snow on Hiawatha and 46th.

I have a lot to lose.

I have everything I need.

I have these beautiful relationships in my life.

I have the gift of the music.

I am rich.

 

Arina's Cafe March 2018 

Take what you have on the inside and manifest it on the outside

 

I want to take what I have on the inside and manifest it to the world.

Why?

There's a light shining deep inside of me that is fostered by the spirit of the universe.

That light should shine forth for all.

That light is in everyone.

We see it in others and we are warmed and encouraged and inspired by the light.

What is that?

Divine inspiration. Divinity. Love. 

Maybe you can't go around trying to prove you have it, but maybe you must endeavor to go around letting it shine forth.

Resentment blocks it. Doubt blocks it. A loss of faith blocks it. Anger blocks it. Probably sarcasm and bitterness block it.

I am picturing a person with a miner's lamp strapped to his head. He turns it on and goes forth. He is a beacon.

If he gets lost or loses confidence, I picture him taking the lamp off his head and turning it off.

He stands alone in the darkness.

Others can't see him, he can't help lead the way.

That's me when I get discouraged.

I turn off my light and stand alone in my darkness.

And it sucks for me and for people who love me.

It sucks for people who were encouraged by my light.

Remember to turn on your headlamp and put that thing on and march bravely forward into the unknown

with faith and belief and gratitude for the chance to face the darkness with your light shining bright.

Today I'm spending some time writing emails to people in the music industry who are doing things I want to be doing.

I hope at least one of these wonderful brave people will respond to me.

I am shining my light.

I hope they will see it.

Hope. Faith. Gratitude.

Here's my new album poster!

Nothing to prove and Everything to do

I mentor other artists.

They pay me and I use the money to survive.

Some of them I see once a month, others I see once a week.

All of them are brilliant and beautiful.

Male, female, young, old.

They are all in search of their own dream.

They are all pursuing their own excellence.

Yesterday, after a month on the road playing my shows in Europe, I was back to sitting in Rob's living room being a mentor.

I felt so grateful. Gratitude was coursing through my veins.

Too much information: I desperately need the money because as usual my health insurance monthly payment of $440 is overdue. If I lose my health insurance I won't be able to get the asthma medicine I use every day. If my asthma gets bad I can't sing. 

But in a way that is beyond the worldly necessities, these mentoring sessions sustain me. 

I am able to see what I know and what I believe in by having to show it to them.

I am able to recall and revel in my favorite lessons and stories when I talk with them.

Yesterday I watched a young female artist perform a new song.

First as a guitar and singing piece and second as an interpretive dance, she performed in Rob's little living room!

Her dancing reminded me of when Lorde danced to her own song and didn't sing...was that last year at the VMAs or something?

Anyway, it was cool.

I felt awesome sitting there being the witness to this girl's creative outpouring.

I felt like all was right with the world.

Later in the afternoon a female artist who is closer to my own age came to share with me her newly written stories and songs and to report in about her experiences going to a series of open mics and also playing some shows in other parts of the Midwest, all while I was on tour.

She usually stays a couple of hours and I charge her for two hours.

Yesterday she arrived at 1pm and the next thing I knew she had just left and I went into the kitchen to make myself some dinner and it was 6pm.

I charged her for her usual two hours.

That was fair because the hours we spent held great benefit for me as well.

We got on a captivating subject of what emotions hold you back from DOING what you want to do.

I talked about hating people for not believing in me or respecting what I am or what I do.

I said that I don't want to write to people at record labels right now even though I have been advised that I should.

I said that I will hate writing to them.

She said that she feels things differently. She feels fear or discouragement but she doesn't hate like I do.

We talked about parents who don't believe in their children.

We talked about artists feeling like they have something to prove.

She said that people who have something to prove are the hardest people to be around because they act from a place that makes them do inauthentic things.

My brain started lighting up as she spoke.

I felt images flash in my brain.

                                    My brain was saying, "Yes! I know this!

                                                                     I have been this way!

                                                                     Something to prove!

                                                                     Yes!

                                                                     Always!

                                                                     And hatred!

                                                                     Hatred for the people who don't believe in my potential!"

I fucking hate people who don't believe that I can achieve what I want to achieve.

Well, honestly, that's not that many people, not as many as my hatred imagines.

Most of the people on the planet Earth, if I went up to them and said that I want to be a great artist,

they would just say, "Good for you, go for it, knock yourself out!"

They would not say, "What? That's ridiculous! Who do you think you are?"

They would not say that.

Looking at this more closely, there are only a handful of people who might respond to me that way.

These people might be anyone who knows me well and holds some kind of bitterness or envy in their heart that is connected with me.

There probably are a few people who would have a reaction of disgust or eye rolling.

The beauty of my discussion yesterday with the artist I mentor is that I saw the tiny effect of a few people rolling their eyes in my life.

A few people rolling their eyes is nothing.

I have taken that and magnified it many times.

I have felt that the whole world is rolling it's eyes at my new recordings or my new book or my new tour.

My brain responds with hatred.

"Yeah, well you can all go suck it! I don't give a shit what you all think!"

Then I get on stage angry.

Then I play angry guitar in my bedroom, writing angry songs.

Then I hate the people I'm with in social situations.

Then I stay home and hang out with my dog a lot.

I can't bear to have anyone not believe like I do in the vision I have for my maximum potential.

Well, I saw an interview with Bob Dylan when he was older but not as old as he is now, where he says that you can't tell people the vision you have for yourself because they will invariably shoot it down. He said he didn't know why but they just always do.

So I believe in the artists I mentor because I know that their ability to achieve their potential is one hundred percent attached to the amount of belief in themselves they are able to sustain on a daily basis.

I am not that great at sustaining my own belief in myself on a daily basis.

Hatred sidetracks me. Discouragement brings me down. 

The artists I mentor lift me back up because I know what's right and I have to show it to them.

The artists I work with make me a better person and they make me a better artist.

I achieve loving positive conviction in the presence of their belief in me.

Hatred dissolves.

There is no place for it.

Hatred at the non-believers is Don Quixote flailing his sword at the imagined enemy that was the windmill.

Lay down the unnecessary sword, My Soul.

Walk forward with no weapon.

Scatter the seeds of the Lupines along the roadsides.

Sing the songs with love and joy.

Feel the hand of God on your shoulder as you sing at the shore of the shining water the songs that the spirit has given you.

No artifice is necessary.

No determination is necessary.

Nothing must be proven.

Stand in your moccasins and sing, Child of God.

Dance with the joy and abandon of the gift of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The steward of this little girl's dreams

This is me when I was little going to see the "Christmas Fairy" at State Street Marshall Field's in Chicago.

christmas fairy and me

I found this picture recently in an old photo album I made for myself before I ran away to the cabin.

First of all, I remember I had a vague feeling for many years that the dress I'm wearing was actually an Easter dress because the flowers were supposed to be tulips. But now I don't even know if that's true. They look like some kind of folkloric heart shaped flowers. And the green does work for Christmas. I'm not sure whether at the time I thought it was a good dress or not, but judging from the look on my face, I think I thought everything was awesome, as is.

So, what I really want to talk about is what this little girl is saying to the "Christmas Fairy".

The "Christmas Fairy" must have been something Marshall Field's made up so everyone wouldn't just be standing around waiting to see Santa. I don't even remember Santa. I thought the "Christmas Fairy" was the most glorious person I had ever seen. And I couldn't wait to talk to her.

So there I am, finally getting my chance.

You were supposed to tell her your wishes I think. And she had special fairy dust that she sprinkled on your head so that your wishes would come true.

What was I saying to her?

I look at this little girl and every time, I feel it.

I feel the energy of possibility. I feel the anticipation of all wonderful things. I feel the belief. I feel the excitement and the power and the glory.

This is the channeling of the spirit. This is what life is all about.

What am I saying to her?

"Yes, okay, well, when I grow up I'm going to play the guitar and sing. I'm going to write songs and make albums. I'm going to go on tour all over the world. I'm going to write books of stories and poems."

I like thinking that that's the caption of this photo.

Maybe I was really saying something about wishing I could fly or wishing I had my own pony. I have no idea.

But for the sake of the spiritual discipline of writing daily musings, I'm going to stick with the idea that the little girl is saying all the things she is going to do with her life. I could add in that she is going to raise three children, but that was never a dream of mine, it was and is a beautiful incredible gift that was given to me in spite of myself, to become a mother. It was what happens along the way as you pursue your vision of who you want to be. Life is what happens along the way. And my life held the grandest blessing of children. But giving birth and raising children is not the illusive dream I'm talking about here.

The illusive dream is stated some how by the little girl. It is a seed.

By the time I was three years old I was singing into the telephone receiver like it was a microphone, Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walking", for anyone my big brother would call. He was eight years old. He babysat me alone in a third floor walk up apartment in Chicago while our mother went to work at the public library part time. She would tell us to run get the lady downstairs if anything bad happened. I had barely ever seen the lady downstairs. But I think my brother actually knew her. For entertainment, every once in a while, my brother would call his friends and have them listen to me sing. I think at three i only had that one song. Maybe a couple others but I'm not sure. I only remember the one.

The little girl talking to the Fairy is maybe five years old and by then I may have had ideas about music and about singing. I saw the children's choir at the big Lutheran church around this time...maybe this very same Christmas...and I begged my parents to help me find out how to join the choir.

I remember seeing the children's choir process into the sanctuary on Christmas Eve in white robes and with battery powered candles in their hands and my mind just firing inside like fireworks. I started asking, "How did they get to do that? How did those kids get to do that?"

So the little girl in the photograph has the excitement of possibility in her posture and on her face.

And now I am the steward of her dreams.

I am in charge of making sure that she is not disappointed.

She believed and I must believe so that I don't let her down.

She didn't care about all the unutterable negative thoughts that I know about.

She was pure in her delight and her belief.

I must not tarnish her dream with despair.

I must not be so ungrateful for the privilege of living out her dreams as to give in to the dark temptation to say that it has all been for nought.

I won't say that.

I won't think that.

I won't give her, or you, or myself, that burden.

I believe. Yes I do.

 

A New Practice Begins Today: The Blog As Salvation

I am going to try something new.

I'm going to write every morning here the way I have written in a journal every morning for thirty years.

Why not make these musings semi-public?

I have bared my soul to the public on stage now many many times.

You have seen me cry over the songs myself.

I have nothing to hide from you.

I just completed twenty-six shows in thirty-two days in Europe.

I hurts my heart to think of how much I love the people I know from these shows.

I know you.

And you know me.

On this tour I thought a lot about social media.

I thought that it seems like a shallow version of connecting with others.

It's not the fault of social media, it's the way it's constructed to be quick and easy.

I think for my music life it works super great for getting the word out and staying in touch internationally about shows, recordings, events, lots of things.

But it has left me wanting more for myself in terms of expressing myself to the people who care about my live performances.

These people, and if you're reading this you are possibly one of them, these people might like to see more of the inner workings of a mind and a heart like mine.

I have had this hunch for a while.

So I stopped writing in a journal for the first time really since before my children were born.

I stopped writing in a journal for this whole past month while we were on tour.

A couple of times in the mornings (at the Artist Flat for Songs And Whispers concert series) I actually picked up on of the markers I use to autograph my albums and books, and I tried to write an impromptu journal entry on the back of the printed out tour schedule.

I did that and as I tried to write down some thoughts in fat black letters I asked myself why?

Why the compulsion to write things down in the morning? Thirty years of writing shit down every morning. No one else has ever read any of it. Who cares? I don't care that none of that has ever been read. I'm pretty damn glad it hasn't been! There's probably some stuff in those journals that would get me in trouble with a person or two.

But that was then and this is now. My mind is different now. My heart is different.

I have nothing private to say.

I don't need to ruminate over troubles and problems and fears.

What I want to do is to extend my stage performance persona by bridging the gap between my inner life and my outer work.

This is not my series of novels about "A Girl Called Sidney". Sidney, more than ever at the end of book two, is her own person. She is not me and she cannot fulfill my desires. She is beautiful and she has value in her story and in her journey. But she is not me and she is not me now.

There is a me now that is so new and so fresh and so exciting, so full of promise and beauty, that I want to try to express this.

I think this blog may well be the answer.

We shall see! If I quit it by the end of a week, then it didn't work. That's okay. If it doesn't work there's no point in forcing it.

But if it does work, it could be wonderful!

I have two fans in Bremen, Germany who have really touched my soul.

The one is a gardener. She has reminded me how much I love gardening.

When I stopped owning my own home I gave up hope of ever gardening again.

Now I have been living at Rob's house.

If you know my music, you know who Rob is.

Well, I have been "staying temporarily" at Rob's house for two years now!

My idea was to get back to New York City by raising my acclaim through my books and music.

I wanted to make enough money to be able to afford my own apartment in New York. My eyes sting with tears as I write this.

The Dream.

In the meantime, I have been "staying at Rob's house" to be able to afford to make this new album that has just been released.

I have been "staying at Rob's house" to be able to afford my recent West Coast tour and also my just yesterday completed Europe tour.

But now I want so badly to plant flowers and herbs and see their little faces every morning in the Spring and Summer. 

I can't wait any more. Rob says he always said I could plant things at his house.

But it isn't my home. I don't own it. And I'm not married to Rob.

Well, fuck it.

We're gonna do some gardening anyway friends!

I pledge that even if I have to use quarters from the ceramic piggy bank I keep in the guest room where my kids stay when they come to Minneapolis, even if I have to ride my bicycle over to the nice little garden shop called Mother Earth in Rob's neighborhood and buy one hydrangea plant with all quarters, I'm going to fucking do it.

So, this is a taste of what we're up against with this blog practice.

I will endeavor to reveal myself and if you read this you will endeavor to slog through somebody writing their crap out in all the different combinations of the twenty-six symbols that are the English language.

And you will decide if you want to read it or not.

And I will decide if I want to do this or not.

Like the gardening idea, I have a lot of impulsive ideas about fashion as well.

I am thinking about the bolero hat I went in search of and found in Minneapolis thanks to other musician friends for my West Coast tour. That same kind of bolero hat with the chin tie ended up all over the new Dior cruise collection ads on Jennifer Lawrence and all their models. I am so psyched to wear this kind of stuff here in Minneapolis this Spring. I don't need to buy anything to dress like this. I have stuff like this, basically.   Black cowboy boots, tan western style suede booties. Lace dresses in black or white or cream. 

Also, I want to go on tour again in Germany for outdoor festivals in August. I have six firm bookings so far!!!!!!!

The gardening, the fashion, the touring.

Also, keep churning out Sidney's story. Book two is just about finished.

Also, my mom, my dog, my beautiful brilliant children. 

And Rob, the Lion.

So, here we go!

 

High Priestess And The Renegade by Courtney Yasmineh, produced by Rob Genadek

The world changed for me during the two years we made this album and on February !st, 2018 the world changed for me again.

I didn't understand so many things about how to do what you want to do with your life.

There are some keys and some rules.

I didn't know what they were, much less how to abide by them.

I'm getting the hang of this mentality of visualizing the way you want our life to be and then going for it.

Producer Rob Genadek is a guru of living the dream as you envision it.

I'm grateful to him for his example and his help.

Love to you where ever you are today in your own journey.

 

Busking

Busking in Mpls

I am really psyched on being a street performer right now in Minneapolis.

I am writing the second novel in my four book series about a young songwriter named Sidney who is sort of me.

I write every morning from something like 6am until 11am.

Then when I can't take it any more, I bundle up in warm clothes (cute warm clothes ideally) and head downtown on the light rail train.

I have my Taylor guitar in a backpack case and I fill the case up with copies of my seven albums in cd and vinyl.

I even have a couple copies of "A Girl Called Sidney:The Coldest Place" with me.

I try to find a spot where I won't get arrested or hassled and I won't freeze to death.

So far so good!

Come find me. Most days from now until my next tour I will be downtown somewhere playing and singing in the afternoon.

Love to all!

Opened for Joey Molland of Badfinger at The Dakota Jazz Club

The Dakota Jazz Club opening for Joey Molland

I opened for Joey Molland, Liverpool heartthrob, longtime member of the fated Badfinger rock band.

My music producer Rob Genadek and I had just returned to Mpls in the second half of October from a West Coast duo tour.

I was invited to open two shows at The Dakota Jazz Club downtown Mpls for Joey upon our return.

Both nights were wonderful. Joey and his LA based backing band were very inspiring to me.

The Dakota Jazz Club 10/2017

Published Novelist as of today!

 

 Ta Da!

Yes, folks, I did it! Thanks to Deborah Gibson Robertson of Gibson House Press!

 

 A Girl Called Sidney: The Coldest Place published by Gibson House Press is Courtney's first published novel, part of a four book series that follows the adventures of a young songwriter.

 

Ghost Party Reunion 2017 is the new studio album!

G

This is the moment I've been waiting for people!

Tonight we launched the Ghost Party Reunion 2017 recording sessions!

The studio is called The Pearl...which is perfectly, deliciously pirate-like.

I am happier than I've ever been going into basic tracking sessions.

I keep saying to myself, My God Where Did These Songs Come From?

I think you are going to like this album.

I am praying it's everything we all want from new rock and roll music right now.

God Help Us!

We start tracking tomorrow, Sunday August 21st at noon.

We are summoning the spirits of rock and roll past, present, and future.

It's a Ghost Party Reunion! 

 

Radio Promo Tour Kicks Off This Week!

Follow Courtney And Rob Genadek, who produced the new Red Letter Day album as they tour New England

playing live on radio stations, visiting record stores, and playing shows.....

 

Snap Chat Stories of SXSW Tour 2015

 

Here's a fun series of silly tales of the road by our wonderful videographer at large Joe Pollock.....made during our tour to Austin, Texas in March. View at your own discretion...not for the faint of heart....

 

day 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNMpX7aO-L4

 

 

day 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcv61X86D4U

 

 

day 3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sb2_RTJ5nAk

 

 

day 4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hqRs4Bjsiw

 

 

day 5

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_X2IIJLDuE

Happy New Year! 2015, here we come!

In 2015, for the first time in my life, I will be a full time musician without any other source of income but my music.

God help me.

Come to a show.

Download an album.

Throw a dollar in my guitar case if you pass me on the sidewalk or in the subway.

I will be grateful, I promise.

Love and peace and happiness in the deepest depths of your souls, from me to you, this year.

 

Love from the hometown

This article appeared in the small local paper from the town where I didn't grow up, but where I spent twenty years of my life, being a good citizen in a community of good citizens. When I broke out to be the rock and roller I was meant to be, my town rolled with it and started writing nice articles like this one.....thanks Wayzata, you rock.

From left: John Lehmkuhl, Jonathan Benson, Courtney Yasmineh and Rob Genadek. (Submitted photo)

From left: John Lehmkuhl, Jonathan Benson, Courtney Yasmineh and Rob Genadek. (Submitted photo)

Courtney Yasmineh felt the pull to be a performer at a young age. When she was 6 years old, her parents brought her to a church choir concert in her hometown Chicago. Yasmineh remembers a girl the same age as her singing a solo in the middle of the performance.

“When she opened her mouth, I freaked out,” Yasmineh remembers, “I kept saying to my parents, ‘How did she get to do that?’”

The feeling lingered. When she went to concerts with her friends growing up, Yasmineh could only watch wide-eyed at whoever was behind the microphone.

“There would be something inside of me screaming, ‘Why am I not doing that? How do you get to do that? How do you get to be that person on that stage?’”

Yasmineh said she performed often in school, but said she wanted something more. She wanted to write her own songs. She wanted to do something more meaningful.

“I wanted to be more like Bob Dylan,” she said.

If only Yasmineh knew how prophetic that feeling would later become.

Up on the Iron Range

Yasmineh left Chicago in a stolen Jaguar. She was 16 when she took her father’s car and headed to northern Minnesota.

“My parents got divorced,” Yasmineh said. “I ran away from home because my family life was really bad at that time, and the divorce was very upsetting.”

She found refuge in her late grandfather’s hunting cabin in the small Iron Range town of Tower.

Less than an hour from Dylan’s hometown of Hibbing, Yasmineh spent her days listening to bootlegged recordings of Dylan, playing the tapes on her grandfather’s dictation machine left in the cabin. In the winter, she worked to keep the wood-burning stove running to heat the small cabin.

She enrolled to the town’s high school for her senior year. She told the school that she had just moved to town with her parents and signing their names on any documents the teachers handed out.

Yasmineh went to the local bars with her guitar. She sat in with a local bluegrass band, singing harmony and performing some of her own songs.

“It was a blast,” she remembers.

But living on her own was a scary new experience. When the cabin’s pipes froze that winter, Yasmineh snuck into the high school to take showers in the gym. One day, the high school’s principal confronted her after he saw her sneaking into the school after hours.

Yasmineh told the principal her story. Being close to graduation, the principal decided to let her finish out the school year, but he wanted her to meet with his friend – the head of the English Department at Macalester College in St. Paul. Reluctantly, Yasmineh agreed and boarded a Greyhound bus to the Twin Cities after graduation.

Yasmineh attended Macalester on a full scholarship, finishing with a degree in creative writing and earning her teaching license. She would get married soon after college and move to Wayzata to settle down into a suburban lifestyle. While she still wrote and performed as much as she could, Yasmineh’s aspirations to become a professional musician were put on hold.

A second wind

After raising three kids, all graduating from Wayzata High School, Yasmineh’s focus began to shift back to music. After years of living the conventional life, Yasmineh said she was ready to take a shot at realizing her dream of becoming a fulltime musician.

With the release of an acoustic album of folk songs in 2004, Yasmineh said she felt revitalized.

“I would get this glimmer of what you could be. There were moments of a great show or a good turnout … But I was very uneven in how I performed because I didn’t play shows often enough,” she said. “But it would be those glimmers where I’d think that I could probably be good at this if I could do it every night.”

Blending alternative rock, folk, country and pop, Yasmineh and her band worked out of Brewhouse Studios in Minneapolis.

Today, Yasmineh is busy putting the finishing touches on her fourth album, “Red Letter Days.” The album’s release will be celebrated with a show at the Icehouse in Minneapolis Friday, Nov. 21.

The new album, “Red Letter Day,” from Wayzata’s Courtney Yasmineh. A release show for the album is Nov. 21 at the Icehouse in Minneapolis. (Submitted photo)

The new album, “Red Letter Day,” from Wayzata’s Courtney Yasmineh. A release show for the album is Nov. 21 at the Icehouse in Minneapolis. (Submitted photo)

“This one is really different from the other records,” Yasmineh said.

The singer-songwriter is on the phone from New York. While she still has a house in Wayzata, she’s been splitting her time between Minnesota and New York. The new album was recorded at No Shame Labs in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood and brought back to the Minneapolis studio for mixing and mastering.

“It’s still very much a Twin Cities project,” Yasmineh said.

Restricted by a tight budget, the new album was recorded in just nine days.

During the short time frame, Yasmineh also busily wrote songs that would find themselves onto the new record. It was a practice she said shaped the album’s sound and gave it a feeling of intensity and immediacy.

While the practice proved stressful, the singer-songwriter said the end product was worth the headaches.

“This is the best record of my career,” Yasmineh said confidently.

The songwriter said the decision to record in New York was largely based on the opportunity to work with musican-producer Charlie Drayton, whose long list of credentials include work with Fiona Apple, Keith Richards and Paul Simon.

Yasmineh said the new album takes life a little more lightheartedly than her past albums.

“I wanted it to be a fun record for people to listen to,” she said.

The singer and her band have also kept a busy tour schedule over the years. Having returned from a 10-date tour of the Netherlands, Belgium and France, they’re already planning a tour of Europe in March. So far, Yasmineh has been on nine tours performing in clubs around Europe. But she said the treks to exotic locations overseas have felt far from a vacation.

“I’m just trying to go anywhere where people like my music,” Yasmineh added. “Whether it’s South by Southwest (music festival) or Amsterdam. And it’s not like we’re all living the dream in Paris. We play in Paris, but it’s hard work. It’s the same as playing a club anywhere else.”

Grammy nominated producer Rob Genadek, owner of Minneapolis’ Brewhouse Studios and producer on the recent album, has become a longtime collaborator with Yasmineh. Genadek is also a drummer in the band has helped shape the singer-songwriter’s sound over the years. It’s a sound Yasmineh said is based on her desire to forge ahead at all costs.

“And it’s not about fame and fortune,” Yasmineh added. “I just want to keep making records and keep collaborating with great people… That’s all I want.”

And now, that desire that has led to the most recent and proud step in her career.

“I feel like this record has been what I’ve always wanted to do,” Yasmineh said. “And I’m finally getting to do it.”

Contact Jason Jenkins at jason.jenkins@ecm-inc.com

If you go:

Courtney Yasmineh album release party for “Red Letter Day” with Sunday Islands (featuring Mayda)

Where: Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis

When: 10 p.m. doors, 10:30 p.m. show

Price: $8 advance, $10 at the door

Tickets and Info: icehousempls.com.

Advance Praise for our new Red Letter Day album due out November 2014

Red Letter Day – Courtney Yasmineh (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

securedownloadWhen reviewing Wake Me Up When It’s Over, the last release from Courtney and the band, I had them down as an alt-country-rock hybrid, Sheryl Crowe meets Patti Smith perhaps, here though something much more provoking seems to be on offer. There has always been a genre hopping nature to what she does but Red Letter Day seems to be her “what the hell, let’s just do it” moment. As a statement of intent, opening salvo ‘Get It’ is perfect; all Anthony Kiedis styled staccato lyricism over squalling, rabid guitars. This is Courtney with the sass, not to mention the expectation, turned up to maximum.

 

What follows is the art of being throwing musical curveballs but without sounding out of line with the overall sound of the album. I guess the phrase “it’s the singer not the song “ is appropriate here as it is the bands component parts, their familiarity and skills as a working unit that provide the cohesion allowing the songs to head off into more adventurous musical territory yet without seeming too far from home.

 

If tracks such as ‘Friend of Mine’ are a direct pop-rock bridge to the previous album, it is the title track with its Daytripper-esque groove running through the middle distance and its touches of 60’s soul that show that the band know how to keep originality and momentum in an industry that expects you to merely give them what they want. Thankfully this album gives them what they didn’t know they wanted, a rare gift indeed.

 

There is room for beautiful torch songs (‘Change Your Mind’) and anthemic country rock (‘Hang on For the Ride’) but it is ‘Misfits and Losers’ that stands out as the real high point of the album for me. If ever they were going for a chart looking pop-rock crossover (think Pink!) then this certainly opens that door.

 

To sum up – Adventurous, generically eclectic, forward looking and great song writing. I’d say that’s all boxes ticked.

Hometown Article!

This is the best magazine that comes out of the area where I lived for a long time. It's nice to have their support and acknowledgement.

A Suburban Rock Star

How Wayzata resident Courtney Yasmineh defied convention and built a rock star career.

The famed Troubadour club in London has hosted the likes of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Adele and Amy Winehouse. Yet in March 2013, there stood Wayzata resident Courtney Yasmineh, on stage, ready to close the show. Yasmineh worried that everyone would leave before she even strummed her first note, since she and her bandmates were following three acts of British natives.

“We finished the first song and I thought people were just hanging around talking to their friends or getting ready to go,” Yasmineh says. “Then they were cheering like crazy. I turned and looked back because I thought something must be going on behind me, and [drummer] Rob [Genadek] was saying, ‘They’re cheering for you.’”

The story represents Yasmineh perfectly, showing the insecurity of a musician coming to grips with her own success through a career that began with a rock-star attitude and followed an arc that is beyond unconventional.

Yasmineh always dreamed of playing music for a living. She sang in the church choir at age 8, got her first guitar at the same age, and wrote her first songs at 12, all the while watching other musicians and thinking, “How do I get to do that?” After issues in her home life in Chicago got to be too much, Yasmineh ran away and took refuge in the home of her grandfather (now deceased) on the Iron Range of Minnesota at age 17. “I moved up to northern Minnesota at that time when people thought Bob Dylan was the bomb. And I did too,” she says.

It took years before this rock-star move made Yasmineh an actual rock star. When her high school principal discovered she was living alone, he got her in touch with the head of the English department at Macalester College. She was granted a full scholarship and graduated with a degree in literature and creative writing, minoring in business and also obtaining her teaching license. Shortly after, she married a doctor, had kids, and ended up in Wayzata living the suburban lifestyle. “I loved what I was doing and I believed in my idea of having a more conventional life and raising children,” she says. “I don’t regret putting in the time.”

The years of waiting paid off in 2001, when she wrote a song after 9/11 and ended up parlaying that into her first album in 2004. “I knew I always wanted to [make an album] and I had been performing, but I thought that if you were good, you would get discovered when you were younger, and I didn’t get discovered,” Yasmineh says. “I didn’t understand you had to put your mind to it and fight for it and not take no for an answer.”

Yasmineh ditched her conventional life to do battle for her dream. She thought she would be rejected by the industry because of her age, and that people would write her off as some lady having a midlife crisis. It’s not often you find a middle-aged woman in Wayzata touring Europe with her band.

Yasmineh’s fourth record was released in December, and in addition to playing the Twin Cities club scene, she’s completed seven European tours since 2010. Over the years, Yasmineh has fine-tuned a sound that she and Genadek, her drummer and a Grammy nominated music producer, describe as “adult alternative.” She writes her own songs, with Genadek serving as a sounding board for ideas while helping create the musical arrangements and giving Yasmineh the honest, sometimes brutal, feedback she needs.

“She’s started coming into her own and becoming more confident in herself,” Genadek says. “From what she was writing about and where she came from, it seems like a pretty battered place. You go through anything like that and you’re going to be standing on shaky ground—especially with something as personal as music.”

Her songs trace her experiences which give her lyrics meaning. Whether it’s her teenage fans who look up to her or her middle-aged fans who understand what she’s going through, Yasmineh has found her audience through coming to grips with her personal history.

“People lose the ability to write about relationships and everyday sentiments that everybody can relate to,” she says of musicians who grind out a life on the road. “As a songwriter, [my background] has been better—what I’d like it to be is I can offer people meaningful lyrics with real-life experiences that matter to them.”

In March, one year after her gig at the Troubadour, Yasmineh and her band went to Austin, Texas, to play SXSW, one of the biggest music festivals of the year. She’s built a music career during a time in life when most people worry their kids will decide one day they’re leaving school to become a rock star.

“You can defy convention with a tiny bit more confidence,” Yasmineh says. “It has taken all these years to convince myself I can do this… Right this minute, I’m happier about my career than I think a lot of women would say with whatever career they’re doing,” she says “I’m doing the best work of my career right now.”

Minneapolis TV piece from their Women Who Rock Series

 

Thanks to the people at WCCO TV out of Minneapolis who put together this fun piece and had me on their program live at 5 in the morning on the station's rooftop to promote the show!

Nice Interview Out of the Northcountry

Here's the link to this nice Q&A with a wonderful writer and artist from the North Country on the shores of Lake Superior. I will be up there soon for a Bob Dylan Tribute Concert May 18th.

http://pioneerproductions.blogspot.com/2014/04/courtney-yasmineh-returns-for-salute-to_18.html

And here it is in it's entirety for your amusement and general edification on the subject of all things CY......

Courtney Yasmineh Returns for A Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan (Interview)
When Courtney Yasmineh joined Scarlet Rivera and Gene Lafond last year at Weber Hall, there was a certain amount of risk as she was accustomed to performing with her own band and not Gene's backup band The Wild Unknown. On top of that, an hour before showtime Courtney and Scarlet were shaken up in a car accident on the way to getting ready for the concert. Despite the distractions, both performers never let on -- they were cool like ice, like fire -- and a stellar concert ensued.

Once on the stage Yamineh holds nothing back. You can feel the energy she projects, even from the farthest corners of the hall. It's exciting to have her here again for the upcoming kickoff event of our North Country Dylan Days Celebration which is now just a month away.

EN: You recently had to perform at SXSW. How’d it go? 

Courtney Yasmineh: SXSW was such a growth experience for me and for my band. We were so pleased to be invited, first of all, for the first time in my career. We played two prime time evening shows on the main street of Austin where most of the action is for up and coming artists. We were part of the Red Gorilla Fest which is a subdivision of the scene down there that really caters to new artists. We played on rooftop stages at two different venues to enthusiastic crowds. 

I felt like I really got to see how the American SXSW audience, who are mostly young people from around the country who love new music, responded to my songs and my band's presentation. I knew going in that this could be discouraging for me if it didn't go well, but honestly, I was not prepared for how well we were received! I feel so inspired and full of conviction as a result of our efforts there, and that is a great gift! 

EN: Last year you told me of a book you wanted to write. How’s that going? 

CY: I have written about 200 pages of the story of my adolescent experience. I ran away from Chicago to Northern Minnesota when I was seventeen mostly because my parents were getting divorced and I was extremely disillusioned with everything about my young life there. I went to live on Lake Vermilion in a cabin my Grandfather had left to our family when he died. And that winter I learned as many Bob Dylan songs as I could, and began performing with my guitar. I had already started writing songs, but that winter provided much new inspiration and I wrote many songs about my experience. 

EN: What is it that so attracts you to Dylan’s music? 

CY: The joy for me in singing songs that Bob Dylan has written is that he is my greatest hero and his body of work and his career are such an inspiration to me. 

EN: What are your favorite Dylan songs that you like to sing? 

CY: I like to sing Dylan's song "Sara"... I like when he says lines like "staying up for days in the Chelsea Hotel writing 'Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands' for you." Staying up for days!!!! Love that!!! 

I also like "Times They Are A-Changin'" because it's so brilliant and I think it takes a lot to deliver it with the right tone… not too strident… not too sentimental… and especially coming from a female, those words have a lot of power and can be off-putting. 

My favorite might be "Tom Thumb's Blues." A better folk rock opening line has never been written than..."When you're lost in the rain in Juarez and it's Easter time too..." When delivered right, that line can make you feel like a real bad ass on the microphone! 

EN: What have you learned about yourself through your experiences performing? 

CY: I've learned a lot about myself over the last few years of performing for people in other cities, other countries, and at home in Minnesota. I've learned that I am a people pleaser and I want to see people's eyes light up. I've learned that I do not have to be loud to be heard. I've learned that my most helpful attribute in performance is how much I care about the meaning of the words. I've learned that I have to really feel good about the level of quality of what I'm offering in order for me to relax and put on a fun show. 

EN: What kind of thoughts are you thinking when you look at an audience at the beginning of a concert? 

CY: At the beginning of a concert, I am usually already playing the first song, watching people, feeling their level of acceptance of my band, feeling how the band likes the situation… the sound quality, the circumstances of how we've been treated so far....and if all's well, about half way into the first song, I start thinking...'okay, we've got this' and then I relax and start having the time of my life. 

* * * * *

EdNote: This blog entry and others like it have the aim of raising awareness for the upcoming Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan concert which will kick off the 2014 North Country Dylan Celebration in Duluth and Hibbing. For tickets to this great event visitdulutharmory.org/events

SXSW2014 the video reprise!

Here we are in all the mayhem and majesty of Austin Texas in the month of March...............

 

Austin, TX 2014

My band and I drove to Austin to play two shows during SXSW2014.

We were part of the Red Gorilla Fest...the Red Gorilla people are taking the main drag in Austin..6th Street..by storm and

are giving emerging artists great visibility and exposure. 

We loved our two rooftop stages and we got to play prime time hour long sets.

The sound people were helpful and pretty darn good..considering that amplification issues abound

when so many bands are playing back to back.

The best thing for me was to see the genuine interest and enthusiasm people had for our performances and for our new album.

I was encouraged and inspired!

I really wasn't sure if that was going to be possible in such an environment of overabundance of bands and noise, noise, noise, noise!

If you haven't been to SXSW ever, it did remind me of the Dr. Suess portraits of the whoos in whooville with their made up instruments and funny bicycles with one man band horns and drums and crazy stuff. Remember that?

On 6th Street, any time of day or evening, there were bands rolling drum kits on dollies and people biking with guitars on their backs and an amp in one hand.

Where there's a will there's a way.

I want to go back with a brand new album..hopefully next year!

A Nice Review at College Radio

KAMP Radio Arizona U

Wake Me Up When It's Over

Submitted by salmog on Sat, 12/07/2013 - 5:34pm Artist: Courtney Yasmineh Non-Airable Tracks:

none Label: Stupid Bitch Records

Courtney Yasmineh, a Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter and guitarist, plays lively alternative rock and indie pop with her four person band. Her newest release, "Wake Me Up When It's Over," collaborates again with Grammy-nominated studio guru, musician, and musical director, Rob Genadek. She has a growing fan base in the United States and abroad through radio airplay. She has an expansive body of work of over four albums, and a colorful collection of new videos. Her voice is extremely unique and is consistent with every song. I love this album! Courtney Yasmineh is definitely one of a kind. Her lyrics are playful and catchy, almost everyone can relate to them. Each song tells a story. Play this on your station, its a must!!

Sounds Like: LizPhair Sounds Like: Alanis Morrisette Sounds Like: Debbie Harry Sounds Like: Sheryl Crowe

Recommended Tracks: 1 Ballad To My Other Self: a very catchy song!! I especially like the beginning 2 Wake Me Up When It's Over: my favorite song in the album! has great guitars beats 4 Scrutiny: girly rock anthem 5 Apparition: I love the musicality in this song!! 11 Entertained: probably the most different song in the album, very chill and a little dark

Name: Sivanne Almog Date Reviewed: 12/07/2013

Alt [1] Alternative Pop/Rock [2] Singer/Songwriter [3]

Thanks to Shoreditch Radio London

Bury Me, our winter song, made this best of 2013 playlist today!

The RealMusik Radio Show-RealMusik In 2013 on Wednesday 11 December 2013 at 2pm
 
Looking back at the highlights of the first year of The RealMusik Radio Show
 
 
Playlist
 
The Barnum Meserve-Autumn Park
Frank Hamilton-Things I Do
Hadar Manor-March Song
Beth Rowley-Wretched Body
Kevin Pearce-Tides
Mamaduke Dando-The Trick Of Singularity
Adrian Roye & The Exiles-Pebbles & Stones
Samsara-Effigy
Leapfrog-Double Trouble
Bethia Beadman-Fire
Courtney Yasmineh-Bury Me
Gertrude-Message From Dorothy From The Other Side
Kaz Simmons-I Know You
The Balconies-Kill Count

Love from the UK

This thoughtful review came in early in the release process of our new album "Wake Me Up When It's Over", and it stands out now as a favorite! Thank you Dave Franklin of Green Man Music!

Wake Me Up When It’s Over – Courtney Yasmineh band

Well, if you ask me  (and if you are reading this you kind of did) the evolution of the rock chick and all that that implies, seems to have made a unexpected turn into a bit of a cul-de-sac in recent years. When did the brash femininity of the 90’s get dampened down, married off and traded in for mealy-mouthed chic-lit concerns? Frankness, irony and guts got replaced by unfascinating intricacies of past relationships, throwaway college lyricism and dance routines. And Jessie J! With the exception of a few feisty folkies, there seems to be a void that needs filling. Where is the new Patti Smith, the new Natalie Merchant, Debbie Harry, Sheryl Crowe or Alanis Morrisette (early years only of course)?

 Someone who is helping to fill that girl with a guitar shaped hole is Courtney Yasmineh.

Hometown Love from The Current MN Public Radio

The Current is a great Public Radio station in Minneapolis, and one of their staff writers, Andrea Swensson, took time to interview me and write this.....plus she premiered our song Apparition on the air and featured our newest music video....all just in time for our Minneapolis CD Release Show which featured the horn section that played on the new album.

Courtney Yasmineh comes clean with her past and pushes forward with a new album

by Andrea Swensson · October 18, 2013

New Music Video for the single "Apparition" ..the Pirate Edit

This is it..the black and white version you've been hearing about..we call it...

THE PIRATE EDIT: APPARITION 

 

Apparition_10_11 from Joe Pollock Films on Vimeo.

Europe Tour September 24-October 8

 

Taking it to the streets of the UK and Europe September-October 2013

We will have the new album in hard copies for you!

Come be a part of our video for the new single "Apparition" September 28 and 29..we'll be filming on the fabled cliffs of Dover.

Watch our facebook posts for locations and times and come say hello and be a part of our new film project!

We'll also be spending time in London, Leeds, and Amsterdam...see you there! 

Our "Bury Me" video

The Bury Me video that Steven Cohen made with me is getting some love from Minneapolis City Pages magazine.

We filmed it on the frozen tundra..said only half in jest..of January in Minneapolis...complete with frozen lake film shoot, frozen rooftop performance, frozen fingers, frozen camera lens, and general freezing of everybody's asses off.

"Only One" video with the little monkey

The Only One video was made by Alea Toussaint, a young film student in the grad program at MCAD in Minneapolis.

The style of animation she employed is difficult to execute but deceptively naive in its sensibility.  

We filmed "Heartbreak Woman" in Paris!

It was fun to work with Joe Pollock, an excellent young documentary-style filmmaker from Minneapolis, on this video on the streets of Paris!

RSS feed