I Have Gremlins

Gremlins are everywhere at work in my life lately…locking up my computer, shutting down my phone, silencing my recording equipment, stopping work and creative pursuits at every turn. I’m missing deadlines. “Restore. Recover. Repeat.” Again. One more time. ..

The word of the week:  sabotage.

Gremlins are everywhere at work in my life lately…locking up my computer, shutting down my phone, silencing my recording equipment, stopping work and creative pursuits at every turn. I’m missing deadlines.   “Restore. Recover. Repeat.”  Again.  One more time.  It’s hard not to take it personally.  Some suggest planetary juju, cosmic misalignment.  “Blame it on the Mayans.”  My engineer says to blame it on PG&E for power surges and voltage dips to the East Bay (more believable 😉  No P- I don’t believe evil comes in 3’s.

What I’ve learned the hard way:

1) To synch is not to back up. Back up your phone.  Not doing so regularly has me stepping back into life 6 months ago.

2) Back up your computer.  Anything you care about- back it up 2 places- one of which should be offsite in case of fire or failed hard-drives.

3) Keep going.  Gremlins are temporary.

The best thing about loss and recovery- starting fresh. Feeling lighter.  My computer is now set up only to record music, something I should have done long ago.  I have removed every piece of paper in my studio to enforce this new rule.  Tabula Rasa is an official dedication to a new purpose; empty is free.

But I am suspicious: gremlins, are you really gone?  You may be taking a break, percolating behind firewalls, new software, partitions… regrouping.

The best coping mechanism through a gremlin attack?

Hot chocolate with cinnamon; Mexican hot chocolate. Don’t follow the directions of ‘one bar per serving’: add 3. And add extra cinnamon.  Espresso shots make it a Mexican mocha. It’s OK to scream first.  But then, be sure to relax, and sip very slowly, with your eyes closed to feel the cinnamon absorbing into your cells while your endorphins slowly rise to better levels.

hot chocolate

Sparking the Airwaves: Thank you for listening…!

I can’t find the words to express the joy of having my friends & family calling now to say:
“Hey! Omg-I’m listening to your song on the radio right now, Right NOW! Hey- You’re on air!”

Your voice,

so high, so happy

we can feel your glow, a thousand miles

close and sparking the air.  Even Chula races

room to room to catch

your laughter.

I can’t find the words to express the joy of having my friends & family calling now to say:

“Hey! Omg-I’m listening to your song on the radio right now, Right NOW!  Hey- You’re on air!”

This morning’s call…2 states away, my Mom to tell me- “KUVO is playing Recession Stomp right now! So I called the DJ Arturo to talk to him… wow, what a great guy he is…!” 😉

Since starting publicity 2 months ago, sending my new CD Torch and Sass around the world- I’ve enjoyed calls & shout outs from Richmond, Washington, Portland, Ohio, Atlanta, San Antonio, Boulder, San Francisco, Boston, Brownsville, Denver, & Italy…. Of course, Mom’s call was the best! 😉

It’s crazy surreal. This culmination of sorts- the place where last year’s writing & recording in 3 studios meets this year’s send-it-out-into-the-world, (hold-your-breath!), and then feel (through others), how ether expands on the airwaves... 😉  Can’t believe it.  Maybe someday I’ll hear for myself… hehe 😉

For stations that report what they play publicly (many don’t) we guesstimate that around about 175 US radio stations are playing music from Torch and Sass right now.  So this has put me in that  elusive place of  “in “the charts” with other musicians & recording artists – sometimes with Diana Krall, Robert Glasper, Karrin Allyson.  My place bounces around, but for awhile the College Music Journal had me in the top 30- & the only unsigned artist!!

Since I’m so bad about appreciating the little successes along the way (too focused on that long list of what I haven’t done yet…), and since it’s January, I’m just going to stop now.

wetFlowerBlue5209

Stop for a second & breathe in…this great space. And all mi Mum’s good energy….

Thank you Thank you Thank you….to everyone who has called, to the DJs who take time to listen and find something new, to all of you who listen to radio, & to your local, community radio stations:  you ALL keep musicians going!  Today- I am ecstatic, exuberant, silly-high, bouncing-off-the-walls elated!!!

Thanks Mumma!!!

Poetry pebble:  Mindful Writing Prompt

Things To Do Today: Before the End of the World

“Post more poems! And more Macro! Less verbage on your blog.” 😉 It’s true, I do miss writing. So that will be on tomorrow’s list: play more music; write a poem. In case the world goes on.

On Today’s To Do list:

Send more Accordion Babes calendars to the North Pole.   For Real- that’s where this order is from; North Pole, Alaska!  For  5 years, I’ve mailed out CDs & calendars, to every state, and nearly every country by now, but this is my geography lesson of the day;  NP Alaska, within the Fairbanks North Star area,  4.2 sq. miles big, and with around 2,300 people.

Map of Alaska highlighting Fairbanks North Sta...
Map of Alaska highlighting Fairbanks North Star Borough (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Book my 2013 World Tour~ USA, Canada, & Europe are in the works, in case the world goes on.   Today, I got requests to come to Maine, TX & NYC.   (Send me your favorite venues to see music, and I will do my best to book them if they are enroute.)

The World Tour

Finish painting the Guest room before holiday guests arrive:  Here you see supervisor, Chula,  closely inspecting the prep work.  She’s a tough boss, and doesn’t much care about doomsday theories.

ChulaBoss

Write!  I got this small edict from a good friend and faithful reader to this blog:

“Post more poems! And more Macro! Less verbage on your blog.”   😉 It’s true, I do miss writing.  So that will be on tomorrow’s list: play more music; write a poem.  In case the world goes on.

Post new jewelry to my shop, Three Muses:

AztecChalcEar6989Aztec Calendar Chalcedony chunks.

woodOwlNckl7116 Bamboo Forest Owl- Tiger eye, pearls, fire agate, & stoneware leaf pendant (Black Mud Studios), with bronze owl (Andrew Thornton).

majorcaNcklc Twilight Pearl Choker.  A take on grandmas’s Majorcan pearls- with Czech Crystal Pearls

peacockNckl Forest Peacock;  tiger eye, green hessonite garnet, blue goldstone- with stoneware leaf pendant (Black Mud Studios), and copper peacock owl pendant by Andrew Thornton.

Journeywork of the Stars- Whitman, Rain, Old Books,

So much of Whitman’s work is pivotal to the artist; whether new & looking for courage, or established & needing to kindle the spark through dark nights; Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself & Leaves of Grass make wonderful companions- positive & magnanimous. I like how Whitman essays & poems read like manifestos: not just to pioneers establishing new frontier, but also to the fledgling– daring to wonder (in song!) about his/her own vast store of untapped potential. Celebration. Youth. Joy & unbridled passion. Fearlessness in the face of it all. Blake, Rilke, & Whitman- are all good for stirring the heart and soul this way; an urging for us all to drink down the elixir of our own gifts- with passion and confidence.

rainleavesSky

“I know I have the best of time and space– and that I was

    never measured, and never will be measured.

I tramp a perpetual journey,

My signs are a rain-proof coat and good shoes and a

   staff cut from the woods; …”

“I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journeywork of the stars.
And the pismire is equal, and a grain of sand, and the egg of a wren…”     from Leaves of Grass, first publication- 1855.

Rereading Walt Whitman.  So much of his work is pivotal to the artist; whether new & looking for courage, or established & needing to keep kindled the spark through dark nights; Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself & Leaves of Grass make wonderful companions- positive & magnanimous.  I like how Whitman essays & poems read like manifestos: not just to pioneers establishing new frontier, but to the fledgling– daring to wonder (in song!) about his/her own vast store of untapped potential.  Celebration. Youth. Joy & unbridled passion. Fearlessness in the face of it all.  Blake, Rilke, & Whitman- are all good for stirring the heart and soul this way;  an urging for us all to drink down the elixir of our own gifts- with passion and confidence.  Aaah- if I had read any of these as a child writer, when first searching in the fathomless world…                       But spark & kindling… always here, every day of the week 😉

Timed with the growing buzz of holidays, I crave stillness, more time to read, & books. Big, old books.  And a nesting corner to hold them on rainy nights.  From Pinterest board of Books & Reading Corners.

Dragona V- books n nooksSource

Not sure why, but mid-19th c. authors/books are grabbing me now.  Despite their sometimes crazy blatant sexist, racist, and plain Machiavellian slants of empire- I like the lexicon and language of the day. And the day-in-the-life snapshot of a pioneering spirit.  And I’m wanting to get back to one of those “100 greatest books” lists.  Found a vintage store nearby that has very cool old books… ;).

books

Of course this goes against my streamline-the-library mentality of our last move. But the illustrations in this  1923 Jungle Book…

JungleBook

or this Milton poetry book illustrated by Blake, are tough to pass on. Amazing to read one of these printed in a year near its original publication…Like this 1888 edition of James Fennimore Cooper novels.  I had opened the preface to learn what a “leather stocking” meant, but learned instead of the many biases toward the “savages.”  Ugh… early cultural bias- uncultured & stark awful.

New “Greatest book lists” keep spawning…

100 Greatest Novels: http://www.adherents.com/people/100_novel.html

**World List- 100 Top Books of All Time: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/may/08/books.booksnews

I love the international lists: “This list of the 100 best books of all time was prepared by Norwegian Book Clubs. They asked 100 authors from 54 countries around the world to nominate the ten books which have had the most decisive impact on the cultural history of the world, and left a mark on the authors’ own thinking. Don Quixote was named as the top book in history but otherwise no ranking was provided.”

100 Best Novels- both Random’s and it’s Reader’s lists- are interesting. http://www.modernlibrary.com/top-100/100-best-novels/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2003/oct/12/features.fiction

What have I missed?  Tell me your favorite book lists!

What My Parents Think I’m doing- Musician. Publicity

You’ve seen the stereotypes. You’ve heard the jokes. But what does a pro musician look like running a publicity campaign while “Living the Dream”?

You’ve seen this before, yes?

My favorite part is the “What producers think I do”: his Co-producer has an accordion. 😉

Well, here is the beginning of my version:  I’m sure my father thinks I quit my day job to be this;

(You have to imagine the girl version.  With a ukulele.)  And if not the central figure, he would say then, that I’m hanging out in a bar somewhere by this cigarette machine, dreaming of myself as a rockstar.  (This was indeed the coolest cigarette machine we found in Spain on our tour;  band and I watched the World Cup beside it.)  Europe still has cigs in bars, dispensers, smokers, and other similar artifacts of the US past.

So Dad, torch singers don’t usually scream out, topless onstage like this chap above: alas, we croon; fully clothed in sequins, little hats, and lots of feathers, especially torch singers.  😉

The current picture?  What does publicity look like? For this whole last week, with a little help from friends and a publicist, my life as a professional musician has looked like this:

In case you don’t see it right away, this is a publicity machine!!  A national campaign in full swing-  launching a new CD!  Mailing out hundreds of CDs to radio stations around the globe. Yes- my new CD- Torch and Sass is officially out to global radio- digital and beyond.  (You can listen to songs on the right side of this post, by clicking on the album cover- the grrl with the little hat…)

As my friend Raul would say:  “Woo-hoo! There you are Tara- Livin’ the dream!!” 😉   And so I am, getting a bit closer to reaching as many ears across the planet as possible.  So, yes, it’s true; it really is my dream to make the world a tad livelier via musical airways.

Torch and Sass definitely feels like celebration:  stomps, tangos, bossa nova, my first ballads and good old fashioned 1930’s styled swings with my first horn section!  For the first time in my life- I’m writing music for horns. The Muses took me in a surprisingly new directions for this recording, and I’m so happy for it; the live shows have been going really well.  It feels like I’m where I should be- paper cuts and all.

Next up: reviewers big and small, listen and critique my new music.  I once got nervous for this part.  But not now.  Six CDs later.  I just hope my music reaches people who truly take the time to listen.  If they do, I think they may appreciate finding original music, that just may, upon close inspection, sound a little different.  😉

Bulb-Diving into Fall: Macro to Cosmic

From Macros to Cosmos. Re-designing my studio, and Über-Excited for Fall!!! Creative fruits coming next…

Taken along the canal in Amsterdam, with my phone camera. I love how the morning sun is captured in the center of a flower at just the right angle…

All I can say about the last weeks of Summer, since coming home from tour- is that I’ve felt like a moth who’s’ bulb-diving a dozen different light sources at the same time- in fear of even one of them going out!  I came back from Europe’s tour SO insanely high with inspiration from the places & (mostly) people that I met, that I dove into a ridiculous number of projects (more instruments, new songs, recording, new jewelry designs & restocking Three Muses, planning new tours, playing with new musicians…), that I dared not slow down to talk about it.  Fear of death I think it’s called.  And then I got sick. And exhausted with definitely nothing to talk about then-Ha!!  But mostly, it’s been the kind of Summer where the ‘Go outside & play!’ mantra held sway over status updates & blogging.   Geeky and true.

Add to this kaleidoscope, my annual summer garden yielded a single tomato and is almost completely dead now.  I guess traveling musicians shouldn’t do gardens (hard for me to admit, since I normally have happy gardens.)

But since that gorgeous Blue Moon has come & gone (NASA photo),  the pendulum has swung.  Officially. I’ve been cleaning house- in many ways (yes!).  Re-designing my studio, and am Über-EXcited for Fall!!!  Creative fruits coming next…

Please clink on the Macro link here to see all the other fine macro shots at Studio Weatherstone.

Dream Coming True~ Europe Tour: Thank you! & Downloads

Remember my post a couple of months ago about this amazing invitation to play a show in Segovia Spain?  That an NPR producer/station had invited us to represent the US, but that I wasn’t sure how to make it work, because we had to get ourselves to Europe, me & band?  Well here’s the latest.

I booked a 2-week European tour, from Spain to Germany.  I started a fundraiser (Fan Raiser) on my FanPage here.  We are more than 1/2 way to our fundraising goal!  I sold CDs, an instrument, made lots of jewelry (most of which friends and family bought before it was posted (thank you!!).  I started a house concert series (this Saturday).  And we leave next week for Madrid.  Eeeeee!

THANK YOU X 10,000 to all of our friends, family, and fans who have bought my music, jewelry, songs, recording time, and shows over the last 2 months!  Thank you all for getting involved to get us there. It kind of boggles the mind. This is community: this is why I make music.

I have had a hard time asking for $.  But I’m not asking anyone for a gift or donation.  I have instead asked everyone to buy what I do best- my music.  I’m offering my new CD (for $10-20), or a new song that I will write and record for you about any subject you choose, or a concert wherever you want us to play.  With smaller things in between.  If all of my friends and fans bought or downloaded just one CD (any of 4) this week- we could meet our goal.     THANK YOU to all who have responded!   We are seriously grateful.

You can listen to my CD’s on my website here.  (We like it when folks buy through Bandcamp- because they pay the artists the most for their music and you can pick your file download quality.)

Download Torch and Sass (jazzy blues) here:

or Download my wild west Tex-Americana music Tortilla Western Serenade from here.

NOTE: I will ship the last of packages on Monday.  So if you happen to buy anything after that- I will send your package  after July 15th.

Here is the band- The Tortilla Western Trio- that I will be touring Europe with below-   featuring Az Samad (guitar), Rafael Herrera (drums/percussion),   JT will debut on percussion!