the DJ meet and greet in the ballroom at the Sheraton and more

Yesterday I played in the lobby of the Sheraton again, and that went fine.

I had heard about a meet and greet opportunity with DJs that was happening in the afternoon, so I stopped my performing and went to that.

I had already met a great guy who had done many cool things in his already long career as a record label owner and DJ and other things, in Canada.

He was interested in Blues music so he wasn't my guy, but he was still a great guy to know.

So he told me that these DJs in this ballroom, from all over America, all of them with particular and peculiar interests and specialties, would not all be truly interested in my music and that I shouldn't waste my CDs on them.

He said, "the CDs today won't even make it on the plane....maybe they'll each take four or five that they're really excited about....the rest will be left behind."

Okay, point well taken.

So I hit the room with a strategy in my mind.

I put my guitar over in one corner where I could keep an eye on it.

The DJs were each at a little table and you stood in line to speak to a DJ for a minute or two and then you got out of the way for the next hopeful artist.

I sat down with each DJ with a copy of my Sidney book, and just one or two copies of High Priestess And The Renegade and a couple copies of Songs From The Open Road.

I asked them right away what sort of music they were interested in and hoping to find.

I told them that if I wasn't a good fit I didn't want to waste their time with my spiel.

This worked beautifully because if they said they were mostly interested in Celtic music I could just wish them well and get out of their way.

But it also worked beautifully when, for an example, a guy started by saying, "Well the name of my program out of Boston is My Back Pages."

My hearted leaped.

I asked why he calls it that.

He said, "I've just always been a Bob Dylan freak and I'm always looking for music with that kind of meaning and passion."

I almost burst into tears.

I said, "Okay, well, I'm your girl."

I started to explain about my career and my recordings and then he stopped me and said, "You don't have to work this hard. I was already sold when my friends and I saw you playing in the lobby. You have such a strong voice. I just knew I wanted to hear your music. When you sat down, I was already hooked."

Okay!

I told him that he didn't have to take the CDs, that I could take his address in my little notebook I had with me, and I could mail him materials later.

He said he really wanted them both.

I said he had to promise not to just dump them.

He said, "Are you going to make everyone beg for a CD here?"

I said, "Yes."

He said, "Good strategy!"

So I went around the room making them beg.

If they didn't start begging after about thirty seconds, I politely wished them well and took one of their cards.

Using this strategy I was totally out of CDs by the end of the meetings.

I know for a fact that every CD went to a potentially loving home.

Then I ran into some other artists, as I was leaving the ballroom with my guitar and my empty hands.

These artists were saying that the situation was too intimidating, too overwhelming.

They were telling each other, "Just politely put a CD on each person's desk and don't try to talk too much."

Some were saying that nobody wants CDs and that these DJs were saying "no thanks" to their CDs.

Damn.

You can't all be at the same place along your journey, and I have done tons of radio appearances all over the US and Europe, as you well know.

And I am who I am, at the age I am, and all that plays into my ability now to cut through the bullshit and really have wonderful immediate conversations as if we've known each other all along.

To keep this all in perspective, I'll add in the story of the DJ from Madison, Wisconsin.

I was born in Madison so I kicked off with this tidbit.

The DJ was a tall thin young man, very well dressed, with a disdainful expression that seemed permanent on his face.

The minute I opened my mouth, and maybe the minute I sat down in his chair, I knew this guy didn't like me.

It's like I rubbed him the wrong way.

He actually said to me, "Weren't you the one playing in the lobby?"

And I could just tell that he thought that was an easy reason to dismiss me.

Well, the truth was that I didn't like him either.

So, I asked him what kind of music he was interested in for his station.

He said "acoustic songwriter music mostly'.

I said that I use electric guitars in my music which makes it more "alternative".

I said, "Do you want to hear more about this? Do you think you might be interested?"

He looked me right in the eyes and said, "Probably not. I think I'll pass."

I did not say, "Good 'cause I don't like you anyway."

I didn't say that.

I just politely wished him well and moved on.

All in all it was the single most uplifting thing I've ever done in my career as far as promotional activities go.

All the independent radio people in one room? Or at least a whole bunch of cool ones.....it was absolutely exhilarating.

One funny thing is that the other artists I ran into on the way out of the room, I realize now, are not used to seeing me that happy.

I'm always happy at my shows, but those artists, even the ones from Minneapolis, never come to my shows.

But I was flying high as I walked out of that ballroom and I think it was disconcerting to them to see me like that.

They were saying things to me like, "Geez, how are you doing? You look like you're having a pretty good day!"

I just answered honestly, "yeah, I am."

And I wished them good luck with their efforts as well.

It ain't easy.

I am so grateful to be here.

I feel that I was meant one hundred percent to be here right now.

I am loving every minute of it.

It's nine in the morning and I'm listening to Love Train playing in the hostel lobby where I get to eat their delicious free pastries and drink their delicious coffee with heavy cream.

One more thing, last night I got the suggestion from a homeless guy with a cardboard sign, "Miss, you're looking good. You should take that guitar of yours over to the French Quarter tonight and busk. They gonna love you over there. You could make some good money."

I gave him a dollar to thank him for his great suggestion.

I went there on my way home to the hostel.

I was so tired but I figured I'd get a crab cake and a glass of wine in one of the many wonderful seafood cafes.

I did it!

I played and met a whole bunch of fun people.

I made thirty dollars in tips which covered my nice crab cake dinner.

Speaking of money.

I see that my success is happening and has happened and that I have a lot to be so grateful for in my current career.

I still have ninety dollars left.

And I have two hundred in the bank exactly to pay the hostel bill at the end.

I may not have the last thirty to pay for my checked bag on the way back but maybe they'll let me carry it on and the guitar too.

I'm going to busk again today.

Pray!

yesterday was pretty good to great

I'm aware of how many people are helping me.

I'm aware that I want to make people proud.

I see that what I need is acclaim.

Yesterday it was apparent to me over and over that I am at the personal growth level of the more successful artists who are at the conference.

I heard this one artist who is at my level of acclaim say, "yeah we look at these artists who really have big followings, the ones playing the big showcases here, and we just know that in ten more years we'll be there if we just keep working at it."

Really?

You think that's how life goes?

That's not what I said.

I said nothing.

It was a group conversation so thank God I wasn't pressed to answer.

But then I talked for a pretty long while with a young artist from Canada.

And he had the attitude that I have.

He was saying that the ten thousand hours of mastery still only gets a whole lot of people to a certain level.

From that level to an even higher level of acclaim or achievement or notoriety there is another characteristic.

He was saying that it's the time spent strategizing.

Strategizing is as important as practicing or writing.

This blog is a strategizing tool, as I'm sure you're aware if you've been reading along for a while.

My tours to Europe are a strategy in and of themselves.

What I saw yesterday is that I have been doing the good hard work.

I'm doing almost all the right things.

This conference and apparently other like it are a new aspect of strategy that I had not understood.

Today I'm going to a meeting where DJs who have Folk oriented radio shows sit at tables and let everybody shower them with their music.

Huh.

Sounds awesome and also ridiculous.

I'm going for sure.

I'm almost all out of CDs which is cool, because everyone says nobody wants CDs.

I'm going to go to this meeting with a very good strategy.

Rob G came up with it on the phone last night, in between crying over the death of our little Aidan.

He told me to bring my notebook, and a couple CDs, and I should write the mailing address and contact info of all the DJs I like and then I will mail them my CDs when I return to Minnesota with a follow up email.

Brilliant!

Better!

Great!

The reason I'm almost out is that I got to the conference yesterday morning and just set up and played in the front lobby.

No mic, just acoustic guitar...my black Martin.

People were quite supportive, many gave me their business cards, many asked for CDs.

Nobody offered to pay for them, but hey, I suppose they think I think it's a privilege to be solicited at all.

And there, at that conference it is, because everyone advises you not to try to give any CDs to industry people.

Mostly because they say no thanks and you get your little heart broken.

It's a big cruel world my friends.

I got to sit in a ballroom and see Mavis Staples tell stories of her childhood and touring with her family.

I got to see Patty Larkin play the guitar like a bad ass.

I stuck around 'til the late night showcases, which take place in private rooms way up on the tenth and eleventh floors starting around ten at night.

Insane.

All you need to get in all of them is your conference lanyard and by the generosity of the kind woman who has been championing my involvement here, I had the lanyard around my neck, that has my name and says, "ARTIST" on it.

So I floated through several rooms, listening to some awesome artists.

I loved it but it's a shit show and I got tired fast.

Of course, I played in the lobby from nine in the morning to one in the afternoon already that day.

It's such a long day and night.

The people who stay in the hotel take naps, and they go out for dinners.

They have a rhythm to the whole thing which I can't achieve this first time, because I'm staying at the hostel.

But, the hostel is a beautiful quiet and fun oasis from the conference experience.

The best feeling of all yesterday was the moment when I said to myself, "I am over this".

It was nearly midnight and people were kind of drunk and there were musicians playing in every room, room after room, and the narrow hallways were packed with musicians carrying instruments and every other sort of industry person all talking and drinking and so into it, with tons of high energy everywhere.

I realized that I had lost the people who were saying, "You have to come see so and so, they're so great, they play at one thirty tonight in room whatever....."

I was suddenly on my own and it was the perfect moment to ditch out!

I got back on the elevator, I headed down to the lobby, I hit those big glass doors and suddenly I was outside in the gorgeous humid still night of New Orleans!

I put my guitar on my back and just started walking towards my hostel.

The real world was so beautiful and quiet and just so comforting.

I got back to the hostel and people were sitting in the lobby bar sharing a bunch of pizzas they got delivered.

Relaxed and fun.

Very little money needed.

Everyone relaxed and fun.

Oh my God.

I will succeed.

I will, I promise.

I'm getting close.

A guy at the conference asked me why I want to succeed.

He said, "Is it the money? Is it the fame? What's driving you?"

I thought about it and I knew the real answer, I know the real answer now.

I'm trying to give my music and my ability to perform the level of acclaim that it deserves and give it it's rightful place in the world.

I see that people who love my music feel frustrated by my situation, often saying to me, "This music is so good, why haven't more people heard of you?"

Well, I'm working on that.

That's what I'm working on.

Give what I do the light and the love it deserves.

All I'm saying is it's not where it wants to go yet.

I feel there's more to do.

Others feel it for me too.

I'm working on it.

And today I'll go meet the DJs!

Love from New Orleans!

New Orleans!

I left my grief in Minnesota and I got on that plane in spite of myself.

And I will never regret any of what has transpired.

I loved my little dog so much but now he has set me free and I him.

And I'm suddenly in a full emersion folk singer of the world situation!

New Orleans is cold and rainy...not what I envisioned...but I luckily was warned by my daughter Nina as I was packing two nights ago, packing in blind grief from losing my little dog.

He had a growth in his abdomen that was making all his organs and stomach shut down.

He couldn't eat.

He could barely walk.

We wanted so badly to believe he'd get better.

He did too.

I see now he pushed himself to be healthy in the face of the fatal situation.

I'm glad I sent him to his Maker when I did and didn't let it go on any longer.

As soon as the vet told us, two mornings ago, I knew it was the answer, and Nina and Rob were there so we went ahead.

Then I was packing for New Orleans and Nina was saying, "Mom it's colder than than you think...."

And I repacked with more of my typical touring clothes...black leather jacket and beret.

The twist for New Orleans is I packed the three long "prairie" style dresses, small floral prints on black background, tiered skirts, puffed sleeves.

So here I am, folk punk, high priestess of the open road, get it girl.

Yesterday in the "first timers" meeting they told us if we wanted to at any time we could pick a spot on the five floors of the conference and just start playing!

Today, it's almost nine in the morning, and I'm heading over to play!

There are meetings to go to, but honestly, reading the profiles of the people speaking, a lot of them know just as much as I do about how I should go forward to succeed.

I spoke with a couple people yesterday and they just can't be all that helpful when they don't know your performance style and your lyrics and your whole vibe.

I don't have a showcase until a small cameo spot on Saturday night.

So, the best thing to do is just start playing.

If they'll let me, and it sounds like they will, I think I can meet more people who will understand me by doing that.

I'm sitting in the awesome bar of my awesome hostel, having an awesome cream cheese pastry which I would normally never allow myself, but hey, life is short and what's a cream cheese Danish in the scheme of things?

All I want to do is play for th people so I'm going to.

I saw some people doing that last night, and honestly, they weren't that great or anything, sorry to say.

I've done all those street shows and all those busking days and I can handle this.

Plus, supposedly, these people are looking to discover new artists.

Okay, people, here I am, come and get it.

I will gladly play for your festival, your podcast, your radio show, your concert series, your indie record label.

I'm ready and I must be here for a reason.

I'll do my part and the Great Creator can rise up to meet me.

The Destiny you seek is seeking you.

In the meantime my dear daughter Ava has been searching for apricot colored Shitzu Poodle puppies and she's telling me that's my birthday present.

My birthday is February 13th.

I am being lead.

I will obey.

Bring it all on I'm ready.

Thank you from my heart to yours for your support.

Love from NOLA.

my little darling dog Aidan has died

Yesterday was a beautiful and terrible day.

My little dog Aidan who has been with me through everything in the past eleven years is gone now.

In one day all the light went out of our home, our relationships, our lives.

Aidan had been sick for about a week.

It got to the point where he couldn't eat any food and hadn't eaten in several days.

We took him to the veterinarian, a great guy we've taken Aidan to for his check ups for his whole life.

The vet gave Aidan a thorough exam and we brought him back home thinking it was still possible it was a stomach issue that might still resolve itself.

But yesterday he was worse than ever.

Nina and Rob both went along.

This time the vet did the tests I was putting off in part because I don't have the money for the tests to be done.

Yesterday I brought the money for the conference, the money my fans gave me to go fulfill my music dreams.

The tests revealed that Aidan had a growth in his abdomen that was making his stomach and spleen and other parts of his internal organs unable to function.

Inoperable.

Fatal.

Aidan hadn't eaten in nearly five days and he was in pain and had a lot of fear in his little eyes.

I decided not to bring him back home.

I was leaving today for the conference and Nina and Rob would be burdened with his care and with the decision to put him to sleep.

So we were all there, the vet is a great sensitive man, and I decided to end Aidan's life right then and there while we were all present and before he got any more uncomfortable.

Rob begged me not to make that decision.

Rob was crying.

Nina cried.

I cried.

Aidan was unable to walk, on my lap, panting with discomfort as he had been for at least forty-eight hours.

There was no relief for him.

I made the decision.

We sat in a special room that has a sofa and the vet and assistant were very kind to us all.

Aidan went to Heaven peacefully.

What cruel moments we all live through in our lives.

I feel still that I made the best decision.

Rob is barely speaking even this morning as he drove me to the airport.

Nina said she thought it was a beautiful experience.

I sat with my beloved little friend's lifeless body on my lap and softly sang the old Dolly Parton song from the Trio album called "Dear Companion".

 

"Oh have you seen my dear companion

For he was all this world to me

I hear he's gone to some far country

And that he cares no more for me
I wish I were a swallow flying

I'd fly to a high and lonesome place

I'd join the wild birds in their crying

Thinking of you and your sweet face
Oh have you seen my dear companion

For he was all this world to me

But now the stars have turned against me

And he cares no more for me
Oh when the dark is on the mountain

And all the world has gone to sleep

I will go down to the cold dark waters

And there I'll lay me down and weep
Oh have you seen my dear companion

Oh have you seen my dear companion

Oh have you seen my dear companion

For he was all this world to me"

I'm writing this from the airport.

It's five in the morning and I'm headed to New Orleans.

Nothing will ever be the same.

I am being lead and all I can do is obey.

The money I saved after the plane tickets is gone.

It costs a lot to end your dog's life at the veterinarian.

God bless my little Aidan.

Sister C, God is testing us

My big brother, whom I adored in spite of it all, used to look at me when the going had gotten very very rough, and it did indeed get very rough, and he would say, "Sister C, God is testing us."

I would laugh.

The dog always gets sick in the hardest moments.

Let this be said, in every trying time I have ever lived through, the dog always gets sick right in the middle of it.

My dog Aidan has taken ill.

He got sick right around the time last week when I bought my plane ticket for my big opportunity to go to the Folk Alliance.

God is testing us.

I leave tomorrow at five in the morning, but as I write this my little dog is curled up in pain in his little bed, with labored breathing, and going out to the backyard every hour or so, and just having a very bad go of it in general.

Yesterday I spent some of my house concert cash at the veterinarian, getting him checked out, but to no avail.

We'll be there again this morning because things are not naturally improving, in fact, have gone from bad to worse.

I'll be leaving him in very good hands with his beloved Nina and also his favorite guy Rob.

They'll both be around a lot and he'll never be home alone the whole time I'm gone.

If he makes it.

We'll get x-rays today.

We really don't know but it's obviously a digestive problem, or it's certainly affecting his digestion, whatever it is.

He's eleven years old.

He lived with me in Manhattan and I used to take him to the statue of Balto in Central Park in the mornings, and I'd read the plaque to him about how Balto saved the stricken children of Nome, Alaska by bringing the vaccine through on dog sled.

My Aidan has been a hero in our lives.

He got me through the fall.

As everything fell away, what remained was my love of home and family, and Aidan represented home to us all.

We landed in a safe haven three and half years ago, at Rob's house, and Aidan finally had his very own big backyard.

He's had a wonderful time here, the perfect life in all respects for a little dog.

I hope he pulls through.

If he doesn't, I can say he lived a great life.

I am going to my conference opportunity.

I'm not missing this.

To my big brother in Heaven, and to my Dad too, who never got to see that his daughter repented and ended up loving him after all was said and done, yes, God has tested us, and God is testing us, but Sister C stands tall.

Have a great day, friends.

See you in NOLA tomorrow!

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