touring solo on a shoestring budget and getting big rewards

Last night I played with other songwriters in the round.

Everyone talked about making the decision to be a full time musician and writer.

Everyone said they see it as a struggle to make money but that they don't want any other job.

One woman also teaches songwriting at a private college.

Another man makes most of his money as a free lance photographer, and he and his wife are reaching retirement age.

One guy, the quite excellent songwriter and performer who is the monthly host of the series, is already booked to play a show in Minneapolis a year from now in September.

That guy plays 130 shows a year.

All over America.

He also works part time at a guitar store.

I felt like we could all relate to each other pretty well.

I loved being part of it.

Also it was interesting to me that their songwriting styles and their deliveries were different enough from mine that I saw myself in stark relief.

But each of their songwriting styles was quite unique and separate from the others as well.

When people tell me I remind them of Alanis Morissette I don't see it.

Last night, I felt like I was a lot like Alanis Morissette.

I felt like I was edgy.

Definitely edgy.

Like, in my songwriting and my vocal delivery.

That's okay.

I usually feel sort of sentimental and folky these days, so this was a new take on it all.

Today I play a longer solo afternoon show starting at 1:30pm at the Daily Planet Coffeehouse in Buffalo, New York.

I've played there before and I love it.

Hopefully some people will be there to listen.

Tonight I get to take a long walk and then go to bed early back at the art center.

This is all working out just fine.

I would do it all again.

The rental car was a super great move.

Even if I have a hard time paying it off, it was worth it.

Good luck and good fortune to you today.

 

You gotta do it for yourself

I guess the moral of the story is that you gotta do it for yourself.

It's all just between you and your God.

Or you and your Universe.

Whatever but it's something about the silence being full of answers and knowing and possibility.

The velvet welcoming comforting nourishing silence.

The profound stillness.

Just you and your essence, you and your origin.

That's how you make it all work, that's how you make manifest your dreams.

Get down to the level of the pine needles and my friend Sarah's friend used to say.

Get down so low there's nowhere lower to go.

If you get low enough you realize that you are in fact the lilies of the field who do not need to consider their circumstances.

The lilies of the field don't toil or fret.

How will I survive? How will I be beautiful? How will I blossom and thrive?

You just obey the signs, you listen in the deep silence and you obey the inspired thoughts and ideas and impulses.

This morning my mother told me, "well, my dear girl, I think you've finally made it."

My mother said that this morning to me on the phone.

My mother told me I've finally done it.

I can't tell you for sure what exact details compounded for her to make such a proclamation.

I was telling about yesterday and how things finally came together.

All my crazy driving, sixteen hours of solo driving cross country, seeming vaguely insane, vaguely for nought.

But yesterday was the first radio show and evening show of my time here in this region.

And I got a lot of seriously positive feedback, a lot of good real support from people.

I feel revived, and vindicated, and not insane.

I feel good.

And my Mom got that.

So if my mom says I finally made it then I finally made it.

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives.

Let's make the most of it.

I have a songwriters in the round performance tonight right below where I'm sleeping these six nights at the Nickel City arts center.

I'm looking forward to meeting the other songwriters and performing my songs for them and the arts center audience.

Love to you where ever you are.

Just do whatever you want today because what you want is all you got.

 

long day into night in Rochester NY

Today I left Akron, NY where I'll be staying every night as the artist in residence, literally above the music center on the Main Street, to be on the radio an hour away in Rochester, on WRURfm.

Scott Regan is a great music promoter, songwriter, musician, DJ.

I enjoyed telling him what I'm doing these days.

It's been two years since I was on his program, promoting Red Letter Day, with Rob and another musician along as a band with me.

Here I am today bringing him my first novel, my High Priestess And The Renegade original album, and my new cover tunes album, all at once.

I am grateful to him.

He listened, he gave me airtime, he gave me his patience and kindness.

I drove sixteen hours in two days by myself, which is not something I want to do very often in my life, but it was worth it to deliver my current career to him. 

I feel good about my performance on the radio.

I've been sick since Europe two weeks ago.

I think my voice today was about 87 percent back on track.

Tonight I have a show 7-10pm playing solo at a little bar called the B Side in Fairport, NY.

My biggest issue right now is that they're saying the weather is going to be bad tonight and I don't want to drive back to my place above the music center tonight, alone, in high winds, on roads I've never been on in my life.

I have nearly run out of money right now.

One fan kindly sent me $50 yesterday and so I have a full tank of gas.

I'm thinking of trying to see if there's an inexpensive hotel near the bar where I'm playing.

Otherwise it's going to be over an hour drive to get back there around Midnight tonight.

Shit.

I'm going to look into it.

These are tough decisions on the road.

The show tonight promised me $150 and dinner, so that's good.

And maybe people will come to this and buy my new album, and my books, and all my cool stuff.

Praying.

I am following my path.

I am on my path.

I approve of myself.

I believe in what I'm doing and what I'm all about.

Love to you where ever you are today.

this better work

I have exactly enough money to get to Akron, NY today!

I feel very lucky that I'm able to do this solo tour to Upstate New York.

I accepted the first invitation over a year ago to be a part of the songwriter series that meets this coming Thursday night.

I knew I wanted to return to this area where I had done shows.

I knew there were at least a couple of indie radio stations that would want to hear about what I'm doing.

I knew there were a handful of fans, or more, who'd be happy to have me come back.

So, is it about these facts?

Are these adventures about these facts?

Or are these adventures actually pacts and bargains and tests we're exchanging with God, with the Universe?

Am I pushing and pulling and stretching the fibers of the known and the unknown, the possible and the impossible?

Am I making the loaves and fishes last way beyond the original number that never could have fed so many?

Am I turning the water into wine at this point in a life of hardscrabble decisions and missed targets.

I go so that I can get up above the everyday.

I am sitting in a Starbucks, just like all the other Starbucks in the world, but actually not, because the music is different in different regions.

This is Portage, Indiana near the Indiana Dunes.

They're playing the Rolling Stones.

They have sort of Southern accents.

They call me "Hon".

I'm wearing my long red plaid patchwork grunge skirt with my tied up Bob Dylan t shirt, my Lucky Brand guitar charms necklace, my cropped black leather jacket and my black leather trimmed black wool beret.

Orange/red lipstick.

I have my portable office in a Doubleday canvas tote with pink leather handles that consists of my laptop, my punk pins and charms covered little purse, my small fabric bags from Free People filled with writing pens and blank Moleskine books.

On this tour I'm definitely gonna write this blog every day.

I'm alone and this is my lifeline.

To you, to God, to myself, to my integrity.

Last night I checked in to my hotel.

You get what you get for seventy bucks.

Then I crossed the parking lot on foot and went in to the bar there.

People smoked right up at the bar sitting on stools, ashtrays lined the bar.

I walked in and sat down on a barstool and the young pretty female bartender immediately slid a big black ashtray right in front of me with a nice welcoming smile. Ha! There you go!

And you thought the whole world is the same, and everything's the same everywhere you go?

Not in Portage, Indiana.

I proceeded to get totally into it and I drank two glasses of their nice little chilled white wine in individual bottles which is actually good because since people don't order wine very often probably at least it isn't a half gone old bottle sitting around.

I got the onion rings because when I was little I thought onion rings were really special.

I got the barbeque wings because the girl told me they're really good.

I spent $40 with the tip.

Sort of a disaster.

That was sort of the money for the whole day tomorrow food and drinks wise.

I don't know what I was thinking.

Eight hours of driving and scared of the hotel, and scared of being alone, and I just made weird bad choices.

I'm not going to beat myself up over it but it was stupid.

At least I didn't suddenly take up smoking!

I'm up and writing at the coffeeshop and it's only 8:30am so I'm okay, but my body that's sitting in a car for two eight hour days right now did not need a basket of onion rings.

Regrets.

The money, the calories, the unhealthy choices, the alcohol.

Sitting and breathing the second hand smoke.

I just didn't want to go sit in the hotel room.

I was too uncertain of my surroundings in the dark to go for a much needed and healthier walk.

Whatever.

Welcome to my life.

Today I plan to drink coffee and then water and then a smoothie of fresh greens and fruits.

Then a salad when I reach Akron, NY tonight.

That's the plan let's see if I can stick to it.

I might just pull into a Wendy's and eat a giant sliced beef sandwich...no...honestly..that has never happened and never will happen.

Okay, love from the road.

I can't wait to fire up my Guyatone with my Orange amp.

That's gonna be the highlight of this tour is that I get to bring my own amp which never happens if I fly instead of drive.

Advantages.

Many advantages.

Love.

Gratitude.

Miracles everywhere we look.

Keep the faith and the miracles keep rolling.

 

leaving today for a new adventure!

I rented a four wheel drive vehicle and I pick it up this morning.

I pack up all my cool stuff and head towards Gary Indiana.

I have reserved a $75 room at a hotel along the Indiana Dunes at the southern tip of the Great Lake Michigan.

I decided to stay out of Chicago altogether and get a little further on the trail before nightfall.

Tomorrow I should be able to do the last eight hours of driving, around and up the Eastern shore of the Great Lake Erie.

I'll reach Akron, NY by nightfall I hope.

I'm meeting a songwriter and venue owner named Mark Buell in Akron at his Arts Center.

I'm going to truly be the artist in residence, above the center, for the week.

I'll be performing in the songwriter series there on Thursday and then again in a solo concert of my own on Sunday...after the football game.

My daughter Nina said yesterday, "This is exactly what you've been wanting to do."

It's true, it is.

I have wanted to go to towns, and stay a while, and be paid to do things.

Maybe I wish this round had a teaching element...it should I think...but I didn't plan that, I just didn't even think of it.

I'm not sure teaching is what I wanted to be doing anyway.

When Bob Dylan comes to town does he sit down and do a songwriting seminar with the kids...or the adults?

I don't think so.

What Would Bob Do?

Bob would use his quiet time between performances to type up some more cool shit on his old typewriter.

I mean, clearly, "I was caught up in a different time, my heroes have all been picked apart, by people more savvy than me who say they know what it's all about...." (that's a quote from my own song Ballad To My Other Self).

If I do a songwriting seminar right now I also run the risk of wrecking all my own fun by feeling like I have to dress more appropriately or talk more carefully or encourage people in a gentle way that is beyond how I'm feeling.

So, good, no seminars.

Just performances.

I intend to be a bad ass.

I'm bringing my Guyatone and my real Orange amp.

I'm going to run my acoustic through my brown box.

I dreamt last night that I performed my newest song, the one from yesterday on the balcony of a huge cool house and there were two massive dogs and there were all these cool new people in my life and they knew me.

I was afraid they wouldn't like the new song but they did.

And there were offerings being collected for me and I could see that the offering plates were overflowing with money.

And there were many yards of beautiful fabrics that were draped everywhere for this party and when they cleaned it all up they were leaving the yards and yards of beautiful fabrics for me too.

And there were the two massive dogs at this massive party, I watched them from my balcony as I sang. Big brown fur dogs made like the huge chocolate colored fur bear that my father brought me from Bonwit Teller one Christmas.

I remember the box was huge, the peach real silk ribbon was huge, a real ribbon that when you untied it fell in a beautiful curling heap at the side of the box, do you know about these things?

Perfect white tissue, silver and gold stickers holding the tissue in place, and when I broke the seal I remember thinking, did my Dad buy me a fur coat? Do I want to wear a fur coat?

But no, it was a big Teddy Bear, four feet tall, beautiful with it's thick dark heavy fur and a face like a real bear.

These luxuries are mine again in my dreams.

I am rich.

I have everything at my fingertips.

I am the girl with the brand new SUV this morning, heading out to the beautiful Indiana Dunes which I haven't laid eyes on since the morning after my Junior Prom.

This has all been taken away from me twice in my life, but never again.

All things are mine 'cause I am loved, how can I keep from singing!

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