Ok, so this probably doesn't count as real press but I had to share. My dad is compiling a list of the Top Ten Albums of his life, and included my album Lights Out on the list. I'll just be over here crying that my dad took the time to thoughtfully review my album. Check it out!
Last post, I announced the premiere of the "Deep Dark Down" live video recorded for The Rye Room Sessions in Portland, OR. Here's the second session we did for "Not a Boy." Both of these songs are on the album Lights Out currently available on iTunes, Spotify, etc.
Thanks to the team at Folk Frontier for recently playing Deep Dark Down on their show! Check them out if you're looking for new music from independent artists!
I had a great time with Laura on the Hapnyn San Diego podcast, recorded in beautiful Oceanside, CA. We talked about sisters, fathers, grief, gay marriage, and all kinds of other stuff. Listen below, and don't forget to check out their website for other episodes featuring San Diego's local talent. (You can also stream on iTunes, Spotify, Youtube, etc.)
Welcome to another edition of Behind the Song. This one's been brewing in my head ever since I finished reading Tomi Adeyemi's new book Children of Blood and Bone. It's a Young Adult novel, but the themes are so relevant for today's society, I highly recommend it for all ages. On a cultural level, there are so many parallels in Adeyemi's alternate reality, it almost doesn't feel alternate. On a personal level, there is so much mother-daughter-grief stuff going on, I had to keep the tissues handy at all times. One particular section of the book punched me right in the throat...the main character Zélie has a cosmic conversation with her late mother. A song: "mama, mama, mama" leads Zélie to the spirit of her mother. I shit you not, this is what my sister and I sang to my mother during that grueling 6 days where she slipped away from us. Zélie's mother tells her daughter how proud she is of her and that she will never leave her side. For those of you who've followed my challenging relationship with my mom, you know how desperate I was to hear these words from my own mother. And it might sound silly, but in reading this book, it felt like I finally did. Everything is connected, people. It's like my own dead mama summoned me and set me straight through the voice of a fictional dead mama. What are the odds? I don't know, but I'll take it. When I set down to write this song, I wanted to write not only about the energy that connects all beings, but also about the love, positivity and resilience that grows out of powering through fear, grief, and trauma. Resilience is such a powerful gift because it softens and hardens us at the same time. The more resilience we have, the more we are able to show compassion and open our minds to people/experiences we may not be familiar with. But at the same time, it strengthens our convictions and helps us advocate for the powerless/voiceless. This is what I wanted to capture in the song. I also wanted it to feel epic and cinematic....you know, just in case they are looking for songs to put in the movie. A girl can dream.
i’ve been reading all the signs on the wall
i’ve been staring at the stars in the sky
i’ve been wondering if this road leads anywhere at all
if it ended in demise, i would not be surprised
but that doesn’t mean i’m not willing to fight
i’m calling all the strength in me i need to survive
there’s a fire in me i just need to ignite
i’ve been fumbling in the dark, looking for a spark of light
it’s in the sunrise, It’s in the sunset it’s in the thrill of the unknown
every heartache, every mistake it’s in our blood, it’s in our bones
every sand of desert, every strand of hair the magic’s there
hanging in the balance of the valleys and peaks if you listen, magic speaks
Oya, Oya, the magic’s in me
Oya, Oya, the magic’s in me
Oya, Oya, the magic’s in me
you’ve been telling me bout star-crossed love
you’ve been selling me on shakespeare
i've been wondering if love alone will ever be enough
cause i know there’s so much more at stake here
but that doesn’t mean i’m not willing to try
i’m calling on the strength in me just to look in those eyes
there’s a fire in me, i just need to ignite
i had such a heavy heart, i’m trying to do my part to make it light
don't you see, don't you see, don't you see
Recently the San Diego Songwriters Collective posted a prompt challenging songwriters to write a song using Colors as an inspiration. I couldn't make the meeting, but decided to take a stab at it anyway. Here's what I came up with. In what comes as no surprise to anyone on this planet, it's about my mama. Annnnnnnd in other shocking news, I cry in the video. I'm becoming a caricature of myself, guys, I know.
1.I clicked the link that said add one to the basket
I didn’t think I’d be this young shopping for a casket
The whole thing was pink with pretty little flowers to match it
We watched it sink deep down in the grave that we paid for to stash it
CHORUS In a way, the day she died, I did a little too
I’d have to say it was the day pink turned blue
2. When she was alive I’d get lost on a dime, broke down like a car
I tried to drive away so many times but never got too far
But now I believe she’s giving me signs, I see ‘em in the stars
Even though grief made me blind now I see her fine, she’s on my radar
CHORUS In a way, she gave me the go-ahead, the gasoline
I’d have to say she's paving the way for red to turn green
It's been hard, losing my dear friend Jeffrey Joe while out on tour. I'm having trouble processing the reality and permanence of it. I'm sad I won't be around for the memorial celebration of life. But mostly I just miss him so, so much. When I had a couple days off in Vancouver, WA, I took a stab at writing a tune to honor JJ but so far I don't think this one does him justice. He always used to sign off "Ever Yours" and he would always tell me silly stuff like "on a scale of 1-10 I love you 94." I loved how silly and quick-witted he was. And how resilient. And how strong. And how much he loved me. This song kind of pales in comparison to all of that. I just don't think i'm prepared to go into the deep end of that pain yet. Maybe when I get home. For the meantime, this one's for you JJ.
1. you had a big heart that bloomed like a flower
you had a smooth voice that sailed like a ship
you had a strong spine built like a tower
you had a sweet smile just like a kids
ever yours, ever mine
you taught me how to wait until the scar turns to a shine
ever green, ever blue
the color of my eyes now that they won't be seeing you
2. i had a hard time when you caught that fever
i had a long cry alone in my car
i had this pipe dream you'd live forever
i got this feeling you did not go far
ever mine, ever yours
our souls outlast the dusty bones of death and dinosaurs
ever long, evermore
on a scale of one to ten, my friend, i miss you 94
Hey friends - if you're digging the new album and want to get the lowdown behind each track, head on over to Global Texan Chronicles for the exclusive Track by Track feature.
Thanks to Mother Church Pew for exclusively premiering the music video for "Lights Out," the title track off my new album. Appreciate all the kind words about the album too! Read the full write-up and watch the new video here!
Gay Central Valley asked my sister Haley (who is heavily involved in Fresno's arts and LGBTQ scene) to interview me about the new album Lights Out and tonight's CD Release Party at Full Circle Brewing. Turns out being interviewed by your sister (who already knows everything about you) can get kind of silly. Read the whole thing here!