Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mountains and Meadows Winter Western Tour 2010

The sun is setting (earlier each day), sending streamers of rose and tangerine across the marshmallow sky. Said sun sitting somewhere in that small window between the clouds and the ocean - that wee line of blood orange that stretches as far as the buildings will allow a view. Rain sprinkled here and there on and off for the afternoon, but it wasn't enough to dampen much. The waves still rolled against the sand. The cars still rolled along the freeways. And the traffic lights were all changing to red.

I can taste the salt.

Which feels good. My throat and sinuses have been in less than good health for the last week. The direct result of nearly 2 months without adequate sleep (and by adequate I mean 2 days in a row with more than 4 hours of sleep). Thanksgiving filled my belly and luckily my throat lasted through the 2 shows I had that weekend, giving out in a little Chinese restaurant in Dayton, and finally returning 2 days ago.

But it's the holidays. And I am thankful for many things.

I am not in Ohio right now. For one.

I am in the 70 degree ocean sunshine of southern California.

My little reprise from the real winter, which I will be experiencing in the extreme in 8 days as I venture up to Salt Lake City and Wyoming.

So every minute here is well-appreciated!

Getting into LA in time to do a short house concert, tasking my voice, I was able to rest a day and fully regain a good 65 percent of my vocal cords. I spent the day working on Peace Project and other musical endeavours, including planning another totally new Love Initiative set at the civic Theater in early Oct! (It will BLOW your mind... you will need to be there... i mean it).

My friend I am staying a few days with had the television on as I was waking up and gearing up for my big house concert in Pasadena. There was a show on about a father that pushed his very disabled son on 100's of marathons, placing 1st or 2nd in his age group in most of the events. His son was able to use a device that helped him communicate, where he could type out messages with his head. Despite his many disabilities, he communicated very well, and was a deeply compassionate person. He even graduated Boston University as the first nonverbal disabled person in the school's history, and he lives basically on his own, though he has no ability to move anything other than his head. Such a moving story. And the fact that his father is now 70 and still doing full marathons, triathlons, etc, is quite inspiring. And the pair has inspired other families to do the same thing. The capacity of the human heart is so great. It is so much bigger than the simple bodies that we see. The compassion we hold defies all odds, and cant be contained in just flesh and bone.

And from there it went on to a show about people who've won the lottery. I was only partially paying attention here. It seemed like mostly inspiring stories of folks who truly needed the money and used it or saved it wisely. And then it went on and on about a doctor who won it, and blew some $600,000 grand on home renovations and such.


The green God of America.

I revere and respect all spiritual paths, as they all rise toward a similar god of compassion.

But I will not bow to that paper god.

However, I would like to interject right here that I do have 3 CDs currently available (What I Meant to Say, Lost + Found, and Mountains & Meadows) along with comfy hoodies, t-shirts, buttons, and stickers that all make such wonderful gifts for the holidays! AND that January is the PERFECT time to host a house concert, because what else is there to do in January but have wonderful music and friends fill your home with joy and laughter and Love! (Email me... we'll make it happen!)

The house concert was in beautiful Pasadena. In the historic section of town.

This show was one of the main highlights of coming out to the West Coast this winter. My friend Randi Driscoll, who is amazing (I recommend going online and buying her new live CD - it really highlights what she does best, i think!), was headlining the event. Also there was Lisa Sanders, a great writer and heavyweight in the San Diego music scene. I had done a show with both of them in the legendary Java Joes in San Diego this past summer.

We divied up the show so that i played 4 songs, then Lisa played 4 songs, then Randi (and her percussionist extraordinaire, Noah) played a good 45 minutes, and then we repeated the process.

I loaded up on some marinated tofu cubes prepared by Whole Foods, and totally delicious, and then kicked off the show. The space was tight, as tends to happen in house concerts (especially with 60 attendees), and we had a beautiful fireplace as a backdrop. This always makes me slightly nervous, as on the mantelpiece sat several clay bowls and dishes from deep in the ocean and incredibly irreplaceable. That and there were candles. Lit candles directly behind me.

But I made it without damaging anything! And I still got to dance in the little aisle way.

The crowd were wonderful and utterly brilliant scientists from Caltech. I must say, i was deeply inspired to be in a room with such huge brainpower (folks there had species named after them!).

Something in the ether of the room really aided my guitar work. Some of my best guitar playing at a show, in a long time. I love when the bar gets raised!

Randi and Noah joined me for their favourite song, Distracted. And it rocked. Noah is amazing with a djembe, a pair of bongos, and a hi hat. And Randi sang lovely harmonies, taking the song to another place, which is always the best place for a song to go!

A major highlight: (and having nothing to do with me) they passed a hat and had everyone write some sort of scientific term down, and then Randi would pick the terms out of the hat and incorporate them into a song! She is pretty adept at improv, and pulled together this amazing, ridiculous and spectacular version of Blue Christmas (involving Love Waves - yes there is such a term -and ironically it referrers to an aftershock of an earthquake... - Bob Dylan, and several words none of us could pronounce!

That and her version of Dont Stop Believing ("even scientists studying the bottom of the ocean - or the moon - know this song") in which she vocally did the famous speedy guitar riff in the intro.


The night ended with a rousing version of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" which brought back me, Lisa Sanders, her singing partner "Brown Sugar", and Randi's husband "The Whistler." We got a rhythmically-challenged Pips-style backing dance together - showing off our true talent (or lack thereof)!

If anyone reading this is in southern California, I highly highly recommend you coming out to our show on the 12th in Escondido "Randi's Jingle Bell Ball!" It features all 3 of us again, and will be so much craziness and fun, you wont know what to do with yourself!

I hope to bring Randi and Noah out to Ohio sometime this year, quite possibly during Peace Week (she has written a major theme song for the Matthew Shepherd Foundation and does a lot of work with this great organization). So if you see me posting that she's coming to Ohio, or anywhere else, you should go. You will enjoy.

Well, so it happens. My time is about up here in the cafe. My tea is out, and my car meter is nearly over. I'll check in again soon.

Until then, be the change you wish to see!