My Mom and Dad's Home in Southern Ontario, Canada

“Christmas break, a time for touchin’ home  –  the heart of all [I’ve] known        and leavin’ was so hard.”                                                 Stan Rogers

The Tree 2010

Jessica Huebner, Paula McMath, Claire Wagner - McCabe's Holiday Show 2010

It was great to play a couple of songs with Jessica Huebner and Claire Wagner on the McCabe’s Concert Stage for this year’s Holiday Show.  It’s been a dream of mine to play Stan Rogers’ poignant “First Christmas Away from Home” on that stage for some time.

Stan Rogers was a much revered Canadian singer-songwriter who died, tragically, in a plane accident on June 2nd, 1983.  He was only 33 years old.  One of his last concerts was given five days before, on May 28th, at McCabe’s.

We also performed “The Secret of Christmas” written by Van Heusen and Cahn.  I heard Ella Fitzgerald’s version of it last year, for the first time, and fell in love with it.

hangin' out at McCabe's - after the show

More on this week later – it involves something in January and I don’t want to jinx it…

MC's Year End / Top 25 New Music Critiques of the Year

I’m honored to be named in Music Connection’s year end list of their Top 25 New Music Critiques for 2010. I know that MC receives thousands of submissions, in a year, so I’m thrilled to be among the other 24 artists / bands who are also named there.  The magazine’s statement says it best, “Music Connection is dedicated to helping unsigned artists get their music noticed.

This comes at the end of a really good year.  I have spent countless hours sitting at my desk trying, with all my might, to honor the body of work that I recorded on Trust the Sky by putting it out there.  I’ve learned a lot, in the process, and will take this experience to the next body of work.  I’m excited to be moving on to writing more songs.

Quotes from Globe and Mail article on Lanois

Recently, my Dad sent me an article about Daniel Lanois – featured in Canada’s Globe and Mail. Lanois has produced albums for Bob Dylan, U2, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, (and many others) and I noticed a few quotes that I’ll include here.

I have struggled to make music that is really honest and authentic – but it’s difficult to earn a revenue stream from that.   Dylan, in a quote from the article says, “Good reviews [sic] don’t sell records.” And Lanois says, “We never make records thinking about the commerciality at the beginning of it.   We make music in the hope that we bump into something with substance – something that has a reason to exist. Perhaps by having the fundamental values intact, commerciality can come into play.”

Here’s hoping that I have “bumped into something of substance.” I am deeply encouraged both by Music Connection’s critical praise and also by the review I received, earlier this year, from Paul Zollo. More on that to come…

Thanks to Mark Nardone and Andy Mesecher, at Music Connection.

I am bolstered.

QR Code / Print 2D / Warbasse Design

“Why the Mud Flap Girl?” My friends have asked me.  “Does it really represent your music?”  “Are you trying to be ironic?”  I’ll do my best to answer those questions here.

About a year ago, I met Ric Menck.  Ric strikes me as an artist who really gets other artists.   He’s a musician and songwriter who plays in the revered Indie band Velvet Crush. He’s played drums with Liz Phair, Marianne Faithful, and Aimee Mann.  He sent me a Facebook message, earlier this year, and in it he said, “In our culture now, people are used to things happening very quickly.   TV shows like American Idol perpetuate the myth that an entertainer can become famous overnight. The reality is, it takes a lifetime for an artist to gestate.”

Gestation.  What a great metaphor for the life of an artist.

I’ll offer these broad strokes about my own gestation.  Sometimes I’m asked when I started making music.  It’s a difficult question to answer.  I can’t think of a time, in my life, when it wasn’t there.  You can’t take water out of mud.

In the late 90’s, I endured the sudden end of a significant relationship.  It’s sounds like a bad stereotype, but those things in life that are the most painful can sometimes lead us to where we’re supposed to go.    At that time, I flashed on this image of myself as some girl left on a dirt road, splattered with mud from a late-model pick-up truck as is screeched away.  In my imagining, there were chrome “mud flap girls” on the back end of the the truck, and they were also splattered with mud as it sped off.   I didn’t realize, at the time, that being hit with that particular “imagined mud” would be the start of a better life.  Songs started pouring out of me.

Enter, the Mud Flap Girl.   As a young girl, I’d written embryonic songs – but now I wrote with a vengeance.   I wrote my first serious body of work and did a short pressing / limited release of Mud Flap Girl my “first CD” in the early 2000’s.   I set up my music publishing, through BMI, and named it after my curvy, mud-soaked friend.

Here were are, about 10 years later, and she has a new life.  Philip Warbasse has put her into the design for a QR Code, to represent my music, through his company Print 2D.   This new technology is, to quote Philip, “In it’s infancy now but within a year or two, this will be mainstream.” Users can scan the 2D Barcode, with a smartphone or iphone, and be taken to the music via a designed mobile environment.   The “readers / reader apps” for this technology can be easily downloaded – but will become more and more available, in cell phones, as the platform takes hold.   I’m thrilled to be in on the front end of this curve.  I’m sure there will be many more applications…

As to the Mud Flap Girl, “Does she really represent my music?” I dunno – I like to think that there’s a certain grittiness to what I do musically.  There’s a little dirt under my writer’s nails, a small-town innocence, a femininity…

“Am I trying to be ironic?”  Absolutely.

 

mud flap girl music, BMI