Friday, March 22, 2019

A Really Good Blog

Thought I'd try the Georgia font just to change things up a little.
Speaking of change...it does come down, doesn't it? The last time I blogged here (true to form, three years ago, even though I swore up and down at the time that I was going to do better with all that)...I was fired up, revved up, loaded for bear etc etc etc...as I recall, I was going to finish a seriously languishing album and get my ass on tour if it killed me.
 As it  turns out, I'm still alive. The album remains unfinished, and the farthest I have been to play music in any kind of professional capacity is to the edge of town and back for more writers' nights and a couple of cool openers. I can't complain...life is generally good...but I really need to learn not to set people up with all these announcements I keep making about my glamorous life, which is about to begin any second now. Wait for it...
 What is creeping up on me in the meantime is the slow, relentless understanding that this is my glamorous life that's happening right now, and that's most likely what I should be talking about, if I want to speak with any authority at all. They do tell you, write what you know. I find it a stretch that anybody would be interested in hearing about my day to day existence. What do the really good bloggers talk about? I mean, honestly, is anybody's life that fascinating all the time? I guess I could share some recipes or something (see below).
About that languishing album. I know you don't believe it, but it is getting closer to an honest-to-God release date. It's one thing to procrastinate on your own; that can go on indefinitely. But once you start pulling other people into the process, then you have to put up or shut up.
 I've had the great good fortune to bring along a number of sweet, patient, monstrously talented people to add some color to my songs: Kim Stone, a tremendously talented bass player who I've known since HIGH SCHOOL, for God's sake...Dave Shapiro, a brilliant guitarist who can probably chicken pick like lightning in his sleep; Michael Shay, a cellist whose musicality and taste bring me to freaking tears; Pete Wasner, a keyboardist and master musician who has actually helped to make my music sound more like it's being made by grownups; and John McNally, a young guitarist who plays pedal steel and somehow makes it sound like angels falling out of the sky. What a gang! I am humbled.
I am so honored that each of these musicians came on board to help me jazz up my little tunes.
So what's the big holdup you ask? I can give you all kinds of reasons that really are too boring, even for this blog, so I will just say...there's been a terrible attack of ennui (look it up) going on with me for the last...er...three or four years at least...it's coincided with everything from the passing of the last four birthdays (re: the alarming shit that's been happening to my face and knees with each passing year...seriously? Who saw this coming???),  to all the implications, large and small, of the last election cycle, not to mention the one that's coming up. There's been alot about life lately that's just making me want to stay under the bed. I realize that's no excuse, and if I was a real worth-my-salt artist I'd be ranting and raving and using all that misery as fuel for my holy fire. And...you know. That could still happen. But I'm just trying to be honest with you in the meantime.
Anyway, since this is supposed to be a music blog and not a bigass whine-a-thon...I'll tell you what I'm doing this morning.
 I am currently poised to throw in my entry into the ring for a showcase at this year's Americanafest here in Nashville in September. I shot some video this morning of a brand new tune (hence the prior freakout about my FACE, dear GOD) and am now laboring over the entry form. I hate entry forms. They always make me feel like a piece of tattered refuse on the shore of the arts. But I have been a classic underachiever since the 10th grade (and probably way before that) so I probably should just own it. Besides, Steve (remember Steve?) told me an hour ago that one thing's for sure: if you never try anything, then it's a dead certainty that nothing will ever happen. He's a wise one, that guy.
Other than that...I keep on writing songs and playing them for people. It's fun. When I remember to do that, it makes me feel a little better about everything else.
No promises. Be well, find joy, and thanks for listening...until the next. Victoria

Basic Chewy Depression Brownies

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, melted
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

prep:15 mins  Cook: 35 mins  ready in: 50 mins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.
2. Combine the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time,          mixing well after each, until thoroughly blended.
3.Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a bowl. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture until blended. Stir in the chocolate morsels. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish.
4. Bake in the preheated oven until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove and cool pan on wire rack before cutting.
5. Eat. Do share them with somebody else. You will be alot more depressed and possibly ill if you eat them all yourself.




Friday, February 12, 2016

Home from the Sea

And so, it's February. Steve and I have just returned from a week long cruise in the Carribean, which I know in and of itself sounds completely surreal to most people (myself included), and there's a part of me that feels bad for even mentioning it...sorry, and yes I'd be glad to shovel your driveway. Anyway, we had an incredible time. It was a music cruise, which is why I have the poor taste to bring it up. It's called Cayamo, which is a word some genius marketing person made up to describe the experience of  a floating music festival. There are alot of music cruises out there right now...it's kind of a fad, actually. These days you can find yourself on a big boat with anyone from Kid Rock to Delbert McClinton with the right resources. We have been the grateful beneficiaries of Steve's brother Mark who takes us on this cuise year after year. He calls it a "forever Christmas present" and says it's one week out of the year he gets to hang out with us, drink rum, hear great music, and generally be a pirate. I can't come up with a rebuttal for that, especially since it happens at the time of year when all three of us are most in need of therapy (after the holidays and right when winter is applying its worst chokehold.). So thank you, Mark. Now, right here is where I could post photos ad nauseum to piss all of you off even more than I already have, but I already did that on Facebook...so I'll just do a sprinkling a little later on. But first...
I've been shambling around the house since our return, doing laundry, wistfully pouring sand out of the bottom of my purse, pulling the bag check tags off of my suitcase and guitar case...all the sad little post trip rituals. The cat has finally stopped glaring at me and has morphed back into the familar purring body heat leaching slug I know.
As always, Cayamo was an explosion of the finest that Americana/Folk/Roots music has to offer the world right now. There is always a little something for everyone, the established legends (John Prine, John Hiatt, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Shawn Colvin, Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale, David Bromberg, Larry Campbell, Theresa Williams), the hot new superstars (John Fulbright, Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton, The Black Lilies, The Brothers Landreth, Kacey Musgraves), and a wide range of tomorrow's royalty, all those acts you've never heard in the mainstream who lay you out with their artistry and leave you gasping, "Why are these people not FAMOUS?" (Foy Vance, Angeleena Presley, Birds Of Chicago, Sam Lewis, American Babies, Mingus Fishtrap, etc etc etc.). Why indeed.
As you'd expect, I find these trips enormously inspiring and uplifting. Being who I am, they also have the tendency to leave me revved up, guilt ridden and furious with myself for not working hard enough or being brilliant/wonderful enough. Meh. The whole brilliant and wonderful thing will wear itself out in a few weeks I am sure. But work hard? Yeah. That is something I can do. Hence, the blog.
Among other things, I bought Shawn Colvin's autobiography "Diamond In The Rough" in the
on-board merch store (yes, they had one, of course)...and finished it sitting in the Fort Lauderdale airport on our way home. Fantastic read. Everything you would expect from one of the brightest, most articulate people to ever pick up a guitar.
Really got me thinking.

Here she is doing her thing on the boat, btw. Yes, I just did that. Anyway...
It's the story of a fascinating music career, to be sure. But even more than that, it's a picture of a real human being; a funny, wise, fragile, tough woman who is not afraid to be completely herself with her audience and speak in her own unique voice. This sang to me. I come from an extensive background of letting others put words in my mouth, from childhood right into much of my adulthood, so that people would like me. Gutless, I know. But there you have it. Simply to be myself, and not manage another's opinion of me, has been one of the longest weirdest trips of my life. So I love people who don't pretend, even when it seems like they have every reason to, in this overmarketed, tightly packaged, glossified world we now apparently inhabit. Great book. Read it. What a treat.


See above: we played on the boat in the open mic competition. We did NOT win; however we did receive the (coveted) runnerup title and a very nice cold bottle of champagne which we shared with friends. Thank you to Laura Fox for taking this picture of us looking very serious and artistic.

In any case...we're back from the fantasy of blue sea and unlimited soft serve...it has snowed twice since Sunday afternoon and I'm trying to work a little harder at showing up on my website. I joined Tumblr!!! I don't know why. It seemed like a good idea. Let me hear from all you Tumblr and Twitter people. I know you're out there. Look for some interesting music posts coming up...all for you! The work continues at a glacial pace on our new CD...I hope for a spring release...call me a recovering pessimist! Here is a little clue about that...


Anyway...it's been nice talking to you. More soon. XO Victoria

Monday, September 21, 2015

Aforementioned brush with luminaries!

So...here's that photo I was talking about! L to R: me, Dave Gibson, & Joseph Reed. Thanks photographer Brandi White Reed!



Another sweet September

Another sweet September...

There's something so wonderful about fall...that last gasp of summer is often so heavy and exhausted that when it finally releases its grip, a great sigh of relief seems to rush through every living thing, from the lakeshore and Tennessee woods five minutes from our doorstep, to the busy streets of downtown Nashville, to every other place I've been in this world, in my life...a letting go and letting God...a moment where we all seem to settle into the change like it's only a big worn out chair cradling our tired old bones. For a moment we accept it, that nothing ever stays the same, and all that was once new must eventually decay, curl like a leaf and blow finally away on the wind. Just for a moment...before we leap again into our frantic dance, more determined than ever to...get hold of it. Yep, it's what we do.
In case you wondered, Steve and I are no exception. Out in the garage where the songs get built, there are construction noises going on. A new list is taped to the wall; the room has been straightened and organized (WHAT!!!???). Fresh pens, paper and dry erase markers lie at the ready. The indicator lights are on.
I was out there today, playing and singing and tracking and knocking out a word here and plugging a better one in there. It's a funny kind of alchemy; one where you can shut the door for what you think will be a few minutes and look up at the clock four hours later like Rip Van Winkle. It doesn't surprise me any more, but I still find myself cleaning up relationships over it...sometimes people wonder if I've been in an accident or something. Nope. No accident here. Just plodding along like usual.
Without counting too many chickens I will just say I am enjoying the apparent theme of our next project, whenever it appears (they can be shy). I find myself talking alot this time about people who are trying to figure out where they fit in...trying to find their niche, in work, in love, in art. in life. There's a boatload of loneliness in this world...now more than ever. Everyone knows...everyone has it somewhere. It's been waking me up wanting to be talked about. So that's the plan.
We had the delight of sitting in on a songwriter session at the Country Music Hall of Fame this weekend that was hosted by none other than Mary Gauthier. The Americana Music Festival has been going on all week, and thank God for that, she came in on their sponsorship. She hung out for about two hours, played a few songs and waxed extremely wise on various topics, mostly songwriting, creativity, and what ties us all together as humans. What an articulate, lovely person. Thank you, Mary, for reminding me about miracles. Songs are miracles. People are miracles. Life is extraordinary. I don't know about you, but I need to be reminded of those things on a regular basis. I probably should have recorded it on my phone...then I could just play it back whenever my ass starts dragging.

Please feel free to visit me here on the website! I love hearing from you. 
We'll be out and around Nashville doing some writer's nights in October: Commodore Lounge on October 2, Bobby's Idle Hour on October 11. Just this last weekend we had a great round at The Commodore on Saturday night with Joseph Reed and Josh Linville. Koda Smith came along on cajon, and Steve slung that Telecaster with style and grace. It was a pleasure. We had fun and it seemed like the crowd did too. I had the enormous pleasure of meeting one of Nashville's most respected songwriters, Dave Gibson...somewhere in my files I have a lovely picture that Joseph's wife Brandi took of him with Joseph and me on either side, looking a little giddy. I'll be posting that shortly whenever I get organized...meanwhile...
I wish you all the best possible weeks and many many blessings!
Best,
Victoria 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New video

Hey everybody! I am delighted to announce that the new video to "Bread and Flowers" has been released today after much breath holding and squirrel chasing. Said epic was shot a few weeks ago one beautiful morning VERY early (for the light, you understand) in the morning, in the lovely Tennessee woods near our home. We had the expert help of Miguel Sabogal, a slim New Yorker who manned the camera, produced and directed, and delivered the final beautifully edited version you see here. Thank you Miguel, and thank you every one of you for watching and sharing it! We can't wait to do the next one but we have to save our pennies... Enjoy!