Thursday, September 15, 2016

Protect Ya Feels

And...another September. September 2016, to be exact. I guess the real gift of a true top shelf blogger, is to extract gold from the cold gray mess of ordinary life, re-package it and deliver it to the adoring masses, who then gobble it up eagerly like it's just what they've been waiting for. Like...Amazon. Whatever you ya go. That will be $129.50.
Well friends (may I call you my friends? That is who you are to me), that is not what you've got here. What you've got here is a songer singwriter ( I know, I see it too, but I'm leaving it, kinda like it), trudging through shifting states of joy, grief, confidence, self hatred, anger, hilarity, despair and hope...whilst grappling with daily life, fall allergies, a truely nightmarish election year, a growing number of gray hairs at my temples, and a world that is increasingly unrecognizable as home. AND it's not even Friday yet.
Meds, you say? Or at the very least, a special friend who charges $90.00 + an hour to listen to this shit and then prescribe a gratitude list and the aforementioned chemical assistance? I'm not quite there. For some reason I am still batting the notion around of music as therapy. I've been knocking the stuffing out of that idea since I was about sixteen. Still can't shake the idea that it's good for something, that I need it in my life (despite so many indicators to the contrary). So here I am! Nice to see you! Coffee? Tea? Gin?
Moving along. Steve and I have returned from a short trip west this summer to see family and friends, and now continue work on our next project, Chicken Town. I have a nice little heap of tunes nearly finished and tweak them daily in a garage that is still sweating like a big tired pig, even as the days tick past on the calendar and fall keeps promising it will be here soon. We work the round of writers nights here in town, even hosting some would appear I am moving, by default, into some kind of elder stateswoman role.
 I now inspire the young. WHAT???!!Weird.
Well...if asked (which typically, I am NOT) the only real advice I can give anybody, if you are young and reading this now, is this: cultivate that thick skin, young songwriter. Protect ya feels, and keep them on the inside.
For every person who tells you that you are indeed a shining jewel, there will be twenty who pronounce you paste ( unless you go take a class and learn to churn out pudding commercials and shoe ads). It's the world we live in now. I'm sorry. It's not the world I thought you'd inherit, back when I was locked in my room learning Bob Dylan songs off a little red record player. SCrratch, replay, sccccrrratch, replay, what freaking chord IS that, scccratch replay. I thought my work and sweat and tears (and blood, yes there was blood) would change your world. But it didn't. It barely made a dent in mine!
Moving along. That's what life does. It moves along. Even mine, even when I'm cranky. Which I am, so I'll keep it short.
HEY it just occured to me...maybe it's not MUSIC that is so therapeutic. Maybe it's BLOGGING. Who knows? I dunno. Protect ya feels.
XO Victoria

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'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 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 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 me a recovering pessimist! Here is a little clue about that...'s been nice talking to you. More soon. XO Victoria