My flight from LAX departs in just about an hour and a half. This is one of those fortunate flights that didn’t have me waking up in the wee hours after a late night, it’s a 6pm departure and a quick 90 minute hop up to San Francisco, where I’ll reunite with my van and my Bay Area friends. This month has been full of so much fun music and people and experiences and I’m so grateful to be spending my February in sunny California (sorry, Seattle friends!). Here’s some of the fun I’ve been having this month.
I toured the Meyer Sound facility (blog post HERE), checking out their process and demo-ing some of the best speaker setups on the market. I went to an open mic at Melo Kava in Berkely, where I heard some great artists and met some lovely folks. I played the Neck of the Woods open mic where I met new friends Brandon and Zaid, who later joined up for a writing session with our ukuleles. I taught my first Skype lesson, went to a house show where I saw Ben Morrison of The Brothers Comatose and acoustic duo Bear Market Riot as well as Clementine Darling. I also played an open mic at the Madrone Art Bar, where I made friends with Chris at the bar, who helped line me up with a gig for the next weekend.
My first Saturday in the Bay I got together with Cassandra Marie Lewis, Trevor Bahnson, and Sam Eliot Stern to form a dreamy version of The Foxxtones. We played The Starry Plough, a great little venue to a beautiful crowd. Each of us performed solo as well, joined by Alexa Melo. We went back to Cassandra’s place after and stayed up all night like you’re supposed to do after a show like that.
I went up to the redwood forest and stayed with my new friend Reese, a drummer I met through my friend, Portland-based artist Wil Kinky. It was a lovely retreat and I spent most of my time in his drum shed/studio out back. We created a really fun track together, the kind where you’re up until 3am crying laughing over lyrics. I also spent a day on my own recording my song Nina Nina, a first for me in that I’d never engineered my own session or done a track where I played all of the instruments. The edits are a little rough, but hey, I finally started recording my own demos! Both of these tracks are up on my Launch Team for those of you who have become monthly contributors! (Click HERE for un-released demos, videos, and more)
I met up with my new friends Boz and Sin (Boz I met at the Mothership in Los Angeles) and we went out to a bar called Blondies in the Mission where I got to sit in on drums with a blues band. It’s always fun to be invited on stage with new people and it was a really amazing time getting to jam with and meet some local musicians.
I made valentines for “old folks” and buttons from 80s Teen Magazines with Cassandra and her partner Lars as they prepared to clown at a retirement home for Valentines day and their anniversary, or “Clown-iversary” as they coined it. It was so sweet to hang with them and we had a great time with her roommates for another late night hang.
The next Saturday I hosted a little showcase at the Madrone Art Bar, which turned into a lovely songwriter showcase featuring Trevor Bahnson, Sam Eliot Stern, Brandon (from Neck of the Woods) and my friend and fellow CWU alumni Chad Opitz who performed some stand up comedy. The vibe was fun and relaxed, and the people at the bar were appreciating the music. I also met someone who has been watching my Drumeo videos and we were able to schedule an in-person lesson, so that’s super fun! I hope I have more experiences like that as I travel around!
Then I flew down to LA for a couple of days to do some recording and filming with Hollis Wong-Wear, who just released a new EP Half-Life. I was hoping that my time in LA would result in more opportunities for me to come back, so I jumped at the chance to come back for a couple days! We tracked “live band” versions of two of her tracks from the EP, then the next day filmed two music videos. The first, her song Back To Me was a sunny tropical vibe, then we reset for a night time shoot with some really cool lighting and effects. It was so great to see Hollis in action, she is a total boss and a great leader and inspiring performer.
Then I came back to The Falls jazz jam downtown, where I played once last month. It was great to reconnect with some folks and meet some new players as well. Now I’m headed back to San Francisco for the remainder of the month. I’ll be playing a house show at Cassandra’s place in Oakland on Friday, a set with The Foxxtones and one of my own originals as well. Event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/809843339533999/
Later this month I’ll be staying with my friend Andrew Pulkrabek at The Vulcan, which is a great artist community in Oakland. We’ve got some recording time booked where we’ll be tracking one of my songs and doing some writing.
The Bay Area has been beautiful and collaborative and fun, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to connect here! My next city is Austin, which is fit to be a bit of a whirlwind with SXSW and bands coming from all over the world.
As you can probably tell, I'm having a great time and doing all the things I had hoped I'd be doing as I set out on this adventure! I still haven't really locked down a good camera for documenting the trip, so I've been a little light on the posting, but I hope to find one soon! My phone filled up on space really fast and videos have been failing to load up to DropBox so I've been stuck camera-less for awhile. But I'll figure it out and keep going! In the meantime, trust that I'm doing well and loving the journey!