Mark your calendar for some of these gems!
Saint Patty’s Day! March 17th 3pm-7pm Velo Vino Wine Club Pick-Up Party – entry/20$ fee
March 25th Sunday Night Mic 1790 Van Ness Ave
At Clay St 5pm-8pm Come hang and listen to the glorious sounds of music in a chapel
April 8 Actual Café 5pm-8pm (Easter Sunday) with Ryan Avery and Bobby Jo Valentine
April 21-22nd Sea Otter Classic with the Dung Beetles, Laguna Seca Monterey (Private Event unless you’ve registered as an attendee)
April 25th 6pm-9pm Swing in the Square (Union Square SF) 6pm-9pm With Rich and the Rhythm Roustabouts! Bring yer danicin’ shoes.
There are a few singers in history that are the sort-of King Midases of the song world. Meaning, once they sing a song, gold is gold. Nobody can touch it with the same magic. They can try. Some might even come close. But that’s all.
A few examples, if I may be so bold:
Whitney Houston ~ I Will Always Love you AND the National Anthem.
Seriously. The National Anthem met its match with Whitney. Don’t believe me? Even if you completely concur, Let’s break it down, shall we?
Before I begin, please allow me to preface this section thusly: The National Anthem is a DIFFICULT song to sing. Octave jumps and note ranges of all-over-the –map, unusual phrasing challenges….outmoded words like “ramparts.”
Now, let’s listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eS4v431Mlak
Sweet, holy Jeebus: not only does Whitney hit the notes with unwavering accuracy, she does so with such finesse and confidence that the song becomes the epic post-battle cry it was written to be. When the most that most singers can muster is to belt it out on pitch(sometimes), she takes us on an airy flight path through our very own Star Spangled Banner. She even gives the song a dynamic journey.
Listen again to the second verse where she sings “whose broad stripes and bright stars…” She brings it down to almost a whisper as if sharing a secret in sweet falsetto.
Then “the rockets’ red glare” explode in our face with pitch perfect belt-licious vocal clarity and pearly white teeth. And “Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave?” Only after she slyly smiles in our eyes as if to say ‘I’m killing it juuuuuust for you.”
I invite anyone to respond with a version that comes close to this jewel of a performance.
GOD I wanted to be her so badly after I saw this.
Whitney Houston was the embodiment of all of my singing aspirations. Her tone, her range, confidence and her infectious smile. When Whitney sang, she was lifted out of our realm right before our ears and eyes. And she ALWAYS brought us right up there along with her. It looked so effortless for her. I wanted it so excruciatingly much. I wanted this sort of effortless perfection.
But, who doesn’t?
I didn’t follow Whitney’s personal life after she disappeared from the charts. I do remember feeling slightly abandoned after she left us for Bobby Brown. But I knew the potential for her to come back to us was always there. In my naïve patience, I almost expected it.
Now, she most certainly won’t be back. Not that I could have done anything about it. But I would like to think, if I were ever to achieve a certain level of fame, that the voices of the people who really love what I do would help keep me grounded. Maybe a part of me wishes that I could have shared my admiration with her (by fan mail or a comment on her facebook page) and it may have helped her. Maybe that’s a bit narcissistic. Maybe it’s just silly. It saddens me that someone with the ability to soar so incredibly high ended up so incredibly low.
There’s that moment in the music video for “I Will Always Love You” when she takes a pause right before the big climax of the final chorus. In this moment, her eyes are closed as if in prayer or patient anticipation. Then she opens her eyes, her face lifts and the camera pans out as she belts out the final “And IIiiiiiIIIIIIIIIIEYEyyyeeeee…..” Each time, I swear I can see the wings unfurl behind her.
I think that’s the image I’m going to keep with me whenever I hear a Whitney song. That and the smile she gives at the end of the Star Spangled Banner.
She killed it just for us.
Happy 2012, Humans!
As soon as January 1st hit, the year exploded into gigginess. Mostly private events which is AWESOME for my pocketbook, not so great for getting fans in on the guest list. But February is your month! I’ve got two gigs lined up just for you. I’ve also, very diplomatically set one in the East Bay and one in San Francisco just to please everyone . Okay, it wasn’t completely my doing and they are two completely different genres….but that just means you’ll get two completely different shows if you come to BOTH gigs 😀
The first February date, I’ll be singing with Rich and the Rhythm Roustabouts at the Savanna Jazz Club. Rich is an amazing band leader with some fabulous talented musicians backing him up. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to sing some of the classic songs I grew up listening to as a little Zisman. Songs like Slow Boat to China (he’s going to kill me).
And, dancing. By GOD there’ll be dancing.
The second February gig, Ryan and I will be sharing the bill again with the lovely Katherine Peck. We have done shows with Katherine before and I have been a longtime fan of her powerful lyrics and performances. There is another lady joining us as well. I don’t know who she is yet, but I’m certain she’ll be the bees knees!
ZO! Vit Out Ferzer Adoo….
Tuesday, January 17th
Private Party (Chance’s End)
Saturday, January 21st
Private Party: Alameda
Wednesday February 1st
with Rich and the Rhythm Roustabouts
Cat’s Corner at Savanna Jazz
9pm (for the drop in dance lesson!)
Savanna Jazz Club
2937 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Saturday, February 4th
with the very talented and dynamic, Ms. Katherine Peck.
The Actual Café
6334 San Pablo Ave
All ages, no cover. Killer salad.
Our day to day can be a thief of time. We work or operate in a way that sucks us up and spits us into a new year. I certainly feel that of 2011 and it’s almost gone. I seem to recall that I played quite a few more gigs than I did in 2010. If I concentrate I can remember each one and how glorious they all were. They are the rare moments in which I find myself completely in the moment and time stands still. This is one, if not THE one, reason why I do what I do. I also love the electricity that is exchanged between an audience and a player. This could be at a theater, a comedy, a concert or a dance performance. It is a rare moment of pause, breath and connectivity between beings that is of creation and shared experience.
I know I’ve been out of the loop for a lil’ bit. But I just wanted to take a moment to share with you how much I appreciate seeing your faces at my shows. Since it is the season for giving thanks, allow me to give my sincerest to you. Thank you for showing up.
Whether you are new to my website, music, shows or have been a fan of mine since I was singing the alphabet, I. love. your. face.
I’d love to see more of it and promise to do my part and play out more. I won’t make you promise to come to every show. But I will tell you that when you do make it out, we will make it an event. Together.
I’d also like to give you a gift. A small token of my love and gratitude for all you have given me.
I recently went to see a musician that I greatly admire sing at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. She was lovely and exactly what I expected. However, I was NOT expecting to be blown away by the opening act; Sean Rowe.
Sean is a lyrical genius and vocal powerhouse reminiscent of Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen and (visually) Zach Galifianakis. Anywho, he is my gift to all of you.
Maybe we can discuss his works in person next time. Perhaps at a gig? Hmmmm???
Enjoy with love!
Sorry it’s been a rather swing-heavy October.
What do I mean by that? Allow me to essssplain:
I happen to have an enormous amount of respect for jazz music and musicians. I also have a rather stupidly huge addiction to dancing the Lindy Hop. Lindy Hop is in the family of swing dances and came out of Harlem, New York during the 1920s and 1930s (stolen from wikipedia).
I started learning this social dance about three years ago and have since made some amazing friends, some of whom happen to be amazing musicians in their own right. Ryan Avery being one of them (although, he was more of a by-product of my blues dancing addiction). Another is a fabulous jazz guitarist named Rich Werden.
Rich doesn’t only make the guitar sound like it’s reciting Shakespeare, Rich is also one helluva band leader. And by “band leader” I mean that in the oldest-school possible way.
Lately I’ve been fortunate enough to have been invited to sing along with the Roustabouts and it always proves to be a great event. Check out the facebook page here:
I’ll be singing with them again in the near future and encourage you to come out and give a listen. Even if you don’t swing-out.
And now for the November calendar:
11-08-11 (yes, tomorrow) at the Hotel Utah: Beggar’s Jamboree goes on at 11pm. So, if you don’t have a day job, school in the morning or aren’t occupying anywhere, come on out!
It’s a slow gig month. But Ryan and I are working on the new Chance’s End Album to be released sometime early next year. We’ve put some really great time, work and passion into this album (especially Ryan) and I can’t wait to share it with you. Stay tuned!
Sept 10th: Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival 4:30pm-5:15pm
Chocolate AND music. What could POSSIBLY be better? It’s a Battle of the Bands gig so we need all the support we can get! There is no fee to listen to music, but if you want to taste chocolate, you’ll need to buy tickets. Check out the Website for more information.
Sept 17th: CLIF BAR Harvest party 4:00pm-5:30pm with the fabulous Chris Tomsha (private event)
Sept 24th: With Rich and the Rhythm Roustabouts at The Fillmore Black Couture Ball (West Bay Conference Center right by Yoshi’s) 9-10pm
Sept 25th: Agesong Home concert 4:30-6pm (Private event)
Sept 28th: With the Rhythm Roustabouts 7p-8p 1hour/1set @ outdoors in Union Square downtown SF. Come Dance with us!
Sept 30th: With Marty Atkinson And Ryan Avery 5pm-9:00pm Velo Vino Winery in St. Helena. Okay, wine and music MAY be better than chocolate and music. But that is debatable.
Hope to see you out and about!
Give it a listen!
(has been archived)
Remember that little contest that we had you vote for on Facebook a while back? Ryan submitted Second Place to the Paul Frank Academy of Awesome contest and we got some wonderful support!
While we didn’t win this time, we DID seem to impress the folks at Paul Frank. We’ve been chosen as one of three Bay Area Artist to perform at the Ghiridelli Chocolate Festival THIS Saturday (September 10th)!
The event site is here:
According to the schedule, the show starts at 3:30pm. Also, according to the schedule, it’s a Battle of the Bands thingy….Not sure how that happened, but cool!
Come on out and support us! I’d feel relieved to see some of your shining faces in the crowd.
Fresh off of the heels of another awesome gig at the Actual Café, I wanted to spend a moment on gratitude.
I have the best fans in the world. No, for serious. I’m not just blowing smoke. You deserve this. So, just sit back, relax and take the compliments…
Whenever I (or anyone else for that matter) write a blog or perform my songs live (or displays a piece of artwork or juggles mothballs or just plain speaks their mind), I’m putting myself in a line of fire, so to speak. People are free to judge, walk out on or just plain ignore what I’m writing or singing. Or worse, I’m putting myself on a platform and no one shows up.
Well, the purpose of this blog is to thank you for not only showing up, but for actively participating as well. Allow me to esssplain…
I started a habit of announcing my blog posts to my mailing list along with a request to email, message or comment about any insights, mis-quotes or spelling/grammar mistakes they catch.
I posted a blog not too long ago about the word “permission” and how it has been a bit of a fixture in my word lately.
I was thrilled to have received a couple of fabulous insights which I will mention here:
Wendy Beckerman brought to my attention that the quote from Nelson Mandela wasn’t actually his own words. The quote that is often attributed to him is actually from Marianne Williamson’s book A Return to Love. Upon doing a bit more research (okay, okay, okay I wiki-fied it) I discovered that while Ms. Williamson isn’t exactly sure why the quote has been attributed to President Mandela, she’s grateful that her words are so meaningful for so many.
Wendy also shared a great little clip about taking the small steps to actualizing a big dream. Thought it was too good to keep all to my lonesome: http://vimeo.com/26415958
Thank you Wendy!
Also, must thank Sylvia Hahn for the grammar correction! I don’t have an editor, so I could use all the help I can get.
Last and far from least is my huge thank you to the folks who made it out to the Actual Cafe last weekend. I know that Saturday nights are pretty packed for most of you, so the fact that you chose to hang out with me, Ryan and Katherine was extra powerful.
I realize there are more of you out there reading the blog and coming to the shows. So, thank you. Even though I can’t always see you out there. Your presence and participation mean the world to me.
If you are free this coming Saturday and are in the Bay Area, Ryan and I will be performing at the Stork Club. We will be doing all Chance’s End songs which was a great success the last time we did it. We’ll be joining a few other great bands. Check them out!
Saturday, August 27th at 9:00pm LIVE at the Stork Club
2330 Telegraph Ave. Oakland, California 9:00pm-Midnight
Ryan and I will be performing as Chance’s End which means our entire electronic set!
The lineup is fabulous:
$5 at the door
This one is 21+ so dress in your finest drinking pants and head on over!