Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I’m at The Poster Room This Sunday!

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Marty Atkinson and I will be back at the Poster Room at the Fillmore this Sunday night before Ani DiFranco hits the main stage.   She’s one of my favorites and I have been making this pilgrimage to the Poster Room for the past 4 years.

If you’ve got a ticket or were planning on being there, swing by the Poster Room upstairs to grab a bite, beverage, and we will serenade you before the main show!

TICKETS

Writing Songs For Others

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Once upon a winters day in 2016, I was tagged in a Facebook post.

Someone was looking for a female musician to share an “empowering anthemic song” for consideration for…..something, and a friend had typed my name into the comments.

It so happened that I had just finished polishing off a feminist, punk rock version of a 1970s Paul Simon tune, so I sent it off in hopes that it might spark some interest.  Then I forgot about it.

While it wasn’t what they were ultimately looking for, it must have sparked some interest because I received an email asking what else I had, which was encouraging!  I scoured my repertoire for my most anthemic-sounding tunes and sent what I thought was most appropriate.

Fast forward a bit through a few emails and conversations and I end up with a formal request for a commissioned song.  My first ever!

My brain did two things: “Whoa,  write a song that isn’t about me or my direct experiences?  But HOW?  Will it be authentic?  Will it be cheesy as fuck?  Does this make me a sellout? Most of all, will they LIKE it?!? This is terrifying.”

Also my brain: “Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

Turns out this was one of the most gratifying songwriting exercises I’ve ever done.  Don’t get me wrong, when I write a song that ends up being the one in 1000 that actually turns out as intended, it has a particular amplitude of electricity.  However, this was a different kind of gratifying.

I’ve unpacked and re-packed this feeling in order to determine the why and how and have boiled it down to what it means (to me) to choose to write a song for others:

In choosing to write a commissioned piece, one is choosing:

  • To be in service to others (provided the service is in line with your values)
  • To practice deep listening (paying attention)
  • To send the ego on Vacation (Thank GOD)

Choosing to be in service to others – You cannot possibly sell out if your values are in alignment with the work you are being called upon to do.  This is always within your control.  How does your body feel when an opportunity comes your way?  Does your brain buzz with ideas immediately?  Does your chest hum with anticipation?  Would you do the work anyway even if you didn’t get the job, just to see if you could and just because you LOVE the idea of it?

These are all indicators that your values are in alignment with the the work.  Once that is settled, take a deep breath and trust the process.  For me, the hardest part of owning the work is to just knowing that I have already done the tough stuff.  Now all I have to do is trust and apply.

Just put the tools on the table and await instruction.

Practice deep listening – Ask ask ask ask ask alllllllll of the questions.    Ask within, ask without, ask everything you think you need to know and all of the things you also think might be obvious (hint: they aren’t).  Ask yourself what information you need to provide the product they are looking for and then ask THEM for the answers to those questions.  For instance, I assumed the folks I was writing for wanted a different kind of voice, a voice that I perceived as more powerful than my own.  When I told them I planned to hire a friend to do the vocals, they almost panicked,”What do you mean?  We want YOUR voice.  We fell in love with YOUR sound.”

OK!  This is also REALLY GOOD information.

Send the Ego on Vacation – It was at this point I had to consciously advise my ego to take a much needed vacation. “Girl, you’ve been racking up the hours!  Go have a day at the hot springs, on me.  Treat yo-self!”

In order to more deeply understand what kinds of feelings they were seeking to inspire with this song, I had to ask what could have been perceived as a question that was fishing for compliments.  I had to force myself to ask “Ok then! What is it about my voice in particular that caught your imagination?” It was deeper than just “what did you like about my voice?” (Oh, DO go on….)  It was a question designed to unearth more clues (Cool! How? Why?). If you invite the clients’ imagination into the process, you will always get more than you bargained for, which is a VERY good thing.  My ego (had she stuck around) would have covered my mouth and whispered, “Just take the damn compliment.”  Gracious, yes. But it would ultimately undermine the purpose of the work by eschewing an opportunity to know more.

The theme song was written for Story.co and follows two intrepid women on their quests to build their ideal lives.  It’s been fun to listen to them and I highly recommend subscribing to the podcast to join in on their adventures:  You can scroll to the bottom of this page to have a listen to the full song.   Hope you enjoy!

We Have a Theme Song!

New Music Video from Chance’s End!

Monday, July 24th, 2017

I’ve been nibbling, nay CHOMPING at my nails to finally share this with you all.

My genius partner in musical crime, Chance’s End birthed this beauty from his brains.    I am thrilled to have been a part of it and to be able to witness the stunning imagery take shape.

So many amazing people played a part in this project and I can’t wait to see what comes next out of the mind of Chance’s End. 

Enjoy!!

Cresta’s Gigs on Hiatus

Monday, July 17th, 2017

Hey folks!

Just a note to say that our monthly residency at Cresta’s is on hiatus until further notice.

While we are super fans of the cozy, local spot, unfortunately the timing has gotten a bit crunchy for us.

Marty and I hope to re-establish a regular haunt again sometime, and maybe at Cresta’s again in the future.

 

Until then, if you’re looking for a sweet spot for a nightcap in SF, go to Cresta’s on Sunday night.  Casson is a fabulous hostess and the locals are charming AF.

In the meantime, check the shows tab to see where to find us next!

Love.

EZ

The Boxer: Revisited

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

I’ve always loved The Boxer by Paul Simon.

One day I promised myself I would cover it, but It’s a hero’s journey of masculine origin and, as much as I related to the darkness and the solitude of the piece, I could never get so close as to feel ownership enough to sing it.  One day I decided to experiment with switching the gender of the protagonist from male to female and the lyrics….sort of reworked themselves into a bit of a feminist anthem.   I took it to my band and suggested a hard driving, punk rock backdrop and….well here you have it.  Thanks to Paul Simon for writing such an amazing tune.  I hope you all enjoy our version as much as we enjoyed recording it!

Big In Japan

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

A couple of weeks ago, there was an article posted in the in-flight magazine of the Japanese airline, All Nippon Airlines.  The Americano Social Club is in there and they even gave a slight nod to our tribute to David Bowie, Let’s Dance.

Please take a moment to read about our lively and supportive music scene as it exists today.  Then come out to a show!

 

Americano Social Club Appears in All Nippon Airlines in-flight magazine article about San Francisco Music Scene (CLICK ME TO READ!)

 

Americano Social Club: The Grand Ruckus

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

I’ve written about the gypsy jazz collective, The Americano Social Club in posts past, but I felt that the band’s upcoming Monthly Ruckus in the heart of the Haight/Ashbury district of San Francisco heralded a literary revisiting.

Reno Cools Her Heels

Reno Cools Her Heels

My participation in the Americano Social Club was and continues to be a transformative process.  I first joined the group as a sit-in at the Revolution Café, only lending my voice when invited to do so.  I generally sang in a sweatshirt and jeans as I didn’t want to show up looking like I was expecting any special treatment.  You see, at that particular time in my career, I had no expectations for myself.  I was green and insecure and my potential hadn’t yet been sustainably tapped.  They were doing me a favor as far as I was concerned and no number of “Wow, you killed its” or “that voice came out of YOUs?”  would get any other ideas across to me.  Adding to the grey was my relatively recent re-entry to the Bay Area after giving it a go on Broadway (no joke).   The competition out east was fierce and I ultimately decided it wasn’t a lifestyle for which I was willing to sacrifice….anything.  I came back to San Francisco telling myself that I wasn’t cut out for it, that I was weak, only marginally talented and doomed for a life of perpetual type-casting.   But every time Michael invited me to sing a number or two I would gleam and, for the rest of the night, considered myself the luckiest girl in the city.    I still do.

Blissed The Fuck Out

Blissed The Fuck Out

The invitations to sing kept coming and eventually the idea for the Americano Social Club Family Ruckus afforded me a standing invitation to be an active member of a real-life variety show.  The authentic performing experience I was seeking in New York was being offered to me right in my own home town.  So, I began to show up.  I mean REALLY show up.  I bought sassy dresses, teetered around in heels, and put makeup on my face.  This group of extraordinarily talented musicians and dancers were including me in their act.   So. I. Brought. It.  Every night, my goal was to supersede my previous performance.  I would go deeper, get darker, listen harder, be MORE present.  My questions were never, “How can I get this band to better support me?”  They were always, and continue to be “How much more can I bring to this group of people?” “What more can I do?” “Where can I add more support?”  Granted, I’m not perfect and have definitely taken a few wrong turns, forgotten a few lyrics, and dropped a few entrances, but that’s part of the human growth process.   If there is anything more the band has given me, it’s providing real time, tangible examples of what it looks like to have compassion for oneself.   I’ve seen and been that member of the group that shows up stressed from a long day at work, upset about a personal grievance, sickly or just in a really foul mood.  But I’ve watched each of them roll with it with grace and deliver because that’s what you do.  There are no complaints, just matters of fact.  So, I would follow suit.  I would show up my full and honest self, AND I would bring it.

I was a fully functioning adult when I came back from New York.  But I was still craving mentorship, guidance and a good example of what it means to be a performance professional with community as a core value.The Americanos truly are part of my family and I look forward to many more Ruckuses and opportunities to surpass myself.

one night in Haight Ashbury

One Night in Haight Ashbury

Speaking of which, there’s one this weekend!  Won’t you please come witness our passion at play? I promise this will be a night like no other before it.  At least I know I will be planning on it.

Won’t you join us?

That Was Enough (Work in Progress)

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

I remember vividly the prickly stick of his beard hairs on my nostrils as I nuzzled up under his chin.

I remember the smell of the skin underneath and tried to reach it with the tip of my nose.

He pushed back, maybe trying to help, maybe not.  But he pushed.  He didn’t turn away.

 

That was enough.

That’s why I stayed.

 

I had this recurring, particular view of his face from his mouth down as he slept, lips parted, breath soft.

I would reach up with my fingertips and dance them on his lips as he tried to kiss them.

Our timing was never off,

except for once.

 

That was enough.

The Whale and the Albatross

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016
“In the end, only three things matter: How much you loved, how gently you lived, and how graciously you let go of the things not meant for you.”
~ Fake Buddha

Once there swam a majestic blue whale.  She was rare in scope and song and she sang every day into the blackness of the sea calling and calling for her pod.

Her songs were light and joyous and clear and she dreamed her joy would bring her a family with whom she could sing for all the days of her life.
One morning she woke at the surface of the sea and found that a great, white albatross had taken roost upon her back.
“I hope you don’t mind,” said he. “I was tired and lost and your song was so sweet, I decided to rest here with you.”
The whale was surprised but flattered by the compliment and glad of the company, so she agreed to let the great bird stay with her for a time.
Morning turned to night and together they observed the sky change from orange to deep black.   The whale had never seen the sky through its phases and had surely never seen the stars.  She sighed and gasped and her eyes grew wide as dinner plates.
The albatross told her everything he knew about the wind and the clouds and the sky.  He told her stories of faraway mountains, of trees and sand dunes and of creatures of the land.  He drew shapes for her in the stars.
In return, the whale sang him songs of the vastness of the ocean, the darkness and the depth, of all the spindly, toothy and globby sea creatures and of her hollow longing to find her pod.
Night lifted to morning and as the sun pushed over the divide, the whale found herself afraid that the great bird was going to leave her soon.
“Where will you go?”  she asked.
“Home.”  He replied.
“Where is home?” She asked.
“I don’t know.” He replied.
“What if home was here with me?” She asked after a time.
“No.” Said the albatross.  “You must swim and I must fly.”
The whale grew silent and the great bird bowed his head to her skin.
“Will you remember me?” Asked the whale.
“How could I forget the songs that reveal all that lies beneath the surface of the sea?  A world that I would never have known, you have made plain and beautiful to my mind.  I can never forget that.  Will you remember me?”
The whale drifted in silence for a time.  When she spoke, she spoke slowly.  “I have been swimming and singing for many years.  All of these years I have been alone, but I have never been lonely.  After listening to your stories and singing my songs to you, for the first time in my many years, I know that when you go away, I will know what it is to be lonely and I will miss you greatly.  It is impossible to forget someone when that someone is missed so dearly.”
“I will miss you too.”  Said the great bird.
They floated together in silence for a while, warming themselves in the sun.  As it set on the third day, the great bird stood and stretched his wings wide.
“Thank you, Whale Heart.  You have made this world more beautiful to me than I knew it possible and I am grateful.”
As he lifted himself on a warm updraft to sail towards the horizon, the whale dipped slowly to the sea floor and, for the first time in her life she sang a song of loss.
It was the most beautiful song he had ever heard.

Show in Bolinas March 31st!

Monday, March 21st, 2016

Hey Folks!

 

REMPlease join me for a lovely trip up to Bolinas for a night of singing and pickin’ with my two favorite stringsters, Marty Atkinson and Ryan Avery.

We hit the stage around 8pm and play until they shut us down (around 11 because locals and school night).

Check out the Facebook Event Page Here: https://www.facebook.com/events/984734721591912/

 

Be sure to join us as we are sure to bring it.

 

Thursday, March 31st

Smiley’s Schooner Saloon

41 Wharf Rd, Bolinas, California 94924

 

No cover!

See you on the beach!