The fine folks at AM1710 in Half Moon Bay have aired a new single called The Herd by Bigelow’s Treehouse. This tune features myself on vocals and Ryan Avery on Violin. It’s a great tune! They also give a spin to one of my classic tracks, Fall Apart. Have a listen and spread the word.
www.khmbradio.com …………………..click on Coastside CAROUSEL
Mark your calendars for these fine March performances:
Americano Social Club
Club Deluxe on Haight Street
1511 Haight St, San Francisco · (415) 552-6949
Bay Street Emeryville
5616 Bay Street
Emeryville, CA 94608
Rich and the Rhythm Roustabouts
The Saddlerack in Freemont
42011 Boscell Rd, Fremont · (510) 979-0477
Emily Zisman& Ryan Avery
Natural Products Expo West
CLIF Bar Booth
Rich and the Rhythm Roustabouts
Savannah Jazz (Cat’s Corner)
2937 Mission St, San Francisco · (415) 285-3369
Hope to see you out and about!
Many apologies for dropping off the face of the planet. SO many exciting things have been happening. I promise to catch you all up right here, right now. Strap in.
Two weeks ago, Fortune Magazine, NAMM and Gibson hosted the annual Corporate Battle of the Bands in Cleveland Ohio. A few months earlier Clif Bar & Company (my day job) won the regional competition at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco. We were SUPER stoked to have the opportunity to go to Cleveland; The home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
There were some AMAZEBALLS musicians there. Some of our competition were folks from DeVry, The Mil Corporation, Mesirow Financial, Mattel (The Toys!) and Progressive Insurance.
Some of the Judges included Rob Arthur (Multi-instrumentalist with Peter Frampton), Ricky Byrd (Guitarist with Joan Jett & The Blackhearts), Jeff Carlisi (Founding member and guitarist for .38 Special), Liberty Devitto (Drummer for over 30 years with Billy Joel ) and Antoinette Follet (Editor of Making Music magazine).
Yeah. It was going to be an amazing weekend weather or not we took anything shiny home with us.
It started off with a super cushy ride on the company jet. Yep. I’m ruined for air travel for the rest of my life. What ensued was a 3.5 hour in-flight jam session with the company’s co-CEOs on shakers.
This was only the beginning.
The next 72 hours were nothing more than a rock star dream come true. Music jams, late night benders, and a rock and roll music nerd’s cream come true.
I’ll put it this way; I was there for the competition, but I used it as an education. I was at the Rock and Roll Hall of FAME! Michael Jackson and James Brown were there in the thread. The lyrics of Jimi Hendrix were framed and hung by the restrooms.
After our band played our infinitely rehearsed competition set, I stole away to the museum. We had it to ourselves. I had it to myself.
The museum is built like a cathedral. The Rock Hall was designed by the same dude who designed the extension of the Louvre in Paris.
Ok. So maybe not a cathedral like in the Romanesque or Gothic sense, but a spiritual portal none the less.
This particular portal, after Yoko Ono ushered it into significance with a collection of John Lennon memorabilia in 1994, opened a year later with a full schedule of events.
I had the run of the place.
So I took my leave of the competition which was in full swing and escalated myself up three flights of stairs to the exhibit of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. This display featured the original balloon of the Teacher which was an exaggerated 50 million feet long suspended over a replica of the Wall itself. Eyes aglow and body suspended, it was a breathtaking sight for a girl who had only seen the video and heard the stories. What I would have given to have seen this show live.
I sat alone behind the wall and read the abbreviated conception of Roger Waters’ brain child. I wanted to be there.
Then I continued upward. There was a Grateful Dead exhibit that I couldn’t leave without at least paying homage to. They were our Bay Area brethren, were they not?
So I climbed my way to the chapel of the rock gods. And I sat among Jerry Garcia’s custom 1000lb guitars and I spoke directly to God against a backdrop of live competition music throbbing against the walls.
I can’t tell you what God and I spoke about because I can’t remember. All I can tell you is that it was life altering and and perhaps fortuitous.
Because then this happened.
The Grove Valve Orchestra, comprised of 10 Clif Bar & Company employees (including the CEO) and a couple of very good, close friends are now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I still can’t book a gig in a cafe to save my life. But my name is in my church of choice. Life is a weird monster. But I love it.
So we came home. And I’m still riding on this high. Can you blame me?
Since my return I’ve been trying to utilize this sense of accomplishment to inform my venue solicitations. I want people to hire me because I’m a professional.
I guess that’s why people have resumes; To bolster a sense of confidence through accomplishment. Because, it seems, no matter what I accomplish in the physical world, I am still my own worst critic. And she’s kiiiiiiiind of a bitch.
Even though I have convened with my God, even though she handed us a mind blowing accolade, and even though I have never felt more at home in a space, I still haven’t found the place in myself that believes I can honestly do this.
Maybe it will just take time and maybe I should just stop worrying about it. When I really stop to consider everything, the only reason for much of what I’ve experienced so far is that I’ve been present in a certain space when conditions were ideal to provide a specific outcome. It’s all chemistry really. So, I’m just going to let go and ride this thing. I just have to make sure I’m present wherever I wind up.
I wouldn’t want to miss anything.
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!