Thoughts on Devisadero

I just crested staying over two months in Taos, New Mexico as an Artist in Residence at the Wurlitzer Foundation.  A few days after I arrived here I sought out the Devisadero Loop Trail,  a section / foothill of the Sangre de Cristo mountains.  It begins around 7,000 feet above sea level and makes its way to 8,300 feet.  Needless to say,  my Minnesota lungs were winded.  I was such a PILE on the first hike.  Took me 2.5-3 hours and I was exhausted on those early days of being here.  Now I’m run/hiking it,  and just had my best time at 1:10.

“Devisadero” has a few searchable meanings – could be from the Spanish word for ‘division.’ The forest service says it means “lookout place” and that “the peak had once been used by the Taos Pueblo Indians to stand guard against the Apaches who would come down Taos Canyon to raid the Pueblo.” Or it might be from the word divisar, meaning similarly ‘to gaze at something from a distance.’

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Two weeks into what seems like two years in Taos

I haven’t been in Taos for two weeks just yet – Tuesday eve it will be so – but time moves slow here –  I’ve made it as such.  Imposed solitude.  Turning down invites to chill with the other artists,  to go to a Bob Marley dance party at a gallery,  and right now I could be drinking and watching the Superbowl with some passionate intellectuals … but no,  I am in my casita … blogging … what a DORK!

A quick update on how I am spending my artist residency – the spiral nature of my time thus far.  First – motivation,  enthusiasm,  excitement spiraled to overwhelm,  exhaustion,  lethargy and then back around slowly to productivity,  awe,  creative bliss … Emotions; they are always shifting,  changing like clouds in the sky or waves in the sea.  The thing is,  underneath all of that emotional stormage and weather there’s a clear blue space.  And I work with that.  I try to work with that.

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Re-post: Hanging out with Amanda Palmer’s “The Art of Asking”

“When you openly,  radically trust people,  they not only take care of you,  they become your allies,  your family.”  – Amanda Palmer

**Originally posted in January 2015.  Amanda Palmer was just in Minneapolis for a solo show last night and I SO hoped to go but was teaching,  and also turned down a gig of my own … ah LIFE!  I support her art & writing on Patreon — she is an inspiring, motivated,  STRONG woman.  We need those!  I just started re-reading her book “The Art of Asking” this week AND I’ve launched another crowdfunding project for my new EP “The Majesty of Beasts”,  so I’m getting back in the spirit of “asking.”  Here’s the re-posted blog!  THANK YOU FOR READING!

Amanda Palmer is a force to be reckoned with.  I first learned of her wily charms from her duo The Dresden Dolls and from afar have followed her marriage to the rad author Neil Gaiman,  her solo career on the ukelele,  her SMASHING Kickstarter success of over 1.2 million dollars and her celebrated TED talk reflecting on her life as a musician,  artist and live statue called “The 8 foot Bride.”

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Uke Fest, Subscribe to MEEEEE, Replacements Tribute, Supporting NPR Tiny Desk Winner Gaelynn Lea: October Newsletter

Hey there music lover!

And how blissful it is to love music!  I’ve been digging in deep,  running with it,  crying with it,  feeling elated by it.  It’s been awhile since I’ve been so excited by listening to music.  Weird,  huh?  I feel like all my senses are hyper lately and the world is fresh and new,  my ears are PERKED.  I hope yours too!

Lots of stuff going on, as usual.  I went to some conferences,   am launching a subscription fanclub thing so you can get hot-of-the-press exclusive song demos and things,  and have some really rad solo shows coming up to round out this CRAZY ASS YEAR.  Read on if you wanna!  xoxoxox
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How to get your band from Duluth to Nashville to record for two days without killing each other

****** Follow up to this – this band no longer exists!  Apparently we did have some trouble brewing 😉  Awwww band drama.  However I have a great new line up (Zac stayed!).  And these tips are still valid for the touring musician.  😉 ****************

How to get your band from Duluth to Nashville to record for two days without killing each other

I’m embellishing of course! I didn’t exactly TAKE my band against their will! I invited them to come and record four songs with me at an awesome studio in Nashville called Welcome to 1979. In 2014 I won a prize of one free day of recording from their Battle of the Bands thing and wanted to cash in on it! April seemed like a good month to go. Not as risky driving from northern Minnesota and wouldn’t we all like to get away from the mud and muck and end of winter drear?  And isn’t this a dream come true for a lot of musicians???!  Wasn’t too hard to convince them it would be fun.  🙂

Nashville, Dylan & a broken wing – end of March update

Hello lovely!

I hope the end of March is inspiring some roaring in YOU like the lion it is running out with! It’s been one helluva month and I hope yours was awesome, and a little less crazy than mine!  This was my email newsletter to my subscribers – thought I’d update the rest of you, too 🙂 Please sign up to never miss a beat!

Gonna keep this update quick because I’m typing with one hand!  After playing the super fun & fantastic Dulutsen festival last weekend,  I took advantage of one of the perks – free lift ticket!  I tried snowboarding for the first time,  did an awesome cartwheel,  crashed down on my right shoulder and now it’s in a sling.  Bad rotator cuff sprain and a bit of fractured humerus.  Can’t lift my arm for 6 weeks!  Just in time to record in Nashville (April 3 – 10) and open my yoga studio in Minneapolis (get the keys April 1,  grand opening June 11th thankfully).

Doesn’t life have fabulous timing??? I don’t find it very humerus … get it??? Humerus instead of humorous???? Bwaaaa haa haaa

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A year of Holy Bones … living, loving, and almost makin’ it ;)

I sit in deep reflection, staring out the window at lightly falling snow in this cold/crusty/beautiful northern city,  thinking about the past year that Holy Bones has been roaming around the world.

Holy Bones is my 6th full length album and signaled an artistic turn for me.  After being mostly a solo,  piano-based singer-songwriter I found that I was boring myself and felt compelled to change and follow the muse.  She led me to a heavier,  grungier,  indie-rock,  electric guitar sound.  I found some like-minded musicians to collaborate with and bring that sound to life,  starting from simple guitar demos to full throttle,  darkly synthesized song creations.

I may have alienated some long-time fans (sorry dears – you know I love ya!),  but other people graciously said, “it’s like when Dylan went electric” (in no way do I compare myself to Dylan,  but was nice to hear) – the example being that the stylistic shift could be polarizing – people wanting you to keep doing the same thing (which I understand) vs. exploring other realms of the psyche …

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Music for music’s sake

“What we are really saying is that music, once considered an important science,  is now merely a form of entertainment,  classified by elite snobs as “cultured” or “uncultured.”  If it could be packaged in little plastic containers and eaten with a spoon,  they would do it.  In fact,  they are probably working on it right now.”  – EUGENE CHADBOURNE

I’m reading a fantastic book speaking to many many qualms about the music biz – called I Hate the Man Who Runs This Bar by Eugene Chadbourne.  This book is hilariously busting through a lot of my despair and cynicism about trying to “make it” in the music business.  He said music used to be part of the quadrivium:  arithmeticgeometrymusic, and astronomy – “preparatory work for the serious study of philosophy,” – a curriculum outlined by Plato’s The Republic.  Music was a valuable tool of measurement,  specifically to look at “the classical subject of harmonics, in particular the study of the proportions between the music intervals created by the division of a monochord” according to wikipedia.  😉

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