It’s been a few weeks since my last blog. With my tour to Norway and the Thanksgiving holidays, it’s been a busy time. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and a special time with family and friends.
Next week, I will start writing again about the songs on my new album, Make Everything Bright. I’ll be discussing the song, Leaving in My Blood, that I wrote with Amelia White. I’m hoping to get her over to the house to make another video blog to talk about where the song originated and also about the process we went through writing the song together.
For those of you in and around Nashville, I have a full band show - 9 p.m. tonight at The Family Wash. Once again, I’m excited to have Marco Giovino on drums (he helped produce most of my new record and is also the drummer for Robert Plant, Norah Jones and Patty Griffin), John Jackson on guitar (Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams and Shelby Lynne), and Brad Albin (Brent Mason, Mandy Barnett) on bass. If you haven’t been to The Family Wash, this is your chance. Come early for great food and drink, then enjoy the music of Stephen Simmons at 9 … and we’ll play a mix of new and old favorites right after his opening set.
I hope to see you tonight!
Peace & Love,
P.S. If you’re shopping for holiday gifts, don’t forget that I have cd’s available!!!
photo by Griffin Norman
Hey everyone. I wanted to get this blog out before the Halloween weekend and before I head over the big ocean on Wednesday to Norway. So, all you adults out there…what are YOU dressing up as for Halloween?
This week’s blog is about the song, The Ocean, from my new record Make Everything Bright.
I dream about the ocean. Down south to the Gulf of Mexico
That’s where my momma had a baby
I was born in a little town east of the Biloxi wind.
The songs I’ve written about in previous blogs are about relationships, falling in and out of love, family dynamics, and a mid-life crisis or two – or five. This one is about home – the Gulf Coast - where I was born and then lived on-and-off for 15 years. In Ocean Springs (Mississippi), Gulfport (Mississippi), Mobile and Fairhope (Alabama).
Those who have spent any time with me know that I’m truly a child of the coast. I’m either talking about the ocean or figuring out some way to merge music and commerce to get me back there one day.
I love Nashville, but not a day goes by that I don’t think of the Gulf Coast…the ocean, the beach, the people.
I was daydreaming about it all one afternoon about two years ago, and decided it was time to write a song about the place that helped shape me into the person I am today.
The ocean is where the sounds soothe your soul. Whether in a boat or sitting on the beach, eyes closed, listening to the waves. Or it’s that feeling as you walk barefoot through the sand and take that first step into the ocean. Waves lapping over your feet. Drawing at you…with the in and out, like the ebb and flow of life.
It’s incredible the effect water has on people whether it’s the ocean or a river. Especially, when you are born and raised on the water.
I’ve tried the Cumberland River here in Nashville with walks along the greenway. It’s peaceful and a river flows through so many communities as a life blood. I understand that. I see it in places from such as Vicksburg, Natchez, Memphis, and New Orleans. There’s a way about the people from these places. The Mighty Mississippi gives a strength of spirit to those living on the land it flows through and a tranquil relaxation to those watching it roll on by.
But, I’m an ocean girl. The salt. The smell. The different pattern of life in coastal towns. The sight of shrimp boats at dusk as their lights merge with the stars on the horizon. Flashlights of kids floundering at night. Crab nets on the side of decks after the season. And the sound of "throw me somethin’ mister" echoing from Mobile to the Pass to New Orleans during Mardi Gras.
A town of believers, waiting for their catch from the sea.
Painters, potters in that place, like good people of faith
Waiting for their colors to arrive from the sky…seers
Visiting the Gulf Coast after Katrina was devastating. If you didn’t witness the aftermath, I’m not sure anyone truly understands what happened there, particularly Mississippi. The places I had known since childhood were gone. Neighborhoods were only foundations and streets. However, over the last six years the steel-like resolution to rebuild and comeback by its residents has been as powerful as the ocean that wrecked their lives. That’s because coast people come from the water, whether you’re born in it or come to call it home.
The ocean is the life line of the coast. Waves of water coming in to nourish you and then leaving as the tide takes out with your worries. You are hypnotized by the water. I wanted to create a pattern like that in the music – a vibe that makes you sway a bit, almost a bit 60s psychedelic & hypnotic.
The ocean is in my veins, and it's stuck like the color red
The water comes and goes, like some people that I know.
Comes and goes, comes and goes.
The line “The water comes and goes, like some people that I know” is about the people in your life – friends and family - that like the water, mold and sustain you no matter how long you have them with you. In the video I created for the song, you will notice in the chorus several of those people from my life (my father being one) as that lyric plays.
Memories of my life on the ocean and the beach are just as they are today for many people, I think.
Cruising the beach boulevards. Fishing. Walks in the sand. Football and graduation bonfires. Beach parties. Weddings on the water. And, ashes spread into the ocean. A cycle of life.
Some people never leave the ocean. Like me, many do and long for home.
Sometimes you have to leave to find home again. I know the lighthouse and the ocean, will lead me back – one day.
Peace & Love,
Photo by Griffin Norman
Hey y’all. It’s definitely fall in Nashville. Yesterday, it was raining, cloudy and cold…perfect for staying in and writing a new song. I even broke out the first sweater of the season.
Today, it’s cold and sunny (at times). As I wrote in my blog on Tuesday, I’m packing and rehearsing for my Norway tour. But, I’m also getting in several writing appointments, and it’s been fun creating new music with new people.
This blog today is about Hey, I’ve Been There Too, the third track on my new album Make Everything Bright.
This is probably the most personal song on Make Everything Bright in terms of inserting real life (mine) into the music, and it has resonated with close friends who know me well and also people who have heard it live and for those who have bought and listened to the record.
The song started with the music first, which is not always the case for me. I was working with my new pro-tools recording program and came up with a drum loop and started to write the melody. Then, the words came. Eventually, I dropped the drum loop and kept the simplicity of the acoustic guitar and violin.
I struggled with writing this blog because it involved my family and personal feelings. But, after talking to my sister (who is part of the song’s story), she approved right away. She said..."Molly, your songs are a part of who you are.... you've already written the song & it's on your record for everyone to hear. Part of what you do is to share your stories." She was and continues to be very supportive.
I wrote the lyrics while I was going to my therapist two years ago. Therapy is always a great thing, whether you are going through tough times or if everything is “bright” in your life. The song hits home for me, literally. It’s about feelings I had regarding my relationship, as I grew up, with my older sister. During those particular sessions, I started to discover that I wasn’t letting my light shine, whether it was about my art and music or personally in relationships. I was always a bit shy when talking about my music career, success or the rough spots...Shy, uncomfortable, taking the back seat in regards to being who I truly am... (happy, intense, bright, & sensitive).. all of the adjectives that probably describe most of us. I think we all have several sides to ourselves... our past that is still a part of us and then the people we become as we mature and walk through our journey trying to better ourselves in this crazy world. Everyone has many angles & interesting stories. Uncovering them & watching them spawn into something new is what makes life....well... LIFE! To quote my mother many years ago, she said..."It takes a lot of livin' to learn to live." It stands to be my favorite quote to this day! Thanks mom! ;)
Growing up, I didn’t want to outshine my sister because she was the oldest. She had her shining activities and I had mine. I tended to excel in music and art…and I thought she was jealous because she tended to be mean to me at times and it really hurt my feelings. So, I pulled back and always let her shine instead of me. I never wanted her to feel bad, so I internalized it and decided it was my job to feel bad for both of us (HA!...insert humor). And, you all know how sibling dynamics are, especially with sisters. Years later, I found out that she wasn’t jealous at all, and it was about how I felt. I tucked those feelings away years ago, and they continued to affect me as I grew older. I would always try to diffuse my light. And even though I have worked through these things…it’s funny, it always lingers. I’m not the best at taking compliments, as many of you know *wink*
That’s where the line – "guilt for feeling good, time to change" comes from.
As I worked on the personal angle for the song (using a male figure in the opening line....."Hey, it's alright to shine, you won't let HIM down" hoping no one would know that it was actually a girl, my sister I was talking about because, again, I didn't want to hurt her feelings), I wanted to add different scenarios for situations for each verse where we always feel hurt & alone. Each of the verses plays out that way…and I wanted listeners to know we’ve all been there. It’s ok to feel alone & sad, we have been there, and it gets better. I wanted listeners to see themselves in the song. We’ve all felt the sting of mean words from those trying to hurt us. The song says it’s ok to hurt, but keep your head up.
Keep your light shining no matter what and keep going forward. We all have had tough times, just keep the light on!
I’ll write about "The Ocean" next week.
Peace & love,
Photo by Griffin Norman
It’s new movie Tuesday – the day new DVD releases come out. And guess what? Check your local Red Box for the movie – Good Day For It. My song, Bad Timing, is featured in a scene. Very exciting!
It’s a film by Nick Stagliano that had a premiere at the Nashville Film Festival this past May. The actors include Robert Patrick, Hal Holbrook, Kathy Baker, Lance Henrikson and Samantha Mathis. You may remember I wrote a blog about the premiere earlier this year. My dear friend, Matthew Ryan, also scored the film.
In other good news, it looks like I may have three songs in another film coming out next year. I can’t say too much about it because we’re still in the final talks. Keep your fingers crossed!
Headed to Norway for Tour
It’s almost here, and I can’t wait. I’m headed to Norway on Nov. 2 for a solo acoustic tour, playing seven show s in 10 days. It will be my second tour overseas in a little over a year, but my first to Norway as a solo artist. I will be playing listening rooms, clubs, and “one rowdy private party” according to my booking agent and promoter, Camilla Sorhus.
I will be playing songs from my new record, Make Everything Bright, and from Shoot the Sky. I am working now on set lists and getting all my gear ready to travel. I can’t believe it’s only two weeks away. I am really excited to be working with Camilla. Amelia White, one of my close friends, artist and co-writer with me (Leaving in My Blood & Make Everything Bright), had praised Camilla after a tour with her in Norway. She talked of how Camilla loved our kind of music, and then mentioned that she was coming to the states to visit. As it played out, Camilla ended up being my roommate during her visit to Nashville last Spring. We had a great time and became good friends. As we talked, she asked if we could do a tour for me in Norway…and now I’m headed over.
Camilla is one of the best in the business. She has worked with Bobby Bare Jr., Jon Byrd, Amelia, Mark Huff, Peter Molinari and many others. I’m lucky to have her as a supporter of my work.
This is my first solo music tour to Norway, but I lived there for six months in 1991 working as a teaching assistant to an art teacher in a school for mentally and physically challenged children. I really enjoyed my time and look forward to going back. Through Facebook the last few months, I have connected with some of the friends I made 20 years ago. I hope to see them during my tour.
I did a few dates in Norway during my overseas tour with Kim Carson last summer. And it was a wild time. I know this sounds a bit out of character but I smacked two men for grabbing mine and Kim’s behinds... wait, I will explain!...It’s day time over there during the summer and the winters are dark 24-7. So when summer hits, the people have a great time and drink a lot of beer. We played a festival where the crowds camp out, drink beer, dance and listen to music all weekend. They love to line dance. Americana, folk and especially country music are big there. They have all these booths set up where people are selling music, cowboy hats, leather belts, and food. The people in Norway are very reserved, but at these festivals they let go and have a good time.
Ok...so here's the "butt grabbing story!" The first “behind grab” was while we were listening to the band playing after us, and this guy comes up and just grabs me. I turned around and clocked him. He just laughed, stumbled and went on his way. Then just about 30 minutes later. It happened to Kim while we were listening to more music, and I clocked him too. This time, Kim got in his face and asked him if his mother raised him to treat a lady that way. Typical Southern response – he was Norweiga, Ha! But, he knew exactly what she meant!
I can’t wait to get back and play. The people love music and really appreciate what we (americana/folk/indie musicians) are doing. It’s the prime time to play because it’s winter and there isn’t a lot to do. Most of these venues are closed during the summertime while people hit the outdoors and festivals. This is the time to tour the cities.
The country is absolutely beautiful – almost fairy tale gorgeous.
I will blog and post pics during the tour, and take you along with me.
Well, I better get back to rehearsal and packing. I will post the next song blog for Make Everything Bright on Thursday. This one is for Hey, I’ve Been There Too.
Talk to you again on Thursday!
Peace & Love,
Photo by Griffin Norman
So you wanna know what’s ahead. But everything now that’s been said is a question.
Take the day as it comes. You’re 35. You’re in the slums. Just be a man. Oh be a man…
Welcome back. I’ve been writing & recording with a few other people lately on side projects, and wanted to keep moving along with these blogs about each song from my new album, Making Everything Bright .
This one is about the song, 35’s Got You Down. After one listen, I know many of you wonder – again – this must be about a man-bashing situation or a relationship gone wrong. True, it is about men I’ve known or met going through a mid-life crisis. But, it’s really about that stage in life we all go through at that age, and at times again later in life.
Here’s the story about 35:
I wrote it a few years back with K.S. Rhoads. (Check out his music, too – an incredible talent) I had written the lyric and had a melody, but something just wasn’t clicking. I was writing & working with him at that time, and he came over to help me. We started talking about this song and what I wanted it to convey lyrically but also musically. K.S. is so talented, and he came up with a new melody right off…started playing around with a new rhythmic pattern. I loved it and it evolved from there.
The idea came from no one specific. Observing guy friends or guys you meet, who are going through that time in life where they are questioning it all – love, job, friends. It’s basically about the ones who are so self-absorbed in their mid-life crisis they can’t see the real life in front of them.
But, in writing the song…it’s not just guys who get to that stage in the mid-30s. We are all at one point or another going – what the hell? Am I doing it right? Is there more out there for me than this? Should I have taken a left when I took that right? Is this love?
Don’t question 35. It’s just depression, you’ll survive.
That one line says it all. We survive. It’s time to get it together and move on. I’ve had to tell myself the same thing. It’s not just about guys, but you know we’ve all had one like this. Haha. It’s fun with this song focusing on the guys because girls are always thought to be the ones brooding about life and problems.
This is usually one of the most popular songs when we play it live. It’s kind of an anthem for today’s woman (or man)! People like it because of the message & the “ba ba ba’s” but also the cool laid back vibe that K.S. helped give it.
I hope everyone had a great weekend, and you are enjoying this fall weather. Next up is Hey, I’ve Been There Too.
Thanks for your great response to these blogs, and look forward to seeing you on the road soon!
Peace & Love,
Photo by Griffin Norman
I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. It was a busy
weekend & week for me with a few recording sessions, work and great visits with
I started blogging last week about the new record, Make Everything
Bright...the first of a series of blogs and video blogs to come. Over
the coming weeks, I will tell the stories behind each of the songs. –
A new thing for me...early in my career I made the decision not to
explain my songs, hoping people would connect and interpret them to
suit their own needs.
First let me say that when I write a song, it can start off with a certain
meaning or truth. Then, after time it can morph into something
completely different. That’s kind of nice on one hand because the
song can stay fresh and not become boring to perform. However,
I do like to reflect and think back about what my main concept was
when I first wrote the song. I think it’s important to keep that honesty
alive and breathing.
That brings us to The Opportunist--a short, sweet (or not so sweet!
) song about someone we’ve all known: a climber trying to advance
herself and stepping on people and emotions along the way. Some
may take this to be about the music business. Yes, there was some
inspiration from my career as I’ve watched people use this means to
get ahead. It’s hard to mix business and art together without getting
into…… difficult situations!
After my first show, someone asked if this was about a certain former
man in my life. No, not really. It’s all about interpretation. Everyone
knows a person who is an opportunist – someone who studies what
others have and wants if for himself or herself. These people don’t
care at all about who they step on or what they take – emotionally or
physically – from others.
This is a song about calling people out on their grabage…and trying
to hold them accountable. It’s for those of us who’ve had it happen to
us finally putting our feelings into words and telling it like it is.
Ok... so that’s song #1, “The Opportunist,” from “Make Everything
Bright!” I hope you enjoy the blogs. Please feel free to write back and
let me know what the song may mean to you. If you didn’t see the
blog from last week, please visit my blog page on the website for an
update! I’m also attaching the video blog here for you to view.
Thanks & have a nice weekend!
Peace & love,
Photo by Griffin Norman
Since the U.S. release of Make Everything Bright a few weeks ago, it’s been a busy time of booking, touring and promoting. I've had a really nice time playing the new songs, and it’s been great hearing from those of you who bought the record. Thank you!
Over the last few weeks, I’ve started getting questions about how I wrote this group of songs, how I selected the ones to use, and how I go about the writing process.
Most questions focus on what inspired the songs or what is the meaning of a song. As you all know, I don’t hold back in my songwriting and the songs are brutally honest about love, relationships, friendship, and life.
While on tour, two different people – after listening to the new music – asked me if I was doing ok? I was like – hell yeah – I’m ok. Why? Well, they thought the music was about a bad relationship that I must have just gotten out of, and I had become bitter and jaded. That was totally not the case…but it made me think.
I thought, well, I can see where they might get that idea, listening to the music and putting the songs all together. Think about it, I laughed to myself. The record does open with the likes of The Opportunist and closes with You’re A Sorry One. I got it, then. Maybe I need to explain the stories of Make Everything Bright.
So, that’s what we’re going to do over the next few weeks with blogs and video blogs.
I am excited to share the ideas and stories behind each song, but I also want to hear from you. I want to know what you hear and what a song means to you. How does is make you feel? What do you take away from it?
First – for those of you out there who may wonder, if I am that jaded and angry based on the music. Nope! Not at all. Every song is not written from a personal experience. Yes, some are. But, others are based on what I’m seeing in the world today, issues friends may be going through, an overheard conversation in a coffee shop, or a conversation in my head.
Make Everything Bright is filled with a range of emotions. Some are tied to a sense of loss or pain. And, some are filled with love, passion and optimism. Emotion is missing in so much of today's radio music. Seriously, there is not much feeling and thinking, in Moves Like Jagger or Big Fat Bass (don’t get me wrong…I have a secret love for Britney).
I write to mix the ingredients of life and the human spirit, and hope to create stories that people can relate to and feel a connection.
Next week, we'll start with how the album was put together and the first song, The Opportunist.
Have a safe and relaxing holiday weekend!
* United States release for "Make Everything Bright"
* New Video
Good Morning/Afternoon/Night to all you people of the world!!!
Another newsletter keeping you informed of the music....
About a year ago I finished my record, "Make Everything Bright," so that I would have it to sell last summer in Europe. The plan was to come home after the 3 month tour and have a proper release in the United States. However, I came home and found myself tired & distracted from touring. I'm happy to announce that TODAY, I am releasing the record here in the United States, FINALLY! Many of you already have copies of the record. If not, I encourage you to buy buy buy!!! *wink* You can find it here on the Music Page. There are also MANY digital stores like itunes & Amazon that carry the record, as well. Just do a search for Molly Thomas. I am including a preview of one of my songs from the record for you to download, "Leaving in My Blood." I hope you enjoy!!!
This coming Friday night, I will have my CD release show at The Basement here in Nashville. I will be accompanied by Marco Giovino (co-producer) on drums, Kip Winger on bass & Dave Coleman on the electric guitar. Also on the bill will be Otis Gibbs & Brian Ritchey. We'll kick off the evening at 9:30. The poster below says 8:00 but it's actually 9:30.
There are more shows in the next few weeks in Mississippi & Alabama. So please come say hello!!!
Yesterday, I experimented with the video process for the first time and actually surprised myself with a video for my song, "The Ocean." That was alot of fun! I hope you will take time to view it ;)
That's it for now! Many thanks to all of you supporters!!! It's a jungle out there in the music world and to know that you enjoy the music means so much!!! THANK YOU!!!
Peace & Love,
It's been awhile since you've heard from me, and I just wanted to catch you up on a few things. First of all, I'm finally getting back into touring and have had a couple of shows recently, and a few more coming up that I want to tell you about. Next Monday, May 23rd, I will be playing in Atlanta at Smith's Olde Bar starting at 8:00 PM. I will be accompanied by Dave Coleman of the Coal Men. All you folks in Atlanta, please come out and say hello... we need your help!!! Tickets are only 5 bucks, so come support the music!!!!
As you may already know, I finished my last record, "Make Everything Bright" last year this time before touring in Europe last summer with Kim Carson. However, I am FINALLY getting around to having the record released in the US. June 28th will be the release date, and I have a few record release shows in July. I will send out another message around that time to promote those shows.
Last month, I had the honor of being a part of the Nashville Film Festival, as Nick Stagliano's film, "A Good Day For It," was a feature film. My song, "Bad Timing" (It's from my 2005 release of "Shoot the Sky."), that I wrote with Mando Saenz,was used in the film. The film is currently traveling to film festivals across the country.
Also, my dear friend and music pal, Matthew Ryan scored the entire film and did a brilliant job! Matthew, by the way, has a new record coming out soon, so be on the look out!
Molly & writer & director, Nick Stagliano
Nick Stagliano, Matthew Ryan, Molly Thomas, Mando Saenz & Chris Tench
I started a new website to promote my session work as a violinist/composer/arranger. If you have time, please check out that site and listen to some of the various artists I have worked with currently and in the past. The website is: www.dulcetsounds.com
That is all the news I have at the moment... at least that I can remember, :)
Please stay in touch & as always, thank you so very much for your support!
Peace & love,
I just wanted to send a warm greeting to all my cyber friends in this last month of 2010... I think I'm understanding the concept of "life goes by fast!" Unbelievable! It's been a great year, and I am truly thankful for all of the wonderful experiences that have come my way. And, I look forward to the future in hopes that those same adventures continue.
If you celebrate Christmas or just want to give a gift to someone who enjoys music, please feel free to stop by my STORE and browse around.
I also want to introduce to you an organization in which I have been following for almost 20 years. I visited one of their branches in Mexico in 1989 and have since tried to remain involved with, even if it was just to stay educated in their mission. It is called, Heifer International. Their philosophy is this: "Heifer International is a global nonprofit with a proven solution to ending hunger and poverty in a sustainable way. Heifer helps empower millions of families to lift them out of poverty and hunger to self-reliance through gifts of livestock, seeds and trees and extensive training, which provide a multiplying source of food and income." Heifer International is an organization that I believe in and have seen with my own eyes its impact on the world.
I am adding a Heifer International "DONATIONS" button above this blog and on my home page in hopes to raise money for a cow to provide for a family which will in turn provide for a community in need. It's such an easy concept and has proven worthy for over 65 years. If you would like to contribute to the Heifer fund, please feel free to add any amount that suits your budget.
Tis the Season of giving!!!
Peace & Love,
November 12th, 2010
Hello Pretty Ones!!!
I have lots of updates to share since my return home from my summer in Europe. It was a fantastic time seeing new places and meeting new people, and I am so thankful for the experience! It's nice to be home & settled back in, though, and back into my normal routine. There have been some exciting things happening!
One of my goals in life has been to get my foot in the door with song placement in film. That goal was realized in September when I was contacted by an agent in Hollywood who was representing film director, Nick Stagliano, who wanted to use one of my songs in his independent film, Good Day For It. He had heard me perform a couple of years ago when I was touring with Matthew Ryan when we were in New York/Philly. The song, "Bad Timing," to be used in the film is from my second record, "Shoot the Sky." And, Matthew Ryan scored all of the background music for the film. I'm not sure of the release date, but you can view the movie trailer with this link, Good Day For It. I look forward to seeing/hearing how it all fits together!
One of the projects that I worked on this past Spring was for my friend, Brian Ritchey, and his new release, "No Way Out of This House." He hired me to compose and record all of the strings for his entire record. Brian sent me his songs and allowed me complete freedom to arrange and record the strings from my home studio. There was a tremendous learning curve involved, but it was helpful as the trial and error with his project steered the way with finishing up my new record, "Make Everything Bright." His record is absolutely beautiful filled with vibey, artistic & stunning songs. It is a concept record, songs written in consecutive order to a real life character. It is dark, yet illustrious and hopeful. Last week, I spent multipule hours transcribing all of the parts for stringed instruments so that we could perform the record in its entirety for his record release last Friday night at The Basement here in Nashville. The show was a success and tons of fun. Brian's long term plan for the record is to have a playwright transcribe the story/plot for a performance drama/musical.
This coming Monday night, November 15th, I will have the pleasure of opening for Canadian artist, Corb Lund at the Exit Inn in Nashville. Showtime will be at 8:30 PM.
Lund has been named Roots Artist of the Year by the Canadian Country Music Association for the last five years running and was again nominated this year. He collected the Roots and Traditional Album of the Year trophy for his album Hair in My Eyes Like a Highland Steer at the 2006 JUNO Awards (the Canadian Grammys), and took home a CCMA Album of the Year award for the set as well. His ambitious 2007 song cycle Horse Soldier, Horse Soldier! was nominated for the prestigious critical accolade, the Polaris Music Prize.
In the new year, I have plans to promote the new record, "Make Everything Bright" with a tour starting in the South. I will have those dates listed on the website in the next couple of months. Also, plans are being made at the moment for a Spring tour in Norway with Amelia White and Mando Saenz. It will be a Nashville Songwriter "in the round" format. We hope to hit a few more countries while we are over there....more to come on that!
The website if finally up to date! There is a current biography, new photos, blog page, a store with all of my records and t-shirts and a fan page that includes quotes from various fans with their thoughts on the new record. You're already here...so, just keep on surfin'!
Thank you for your time and please stay in touch!!!
Peace & love,
August 17th, 2010
The 1/2 way mark in the tour landed us in France for one show in Villeneuve Sur Lot with the fabulous, Charlie McCoy, legendary harmonica player. We had driven from Switzerland to Lyon on the first night of the trip and spent the night with Kim’s friends, Marc and Rose Alleyson before heading to Villenueuve Sur Lot for the show. Rose is a French American country singer. She was voted #1 Country singer in France last year. www.rosealleyson.free.fr I’m not sure how many country singers there are in France, but I would venture to guess that it would still be quite an honor. She was really cool & relaxed and such a wonderful hang and very hospitable. Rose showed us the city...old Cathedrals and great boutiques with French designer jewlry, furniture, pastries, shoes, etc. I have such an intrigue for hand made articles and original European design, so I was in Heaven. Rose’s husband Marc cooked for us and made everything from scratch...very particular and careful with his culinary skills. We woke up with the smell of French coffee and Crepes the next morning. My first crepe was with fresh squeezed lemon and sugar and then I had one with sugar and Grand Marnier lit with a match to melt the alcohol and sugar. It was out of this world! It was not very sweet, but had a hint of the orange flavor from the grand marnier.
The journey after that took us to Merschers, France near the “Wild Coast.” We spent one week there, taking a break from the continuous pounding and unwavering hot pavement of this tour. Traveling 24/7 with 4 people can become quite challenging, so a break was welcomed by all. I have always wanted to go to France and spend time on the beach, and my dream came true. Not only did I get to relax in the sunshine and drink pina colados & red wine, but I met some of the most wonderful people.
We had the pleasure of being accomodated and fed in exchange for playing 4 or 5 songs a night at one of the most unique places I think I have ever been. This devine piece of heaven is called, Tina’s Cafe www.tinascafe.fr. It sits on the water and brings in people from all over the world. Tina is originally from Chicago, but moved to France in the 60’s. She was a street musician in Paris back in the 70’s & 80’s and then moved to the South of France and opened this place up 15 years ago. It has florished into a grand haven where musicians, writers, poets, dancers, business folk, doctors, lawyers, families... all walks of life gather and enjoy communing in the essence of food, wine, music and glowing faces. I don’t think that will be my last time to visit Tina’s Cafe, and I encourage anyone who can make their way to France drop by this place. It is only open during the summer, fyi. The town of Merschers is very small, but has a street market everyday and fantastic restaurants, including Tina’s son, Benjamin’s restuarant called, Benny & Marlene’s Cafe.
I’ve had the honor and have taken great pleasure in meeting many of Kim’s friends on this tour and, I am so thankful for new souls I now can call friends here in Europe. Thanks to Kim, I now know the lovely Bente Svendson who is from Denmark but lives in Merschers in the summers. She opened her house up to us and introduced us to her family and friends. My smile had disappeared for a small frame of time due to changes in my “relationship status” and Bente reminded me, without really saying a word, of the gift of laughter. Her warm spirit and exuberant smile ruptured my gut and brought back what I had lost. I will never forget her smile and hope it graces me again one day. I can only imagine how many people she has touched. Bente’s sister, Berrit was visiting with her daugther Josefine. Also, Bente’s daughter Nadine and son, Marcus were there with a few of their friends. So, it was a house full. Kim and I slept in the bed in the kitchen....yes, she has a bed in her kitchen, and the fellas, Eric & Josh, slept on beds outside on the terrace. Bente’s son, Marcus is a musician and an extremely talented guy. www.myspace.com/marcuslevy His music is very soulful and engaging. And he is currently working on a new record. I am certain he will gain a loyal and responsive audience as he grows and gets his music “out there.” Nadine, Bente’s daughter, is the co-owner along with her husband, of (seriously, I’m not kidding), a restaurant in Copenhagan called, Noma, www.noma.dk In 2010, it was ranked as the Best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine, having achieved third place the previous year. People from all over the world dine at this place and will spend thousands and thousands of dollars just to reserve a table. There is much to be said for Bente because she raised a daughter who is so unpretentious and modest and stands grateful for her life and success. One would never guess that she is probably surrounded by an exorbitant amount of social status and “fame.” Nadine’s demeanor and spirit will outlast all the glamor that I can only imagine hits her in the face on a daily basis. I admire people like her. She has Bente’s smile and flare. Nadine has a small child named, Arwen, who will become another Nadine & Bente... it is clear!
It is such a small world! While listeing to the music one of the nights at Tina’s, I happened to meet a girl from England, named Dora. We started chatting, and I mentioned that I was from Nashville. She then asked me if I happened to know a girl, by the name of Becca Boucher. I gasped and said, “YES, Yes I do.” When I moved to Nashville 10 years ago, I played in a band from Australia called, The Mercy Bell. Becca was the lead singer. There have been several incidents like that on this tour, and it has reaffirmed the ongoing question of whether we are connected on a level beyond our comprehension... and my belief is YES, yes we are and there is a God. I”ve never strayed from this belief, but it is a topic of many conversations. These “incident’s” only make my belief stronger and fulfilled.
One of Bente’s friends, Doug Ley, was visiting Merschers with his family from New York. He too had been a street musician with Tina and Bente back in the 70’s in Paris. When he and I started talking, we discovered that we had a couple of mutual friends in the world of music. Again, I was blown away but not completely surprised, because the longer I live, the more I realize that my life has a purpose and the people I have met, I was meant to meet.... because we keep meeting on levels/intervals that transcend the daily grind.... that transcend the passing by of waves and faces. It is much deeper.
Fast forward for a second to Austria where we went after France. By the way, did I ever mention the name of the band with whom I am touring? I know I mentioned, Kim Carson, www.kimcarson.com but the band/we are called, The Enablers (cracks me up). So.... We, Kim Carson and the Enablers were playing a Country Festival in Austria, which by the way, we have played lots of country festivals over here and it never ceases to amaze me the out pour of characters and really make me giggle. I’m making a huge assumption that these festivals started out of the fascination of American television and Western movies. I don’t want to embarrass anyone by asking them why the hell they are so engrossed and captivated by a period of time where people dressed up like Billy Ray Cyras and carried fake guns. The people also dress up like cowboys and indians, they line dance and pretend that they are living in the wild west for one night. The only thing I can compare it to are the Renaissance festivals in the States. I never dreamed that I would be performing my songs and have a crowd of line dancers stomping and moving to my music... truly amazing what surprises life brings! Again, it makes me laugh. Anyway... back to my original thought.... at this particular festival in Austria, we were co-billed with a band from Vienna. The fiddle player for this band, Claudia, and I bonded and of course talked shop. I contemplated for awhile whether to ask Claudia if she knew of a band from Vienna called, Sons of a Velvet Rat. I really didn’t think she would have heard of them, since they are no where close to being a country band. I had recorded with them 1 1/2 years ago in Nashville. But, I threw it out there and asked her. Again, blown away by her response, she too had performed with them 1 1/2 years ago in Vienna. I’m not sure if I am communicating the enormity of these connections/relationships that are joined by one chain after another but anyone reading this.... I am telling you, there’s somethin’ goin’ on! and life is CRAZY and EXCITING and there are so many twists and turns.
France is over and we have since traveled to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and back to Germany all within a few days. Now resting in a town called, Wasserburg, Germany, on the Lake of Konstanz (Constance) for a couple of days. We have 5 more weeks of touring and then back to our normal lives in the States. I’m looking forward to taking back with me new ideas and my beloved romance with laughter. See you soon, I’m certain!
Peace & love,
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Night before last, after our daytime festival show, we drove 3 km to our hotel. The hotel where Kim has stayed in the past was closed and the other hotels were full. So, our only option was the Straw Hotel. Yes, the "Straw" hotel. We were given the option of either a regular bed or a straw bed. Fearing the allergies to hay, we all opted for the regular bed. Had I known that we would be sharing the same room with 10 other people, including the straw/hay beds, I would have tried out the straw bed... allergy or no allergy, it was the same room. It was an interesting night.... Kim and I shared a bed and the guys took the top bunk above us. Across from us was an Asian couple and in the loft above were 2 Swiss and/or German families sleeping on the straw/hay. By the way, this was a barn... with chickens, goats, sheep and other animals roaming around outside accompanied with all of the smells that come along with farm animals. It took me back to childhood when I would go visit my Aunt Rachel & Uncle Otis, outside of Union, Mississippi, in the summertime where they had cows, chickens, cats, snakes, etc. and all of the sounds and smells that a frightful city (although "city" is used lightly, as "Hattiesburg," Mississippi isn't really a city, but it seemed it at the time) girl slowly and carefully became accustomed to and fond of. I always loved going to visit them. However, I can't say that I enjoyed this particular straw hotel. Perhaps it's because we were sharing the room with strangers, including whiney children.... and unusual bodily sounds (snoring) in the night that didn't belong to any of us.
Our location was right outside of Meinfeld, Switzerland, the home of the infamous Swiss Heidi. So, basically, we were in Heidiland. If you are familiar with the story, you know that Heidi went to live with her grandfather on a mountain. We were staying on "this" particular mountain. It's like Disney Land to many of the European kids, but there were hardly any people visiting Heidiland... maybe because there was a good bit of hiking involved? This would never go over in the States. It would be considered too boring and uneventful for the cyber/video/guitar hero kids of today. The exercise involved didn't include standing in line for cotton candy or the que for Space Mountain. Instead, the easy part of the trail only required that you stick your hand in a hole and try to feel what was inside the wooden box.... pine cones, rocks, bark and dirt. A shout out to all you hippy parents wanting to take your kid somewhere earthy... "Heidiland!"
Yesterday morning, Kim and I hiked up the HeidiHof Alp, drank from the natural springs... enjoyed the day on the mountain while the guys took the train to Chur, Switzerland. I said to Kim, "it seems like the guy's should be the ones wanting to hike and the girl's wanting to shop." After our hike, Kim and I drove to Chur to pick up the fellas. Eric scored 2 awesome jackets that were on sale. Had I known ahead, I would have thought a little harder on the shopping. Not really, hiking was much better... but gosh, I missed a great sale!!!
After driving to Chur and picking up the guys, we all drove back to Germany where we are staying with Miescha and Kathrin again. On our journey back to Germany, we stopped at an amazing Restaurant on the Walensee (translation... location, a huge beautiful green/blue lake with the Rocky Alps jetting straight upward). The mountains are so gigantic/enormous and present and the water so incredibly green that you can't help but believe that there is a God.
This morning, I woke up early because I had a dentist appointment. My root canal that I had before leaving for Europe has been giving me trouble. My headaches that I've been having for years have finally been solved. I have a major sinus infection right above my tooth and it appears to have gone into the tooth area. This particular dentist explained the connection between the two like no other dentist in the States would have done. Ok, I'm not dissing the States, It's just frustrating when you go several times for the same thing and nothing is ever solved. This dentist, which was a woman by the way, (with a piercing above her eye.... one of those "statement" piercing's... I think she likes the girl's) treated me from the perspective of it being a profession, NOT a business. It was genuine, heartfelt, quick and to the point. I am relieved and thankful, indeed! Oh... they took ex-rays, took a mold of my teeth for a night guard to keep from grinding and did not charge me a dime. I guess I looked like a poor pitiful musician. The dental assistant was a friend of Kathrin's, so I imagine, that was the real reason for it not costing anything.
On my walk back to Miescha & kathrin's house, I stopped off at a cafe for coffee where I ran into 3 guys from you'll never guess..... Montgomery, Alabama. I heard them speak English, so I spoke to them and asked them where they were from. They looked at me and said, "what's a gal from Tennessee doing in Neuenburg, Germany?" I said, “drinkin’ coffee and playin’ music, what else?” *wink* They are working with the local baseball team, the Neuenburg Atomics.
Last but not least, as I walked back to the house, I drifted past a shoe store. I hesitantly walked in and looked around. I can’t even believe what I’m about to tell you... But... I bought a pair of Birkenstock sandals. I’m a bit embarrassed as I thought I was finished with my hippie days. But who am I fooling? Surprisingly, they were much cheaper than back home. Next thing you know, I’ll be taking field trips to Heidiland with small children.
Cheers... Peace & love,
It’s been 4 weeks and 2 days since arriving in Germany.... 8 more to go! We landed in Frankfurt and were greeted and picked up by new friend, Meisha. He drove us down to Neuenburg where we stayed the first 4 days. On the way, we stopped off in Freiburg at Schmiddy and Ursela’s house to pick up the van. Schmiddy and Kim have been working together since she started coming over here 10 years ago. The drive from Frankfurt to Neuenburg was a beautiful drive, with the black forrest on our left and France on our right as we headed South in the direction of Switzerland. After landing in Neuenburg, Meisha and his girlfriend, Katrine took great care of us sleepy jet lagged Americans. Katrine, an amazing cook, fed us constantly and Meisha enjoyed picking guitar with the fellas.
I am on this tour as a side fiddle player with my Country Music artist friend, Kim Carson. Although my music is not country, Kim has graciously agreed to let me play some of my songs too on this tour from my new record, Make Everything Bright. So far, my record sales over here have been more than I had imagined. And I just got word from a German radio station www.countrymusic24.com with whom I contacted before the tour, that he put one of my songs, Henry John, on his 4th of July playlist. Thanks, Hermannn.
We are a 4 piece band.... Kim on bass, me of the fiddle/acoustic guitar/vocals (and sometimes drums!!!), Eric Griffith on drums/acoustic guitar/bass/vocals and Josh Joseph on electric/acoustic guitars/keyboards/vocals. We’ve quickly become friends and enjoyed the musical process of learning new songs together and tightening up songs we’ve played through the years.
I am finally getting around to blogging. It’s been difficult finding the time, but have had a few days off to catch up. It has been a very busy schedule so far. In the time off, I usually find myself in a lake swimming, drinking coffee or in the sunshine working on my tan or reading a book. It’s such a hard life, ya know? :)
I have had the chance to see much of the German, Norwegian and Swiss country side. We’ve performed in lot’s of small towns....it’s been nice because it has given a taste of the people and lifestyle outside of the cities. It has also reaffirmed my continuous desire to live in a city and/or near water.
One of the highlights was returning to Norway. I lived there in 1991 for 6 months working at Soltun Folkehøgskole in Northern Norway. This trip over, I had the chance of seeing the mid section of Norway where many of the fiords and rivers run. I can’t even describe to you the beauty.... it almost appears fake, it’s so pretty. And, seeing the country through adult eyes was refreshing and also brought back many memories of the people I met and the interesting things I did.
We flew from Norway back to Hamburg, Germany. I consider Hamburg one of my favorite cities so far on this tour. We were treated like royalty by Hans and Charlotte Gerst. Hans is the president of Best Western Hotels in Germany. So, he made sure that we were comfortable and ate really well. We spent a few days off there and enjoyed the city. I thought I would find myself doing lots of shopping, but have enjoyed soaking in the people, sounds and sights instead. After all, that seems to last much longer anyway in the long run, right? While in Hamburg, we drove over to Schwerin in Eastern Germany to play a show. Driving in that part of Germany really hit my gut, as I remembered that it was only 20 years ago that it was a Communist country. I also thought of all the people who suffered many years ago in concentration camps under Hitler’s Regime... I spent a lot of time thinking hard on all those people.
Scherwin was magical. We played on the grounds of Best Western (which by the way is a really nice hotel over here) right on the water. They were celebrating their 20 year declaration of freedom.... and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. We played American Country music for them and all of the locals all dressed up in cowboy hats, boots and get up! After our performance, they ended the night with fireworks. It truly was a poignant moment to have the opportunity to celebrate with them such a remarkable day.
We spent last week at Irene’s house, Kim’s Swiss agent. Irene lives on a former sheep farm with her husband, George, and dog. Her house is located about 10 miles from Luzern, Switzerland and right above Lake Luzern (Dutch spelling)... English is, Lucerne. I LOVED LUZERN! What a fabulous city! I did visit H&M there and bought a few basic clothing items (yes, mom...that’s all the shopping i’ve done so far). Eric is my shopping buddy. He and I seem to be the fashionistas on this particular tour. He is quite impressed with the form fitting attire that European men wear as opposed to the typical loose unappealing wear of American men. I am a fan of the form fitting articles for night attire, myself, but also find myself drawn to the more hippified dresses and linens that you see many of the girls wear when they are out riding their bikes. Speaking of bikes... I have plans to ride mine more when I return to Nashville. I love seeing everyone on their bikes over here.... they are everywhere!
A lovely couple, Martin and Hildegard along with Hildegard’s brother, Paco, took us on a trip up to Stoos, a mountain top near Luzern. We reached the top by cable car and then ski lift. It's the steepest cable car in the world, according to the Swiss. It was so amazingly beautiful/breathtaking.
I am currently in Wasserburg, Germany, (sits on the Lake of Constance) where we have been for the last 3 or 4 days. Kim and I have worked on our figures and tans each morning.... sets of ab, arm and leg training. Kim takes it a little bit more seriously than I do, as I care about my body, but enjoy absorbing the scenery & wine much better! LOL Actually, the wine is much stronger here, so I haven’t been indulging myself so much. It has been nice waking up, taking walks to the lake, napping in the sun, eating extremely healthy, sitting down for an afternoon coffee, reading my book (at the moment, Rick Bragg’s “All Over But the Shoutin’), getting my head sorted, eating with band mates, and getting to bed early... and waking up and doing that again and again.... until our next gig!
We took the train to Lindau, yesterday and enjoyed the afternoon kicking around there. The town is actually a penninsula. It also sits on the Lake of Constance and is bordered by Austria and Switzerland... can I say “beautiful” one more time in this blog?
Ok, that is a catch up on most of what has gone on so far on this Euorpean tour/vacation. Hope to be a bit more consistent with it in the upcoming days/weeks!
Cheers for now!
Peace & love