I'll Tell Yah, A Tale of Touring

This year I left Portland with $27 in my pocket and a national tour on the horizon.  I headed down the California coast South towards Los Angeles, only to hit some of the most beautiful towns and cities along the way.  What a feeling of gratitude that I was able to accomplish this endeavor.  The efforts of the previous 3 months of nonstop  day-to-day schedule that included hours of computer time, studio recording time, performance time, and working full time at a bakery, meanwhile trying to maintain some sort of social life.  Whether I was supporting friends on their music journey, researching, learning new covers, writing new tunes; my life intertwined minute by minute with anything music related.  It was a trying stressful confusing time that overpowered my sanity.   But it has always been worth it.

My second of two tours did not pan out as planned…again, but I learned so much…again.  The first lesson being, know who you are traveling with.  Being a free spirit with a plan has its downfalls and not everyone is compatible to travel together.  The second, always have a contract both agree on.  Verbal never works, especially when one person is willing to just be agreeable without knowing what they are agreeing to.  Write it down, have a plan, understand the details and stick to it.  And Third, know how to communicate constructively and preferably as an adult.  As a woman, I’d go as far as to say the rules are slightly different then what men have had to deal with, although I’m sure they have their topics that fall under these suggestions.  Knowing your travel partner you are traveling with isn’t always an option, however, when self booking be picky to decide who you’re going to spend your time with on the road.  It’s already a difficult situation often clouded with chaotic fun and trivial times, don’t make it more complicated by traveling with selfish people who don’t give a shit about you.

I won’t share everything that happened on my tour but my experience at the first stop of our tour after a previous encounter, was one for the books.  I was left at the Airbnb without notice.   I was on the phone with family, only to discover a member had chronic illness and would possibly be passing within weeks (which happened).  When I hung up the phone, I realized the van and my stuff along with my guitar was gone!  I was in the middle of nowhere after leaving my home, my comfort zone, my music family with a tour mate that was in no near site. I waited for over an hour and no word came.  I then messaged him to find out if he was returning to the room as time had gone by and no word from him.  He informed me he didn’t feel safe at the Airbnb, so he left me there and went to find another place to stay.  This blew my mind.  So you just left me and further more took my fuckin’ guitar even though you didn’t feel safe?!  He returned the next morning only to pick a fight with me making accusations and implying this was my fault and I should trust him.

The tour continued on…and this one story set the precedence for the next 3 months of touring.  Within two months of touring; I had decided I’d had enough of his antics and decided to rent a car and drive to the venues safe and solo.  This worked for us but was in no way how I wanted to continue on.  After three months of nonstop touring, I called it quits.  

 

Since I left the tour and continued on as a solo performer, I have had multiple conversations with other female artists who have had similar stories; some even worse where their life was threatened.  Do guys go through this?  I’ve yet to have a conversation where this was an issue.  I’ve also received numerous messages from females I don’t know, who were concerned that I was romantically involved with my tour mate; and also who he led to believe I was consistently propositioning him.  I was nowhere involved with him nor did I want to be.  I’ve spent months picking up the pieces from this life lesson as there were many situations where I still wonder how I could allow this to continue.  I’m exhausted from this part of the business.  Again, do men go through this?

Moving on…

I had some wonderful experiences and opportunities I try to focus on and not worry about the negative.  Nor do I spend my time hanging on the words of negative folks.  We all have our path, and unfortunately things don’t always pan out the way we intended them.  When I say I need a break from this life style, it’s not from music; it’s from the bullshit I have had to put up with along the way. Thankfully I have a strong music support system, which I recommend to anyone starting a career in music.  Make sure you have a music family to guide you, humble you, keep you in line, and love on you when things aren’t good.  Be picky.  Have boundaries.  Know yourself and what you aren’t willing to compromise.   And always leave the situation with your head held high and knowing you were professional and able to return.

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The Silent Band Member: Carl Johanesen - by Terri Lynn Davis

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I say it time and time again; it takes a community to develop an artist.  Yes, we pine away hours of writing, conversing, arranging, disagreeing, and agreeing with ourselves until a song comes together, but bringing the whole concept together and then to present that concept and entertain is a whole different component.  Finding someone who can bring that effort to light and relieve one aspect of being an artist is truly appreciated.

I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to meet lots of talented individuals throughout my music journey including Carl Johanesen, a professional photographer, in Portland, Oregon.  Born native, he specializes in scenic photos, capturing the essence of his various scenic views.  His achievements can be calculated through his Instagram account: johanesenphotography, where his talent shines by combining insightful quotes directly and specifically chosen to each original individual photo. 

It’s rare to find someone who can capture a personal essence and bring it to life in photo, have fun and drink beer while doing it!  To be able to move from scenic views to capturing an artist’s soul, Carl has managed to achieve with little instruction.  He is one of the silent band members, who is necessary and completely underrated.   Other silent heroes include sound engineers, marketing teams, fitness instructors, life coaches, parents, friends (non-musical), and countless others involved in the making.  We depend on them to make us look good.  

You can find him on his website and Instagram account:

www.johanesenphotography.com

www.instagram.com/johanesenphotography

 

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Stand in Worth of Your Creation and Value - by Manda Mosher

Hello There!  Been a long while since I posted up a blog.  I hope to resurrect my posts by continuing to promote artists within our community and those who help make the artist community a functioning machine.  Currently, going through my own trials and tribulations around advancement in career, whether music or "full time" job, I find myself in agreement with the words in Manda Mosher's Facebook post helpful and worth promoting.  Manda Mosher is a full time musician including singer-songwriter, she plays in multiple projects including Calico The Band (which is how we connected), she is a full time mother, wife, family person, friend, and a complete gem. She lives in Los Angeles and has writes various professional posts on her Facebook that encompass a profound way of covering topics with little haste I can relate to.  You can follow her on her website, Facebook, Instagram; links below.  Enjoy! - Terri Lynn

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/manda.mosher

Website:  https://mandamosher.com/  

Calico The Band:  https://www.calicotheband.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mandamosher/

The questions regarding the divide in opportunities for women in music vs opportunities for men in music are vast ~ Billboard’s recent statistic stating that women comprise just under 17% of the business is a reminder of what I’ve seen and experienced throughout my career in both the business and artistic sides of music.

When it comes to territory be it a platform or stage time, radio time or support from labels, publishers or any entity within the business that has figured out how to financially survive or thrive...modern music business models were primarily set up and created by men starting in the 1930s evolving through today. While women now fearlessly tackle fields that were primarily reserved for men in the past ~ there’s plenty left to battle through. Talent alone doesn’t cut it for anyone...that’s a basic given. Business acumen and the ability to fight for or negotiate for territory and access plays a huge role for most artists. If an artist partners with excellent management or business management, that’s an important step because no one is truly the sole architect of success in my opinion...from what I have seen, every success takes a team...be it the same team from the start or a changing variation through the years.

Bringing it back to women, from my experience the women who have “made it” fully work for them have been as fierce and ruthless or more than the men in the same field...or they have been championed by a fiercely competitive male or female (again the team). Taking gender out of it; many artists can point to a manager, label, or business partner that was crucial to building a career.

As an artist I can speak to the joy of creating and sharing...that is at the heart of it in it’s most simple form. The connection between artist and audience is a priceless connecting human experience. If music could remain in that space it would be utopian. When faced with struggle I remind myself of that.

When entering the marketplace with your art...showing it, selling it, sharing it...that is where in my opinion women still face their biggest challenge. When you are told from the existing business structures and those that control it that there isn’t room on the radio or playlists or stages or label positions for women, it takes an infusion of will to push past that fearlessly and not only stand in the worth of your creation and value, but to sell it against the odds.

I’m incredibly grateful for all the men and women who have believed in and supported my creative endeavors and for those that value a balanced creative workspace.

I’m curious to know your thoughts and observations.

Keeping Christmas by Henry Van Dyke

Keeping Christmas by Henry Van Dyke

There is a better thing than the observance of Christmas Day, and that is keeping Christmas.  Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people and to remember what other people have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you and to think what you owe the world; to put your rights in the background and your duties in the middle distance and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the foreground; to see that your fellowmen are just as real as you are and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy; to own that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give life; to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe and look around you for some place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness—Are you willing to do these things even for a day?  Then you can keep Christmas!

The Romance of Loving; The Vein of Country Music

Love is Simple….Connect with those things that fuel your passion…

What must you do before you die?  Where must you go?  What worlds must you conquer? Begin exploring today, small ways in which to honor your sacred yearning for romance.

Love….Romance

Sarah Breathban describes romance as “…Created in a burst of passion, for romance.  So were you.  Plumb the female psyche and you will find an elegy of romantic remorse—the unobtained, the undone.  Melancholy fragments of unrequited loves that stretch from our cradles to our graves.  Regrets not necessarily caused by lovers who chose to live without us; so much as by recollections of the things we loved once but learned to live without.  It could be the novel you abandoned writing, the art fellowship in Paris you never pursued, the black velvet cape that finally found you at an antique stall but you passed up because, where would you wear it?...(everywhere)  The love you couldn’t return, the love that frightened you, the love that you were afraid to express.  The loving gesture that died in hesitation. The romance of loving that we let slip away every day because real life forces us into prudence.

When you acknowledge your romantic impulses, no matter how implausible or impractical, you strengthen the intimate connection with your authentic self, connection with those who cherish and love you unconditionally.  Connection with those things that fuel your passions, feed your soul, keep you alive.

Connect with those experiences around you and use them to your advantage.  Learning to love, be loved, to live without love are minor compared to telling the story in which they occurred.  It's all part of life.  When I read this excerpt, I knew exactly what she was talking about and it reminded me of why I became a song writer.  Sharing stories, whether mine or someone else, it allows me to feel like someone can relate to my experiences.  That is the most important aspect when writing a song; to connect.  Don't forget to connect to the romance of loving. Fall in love with something everyday; a coffee, a song, a lyric, a new path to work...it will brighten your day.

 

 

Summer Camp Music Festival...Helena, Montana

Summer Camp Music Festival...Helena, Montana

Life Coach--Melissa Najera

Melissa Najera

Melissa Najera

Contact Info: https://melissanajera.wordpress.com/ 

As I wade through the muck and the mud into adulthood, I find myself more alive and youthful.  Tapping into the ever existence of self honesty and self love has helped me find my truth.  I’ve had many friends and family guiding me in my journey, but really I’ve forced myself to make the decisions I’ve made to go in the direction I’ve gone.  I’ve found these helpful guidelines in growing:

1)      Keep brutally honest people around you.

2)      Stay true to your honest truth; it’s your path stay on it.

3)      Keep a job you enjoy.

4)      Always have a creative outlet.

5)      Stay balanced.

6)      Reach out for help, take advice, and utilize when you can.

7)      There are always positive and negative aspects to every situation.  It’s up to you to see which version is your truth, both have benefits and both have repercussions.  There is no escaping, choose positive.

8)      Don’t be afraid to say no.

A few years ago when I began taking the path I wanted in life, instead of what was available by circumstance.  I reached out to my friend who is a Life Coach.  I had some major walls that I couldn’t face that kept me from going for my dreams.  Walls that were built by mistakes I’d made, poor decisions, and guilt.  I had been through many counseling sessions, numerous conversations with friends, anxiety ridden days and nights, and was basically wading around in a pull of heavy-hearted drab, all accompanied by the bottle of Whiskey (which has been a romantic relationship for quite some time).  I was a good person who made mistakes but couldn’t be happy or really put forth the effort to pursue what I wanted all along, music. 

Realizing I was going to have to put in some work through positive mantra’s was the most difficult aspect to programming my thoughts in a positive direction.  It was easy for me to identify and write out all my struggles and issues.  But translating them into a more positive thought process took me hours upon hours upon hours and is still something I struggle with.  I, for the life of me could not configure the idea.  My close personal friend gave me an example of manifesting what I wanted and saying it on a regular basis instead of hanging onto the damaged thoughts.  This was the beginning.  I still needed guidance.

My life coach Melissa Najera https://melissanajera.wordpress.com/ worked with me on a weekly basis.  Every Saturday morning we had a meeting remotely, as we haven’t lived in the same vicinity in years.  She gave me workbook sheets and steps to work through that were very clear and concise and simple, that surprisingly helped me evaluate my own deficiencies in growth.  The big difference I’ve found in working with a Life Coach is that they help identify the problem you are having, help you reprogram your thought process, and then guide you in applying it.  Counseling was amazing until I was sent out into the world unarmed and identifying my grief.  Melissa is exceptional.  She has been through various experiences in life and is very professionally personal.  If you are looking for some serious change in your life, that requires internal work, she’s your coach.  You can reach her on her website:  https://melissanajera.wordpress.com/

 

Overall, I’m a happier person with little fear of going for what I want.  Be fierce. Love hard. Be happy.

The Making of the Album "Hey Love, Hold On"

by Matthew Higgins

Calling in friends and favors, Matthew, Yonder Blue’s drummer and Producer of the album “Hey Love, Hold On” reached out to stand up and electric bassist, Paul Prato, from the Portland band Tin Silver.  Paul’s playing experience in the roots/country genre was a perfect fit for the rhythm section and also a connection to his Tin Silver band mates, Alan Bowen and Patricia Rojas.  Alan’s contribution to the project as a highly talented multi-instrumentalist string player include, banjo, dobro, mandolin, acoustic and electric guitar.  Trish was enlisted to provide the melodic warm and signature fiddle playing that she is highly sought out locally for both studio and stage.  A decided effort to find authenticity in tone, style, and overall honky-tonk appeal in a lead electric guitar player proved to be a bit of a challenge.  Enter Portland musician, Andy MacMillan, former Stubborn Lover and current Outerspace Heater.  A shared bill with he and Terri a year or so earlier led to an invitation to the sessions.  He showed with a Telecaster, Fender Twin Reverb, and the clean tonal picking skills that completed the classic country vision to capture the spirit of the songs.  The final touch in elevating the project was to bring in Michele Linn and Katie Lou Ellen, for their vocal ability and keen sense of harmony in backing Terri Lynn.  Rehearsed and ready by the Fall of 2015, Terri Lynn’s decision to record with Kevin Hahn at Portland’s Opal Studio proved invaluable.  Kevin’s years of engineering experience, professionalism, and the studio’s positive energy allowed the group to work in a relaxed yet focused environment.