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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rockin' it in the free world - Down to Dewey Beach DE and final tour spot

I think it is serendipitous to end, always, on a high note. I am delighted, enlightened, invigorated, satiated... i have performed, spoken, felt, lived, laughed, wept, celebrated and feasted. The ordinary tour has ended, at least for now. Because life is too extraordinary to pass up another ordinary tour. But this time on the east coast of good ol' USA, is now at at an end.
Melissa Mullins fellow comrade, artist and friend, and I drove 7 hours and a sleep over, down from CT/NJ to Dewey Beach Delaware, heading to the Dewey Beach Music Conference, our last tour stop for this month long expedition. I forgot to mention in my last blog our actual drive from CT to Montclair NJ, so thought i'd spill the beans here. After leaving Danielson CT, we hit a huge rain storm on the I-395 to New London. It was 10pm at night, and impossible to see. When it rains in Connecticut, it rains hard. We had to pull over. And so we did, into this seemingly normal BP gas station, for a pit stop, a cup of tea and a place out of the rain.
I walked into the gas station, and i just wanted to walk straight out. Firstly, there was no tea. Waa. Secondly, it was filthy, and thirdly there were about 5 filthy ol' men staring at my dress size as i walked in and walked around. I decided to seek cover in the loo. It seemed unlocked. I opened and hit the guy inside who was half naked getting changed.
"Goddam woman, you 'bout broke the door down", he loudly professes.
"I'm sorry, I didn't realize anyone was in there" I meekly replied.
"Well, look-a-here, look what yer did with the door."
We examined it together. Yep, it seemed that in my haste to enter the bathroom, I pushed not only the door, but the whole side frame around it, right off the wall, nails and all. He huffed and puffed, and promptly slammed the door in my face, leaving me outside wondering if I was ever going to pee in this town.
The gas station owner, however, was very nice about it and noticing my accent, he asked me if perhaps I was with the Beach Boys (I guess they were on tour, or one of them, tonight in the area.) I asked what that would have to do with my accent, and he said th
at one of them was Australian, and then he pulled is wallet out and showed me the shiny orange $20 bill this musician had given him. A bit of a show and tell on this rainy night in the middle of nowhere.
I went back to the bathroom, whereby the door was still closed. I waited another 5 minutes, now tightening my knees together, and then knocked.
"Hi there, just wanted to let you know I really need to go."
No answer.
ANOTHER 5 minutes went by (and that's a long time in the pee waiting business), he finally opened the door, gave me a surly look of complete disappointment in door management. I stepped in, closed the door, inspected the paneling, and decided there was better things to do than find a hammer.
The rain subsided quickly, fortunately for us, because we just didn't feel like staying here all night. Back on the road, Melissa at the wheel once again (she will not let me drive! She's a nut!)... we drove south west on the I-95 to the I-287 and where CT meets NY and NJ all at once, we crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge for the 3rd time in 3 weeks. Give me a house in Nyack and I'd be happy. It's truly a great spot on the Hudson.
Arriving in Montclair at 2pm, central pivotal point, we slept 7 hours, said goodbye to Patti, this time the last for this trip anyways, and at 9am we were off again, south to Delaware. There's no rest for the wicked.
We drove through the sludge of NJ and some nice quaint towns, stopped at many highway road stops for a pit break with international tour buses of people I generally don't want to do multi-cultural exchange with. We drank tea, listened to Texan band Spoon, U2, Tracy Chapman, Sting and India.Arie. We arrived in the small town of Dewey Beach by 2pm, checked into our hotel and marveled at the view. We had no expectations here, except to peacefully be included in what has been now a 6 year gathering of music artists and like-minds. We were the new comers.
Promptly setting up our booth in the exhibition hall, situated right on the water at a restaurant/hall at a marina surrounded by boats, we started to see familiar faces, Madalyn from Go Girls Music, Stephen from Music Registry, da boyz from, and the troops from Myxer ringtone
s (fabulous bunch of techy wonders). The room was a buzz and we had our Songsalive! booth filled with merch, tees, books, cds, membership flyers and a whopping mailing list. Ready for business.
The opening party at sunset included a smorgasbord of free luxury foods, like sushi, seared tuna sashimi, strawberries and free drinks, with an amazing view of the water. It was an amazing start. Melissa and I were beside ourselves with the free food.
Water views so magical.
Tables and chairs were in the sand.
Rock bands in black t-shirts and wearing festival lanyards and spiky hair does.
Bus boys and waiters in white serving multi-color drinks.
Cross section of diversity and lots of music talk.
The room was buzzing.
That night, Friday night, Melissa and I had an outside festival gig in Ocean View, about 10 miles south, that was set up by the Showin'Tell band. Chris, their manager, is an absolute sweetheart, and Micolino (sp?) the drummer, is the cutest Goth long haired mascara eyed sexy straight dude ever. This gig was a great lesson in never making assumptions. Firstly, we were told we were playing at the Back Street Cafe. First impressions, before getting there, was that it would be a tiny java cafe on the beach, filled with hippies and internet coffee drinkers. So I wore my flower dress and looked al girly for this one. Were we wrong about this location. What we really arrive to was a back street (suburban) dive bar, with a row of about 10 trucks outside, and inside pool tables, sports on the TV and a
bunch of locals getting mighty drunk. I was so not dressed appropriately! Or so I thought.
I knew that Melissa could get through this gig, because she can just get feisty and loud, with her rockness on guitar. It's harder for me, or so I thought, to do a solo gig on the piano, with lyrical love songs, in a dress, to a bunch of yahoos. I let Melissa go up first. She did great. I got up and plugged in the keys as well as my loop station, so could diversify my performance... somewhat. I started into my first song, "Release Me" (track 2 on the extraOrdinary life album), with a few harmony layers on the loop station, and did some beat boxing to create my beats, which picked th
e vibe of the song up. Low and behold, I grabbed some attention, which turned into everyone in the room enjoying the set. Some drunk but happy blonde woman in her late forties starting yelling about her son, "Eric, Eric, he's great.... Get him to get up with ya and jam. He's really good". After about 5 times of her doing that, I coaxed the shy sun (hair falling all over his face) to come up, and so.... we jammed. He was a great guitar player. Really lovely. We had a good time. And that clinched the deal with getting the room to "get jiggy with Gilli". I had a great show. People clapped along, sung along, and hooted and hollered. I enjoyed performing, and didn't hold back. "Look, she's writhing in her seat," I hear one local comment." I think the truckers liked the cleavage in the dress. I mean, hey, sometimes sex sells, even if it's just natural and not planned. One trucker dude who hadn't slept in 48 hours bought me a Tequila Shot. When in Rome... He bought a CD too and was, infact, the nicest fella. He's just driven from Mississippi.
I learned that you can't make assumptions about anything through this gig. What I thought was going to be really hard, ended up being a joy, and it was mainly because I realized that these people, the Ocean View locals, love music, and love entertainment, and if you're prepared to entertain, and not take yourself so seriously, then everyone is with you. Sure, some were watching the baseball game, some played pool, but I was in the room too and it was fun.

> Check out our hotel room view to the right. Pretty nice!
Saturday was really fantastic day at the Dewey Beach Music Conference. Melissa represented our Songsalive! booth while I mentored
for some bands. One band I spoke to were trying to work out their next steps to take themselves to the next level. In 10 minutes we found the way together. They talked about their lyrics being uplifting for their audiences and the youth who hear them, and yet they play heavy punk music, which they love to play. But their bio didn't even touch on their uniqueness of uplifting positive lyrics. So I suggested they brand and market themselves as the new Creed of punk music, changing the youth through punk to have hope and bring uplifting messages. They dug it. I mean, the world needs this now. More positive statements for kids to latch on to.
I also spoke on the DIY panel which is quite interesting because having spoken on DIY panels for 7 years now, and having been one of the first DIY artists since the Internet came out, I realize that DIY is now changing as a definition for indie artists. I think most artists now have it down pat as to how to do things DIY, whether you get online, or tour, or promote, embracing the digital age. But what we are facing now, in this new music revolution, is a new wild west, where no one really knows what is truly going to be the next dawn. So we are all navigating our way through it all, trying to create revenue streams in this ever decreasing revenue market for songwriters and artists who, ultimately, "make" the music business exist. Yet DIY artists are struggling because everyone is doing SO much, touring A LOT, constantly WORKING it and never CEASING with the doingness. Is it time that artists make smarter decisions and choices so that they can build revenue? Does one just continue to go go go, as an answer to finding success? Does one continually plow forth alone, doing everything? I think not. I think it's time to change the phrase DIY - do it yourself, to - DIT - Do IT Together. I don't think this is about doing things yourself. I think this is about building community, of like minded people, to create shared revenue and success. The panel was a great brainstorm for food for thought.
That night Melissa and I had our last gig, at McShea's in Dewey Beach, as part of the festival. Another great lesson learned, about having FUN and again, not having any assumptions. This was another sports bar vibe with guys ready to drool at short skirts that come in, or dibble at the baseball player on the multi TVs. But, again, both Melissa and I rocked it. We had SO much fun. Everyone clapped, and danced, and laughed, and enjoyed. As the final piece, we ended with Don Henley's "Heart of the Matter" to everyone's complete satisfaction. If they weren't already standing, we would have gotten a standing ovation. Melissa was grinning from ear to ear. I think she needed to feel audience love again after somewhat lackluster responses in Redbank NJ and the little "quiet corner" towns in Connecticut. For me, McShea's launches a FIRST for gilli moon: After 15 years of playing the piano sitting down, I was forced to stand up because there weren't any chairs: I LOVED IT!!! I've found a new way to perform with the piano. I know many artists stand to play, but i just never did it, and i can't believe it took me this long to have a go. It really does provide me with more of a connection as a front singer, being behind the keys. I can dance, stomp my foot, wringle, jiggle, gosh it's so much fun! NEW STANCE: STANDING! Yay!
After our gigs, we were ready to celebrate, the end of a great weekend, and the end of a great tour. We band hopped a bit, (we loved the heavy metal band Panacea from North East Pennsylvania), and we just let go and enjoyed knowing the hard work of door to door salesmanship, lugging gear, sleeping on couches, and following tour maps, was over. We could relax.
Sunday morning after a nice moment on the beach, and a free bloody mary breakfast (thank you Vikki Walls for a GREAT festival!), we packed up and headed south. Through some humble beach towns down the Peninsula, past Ocean City Maryland, we crossed the border into Virginia (third state in one day) on the I-113 then I-13 south. All of a sudden, I felt safe and somewhat at "home". Since staying in Virginia Beach for 10 days before this tour had started, and having future family in-laws living there, I've kind of built a warm and fuzzy connection to this State all of a sudden. Being on the road for 3.5 weeks, coming back to Virginia made me feel closer to the home in my heart.

I had a fantastic time on the road, seeing and feeling the East Coast of the US. I really enjoyed the festival as a book end piece to the tour, to remind me what my purpose is as an artist, a community builder, and a motivator. Right now we are living in freedom as artists in the music biz. The world is for our taking, really, if we are tenacious and ready to create revenue streams in diverse areas and ways. If we think outside the box, and try something different, embracing new technologies and the internet, staying in touch with our inner talents and creative flow, we really are in control of not only our creativity, but also our business, and therefore our future. I've been doing this for over 10 years and yet I feel I've barely scratched the surface when it comes to my own artist empowerment. What I do know, is that I'm rockin' it in the free world, my world, our world... and a creative world. Thanks for being part of my ordinary tour blog. Catch ya on the next wave.

every day i give myself the authority to be who i am, 'cause i can. and anytime i need a little energy i reach for your hand, 'cause i can. in another world i would have been six hundred feet tall but i grew small and feisty. i never look back and i feel alive inside.. i am mighty. take my hand and i'll guide you take my hand and i'll show you the enchanted forest
sometimes i climb from the outside in and get lost in a thousand leagues under, 'cause i can. i swim through mud blinded by comfort, cling to the ladder, passing the thunder, 'cause i can. in a prophet's world we would never look back, never look back there would only be you and me take my hand and i'll guide you take my hand and i'll show you the enchanted forest take my hand and i'll nourish you i can give you the enchanted forest
don't be dismayed by my unencumbered strength i know.. what's... true and when i seem a little distant i'm just taking it all ... in ... all ... of ... you 'cause i know what's right for me... female intuition and i know what's going on with you... woman's suspicion getting from point A to B, trust in ... ... my hand to guide you (the enchanted forest) ... my hand to show you (the enchanted forest) the enchanted, the magical, the ever wonderful forest (the enchanted forest) my hand to nourish you (the enchanted forest) my heart to guide you (the enchanted forest) my love to show you that nothing else matters, but seeing the forest through the trees. (lyrics from "enchanted forest", by gilli moon, from the extraOrdinary life album.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Learning about humility - Redbank NJ to Danielson CT

I am somewhat impressed with my patience.
Life on the road requires this, plus humility, plus a heightened awareness of knowing that what's next is going to rock my world, far from the world i'm in right now. Redbank NJ, a very pretty town on the Atlantic and the Navesink River, is somewhat an "interesting" town to play in. I spent most of my 2 days here wondering why I was here. But I had gone on the pretext of a wonderful person who coaxed me down that way, now for my third time. His name is Joe, and he runs the Internet Cafe on Main Street.
Not much to look at inside, the white smudged walls and floors are a stale comparison to the quaintness of every other building in this town, which dates back to early settler times and has nice red brick or ornate victorian style walls. The Internet Cafe is like a 90s box, meant for a mini mall in east los angeles, so out of context. But.... still....twas our little base for 2 days. Notwithstanding, Joe works tirelessly bringing artists in to perform on a regular basis, and supports original music, so you can't scoff at that. Joe is our friend!
The drive to Redbank down the Garden State Parkway, from Montclair, was about 2 hours. It took us to the very Eastern tip of New Jersey, kind of parallel to Manhattan, so from where we stayed, you could see the buildings of NYC in the distance. Our first show (1 of 3) at the Internet Cafe was on the Sunday afternoon in the courtyard. Not as glamourous as it sounds, the courtyard is the back alley near the row of 10 garbage bins and a very messy arcade filled with empty dirty cups and trash. The PA was set up and we set to work. I've become the traveling salesman. My green warrior merch bag on wheels expands onto any table with CDs, books, t-shirts, mailing list, stickers... oh and don't forget the tip jar. If we didn't have that with us, we would certainly be running at a loss. Luckily we are about $200 ahead of ourselves, which means that all the gas, tolls, subways, accommodations have come under what we've made. But it's not without a sweat. While Melissa performs, I go around with the tip jar, mailing list and offer a free sticker from both of us if they do both. Then the next stage is, if we catch them with the first one, selling the cds, tees and book. When I'm performing, Melissa goes around. And on it goes all night. Phew. (I wipe the sweat from above my eyebrow).
Redbank afternoon in the courtyard attracted one 14 year old male, who preferred to talk about how many songs he's written (nice kid though), a couple who sat down for a quick coffee, and quite a few who used the alley to get where they needed to go, but not to destination ordinary tour. Alas, we played to rehearse, and were content to pack up and find a place to stay. This was an interesting and quite amusing moment. Joe, the Internet Cafe owner, had originally offered the upstairs of his house, which seemed glamorous discussing it on myspace with him. Then he tells me that it's all messy and he still has his Xmas tree up, and, "well, you can sleep on the pull out couch but..." Ahhh, no thanks. But he is kind, Joe, because he gave us some hotel money and off we went in search of the holy grail hotel, hopefully with a water view.
One hour and a half later, after much searching for a strip of hotels you'd think you'd find in an ocean town.... we found the one hotel that was available. Actually it was really cute, and it was on the ocean in a town called Sea Bright, called the Fairbanks Inn.., plus the waterway/lake behind with a mini marina and a swimming pool. Quite the spot. We still had half the money Joe gave us so we choofed off to one of 3 local fish restaurants and ordered some fish. But what we did do which was quite silly was spend all that remainder on the meal, which was $60. We've been so spend thrift on meals and then we blow it on one when we think we're playing with free money. Oh well. I guess it's all a monopoly game in the end.
We had to get back to the Internet cafe for gig number 2, featuring at the open mic. When we got there, it was deserted and all packed up and only 10pm. Weird town. So no gig.
I woke up desiring to sleep all day. Instead Melissa and I went for a nice long walk along the beach which was terrific. You could see NYC in the distance, and on the beach itself where a slew of giant clam shells which were a treat to photograph and i took a few as souvenirs. I wasn't attracted to swim because there were trillions and billions of jellyfish (thumbnail size) along the tide. Quite squishy when stepping on them, the seagulls picked at them a bit. Can't imagine they'd be that filling.
We headed back to Redbank for gig number 3, but a little earlier so we could capitalize on the venue and get online for a bit. I tried to find meaning in my tour life, sitting by the Redbank shore eating our left over fish from the night before, made into a fish sandwich. I really cannot claim my Redbank tour moment to be any way pleasing, except the company that I was keeping, cause Melissa rocks, and has a great attitude about going with the flow that has made our tour really, really enjoyable overall. In 2003 I came here for the first time with Eric Idle and we played the Count Basie Theater. Can't get better than that really. Lovely venue, lots of people, and the pay was great. This time around,.. just felt,... flat. This last gig, on the Monday night, was supposed to be a big one, and we were to headline the show. What actually happened was that barely anyone showed up to Billy Swift's promoted night, which may have something to do with their pre made tickets having the wrong date on them,... and when i did get up, i was cut off after 4 songs, which really sucked. But hey, I was ready to leave. Time to head north, back to tour baseland, Montclair NJ. Let's blow this joint. So after a slice of cheese cake at the local diner, we were outta here. Still, with much regret over the shows themselves, I do want to thank Joe for his hospitality and generosity.
Tuesday Sept 25 came quickly, waking up in our soft sheets and billowing comforter of Montclair NJ where our friends Patti and Susie and their 2 cats and 2 dogs and a girl named Grace have been our mid way point for many destinations of our tour. I needed a GTSL like it became my real fix. If you don't know what that is, get with the program and read previous entries. Hint: Starbucks.
This is the part where I announce the zig zag tour component. You see, we have already been to Boston, back down to NJ and now... we go back up to Connecticut. But for all good reasons. We had 3 appearances in CT, in the "quiet corner of New England" as they say. First stop, Mystic CT. Wow what a gorgeous town, and Bill Pere and the Connecticut Songwriters Association is a wonderful, inspiring and generous man. He invited me to come speak to his songwriters, and critique their songs, and thereby putting us up in the local Econolodge overnight... which by the way have THE nicest pillows ever. I felt like taking one with me but I refrained myself.
Mystic, as you should all know, is the home of Mystic Pizza, which was the location (albeit outside only) of the movie of same name that starred Julia Roberts in her first full feature. Mystic also claims the name of the other movie, Mystic River, though not too sure it was shot there. It also harbors the oldest American whaling boat, which I can't imagine is that politically correct nowadays to advertise that notion, except that in fact the town of Mystic boasts their whaling history quite strongly with ye olde whaling restaurants and antique stores.
I have become known to take up the local cuisine whenever I can. In Boston I had a clam chowder, and last year in Philly I had the Lobster Bisque. I usually taste the wine and beer of the region too. In Mystic I had everything to do with Lobster. I ate Lobster ravioli for dinner and a fresh Lobster roll for lunch the next day, which you eat at the side of the road and local lobster/seafood huts. Quite delicious, and contrarily inexpensive than what you would imagine lobster to cost. (Though nothing compares to the price of lobster in Puerto Nuevo in Baja, Mexico.)
The CSA songwriters workshop was a treat. I conducted my workshop - MPWR the path to artist empowerment, which is very close to my heart and experiences as an indie artist in the ever changing, and challenging, music industry. More about what I speak about at Suffice to say, here are a few notions I profess:
- Use an I AM affirmation when introducing yourself, made up of positive and concrete statements about who you are, your talents, and how you are making a difference in this world. No "I'm trying", "I wanna be", "If only I had", or any other self defeating statements.
- Define success on your own terms, not by how others define it or by commercial standards.
- Enjoy the journey, the process, not just the end result.
- Live your career with passion, for without it you have nothing.
- Optimism + Organized = Opportunity (this is my own coined phrase.
- Be a business person as well as an artist.
- Surround yourself by positive people and beware of energy zappers.
- Know your competitive edge (advantage), which is your talent + uniqueness.
- Follow your strengths.
- Endow success.
I ended my talk with a song: evolution, from my extraOrdinary life album, and Melissa accompanied me on guitar, while i sang and used the wooden beam holding up the roof as my drum while I banged on it with my hands for some awesome and comical effect. We sold books and cds, hopefully uplifting and inspiring a few more talented artists to believe in their path, and then it was time for bed.
Mystic is a lovely town to wander around with a chai latte in your hand and a camera in the other. Lots of little spiritual book and gift shops, bric a brac, and a splendid old draw bridge that allows sail boats with tall masts to enter into the quaint and yet majestic harbor, that is surrounded by million dollar water front homes. I, t was a great break for Melissa and I to just "be" tourists for a day and not have to think about big drives, big gigs or big internet work.
But we did eventually head up the 395 freeway to just outside Danielson CT, to an empty town called Brooklyn, where we checked into America's Best Value Inn. I can't say that it was the "best". Quite plain and horribly incomplete when it comes to space and amenities. Nor would I call it an "Inn", more like a road side motel that could possibly house truckers and cockroaches. But "Best Value" it was, at $45 for the night, using one of those coupons out of the hotel coupon books you can pick up at any road side diner or gas station. It also was in a prime location for a trucker or two, with the "Beef and Fish" joint which sounded really not. I mean, would you stop at a place that just had a huge neon sign that said "BEEF AND FISH". Okayyyy.....
We checked in. We did not eat at the beef and fish joint. We went to Putnam, 12 minutes north, and checked in to our gig venue "Victoria Street Cafe". This is a very cute and olde worldy style place, juxtaposed next to a huge antique store that had 3 old pianos in the shared alley way to the loo, none of them were in tune. So I set up my keyboard, Melissa her guitar, and we promptly and in remote controlled seasoned fashion, displayed our little merch stuff, hoping to make a quid.
And that we did. A deceiving little cafe, it is also the only thing open in Putnam. I'm still trying to work out why people live here. I know that it was a big cotton mill down in the 20s. Then the big flood of 55 wiped everything out and everyone left, save for a few who are still here... Dave, from the Cafe, was awesome, giving us free drinks and cake, and we performed our hearts out as if we were at Carnegie Hall, to the locals on their laptops and people playing chess. One guy, I think not quite altogether there, asked if I had played with Elvis. "No, love, but wasn't he a lovely man?". Yesssss. By the end of our sets, new people had come and gone and it was time for Melissa and I to do our finale, Don Henley's "Heart of the Matter", which is getting better one bar chord at a time. I swear by the end of this tour I'm going to know the first verse by heart.
We awoke to our first grey day (it has been so splendidly sunny for us), a cup of tea and a shared packet of oatmeal. No time for internetting... we were going APPLE picking! Yeah! We heard that there were apple orchards you could pick your own apples, and sure enough, 5 miles up the road, the Lapsley Orchard on the 169 was there for our pickin'. It was SO much fun. Basically, you take an empty plastic apple bag and go out into the orchard, where rows of apple trees are, and you pick your apples. There were different varieties, but we stumbled only upon the Macintosh variety. I thought alot of them were a bit green (meaning unripe) so we picked about 6 and headed back to pay. When we bit into one of the apples for the first time, oh my god, they were SO good and totally ripe. My mouth tingled with delight. CRUNCHY and tasty, and sweet, but not too sweet, and so so fresh. We couldn't contain ourselves. We hopped back into the orchard and picked 16 more. It cost us total of $5. What a treat, and a great diet for the rest of the tour. I don't think I'll ever be able to eat a floury apple again.

Driving with no destination, we happened upon the Buttery. I thought it was a real buttery, you know, where they make butter, and maybe cheese. "Oh goodie, let's go get some cheese. Goes very well with apples", I said. But we got there and it wasn't even close to a dairy of any kind except that they did have sheep. It was an exclusive restaurant. The type of restaurant where there is no menu, except you can eat everything, especially what they are cooking for the day. The type of restaurant Alec Baldwin and Paul Newman hang out at. And the type of restaurant you don't ask the price. The view was splendid. Rolling hills of green, with a gorgeous lake at the bottom, seemingly untouched. In fact, being the "quiet corner of New England", this area has been preserved by the government and will not be built up with golf courses or condos. It's a nice comfort, for an Aussie girl in America, who has been witnessing for 10 years a constant development in this country that is quite embarrassing, save for the Americans themselves who don't notice how much of an urban mini mall freeway mcmansion cookie cutter sprawl their country has become. This little piece of paradise in the center of Connecticut was like being back in Wollombi NSW Australia, and I even have to say the people are just as nice.

We returned to the Victoria Street Station for wifi, chai and some peace before our second gig. I spent most of the time sleeping sitting up in a chair, and I probably snored. But not as bad as the girl next me playing some kind of board game and snorting every 10 seconds. Oh the things you put up with in public locations.

We should have been in Dewey Beach already, for the start of the music festival, but we had one more gig in CT, at the Riverside, Danielson, about 12 minutes south of Putnam .Jenn, the booker, who's a sweet young gal who booked both nights for us (we found her on myspace!) set our expectations high for this gig, being a very trendy and popular restaurant on the river. When we got there, I can't say that it was trendy, but sure was popular, with families, who sauntered out for a meal from the woods, and their 4 children under the age of 4. All tables, families and kids. Where is my kids song collection when I need it! Melissa looked stunned and wondered how she was going to ease off from her fiery angsty soul wrenching repertoire to be more on the family audience side. I decided that I wouldn't perform "Touch Me" nor "Naked" and even "Temperamental Angel" turned into a family rated song where I got all the kiddies to hand clap through the song. Ho Hum. We did get a great fish meal out of it, with Melissa having white sea bass, and I had salmon.

Lessons learned on this trip.... be choosy with the gigs, even when all we need are nights to fill between one and another. Be humble and don't carry any airs about how hot we think we are, when the best audience member could be a three year old, who claps along and dances in the middle of the restaurant. Be ok with making $30 tips and put it all down to experience, the journey, building strength and becoming more and more clear where you REALLY want to be.

On to Montclair NJ at 10pm at night, half way between here and Dewey Beach. Worthy of a mention is the Tapan Zee Bridge, on the border of Connecticut, NY and NJ, and where a little town called Nyack sits right on the Hudson in upper NY. It's a wondrous bridge, that spans similarly like the Golden Gate in SF. And Nyack has some houses that i could definitely live in, right on the water, with the leaves changing on magnificent trees around. The leaves are really changing now in the North East, and it's certainly something that reflects my mind state.

We could be anywhere, but we are here, and we are growing as artists, human beings, and souls.

Melissa says "we're 30 bucks and 2 fish richer with our 20 apples". That's right!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

the neon lights of broadway - surviving the enlightening Manhattan

Wednesday Sept 19. Manhattan. Peaceful busy-ness. Constant sounds like a hum in the inner ear drum. Roadsweepers, horns honking, somewhere close, a jazz quartet rehearses their notes. I am on 98th and West End. The Upper West Side. Amused by the creative chaos of my own thoughts, I am so excited to be here on one of my many (now yearly) pilgrimages to New York.
I wrote this when I was 21 in this city:
"So much to do,
So little time,
So many thoughts,
Running through my mind.
Keep a step ahead of the rest of the crowd,
Don't fall under, Success is where I'm bound"

It wasn't easy getting to New York this time. "Ease" has been the operative word, but as sometimes we are meant to be tested, so too was the car battery. Dead. Luckily, we didn't want to drive into Manhattan. Still, leaving a dead car in New Jersey for the remainder of the week was not of interest to us. At first, it was a dead battery (a leaking battery as Asif our mechanic up the road told Melissa). Then, some calls later, he tells us that the alternator is kaput. That will be $475 total thank you very much. I didn't know this for sometime, as i was packing for NY, while Melissa frantically looked up car places for second opinions. As soon as I found out this decidedly unclear and dubious piece of information, I grabbed Melissa and marched up to tell Asif a piece of my mind and get under the hood(U.S)/Bonnet(real translation), myself. I'm not going to let some suburban mechanic ruin our entire tour fund. Yikes.
I began to chat, (wo)man to man. "Asif, are you sure it's the alternator?". "How can the alternator and the battery go at the same time?". "Is your meter faulty" "Do you speak English?". As if, Asif, it should cost that much!" All done with a smile though. Anyway, we gave him 20 minutes to double check his mechanic resume and the car and find out if in fact it really was the alternator or, perhaps, just perhaps, maybe a wire got unplugged. Sounds rather "girly" to say, "he mister, maybe (eyes fluttering), it's one of those (smiling flirtily) wires, a little, you know, askew?"
CAN YOU believe it? We were goddam right. It was a silly little wire. THANK you Asif for listening to women for a change. I felt so proud of my dad's drilling in me about how to be like a mechanic with mechanics. The bush did me right!
We parked the car in Harvard Yard. No we didn't. I just wanted to write that, like Bostonian's say it. "Paak tha caa in Haaavid Yaaad". We parked the car back and Patti's and Susie's (see right, pic with me, Patti and daughter Grace) - and Melissa and I hopped on the #66 DeCamp bus to Manhattan... destination broadway, 42nd street. Fabo!
And here I sit, now 98th and West End, at Carol's. I remember my time here in 92, going after the big dream on rollerblades and a copy of Backstage, living on a banana a day. Today, I had to take Melissa to my and Jeff's favorite pizza joint on 96th and Amsterdam: Famiglia's. That juicy, cheesy slice, just melts in your mouth. Fifteen minutes later, I passed out in Central Park. The week was already catching up on me. It's taxing being on the road. Gosh we had the BEST weather in New York. The best I've ever felt. Sunny, warm, slight breeze. Perfect. I fell asleep with the light afternoon sun caressing my face, dreaming of inspiring stages for the next 3 nights.

i used to dream of this day
i never thought it would come to this
all of those weary nights
poems by candlelight
i danced alone in my own world
i feel so much alive
i remember the fear i felt
never believed the dreams in me
time to receive all that i need
time to reinvent my human nature
time to begin the child
time to begin
We took our time to Greenwich Village, for our first gig in Manhattan. No keyboard to carry, each venue promised one to use. Phew. I used the Honor Society band's keyboard. You can check them out at Thanks boys! They actually had a korg triton, like mine, PLUS a whirlitzer, and I made a right angle with both so I could go back and forth. It was quite an experience. The local crowd was not much, but the room was awesome. Melissa delivered her rock-ness, I played it more mellow. I'm very much an audience artist. If there is one, it's w.o.w. If there isn't, i'm like "ho hum, ready for a glass of wine." I really did like this venue though. Thanks Maria for the gig. 40 year anniversary of this cool hole in the wall on Bleeker street. After us, The Lenny Brothers played after Talk about south of the border, N'Orleans meets Elvis coolness. So ego, just soul, blues and a great hair cut. Melissa and I ended the night popping our head into various Village clubs, like one of my old haunts, the Bitter End (this girl was singing, and playing violin at the same time, while her band rocked out. soo cool). Late night nachos and a jazz club and we headed uptown with a slight skip in our step.
Still, I traveled back to the pad feeling a little despondent. I'd traveled all this way to where... an almost empty room? This isn't the New York I remembered. I remember Baggot Inn last year with the walls humming, and Town Hall with Eric Idle, and Cutting Room with fabo piano and photos and industry and.. and... Here I am on the subway riding uptown on the 1, thinking... "i have to change this. i have to change who i've become, and get in touch with that warrior, innately creative, spirit... again. Will this town feed me like it once did?"
Sleep, 11am sleep in, groggy head, and a green tea soy latte at starbucks. Today, I felt it early...., was going to be sensational. My fiance (yep folks, you heard it), says that "it's always darkest before dawn". How true. I had sunk into deep 21 year old blues (it flooded back) and enlightened in the morning to my mature 30s "I can take on this world" view of things. It worked. We began the day strolling down the Hudson River in the park, watching the yachts and the geese. A vignet of New York I never knew existing. On 79th and the water there is the most fabulous cafe, with an in the round Rotunda type eating area and raised stage. Views spectacular the happy hour beers are $3. If I were getting married in New York, this is beyond a doubt the place i'd get married. A cafe, a bar, a place to rest, the views were magical, and nothing over the top at all in price. What a location.
Chelsea next. The moment that shifted my NY perspective. I had an awesome meeting at United for Opportunity. Same ilk as me and my warrior girl music. I'm psyched. They just released Ani DiFranco's latest Best Of album. Need a say more? .... More news about that soon, i hope. That night, a fabo, awesome, hot, rock-ness, coolness gig at Mo Pitkins House of Satisfaction. Couldn't get cooler. Amy Clarke, also pianist of extraordinary bliss, hosted the night which we titled "Songsalive! Sirens". We actually started the night at 7.30pm with a song critique workshop which was very cool for our local writers to gather and gain valuable, positive, critique. (Pic Left is Dan Schteingart, Chloe Watkins, Melissa Mullins, Amy Clark, Steve Archdeacon and moi. The NY Contingent).
Then we had so much fun to, phew, a full house. Gosh I was so excited, centered, and felt funny and got response back, and Love our new chica aussie friend Chloe who came and hung with us. She showed us around East Village and what an assortment of cool venues to play at next time I'm back: Living Room - has to be THE place for me, and unlike the popular downstairs room, the upstairs smaller space has a grand piano. Love it. Next door, Pianos. But no piano. Weird. Rockwood Music Hall round the corner, also very intimate and fabo for songwriters. This is a great part of town. We ended the night back uptown with a cup of tea and a left over piece of pizza slice.
>Fast Forward interlude: I'm currently listening to Ani DiFranco, at a later time in space as i write, and her new "Canon" album is absolutely stunning. Flows, spoken, sung, melodic, rhythmic, perfect for a 2am writing spell.
Friday twenty first of september is supposed to be a fabulous day. 9+ 21 + 2007 = 21. Good number. I'm sitting in a little cafe (Starbucks, he he) with Backstage and my gtsl. I'm observing the new york foot traffic out of the floor to ceiling high windows. There is a lot of noise. Goes with the territory. This is New York. I'm really getting into the thick of things now. I'm feeling my inner muse come back to life. I planned that this would be, by the time I hit Manhattan. I feed off the energy here. Simply Red is playing on the radio. How serendipitous. I met them recently in West Hollywood at Virgin Records, where Mick was releasing his latest record. I gave him my cd, extraOrdinary life, and his wife/manager was very kind. I haven't received the call. I wonder if my manager heard from them. Manager, manager? anyone? bueller?
It was a great day to see the Statue of Liberty on the free Staten Island Ferry.
Here in Manhattan I've been honing in... getting closer to "it". I've been so... disconnected from my "path" for about 2 years, really. I thought it was just months, but it adds up. Time passes swiftly. I had been milling in a quagmire of productive energy expulsion, with no sense of creative direction. I've done so much, yet felt so little. I've been a walking zombie, creatively, living on automatic pilot at gigs, meetings, productions, performances. I haven't sat down and written in ages, songs nor my book. I have produced a huge festival ( in August, and Dayjams the rock music camp, with 17 staff, and produced various albums for others (, and yes toured, and spoken at conferences, and yes, i've been out there. But the "in" became stagnant. I have played this game so long, I had lost how to make it fresh. My friend Jon Batson says "Gilli, when you've won the game, you no longer need to play it." So true. I had absorbed that piece of information, 10 days ago, on Virginia Beach, realizing that that is why I had become so numb recently. I have done this ALL before, and I have done it well. I have played the live performance game, the recording industry game, the internet game. So where to now?
Right now, it's about inner creative peace. That's the challenge. And this tour is ***WAKING*** me up! I am getting my creative juices back. Last night my show at Mo Pitkins was unbelievably satisfying. I felt in touch with my spirit I laughed, I was in joy. I was quirky, my voice, keys and eyebrow expressions were all connecting like a well oiled machine. I "Felt" my lyrics and the emotion transcended beyond me to the room. An extraordinary day for an ordinary girl.
The final gig at Baggot Inn was small, and the keyboard I was subjected to was the worst most rotten keyboard with no piano sounds. I felt like I was playing a toy dinky child's keyboard. But I DIDN'T CARE. One tequila shot softened the blow and I just let it out with fun and ease. How can you burst a bubble when it's protected by inspiring light? Darren was great on sound, notwithstanding, and the bar tender had the coolest magic tricks with shot glasses.
Vignet: Our last stop was in Bayonne, the arm pit of New Jersey, in an equally um, humble apartment, for the opposite *MAGICAL* live internet show with Jerry from - We literally performed in the kitchen!
Summary: I am falling in love with my performance again, and more importantly, my art again. The artist within is shining. I'm loving meeting new people. My heart is beating, centered and joyous. My legs are killing me fro walking 10 miles and 100 blocks a day, but this is what it's all about...being the ox. Thank you Manhattan. I am alive again.
gilli moon & melissa mullins - east coast barefoot ordinary tour

Monday, September 17, 2007

tinkling the ivories - Boston MA to Montclair NJ

i'm taking my time, doing fine in the autumn breeze, no time to sleep, places to be, but all with ease. taking it all in, it's no sin that i can be free 'cause it's just me, my voice, my stories and these ivory keys. We made it to mASS-achu-setts on Saturday evening. Or, Mmmm, Asss, Achu, setts. Or Massa, Chew Sets. Or MassAcchewy. He he. It's late as i'm writing this. Can you tell? It's a GREAT state. I love the green freeways. The Java Room in Chelmsford MassAchhhh is quiet an oxymoron, in a wonderful way. Typical cafe with cakes, tea and coffee, sidled with a gorgeous grand piano, cabaret style tip jar and a full bar with cocktails. I didn't know if I wanted a cosmopolitan martini sitting on the internet, or a cup of tea as i sang my songs to a quaint crowd. Quaint, I guess, is the operative word. Slightly blank, was the response we got from the crowd, apart from a few little hand pats, which is, I think, a polite way to say "lack of loud clapping and stomping, hooting and hollering. I say this only to those that weren't in our little party of 5, which included myself, Melissa, Christie Leigh, her sister Silvia and friend Bernie. We all were the life of the party, especially sweety Silvia who sang all the notes with us as we sang, albeit higher and in a different octave to us. She was adorable though! he he. But the rest of the crowd were rather mute, except of course during our songs when they picked up their conversations as if we weren't here. Funny how entertainment is perceived. It's either seen as background music for loud conversations, or you totally focus. Nothing in between really. Christie let us sit in on her regular gig, actually, and it was really quite nice. I am spoiling the fun with the above paragraph. In truth, we had a blast, and a welcome introduction to this very pretty state. We choofed off to Boston (40 mins) after the gig, in the pitch black of night but with lots of vigor in our lungs, as we sang songs about every exit on the way down. I think I've already mentioned this, but Melissa is a walking musical. If i mention something like "hey take this exit 241 up here", she sings it " must take (higher octave) 2.4.1 (low) up (high) here..." long vibrato. Ha ha. It's funny. So funny, i'm catching it. So I think the rest of the tour should be sung, no more talking. Makes things way more interesting, at least in the car. We arrived in the South End and found (no way, that is so, like, amazing) a parking space. It's like worth $45,000 a year for a parking space in this neighborhood. I know. We went to an open house and they told me, so I know it's true. Really, it is. But we found a spot for the blue warriormobile. Chris Marston, our host for the sleeping part of our boston trip, met us on the corner and walked us in. He's also our Boston Songsalive! coordinator AND an attorney who runs his own law firm. My favorite part about his place is his two dogs, tiki and bailey, the most adorable pint sized muppets you would ever meet. Bailey is like this chocolate crackle, or a curly fudge cake, that is the size of one, on four legs and curly hair (mini poodle) with eyes that are deeper than some human souls. He's so cute, and so light. Absolutely adorable. Tiki is a mutt of black and white variety that's about the size of a fat cat (bigger than bailey) and prefers to jump all over you, lick every part of you, and doesn't know what 'no' means when it comes to more demanded affection. I love these dogs. Chris has the most important asset in his living room, a baby grand, AND it's midi and connected to Digital Performer on his Mac. Once click of the mouse and he can record a whole album in his living room. It's really great. House concert anyone? Chris Marston and I stooping, Boston style. Sunday morning came late. I didn't want to get out of bed. But a green tea soy latte begged me to release the sheets. We took bailey and tiki for a walk through the boston south end streets, and all the dogs sniffed each others butts and socialized, (as you do on a sunday), while us adults ordered our favorite drinks and stooped on a boston Brownstown stair (as you do on a sunday). Stooping is an essential and popular Boston weekend pastime. You grab a drink, and a newspaper, and preferably a cute dog to attract visitors, usually of the opposite sex variety, and you sit on someone else's stair case, in the sun, amongst a crowd, and, well, stoop. Just hang. Just gotta watch those steps with old sticky gum... Sunday afternoon we began what will be a new ongoing tradition, the Songsalive! Songwriting critique workshop at All Asia in Cambridge (Mass Ave). 2pm start, and we had a bunch of songwriters ready to share their song for some feedback from all of us. It was a great afternoon of song sharing. More deets for future ones Then Melissa, myself and Christie Leigh jumped up each in turn, respectively, and sang some songs. More fans turned out, the beers got heavier and chinese food wafted from the kitchen. A nice afternoon of song, and the red sox were even playing (mute thank god) on the bar's tv. I was starving, as we all were, so Chris directed us to the best thai place in town, or so he says, on Mass Ave opposite Berklee College. It was delicious.
Got dark quick. Autumn is more prevalent up here. We jumped on the subway downtown upon Christie Leigh's (below) invitation to sit in on her open mic at 6B on Beacon Street, Boston. Sat with my wine and thoughts of the universe. Kicked back, sang a few on the mic (and guitar... i had a blister after the first verse!).. i'm a piano player goddamit!, and my energy subsided. But it's been nice. We subwayed it back to Mass Ave, and hopped in the car. Oh me god... we need a parking spot. My friend Rick said, talk to Josephine the Boston parking goddess. And so I did. I called my love on the phone and he said there is one, small but a good fit. We got back, and oh my god there was a parking spot. The ONLY parking spot in the whole 1 mile radius, and NO parking meter. Free, for all day. That is so amazing. I feel so connected to the flow, to the universe, so in alignment. EVERYTHING we have done so far on this tour has been an easy flow, and just coming to us, in easy ways. It's quite a miracle to actually see that in action. To witness when one is connected, or in alignment, and so is everything around us. The leaves are falling and the wind is crisp but the sun is shining. Today, our third and last day in Bostonia, land of smart fashions, little mutts and big trees, was a day of walking the streets. Had a good visit with Peter Spellman over at Berklee, then down the Charles River to the city, the Commons, up Newbury Street, Some seafood at the famous Slip Jacks (including, naturally, their clam chowder), then Boylston and back to the South End for a visit to the crew over at Sonicbids. We walked 4 hours today. Good stuff! Life is not worth living if you can't "feel", and I mean, really feeeeel your environment. If that means consuming the local papers, or food of the area, or walking the streets, or meeting all of the people, and/or all of the above. I love going to each city and doing all of the above. I digest the local papers, i eat the local food (and wine/beer), I want to smell, see, taste the culture and streets and talk to its people. Boston is a city, similar to Rome Italy, where I feel I can walk all day and not be bored. I love this city. We hopped into our ever accumulating car at around 4 and headed down the I-90 towards Hartford and then onto New York. Time to kick back in New Jersey for a spell before we go mad in Manhattan (I can't wait!) It was an easy drive, and we were faster than expected. All through MA and CT we were the only car on the roads. Wide open spaces and free roads, with lovely views. It seems very posh to live in Connecticut. I can imagine someone saying (naisly with lower pucker old new england accent), "oh yieeesss. I live in Connecticut. I wear tiger tooth smoking jackets, corduroy and suede trousers, and a beret, and smoke cigars looking at my yacht in the bay. How do you do." Everything is so.... pristine, almost like a postcard. Montclair NJ, apart from central office for the Musicians Atlas, is another quaint posh suburb outside New York, and we arrived just in time for a bowl of rice and to hop into bed. Before I get under the sheets, I sit and write to you. I have to say, LA seems too far away. I'm in a contemplative mood. Working on a new song with a hook that goes like this.... Separated from my true joy of music, song and story when not in that guise, mischief arises. I pretend to be big, strong and feisty But really I'm just a troubadour lady I can wear diamond necklaces and long dresses, Walk down the aisle in high hells And I can act tormented in all black leather But really I'm just a troubadour lady. Something deeply important I need to say. I feel very much in alignment. This is a new feeling, away from productions, events, entrepreneurship of running organizations, I'm tapping into my inner creativity. Bits of songs are busting out to be written, and I'm looking forward to feeling my spirit in New York on Wednesday. Here's a poem I wrote in New York 2 years ago. I re-read it tonight and re-opened my emotional vortex. New York will be good for me, my soul, and my creative juices. Tinkling the ivories in New York makes me wanna be a cabaret star, Broadway star, billy joel singing uptown girl, a jazz singer, a rock star or all of it. Goodnight! 

new york midnight express. Now is What. chaos. on the street in my head on the tv in the room. i stand innocent. it swims around me. i live the silent movie. furious fire strong midnight express. sleeping in the bronx, smelling deep history race, creed, industrialized waste, toxic to my system, messy, grimy, how do people live like this? ..fixing for a taste of home, not going to come so easy feeling queasy. new york, new york, giant jungle people fight to stay alive dyin' inside but hungry like tigers fast and furious they push whoosh goes the train like hunter and hunted, subway speed and kids doing tricks street side. do they know what's going on in the south? nothing comes out of this boy's mouth but "yeah, wanna buy my pet lizard got no disease" the dis-ease of our nation is seen on these streets exemplified thrice fold. now what? i am alone in my thought on this how do i make it clear without inciting fear. while tears wash away in the floods of new orleans. where do we all go from here? fear is the one thing i contemplate while i wait for my pizza slice filled with cheese, grease and my god it's delicious, down in alphabet city, with the sleaze and cuban restaurants with melodic guitars and voices and drums and beer and wine bars and young girls with tats and black berets and striped socks. sleeping on the street. she sleeps. or dribbles not sure. i eat. i look around and find i'm in hell how ironic as i am in love with it all. it drives my creative muse and i refuse to be of it but in it in any case. alive and kicking i also am with it,loving it performing in it, feeling it. now what? i find the keyboard and feel the ivories at c-note, a dive bar that eases my mood. i drink cheap beer. magic of lower east side. new york city has me by the hook, line and sinker and i'm not fine with what i see, the black concrete playgrounds, and a city losing time. no time, all the time, every time people fast, forward in your face. ..and hard truck sounds and taxi cabs that don't stop when you put your hand up high and say "stop" i am crossing this god damn street. "stop" with the cockroaches and the grit on my glass of water. "stop" with the urine down on the L line people live with this going to work and back and they don't see this simple fact, they live in tunnels on the way from here to there tunnels under the roads, the labyrinth of codes. "stop" the chatter inside my head of fear and 9/11 and clubs that don't pay or leave it ambiguous like they don't know what an artist needs. what does an artist need? the feeling of connection... whispering my thoughts they know, they know what is really going on? are we all so centrifugal to our own moment our own journey? was this book really created for me? "go" with my heart, my pulse, the instinct to be alive, and enjoy this fast journey, the ploy, the entrancing feeling of living on the edge and feeling history,.. on 42nd street. where i stayed last year in 5 star hell and finally, finally performed on broadway with a python at that. new york city town hall. i have done it. now what? how does it feel? what's real to my heart my ambition to know know i have grabbed what i wanted to do in '92, as i rollerbladed through these steamy streets with Backstage mag in my hands and dreams in my heart, and naivety in my lungs and all i felt was fun and cold and hot and all the stuff that makes an artist alive, wanting, yearning, begging for a stage to be heard. living on adrenalin and hard dreams, ambitions to fruition i want to be heard.. new york city. do you hear me? do you feel me? do you want me? BUT i have done it. already. i have made it real and lived broadway and succeeded for whatever that success means? what does it really mean? this constant fire in my belly that says more more more NOW WHAT? i turn to the burbs big houses, large windows fancy mercedes SUVs and i sit here on the couch wondering. now what? while... an old lady dies in a hospital and i'm left holding my friend's baby so calm and soft she smiles with the innocence of mother nature she calms my mind. the innocence of children reminds me that i must look at life through a child's eyes at all times to survive my own ambition. now what? NOW. Now is WHAT. i breathe in i submerge to dreamland to breathe some more and feel the blue sky beating it's heat reminding me of life and love and california and passion surging, coursing through me . i live an extraordinary life. give me another slice. gilli moon . september 10. 2005. manhattan.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

taking the high road - Baltimore to Boston

Sleep comes easily on long days in foreign towns. The dreams have been vivid though, like my days. I'm sitting in the passenger seat of Melissa's car writing on my laptop on my knees. The I-95 is calm this time of morning. We left at 8am for Boston. I'm sipping my green tea soy latte, and occasionally glancing at the greenerie bordering the freeway like some invitation into a wild forest. Melissa pipes up "I love it. I love driving along these freeways out here. Trees are starting to turn. Little bits of gold sprinkled everywhere". She's drinking a green tea soy latte too, and has a back up tea in a thermos cup ready to take over to keep her focused on the road.

Road trip!

We've had a GREAT time in Baltimore. It was way more than I could have possibly imagined. Our second day in Baltimore was equally as pleasing as the first. Susan Souza, hostesss with the mostess, took us for a tour around inner Baltimore. We parked the car in Fells Point, a kind of grungy, but funky inner suburb right on the docks of the Chesapeake Bay. We wandered around a bit, checked out a jamming old record store (i noticed a few mom and pop stores in the area), and then headed to Bertha's Mussels for some famous Mussels that is well known all around the world. At the end of the ginormous pot of mussels, now just shells, we all got bumper stickers with the check. They have this notice board with photos of Bertha's Mussels fans who've taken their bumper sticker to interesting parts of the globe, like the snow or Hawaii. Kinda funny.

Back to ye ol' house in Towson, and it was time to get ready for the house concert. Susan had the gear. Actually quite a light system. Her little Fender speakers pack a punch but they are lighter than my laptop. Kristin, her partner, organized an assortment of snacks, including her delicious home made grape leaves with rice. So yummy. We pulled the keyboard out and got the guitars tuned and ready, and waited for the masses of locals to come by. Well, I can't say we got masses, but we sure did get a nice little group of guests who turned up. We all sat around enjoying some wine and the dips and then it was time for some vocal warblings. Susan hit it off with a few tunes. We decided to do it in the round style, we a couple of songs each, then keeping the round going till we get tired. She has some great tunes, and her sense of rhythm is impeccable. Next up, Melissa with her fiesty songs and passionate lyrics. She has a lot of energy for a pint sized gal. I finished the first set off with 'Release Me' done a whole new way, using my loop station. It's a cool little unit and i don't use it enough. I started recording a beat box beat with my mouth, then added (each loop you can add more to it) a beat box kick drum, then some beat box high hats (with my mouth. love doing this lip smacking, ha ha). This gave me enough to start the piano progression, and vocals. Lots of fun.

We did the round of songs all night, in between grape leaves and red wine, until we could go on no more. That day, Melissa and I rehearsed a song i've been thinking of doing live for a while: Don Henley's "Heart of the Matter". Though I prefer India.Arie's verson of this song, nice and laid back with an RnB groove, doing this combined with Melissa's guitar brought it more rock like Henley's. I didn't mind at all. It rocked. It's a nice duet to end the show and hope to use it up the coast.

I cannot speak more highly of Susan and Kristin. They are a magical couple of human beings who are very gracious and generous and so hospitile. It was such a pleasure to stay with them and get to know them. Go to and check out their wonderful organization of Kickass Women Songwriters.

Now, we are heading north, taking the high road away from anyone who can touch us, disarm our love for pure creativity, or point fingers. Being on the road means being invincible, searching for truth, light and a creative reason d'etre. See you in Boston MA!

Quote Melissa shared with me today:
Quote of the Day The first stage of higher consciousness is the state of equilibrium where praise does not inflate you and slander does not depress you. You may like praise, but you offer it at the altar of your Creator; you may dislike slander but you offer it at the altar of your Creator. A person who lives in this state is super-sensitive, therefore he is grateful. This attitude of gratitude makes a person great. - Yogi Bhajan
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