Monday, February 25, 2013


About four years ago I was writing songs, all day, every day for several days...

Then one day... BAM. I hit a wall. I had nothing left. 

Writers block they call it. I had it, and it bummed me out hard. What if I was never going to be able to write another song again? What did this mean? Was my life void of inspiration, passion and experience? Months went by, I read the artist way (life changing, you should read it), I wrote morning pages, wrote a gratitude journal took myself on artist dates to the Getty, got a sketch pad and sketched a bunch of hands and eyeballs, flowers in vases and mickey mouse, spent more time serving at church, I walked several laps around the lake at balboa park and listened to a lot of Joni Mitchell... I even attempted, quiet time... that was weird. I wondered if maybe I was trying too hard, and then some days I wondered if I was trying hard enough. 

I'd sit down behind the piano, hours would pass, a blank open page of my notebook staring me down... but there was nothing. So I pulled out the guitar, and spent a lot of time just, holding it... but there was nothing. I spent a lot of time obsessing over the fear that I was never going to be able to write again.  I went about life on autopilot, doing a lot of stuff, but in my mind became a hostage to my dramatic, fear based thoughts. I reminisced of the days when I had something to say, something to play... and started questioning my choices. 

I had to keep reading this... 

Panic. Despair. I quit...
Kinda, but not really. Quitting never lasts long for me. I did pray, for songs, or for acceptance that there would be no more songs, maybe it just wasn't what I was supposed to do anymore.

Fast forward a while, I can't recall how long. I played a lot of gigs, sang the songs I had. I was sitting in front of the mirror blow drying my hair with a round brush when it came... 

fast forward then rewind
look ahead and look behind...

In a rush of excitement, I dropped the hair dryer and the brush like a hot potato and I ran to my keyboard... the intro was instant, I found the chords to support the melody that the words delivered to me. But then there was more...

present moment never lingers
time will slip right through your fingers
when... you're not livin' 
and everything, you've been missin'
you can't take back again...

And that was it. That was all I could get. Gah. For the next several weeks I would spend a few hours a day, staring at that verse, trying to figure out where it wanted to go next...

Months passed by, and I had gotten a call from a friend of mine in Nashville, Chris Oglesby, he connects writers, and was responsible for setting up some of my most successful co-writes. He wondered if I wanted to write with this guy "Busbee", Mike Busbee, who lived in Laurel Canyon. I figured maybe it'd be a good idea to get back to co-writing, so I said yes. That day I brought this song I had been working on... I played it for Busbee. I moved over, He sat at the piano and started singing... 

"How long, How long, till we've figured out, that we're here now"
"How long, How long, till we turn around and it's all gone, will we wish that we were still here now"

It was perfect. We finished the song in a little over an hour. That afternoon he created and we recorded potentially one of the greatest demos I've ever made, just a piano, vocal and strings. It just felt, true.

I popped the disc of the demo into my cd player and listened to it on repeat during the long drive home through the canyon. I was raw with emotion. I realized the song was schooling me...

I was waiting. We all are waiting. Waiting for that day when we'll finally be happy...
when we write a song.
when we get our braces off
when we graduate.
when we get married.
when we pay off the credit card.
when we get pregnant.
when we get some sleep
when we lose ten pounds
when we get a record deal
when we move out of the crappy apartment
when we remodel the kitchen
when we get our pay check and we can go buy more stuff
when we get a tan
when we quit workin' for the man...
when we get that apology

Really? I don't know, maybe we will be happier... for a minute, and then on to the next thing.

Or we get stuck in the past, we spend our precious minutes on regrets, wishing we had or hadn't, or we coulda shoulda, fantasizing we could rewrite history, or reminiscing a time we thought it had it all.

Don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting it is wrong to learn from our past, or to dream, or strive for a better future. It is actually really important, goals are great, change is necessary. 

But, what about now, what about this moment that we are in?! If we are stuck in yesterday or living for tomorrow, we totally miss out on today. And today is the best day ever, because it's what we got. And when it's gone, it's gone

Yep, Life is hard, it has it's disappointments and super crappy let downs, and we tell ourselves "the best is yet to come", but until then, maybe we can still be happy now.

And when I say "we", I kinda mean "me". Feel free to join me, let's be here now.

I've been saving this song... maybe the next record :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


i'm sorry. 

Feeling a little defeated as I type this and I don't think I have the energy to articulate why... and there is a giant mosquito hawk flying around my computer scarin' the crap out of me. I know he's harmless, and I don't want him to die, I just want him to go hang out in the living room. 

Basically, I'm tired of being late... 

I can't catch up, it's been this way for like fifteen years, or I don't know, maybe twenty nine...  I want to change, and I don't know how, and I am trying. In the words of what about Bob "i'm doing the work I'm not a slacker". But I'm slow, and I care too much about too much, indecisive and a tortured perfectionist working with a great deal of imperfection. Really, It's okay, but it's not, and this isn't a woe is me post. I'm just sayin'...

All of you decisive efficient people that are always on time, teach me, what is your secret?

I know I said I was going to post a Valentines Day song, but I thought Valentines was Friday, and I had been working on "close to you" by The Carpenters all week. It is not an easy song, and I wanted to do it really right, because it's Karen, and it's basically sacred. Then it turns out that Valentines Day was actually Thursday, and because life was serving me a Thanksgiving feast on a salad plate, I just wasn't ready for that. Incidentally, I was wearing my red hello sweatshirt which I have worn for nearly five days straight, and so I put a heart onesie on London and thanks to Summer, pulled off a cute instagram (see below). Dave came home from work with Valentines in hand for me and the Loo, sheepishly, I told him that Valentines was just going to have to be on Friday, like I planned.  I had a small thoughtful gift, the card but not a second to wrap it, or write it. But I couldn't even pull off Friday... Friday turned into Saturday.

Kinda like how Just another music monday has yet again turned into Tuesday... okay, almost Wednesday.  So I thought I would do "Close to you" for this week, but when I sat down at the piano on Sunday, my fingers didn't want to play it, my voice didn't want to sing it. Like I said, Mediocrity just isn't an option when it comes to the Carpenters.

It was Sunday, and probably one of the most perfect days that a February has ever seen. Dave suggested we head down to the beach. So we bundled up the Loo, grabbed the beach blanket and my guitar and headed on through the canyon to Malibu. We found a little spot on the sand, the tide was high but the ocean breeze was truly euphoric (it took me like ten minutes to find that word in my mind file) We walked London out to the water and put her toes in the sand and she let out some unbelievable giggles, ahhh, finally, a moment of pure contentment... Thank you Lord! I pulled out my guitar and thought maybe I would figure something out. Then I realized I forgot my capo at home (a capo is this small contraption that you clamp onto the neck of the guitar to change the key) and so I sat around and tried to figure out a tune in my key. I stumbled onto "don't panic" a vintage Coldplay classic. So just as the golden hour struck and the sun was setting over the sea I thought maybe I could capture the moment and sing "we live in a beautiful world" right in front of the pacific ocean. However, Londy's sweet pumpkin giggles turned to pterodactyl screams and she was ready to go, but I figured that there was no better scene then this for "just another music monday" so we got her set up on the blanket with a toy to chew on and put "whats the drawback" on my phone, it's her favorite song.

Dave manned the iphone camera, (as he has been doing for the last two videos, his camera skillz vastly improve week to week, he's becoming a pro, way to go Dave!) I started out my usual little intro, and started playing "bones sinking like stones, all that we fall for" when I looked over to see london rolled off the blanket with a handful of sand that she was shoveling into her mouth... so that was the end of that! I ran over and grabbed a wipee and tried to stop her, but she was hell bent on eating sand, so she did. There is a bit of footage of the whole fiasco, maybe you'll see it.

So yesterday was Presidents day, and I had yet to record a tune. I decided maybe I would try "God only knows". My favorite beach boys tune, and one of my favorite songs of all time. It was the song I sang during Hollywood week, that solidified my fate into the Top 50, and ultimately the Top 24. The publishing however was not cleared for TV, therefore no one ever saw it. I practiced it through out the day, again, not an easy song. After a day of yard work and tasks involving the Girls with glasses show, it was nearing 5pm, the sun was setting. Once you lose day light, the show is over. But after calming the Loo, recharging a dead phone battery, and forgetting the chords, a las, my third attempt was denied. 

Then it came to me this morning, Poor little Fool, a song that was written by a fifteen year old girl, intended for Elvis to sing, but then was recorded and made a hit by Ricky Nelson in 1958. It was a song from my childhood. My dad had an ovation guitar with heavy strings. I remember he would play "grandmas feather bed" by John Denver, and "Poor little fool" by Ricky Nelson, as we would sit around him in our jammies right before bed, and he would sing to us. It is one of my happiest memories, and one of my first favorite songs. So this morning, before I could even make the bed, I grabbed the Loo in her jammies and my guitar, put the Capo on the fifth fret and played this happy little ditty (but actually kinda sad) for my own little one. 

So, to carry on the tradition of Brad the dad, I give to you "Poor little fool"

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Due to technical difficulties, let's just call this Just another Music Tuesday... 

I was working on a lovey dovey cover (so many great suggestions btw, hard to choose) in honor of Valentine's day, and then got distracted with this little chord progression. I started picking the strings, I'm not the worlds best finger picker, but the magic of music took control of my fumbly 'ol fingertips and started to play them with ease, I like when this happens. The chords caused my eyes to close, my heart to ache. Then a hum in my vocalizer started humming... I followed the hum, and it led me down a path to these words:

it's not too late
I could be your best friend
hold my breath and swim into the deep end
of this mess of love that we've been drownin' in

I knew it was the last chorus, so I worked backwards. Quickly the words spilt on the paper, I let them fall freely as they strung themselves together into a story. I let them sing the redemption song that they wanted to be. Eighty percent of it was written in fifteen minutes, the other twenty percent took about six hours, when I realized that this song was not the light hearted little ditty I had hoped to write. It wore me out. So, I just let it be what it is, a real life love song. There's a beginning, a conflict, a resolve and a hope that is never ending. That is the nature of a relationship that endures. I don't know if I would put the "done" stamp on it, I think it needs some time to marinate, might need to rearrange a few things, the bridge might need more, maybe it doesn't, I don't know. The first performance is always an experiment, a bit timid... and it makes me nervous, so here it is...

PS-Talking about songs is always weird. I just write them, sing them, and hope they are heard the way the person needs to hear it... or feel it, really.

PSS-  AND I am over on Oh Joy! today as part of her "make someone happy" series... I helped her write little love song for her man Bob, kinda cute and fun! Watch it here

Oh! One last thing... what did you think of the Grammy's? I thought it was pretty classy, and I was rather impressed by many of the performances. Justin Timberlake... what can I say, I'm glad he's back. Rhianna was the surprise of the night for me, no over the top production needed with large doses of flesh, she stood there in a beautiful gown and simply delivered a pure, heart felt vocal. And then there's Bruno Mars, pow! So much energy! He is just slaying it out there and couldn't have performed better, but wait, then Sting joined him on stage with his bass, and he did his Sting thing, which is always dripping with awesome. I loved Mumford & Sons, and am glad to see the Lumineers taking over the world. I will also say how pleased I was that Gotye and Kimbra won song of the year, that song was a special one, and the fact that radio embraced it gives me hope and happiness. Kelly Clarkson was just mind blowing. Levon tribute was spectacular and reminded me of Michael Johns on tour, he literally watched the Last waltz maybe forty something times. Props to the Idol ladies, Kelly and Carrie for representing. Isn't it interesting that the most enduring and successful artists to come out of Idol are both female, and yet a girl hasn't won in six years? (Multiple factors here... and, No offense guys, y'all are great, just an observation :-) There are others I am forgetting, but overall, it was a good night. Made me want to sing and play and write much better than I do.

Monday, February 4, 2013


Well hello...

I've got so much I've got to tell you. A whole lot of blog posts just stock piling in the noggin, but not much time, or gumption to let them find their way out. I will spare you the blah blah blah about how 2012 was really hard, and how 2013 was all about starting over and going to be the most triumphant year ever...  and then there was the flooding of the kitchen, a flat tire on the way back to California, a traumatic trip to the ER with a monster of a kidney stone, the cold and the hacking cough, the flu and all it's goobers and snot (sorry, keep reading, it get's better), and now the Loo has had four scary days of fevers over 104 and a double dose of ear infections. I know, "cry me a river", "could be worse", "so much to be grateful for", but it seems to be one thing after another for many many moons now... 

That all being said, there seems to be silver linings all along the way, or maybe I just have to believe that, and be that kind of girl, the kind that always must find a reason, a lesson and wrap the crap up in a beautiful bow. But hey, it's only February, I'm still holding out hope, there is still time! Surely there is something to be learned from trial and pain... I think. No, I know...

Gosh I hope I'm learning. 

And yet amongst the darkness and shadow is this incredible beaming light that shines through... that light being my lil' London June. She sparkles so brightly, illuminating our path and truly showing us the way. She makes even the crappiest days seem simultaneously the happiest. Thank the good Lord for a baby.

Like I told you, so many blog posts. I'd love to give them a life eventually... 

Honestly, I'd really like to spend more time here, on the blog, writing about things that matter. Because I've recently come to a strong realization, perhaps even a revelation; and seeing as I've been writing songs for nearly a decade now, it may seem obvious, but... may I be so bold to declare, I am a writer. And when I say that, I don't mean, I'm a Grammar technician (you've probably gathered that with all my run on sentences and dot dot dots), a novelist or a poet. But I have stories to tell, a lot of them. Hmmm, On second thought, maybe scratch the "writer" bit, and may I exchange that title for that of,  a story teller. A teller of true stories for the most part, and therein lies the problem, or challenge. I suppose I have held off writing many of these stories because I am trying to sort out my boundaries, what to say and how to say it and why I'm saying it, and what I will keep locked up in the sacred chamber. Which stories are mine to tell, and which stories also belong to the characters with in it, and they are more then mere characters, but real people, who I feel necessary to respect and protect. However, as one who is constantly striving and or tortured with being a perpetuator of truth, I yearn to give my most authentic self, and paint a picture of an honest life, with all it's roses and thorns. But like unto my great social media addiction, Instagram, sometimes we must put a filter on it. 

So until I've got it all that serious shtuff figured out, I thought I'd simply sing you songs. One of those posts will be about the music, and where it is going... I don't have that answer yet. But I have music, it is still rushing through my veins like blood. It sustains me and keeps me alive. And I've got an iphone camera...

Every Monday I am going to post a song here on the blog, and it shall be called "JUST ANOTHER MUSIC MONDAY". Sometimes it will be an original, something I'm working on, and sometimes it will be something someone else has written, or something that is tried and true. There may even be some guests joining me. Today, I am playing for you "fire and rain", a song by one of my most beloved artists, James Taylor. His humble voice is like a warm blanket, a dear friend, offering me comfort and sustenance along the journey.

Just a few days into the new year, I had the rare experience of taking a shower by myself. Now allow me to explain, I usually put my big baby girl in her tiny tub and stick her in the shower with me and that is how I manage to keep the both of us clean. But one evening Dave the dad suggested she watch the game with him while I shower solo. I set up my ipod doc and plugged in my old iphone. There wasn't a hesitation about what to listen to. I scrolled down to the J's and landed on my trusty 'ol JT. Greatest Hit's number one would be my selection. As I stood in the shower and let the hot water hit my tired head that housed my burnt out brain, I just stood there as the first few picks on the guitar of "Something in the way she moved" played and eased every last uneasy part of me and stressful thought. I sang along with my eyes closed. I didn't wash my hair, or shave my legs, I just stood there and sang every song from something in the way she moves to steam roller blues. But it was during "Fire and Rain" that I sang out from the depths, tearfully and loudly, as if I owned it, as if I wrote it, as if it was my story. In that moment, Fire and Rain was there for me in a way that almost nothing or no one could be. The moment was a gift from God. I know James Taylor paid a high price for fire and rain, but how grateful I was, how grateful I am, to him for paying it. 

And with that, I give you a much humbler version, at the piano, not in the shower. Please forgive my super elementary editing skills,  this video has got beginner written all over it, with format issues galore, couldn't figure out how to fix it, but nonetheless I feel like I'm gonna show it to you anyway :)