Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Emmylou's Guitar

So Gibson makes a beautiful little guitar that they custom designed for Emmylou Harris, and sell a limited quantity of to the public.  I am proud to say that one of these fine instruments has been added to my collection!  It sounds heavenly and looks just as good...can't wait to play it it live!

I have a few shows coming up at the end of April in addition to some exciting announcements coming your way.  In the meantime I've been writing and enjoying some sunshine here by the ocean.  

Song of the week: Check out "Long Way Down" and "Desire" from Alela Diane & Wild Divine's brand new album.  Love those folks!

Friday, March 18, 2011

March Musings

I've been enjoying the daffodils for the short time that the weather stays cool enough for their liking.  These fragrant little beauties are my favorite flower, which suits me well since I myself am a spring baby.  At the end of the month I'll be celebrating another trip around the sun, and trying to resist the urge to bake my own birthday cake now that my moratorium on baking has ended.  This month I'm celebrating another birthday, as my childhood best friend just became a Mama to her second baby boy, Aiden, who I am completely in love with.  Here's a picture of the little lamb cardigan I made for him:

In other, more music-related news, I'm happy to report that 2011 is looking to be a fantastic year;  my album "Once I Was A Bird" will finally see an official release date (!!!) and a tour to follow, I have a new website on the way,  music videos, and one very special announcement about a very exciting show.  Stay tuned for updates on all fronts!  Make sure you also check in with my band honeymoon, as chances are good that if I'm not touring on my own, I'm playing with them!  We're gearing up for a busy year too, and are off to a great start as we were just voted Monterey County's Best Local!  I am a busy girl indeed these days, and feel lucky every second.
  In trying to keep some balance between work and personal life, I try to remind myself as often as I can of the things I'm grateful for.  I was taking photos at the beach the other day with some folks from Austin, TX and their awe of the Pacific Ocean was so genuine, and a reminder of the things around us that we take for granted.  Of course I felt guilty and promptly went out on a hike at Point Lobos to take in some of that good old natural wonder.  A few photos for you here:

Thanks for staying in touch with me my friends!  For now I'm off to do some cooking on this stormy Friday.  
All the Best,

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Again

Happy New Year to all of you out there!  I am thrilled to welcome 2011 with a wealth of inspiration and excitement for what I believe will be quite the productive and fruitful year.  I am starting out with a move to a new house and am still threatening to compile the list of my Top 10 Albums of 2010 once I'm settled in and have a few more minutes to do so.  One of the concerts I played last August was just published on FolkYeah's list of their 10 favorite shows that they put on in 2010;  hugely honored to have been a part of that as it was definitely one of my favorite shows of the year as well!  It also inspired me to compile my own list of memorable shows from 2010;  it only took a few minutes as opposed to the couple of hours I know I'll need to sort through my favorite album selections.  So without further ado....

Lauren's Favorite Shows of 2010:

1. Chautauqua Park Auditorium- Boulder, CO with Shawn Colvin

2. Sheldon Concert Hall- St. Louis, MO with Shawn Colvin 

3.  City Winery- New York, NY with Shawn Colvin

4.  Buskirk-Chumley Theater- Bloomington, IN with Shawn Colvin

5. Don Quixote's- Felton, CA with Peggy Young Band and Bert Jansch

6.  S.P.A.C.E.- Evanston, IL with Brendan James

7.  S.P.A.C.E.- Evanston, IL & The Englert Theater- Iowa City, IA with Michelle Shocked's Roadworks Tour

8.  Hotel CafĂ©- Los Angeles, CA with The Webb Sisters

9.  Northwest Seattle Folklife Festival

10.  The Grafton- Chicago, IL with The Pickin' Bubs

Thanks to everyone who came to, put on, or was involved in any way with these shows as well as all the others that I got to play in 2010.  It was a lovely, memorable year and I feel lucky to look back with such fondness and gratitude!   

Wishing you all a healthy and happy 2011,

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Photos From the Road

All Pictures by Tim Slinker, 2010

Evanston, IL at SPACE

Evanston, IL

An introduction from Michelle Shocked.
Evanston, IL at SPACE

Evanston, IL at SPACE

Michelle and I.

Shadows of Evanston.

Backstage at the 7th Street Entry
Minneapolis, MN

Field Museum.  Chicago, IL

Buskirk-Chumley Theater
Bloomington, IN

Bloomington, IN

Backstage at the Sheldon Concert Hall
St. Louis, MO

Sound check
St. Louis, MO

Sheldon Concert Hall
St. Louis, MO

Sheldon Concert Hall
St. Louis, MO

Fox Theatre
Boulder, CO

Boulder, CO

I-70, West Bound

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Coffee, Radio, and Miles of Miles

After many miles traveled and hours spent looking out the window listening to NPR, we are now officially heading west on interstate 70 as we round up the last few days of our big road trip; it's been a wonderful few weeks and since I have a bit of time on my hands (currently sitting passenger while we make our way from Illinois to Colorado) I thought I'd take a few minutes to reflect on the trip and write about some of the highlights...

I left California on the night of September 14th with my beloved, one Tim Slinker who receives the award for best driver/talented photographer/most patient and helpful/merch-seller and front-of-house sound-over-seer extraordinaire.  Our drive out to the Midwest went a little something like this: a beautiful nighttime drive to Tahoe, CA where we slept for a few hours....woke up, got coffee, drove for 12+ hours through a lot of places that looked the same spying lots of roadkill along the way, slept in Rock Springs, WY, woke up, got bad coffee, drove for 16+ hours through more flatlands and saw even more roadkill, arrived in Cedar Falls, IA around 2am on September 17th. There we got to sleep in and enjoy a day without driving in Tim's hometown; this time we woke up and had GOOD coffee, and even found a little health food store where I rejoiced in delicious fruits and vegetables for the first time in what felt like a lot longer then it actually was. 

The next day we were off again, heading east to Evanston, IL for my first show of the tour.  The venue was called S.P.A.C.E. (Society for the Preservation of Arts & Culture in Evanston) and I have to say, it set the bar real high for the rest of the tour.  This place was so beautiful, so unique, with a staff that went above and beyond to make us feel at home and a restaurant that fed us some of the most delicious food I've EVER tasted.  I was on a bill that night opening for a great husband-and-wife duo called Ellery, as well as fellow Californian, Brendan James.  I had the good fortune of playing to a crowd that was as friendly and welcoming as I could ever ask for; it was a great way to start the tour and I walked away feeling so excited.  That night we stayed with my aunt and uncle in Chicago and got to spend the next morning hanging out with my adorable little cousins, and getting some fresh air on a beautiful fall day in the city. 
On the 19th I was lucky enough to return to S.P.A.C.E. to see Michelle Shocked perform, who is an old family friend and inspiration to me on the highest level.  I have wonderful memories of one evening when I was maybe 10 or 11 years old, when Michelle came to a party at my family's home and jammed with the musicians there, playing songs like "Anchorage" which went on to become one of my very favorite songs.  Michelle was passing through Evanston on her own tour, during which she devotes a segment to something she calls "American Idle", where she has a local person talk about homelessness and times of economic crisis, and also invites a songwriter to share a song on the subject.  I had the privilege of singing my song "Storyteller" that night and again at Michelle's show in Iowa City on 9/22 at the beautiful Englert Theater.

The next few shows took us to the 1st Avenue Club in Minneapolis and Schuba's in Chicago where I opened for a talented young gent named  Matt Hires.  We were sad we didn't get more time to explore Minneapolis since we had to leave right after the show to start the long drive to Chicago.  That night we almost got stranded in the Middle of Nowhere, Wisconsin, where every hotel we tried at 1am was full.  Finally after another hour of driving and searching, we found a vacancy at the kind of motel where you keep your shoes on until you reach the bed, but before you get in the bed you have to check the mattress for bugs..... I'll just say that we didn't find any creepy crawlies that night, but after a few hours of nightmares about them I woke up at 8am ready to get out of there.

After the Chicago gig we had a nice couple of days off, visiting some more of my family in Joliet, IL where my Grandmother stuffed us with her incredible cooking and we caught up on some much-needed use of a laundry machine.
On the 28th I played a show with 2 dear friends that were teachers of mine back in 2008 when I spent several months studying at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.  Maura Lally and Peggy Browning were amongst my favorite teachers there and together with Lou Mitchell have a great little group called the Pickin' Bubs. It was such a treat to catch up with these old friends and even get to play a set of music together; I sat in on some of their original songs as well as a beautiful old song they taught me when I was a student called "Red Rocking Chair" which I still love to play.  They also accompanied me on one of my older songs, "Hands of A Pirate",  which I thought they might have to re-teach me how to play!  It wound up coming back to me though, and I really enjoyed myself that night.

The next 2 shows were in Bloomington, IN at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater which was a beautiful historic building that had once been a cinema and was refurbished and transformed into a beautiful Performing Arts Center, and in St. Louis, MO at the Sheldon Concert Hall which was another incredible building with tons of history as an Ethical Society that hosted speakers such as Albert Einstein. At these shows I was playing as support for Shawn Colvin, who I had the honor of doing a show with back in July in Boulder, CO, and I was so thrilled to get to share a stage with her again. She is truly a wonderful act to see live, performing solo acoustic and playing her well-known songs as well as some favorite covers of mine by Paul Simon, Tom Waits, and the Talking Heads.  She certainly has a wealth of material and is another great inspiration to me.  
The staff at both of these venues was genuinely kind and helpful, and I was humbled by the audiences that were amongst the most attentive and receptive I've ever played to.  A big hearty "Thank You" to all who took the time to chat with me after the shows, and supported the starving artist cause by taking home copies of my new record.  It was two magical nights that I won't be forgetting any time soon!

After one more show last night in Urbana, Illinois at the Canopy Club with Wye Oak, we are now officially homeward bound and making our way towards Boulder, CO to close the tour with a final show on 10/5 at the Fox Theatre where I'll be opening for Tyler James and Griffin House.  I can't wait to return to Boulder which has become one of my favorite places and therefore a perfect place to end this fantastic trip.  Once we get home I'll be jumping back into the mix with another solo show in Santa Cruz, CA on 10/9, followed by a full month of shows with my band honeymoon whose debut EP comes out October 19th.  It's been a great summer despite having flown by in what feels like a second, and I'm grateful to have gotten the chance to end it with an adventure such as this.  I send love and gratitude to the new friends I've made along the way- musicians, audiences, sound engineers, baristas- and hope to see you all again very soon! 

Love and Appreciation,

P.S.  Check back soon for an update with tour photos!