We were commenting that we’d only had a handful of nice days so far this spring. Well today is the nicest one yet. I am writing from our back patio, a private oasis for a million eyes to see (remember that movie, Rear Window?).
Staying at home has led to a serious nesting phase. I’ve painted furniture, I’ve hung a gallery wall, I’ve ordered plants galore. Laszlo the cat has never enjoyed so much togetherness.
I found myself singing for spring in another online music festival. Fun! The whole family unit made a surprise appearance during one of the songs. Highlight of the show for me.
Click image to hear song. If you’re in the mood to be serenaded, you can also watch the whole half-hour set: Eve sings songs for spring
As summer approaches, I wonder what else I can offer in an outward way. I’m feeling a need for more connection, less hibernation. I rely on my yoga training to guide me through shifts in seasons and surroundings, as this is my first springtime in NY.
Back in SF, I led an exploration of seasons and chakras. Ritual is such an important part of self-care. My aunt wrote a book about it, and I use this as part of my teaching. We are now midway through our spring-to-summer transition.
I’m planning to host an online meditation session for this particular shift of seasons. I’ll be sending out details soon. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll put you on the list!
We all had plans, didn’t we? When our House Hunters International episode aired two months ago, I had eyes on leading a yoga retreat in Portugal – lining up the location and pricing for October and getting ready to send out an email blast.
Now I find myself retreating inward more and more. No outward plans. Cagey in the heart of the concrete jungle.
At home, I’ve been staring at the cover of Georgia O’Keeffe, The New York Years. I ordered this 30-year-old art book when I found out O’Keeffe used to live in our building. One thing I love about New York is pondering all the creative ghosts that have walked these streets for centuries.
Here’s the view from our building, taken from O’Keeffe’s penthouse apartment in 1936. These ghostly skyscrapers were new then. The ones I’ve pointed out are still standing and I walked by all of them today.
I have mixed feelings when I go outside – guilt and relief entwined. I take an empty Sunday stroll down 5th Avenue, remembering throngs of people on this street when we first landed in New York during the holidays. Today I see a ghost town, with no more than five scattered figures at a distance. Instead of people watching, I’m peering into frozen window displays.
It reminds me of a song I learned while a student at Berklee College of Music: I Remember – a Sondheim tune from the 1966 TV movie, Evening Primrose. Turns out it was filmed one Sunday morning at Stern’s department store across from Bryant Park, which is where I am standing now.
The store closed long ago, but I conjure up echoes of the stars Anthony Perkins and Charmian Carr (that’s Liesl from Sound of Music). Here’s a synopsis of the film:
The people are gone. The doors are locked. Darkness descends inside a department store. Fleeing the pressures of the outside world, an unhappy poet is at last alone. But not for long. In his newfound sanctuary, he comes across a group of hermits who have been hiding there for years. Among them is a girl with whom he falls in love.
She wants to see outdoors (having been stuck inside since she was a child); but when they attempt their escape, they are turned into mannequins. Pretty gloomy stuff. Yet I find her song absolutely beautiful:
I remember sky It was blue as ink Or at least I think I remember sky. I remember snow Soft as feathers Sharp as thumb tacks Coming down like lint And it made you squint When the wind would blow. And ice like vinyl On the streets Cold as silver White as sheets Rain like strings And changing things Like leaves. I remember leaves Green as spearmint Crisp as paper. I remember trees Bare as coat racks Spread like broken umbrellas. And parks and bridges, Ponds and zoos, Ruddy faces, Muddy shoes, Light and noise and Bees and boys And days.
Certainly there are many silver linings in our sequestering. My solo exploration led me to that building on the O’Keeffe book cover, which has been overlooking Bryant Park for almost a hundred years. I’ve never noticed it before, with all the usual busyness of that space. Today it stands out in stark relief.
One more ghost for you: my younger self and singing voice captured during my music school days. Click image or button below to hear my rendition of Sondheim’s I Remember (with fellow student Joe Smith on piano).
So many changes since I last wrote. I’m at a loss for words these days, so I thought I’d share in pictures instead of paragraphs. Thank you for keeping up with me. Here’s the recap of my last six months.
Goodbye, San Francisco. Hello, New York.
We spread our wings with a new address plus travels plus TV show for all the world to see:
I’ll take Manhattan
Thank you India
House Hunters International – A Dream Divided in Portugal
My husband Mark got a job offer in New York City, so we moved to Midtown Manhattan at the end of the year.
In January/February, Mare Wakefield invited me on the trip of a lifetime: India. We went to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Varanasi and Chennai.
Back to NY and ready to get to know my new city.
Surprise – we also bought a vacation home in Portugal! We weren’t allowed to share the news until our House Hunters International episode came out. Filmed in August/September, it aired on March 7, 2020.
Above scenes from our favorite restaurant, Nó de Gosto in Tavira, Portugal. Below, a few more stills followed by link to watch the show.
The episode is now available On Demand. Search by “House Hunters International Season 152, Episode 6, A Dream Divided in Portugal.”
Summer travel plans? Do tell! We’ll be returning to the southern coast of Portugal in a couple of weeks – I’ve got things percolating there and I can’t wait to share. Stay tuned for news of octopuses and pink flamingos!
Meanwhile, with all of our daily “busyness” going on, I’m sending a gentle reminder about the health benefits of live music. Certainly music heals, but scientific studies show that experiencing live music is even more beneficial in terms of lowering cortisol, boosting mood and fostering a sense of community and sympathy for others. We could all use more of that!
This is why I make music
It feels good and the good-feelies are contagious. I know it, I feel it in my bones. So take a vacay from your devices (and other vices) and find a way to let live sound waves wash over you!
Come to my show in San Francisco (see below) or meet me in Portugal and we’ll serenade the pink flamingos. Or hey, just call me up and I’ll sing you a song over the phone. I’m happy to serve! 😀
To find out more about upcoming Eve events, follow this link to my events page.
February 20, we’ll be live streaming on Concert Window for Movie Songs Night: The Sequel! Stay cozy and watch us from your desktop or device.
For those of you who have tuned in before, you know how much fun these shows are. Steven and I will be playing one song per decade, 1920s – 2000s. And you get to guess the movie! Details on how to sign up below.
Just in time for the Oscars, we are doing a special theme for our next Concert Window performance on Wednesday, February 20 at 8:30 EST/5:30 PST. This is a live online show – pay what you want, watch it from anywhere. A lightning round of music in about 30 minutes; buy your tickets ahead and log on early so you won’t miss a beat!
We’ll be doing one favorite movie song from each decade, from the 1920s to the 2000s.
Curious to see what we pick? We’ll also have an interactive contest during the show – the first person to correctly name the movie corresponding to the song (without using Google) will win a prize. This is gonna be fun!
We’re learning all new songs for the sequel, so it’s a whole new ballgame. Hope it inspires you to join us, from my living room to yours! Cheers!
I’m feeling inspired this end of year. And emotional too. Waves of sadness and joy – which seems pretty typical for the month of December. A collective ritual time surrounded by holiday angels and ghosts.
Our sweet kitty Zelda left us on Thanksgiving weekend, and I’ve been showering her brother Laszlo with love as best I can. This death in the family is bringing me back to 2006: we lost our first cat, Rum Tum Tugger in February of that year, then my grandmother (who we called Mima) in June, and we welcomed kittens Zelda and Laszlo in August.
Mark and I bought our house in Nashville that summer and were still moving in when I got a call from my mom. Mima (her mother) had been asking if I could come perform a concert for her and her “buddycakes.” As I sat there amid packing boxes, I thought I couldn’t possible go – I was much too busy.
After hanging up the phone, I heard this little voice in my head telling me to go. So I left Mark with the boxes and flew to North Carolina the very next weekend. I performed 12 beloved standards for Mima and her friends at the Montpelier Presbyterian Church in Wagram NC.
What a surprising send off. Even though Mima was quite frail and had been having blackouts, no one believed she was near death. She was still playing (and winning) at bridge! She was still going for walks!
That Saturday night, she was beaming from the audience.
I remember thinking after the concert that if I died tomorrow, this was the most important thing I could ever have done in my life – performing for Mima and her friends (all well into their eighties) in this small church in a small town.
Sunday night, we stayed up late in her bedroom, just the two of us; she had blacked out again and when she came to we started singing. I sat at her bedside and held her hand. I have never felt such strength and power as I did that night, coming through her hand into mine as we sang “You say to-may-toh, I say to-mah-toh ….”
She died sometime during the night. She looked like a little bird, eyes closed, mouth slightly open, peace-sign socks on her feet. I had to call my mom and tell her that her mother was gone.
A few days later the same church was packed full of mourners, every single one crying as I sang “I’ll Be Seeing You” with freshly penned bridge lyrics that came to me as a vision after she died. I felt the power of Mima holding me up with her hand, helping me through it.
Here’s the Mima version of I’ll Be Seeing You:
I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places that this heart of mine embraces all day through
All those lazy days down by the riverbank The morning ocean breeze The cat’s meow The pecan trees
I’ll be seeing you in every lovely summer’s day In everything that’s light and gay I’ll always think of you that way I’ll find you in the morning sun and when the night is new I’ll be looking at the Moon but I’ll be seeing you
If you’ve gotten this far in this long story, I want to share a fresh piece of inspiration for the holidays. I asked Essence Goldman to come speak to a group of musicians this week. She spoke of the highs and lows of her career, a path that led her to Bernie, a voice student of hers who ended up with ALS. His lifelong dream was to put out an album of his songs; he asked Essence to be his voice.
You may have heard this story on NPR. If not, I highly recommend you watch this video of Essence and Bernie. She sings at his hospital bedside and it brings back the power I felt that night with Mima. Essence’s story reminded me that the most important thing we can do in this world is use our gifts to create connection and be of service to others.
I wish for you an inspiring holiday and end of year. Let your heart be light. If you’d like some Eve music, you can buy from my online store and I’ll send you a gift.
I’d love to bring some cheer your way. And hear from you as well. We lift each other up and I’m grateful to each and every one of you.
I recently had the privilege of singing Tom Petty’s song, Southern Accents in our shared hometown of Gainesville, Florida. Petty went to my high school (class of ‘68) twenty years ahead of me.
When I offered to sing this song at my 30th high school reunion, I had no idea that the whole town would be celebrating Tom Petty that same weekend. Our reunion happened to fall on what would have been his 68th birthday.
I performed with fellow ‘88 alum Ramey Littell on keys, as well as Gainesville’s current mayor Lauren Poe on cello (class of ‘89). I created a slideshow celebrating Gainesville High School, including past and future generations.
My 80’s outfit: pink Oxford shirt, ruffled skirt, big hoop earrings, rope bracelets and gold-dipped Converse.
It was a sweet moment to share with old friends, some I have known since elementary school. I am thankful for Tom Petty’s beautiful songwriting and his homage to his Southern roots. He is our hometown hero and I am proud of where I come from!
While I was unable to capture live audio from the event in Gainesville, I have a recording of Ramey and me as we practiced the song here in SF. Enjoy!
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
Fog, an American Haiku by
Carl Sandburg, 1916
I remember this poem from long ago (high school? a past life?) – it has come back to me in recent weeks. As I sit here in my living room watching the fog roll in, my kitty Zelda is by my side.
Zelda is dying. We’ve known this for awhile, but she’s had no symptoms until now. All of a sudden she’s become frail, stopped eating solid food, and yet she has made it quite clear that she’s not ready to go just yet.
I have written songs about fog and a (previous) dying cat, and they are swirling in my head. I’ve been here before and I know what’s coming. But this time I’ve been given an unexpected gift: six months of kindness.
Before Zelda’s diagnosis, I had a pattern of waking up in the middle of the night while Zelda terrorized me with those damned cat feet – incessantly scraping along the floor, the door, the wall, the bed. She wanted my attention, and I responded with yelling, fist-pounding the mattress, chucking her off the bed. Who knew a yoga teacher and love-song singer could spew so much anger?
When the doc said she probably had six months left, I immediately let the anger go. When she scraped, I just let her do it. When she curled up next to my head, I let her stay without one ounce of irritation. And you know what? Everything shifted. She abandoned her scraping routine, and we became cuddly friends. We’ve both relaxed a lot.
I’ve been thinking about this lesson: what if I looked at every being around me as having a six-months-to-live sentence? Can I please have presence and kindness be my fallback instead of anger? Can I let it go? For their sake and mine?
I’m pretty sure I knew this already. After all, it’s in the lyrics of my song, Fog. I recognize the power of releasing anger, even when it means being vulnerable with yourself and others.
That’s the theme I shared onstage at The Moth six months ago: “The Evil Hippie Diva Had No Manners.” I got the audio of my story and am ready to share it with you now, warts and all:
I received such a gift this May: a woman flew me to Boston to sing in her wedding because she (and her soon-to-be husband) fell in love at my show six years ago. How sweet is that?
Click on image above to watch a short video clip of Eve’s original wedding song, Do You Remember
My love for creating music is sometimes marred by the blue meanies. And I mean that nobody-cares-kind-of-feeling blue that appears once in awhile. All creators go through this. It takes love to make art, but it also takes guts!
So I keep plugging away, even though the hard stuff is really hard. I wish I could say I never grumbled about it. Sometimes I do.
But then beautiful gifts come my way and I know that it’s all worthwhile. I get to be a part of someone’s special day. Somebody tells me my song made them feel better. I feel supported by people who care about what I have to contribute to the world. And I am grateful.
This weekend I get to share my passion about Blossom Dearie, a piano-playing singing diva from the 50’s and beyond. I have been asked to perform a tribute show, so I get to share my favorite songs and stories and talk about how she’s influenced my own music.
I’ll talk about my recent fanatical scavenger hunts in Paris, London and New York where Blossom used to live and work. And how I got to interview Bob Dorough, the creator of Schoolhouse Rock, who hired Blossom to sing “Figure 8” back in the 1970’s. Bob just passed this spring; he was still gigging in NYC at the ripe old age of 94.