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.
Last night I went to The Moth Story Slam for the first time. Ten people get picked to go up on stage and tell a five-minute story. If they pull your name out of the bag, up you go. I was picked second.
My legs shook the whole time. I lost my place in the story twice, which was terrifying. A pause, a nervous laugh, then I somehow made it back on track. Did the audience notice?
I thought getting up on stage was one of my super powers. I’ve done it countless times. I don’t usually get that shaking in my legs – instead my nervous energy is fueled into performance energy. I know the playbook, I know where to go. It simply comes from doing it over and over again. Each show is a practice for the next.
So how was this different? I’m always telling stories when I introduce my songs. But the Story Slam was timed, with three sets of judges, and a crowd full of people who didn’t just come to hear me. I played a small part, but this wasn’t my show. It was unfamiliar territory.
Have you heard about the “French Jerry Seinfeld?” Hugely famous in his own country, Gad Elmaleh dared to move to the US to try his hand at American stand up. He found it thrilling and scary to throw a joke out there, not knowing if it would land. He struggled with learning the language, the culture; he fell flat many times. He could’ve gone back to France where everyone loved him, where he could do no wrong. But this was his American dream. He took that leap and now he has a special on Netflix.
What comes easy to you? What scares you? If you believe you have “stage fright” or “cold feet,” well by all means, jump right in! It’s only a hurdle and you’ll feel so great when you make it over. Welcome to the scary side of fun. 😬
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
Perfect segue to my song You Gotta Go Through. I’ll be breaking through “like a cannonball boom boom boom” this weekend – my first ever show at the Boom Boom Room! Read more about this happy hour set and other upcoming events here.
From Wikipedia: “A lei can be given to someone for a variety of reasons. Most commonly, these reasons include love, honor, or friendship for another person.” They forgot to mention “when onstage with Elvis.”
I was already wearing a lucky lei when Elvis called me on stage to serenade the Hawaiian Wedding Song. He held my hand, looked deep into my eyes, then looped another garland of flowers around my neck. I don’t think hubby Mark was jealous, as he was the one taking the video. My job was to hold the mic at Elvis’s mouth as he played ukulele. Little did he know how qualified I was for the job!
I was so impressed by this Elvis tribute artist and the show that he created. As a fellow musician, I enjoyed hearing his personal journey of performing as Elvis for the last 30 years. He called his 11-year stint in Las Vegas a “prison” – then he broke free and convinced a Maui theater to host his show (now running four years). Burn’n Love is the number one show in Maui and I’m so glad we spent Christmas night with the King!
I was impressed not only with the musicianship but with the physicality of the show – that 50-year old Elvis really had the moves! Darren Lee (his real name) has found his calling and really throws his whole self into it. He channels Elvis but also lets his true light shine.
It reminded me that there is no point in performing without love, honor and friendship for your audience. I might just be inspired to strut around onstage adorned with flowers like Elvis. Heck, why not incorporate leis into my every day? Here’s sending you Elvis love and aloha spirit as we face this new year.
Hey, hey look at me using the latest technology – my first FLASH DRIVE ALBUM!!! I know you’re thinking, “Didn’t Eve already put out a new album this year?” Why yes, yes I did. But then this amazing opportunity came up thanks to my dear friend Timothy (read about our bucket-list journey here) – so now I have more to celebrate!
I want everyone to experience this flash-drive thingy. Feeling so happy, I’m offering a “twofer” for the holidays: you can get the new Atmospheric Epic or any of my other albums for free with the purchase of the flash drive.
The beauty of social media is that you can project an image of being social, the life of the party, even when you’re feeling quite the opposite. Is this a good thing? Sometimes yes – I like seeing people (all animals, really) doing happy things. Don’t you?
This week I was dragged down by an end-of-season cold, but I was able to post from my sickbed a video of happier times (namely last week), when I was flying high over my song being played at the SF Giants game. Did you happen to catch it?
And tonight I will rally for a singing event, doing my best to fake it for the crowd at the Songwriter Salon at PianoFight. Will my voice, strangled by this cold, come back to me (for only three songs, please)? Dunno, but sometimes adrenaline kicks in and gets you most of the way. I had to perform Ave Maria at a church wedding last winter with no voice, and somehow I squeaked it out. Thank you for that divine intervention!
Speaking of divine experiences, I got to perform Ave Maria again this summer in the silo tank. I’ve been editing the tracks to create an album and the reverb goes for miles. No added reverb to the mix (no faking it here), just the natural reverberations of the sonorous tank. Here’s an example:
That’s my friend Tim, who took me to the tank in Rangely, Colorado. It was about 100 degrees in there, so we are faking it with our cool, calm and collected presence. No sweat! 😊
More to come soon; for now I wish you the happiest October (no faking!) and I will wave to you from Tokyo (for real, I’m going to visit Tokyo!). But first some local happenings for those close to SF:
9/29 TONIGHT at PianoFight, the Songwriter Salon hosted by a drag queen!
9/30 TOMORROW at AT&T Park, they’re playing my song City Light once more at the Giants game!
10/13 FRIDAY THE 13TH at the Lost Church, performing with my dear friend and fellow songstress, Jan Thompson!
(My, that’s a lot of exclamations. My excitement is real – as evidenced by this dancing cat cartoon)
Thanks, as always, for your good vibes and encouragement. Sending love!
So here it is, August, the month of my birth. I am experiencing a rebirth of sorts: shedding skin, bringing forth the latest version of me (in my fifth decade on Earth). Redefining myself as an artist during challenging times, especially now (perhaps every artist of every era says “especially now”). Sometimes all I feel is struggle; other times I feel exquisite flow, my body moving in time with the music in my soul.
Did you know I teach an exercise class for seniors? We sing, we dance, we punch the air to the Rocky movie theme (which is, incidentally, how I ended up with Rocky Balboa in one of my songs). I am their leader, their teacher – but they are really teaching me every week. They remind me to be playful, to interact, to MOVE!
Spring was a challenging transition for me – too much movement I suppose, with everything bursting forth at such volume. My new album release party was a smash. I’m so grateful to all who participated (my ten-piece band) and all those to came to listen. THANK YOU.
A few days later I flew to D.C. and wrote songs with/performed for hundreds of school children with my dear friend Mare. We had great fun on our mini whirlwind tour.
When I returned home, I was well worn out. At a time when I should’ve been ramping up, I simply retreated. I kept Facebook and email interactions to a bare minimum, and cocooned myself in a marathon Marie Kondo style tidying.
Other than singing with my students, I haven’t performed publicly since May. And that’s ok! I do feel like I am still on the ball, since two of my songs made it onto a pregame playlist at the SF Giants games. How exciting!
What happens next? First things first, I’m flying to Colorado to sing in a silo. Yep, the famous Tank Center for Sonic Arts – haven’t you heard? It’s a silo tank with marvelous acoustics. My friend is flying me out to record there on my birthday, August 24. I suspect this is where I’ll be emerging from the cocoon. Perhaps I’ll sound like a bee buzzing in the hive. Can’t wait to share tales of that experience with you.
In the meantime, check out what I’ve been up to in the past couple of months – working on a brand new website with gorgeous photos from Mike Lloyd Photography. Mike has a knack for making the person in front of his camera feel like a beautiful butterfly.
Speaking of being a poser, I asked Mike to take some yoga shots of me as well. This summer I’m celebrating my new status with IAYT, the International Association of Yoga Therapists. There’s a dedicated page on my website to tell you more about it.
Please kick the tires on my new site – I’d love to know what you think. There’s a new built-in player and a videos page. I want to give you more of what you want, so please tell me what you’d like to see. I welcome all comments and suggestions.
Wishing you love and new beginnings, especially now. 😘
Haven’t had a chance to get the new album yet? Go here to check it out.
“I am only human can’t you see
and I don’t have to leave
I break the mold
and here I hold
I hold, I hold, I hold”
Olivia Newton-John has my back. Not that we’ve ever met, but I know that she would approve of what I’m doing. And the kid in me is hopelessly devoted to that beautiful, squeaky-clean blonde with the voice of an angel.
I associate ONJ with Grease, Xanadu and Let’s Get Physical. These sounds of my childhood bring me back to a certain time, place, even trigger smells of my past in a way that only songs can do. I love that about music!
The other day I was delighted to hear Olivia speak on the radio with two fellow songwriters about their new grief project, LIV ON. I recognized one of the others, Beth Nielsen Chapman, and her powerfully moving song, Sand and Water, about the death of her husband.
That also brought me back in time to the day when Beth performed this song for me and fellow Berklee students when we visited Nashville. Inspiring moments like these are what led me to move to Music City after graduation.
So here I am in my kitchen, 12 years later, getting tingles listening to this same song while chopping up vegetables for dinner. I find it such an indulgent treat to spend an hour listening to people talk about their creative passions. It doesn’t matter if I’ve ever heard of them before, it doesn’t matter if their style or subject matter is unfamiliar. I am always inspired and invigorated by the boldness of their vision.
Let me take a moment to rave about this radio program called Art of the Song. Each show is a gift – like the one I just heard – deftly carved out by hosts John Dillon and Viv Nesbitt. John and Viv have dedicated their lives to boosting the creative spirit; in fact, they have begun a collective called The Standing “O” Project to help musicians thrive through community-based support.
Do yourself a favor and honor their work by signing up for the free trial. You will love the experience of it.
Listen to as many shows as you like (over 200 Art of the Song interviews) – some from famous stars who have well-worn grooves in your mind, and others like me who are friends you’ve yet to meet. If you become a subscriber (for a small monthly fee), you’ll continue to feel the joy of this unique platform of engaging with artists and their treasured stories.
I’m spreading the word because I really want this to succeed. All creative doers deserve to be supported. We help each other thrive and survive in this world.
As for me, just like Olivia Newton-John, I have my own song about grief. Inspired by the death of Robin Williams and the communal mourning that followed, it’s also influenced by old Appalachian songs about life and death that were passed down from generation to generation. Songs about grief are often about community and that’s a good thing. We help each other through it. That’s why I write.
$15 in advance/$20 at the door
Doors 7 pm, Show 7:30 pm
Opening act: Justin Seagrave (www.justinseagrave.com)
Location: Monument (140 9th Street @ Mission and Howard) in San Francisco
Full bar (no food service). Bring extra $$ to buy an autographed copy of Atmospheric Epic!
For those outside the Bay Area, watch the live streaming concert on Concert Window.