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Kari Marguerite and the 76 / Blog

Going to Tour...finally

Okay, maybe not the type of tour where you leave for weeks at a time....more like the type of tour where you leave for an extended weekend and drive like hell to get to your destination...

Why? Because, I have a day job. It's pretty cool and pays the bills far better than this music affair. Thankfully, it's a very flexible day job and it allows me to take a day off here and there and the world doesn't cave in and collapse, so it's all good.

It's very hard to do this touring thing, however. I really haven't quite figured out the secret of getting shows back to back in towns where you have little to no following. I'm sure that there will be some rude awakening, at some point, when I, familiar with my local hometown crowds, find myself facing an uninterested audience of 4. And I'll do my best to please them, to engage them, to win them over. I think it's good now and then to have a kick in the butt to send you back to reality.

There are a bunch of people, far more talented than I, more worthy of success than I, more marketable than I that should be touring, selling records, playing shows....yet they don't. The only thing I've got over those uber-talented folks is a relentless desire to do this...I work at it. I struggle and hope. I fall flat on my face and get back up and try again. I get told no so much it could be disheartening (don't get me started on how much Sonicbids bruises me on a daily basis), but I can't lose heart. It's all worth it for one "yes." To connect with one more person who enjoys my music, a kindred soul.

So, I'm off an adventure to find more of you kindred souls out there. Playing live, laying those songs out there, sometimes conceived while I'm at my most vulnerable, is oh so exhilarating and also exceptionally difficult. So I'll let myself be vulnerable on stage, because that's whats real.

I'm so lucky, fortunate, blessed (lottery-winning?) to have my bandmates, Evan and Chris along with me. They're families are so lovely to allow them to adventure off for the weekend for a pittance. Sleeping on floors....singing for our supper. Cramming 3 people and all our stuff into a 1999 subaru outback with a yakima rooftop cargo box..... However, even though it's not luxurious, I imagine we've got it pretty good. Roofs over our heads, meals, some funding. I don't think this is the staight-ahead, starving indie artist thing by a long shot....

HOWEVER....

When can we get that tour bus? And some roadies?

Cause that would be great....

It's all out of my hands

I had this little set of song babies. They were all darling and precious to me. I only entrusted them to only the most thoughtful of caretakers. I fretted and worried at every step. I did the best I could for them. They grew up and made friends. They started having lives of their own with every new person they encountered. They got sent to the east coast and got mastered. They are all grown-up now. They are still mine, but they are babies no more.

This fucking scares me to death.

I'm sorry for swearing, but sometimes only a good shocking "fuck" here and there can accurately express my feelings. That, and I grew up in Montana where it was a regular part the daily vocabulary. No one can swear as good as a good old Montana boy....well, that and people from New Jersey. So I have very high hopes. Unrealistic high hopes. It's fun to think that just ONE other person might like this music half as much as I do. What if TWO or TEN people like it? I think of all the music I have encountered in my life that spoke to me and my situation: Listening, in angsty teenage angst, to "August and Everything After" by the Counting Crows....marveling at the powerful feminity of Jill Scott's "Who is Jill Scott." .... Dreaming in a lovely floaty way to the transcendental sexuality of Zero 7's "Simple Things."

I cannot write a lyric like Adam Duritz. I cannot flow like Jill Scott, and I'll never sing like Sia, but I hope that what I can do, in my own way is just what someone, maybe you, was waiting for. Maybe it will comfort someone when they are feeling sad. Give them a nudge of courage when they are feeling scared. Give a bit of understanding when it seems they're all alone.

The flip side. It sucks. No one gets it, understands it, or gives a shit about it. Ugh. God, that is what keeps me up nights.

I really can't explain why it's an important element to me that other people are involved in this journey. It just is. While I might be a moody, brooding musician...sitting saturday's alone slaving over a verse or a turn of a phase....I actually can't feel the reality of what I'm doing until someone else is there sharing it with me.

So, it's out of my hands now. The songs are mastered. The albums are being printed. The contracts are signed. The funds have been debited from my bank account...ouch!

And, this is the biggest thing I have ever done. It's nothing in the larger scope of things. It's not even a drop in the bucket, but I love it entirely. I've never been more excited, hopeful, terrified and surprised....all at the same time.

And, I'll tell you about it. I'll give you lots of good reasons to listen. Who I sound like. How it feels like to listen to my tracks. I'll push and struggle trying to get this album into as many hands as I can. I'd like to sell some of them. Maybe sell enough so I can afford to do another one next year. Ultimately, the world is not composed of my zombie slaves (drat!) and you will decide what you want to do. However, know that I'll be deeply appreciative if you listen to a track. I'll be over the moon if you buy an album. I'll pee my pants if you tell your friends about it....but only figuratively.

But, really, it's in your hands now.

The CD is out on February 19th. The party will be at The A Club here in downtown Spokane. Hit up my website at www.karimarguerite.com and go "THE STORE" link. You can buy tickets there, and starting on February 5th, you can order your pre-sale copy of the album.

I hope to see you there. Or hear from you soon. Kari Marguerite

My own worst enemy

Is me. Yes, I have the uncanny ability to think the absolute worst of my self. And while good critical self introspection is an admirable thing, it sucks when you take it too far and start feeling like a piece of used chewing gum.

This is what happens to me, especially when I have a big challenge ahead. I'm playing a rather large show soon, and there will be a lot of people there. Obviously, I want to bring my A game. My songs are rehearsed and polished. I have my A-team with me (Chris, Evan and Eddie) and I know that my music will sound fantastic....

Little devil on my shoulder says (in an obnoxious voice, too) "Well, you don't sound like those other bands. They are all big rock bands. Look at you. You are NOT a rock band. You are jazzy. You are soulful. You are, ick! Shall I even mention the word. You are POP! How dare you! What if, god forbid, people are disinterested in your music. They came to rock, and NO ONE WOULD EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER mosh to one of your songs."

Devil on my shoulder is such an asshole.

And, no I don't want to be a ROCK band. I appreciate rock, I really do. My musical taste is pretty wide. I really love bands like Jet, Kings of Leon, Stone Temple Pilots, Foo Fighters, the White Stripes and Red Hot Chili Peppers. I can handle my rock, just as long as you sing, and not scream. That, honey, is not my thing.

However, when if comes right down to it, and the fingers hit the keys, I come out Jazzy, I come out soul, I come out pop. I guess it's the snob in me that would love to be the hip indie girl with this crazy sound that the kids in skinny jeans and recycled sally jesse raphael glasses would sit around and discuss on their way cool blogs and alternative arts and entertainment articles. Then again, you wouldn't catch me dead in unflattering mismatched clothing, so I guess I'll never be a hipster.

So if like to, sometimes, even without much embarrassment, say blare Earth Wind and Fire's best of hits at top volume from your car and sing along....

If you are not afraid to eat chocolate cake....

If you know several bad dance moves, and used to think they were awesome, and still break them out when you've been drinking....

If you love a good party dress (either wearing one for the ladies, or seeing ladies wearing one for the men)....

If you think word like lovely, precious and not used nearly enough....

Then you're with me.

I think I'm gonna be ok with that.

Maybe I finally get it

Maybe I don't. I go from sheer elation at learning and mastering a new song, so sheer dismay when it doesn't go as I planned when playing it live. However, I keep on, one foot after the other, and over time it's all coming together. EXCEPT, it's not going as fast as I want it to.

My mom and my closest friends would tell you that I'm a very impatient person. I think I can reasonably expect, with my quick mind and quick fingers, to master most things in approximately 2.2 seconds. This keeps on being proved false, but I keep on with my stubborn belief. It's just like how I tried really hard to believe in Santa Claus, even though I found subtle signs that it was all a sham (Mom put the carrots for the reindeer back in the vegetable crisper...frugal as always, but not very sneaky!)

Anyhow, now that I'm booking more long-format shows, It's a great motivator for me to finalize all these songs that are still in the "kinda, but not really finished" file so I can add them to my live set. I look back at the time when it was a challenge to play 2 sets, and I laugh, "kid, how far we have come, and how far we have to go!"

I'm also pushing it hard at the studio. I want a CD of my own. All my musical friends have one, and I want one too. It's a bit of a obstacle not having one, and I have nothing but a website in which to have non-live audiences listen to my tunes. This may cost me my funds for any sort of vacation in the next couple years, but I think it will be worth it to have something that once existed only in my head and have it turn into a physical thing that you can touch and experience too. And then the scary part, all those precious things in my head that are my little song babies go out into the big bad world. Will they be accepted and loved or scorned and ridiculed? I'm sure it will be equal parts of both, and hopefully my ego won't be too crushed at the inevitable bad review. I guess I need to practice putting my hands over my ears and scrunching my eyes closed and singing "la, la, la, I can't hear you."

Anyhow, I think we will pre-release a few tracks before the whole album as a little fan exclusive download. I'm feeling like this would be fun and a thank you to those of you who are supporting me and this adventure. I'm doing my best to get these finished as soon as possible, so bear with me. Thank you for reading, and until next time.

XoXo, KM

And on it goes

I keep looking at this blog, and I'm embarrassed, being a person prone to writing and self expression, that I have so little to account for on this little blog.

So, funny but true story. Sometimes I get on these "music" binges. I practice a lot, I rehearse a lot, a perform a lot, and it's almost like by doing this so much, my brain never turns off the music. I find myself dreaming music. Vivid music. Singing in my dreams.

The other night, in the midst of a music binge, I dreaming I was in this weird conglomeration of all the clubs I play, and there was a band on stage. There was a little kid singing, and it was a beautiful moving song, that I had NEVER heard before. I asked someone nearby, "what is that song? I love it." They tell me the name and I don't want to forget, so I write it on my hand. The dream goes on, and I am stage, I'm sining a song I had not sang before. But I know every word and change by heart. Then in the middle of that song, I wake up. I have the song still playing in my head.

But the first song in the dream, what was it? I wake and look at my hand. Hoping that I really had written it on my hand. No such luck. It was just a dream.

And now, a few words from our sponsors

Hi Everyone. I felt a little sad looking at my blank "BLOG" tab and thought I would write a few words here about what is going on with my music right now.

Actually, it's pretty exciting. I'm recording, what is seemingly turning out to be A GREAT record, at E's Place Studio under the careful and kind tutelage of Producer Eddie Ramirez. It's a wonderful revelation that I have some good stuff to contribute to the world, at least I think I do. And I just love to write songs. I love to perform and share my music. It's just such a fun and rewarding experience. I'm so lucky to be able to do this. It looks like the album will be (hopefully) done in Spring 2010. Then oh, what a party we will have! Stay tuned for that.

I'm also performing live on a semi-consistent basis. I am blessed to have met some wonderful musicians who are just so smart and musically inclined that they can join me live and it feels like we've been performing together for years. The live shows have been such a blast and even though we have probably drank more in martinis than we have made in dollars, I think it's probably the best thing I've done in 2009. Its so heartwarming to meet people that make a personal connection to your music.

Right now I'm working on new material for both the live act and for the studio. I spend too much time on the piano. I can start playing right after work and look up to see the clock at 10 pm. I'm almost thinking that my piano is some sort of time machine, moving me forward into the future. That feature was not listed in the specification manual....

Please if you have a chance, listen to my demos on line. Send me a note letting me know what you think. I really care and I value your honest opinion. I want my songs to be the best that they can possibly be. I have a thick skin, so hit me with your best shot.

Also, please come out to a live show. If you are jazz or soul musician with a knack for improv, maybe you'd like to join in. The more the merrier. Come up and introduce yourself.

I hope to see and meet you soon, Kari Marguerite