Last night I had the pleasure, yes pleasure, of going to a Robert Earl Keen show @ Joe's Sports Bar in Chicago. Here's a guy who's been writing master storytelling songs, touring and living life by his own terms for over 30 years. It was inspiring. He was totally in the moment, the crowd LOVED him, many knew every word to every song he sang and I was only about 15 feet away from him and his wonderful band. I'd never heard of Keen until I moved to Austin 15 years ago. And though I suspect there are still a lot of folks who've never heard of Keen, to me, what I experienced last night is all I could ever hope for with my own music. Keen is the real deal...that's what I strive for!
It's redeye time, after 11pm, as I board the JetBlue flying from Seattle to Boston. Approaching my aisle seat I'm slightly miffed the middle seat is taken but looking upward, a guitar case and one that might hold a banjo peer back at me. So I smile and ask the passenger next to me if he's carrying a banjo. My mistake; both cases house guitars but the question leads to an interesting conversation about the risks of traveling with guitars while touring. I mention my SKB traveling case and J-45 Gibson and my seatmate is impressed.
He then introduces me to the young man seated to his right, who's only slightly awake, and tells me they're both musicians headed to Boston where the son will attend summer school at Berklee. I'm impressed by that and somehow we then start talking about gigging, touring and recording.
The middle seater asks about my style of music and after describing it as "jazzy, bluesy, folk-rock" I hand him my card with band URL and urge him to listen and decide for himself. When I ask him for his, he says, "I don't have one but I'm easy to find online. My name's David Raitt." I look at him closely and then say, "Raitt, as in Bonnie Raitt!!!???" to which he replies, "yeh, Bonnie's my sister and he's her nephew!" I exclaim "I LOVE her!!" which of course I do. David has played with Bonnie over the years and will soon tour with his own band in the Northwest. Moral of the story, I'm so glad I got out of my head, looked around and was open to having a conversation with the guy in the middle seat.
Happy July and Summer (that is if you're N of the equator!) It's only ~65 ℉ (~18 ℃) here in Seattle so cooler than many places in the USA -- ahh!
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The drive on North I-5 from Eugene to Portland was smooth and beautiful with high 70s temps, sun, low traffic but also friendly fellow travelers at the Salem area reststop. Check-in at the Heathman, my favorite Portland hotel with Andy Warhol originals donning every floor, was painfree and cordial. So I get to my room, unpack a few things and decide to check out the workout room a couple floors down. The elevator door opens and a man and woman are already inside and my eyes hook on the woman, she's familiar, very familiar as I go through a mental rolodex that within seconds serves and compels me to blurt out, "I love GLEE!!" to which the tall, elegant woman responds, "thanks so much!" -- yes, I've just shared a two floor ride with the incomparable Jane Lynch aka "Sue Sylvester" who I later find out is in Portland to give a talk and read from her new book...pretty cool.
Had the most amazing day @ NPR's offices today! I got to meet Michel Martin of "Tell Me More" and was there for a live interview. I also met Bob Boilen and Anya Grundmann of NPR Music and saw the Tiny Desks studio. Amazingly, I also performed impromptu "A Buddha State of Mind" for a tour group from Texas and New Mexico...the NPR team handed me a Gibson guitar and I was off to the races...LOL!! As a member of listener-supported KEXP family, someone who's performed at World Cafe Live! and LONG-TIME NPR listener and supporter, being at the mother-ship was a dream come true.
I got really excited about tonight. Why? Well today was to be the day I finally "played" Santa Fe. You see, I've been here since mid-April and have even taken guitar lessons but had yet to get on a stage. I'd done research and decided the open mic at Sol Santa Fe was just the place. Heck, they were even offering to record my performance (and everyone elses). What a deal! Sure, it's not downtown (where i live) and it'd take about 30 minutes to get there, but no problem given all the upside I imagined. The first danger sign was the phone number. The number listed on Sol's website was "out of order." Huh? No email contact info either. So I called the club next door -- Santa Fe Brewing Co. -- the phone works but the guy on the other end says something like, "well we only share a parking space and that's a separate business...but here's there number." So I call the number given and get voicemail. All these signs were pointing of course to what in fact happened. I pack up my guitar and gear, load the car and drove 30 minutes only to enter a virtually empty club with every chair stack on the club's tables. My friend says to me, "I don't think there's an open mic in THIS place tonight.' Just as she says this a dude appears -- Brian -- who basically informs us he's new, doesn't know anything about open mics and...did you check our website? I almost lose it at this point but compose myself enough to say, "man, YOU, need to check your website!" The evening ended just fine though. My friend and I found a great pub in town and were able to laugh the whole thing off. Moral of the story: I guess I just wasn't meant to play music tonight!
The Taos sun rises early at Mabel Dodge Lodge while the tweets of morning seep through the cracked door expectantly...it's my BIRTHDAY! Thanks fans for your enduring support...it means so much. Life is good here in New Mexico. A wonderful guitarist, Tim Valentine, is teaching me new stuff -- fingerpicking and music theory, I've started to really get into Hatha Yoga and the band is scheduling rehearsals for when I return to Seattle in June. If you're in Seattle then, we're playing @ Triple Door Musicquarium on 6/24. I'm also totally jazzed about getting to visit NPR Music in early June...who knows, maybe I'll land a spot on Tiny Desks! If you've not done so, I'd be honored if you'd "like" my FB page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Emerging-Artist-Paula-Boggs/126301764061456
Many of my fans speak English, Spanish or Hebrew. This is just a short note to say "thanks for your support!" Please keep listening and tell your friends. You can download for free and listen to any of my music through "Paula Boggs Band" App on ITunes.
רבים מעריצים ג'נגו שלי לדבר אנגלית, ספרדית או עברית. זו רק הערה קצרה לומר "תודה על התמיכה שלך!" נא לשמור על הקשבה לספר לחברים שלך. ניתן להוריד בחינם ולהאזין לכל המוסיקה שלי דרך App "פולה בוגס Band" ב-iTunes.
Muchos de mis fans Jango hablan Inglés, español o hebreo. Esto es sólo una pequeña nota para decir "gracias por su apoyo!" Por favor, mantenga escucha y dile a tus amigos. Usted puede descargar de forma gratuita y escuchar a cualquiera de mi música a través de "Paula Boggs Band" App Store en iTunes:
Trip to Santa Fe 4/8/12 Morning comes early to Pendleton. It's 7:45 and the day is nearing old. Earlier the thump, thumps outside the window and down below suggest So'leil and Kaanie, our horses, aren't quite sure these digs meet their needs. They're good now though, grazing from a pasture ribboned with yellows, greens and just a hint of rust from the railings that keep them safe and in. Breakfast is hearty and tasty -- a cup o' joe washes down the eggs, bacon and muffin. A bed and barn satisfies us before pack up, back on the road towards Boise and beyond. Martin, the horse guy prepares to pack our precious freight back in their stalls as Lil'ley, the yellow lab from heaven smiles. "In riding a horse we borrow freedom," speaks the mantle's plate. Life is good. Happy Easter!
Michael Buble crooning Georgia on My Mind as we close in on Boise.
Reviewed by: Mike DeGagne, Freelance Music Critic, AllMusic _ Paula Boggs’ unique voice, sharp and witty writing, and knack for producing slick melodies and jazzy-bluesy rock music is enlightening to say the least. Her music is folksy at times, pop-like at others, and balanced out by some charming mid-tempo stuff that is quite refreshing. On A Buddha State Of Mind, her latest release, there’s a little bit of everything to choose from. Playing acoustic guitar, her material is part Janis Ian and part Carole King, with a wee bit of Tracy Chapman thrown in on the vocal end of things, but her authentic voice makes all of her work sound genuine, modern, and reflective. Her album kicks off with a pair of tunes titled “A Buddha State Of Mind” and “Peel The Charade”, which highlight her tender yet powerful singing talent and nestles in amongst some great melodies, easy rhythms, and original lyrics that are intelligent and poignant without sounding pretentious. There’s a sort of “coffeehouse” feel to her music, but only in the comforting sense, as her material is far beyond the amateurish level. “Miss Ruby Kirby Blues” has a familiar sounding blues romp to the beat and to the rhythm, but Boggs’ voice gives the tune an edgier feel and a down-home type of essence to the entire play out of the song. There’s a great easy-going rock thrust to “Look Straight Ahead”, helped along by some effective cymbal crashes and a catchy hook in the guitar lines. Here, Boggs sounds excellent, boosting the slow incline of the song’s progression with her singing, and then giving way to some nice guitar work at the song’s finale. “Someone Else” has a sweet tenderness to its flow and to Boggs’ poetry of love and loss. Soothed by the tender, mellow guitar and piano, this track packs both passion in her voice and a disheartening air in the lyrics, as the song centers around “finding out” that your love has found someone else. “Blue”, a piano guided ballad of vocal zeal and sincere lyrical outpouring has Boggs sounding her finest. With the lonely piano painting the backdrop, Boggs’ singing plays along nicely with the melody and accentuates certain words at just the perfect time. “Finer Thread” is another impressive rock song with a blues/rock backdrop, including more noticeable guitar playing that mimics a Dire Straits type of feel at times. The following track, “Rock and Roll” changes gears a bit, as Boggs covers the Led Zeppelin classic with a slightly half-paced rockabilly cadence. It’s kind of a bluesy number, but with the time signature changing completely from the original, Boggs ends up putting a unique spin on the hard rockin’ classic that’s interesting and out-of-the-ordinary to say the least. “Toll The Bell” is another slow piece heightened by some beautiful violin playing, while “Traces Of You” has a dream-like effect in its wavy melody and laidback advance. The album ends with “Original Sin“, a decent number that involves more wonderful guitar work and an appealing tempo. The whole of A Buddha State Of Mind is invigorating and refreshing, and sounds professionally innovative in its song craft and musical composition. Paula Boggs gives each of her 12 tracks a personality of their own, and her album makes for a charming listen from start to finish. There’s sure to be more to come from this talented songstress in the near future. Review by: Mike DeGagne Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)