Justif / Blog

Fall fun

Happy fall!! We're enjoying some cooler temps and getting festive with pumpkin fever & lots of Oktoberfest fun! We can't wait to carve ours this year... after all, Halloween is one of our favorite holidays! Its the ONE day a year we all get to dress up and be CRAZY (which works out perfect for musicians since we're dressed up & crazy 99% of the time)!

Seriously, its been a long, hot summer, and its just nice to turn the air conditioners off and feel the slightly chilled breeze in the evening air... and on that note, some of our outdoor venues will be closing their stages shortly (for the Texas "winter") and won't have live music again until March. So, if you haven't yet experienced Uncorked or Freddie's Place... now's the time to be there!

But, while we're leaving some places for the season, we'll be returning to others, like our favorite little Italian spot Romeo's for their Friday Night Supper Club series. This time, we'll be bringing our AMAZING violin player, Miss Jenna G. along for the pasta! In fact, our schedule appears light in the months ahead, but its packed with lots more band action as we're joined by "the Missing Pieces" (Jenna G.-violin & Samantha Burge-vocals) for our "Acoustic Austin" shows, Freddie's Place, and our Crowbar shows are FULL band all the way! We're actually getting ready to welcome a bass player to the mix, which would finally make us complete! Next up: get in the studio and finish our CD. But first.... maybe we'll have some Halloween fun! ;)

May flowers

May is one of our favorite times in Austin. The wildflowers are in FULL bloom, there's trips to Lake Travis and the greenbelt, and lots of music in the air! We've been so lucky to have the full schedule we do. Thankfully, we've found homes at some very chill wine bars in town, where we can honestly call the staff friends.

We're also continuing to grow and find new and interesting places to play... as is the case with Stompin' Grounds and Maggie Mae's. We had the chance a few weeks ago to fill in for our friend Derek Winters at Maggie Mae's, and fell in love with the stage. Thanks to our very good friend, Mikey, he hooked us up with the show, provided amazing sound and support, and even helped us create a banner for a projection backdrop while we were performing. Normally, we avoid 6th St., but on this particular night in April, the place was full of new & interesting people who really and truly love live, local music! What a pleasant surprise!

This month, we're hoping for a bit of the same magic as we make our way to S. Congress and the Stompin' Grounds stage. Funny story here is that a friend of ours had told us we should check out the place and try to hook up with a show. But, we thought by the name of the place that it'd be a coffee shop, and we've really stopped pursuing such venues. Of course, we were wrong- its really a kick-ass bar that even serves some food too, but, most importantly, they are fully stocked! We'll be playing there next Sunday, Mother's Day, and we've got specials they let us pick based on our friends likes (so, they'll be plenty of $3.50 Jacks and Jims flowing around)! 9-11pm- you don't want to miss it! Really, we're just thankful to be back in the swing of things! We had another successful OSMF (where it actually did NOT rain, for once), but boy, were we exhausted afterwards. We witnessed such amazing performances- again! They even seemed to save some of the best for last.... and for our Campground stage, which we were managing. David Francey, from Canada, was one of the most amazing story-tellers we've come across, and then the acoustic ukulele of Mr. Jake S. (his name is impossible to spell) from Hawaii had the entire audience listening in so intently that you could hear a pin drop. His encore was "Bohemian Rhapsody" need I say more...

So, while the weekend fed our musical souls, we left feeling very exhausted and dusty (cause literally, everything in our camp was covered in a nice layer of Texas dust)! Now, after a couple full weeks of shows, we've come to May and a bit of a slow-down for us. We've got a few less shows, so hopefully we can get back to some writing/recording. Fingers crossed! You never know whats really in store, with the end of spring and the coming of summer upon us! Here's hoping for a little rain so we all have somewhere to swim during the hot months that lie ahead...

Spring is sprung

Can you believe April’s here? Spring is officially sprung, and we absolutely love this time of year! The wildflowers are blooming, the sun is shining (without being too hot yet), and the music season is in full swing.

We’re taking the middle of April off to work the Old Settlers Music Festival, where we’re the campground stage managers (its one of our favorite festivals). It was one of the smartest moves we made upon moving to Austin. The OSMF volunteers have been an extended family of sorts, and through the festival, they've introduced us to countless amazing Austin players. Its been an excellent education!

And the Baker St. shows are continuing to grow in numbers and talent. Our fingers are crossed we get to continue the project, cause lord knows, when push comes to shove, its all about numbers. So, please, spread the word! We’re very excited to see where it all goes after this month!

March Madness

March madness has set in and its going to be one crazy month! First Mardi Gras, then St. Patrick’s Day, followed by one of the biggest music festivals in Austin: SXSW! We’re gearing up our BIGGEST month yet… and its not just the festivities that have us excited!

This month, we’re taking on a new stage and a new project! The former Alligator Grill has re-opened as the new Baker St. Pub & Grill… and this south Lamar location is quickly becoming a venue for live music. Since opening at the end of January, its taken some time to get things up and running, but everything’s quickly falling into place. And thanks to the outcry for “original” local music, we’ll be playing there Thursday nights in March… and we’re bringing our friends with us! We’re calling the evenings “Acoustic Austin” and each week, we’ll be featuring different local Austin musicians… together, we’ll share the stage for some spectacular nights of FREE music at our most intimate best!

Here’s where you can find JUSTIF this month:

-Thurs. March 3rd @Baker St. Pub & Grill (3003 S. Lamar)… 9pm-2am (featuring William Wallace, Kole Hansen, & special guest Douglas Jay Boyd) -Sat. March 5th @House Wine (just off Barton Springs & S. Lamar)… 8-11pm -Thurs. March 10th @Baker St. Pub & Grill… 9:45-1:45am (featuring Quinn Walton, Dave Phenicie) -Fri. March 11th @Fion Wine Pub (Bee Caves)… 7-9pm -Sat. March 12th @Fion Wine Pub (Steiner Ranch)… 7-9pm -Thurs. March 17th ST. PATTY’s DAY!! @Baker St. Pub & Grill… 4:30-8:30pm

SXSW UNOFFICIAL SHOWS: - Fri. March 18th @Simplicity Wine & Eats (Burnet Rd. & 49th)… 7-10pm - Sat. March 19th “SX620” @Iguana Grill (Ranch Road 620 N.)… 5-6pm - Sat. March 19th @House Wine (off Barton Springs & S. Lamar)… 9-10pm -Thurs. March 24th @Baker St. Pub & Grill… 9:45-1:45am(featuring Sean Mullin, Kalu James) -Thurs. March 31st @Fion Wine Pub (Steiner Ranch)… 7-9pm

As ALWAYS, all our shows are FREE! And yes- even the SXSW shows… so, if you’re looking for an alternative to the pricey downtown madness, you know where to find us! Also, the Saturday March 19th show’s part of a huge line-up for “SX620”: a 3-day fest in conjunction, but not part of SXSW, and located at the Iguana Grill overlooking beautiful Lake Travis. Another bonus is Justin’s artwork will be on display (along with a handful of other local Austin artists), so you can see for yourself what he does during those cold winter months! For more information, check out: www.sx620.com Hope your March is filled with just the right amount of madness! Cheers to green beer and souvenirs!

Baby, its cold outside... or at least it was

Its been a crazy couple of weeks, hasn’t it? February’s always the coldest month of the year, it seems, and this year takes the cake! Where were you during the Austin 2011 blizzard?

Seriously, its been incredibly chilly out, but we’ve managed to keep ourselves busy… and now the music’s really starting to heat up! Just this last weekend, we had the opportunity to play on the new S. Austin Baker St. (a.k.a. the south Sherlock’s) stage, thanks to the bad weather and band cancellations, and it was a great show! We asked Brett Randell and Craig Marshall to join us at the last minute, and it became a trial run for our future March dates there… we’re thinking of calling them “Acoustic Austin” nights. Twice a month, we’ll play the Baker St. stage, along with one or two other local Austin musicians we‘ll feature, in an attempt to bring the people back to original acoustic music. We’re really excited for the opportunity and can’t wait to see how it all works out!

Busy Bees

My, my, my... its been a busy couple of months! Just when we thought July was our busiest month, September came and blew us away. We continued playing our usual gigs at House Wine, Simplicity Wine & Eats, Romeo's, and a bonus couple of shows at Uncorked... and since August, we've also added Opa! into the mix as well. But, in addition to all those places we play and love, we had some very unique opportunities come up... In the middle of September, we played for an art gallery opening up north, thanks to our good friend Barb and new friend Jan Knox (who's an amazing local Austin artist- definetely check her out). The turnout wasn't what we thought it would be, but we'll be back to rectify that come this November when we play there again (and this time they're expecting close to 300 people)! Then, just last weekend, we played the Green Mesquite for the first time and had a blast! Knowing the food was good (after many visits to our OSMF friend Deedee), we finally noticed they had live music as well Thurs-Sat nights. Unfortunately, they only keep the music going between the months of March-October, so it'll be next year before we get the chance to play there again. But, you better bet your ass we'll be reminding them come Jan. when they start booking next year's line-up! Besides singing our little hearts out onstage, we've had quite the onslaught of visitors as of late. First, the rents came and helped celebrate J's birthday all over again- TEXAS style. Then, a couple of friends from NYC came down to check out Austin (we kept it "wierd" for them). And just last weekend, our favorite couple from Dallas came down for a quick visit. So, its been a revolving door here in the ATX. And now its October... the weather is changing and we've finally been able to turn off our AC a few nights a week! This month's just as busy, with fewer shows and much more travel. First off, we're back in the studio still chipping away at our first full-legnth CD. Then ACL hits Austin and we're gonna do our little thing at Romeo's, and spend the rest of our time cruising around town on our bikes (which we just got road-ready again). Come mid-Oct. we'll be heading to NYC for a quick weekend Marks family get-together. Then, possibly the best news of all, we'll be playing our first EVER "official" music festival (meaning we'll actually be on a main stage AND on the bill) out in Marfa, TX. We hear Marfa Music Festival takes place in a cute, little hippie town about 8 hours from Austin, and that we need to check out the "Marfa lights" while we're there... which we fully intend on doing! So, as we said in the beginning, we've been some very busy bees this past month... oh, and almost forgot: JUSTIF made the front page of the Austin American Statesman Wed. Sept. 22nd! It was a massive 4x6 pic in the middle of the front page from Romeo's HAAM (Health Alliance for Austin Musicians) day . Talk about unexpected! We had played the 3pm slot amidst other amazing local Austin singer/songwriters like Margo Valiente and Karen Chisolm... Well, here's hoping the rest of the year just keeps on getting better and better...

Hitting it Hard

"Summertime... and the living is easy"... or so they say. We are feeling a mix of emotions with the changing of the seasons. Looking back on last summer (which was our first in Texas), Austin was dealing with a very bad drout. And now this summer, we've had thunderstorm after thunderstorm- so much that a few places around here have dealt with flooding. They say this is how it works in Austin... so I guess we'll get used to it eventually. It sure is an interesting trend though. As for the music, this month is very exciting for us... we have over 6 shows booked and have established regular gigs at four amazing venues in Austin. We are slowly (but surely) building our email list and have trying to keep up with promoting all of our shows- of which we've pretty much played at least one show a week for the last couple of months. Tomorrow we will be making a push with our presskits to book another round of venues as we look ahead towards October and November. By the end of the year, we hope to have increased our weekly shows to having closer to two shows a week... bringing us one step closer towards being full-time musicians! Although its only the middle of the year, it'll be 2011 before you know it. So, we have made a new goal for the beginning of next year- to FINALLY have a full legnth, copywritten, produced, and packaged CD! This is our vow (in black and white) and we have no doubt we can- and will- achieve it.

Getting it all Together

New beginnings are always challenging. We have lived in Austin for a year and half now... and slowly but surely we are starting to make a name for ourselves- finally. Boy, have we been singing our little hearts out the last two months, playing regular gigs at Romeo's, Uncorked, and Simplicity Wine & Eats. We even got booked for our first monthly show at House Wine- the first Saturday of every month thru December. If you haven't been, the place is one of our favorite spots in Austin, with an amazing wine list, an awesome cheese selection (that always includes a very delicious cheese spread), and the live music is played out on the front porch. We are very excited knowing we have this venue to look forward to every month... So, with the booking getting better and better, we are starting to re-focus ourselves into the recording. We finally found someone to record with who listens and gives us feedback we can use... and his goal is to make us sound the best possible... which hopefully will result in our first real produced CD we'll be able to sell in stores packaged with a bar code and everything. Thank you, Rocky, for taking our "little" project on... Well, gotta get back to figuring this fan email list out... its time to step into the future- no matter how much we wanna just let our hippy energy flow... people live on computers now, so we will make an attempt to find them there! ha ha (wish us luck)

No Drowned Rats Here

So.... we just returned from another fun filled (and incredibly WET) Old Settlers Music Festival, and it was everything we expected- and more! This was our second year volunteering, and Justin was promoted to the "Campground Stage Manager", with me as his assistant. This means we technically only worked Thurs. and Sun... but, of course when it rains its "all hands on deck" for the production team. So, we were among the handful of completely drenched people helping to put down woodchips and hay, even digging a trench to guide the water soaked mud down the hill. Thankfully, only one act was cut short (sorry Doyle Lawson) and the show did indeed go on! Doyle and the Quicksilver boys made up for their lost with an amazing performance the next day on the Campground Stage with us and I swear- I had goosebumps the whole time! On that note, the Trishas were goosebump raising as well. We'd been wanting to see them for a while, being that they're the talk of Austin town now, and they lived up to the rumors. Jimmy Lafave was another who exceeded expectation. We've been hearing his name for a while now, mostly from our friends, the Stonehoney boys. His songwriting really hit home with us and made me want to hear more. All in all, we saw quite a few amazing acts. From the Stringdusters, to Brave Combo, to 7 Walkers and Joe Ely, this was a weekend to remember... Now if we can just get our act together, we have a 3 hour gig to get ready for...gonna be a good show at a new venue for us- Simplicity wine bar- and we're really excited. The wine list looks amazing (especially my personal fave varietal Torrentes, of which I hope she's saving a bottle for us) and the whole place is completely green friendly with recyclable plateware and whatnot. We'll see how the evening goes... 3 hours is a long time without instramental solos, but we all gotta start somewhere...

First Time for Everything

Well, hello! We are Justif (a.k.a Justin and Tiffani) and we are finally getting our computer networking world in order! Let me preface this by saying we are of the old school ways- phones that have keypads, meeting and talking to people face to face, and using a handshake and a smile to seal the deals. But, the world is moving ahead at a very rapid pace. So, we are doing our best to take some quick crash courses in internet technology... Justin just mastered turning on and off the computer- which is step one- ha! I have a slight upperhand when dealing with all this, but seriously- I'm not that much further ahead! So, this week we finally reconnected with Reverbnation... apparently I had set up our account when we lived in Brooklyn back in 2008, but had no idea it was in fact up and running. And, until yesterday, we had one old song on our profile thats been on the "charts" in NY which some people had actually listened to- crazy. But now, we have a handful of better recorded material- still not our new stuff, but a much better representation of "JUSTIF". I even managed to figure some other features but I am still learning... Anyhoo, we are on facebook and myspace too... and we'll be linking them all soon- just be patient and give us time (god- I wish I could hire someone to do this stuff for me)... -Tiff