I don't usually like airports. Even with "Pre Check" - a nifty invention allowing me to breeze through security without removing shoes or bagging 3 ounce liquids, the stale air, harried faces and overall hassle is usually a total turnoff as I get to and from Seattle, a less than ideal hub.
My recent 24 hour turn-around trip to DC started like most: the alarm rings way too early, "no, I really don't need makeup," the 40-minute drive to SEATAC and navigating the boarding pass/luggage/security boogie. So I was surprised to turn a corner and spot former colleague Martin Coles gathering his belongings. “Martin!” “Paula!” I’d not seen Martin since he’d left Starbucks and didn’t know but hoped he was well. Martin was fit, happy and now CEO of a small company. We talked for 5 minutes and I left him with joy as I contrasted this “new” Martin with the one I’d last known.
Meeting Martin was only the first of four serendipitous airport encounters over the next 24 hours. Upon landing in DC and pausing to check email I heard my name called – it’s a dear friend, Margaret McKeown, who’d just attended the US Supreme Court arguments in the DOMA/marriage equality case, heading back to San Diego where she lives and works as a federal judge. Through Margaret I got a second-hand front row seat to this historic argument and we also brought each other current on life and family.
The next day after conducting business in DC I’m at Reagan International Airport and pause before retrieving my boarding pass. I look up, focus, and mutter to myself – geez that guy looks like Rob Porcarelli…”Rob!?” And it is. Rob used to work for me, is a fellow Hopkins grad and veteran, and I just love being around him. I hadn’t seen Rob since leaving SBUX a year ago and in a word, it was a “treat” spending a few minutes with him before we headed back to Seattle on different airlines.
Seeing Martin, Margaret and Rob though could not prepare me for what happened next. I’m at O’Hare now and waiting my turn to board when a man next to me says, “did you speak at SBUX annual meeting last year?” When I say “yes,” Doug Lo introduces himself, tells me he loved my remarks, we know several folks in common and he shares his emotion in being a friend of Seattle leader Cheryl Chow – at the time living her final moments. I am moved beyond words, grateful for the encounter and reminded afresh how fragile life can be and how precious true friends are. Somehow, I’ll never think of airports quite the same.
With only days before "Ides of March" -- anniversary of Julius Caesar's death, inspiration for Shakespeare's famous quote and gateway to Spring -- I've been reflecting on 2013 so far and what it can be. Musically I'm trying to up my game by learning some cool new stuff on electric guitar and working with master voice coach Robert Lunte. And, a few weeks ago brought our first major personnel change. Brian Miller, band bass player for over 6 years -- hugely talented, great guy and good friend -- now follows a new and different muse so we've welcomed Jeff Volkman, an amazing musician.
Band chemistry can be fragile, but I think Jeff's got huge talent, great work ethic and is low maintenance...in other words, perfect.
Next steps: choose a producer and studio for upcoming record, lock down a couple Seattle-area gigs, polish the newer songs and write a few more.
Stay tuned and don't forget to smell those Spring roses.
Upon realizing I'd be in Dallas rather than LA on Grammys Night, I sprung into action to RSVP for a Texas Chapter party after checking in with amazing Denton, TX (30 miles north of Dallas) guitarist and sometimes Paula Boggs Band sub Robert Gomez to see if he'd go with me. Two years ago I was in Atlanta on Grammys night and had a blast so knew what was possible.
Well Dallas didn't disappoint. Country singer Easton Corbin opened at Gilley's -- The Loft, a cool bar and music venue not far off I-35. Robert and I got there around 6:20pm and everyone was really polite...even the guy helping us park the car.
After checking in and receiving our red ID wrist bands, I spotted some empty seats at a table not far from the stage and a mega-screen so quickly introduced myself to the folks already there. They included a guy who'd won a Grammy in the 80s for gospel from Atlanta, his Dallas girlfriend and an indie rock trombonist from Cedar Park just north of Austin.
Easton Corbin played a stripped down acoustic set and entertained the crowd well for 30 minutes before the show kickoff. The food was tasty and the folks serving it seemed happy to be there.
Once the show began, with TVs throughout the club, the Grammys crowd turned its attention to LL Cool J and onscreen activity. During the commercial breaks the hosts quizzed us with Grammys trivia. Not sure what it says about us but both Robert and I won Grammys blankets -- that is, the prize, from answering some arcane question correctly before anyone else.
I was happy to see Mumford & Sons and Frank Ocean win, Elton John perform with Ed Sheeran and Alicia Keys with Maroon 5. On the flip side, Adele again, really? And, I didn't get Carrie Underwood's projector-aided gown. Personally, I'd love to see more jazz, folk, blues, Americana and real rock on the televised show but again, maybe that's just me.
All in all, it was a great evening. I got to hang out with some of the "beautiful people" of Dallas/Austin, Robert and I reconnected, I made a couple new friends/contacts and hey, I've now got my very own Grammys blanket!
All Original Tunes Except Tor's Song, Rock & Roll and The Way You Look Tonight: 1. A Finer Thread 2. A Buddha State of Mind 3. Motel 6 Serenade 4. Traces of You 5. Edith's Coming Home 6. Someone Else 7. Look Straight Ahead 8. Original Sin 9. Last Hope's Gone [Tor Dietrichson Lead Vocals] 10. The Curving Line 11. Peel the Charade 12. Lenny’s in Our House 13. Fuzzy Fitness 14. Miss Ruby Kirby Blues 15.Rock & Roll
ENCORE: The Way You Look Tonight (dedicated to the crowd!)
We now have a charter bus to transport folks to/from Portland's Mississippi Studios day of show, SAT January 12th. DETAILS:
Bus Departs EUGENE @ 4:30PM, from Eugene Christian Fellowship Church 89780 North Game Farm Road, Eugene, OR 97408 COST: $35 Roundtrip; Pay Through PayPal (http://www.paypal.com/, you do not need an account) to Paula Boggs, email: email@example.com. Bus Leaves Mississippi Studios @ 10PM, returning to EUGENE Christian Fellowship Church parking lot.
Drop me a line either on FB or email: firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
This will be FUN, FUN, FUN!!!
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2012 was a great year of music growth and richness: Paula Boggs Band did 6 shows, I wrote 4 songs and "A Buddha State of Mind" appears on Songwriters in Seattle's 2012 Compilation CD. Along the way we amassed almost 3600 social media listeners/fans...so THANK YOU! I also joined the boards of School of Rock LLC, KEXP and Peabody Conservatory's National Advisory Board. Collectively these organizations -- cutting across classical, jazz, rock, roots, world, blues, folk -- inspire and fuel my love for all things music. And, I'm able to help.
The Band kicks off 2013 with our first Portland show on January 12th @ renowned venue Mississippi Studios and soon we'll have a producer for our next record. I got ukelele lessons for XMAS so look forward to learning a new instrument too. I love fellow band members Sandy, Brian, Tor and Mark...and after almost 6 years playing together they've become family. So a big YES to 2013's promise. STAY TUNED!!
As a voting member of the Recording Academy (The Grammys) it's time to get to it! So who do YOU think is this year's best new artist: Alabama Shakes, The Lumineers, Frank Ocean, Fun. OR Hunter Hayes?
Lots of radio stations and mags are listing their "top" 2012 albums. In alphabetical order here are 15 albums that made me stop, look & listen (How about you?): 1. "awE naturalE" by THEESatisfaction 2. "Babel" by Mumford & Sons 3."Banga" by Patti Smith 4. "Black Radio" by Robert Glasper 5. "Blunderbuss" by Jack White 6. "Channel ORANGE" by Frank Ocean 7. "El Camino" by The Black Keys 8. "Living for a Song - A Tribute to Hank Williams" by Jamey Johnson 9. "Leaving Eden" by Carolina Chocolate Drops 10. "The Lumineers" by The Lumineers 11. "Old Ideas" by Leonard Cohen 12. "Radio Music Society" by Esperanza Spalding 13. "Searching for Sugarman" by Rodriguez 14. "Slipstream" by Bonnie Raitt 15. "Tempest" by Bob Dylan
For those somewhere else, you can stream our Paula Boggs Band show live with link below:
SoulFood is a dwelling for dreamers, musicians, artists, and world changers. We have housed life changing events such as weddings, the first steps of our littlest tribe members, and the moments of courage it takes to sing in front of a crowd for the first time. We have stormed city hall to sing about being alive, hosted the youth of Redmond to speak and show their truth, listened to our breath, and danced together. We are a vibrant, dynamic community that is making our mark on this world.
There's something about music and community. Last week I lunched with Peabody Conservatory's Director Jeff Sharkey. Jeff is a visionary who while honoring Peabody's storied past is also zeroing in on how best to keep Peabody relevant in an age where online education, blogging and "access" so deeply shape how many of us learn, buy, sell and enjoy music. Jeff also sees the unique opportunity Peabody has to expose school-kids to classical music and jazz across the socio-economic and racial divide.
Meanwhile, on Saturday I attended the open house for School of Rock's new Bellevue, WA (USA) location. The school was crammed with 8-18 year olds and their parents. The buzz was infectious; particularly as legendary Santana drummer Michael Shrieve hosted a jammed and jamming master class. The Seattle "burbs" have thirsted for School of Rock and I suspect the Bellevue school will fill a gaping community need.
This week I've continued discussions with a Canadian filmmaker who is considering licensing 1+ of my original songs for an upcoming documentary focused on rivers around the globe. As I enter an exciting new life phase, writing music in support of causes I believe in inspires me as much as anything.
More soon and Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends and fans!