An Open Letter To My Morning Jacket

JimOBHColor

Jim James at One Big Holiday. Photo by Kory Johnson

The Polar Vortex has hit Louisville hard, but I feel like it involves more than just the weather. I feel like I’ve been sucked into an alternate world with all these snow days and delayed openings. I love my kids, but I need them to be in school so that I can get stuff done!

However, for the first time since I became a Mom (11.5 years ago!), hubby and I got away from it all for  5 nights/6 days. It was incredible for so many reasons! I am pretty sure we wouldn’t have gone without the extra incentive from Louisville-based band, My Morning Jacket. They put together a music vacation named after one of their songs, One Big Holiday. They brought along their friends, The Flaming Lips, Mariachi El Bronx, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Rob Garza (of Thievery Corporation) and surprise guest, Bob Weir (of The Grateful Dead) to the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in Mexico from Jan 26-30.

It goes without saying that it was an unforgettable time! And I felt compelled to let MMJ know how much I appreciated it. You can read my Open Letter To My Morning Jacket on the LEO Weekly right now! I just hope that MMJ hears this so they are encouraged to do it again next year…and if they do, I advise that you get yourself there!!

photo by Kory Johnson

Pulling an all-nighter in my mid-30s. Hell yeah!

You know how I said that I had hundreds of posts and topics that had gone through my head, yet never made it to the computer? Well, the subject of this post was one that came to my attention this summer, at Forecastle Fest. I knew they had something special, even though our listening circumstances were somewhat questionable. And I wanted to tell you all, but I didn’t. But, I am now. And you can make that short 77 mile drive to Lexington to see them Saturday night at Buster’s. They are opening for a band on the move from Louisville, Houndmouth (a little more on them in a bit).

Okay…droll roll please…it’s The Wheeler Brothers. Hubby and I accidentally discovered them while in a lapse from reality. Okay, it may have been MY lapse and hubby was kind enough to go along for the ride. See, for the second year in a row, we have had to fit Forecastle in between one of our son’s baseball tournaments. It makes for an ‘interesting’ weekend of dashing here and there. And by interesting, I mean that the reality of our lives smacks us in our faces and we realize that we must miss some not-to-be-missed bands to support our son and his team. And we would not have it any other way (luckily, there was no conflict between The Avett Brothers set and baseball!). One of these bands, was Houndmouth, but I had a solution to that problem.

side note: Pleasetellmeyou’velistenedtoHoundmouth. They are from the Louisville area. Okay, they are actually from just across the river in New Albany, IN, but they hang out in Louisville all the time, so we get to claim them as our own. And they have pretty much exploded – with good reason! I could write a whole post on them, but I am banking on the fact that you’ve at least heard them on WFPK. And I should also plug their after Thanksgiving shows at Headliners – Friday Nov 29th and Sat Nov 30th. I believe that Saturday show is already sold out, so don’t wait to get your Friday tickets! Here is a little taste (they ROCK OUT live!):

Back to The Wheeler Bros….so, Houndmouth was playing this awesome late night show on The Belle of Louisville, as part of the Forecastle festivities. I knew we wouldn’t be playing baseball after midnight (when the Belle started), so I, very smartly, got us tickets. Woohoo…it’s a win-win solution! Y’all can laugh at me now. You can probably see where this is going. Ah, hindsight. Anyway, we made it to the Belle, after midnight, to hear the first of two opening bands. I started getting a little worried as the night just kept getting longer. Not to mention the fact that the Belle gets a little claustrophobic when it is filled with very young people who had been enjoying themselves all day. We should have probably cut our loses right then and there. But, we were already in….what was a few more hours?! So, we stuck it out. Opener one, done. Opener two….who are these guys? They were actually good enough to pull my mind away from the crazy reality of the situation and focus on the music. They were incredible. And just like that, The Wheeler Brothers, became a family favorite and a regular in our musical rotation. They put everything they had into their set. And I love bands like that, if you haven’t noticed. They may have a sound that is more common these days, but I gotta tell ya, they have something more.  Give their newest album, Gold Boots Glitter, a listen and you will know what I mean. They get you dancing and pushing repeat. There are so many songs that I want to feature…it is a hard, hard choice, but I gotta go with the one that really spoke to me that late night on the Belle.

Let me finish that Belle story….we persevered and walked into our house around 4am (thank goodness for kick ass babysitters!!!). But the rest of the story is that we had to be up by 6am for round 3 of baseball. Being who I am, I couldn’t actually fall asleep, for fear that we would miss the alarm. So, an all-nighter it was. It has been quite a few years since that had happened, and even then, it was probably for a teething baby. But, I’ll admit that I felt like I had cheated life. You know the saying, “there aren’t enough hours in the day”, well, I figured it out! You just can’t sleep. Then, you can do it all. Not sure if that is a good long term solution, but it worked that weekend. And so, when I heard The Wheeler Brothers sing, Sleep When I’m Dead... yeah, it kinda fit!! But my other favs are My Time and Straight and Steady.

You have to listen to this one, too. I can also relate to the early line that says “I was feeling slow from the night before, but I stood straight and steady…”

I am not that eloquent about telling you the ins and outs of why I like a band….it’s more of a feeling. And the feeling I get from The Wheeler Brothers is an energetic happiness. And that is why you should check them out. If you are headed to Lexington this weekend, let me know!! Can’t wait. But looking forward to hearing them play before 2am.

Halloween IS October 31st! (And Dr. Dog ticket giveaway!!)

Halloween is a ‘holiday’ that is always celebrated on Oct.31st – no matter if it falls on a Tuesday or if it is snowing! Traditionally, it is a celebration on the night before All Saints Day (Nov.1). This year, in Louisville, we have an interesting situation – bad weather (or more accurately, bad weather is being predicted). The weather forecasters have been telling us for a few days that we should expect rain, wind, hail, and a slight tornado risk. Sounds like JUST the type of weather I want to take my kids out in. Riiiight!

Some of the smaller, incorporated cities in the area have ‘moved’ trick or treating to Friday or Saturday night. The Mayor’s office said that government isn’t in the trick or treating business, so they weren’t making a recommendation on when people should trick or treat. So….there has been a grassroots effort to get the word out about pushing the date back one day – to Friday. I can totally appreciate the thought, idea, and effort people have put into changing it. I don’t want my kids to be in danger. I don’t want to be the bad guy and tell them that they can’t go. I don’t want to disappoint them.

But, you know what? Part of my job as a parent is to prepare my kids to be successful adults. And part of that is learning that life can’t always be perfect and sometimes you have to go with the flow. I haven’t cancelled Halloween for them – I’ve offered an alternative (to have some neighbors over, on Halloween, for chili and indoor trick or treating). The idea of Halloween is dressing up and having fun with friends. Oh, yeah….and getting gobs of candy. They will have all of that, just in a different form. And in the future, I hope the weather is perfect and they look back on this year and think of how much fun it was. Or at least have an appreciation for good Halloween weather!

I also hope they acquire skills that help them problem solve, as well as the ability to be flexible in certain situations. I think our society has set up our kids for failure in adult life by making everything perfect for them. Hello – give every kid a trophy for every sport they play, starting at age 3!! Life isn’t perfect. If this is their expectation, then they are in for a rude awakening! It is much more beneficial to help your kids navigate through life’s ups and downs with the proper tools and expectations than it is to (try to) make them happy all of the time. Give your children something they will really thank you for when they are adults.

The point of this post is not to judge other parents and their decision for their family!! The real point was to work out, for myself, why I was so against moving Halloween. And I am sharing my thought process because I am guessing that I am not alone (okay, so I am hoping that I am not alone!).

Now for the Dr. Dog ticket giveaway! My loss is your gain! I can’t use my tickets for their SOLD OUT show on Saturday night at Headliners in Louisville. So…like my Facebook page, Last Bit Of Sanity, and post what your favorite Halloween costume was as a kid. Or if you like to tweet, then you can tweet it. And if you want to double your chances, share a link to this post (tag Last Bit Of Sanity) on Facebook or Twitter. I will randomly select a winner. I will leave you with a Halloween themed Dr. Dog song, Vampire. Funny how these things come together sometimes. Ha!

Why Does It Have To End Like This?!

Look at me, overachieving! I haven’t posted in months and now am going for 2 posts in 2 days. Unfortunately, this post isn’t a pleasant one and I wish I didn’t have to do it. But I feel compelled because what happened last night was disturbing, upsetting, and people need to know about it. Before I get started, I want to say that I spoke to the manager and I also looked at how to reach the owners with no luck. I would love to speak to the owners, so if anyone has direct contact info, please pass it on!! I also want to point out that I slept on the situation and didn’t immediate pull out the laptop to write an emotionally charged rant.

A few times a month, hubby and I will order take out from Sapporo Sushi. We love their quality of sushi and it is also close to our house. We have never had an issue. Last night, I wish I could say the same was true. I had just picked up the middle son from a party, so he went with me to get the carry-out that hubby had already ordered. It wasn’t ready, even after we had been waiting 15 mins. And that was unusual. I was about to ask the host, when he took a phone call. From what I could hear on my end, he indicated that the person who came in right before me had been given the wrong carry out order (mine!). They instructed him to come back and they would take care of it. Fine. Mistakes happen. I get that.

Life is full of mistakes. What is important is how those mistakes are handled. I walked up to the host to inquire about my food. He explained what had happened and then said, ‘but they are on their way back, so as soon as they get here you will have your food.’ I thought for a second and then said that I didn’t know that I wanted to take food that had left the restaurant and gone to someone else’s house. The host said they would inspect it and remake anything that needed to be remade. I sat down, consulted with hubby via text, and decided I wanted all new food. In fact, I was disturbed and disgusted that they even considered giving me food that had left their control. Honestly, it made me question all of their practices. Hello, Health Department! Luckily, when I let them know that I wanted all new food, they were completely agreeable.

The other customer came in, got his correct food and was told, by the host, that they had already reversed all of the charges on his credit card for his troubles and their mistake. In fact, the customer must have felt guilty because he turned and apologized for yelling at them so much over the phone (blaming a low blood sugar issue). Meanwhile, I am still waiting, with a very sleepy, slightly grumpy 9 year old. However, hearing that they handled the situation the right way with the other wronged customer, I had the same expectations for my situation.

Finally, after we had been sitting there for 45 minutes (!!!), the host brought out our food and said “here ya go”. Like it was no big deal. Like we hadn’t been sitting there forever, waiting for them to correct their mistake. Like I hadn’t heard everything they said to the other wrong customer. I looked at him and said, “what about compensation?” We had a slight stare down, then he turned and called someone. He came back, ask for my card again and I was relieved that they were going to take care of us. We love Saporro. I didn’t want this one mistake to color our opinion of the restaurant. The host said okay, we will take 15% off your bill. Um. What? Maybe I didn’t hear you right. Did you say fifty percent? Oh. No. You said fifteen percent? Dude – you realize that is just like pouring salt into my wounds. 15% not enough for someone who has been patiently and respectfully waiting with her 9 year old, who is so tired, he has put his head down on the table, for 45 minutes for you all to fix YOUR mistake. And if that isn’t enough, the person who was affected just the same as I was, got his entire meal free of charge.

What the fuck?! What was different about the two situations?! He yelled and must have come unglued. I remained respectful and calm. He had to bring his food back. I waited, with child in tow, for 45mins for my food. He was a man. I am, obviously, not.

At this point, I’ll admit that my fiery redhead temper started to show. I could feel my blood pressure rising and my chest and cheeks getting red. The store was full. I could have made a big stink and called a lot of attention to the situation (hello…they wanted me to take old food!), but I also knew that my son was watching how I handled the situation. I wanted to be an example to him on how to handle conflict. I wanted to show him that things can been worked out without having to yell and scream and bully someone into doing what you want them to do. I wanted him to see that restaurants respect and value their loyal costumers whom they depend on. I wanted him to see that if you make a mistake, you own up to it and fix it at your cost – you don’t try to cover it up or pass it onto someone else. And I wanted him to see that men and women are treated equally.

Unfortunately, my son learned none of those lessons last night. After the host refused to change his 15% offer, saying it was the best he could do, I challenged him (in a calm voice, no yelling involved) on how the other customer received his entire order free of charge. The host said that customer had talked to the manager. I said okay, where is the manager? I was told the manager wasn’t actually there, and that the host would call her and then I could talk to her. He made it clear that he was not going to talk to her about the situation. Whatever. She apologized for the issues and offered the same 15%. I calmly told her what was going on and she got defensive and said that they would never expect me to take the original food. I told her that was what the host suggested, but I moved on. I asked her about the other customer who got his entire order taken care of. She said that he had to bring it back in, like me waiting there with my son for 45 mins was no big deal. I explained that we were loyal customers and just wanted to have this situation fixed. I would have been happy with a gift card for our next visit. I would have been happy with 50% off. I would have been happy with a true apology.

I got none of that. Finally, I said to her that they were about to lose our business for good and that I would be very vocal about it, telling my friends on social media, at Eater Louisville, on Louisville Hotbytes, etc. She then said, “Go ahead, tell your friends.” I promptly hung up, grabbed the food, and my son’s hand and walked out for the last time.

I am disappointed and disgusted (on so many levels) at the treatment I received. Eating out is a luxury and it is expensive. Why places think they can treat people so poorly and still get their business is beyond me. For sushi, I guess we will be hitting up Oishii Sushi and Dragon King’s Daughter. We love them both, although they are slightly further away. Now that distance doesn’t seem like anything.

In contrast to this occurrence, just a few weeks ago, I had one of the best customer services experiences ever. I was at Stevens & Stevens Deli, a place I go to once a month or so. When I walk in, they all know me and are friendly. They ask how my kids are – even more specifically to see how my youngest likes Kindergarten. I love walking in that place!! Well, that day, their credit card processing was messed on up their computers. They couldn’t get it to work when I was trying to pay. I felt bad, because I had no cash on me. The manager said, ‘Don’t worry about it. You can pay for it next time.’ Wow. Now that is full service customer service. Kudos to Stevens & Stevens for winning at being awesome!

What do I want to happen from all of this? I am not sure. I feel like maybe things could be smoothed over if Sapporo reached out to us. Maybe. But, honestly, I want this story to be spread around. After reading some reviews on Yelp, Urban Spoon, etc, it is obvious that others have had bad customer services experiences there also (don’t worry – my review will be going up soon!). So, let’s make it known to Saporro that we don’t like it and our money won’t be going to them anymore. Share this story with your friends. Think twice before going there next time. Make them change. And I just hope that what my son learns from this isn’t that it’s okay to defer responsibly for your mistakes, that you don’t have to treat people with respect, and that loyalty means nothing. Maybe he will see that often times actions speak louder than words. Sayonara, Sapporo.

(No Longer) Dead To The World

I am still alive! I have not been taken down by my foursome. It isn’t for a lack of trying! My pre-teen likes to remind me daily of my ‘great parenting’ (in case your phone isn’t displaying the font correctly, that is written in the oozing sarcasm font), my 2nd boy has perfected the playing of the middle child card, my daughter is 7 going on 17, at least in her mind, and my baby has up and left me to enter Kindergarten. Oh yeah, and the start of the school year also brought us the gift of the stomach bug. All except my darling daughter got it. My theory is that she is so mean that she scared it away.

The point is, I am still here. Still listening to music. Still going to live shows. Still writing about parenting and music. Well, okay, you got me on that one. In my head, I have written hundreds of posts. Unfortunately, they haven’t gotten out of my head nor can you read my mind. So they have done no one any good. Part of me feels like a slacker, but you know what, the other part of me says screw it. I am a busy Mom of 4 who is trying to balance parenting, wife-ing, working, socializing, and everything-else-including-the-kitchen-sink-ing. Speaking of sinking, I realize lately this blog has been totally lacking my attention. I miss it. I miss you all. I miss talking about music that I love. I miss finding new bands to share with you all.

So, I am back. Part of the reason I had to come out of my blog-ernation (I was going to say hibernation, but if you have seen me around, hibernation couldn’t be further from the truth. It only pertains to the blog…hence the cute, made up name), is because one of my all time favorite bands in coming to town this weekend. And you shouldn’t miss it. And I apologize for all the shows I failed to tell you about. Wow….there were some good ones, too. Anyway…back to the show this weekend….

Ha Ha Tonka is playing at Headliners on Saturday night. These guys are just amazing. I’ve written about them a ton! They are extremely talented musicians and vocalists as well as downright nice guys. Come one now…they pulled me on stage at Uncle Slayton’s a few birthdays ago to sing me Happy Birthday!! There is no video (that I am aware of), but many of you were in attendance and can confirm this wasn’t just a happening in one of my dreams! They also win the title of hottest concert I have ever attended. It was in Lawrence, KS (we just happened to be visiting good friends out there). Actually, now that I think about it, they are in a tie with My Morning Jacket at The Palace for that title. Anyway, good times were had by all and we left with a glistening that you normally acquire from the sauna.

Ha Ha Tonka is out touring in support of their new album, Lessons. Brian Roberts, lead singer, has said that he got inspiration from the album after hearing an NPR interview with the late illustrator and renowned children’s author, Maurice Sendak (you know – Where The Wild Things Are and Little Bear, amongst others). These guys will get anyone moving. They rock hard. I have written about them a number of times. I like their new stuff. It’s one of those albums that really grows on you the more you listen to it. And I have been listening plenty!

Also, these guys are BIG St. Louis Cardinal fans and this girl, who is a BIG Yankees fan will be cheering on the Cardinals with them this week! ;-)

This is a video of one of their new songs – Dead To The World. And I glad that I am no longer dead to the (blogging) world! I can’t wait to feel their energy Saturday night at Headliners!! See you there?

“…cups of who cares…”

My kids are at wonderful ages (10, 8, 7, 5). They are out of the baby phase, but not yet to that scarey teenager territory. They also GET things. You know….the older two boys are into sports and were totally into the NCAA Basketball Championship this year (woohoo…shout out to our favorite DI team, the Louisville Cards!!). My daughter also was excited to follow the sucess of the Lady Cards. And my youngest little man is still my music lover and he is forever asking if a show is ‘for grown ups only’.

One of the joys of parenting is watching your child’s face light up when they meet someone they admire. And what is even better is when those idols are friendly and approachable. I am forever grateful to all of the current and former Bellarmine basketball players and coaches (especially those connected to the 2011 National Championship team) who have made my oldest two feel like a million bucks when they invite them into the locker room before a game or make a point to call them by name and say hello to them. I like to think of these people as accessible idols.

My youngest has had a major thing for Josh Ritter ever since we saw him play an in-store at ear-X-tacy. He was only 2 and in a sling but kept yelling ‘lalas’ during Josh’s performance because that was one of the few ‘words’ he said at the time. We were able to meet Josh afterwards and he was amazing with the kids. They all got high fives and guitar pics from Josh! And it made a lasting impression on my budding musician.

My little man has a room full of music posters…including one of Josh’s. He is learning to play guitar and has even composed his own song. When asked who his favorite musician is, he always says “Josh Ritter”. Not that I don’t love Josh, but it always comes as a surprise because he has met and hung out with other talented musicians, like Ben Sollee, The Head And The Heart and Patrick Hallahan (drummer of My Morning Jacket). It isn’t like Josh is the only musician he has met….but Josh clearly stand out in his mind.

We surprised our newly turned 5 year old with tickets to Josh’s April 19th show in Louisville for his birthday. He turn five at the beginning of April and (not knowing we already had tickets), he asked us if he could change his birthday to April 19 so that he could see Josh for his birthday gift. So sweet. We will be sitting in the 2nd row and I will probably spend more time watching my little man’s face instead of enjoying Josh’s usual smile, but I am pretty sure they will both be sporting big smiles!

 I hope to have a fabulous post-show update where I can gush about those smiles meeting and talking again, but you will just have to stay tuned. If you haven’t already listened to Josh, you should do so now. He has a great voice and I am really digging his new album, The Beast In Its Tracks. This new song, Joy To You Baby, is one of my all time favorites of his. (You will also “get’ the title to this entry…yes, it is a song lyric. ;-) )

If you can’t make the show or just want some good lunch time music on Friday, you can also tune into 91.9 WFPK, where Josh will be playing on Live Lunch at noon (you can stream it live from their site or app, in case you aren’t in Louisville!).

Beady: Young Louisville talent with a big weekend ahead!

Shazam, Shazam….why must you fail to tell me who is responsible for the catchy tune on the radio?!  Lucky for me,  it’s because the band is a new, up and coming Louisville band – Beady.

Summer Brothers  was the song that first caught my attention when I heard it on WFPK.  You physically must turn this song up when you hear it…and by the second time you hear it, I bet you’ll be singing along, too! Take a listen here:

I decided I must find out more about the elusive local band. Why hadn’t I heard more about them?? Turns out playing local venues is somewhat of a challenge since half the band is under 18! They even had trouble finding a venue to host their CD release show. Lucky for them, Heine Brothers Coffee is a big supporter of local music and they are able to have their release show at the Loop location on Saturday at 3pm. Also, good for Beady is that WFPK is having them play Live Lunch on Friday at noon. But, you can get your sneak peek here!

Some siblings would tell you that they couldn’t wait to grow up and put some separation between themselves and their family.  Not true for Beady. The band consists of two sets of siblings….Jordan Trabue, 21, and his sister, Sarah Trabue, 16 along with Dylan Weber-Owens, 21 and his brother, Jesse Weber-Owens, 17.

Although, the set of friends have known each other “forever”, they have officially been together for about three years. This weekend, they are releasing their second album, Youngest Days. However, their first, self-titled album was recorded in a friend’s attic, where as Youngest Days was more professionally recorded (released by sonaBLAST! Records). They have also produced two impressive videos for songs on Youngest Days. It was a refreshing take on making an entrance into the music scene, because so many bands forgo the creative process that is required make videos until they have hit it big.

The video for When I’m Twenty is just cool to watch. It is simple, yet intriguing and fun. Take a look (and listen) for yourself:

Beady definitely takes its cues from the folk/alt-country scene and you can hear it in all of their songs. Shindig bears a resemblance to an Avett Brothers song and it is more than just the “pretty girls” reference! It’s the vocal harmonizing, story-telling lyrics and the engaging, foot-tapping tempo.

I love the chorus in Summer Brothers…“would you please not talk so loud, I’ve been sleepin, I’ve been dreamin of things to come”. It is fitting because I think this young band has some legs to stand on and they should be dreaming of the good things to come! I mean, who can root against them when Jordan endearingly calls his younger sister, Sarah, by her nickname of “Small Chucks” during our interview?!

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Band Info:

Beady
beadyband.com
Jordan Trabue, guitar, mandolin, banjo, vocals
Sarah  “Small Chucks” Trabue, violin, vocals
Dylan Weber-Owens, guitar, banjo, vocals
Jesse Weber-Ownens, cello, banjo, percussion, vocals

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