My music rut has been broken!

I am more than willing to admit that I can easily get into a music rut. I have the tendency to listen to a song or album over and over and over again if I really like it. I am pretty sure I spent years of my youth with American Pie on repeat….except the repeat technology wasn’t so good then. It took much more effort to rewind the tape at the end of the song. I even got fancy and recorded multiple tracks on a tape, so I could listen 2-3 times before having to rewind. Ah, kids these days don’t know what they are missing (and just to clarify….I was not even born when the song first came out…it was just a gem I discovered one summer in grade school).

At least my music neurosis nearly always revolve around good music (I am proud to say I was never into the New Kids On The Block!). Well, for the past few months not only have there been just a small handful of bands that have come out of my speakers (minus my morning dedication to WFPK), but I have been spoiled by those same bands because I have had the pleasure of seeing them live…some of them more than once and some more even more than twice!! I’m talking to you Walk The Moon, Ha Ha Tonka, The Features, Langhorne Slim, Ben Sollee, and The Head And The Heart!! In fact, this blog has been quiet because I can feel you all rolling your eyes when I bring up any of the aforementioned bands….I know I have made it known how much I love them.

And some pretty amazing things have happened with those bands since the beginning of the year – Walk The Moon has just exploded, especially with the ‘young people’…makes me still feel young. haha Langehorne Slim launched a PledgeMusic crowd-sourcing campaign that was fully funded within days and he just released a new album that has broken the Billboard top 200!

But let’s move to the fun amazing things that are connected to me. 😀 In January, I started working with Ben Sollee as his social media and Team Sollee coordinator. It has been a fabulous ride that allows me to use my brain for something other than mommy stuff!! I actually get to use my good ole’ Bellarmine University Communications degree for something other than trying to interpret baby babble. Woohoo! Plus, it gives me a chance to help an independent musician whom I fully support and respect. Then Ha Ha Tonka was playing at Uncle Slaytons around my birthday (I had gotten to know them when I interviewed them), so my hubby helped organize a group of friends to come to the show and to my shock and dismay, Ha Ha Tonka called me up on stage, mentioned the blog and lead everyone in singing happy birthday to me. These guys are great and always so kind and friendly whenever I see them (I promise I am not a groupie, but I have seen them 3 times in 5 months and even went 8 hours away to see them….don’t worry, it coincided with an already planned trip!!). Lastly, The Head And The Heart. I started following them very early in their career…just as they were self-releasing their album (before they got picked up by subpop). And I still have trouble believing how all of the pieces just magically fell into place and it is hard to write about them because it just really doesn’t seem real. All I know is that I was able to have dinner with the band before their Louisville show at Headliners, gave Charity a ride to the show from dinner and shared bourbon on the tour bus with Josiah after the show. An entertaining twitter convo was also thrown in there. All of the above groups are just so real and genuine. I am afraid the bar has been set pretty high for any and all future groups that I fall in love with!!

So, you can see why I was pretty content with my musical rut (and see how I am totally trying to justify my craziness!!). Except, I was starting to feel like a fraud for not posting about the newest and greatest music out there! And something new just jumped out at me. The Lumineers. I had heard of them and even heard some of their stuff on WFPK, but for whatever reason I hadn’t paid that much attention to them. Until I was watching tv with my 6 year old daughter and a commercial came on and she said “i know that song”. It was familiar to me, too, but I had to shazam it. And what do you know, it was Ho Hey by The Lumineers. I checked them out on spotify and immediately order their cd. And now, because of my neurosis that we have already established, my kids and I know just about all the words to the whole cd. We’ve had it for 3 days. I love them, I love them, I love them. My only problem is that they aren’t scheduled to come to town. I guess that gives me some time to figure out how I can make friends with them, too. Enjoy this earworm….

Brick and Mortar and Love Premier

There are days that I drive by the empty ear X-tacy store on Bardstown Road and the sadness just overwhelms me. I know I am not alone…I heard from many of you when I first posted about the closing of the legendary record store (It’s really gone). It is with excitement and sadness that I approach the world premier of Brick and Mortar and Love. It is tomorrow night at the Louisville Science Center (Saturday April 7, 2012 at 7pm).

This documentary by Scott Shuffitt and this is the description according to the website:

Brick and Mortar and Love follows the story of ear X-tacy Records, the legendary record store in Louisville, Kentucky, as it struggles to survive in the changing music retail industry. In-depth interviews include owner John Timmons, staff at ear X-tacy, leaders in the record store industry and scores of independent record store owners from all over the US. These interviews look into the state of the independent record store, what services they provide and what is at stake if they disappear.

The tragic part is that ear X-tacy closed before people could see this film and be inspired to do more to ensure the future of the store. I am hoping that seeing some of those friendly ear X-tacy employee faces will lessen the hole that the closing of ear X-tacy left.

 

Too many hats?! Nah!

For the past few months, I have felt this blog staring me down and questioning my loyalty! I can’t believe I haven’t posted in so long…but it isn’t for a lack of trying or desire. I started many, many posts, but they just never felt right. So many rockin’ things have happened and if I told you about all of them right now, you would either call my bluff or roll your eyes in disgust. Seriously. I will eventually get them all out, but in little doses.

Recently, a friend forwarded me a link to a ‘music writers wanted ad’ from louisville.com (props to that amazing Bellarmine alumni network!!). My thoughts of ‘sure, why not’ quickly turned into thoughts of ‘oh shit…what have I done?’! I pushed my fears and insecurities aside, hyped myself up on some good coffee and got to work. Below is my first (of many, hopefully) articles on louisville.com.

WFPK fuels the Louisville music community

Upon hearing of my new endeavor, a friend questioned me about how many hats I wear. It made me laugh. If you know me, you know I am always doing something. I get it naturally…my Dad is the same way. He is due to retire this year and I have had so many people say to me, ‘how is that going to work?!’. haha Don’t get me wrong, I love downtime. I don’t particularly like running the kids from practice to practice. But, I use my time wisely. Last night, as #2 was practicing baseball, I sat at the ballpark and wrote the louisville.com article. If I sit down to watch a movie at home, more often than not, I am also folding laundry. It just me…it is what I do.

Everyone functions differently and I have many people look at me like I am crazy when they hear about all the things I am involved in. And, as I was pondering that ‘how many hats’ question, a realization hit me. I LOVE live music. There is just nothing better, in my opinion, than a good, high energy, live show. I am always speechless when people tell me that they love music, but can’t stand live shows. How is that really even possible? A live show caters to all of your senses and puts them into overload. I get there, let my mind go, and soak in all that there is to see and hear. It is like a whole body experience and it is heaven! After a show, I feel like I am flying high sans the drugs. It.is.the.best. And my realization was that: that is how I do things…in overload so of course live shows call my name!

I hope you take a minute to read the article I wrote because it is closely tied to live music in Louisville. And I NEED live music to continue to function!

LOUIE FM! LOUIE FM!

I originally published this on Sept.5, 2009 after discovering that a local radio station had changed hands and call letters. My youngest was about 17 months old at the time. It was a sad time but I am re-posting it because I am excited to say we have a ‘new’ LOUIE FM in Louisville!! 104.3 WLUE. The format is good….lots of old songs I haven’t heard forever, but what is even better is the look on my kids’ faces when they heard the station identification!!

I know it is weird to say I am upset that 100.5 LOUIE FM is no longer. But I am seriously upset about it. It is now called Gen X radio or something like that. The new music format is okay…I have heard many songs over the past couple of days that I hadn’t heard in 10 years!!

But, I cannot get over the fact that I will never hear “You are listening to 100.5, LOUIE FM.” It had a very special meaning to our family. Again, sounds weird, I know! Let me explain.

A few days before our youngest was born, hubby and I came to the mutual realization that we weren’t so crazy about the boy name we had picked out for him. We have used family names for all of our kids (first and middle), so by the fourth child and third boy, the pickings were getting pretty slim. However, we both agreed that we kinda like the name Louis Frederick (nickname Louie), after hubby’s Dad, Fred, aka Frederick Louis. But, we were going to wait until he was born to make the final decision. And we had learned the lesson early not to tell anyone the names we were considering!!

Well, as soon as baby #4 was born, we looked at each, while everyone else was inquiring, “What’s his name?!”, and we both said “Louis Frederick” and that is when our little Louie was introduced to the family. Ben’s Dad had no idea that we were even thinking about using his name and I will never forgot when he was holding Louie in the hospital, nearly too emotional to speak. It is a moment that will forever be burned into my memory.

On our way home from the hospital, we were listening to the radio when we heard “You are listening to 100.5 LOUIE FM.” Again, hubby and I looked at each other and just laughed. Our Louie’s name was Louie FM (Louis Frederick M****). And hubby joked that it was very fitting all the way around, because his Dad had spent his whole life in the radio business.

Whenever the older kids would get in the car and hear the call letters, they would always make a big deal about it. It was something that always brought a smile to our faces. It was fun and comforting at the same time.

It became even more meaningful when my father-in-law lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, just a few weeks after holding his namesake for the first and only time. LOUIE FM always reminded me of the connection that Louie held with his PawPaw, even though he would never get to know him.

So, I am upset that I will never be able to turn the radio on again and hear “LOUIE FM”. I am sad that the family won’t be able to joke about Louie’s station anymore. I am heartbroken that Louie won’t be able to hear those call letters and be reminded of the love his PawPaw had for him, even before he was born.

Here is my request….if anyone has ANY connection at Clear Channel, I need your help! I would love to have a couple of things (bumper stickers, t-shirts, etc) that said 100.5 LOUIE FM on them. I want to save them so that when Louie is older I can show it to him and we can re-tell the story and it will be part of HIS history…not just part of history. Thank you in advance!

And I was able to get a few items that say LOUIE FM on them…posters and plastic cups. If someone at the new LOUIE FM would like to send keepsakes my way, I will not deny them! 😉 I would love to surround my budding musician with reminders that his love of music comes from someone very special who is no longer with us.

Got Your Back with Matt The Electrician and free tickets!!

Ah, the sappy, over-commercialized ‘holiday’ of Valentines is upon us. I’ve never been fan of the day. I am not a hater, but it seems to me that we should be showing our loved ones how much we love them on a daily basis. And why should one day matter more than all the rest? I think flowers on a random Tuesday would be so much more fun that the pressure to pick the most perfect Valentines gift. Plus, “Saint” Valentine, isn’t even on the Catholic calendar of saints (they removed him in 1969), because nothing is known about him other than his name, birthday and day of death (Feb 14). So, there ya go!

That said, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share a song that isn’t overly gushy or sappy. It just has solid lyrics that describe the kind of love I hope everyone can experience, whether that is through family, a spouse or a friend. Love is love no matter where you find it! And my Valentines wish is that every one of you has someone who has “Got Your Back”, as Matt the Electrician so eloquently sings about.

In the universe you’re a molecule
In my eyes, you’re a great big deal
Bigger than the moon
You’re the only tune I hear
I’ve got your back, we’re on the same track

And if we’re moving then we’re moving together
And if we’re standing still then it’s still forever

And guess what?! Mr. The Electrician is coming to Louisville soon and you can win (2) tickets to the show at Uncle Slaytons!! He will be performing on Feb 22. Just got to the last bit of sanity facebook page, like it and tell me that you want to be entered to win the tickets! The winner will be picked on Monday Feb 20!  I have been  blown away by his latest release, as I wrote about here. Hope you jump on the chance to see this amazing singer/songwriter!

Really?!

I sat down to write a post about how fabulous this past weekend was, but I couldn’t. I kept getting stuck and wadding up paper after paper, starting over at every turn (okay, okay….so it wasn’t paper, but it was the delete button that I kept using over and over!). I couldn’t get my dear daughter’s words out of my head. I figured I better get them out here or I would risk the words getting stuck and continuing to strangulate my thoughts.

As I was tucking my almost 6 year old in last night, after what I thought was a pretty good weekend, she says to me, with tears in her eyes, ‘I wish you didn’t have so many meetings and I could spend more time with you.’ Ouch. Insert the knife coated with Mommy-guilt. Trying to recover from that blow, I say to her, ‘I know its hard when you are in school all day, you probably miss me.  I miss you too.’ She thinks for second and says, “No. I just don’t like it when you go out so much.” Ah. Kids. Gotta love, em, right?

Now, I have seen my seemingly sweet daughter bring other people to their knees with her questions or observations, but I haven’t been on the receiving end too often (I am sure that will come in a few years!). My favorite was when she had a stare down and verbally challenged a local prosecutor. I am pretty sure said prosecutor was sweating nails and was anxious to back to her murder trial after encountering my daughter.

This line from the song, Kids, by The Features reminds me of her: They were born screaming. They had fire in their eyes. And its a kick-ass song from an band that kills it live! (If you live in Louisville, you catch them again on March 23 when they open for J. Roddy Walston at Headliners. I advise going!)

And do you know how much I LOVE that about my girl?! I LOVE that she is strong, self-confident and don’t hesitate to speak her mind. I wouldn’t change that for the world! She is exactly the type of girl I want her to grow into. My challenge is how to handle her right now.

I thought about trying to rationalize with her. I am a stay at home Mom. I am ALWAYS there to pick her up from school and I am ALWAYS there to take her to her music class. When I go out at night, it is usually only 30-60mins before her bedtime and when I can, I arrange it for after she is asleep. And my meetings are for things that help other people, like raising funds for scholarships to Bellarmine or helping to improve things at her school. Sure, I have my fun time in there and go to concerts and basketball games, but, I wanted to tell her, if I don’t get the me time you would be wishing I was gone more often! ha.

But, I didn’t. She is nearly 6 and wouldn’t really get it. And if that is how she feels, then that is how she feels. My first instinct was to clear my calendar and to make sure I am home every night. And then I thought better of it. That would make me miserable. I enjoy (usually!) being at home but part of that is because I try to balance everything and not completely lose myself and keep active in things I care about. I hope that I am being a good role model for my kids as they get older. And I hope that my skin gets a little thicker because I am sure I will hear more of these comments that cut to my core. :-S

pushin on with MORE giveaways!!!

We are just rolling with the ticket giveaways!!! And we are not stopping yet! I cannot tell you how excited I am about this next giveaway! We are so lucky to have Ha Ha Tonka joining us in Louisville again!! They were here over the summer for one of WFPK’s Waterfront Wednesdays and that is where I really became a fan. My fan-dom only grew when they graciously let me interview them (you remember…the interview where I had to hide in the garage so the foursome wouldn’t bother me?!)  And it keeps on growing, because not only do I have (2) tickets to giveaway to their show on Feb 3, 2012 at Uncle Slayton’s, but I also have 3 Ha Ha Tonka cds to giveaway!!


Now, here is the deal! Uncle Slayton’s is an intimate setting and can hold a little less than 150. Ha Ha Tonka has developed quite the following in Louisville and this show is only one of a few that they are headlining this winter. So, if you MUST go to this show, you might want to go ahead and get tickets just to make sure you do get them! And if you win the contest, then you will still get the CDs! If you are risk taker, then you can wait…but just so you know, I already have my tickets in hand!

You know the drill….go to the Last Bit Of Sanity facebook page, like it and tell me that you want to win the Ha Ha Tonka tickets and CDs! The contest ends on January 26th at 5pm and a winner will be announced shortly after that.  Good luck! Here they are rockin in a van…you can just imagine how they will rock Uncle Slayton’s!! This song contains some of my favorite lyrics, “if you don’t change where you’re going, you’re gonna end up right where you’re headed”.

Ha Ha Tonka – “Made Example Of” from Jam in the Van on Vimeo.

*gulp* how did that happen?!

As I have mentioned before, I turn the big 3-5 this year….in 44 days to be exact. Not so excited about it, trying to beat life at this aging thing, but it seems like an uphill battle. However, that doesn’t mean I am giving up. Music is one of those things that helps keep me young. Until I find out that someone I used to babysit is the drummer in a local band trying to make it big. Talk about deflating the denial balloon. I guess I am old enough to have babysat someone who is now an adult (and let’s not even mention those kids I sat for who now have their OWN kids! Yikes!).

It seems like it was just yesterday that I was listening to Nick Goldring bang on his drums in the basement while he parents were out. I remember his parents always being very supportive of him and maybe that has been in the back of my mind while I raise my little rocker.  And maybe that is why I thought it was a good idea to indulge my 3.5yr old’s Christmas wish for drums. Yes, I have taken stock in Advil. No, I am not really sure that was the most thought out gift. But at the same time, his banging always brings a smile to my face.

So, when I got the message from Nick about his band, Quiet Hollers, competing for a spot in the Chicago Bluegrass and Blues festival, it also brought a smile to my face. I can see a little boy living his dream and I am more than happy to assist in any way possible (even if it makes me feel REALLY old!).  And I ask that you do the same! This festival in Chicago is a big deal. A few of the headliners this year are Drive-By-Truckers, Dawes and The Del McCoury Band. This recognition could be a game changer for Quiet Hollars! They are an alt-country/americana band and they have been hard at work on recording their second album.  You can listen to some of their songs on their Reverbnation page.  They need to be in the top 5 to gain entry to the festival.  They are hanging in there, but really need your votes to push them over the top!! You can vote once a day until Jan.13, when the winners will be announced. Vote HERE. And keep your ears open for these guys…I suspect you will be hearing more about them!

Here is a video of “Road Song” from their upcoming release:

what’s up with local music?

Louisville has always had a strong local music scene.  We are (generally) supportive of musicians and have some great music events (like Forecastle – “where the world gathers to experience the best in Music, Art, and Activism” and Abbey Road on the River-“biggest Beatles Music Fest in the world!)  And we can’t ignore the HUGE influence of 91.91 WFPK, most listened to AAA station in the country that hosts of so many fabulous shows (Live Lunch, Waterfront Wednesdays, etc) and home of the top Music Director in the country, Kyle Meredith (who also produces/hosts The Weekly Feed, an hour long syndicate in 16 markets). So, we have it good. And local musicians benefit from the strong radio presence….they get airtime!!

But, we all know there is now a large hole in the local music community since the closing of ear X-tacy.  ear X-tacy was a place were local musicans could sell their cds on consignment. It was a place they could have their cd release and in-store performance. It was a place where they could have their cd featured on a listening station for all to sample. I have had numerous people ask me where to buy local music now. I don’t even know what to tell them. I know there are other music stores, but I just called a couple to see if they had Inclusions by Ben Sollee (I’ve gotten a lot of inquiries from friends on where to buy his stuff) and no one did. They were all nice and said they could order it, but it isn’t the same.

I feel the loss and I am only a listener. I am curious to hear what local musicians think and what they think the future looks like for music in Louisville. And apparently, I am not the only one! The Louisville Free Public Library has put together an interesting event, “Local Music: An Insider’s Story”.  It is the first in a series called THINK LOCALLY. Local musicians, Joan Shelley and Joe Manning, of King’s Daughters & Sons,  will give their perspectives and insights on the past and future of music in Louisville.  Join me on Wednesday night at 7pm at the LFPL Highlands Branch.

Just a few days left to enter…..

Don’t miss the opportunity to throw your name in the hat for (2) free tickets to see The Head And The Heart play at Headliners in Louisville on March 6, 2012!!! The name will be revealed on Jan.1, 2012 (happy new year!!). Just go to the Last Bit Of Sanity facebook page, like it, and then post that you want to win the tickets to THATH (please specify which show, because I also have Langhorne Slim tickets to giveaway!!).  That’s all you have to do!! Easy-peasy. And in case you are on the fence about going to the show, here is a little something fun to tempt you! 😉

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