Go.See.Ben.Sollee.Live. (and try to win tickets here!!)

Wow.  I’ve never written anything that has required so many re-dos and so much effort.  I can’t get the words right. The issue isn’t the subject.  Well, maybe it is, but not because he isn’t good.  It’s because he is so talented, unique and an outstanding man that I feel overwhelmed with painting a flawless picture of him for you.  My experience with Ben Sollee may have been more than the average fan (read about that here), but everyone who meets him pretty much says the same thing: He is an incredible musician and such a genuine guy!

When you talk with Ben, you quickly find out that he is soft-spoken and embraces doing things in his own, unique way.  Everything-from the way he tours (he ‘ditches the van‘ for part of his tour each year and travels by bicycle) to the way he plays his cello.  Yes, I said cello.  No–I haven’t switched musical focuses to classical.

Don’t ask me to classify Ben’s music. Not sure it can be put into a box–he’s not an ‘in the box’ kinda guy.  It isn’t classical, that for sure, even though that was his foundation. “Pop cello” is the easy way out-but is is SO much more. It has so much depth and so many layers that aren’t usually associated with pop.  Ben is the MacGyver of the cello world. Paving (maybe peddling is more accurate!) his way with brand new sounds and techniques that make you forget how the cello is ‘supposed’ to sound.  He uses his hands and plays it like a guitar.  He uses his bow and has perfected the chopping sound. But most impressive is the voice and words that accompany the one of a kind cello sounds.

Ben’s voice has a deep and impassioned sound that comes from an old soul. He will blow your mind when the sound comes out and then he will keep you flying when you listen to the lyrics. One his 2010 release, Dear Companion, with Daniel Martin Moore, they focus on the issues surrounding mountain top removal and the message comes through. But even on his other releases, his voice is strong. His latest album, Inclusions, feels much more personal, but still fabulous! I could go on and on with my favorite lyrics, but here are a few:

“If I’ve wounded you, I’m sorry.
I had good intentions.
If I’ve wounded you, I’m sorry.
It happens all the time.”  -Something, Somewhere, Sometime

“When my bare hands touch the base of you spine
I feel you shudder and you close your eyes
Move like a swallow and I’m Hypnotized”  -Electrified

Ben is going places and others are starting to recognize this talented performer from Kentucky! He has been featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Series, as well as Mountain Stage and even in the Wall Street Journal! At this year’s Bonnaroo, Rolling Stone also took notice.

Part of my trouble with writing this is that I want to entice each and everyone of you to see Ben Sollee live. I promise it will be an evening you won’t soon forget. But, just in case my writing isn’t enough, I will give away 2 tickets to Ben’s show on Friday, Oct.14th at Headliners. All you have to do is tag Last Bit of Sanity on your facebook status or post on the wall and you will be entered to win!

We were lucky enough to be in attendance when both of these clips were filmed! 🙂

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all my life i’ve been waiting….

Most people are now aware that October is breast cancer awareness month….pink is everywhere! And that is an incredible accomplishment–who thought it would ever be widely proclaimed “save the ta-tas”?! But, that is not my focus this month.  My focus is on an issue that people still prefer not to talk about even though so many people are touched by it somehow.  October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Month.

I talk about my foursome in a sometimes flip and sarcastic way, but make no mistake that I love them and would do anything for them. People see us out and assume that it was easy as pie for us to have kids and that is not the case.  We spent a couple of years going through tests, procedures and a lot of anxious waiting. We were thrilled when our first artificial insemination worked! Over the moon…told everyone, started picking out names, planning the nursery. Out of our minds excited. And then that all came crashing down when I miscarried at 13 weeks.  I was supposed to be in the ‘safe zone’. I had just gotten released from the specialist to start seeing my regular OB doctor. Everything was supposed to work out perfectly from that point on.

Little did I know what I was facing.  Never in my life have I experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows in such a short amount of time. Devastation doesn’t even begin to cover the feelings I was going through. And the hardest part is that I wasn’t alone.  So many other people go through the same thing, but no one wants to talk about it.  Or no one knows what to say. Some people try to say the right things, but I promise hearing ‘it wasn’t in God’s plan” isn’t what someone wants to hear when they are feeling so much pain. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to think that my God doesn’t intentionally inflict pain on people. But, maybe that’s just me? I do strongly believe that there is a reason for everything, even if it takes a while to figure it out.

As heartbreaking as my miscarriage was, my eyes have opened even wider to the grief mothers go through when they lose a baby, no matter what stage or age. I have had too many people close to me lose a child through miscarriage (sometime one after another), stillbirth or infant loss. I am in tears thinking about all of that pain and sadness, all those lost dreams and hopes, all those missing hugs and kisses. Nothing takes the pain away. It might not be as strong as it once was, but it is always a part of my soul.  I wish more people would talk about it and acknowledge the hurt. My thoughts are with all families who live with this reality everyday. Many virtual (((HUGS))) are coming your way!

This morning, as I was walking and trying to clear my head, a song by The Apache Relay came on that really grabbed me. It’s called Lost Kid and the lyrics are fitting:

Sometimes I feel like I’m just a lost kid,
stumbling through these towns,
stuck between the waves.
Nothing feels the same.

I need an anchor that never lets go,
I need someone to call, hear a voice I know.
Something that feels like home.
Something that feels like home.

All my life, all my life, all my life I’ve been waiting for You
All my life, all my life, all my life I’ve been waiting for You

I’ve been searching all of my days, looking for any signs, reading between the lines, hoping for anything.
I’ve been living in this tension, I just pretend I’m fine, that everythings ok, but I’m about to break.
Yeah Im about to break

All my life, all my life, all my life I’ve been waiting for You
All my life, all my life, all my life I’ve been waiting for You
All my life, all my life, all my life I’ve been waiting for You
All my life, all my life, all my life I’ve been waiting for You


Here is another gem from the Nashville-based group.  I love the line ‘souls can not, souls cannot be fooled’.  They have recently hit a lot of people’s radars, including Mumford & Sons (they published their playlist and The Apache Relay is on it!). Lucky for those of you in Louisville tonight…you can catch them opening for G.Love and Special Sauce at Headliners.  I know where I will be!!

Just in!!!

Not only is Walk The Moon one of the most energetic and entertaining live bands I have seen (read a previous post here), but apparently they are mind readers, too!! Who knew?!  I had recently told hubby that I really wanted to see Walk The Moon live again…and viola! They just announced a show in Louisville and Cincinnati.  They will be at Headliners in Louisville on Dec.1st and I highly recommend you get your tickets now (they go on sale today at noon)! I think it is impossible to see them live and not fall in love with the high you get from their energy.  It fills the room and you will leave feeling good.  So…who’s in? I wouldn’t miss it for the world!! There are a couple of videos up on my previous post, but here is another one  just because! 😉

Clear the Calendar!!!

It’s always like a kick in the pants when you discover this great new group, only to find out that they were just in your city playing live. And you missed it.  Arg! It’s time to dig into these groups, get your sitters and get ready to enjoy a little adult time out of the house!! All of these shows are at Headliners. And if you plan on going, let me know.  There is nothing better than sharing good music with great friends!!!

  • Sept. 22 – Ten out of Tenn:  This is a group of 10 musicians from Tennessee (go figure!), including Katie Herzig and Gabe Dixon.  According to their website, there are a collective of incredibly talented friends who, as individual artists, have released over thirty albums, had song placements in countless television programs & films and shared the stage with musicians such as REM, Sarah McLachlan and John Mayer. It was also just announced that they will be doing an in-store at ear X-tacy at 5:30pm the same night. 
  • Sept 30 – Pokey Lafarge with Maiden Raido and Whiskey Bent Valley Boys: This isn’t Pokey’s first time in Louisville this year and I know people are glad to have him back! I missed him last time, but hope to make up for it this time around.  Watching and listening to him is like stepping back in time.  He just has this classic bluesy-western feeling with killer harmonica! And he dresses the part!! Plus, opening for him that night is none other than the local girls of Maiden Radio.  Julia Purcell, Cheyenne Marie Mize and Joan Shelley make up the trio who has a new release called Lullabies with songs originally recorded for Julia’s daughter.  It is produced by Daniel Martin Moore on Ol Kentuck Records.
  • Oct. 6 – G. Love & Special Sauce with The Apache Relay: I am very excited to see both of these groups!! G.Love’s newest solo release, Fixin’ to Die, came out in February 2011 and was produced and backed by The Avett Brothers. Their sound is unique…a mix of hip-hop, blues and their own sound! See for yourself:      I think this will be a high energy show, since I’ve heard that The Apache Relay goes all out in their shows! I love the lyrics on this is song… “home is not places, it is love”. 

That’s all for now, but you will also want to get sitters for Oct.14 (Ben Sollee), Oct. 16 (Trombone Shorty), Oct. 20 (Dawes), Oct.27 (road trip to Lexington for The Avett Brothers). Don’t worry, I will be previewing all of those shows, too.  Just didn’t want to overwhelm you (okay, okay…it was me getting overwhelmed and consumed with finding the perfect videos to post 😉 ).

a soft criticism

Ah sweet concert remorse, you have shown yourself again! The first time on May 19, 2007 when Ryan Adams headlined a special WFPK show at The Brown Theatre.  I was pumped…his Gold album was on heavy (and loud) rotation at my house (well, okay…car).  The theatre went dark – seriously, lights turned way down – and someone, who we all assumed was Ryan Adams, came out with a skull cap pulled down so low, it could have been your brother and you wouldn’t have known it.  He played a few songs and vanished. Gone. Lights on, game over.  I’ve heard a few explanations from a skateboarding induced injury to a later- diagnosed (serious) illness. Whatever.  Still love him and looking forward to his new release (due out in October).  But, I could do without that empty feeling of performance disappointment.  You walk in, excited and filled with anticipation for a great night ahead. And it is just a cruel reality when your expectations weren’t met – not even close.

Well, last night at Waterfront Wednesday, I should have done myself a favor and left at 8:30pm, just as Ha Ha Tonka was ending their AMAZING set (more to come on them!!).  When Sarah Jaffe walked onto the stage at 9pm the mood suddenly and drastically changed. The exact same thing happened in April at Headliners.  I had pushed her last performance in Louisville out of my head, because how could someone who has such an amazing voice, strong lyrics and a group of talented musicians backing her fail so miserably at live music?

Note-as a Mom, I have a hard time tearing someone apart unless they do something inexcusable – like take the last donut at the bakery when my kiddos were already salivating over their treat 😉 – and then watch out because Mama bear will come out!  These days, there are so many musician who don’t succeed at live music because their voices have to be re-re-mastered on the cd.  This was absolutely NOT the issue with Sarah.  It seems as though she just needs a little help with the show. The two times I have seen her live, she has slowed her songs down so much that it was hard to recognize  when they started. I am all for the nature of the live show and how songs can develop from that.  However, usually it goes the other way–artist add energy and enthusiasm to a set and songs start to take on a personality of their own.  There was little personality last night.  The audience quickly picked up on the collective energy suck during Sarah’s set and just as quickly started peeling out.

Will I continue to have Sarah’s Suburban Nature on heavy rotation?! No doubt! It is incredible and one of my favorite finds from the past year. Do I encourage you to find a copy? Of course!! You will love her voice and songs.  Will I see her live again? Umm….maybe if it is another free show, but then again maybe not.  All was not lost last night with my new infatuation with Ha Ha Tonka after they killed it! Over all, it was a  great Waterfront Wednesday and we are so lucky to have these concerts in our community! And who knows, maybe Sarah’s performance will grow and I will be happily surprised the next time I see her!

I wish I was a little more delicate…

Sarah Jaffe (rhymes with taffy) came into my world in December 2010, like an early Christmas gift from 91.9 WFPK.  Oh, WFPK, how could I ever repay you? What’s that? You say a yearly membership would be more than enough repayment? Done!! (Suppot your local station–contribute here.) 😉

Back to that wintery day when I was introduced to Sarah Jaffe as WFPK played “Clementine” from her newest release, Suburban Nature.  I was hooked immediately-her smooth, strong voice with striking lyrics and the right mix of instruments to back her up–it was too much to resist!

“Clementine”, official video

Sarah was slotted to play the first Waterfront Wednesday of the year on April 27, 2011, but foul weather and flooding moved the event to Headliners.  (Walk The Moon also played that show.)  Headliners was packed and I think Sarah was overwhelmed at the response of the crowd.  She even gushed about her love for Louisville on her facebook page that night after the show!

Sarah has been named as an up and coming artist by numerous music reviewers and she is on many lists as one not to miss at the infamous SXSW 2011 fest.  She was also featured on the NPR Daytrotter Session.  She is getting recognized for a good reason! “Clementine” isn’t the only good song on the CD-it’s all good, baby!!

“Vulnerable”, aka Sleeping Beauty, is a favorite at our house.  If you have a daughter or have spent any time around young girls, then you understand this.  Usually, I just grin and bear it whenever princesses are involved.  Seriously–why can’t my daughter be enthralled with a character that can stand on her own and doesn’t need to be rescued?! This infatuation shall pass…right?!?!

Anyway, I can’t complain about A loving “Vulnerable”…I love it, too!

Since this Denton, TX singer/songwriter doesn’t make it to Louisville often (although we have gotten her twice in 4 months!), make plans to attend Waterfront Wednesday tomorrow (Aug 31, 2011).  NOW!!  And if you can’t make it, look for her new release on Sept.27th.

Hold It Steady, Hold It Steady, Hold It Steady….

WOW!! You guys really know how to make a girl feel good!! I am blown away at how many facebook likes and subscribers I have gotten in just 2 days!! (Quick plug…if you want to get emails when I post, subscribe and you will!)  I couldn’t have asked for more….its been a rough summer (with family illnesses/surgeries) but this weekend had me flying high.  I couldn’t believe that so many friends (and some strangers!) have checked out the page and liked it.  Keep it going…share with your friends!

So, just like a quick pin prick can rapidly deflate a balloon, the angry words of a 3 year old have the same effect on a Mom’s ego.  I was feeling pretty good about myself…with all the incredibly amazing comments from you guys how could I not?! Hubby just had ACL replacement surgery on his knee, so I thought that I would take the foursome to church…gulp, alone…to give him some quiet time in the house.  Pretty sure the youngest could smell the fear coming off of me.  He waited until we sat down and then his attack began. Haven’t figured out if it was premeditated or it was just something that magically happens when kids walk into church. But, nonetheless, it happened…the whining, the crying, the screaming.  I can handle all that…we just walked to the back and I warned the others to be good, as I could see everything they were doing (wonder how much longer that threat will last?).  L calmed down, so we ventured back to our seats.  I’m pretty sure that was a trick on his part.  Not long after we sat down, he said very loudly “You a MEAN Mommy!”  And just in case that wasn’t good enough, he said it again.  It was pretty impossible to ignore all of the people laughing around us.  Felt like the whole church was laughing and watching my ego shrink back down to an acceptable size.  Thanks for keeping me in check, L.  :-S

The first thing that popped into my head after those ugly words came out of that adorable mouth was the lyrics from Walk The Moon‘s “I Can Lift A Car Up”.  They go something like this:

I won’t lose it, I won’t lose it, I won’t lose it
I won’t lose it, I won’t lose it

Hold it steady, hold it steady, hold it steady,
Hold it steady, hold it steady

And then I just had to relax and smile.  Walk The Moon put on an unexpectedly awesome show at Headliners in April 2011.  I knew their song “Anna Sun” was a keeper, but had no idea that their energy on and off the stage would make them a favorite live act of mine!  Headliners was filling up and hubby and I were having a good time people watching…always good entertainment value there!  Then we noticed that some people were walking around with their faces painted.  We were perplexed, but whatever floats your boat.  We moved to the main floor just before the first act was about to come out.  We started talking to some friends and were informed that the person painting faces was the lead singer of Walk The Moon, Nicholas Petricca.  He is a firm believer in ‘it’s okay to play’, hence the face painting.  Normally, not my thing…but how the heck could I resist?! I think hubby thought I was crazy, but who cares!! That was my first taste of how Walk The Moon’s energetic aura takes over the audience at their shows. Apparently, all of us at the show were totally living in the moment and enjoying the performance, because I cannot find any videos of “I Can Lift A Car” and it was such a special performance.  They split the room in half, one side was to sing the “I can lift a car up” refrain and the other side was to sign the overlapping “All by myself” refrain….the audience participation rocked!!  Hoping to see them again live soon since they are from just up the road in Cincinnati.

Here is a video from the night after they played at Headliners….

I Can Lift A Car

And the official “Anna Sun” video is too good to pass up!

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