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War is hell

I returned home safely on Friday evening from my yearly vacation. It’s not a normal vacation. No lounging in a hammock by the ocean or in the mountains. I join over 10,000 other people at the Pennsic War – a camping event North of Pittsburgh made up of folks who are part of the Society for Creative Anachronism (a non profit organization that re-enacts pre-1600 history). The weather, quite honestly, sucked. It was hot and humid. Most nights were the same. My ankles swelled to the point where I could only really wear flip flops (not really historically accurate but when it’s that bad you toss accuracy out the window).

If you know me you know I’m not a negative nancy but oy, it was yukky. I had good moments but for the most part I spent my time with a battery operated fan blowing on me. So this year Pennsic War was, for me, hell.

But hey, I did get a great pic!

Pennsic at sunset
Pennsic at sunset

We came home to a huge overflow of tomatoes. I’m excited – this year I’m going to learn how to can! 🙂 Haven’t checked the peppers or eggplant yet – will get on that today.

School starts this week for boy child and at the beginning of September for girl child. She’s a senior in high school so OMGWTF. So not prepared for this!! We need to nail down a college and get going on prep for that. eeeeeeeep!

I did not listen to new music while I was camping. But I have spent the past few days catching up on emails and music. Here’s just a taste of the awesome out there:

*Margret Glaspy – I love her story. She comes from CA and was accepted to Berklee School of Music. ‘ “I went to Berklee College of Music in Boston for a semester and paid for it with money I got from the YoungArts Program.” She continues, “I wasn’t able to afford school after that semester, so I snuck into workshops and master classes at the school and started to write songs more seriously.” For three years, she lived in Boston, working odd jobs whilst fine-tuning her songwriting skills.’ Now that’s what I call dedication!

*Ryley Walker – I have simple musical tastes. I’m not into overly processed stuff. Raw or acoustic makes me happy. Ryley Walker makes me happy. He’s a mega talented guy making really great music. I can’t ask for anything else.

*Joshua Radin – I’m biased about Joshua, after all, he’s from the same town in Cleveland. But you know what? Talent is talent. He melts my heart. His lyrics and music are gorgeous. Don’t change, Joshua. Please don’t change.

*Hannah Gill & The Hours – Yaaaaaaaaaas. I’m not going to write a technical review. Sultry, smoky, seductive. This is some serious sexy music. Love!!

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Looking back

As I’m wrapping up my 7th month of major life change, I’m doing a little bit of reflection on where I am now. What I find interesting is that there are still people (acquaintances of mine on social media) who don’t know the whole story behind the letter I co-wrote with Blake Morgan and subsequent Huffington Post article and guest appearance on Live with Robin Morgan. If you’re one of those folks, click the links and give it a gander.

I am continuing to fight for artist’s rights. Whether it’s in Washington DC, Los Angeles, or my hometown, I will keep talking, writing, and posting about it.

I have been unable to find work in radio since I terminated the contract with the station I worked with. I’ve been told I’m blacklisted from radio by some. I’ve been told I’m not by others. I have no way of knowing which is the truth – and acknowledge that perhaps both are. It’s ok though. I’m working (retail) and have an incredible new project about to launch within the month. More about that when we’re ready to launch.

All in all I’m happy. The lack of AC in my house bothers me but that’s it. My family is doing well, bills are being paid, food is on the table, the pets are making our lives full of joy, snuggles, and laughs. Ok, and periodic hair pulling out but mostly good stuff. My tomatoes are starting to ripen on the vine, which means delicious food we grew ourselves. I’m back on the vegan wagon and back to losing weight. It’s been 8 months since I quit smoking. I’m still able to laugh at myself and enjoy the simple things – the stars at night, thunderstorms rolling through, and an ice cold glass of water. I am blessed. Blessed enough to run out and buy a cheap ass pool for me and the kids to cool off in. There was almost nothing left (not surprising) so we got an adorable little turtle pool and we sat around it with our feet in. It was delightful.

I’m doubly blessed because I don’t have to listen to new music if I don’t want to. I get to choose what I listen to and when. That means I’ve been able to catch up on my favorite podcasts. If I don’t like what I’m listening to I grab a book and sit in silence for a while. After 14 years of non-stop music listening, it’s so refreshing to choose when I listen instead of that constant NEED to listen.

The bonus is that I get to talk about music that’s really exciting me!

*Josiah & The Bonnevilles: Their new EP “Cold Blood” is out now. Not.A.Fucking.Bad.Song.On.It. For reals. I love this EP. I love their sound. My favorite song from the EP is “Long Gone”. Love!!

*Butch Walker: This guy. OMG this guy. He’s incredible, talented, has great buzz but is for some damn reason still under the radar. Let’s change that, ok?

*Bishop Briggs: I could go on and on about her. About how she’s opening for Coldplay this summer. About the very art-y video. About her incredible voice and talent. But instead I’ll let you watch her video for “River”.

*Woodes: I just have three words. Thank You Australia.

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Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

(Quote from The Princess Bride)

It’s been mega busy. Started a new part time job last week (retail). This means a little less free time, more planning on my part, and a weight off my shoulders financially. I’m still doing consulting as well but it’s great to have steady income coming in.

Garden is bad. It’s been so dry and I’ve been horrid about remembering to water the plants. I don’t think the eggplant or peppers will make it. They are just not happy.

My allergies are horrendous. They just kicked in yesterday. We went to Detroit to see friends and I was fine. Got home and seriously – we got off the highway and I started sneezing. It’s been 18 hours and the Allegra is wearing off – I know enough to know I need to take it at night before bed because my allergies are worse after dark. Now is the time to invest in Puffs – I’m going to be going through a ton!

I haven’t been going to many concerts this year but I have hit a few. LaureLive was INCREDIBLE. Stellar line up and all the performances were inspiring! Plus I had time to sit and visit with lots of friends. I do hope it returns next year.

A week ago I went to see Lee DeWyze and Anna Rose in Port Clinton, OH. Confession – I have never been to the Islands of Lake Erie. Cedar Point, IMHO, doesn’t count. This was my first trip into that area. I was really impressed and definitely want to go back (Kelly’s Island is on my bucket list – I’ve always wanted to see the glacial grooves!)

Look at them!!
Look at those sexy glacial grooves!!!!

Anyway, the concert. Both artists are friends of mine so it was wonderful to see them perform and visit with both after their sets (Anna opened for Lee). I finally had a chance to listen to Lee’s new album “Oil & Water”. He let me hear a few of the tracks when the album was in production so it was awesome to hear the finished product. He’s pretty awesome. But I’m biased, I admit it.

Here’s the first single from the album – “Stone”:

Anna has a new album out and I love it – and her. She’s a total rocker chick with no qualms about rocking the fuck out. Love.Her!!! New EP “Strays in the Cut” just came out – here’s “Under My Skin”:

But wait, there’s more!! More new music, that is.

*Freddy & Francine: I’m still on a few radio email lists (which I love!). I don’t inhale new music like I did when it was my job but I do listen to new music a few times a week. My friend, Jeff Appleton, runs Marathon Entertainment. His site one of the places I go to listen to new music. He never disappoints. Prime example is Freddy & Francine. I first of heard of them via his website, then watched their video for the NPR Tiny Desk contest. Booyah! Here they are with “If You Want Me”:

*I’ve talked about JD Eicher before but I’ve gotta plug him again – new album (The Middle Distance) = lots of awesome new songs. He’s local(ish) and I’ve had the chance to see him perform live a few times. His energy, passion, and musical brilliance are phenomenal. Give the title track from the new album a gander:

P.S. Yes, I watched the Cavs win – I think almost everyone in NE Ohio did. I don’t like basketball but I did that night. It was beautiful. The Lake Erie Monsters winning the Calder Cup excited the heck out of me as well. Yay Cleveland teams!

P.S.S. I will be nowhere near downtown CLE for the RNC. Nowhere. It’s gonna be crazy.

P.S.S.S. I know you don’t read my blog to discuss anything political – but we need more great music right now. My country’s heart is hurting. Here’s my new musical happy place:

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Where the heck did my month go?

I’ve been writing down music to talk about, thinking about what to write for almost a month. I just kept forgetting to take the time to actually, you know, write.

I used to have a schedule. Even working from home meant I needed a schedule. This summer? Gone out the window. I’m awake until 1 or 2. Up around 10am. Then to the gym to swim or workout on the elliptical. Kids and I have played mini golf once. A few lunches out but we’ve been mega lazy. Don’t even ask me about the status of my vegetable garden. The tomatoes from last year took over! I had no idea they could come back! Mine did and they have decided the entire veggie patch is theirs. I have to dig up a hosta and plant my eggplant and pepper. That’s tomorrow’s goal – we have storms today (that means 1. I’m not working in the yard and 2. The ground will be nice and soft tomorrow.)

*Edit: I totally forgot one awesome fun thing girl child and I did this month! We went strawberry picking with a super awesome friend and her two boys. It was a hoot!

Putt Putt with the kids was awesome. We don’t follow the rules, we just whack our balls around. Seriously. No scores to keep, just fun.

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I’ve been slacking on new music. Mostly because of summer laziness. But do not fear, I have a few gems for you!

*Highasakite is my latest musical love. The whole album, Camp Echo, is heavenly. I’ve been a fan for a few years and this album shows their growth beautifully. I can’t share any new videos from this album so we’ll have to make do with “Since Last Wednesday” from their 2013 album Silent Treatment:

*When I worked in radio, I avoided cover songs like the plague. But every once in a while one would come across my desk that blew me away. Meet SHEL. Hear their cover of “Enter Sandman”. Yeah. Life is good. (then go listen to their other stuff cause dayum.)

*Check out Great American Canyon Band. I’m kinda crushing on them. Incredible sound. Then I read the bio and my heart melted. Love love love.

Here’s “Only You Remain”:

*Lots of new music from artists I love – Hozier, Bastille, Tom Odell, Passenger, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Violent Femmes, Meiko, Anya Marina, and more. It’s a great time to be a music lover!

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Whoa, dudes & dudettes!

Sooooo it’s been a bit – not that I haven’t been thinking of posting but I keep forgetting. Busy Mama K is busy. I’ve started a part time work from home temp gig. Bonus is money, work, and working from home. Negatives are….it’s temporary. I’m not giving up hope. I’m strong, resilient, brave, passionate, smart, and dedicated. Good things are coming, friends. I know that because I’m working on them. 🙂

This week is “plant the garden” week. I was taught to wait until Memorial Day but folks around here start planting on Mother’s Day. I figure if another frost comes (very likely here in NE Ohio) I can cover my plants. I’ve decided on eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes this year. We’ve had no luck with watermelon, cucumber, or some herbs. This will be my first year trying eggplant so wish me luck!

Running is going well. I’m slowly increasing my speed which is awesome. I’m taking a break because I desperately need new running shoes – I’m having back pain and knee pain when I’ve tried to run the past week. I believe it’s related to my shoes since they are older and I didn’t have any problems before. New shoes happen later this week! I need to train! I haven’t picked a 5k yet but I’m talking with a friend about a half marathon in 2017. Cause I’m hard core insane.

Me after today’s run:

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If you know me at all you’ll know that I’m not much of a movie person. I like movies but I prefer action or comedy. I am not a fan of drama. So it will surprise most of you that I saw The Revenant this weekend. I.Couldn’t.Even. I was glad I wasn’t in the movie theatre because I would have gone bonkers. I played a game on my phone. I messaged my friend Craig. I had to because that movie is hella intense and I couldn’t take it all the time. Splitting my focus helped. I will say it’s a great movie. I am not surprised it won Oscars. Leonardo DiCaprio was incredible. The views were stunning. The movie was dark and depressing and amazing and powerful. I don’t ever ever ever want to see it again but I’m glad I did. Mostly.

I have been listening to new music, btw. Cause even if I’m not working in radio currently, discovering and sharing the music I’m passionate about will never stop.

I’m going to shake it up a little bit though and focus on Cleveland artists. Either ones who live here or artists that are from here. Cause NE Ohio has some incredibly talented musicians and everyone should know about them.

*Let’s start with Cleveland native Clarence Bucaro. He’s a prolific writer and I love almost everything he writes. But his newest offering is so incredible I’ve listened to it over and over – and then finally put it on my iPhone – if it makes it onto my iPhone you know it’s good! His new album “Pendulum” is flat-out gorgeous. Here’s the first single from the album (which releases May 20), “Tragedy”:

*Shawn and Shelby have an album coming out this weekend. While I’ll miss the concert (emergency trip to Chicago), I’m a lucky woman because I’ve already heard it. (score!!) This album is haunting and gorgeous. Shawn’s rich voice is the perfect complement to Shelby’s stirring cello. A match made in heaven. Here’s the title track, performed live at Beachland Ballroom:

*There are some bands I haven’t gotten to see live but love them anyway. Nights is the biggest. I love their sound. Pop and synth and edgy. Love! Here’s “Walkaway” from their album “Whisper”.

*I’m a mom. Unsurprisingly, my nickname is Mama K. Dan Miraldi is one of my boys. Not only because he’s a good man but also incredibly talented. He’s passionate and brave. And he’s never scared to follow his dreams. That’s why he’s in NYC currently pursuing those dreams. I believe in him. Rock, Americana, with a punk edge. Puts me right in my happy place. Here’s “Demon Baby” from his album “Chaos, Destrution, & Dancing”.

*If Welshly Arms has a new album coming out I don’t know about it. But they’re touring this summer with NeedToBreathe so I gotta plug them. This band? This band. OMG this band. I would travel many distances just to see them. Cause the word awesome isn’t awesome enough to describe their awesomeness. Here’s “Night Prowler”.

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