Courage – Live Recordings

The last two weekends have been a flurry of action as the workshop production of Couragewas underway, first at Chief Ike’s Mambo Room in Adam’s Morgan and then in the blackbox at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop.

It was a trippy way to reenter the performance scene, and I had a blast working with the band, jamming and letting go (kinda) of my inhibitions about playing in front of a crowd. My mandolin enjoyed her time in the spotlight.

Want to listen to recordings from the final performance? Click here to visit the dog & pony dc Courageblog with all the sound files. In addition to playing in the band, I sang on “Home.” Two of the four performances I managed to stay on beat through the whole song. Sadly, this is not one of them. Sorry, Milo.

We’re going to do a studio recording in a few weeks. If I’m allowed to post those songs, I will.

Baking Something New

Hey all,

So I dropped off the face of the blogging earth, huh? Sorry to those who were checking this page out with any regularity. But it makes me laugh a little when I look at the date of my last post — October 29, 2008 — because just a week later I learned I had already embarked on my most ambitious baking project yet. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Me and the Mister are gonna have a kiddo, you see! So I’m hoping you forgive my multi-month absence, as well as what is likely to continue to be a lazy updating schedule.

You know what’s weird? With every week that goes by, my mandolin moves just a little further away from me. 🙂 The kiddo seems to enjoy the music, though. Speaking of…I’ve been given a really cool opportunity to play and sing in an upcoming workshop production of Courage — a take on Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht. I’ll be one of the minstrel rabble and we’re performing all original music…very gypsy punk stuff. Way out of my comfort zone (but then again, what isn’t at this point?) but so much fun to fiddle with. Lots of minor chords and trills going on…much stretching of the fingers.

It’ll go up early May and is being put on by Dog & Pony DC, a DC theater company run by three terrifically creative ladies. You can keep up with how Courage unfolds on their blog. And I’ll probably be babbling about it here, too.

Cheers, for now!

Lord, What a High…

Woohoo! I got to sing with the band!!! (Excess of exclamation points is totally acceptable here.)

Last Saturday night, my musical cohort Kevin and I went to hear The Fox Hunt play at a bar in Leesburg. Two words: Hell yeah!

I’d only seen them play live while busking at the Vienna metro, so their show was actually a complete surprise. Well beyond their excellent album tracks, instrumental old timey tunes and country covers, they have a stellar rep of bluegrassy originals. Lyrics to kill you dead or raise you up, lots of salt and easy liquor in the sound, and instrumentation that has you moving whether it’s with a stomp or a sway.

I sincerely hope they can take their music far and wide. And it’s important to note, that’s exactly what they’re trying to do. These guys have all quit their day jobs and have turned The Fox Hunt into their full-time. So if you’re jazzed by what you hear on their MySpace page, drop an easy $10 and buy their album!

Support new bands, folks! It’s how all your favorites got their start.

And beyond their great music, the band showed themselves to be great guys as well. Cheerful, funny and welcoming, they hung out and talked with Kevin and I during their breaks. And to my everlasting delight (and possibly because I had a momentary lapse of sanity and/or decorum to suggest it), they invited me up to sing on “Crack Shot,” and then again on the end chorus of “Lord, We Get High”–the song which Matt K. helped me out with chords.

I was beyond charmed. More accurately, I was quietly ecstatic. The mic, the music, the guys, the sound… I’d be a lying liar who lies if I said I didn’t have delusions of grandeur, if only for those few minutes. And it made me even more determined to pursue the mandolin to open-mic performance heights (when I dream, I dream realistic). So a tremendous “THANK YOU” to Matt K, Matt M (that b minor is SO much easier), John and Ben for the thrill, and to Liz who chatted with me during the night and was exceptionally kind.

Oh…and also, “Hi, BJ!” and “Hi, Omi!” Thanks for reading. 🙂

A Above High C

I’m completely wiped. Today was the first performance of the Christmas show I’m singing in, and I believe I warbled one “hallelujah” too many.

I used to sing in high school; show choir, musicals, madrigal-type stuff. But until last spring, I hadn’t sung in a group or in front of anyone other than my shampoo and conditioner in years. Sure, a little kareoke here and there (but I swear, I never inhaled). So to get back into performing with a choir after so long? It feels marvelous. Even if it doesn’t always sound that way. I was a soprano back in the day, and while I still sing the notes, the ease is long gone. I actually give myself headaches hitting A’s now.

However, one of the people I sing with has a voice unlike any I’ve ever heard (in person, I supposed). She has the stunning, rich quality behind her voice. It makes me think of molasses, or something equally thick and dark, in her lower and mid-registers. But then, just at the point when ordinary sops would have to get airy or screechy or bombastic, she flips into this bell-like tone that sends chills along your neck. Utter clarity. That’s something I missed about singing and playing music–hearing singers and musicians that inspire, and getting to learn from them.