Getting Older

Getting older…aren’t we all?  This year marks one of my mile stone years and it has occurred to me that I probably have more time behind me than I do in front of me.  If I live to 100, I am starting on my second half of life (you do the math smart people! *wink!) 

What does this do to a person?  What does this do to a musician? I can only speak for myself obviously and my musicianship permeates my “person-hood” so I don’t really separate the two.

I know others who may look at musicians and say, “If you haven’t ‘made it’ by thirty give up.”   Well, we need to clarify, what is the definition of “making it”.  I didn’t even have my first paid gig or my first record until I was 32!  Would that all be for naught? Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah happened when he was 50!  Was he a failure before that song?  Or did everything he ever did lead him to write that masterpiece? 

Aren’t we all “sharpening our axes”?  I've noticed my drive has been shifting in this "growth spurt". I am less driven to please others and more about sharing simply what is true at the time.  I find freedom in this.  I have been a people pleaser the majority of my life. What can I say, I like making people happy.  I would sing that song (Bobbie McGee) even if my voice would take the hit and I had a whole weekend of shows to still do.  Now?  Not so much. 

I’m more about the win-win.  If it feels right and I’m in the mood and I know I will nail the delivery, sure…I’ll sing that song (What’s going On).  But if it’s a mixed crowd and I’m not feeling the love…hell no!  Yep, it’s taking me 50 years to not care!  Ha!  And it’s not that I don’t care…I suppose I am giving myself a bit more compassion. 

I can look in the mirror and say, “Hey, not bad for a 50 year old!”  Ha!  And I KNOW this is still a pretty young age.  You folks that are older are saying, “You just wait kid – you’re a puppy!”  It’s a matter of perspective.  The 20 year olds will think we are old farts and the 70 year olds will think we are pups. 

And then there are those who we seem ageless, and I do feel ageless truly (accept when my feet ache or my body tells me I’m not 28 anymore). I have realized we need to be smarter with not only our time (since we have less of it- do the math right?)  but also smarter with our life’s force energy.  It takes more energy to do things.  Let’s face it, our batteries are not as fresh and don’t re-charge the way they use to.  We learn to prioritize our TIME and our ENERGY and I think there is wisdom in that.  

Classic example; there is a club we play in Oregon that we walk our equipment up quite a flight of steps (probably 20 steps or more).  Then we duck under a small door and set our PA over-looking the patrons and the bar.  We are still strong, we can still do that and pride could make us bust our butts up there.  I say to Mo, “Let’s see if we can find ourselves and ‘angel’.”  And sure enough 2 young men appear to help haul our stuff up there. These boys would hardly guess that we could be their mother’s age and we thank them and Spirit for sending those lovely boys our way.  It all works out!  Now where are they when we are done at mid-night?  Ha!  Good thing we are STILL in shape because we were on our own. 

Physically you would never give it a second thought when you are young and fit.  I have always tried to prioritize fitness, yet I falter like many.  I do my best.  And I think the beauty of getting older is finally, “my best IS good enough!”  I think that’s what happens!  My standards are not lower, but I am more of a compassionate being to myself and that makes all the difference. 

“Sorry I can’t sing that song…I just freaking don’t want to…love me anyway!  Here, let me sing you a song like that one, you might like it more!”  Ha!  It’s comforting and you know, I don’t think it’s a phase.  I think it’s here to stay. 

Like me writing this blog.  I don’t care that you know how old I am.  I have people saying to me, “don’t tell people how old you are!” as if shame should take the lead. Why?  What will that serve?  Who cares?  Will you see me differently?  Will the industry see me differently?  You want me to fool you? I think I’d be deranged if I had to “act” like I was still 30!  And frankly there are some main streamer big hit artists out there still trying!  Ugh!  That looks exhausting! 

One thing is for sure: We ALL get older!  And those artist that were swinging from the trapeze singing their songs will someday look back and be like, “Whew! I don’t have the energy to do THAT again”. 

It’s almost frightening to be in the public eye and have an underlining expectation of not aging! That is crazy and I’m completely NOT going to embellish these people because wisdom has taught me, it’s more about them and less about me.  I can’t stay young for you, to make you still feel young! 

But I can play a sweet song and we can all reflect and go back to a younger day in that song.  I can still rock and roll and folk and jive!  I’m FAR from done with my musical career so don’t panic! I’m just beginning to hit my stride! I have many musical ideas and much more maturity to handle all these concepts!

I think the freedom that comes along with aging is exactly what this country and world needs.  ALL of Life is Beautiful!  Not just the first half!  The seasons shape who we are and who we become and in the words of my own song, “We stand in the middle of ourselves” and isn’t Life Beautiful?

Embracing the ALL of it is the secret to staying and feeling young.  Also, I’m a firm believer of getting on the floor. Yep! Get on the floor with your dog, get on the floor and do yoga, get on the floor and play with your kid, get on the floor and make love…GET ON THE FLOOR!  I have a theory that people who get on the floor every day keep a young attitude!  Try it!  Works for me! 

Cheers to my second half and to YOU who may be in on your 1st half, 2nd quarter, 4th quarter!  Where ever you are on this journey called LIFE, embrace it all!  Stay forever young in your heart!  Get on the floor and keep listening to music.  Find a song that takes you back to your teen-age years, to your 20’s, 30’s.  Music is SO POWERFUL!  It can transport you to a time in your life! Not many things can do that!  We need music to find transcendence! How fortunate and blessed I feel to be on this journey, wrinkles and all!  Thanks for reading and some of you did your “homework” from the last blog.  I invite you to this writing assignment:

Pick a song that is epic from your past. Listen to it. Reminisce. What things are you grateful for that you know NOW and didn’t know then?  (You don’t have to turn it in AND it won’t be graded! For those who like to write, you might find out some things about yourself.) 

 

Enjoy and thanks for reading my blog!  Stay forever young at heart!!! 

ZenaHarleyWarrior.jpg

 

Much love,

Niccole

 

Insights from a "deaf musician"

 

Hi Friends,

I had the most amazing experience last night!  I watched a fantastic movie (Wonder Woman) and for the FIRST time I knew every word they said!!!  It was incredible!  I have been to movies my whole life and have always missed the one liner jokes or the pivotal statements that make the majority of the plot!  Dialogue would fly by me and the question mark would rest heavily upon the top of my head.  Those who I’ve partnered with would always be straddled with the task of “keeping me in the loop” and missing parts themselves to keep me up with what was going on.

How did I catch every word this time? 

We are lucky here in Boise.  The top-notch movie theater in the village has a “close caption” device they can now give to movie goers!  Who knew?!?  I’m a VERY BIG FAN of close caption!  In fact, I often would rather wait and watch a movie on Netflix just so I can have the captions.

Let me back up. Some of you may not be aware that I am “hearing impaired”.  My immediate family would use the term “deaf” ha!  I’m sure they would say that because I annoyed the hell out of them a time or two not being able to hear them properly.  And some of you who I may not have responded to might just think I’m moody or perhaps a snob.  Nope…neither (well, I hope not, ha!). 

I am severely hearing impaired and if you hang out with me long enough, you will know I don’t compute everything that is said.  Before watching that movie and before going to Nashville, I used to think I heard at least 80% of what was going on.  NOPE!  I was so wrong!

I am lucky if I hear 70% of what is going on! I venture to say the numbers are less than that truthfully speaking.  I have been issued hearing aids since I was 19 years old.  I’ve been hard of hearing all my life. When we went to Nashville I made it a point to wear my hearing aids.  I simply don’t like them.  They are uncomfortable and frankly, I’ve been a bit lazy, cheap and distracted to get new ones.  But I found out they work!  Ha! 

I was listening to a gentleman tell me some information about a website I needed to put our music on and in the middle of his discussion the battery in my left ear died.  WOW!!!! I thought, “Holy Shit! I really AM DEAF!!”  I still had a good ear so I could make out what he was saying but I was flabbergasted with just how much those aids were… well, “aiding” me.  “Damn, I really do need these fucking things! Hmmm!?”   I have forgotten.  I have been fortunate to be around sensitive people the last 10 years of my life and I have been fortunate to be with Mo who is my “translator”.  That poor girl!  LOL!  

When I was a child, my mother must have thought I was blowing her off.  (Much like I think our new puppy, “Juno” blows me off).  I was probably around 7 when my parents put it together.  I think she called me and I did not respond.  She got closer and closer to me as my back was turned and then she realized.  “Niccole can’t hear”.  Yep.  She took me to the doctors and they ran some tests and I have significant loss in both ears.  Particularly in the high range, I hear low end just fine. The cochlea, that snail shaped bone in the inner ear has cilia, little hairs, that “catch” the sound. Well, mine have been damaged and are lying flat which makes it difficult to hear, especially in noisy environments or with lots of background acoustics.

This impairment use to be an agonizing topic for me by the way. I would RARELY admit this to anyone and with good reason. Have you ever noticed how people respond to those who can’t hear?  I’ve made attempts to enlighten people about this issue and the first reaction I get is, “WHAAATTT!!!?”  Like somehow that is funny?  HOW…is that funny?   That reaction is caused by people not knowing how to respond.  It’s a knee jerk reaction to someone’s disability and frankly, I find no humor in it.  It actually is quite annoying.  It would be like me finding out you were blind and then giving you the finger and laughing.  Yes, that’s how NOT FUNNY that is!  There is also shame in it.  People associate deafness with stupidity as if somehow they run together.  FALSE.  Deafness and stupidity are two very different things.  This world can treat deaf folks as if they are less than, inferior, weak or subordinate.  Look at the elderly and how little patience folks can have for those that can’t hear well. 

Me?  I consider myself lucky.  At lease NOW I do.  I didn’t always.  Now, I don’t have to hear the NOISE of the world.  Think about all the nasty gossip I get to miss out on!  What a blessing!!!  Lawn mowers are quieter for me, neighbor dogs, mosquitoes, gum chewers…you name it! 

I do miss things though.  I miss a lot! I miss the sounds of crickets, the leaves rustling in the wind, the birds waking to a new day singing their songs.  I miss high-hats on the drums and the highest octave on a key board.  I’ve missed important pieces of conversation, instructions from teachers, lessons, lectures, discussions, and don’t ever talk to my back or try to whisper something in my ear…I will just look at you with a blank stare…blink, blink blink.   

I had a friend that loved to whisper during class and I would tell her I could never hear her and she insisted on still doing it.  Do you know, in my youth, I wanted to slap her every time?  (I never did) but I was so frustrated.   Now?  I guess I don’t care.  LOL!

I suppose I just trust that if there is something I really need to know, I will “hear” it.  Here’s the trade off.  I SEE EVERYTHING!!! And I FEEL EVERYTHING!!!  Yes.  And sometimes that is hard too.  All you hearing people miss so much communication!  Communication with the eyes, the body language, and the energy the person holds.  People don’t SPEAK the truth anyway…they SHOW the truth!  In their eyes, the way they hold themselves, their expressions, their laugh, sigh, body posture, anxious fidgets, tappy fingers, proximity.  The “aura”, the energy field that resides around a human being... I feel that!  I am astute, sensitive and deeply aware of that “bubble” we all have, as we are all emotional beings (some more than others) and we all emanate energy.

So, I have these “magical” powers.  I have a keen sense of others emotional journey.  I can feel what songs might lift them, or one they really need to hear (usually not the one they WANT to hear) to have them reflect and release.  I get to cut to the chase with good friends.  I look in their eyes and SEE THEM.  See their beauty, see who they really are, love them exactly how they are and …I listen. 

I may be deaf….but, I really listen!  Ask any of my good friends and they’ll tell you.  I hear “between the lines”.  And I feel very blessed.  It wasn’t always the case that I felt this way. 

I was the butt-end of MANY jokes when I was a kid.  Who didn’t pick on the “deaf kid” back then?  I was frustrated and angry, left out and excluded! The world moved too fast and no one really knew or had the distinction of this difference with me.  People just weren’t sensitive or aware back then.  Kids can be cruel. 

Yet now, I don’t care.  If you are cruel and talk in a low whisper or say something off-putting…I don’t hear you half the time!  Ha!! Ignorance is bliss right?  I can’t tell you how many times Mo has been so grateful that I didn’t hear someone’s snide remarks about “whatever” while I’m on stage (or off).  I have taken to the philosophy that, “if I don’t hear it, it must not matter”.  Yet I know that is not completely the truth.  But I have a little Winnie-the-Pooh in me, “oh botha” and bit aloof at times, yet sensitive.

How do I do what I do?  How do I play music?  Many of you, when you find out I’m hearing impaired or you see my aids in my ears wonder how I can sing.  Well, it is a mystery even to me at times.  I am at a disadvantage than my hearing colleagues; however, sometimes there is an advantage. 

I listen from “inside” and when there is too much noise out there in the world, i.e. excessive crowd talking; I usually do better than Mo who can hear keenly.  She can hear soda fizz in the next room! THAT’SAMAZING!!!  Yet she cannot discern her own instrument or voice when there is too much in competition with it.  I will hear my own voice from, how shall I put this, “within my head”.  I don’t know if that makes sense to you or not, but that is how I do it.  I hear and feel it INSIDE myself, not outside myself. 

Granted, the inner ear monitors that we now use have been a God send!  I just love those things!  It’s like I am in the studio when they are on.  And, since I’ve been hard of hearing my whole life I can still pretty much communicate with people when I have them in, because I “feel” what you say more than I “hear” what you say.  Does this make sense?  In fact Mo usually does the sound check for us (which makes perfect sense), but I can feel when the room and our music is too loud.  I can read people’s body language and now and then I tell her to turn it down.  She’s learned to trust me, even though I have this disability. 

My old dog Osa knew it too.  I can’t tell you how many tea pots caught on fire!  Ha!  We trained Osa to “nose me” anytime the tea pot would go off, but before she learned I was lucky I didn’t burn the house down!  Now we have one of those automatic shut off electric tea pots.  So Juno is off the hook!  

Why am I even sharing this with you?  I think because I was so moved to “hear” (read really) all the words in that awesome movie.  I could have cried!  Truly!  My whole life, movies were the most frustrating experience and I LOVE movies!  But it SUCKS not to hear the “good stuff”.  That truly sucks! But I’ll take the good with the bad. 

I am a “deaf” musician!  And I celebrate it!  I think it makes me a more sensitive person; someone who wishes to include everyone, regardless of their differences or disabilities.  I have overcome this “obstacle” and have “done it anyway” regardless of what other professionals would have recommended.    Don’t let any “nay sayers” crush your dreams!  Don’t let facts, reason or impairment tell you, you can’t do something!  If you WANT to do it – find a way! 

I am no longer ashamed of my hearing loss.  I have theories about why I may have “lost” my hearing.  But I think it’s helped me “find” myself and deeper parts of others who really need to be seen!  Who really need someone to listen, listen from the inside. 

Don’t we all need a little quiet in this loud world?  Don’t we all need to quiet our “chatter” down to hear what we are feeling?  I listen all the time!  Make no mistakes.  I may not catch every word, but I catch a whole lot of behind the scenes and I feel truly blessed!

And thank you to whomever invented “closed captions” now at the movie theaters!!!  How awesome!  I could do a kart-wheel this makes me so happy!!!  And if you haven’t seen Wonder Woman yet…GO!  She is AMAZING!!!  

 

"Wonder Nic super powers!!!"  :-) 

"Wonder Nic super powers!!!"  :-) 

Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to “listen” to my story! 

Writing Assignments:

Here are some questions to ponder or do your own private writing.  (I am still the teacherbig laugh* and I like to give “homework”).  Do it only if you would like to:

How do you hear things? How do you listen?  What voice is the loudest?  Do you wish you were deaf sometimes?  Imagine what a quiet life would be like? Are you the kind who likes silence or do you need something like a TV or radio playing constantly in the background?  Who listens to you, from the inside? Who do you listen to?  When you listen are you constantly thinking of what you can say or do you take in what the other person says?

Nashville Brain Blog!

 My take on Nashville

During our conference in Nashville we had the chance to check out the Country Music Hall of Fame.

During our conference in Nashville we had the chance to check out the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Hello sweet friends. We returned from Nashville just last night and I thought while the iron is HOT, I would write about it immediately.  I sat on the plane and reviewed what we had witnessed, what we did and all those beautiful Uber drivers that shuttled us around in their cars, swapping stories and giving us the “jist” of this  all American town named “The Music City”.

The “Capital” of country music; to me, Nashville is like water. Something that you must respect or it can kill you.  It can crush your dreams in a single sweep; it can lift you high in a wave and take you for a ride. Its current could launch a simple song-writers career or leave one flattened against the rocks.

 I’m a Jersey girl, very familiar with Frank Sinatra’s, “if I can make it there…I can make it anywhere…it’s up to you NY NY!” Those are my roots but I’m sorry, it should say, “it’s up to you Nash-ville Nash-ville”.  Filled with musical venues, teaming with musicians, labels, recording studios per square mile, Nashville is a rare and incredible place!

In my early days people would say, “go to Nashville” and I’d get this claustrophobic feeling and now I know why. There is SO MUCH MUSIC…SO MUCH GOOD!  It’s a small downtown with literally too many musicians, period!  It’s like someone having ample of their favorite food… always!  People just up and take it for granted.  They get use to it.  Like all the people living in Jackson Hole… those Tetons can become part of the back drop of their lives and they forget how special it is!  Like every sunset, every note played is gorgeous!!!

The REAL musician’s musician goes to Nashville.  Those hot virtuoso players, the pickers, the “live and breathe artists” land in Nashville. The ones who’s Spirits would “die” if they weren’t in Nashville.  THEY go to Nashville.  Me…I visit Nashville.  Every note still rings beautiful to me!  

I appreciated those hillbilly pickers, the honky tonkers, the twangers, the rockers and rollers.  I watched as many musicians wore sunglasses in those dark night clubs shading their "windows to their souls" because they play night after night; 4 hours, no breaks, no comp drinks, no meals, and many times NO CLAPS! All for TIPS!!!  “How can that be?” I thought?  "How is this possible, this artist does not have oodles of money in their tip jar? No one is clapping!?"  They sound just like Buddy Holly, Hank Williams, and Johnny Cash all in the SAME SET!!! How can this be??? 

I dropped my $20 in a young man’s tip bucket, it was the LEAST I could do!  I witness the bar staff ignore his request for a drink refill...twice! She diverted his request with a song request of her own laid upon him. After he finished a challenging vocal song (especial suffering a cold) the bar staff STILL did not refill his glass. He quickly went on like the greatest non-commercial country radio station. I was flabbergasted! We bought him a round, half a bucket of Jack Daniel’s.  The man had a cold, I get it. Whiskey helps, he wasn’t a drunk.  He was simply exhausted and he was amazing!

He took me back to my childhood with his songs, mainly because my parents raised me on this old time country music.  I thought about our family’s good times with this music playing in the background.  When I dropped the $20 I asked him his name. It was then that he got my “business hint” and announced himself to his audience.   It was after that he played an original song!  His name, by the way, is Nathan Belt (Nathan Belt and the Buckles, great name!)  He was playing solo at 11 am at the Nashville Palace, away from the big Broadway scene that day. It was a Thursday morning. 

This guy played his self-penned song…I think the title was, “the memory of you makes it rain” and boy did he ever turn on my water works!  I was baffled and blown away; I was sad, angry, touched, moved, and inspired.  Sad because this guy deserved more; more than a big empty bucket for a tip jar. More than a bar keep that ignores him or an audience that doesn’t clap!  This part sucked to bear witness. I was irritated with the bar staff and the people that walked by his bucket without even a buck out of pocket.  

The lottery win was huge from the day before.  700 Million!  Had I won it, many artists would have loved my visit to Nashville that day!

These people that pour their heart and soul into their music and practice like crazy to become great!  Oh, I’ve TRIED to play like that!  Do you realize how difficult that is!?! Try on that Chet Atkins or Merle Travis style?!  From where I sit, I’ve tried all my life to get better at my instrument. Much of the time it’s not the discipline that slows me, it’s the knowledge of how to learn it, how to begin, how to slow it all down, focus and coordinate your fingers. I do ok; I’m not here to knock myself down…but THAT SHIT IS HARD!!! That takes YEARS of dedication and focus.  This guy had it going on!  He must have sat in the chair for hours learning how to play like that! 

The barkeep finally pours him a round and sets it on his railing in the middle of his next tune after we prompted her.  The place was not busy.  She failed to tell him we bought the drink for him.  Not that we needed the acknowledgement but we as musicians always like to thank those who treat us well.  That drink was $14 dollars! Ha! Half a bucket of “get yourself well syrup!” wow! 

I walked away all twisted up inside.  Ever so grateful for what I have here, now. Knowing that I will do the best I can, for as long as I can. Knowing that we have such a solid audience back home and around the Northwest. Understanding that there are SO MANY LEVELS of GREAT!!!

Feelings of sadness come over me for my colleagues, my team, and my “tribe” for living so sparsely and busting their asses to put their unique sound scape in people’s ears.  Trying to make livings with 3 jobs at a time and those long hours of no claps and no cash!  Why?!  Why do they do it?! 

Perhaps that’s a whole new blog and I am picking the brains of a friend of mine who recently moved out of Nashville to Boise.  I want to get his take before I comment about that. 

I have a deep respect for those who play and stay there. But another side simply feels like they are exploited.  Why should a club NOT pay the musician?  All the people that come to listen, all the drinks they sell! You can walk 4 feet on Broadway and listen to one group play and walk another 4 feet and hear a whole new band “wash” over you.  Horizontally you go from club to club with sound pouring out!  It would be an old person’s nightmare walk if they can’t stand loud!  Vertically you can go up to rooftops and most 3 story bars have music on EVERY LEVEL!!  The rooftops shout it out and believe it or not, it’s isolated enough to appreciate each act yet the town just hums and the vibration is like a musical Vegas!  It’s such a trip!

My “Shot” in Nashville

The first night we strolled down Broadway.  We had lunch at Jack’s BBQ.  OMG…smoky brisket!  It was amazing!  There was music EVERYWHERE!  We club hopped and shopped and be-bopped around the main drag.  Our “dogs” were getting tired so we slipped in to our last club for the night. 

This beautiful black man in a cool white suit was on stage with his band.  They called themselves “Friends with Benefits”.  He wore a spanking hat and tie.  He was super thin, spunky and adorable!  He broke out with “Sweet Child of Mine” (Guns and Roses).  Anything really goes ya know, Nashville has it all…not just the classic country.  He sprang into the bridge and jumped off the stage, singing “where do we go now, where do we go now”.  He pointed his microphone to me and gave me a wink.  I sang the words and his eyes lit up! 

After that, he pulled me on stage for a song.  Ah, my lovely musical tribe!  How awesome!  I scratched my head for a moment as I tried to land on a song I knew that his band might know.  Mo helped out with the request of Bonnie Raitt’s, “Something to talk about”.  A friend caught it on video and I hope I can attach it to this blog.

His electric lead player rolled right into the slide part, on G (as per my request in key…thank the Lord I’ve learned one thing in music…don’t start yourself to high or too low or you will perish and embarrass the shit out of yourself!)  As we were deciding the song the electric lead player joked that the lead singer was “throwing me under the bus”.  I laughed and told him I was already under there because he adjusted the microphone too high.  I simply grabbed the mic off of the stand and held it. 

The lead player rolled into the slide and the catchy keyboards bounced to that old familiar tune.  I immediately felt “at home”.  How awesome was this?  To actually SING in Nashville!  To be backed by these amazing artist! Like a dream come true!  To just dip in a little and bust out a song I rarely get to sing because I just feel like it needs a whole band accompaniment. 

The lead player was nailing it and I was not warmed up at all, but I growled it from that deep place inside of myself, hoping to give justice to Bonnie Raitt! 

The key board player and lead guitar guy sang the “doo-whaps” in the back and I was like…wow…real live band karaoke!  This is awesome! As the solo came up the electric lead took off and slammed it.  I pointed him out to the crowd and then he bit a few barres…ha…he threw himself under the bus for just two seconds but had a great recovery, just like a pro! 

We slammed it on the modulation and I belted it out as best I could, knowing that this here…was probably as close as I may get to the claim of fame, “I played on Broadway in Nashville” story!  The Universe gave me that forever “bragging right”!  Ha ha!!! I’ll take it with a smile! 

What a moment it was!  Truly fun!  What a gift!  So easy to not think about guitar and just sing.  The crowd cheered me on and that was super cool too!  I was different, an outsider visiting and they knew it.  

Click on the cowgirl and check out the video from that evening!  :-) 

 

Some History

It made me feel like the first time I ever sang in front of a group of people.  I was 12 years old at a camp in Wyoming and I sang, “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers.  I looked like a little boy with my “bowl” hair cut and my hankie tied around my neck; full attire in Western wear with cowgirl boots and belt!

They all hooted and hollered when I finished the song.  They stood up and cheered and I wondered why?  I had NEVER had that much approval in my life for something so simple.  What were they hearing?  Was my voice special? I pondered this as a 12 year old.  They wanted me to sing more that season of camp…and so I did. 

This was the TRUE seed that led to my beginnings in music.  It wasn’t my family pushing me.  I was never raised as a prodigy.  I never had a parent push me towards an instrument, vocals or insist that I play this or that. We didn’t grow up with American Idol and everyone wanting to be a “star”.  I never really had anyone in my home town or in my family really give any sort of kudos for my singing ability back then or make any suggestions that I should do so.  

If anything, it was the opposite.  I had a brother that teased me when I sang. But guess what…I sang anyway!  I learned the guitar anyway and this was in the ‘70’s when girls were “weird” for learning the guitar. Yep!  I was that “weird girl”!  But I was pretty closeted about it.  I didn’t bring my guitar to school or talk about it.  It was my secret wish and dream.  I coveted my dream.  A bit embarrassed by it because, “who was I to want that sort of attention?”  Too proud need others approval!  Ha!!! Who doesn’t want other people’s approval!?  Show me that person and I will show you a socio-path! 

So, I sang the gambler and they loved it!  I sang more songs at camp. I never really broke out my voice to my family or friends until about the age of 15 and even then I was shy! 

My Father was blessed with an amazing voice.  He could have been that other Frank Sinatra.  Infact, he was with a woman (not my mother) who tried to push him in that direction and the talent scouts were interested in him.  He was a “practical man” and did not see music as a viable career.  It would have added up as irresponsible to him back then.  He was born in ’31, raised very reserved.  All his traits, I swear, passed down to me.  I had to break from it to give myself the freedom to play and sing.  To actually draw attention to myself went against the grain of which I was cut. 

My mother on the other hand, she was a “pick yourself up by the boot straps” kind of woman.  She never identified herself as a feminist by any means but she could have posed for the “You can do it” Rosie the Riveter poster just fine.  Born in ’36 she was in that generation of do it all, “bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan”…and do it all with a smile.  Well, my mother was a bit rebellious so, I have that going for me too! 

We lived in New Jersey and in the early 80’s my Mom and Dad liked to go clubbing.  They became friends with a beautiful black man named Bill Cope.  He was amazing!  A soft spoken gentle soul he was as he could play anything on the piano.  My parents met him at our local inn and he was the entertainment every Friday night at the Columbus Inn.  An old historic tavern/hotel that is located right in the heart of the town.

Much like I described the night of Nashville to you, my Father got handed the mic from Bill and Bill must have given him the same look as the you man gave me.  The look of recognition that says, “Oh you can sing!!!” 

When I was 15 the town gave my father a party for his service to the police committee.  All the people of the town were there.  We were having dinner and Bill comes up to me. 

He asks in his Southern draw, “Hey Niccole, do you know that song, ‘That’s what friends are for’.  It’s on the radio, how’s it go?”  And I sang him a few bars.  That sneaky snake said, “oh good, I would be so honored if you could sing that song for me and dedicate it to your father!”  I about died.  I told him no at first, like 3 times!  Completely scared!  My brother laughed and said, “You’ve been singing that song all over the house, just do it!” 

Well…I did.  There were probably about 1000 people there.  That was the first time I ever sang on a microphone.  And it was cool!  I liked it.  Actually, I loved it.  I had the guts of my mother, but the practicality of my father.  Bill must have recognized something in me and I’m grateful still for the “push” he gave me that day long ago.

I didn’t major in music for college.  I skipped it for something “substantial” (like teaching). Ha! It wasn’t until years and years later, I let myself HAVE MUSIC.  I let myself have a voice…and I sang out!

Conclusion

Thank you Nashville, you are beautiful, brutally hard, despairing and invigorating.  You appreciate the dead more than the living.  You are ruthless and cold, heartless and greedy.  You are big bellied with a never ending appetite to eat up your prey! 

As I walked into the Country Music Hall of Fame, I noted all the records in Gold platinum on a giant wall!  So this is where all the great works get recognized; where all the salty tears get stored and framed in audio-graphs.  Where people take pictures of “life’s works” and walk by.  I found the shelf of the bobble heads and all the key players it takes to make a music career. 

“I am that bobble head!” I thought, behind the glass, the one that says song-writer.  “Hmm…is this the highest achievement of a work of art…right here?” Where bobble heads and Elvis’s car meet?  Where you can read the original hand writing of Chris Kristofferson’s “Help me make it through the night”.  And see the sexy outfits of Shania Twain?  Wow!  I happened to catch a glimpse of an artist’s gold record in the mix of the thousands of gold records.  “Whoa, there is Susy Bogus’s record!  Cool!”  She played at the Sapphire here in Boise, same venue we’ve played!  Infact we kind of opened for her in the neighboring club (365) just before she played that night.  Wow!  She is in this museum and she’s out there in the very similar venue scene we are! How wild! “Do we ever arrive?” I thought.  Do people still ask her about “making it”?  

I am the bobble head! 

I am the bobble head! 

All those works of art!  

All those works of art!  

Elvis's car! 

Elvis's car! 

To bring it full circle…the line from Guns and Roses echoes softly, “where do we go now, where do we go now?”  Where do they go?  Those stars? 

We ALL SHINE in our own unique way!  This I KNOW to be true!  Finding the joy in this short ride, catching the moments, being courageous and surprising yourself, giving what we can to the endless tip jars of life, strolling the streets and breathing it all in, seeing the tiny lights from the plane start to get bigger as we touch down into Boise town. 

“Where do I go now?”  Where do you go now?  Where do WE go now?  A single star streaks across the sky, rises to an arch then falls.

                                          To be continued!  As my story continues! 

Thank you for reading this and joining me for this “head blog”.  You were invited into my brain for a moment.  I hope you had fun in there…now, get back to your own thoughts and make some waves! Or music ;-)   

August News!

 

Hey Friends,

We just returned from a very successful Washington tour!  We had several gigs over a week’s time, one in Lacey for their afternoon concert series, another in Pacific, WA. And then onto Mt. Vernon where we had an incredible turn out for their Clubhouse concert series.  30 hours of driving time and over 1500 miles.  Sometimes we call ourselves professional drivers, in addition to being musicians. But every day, we feel so blessed to be able to share our music with the beautiful folks and fans of this gem we call the magnificent Northwest!  We thank you for keeping in touch with us and continuing to support the Arts! It keeps the wind in our sails!

Juno, our 4 month old puppy is an incredible traveling companion! She never complains and is always up for an adventure!  She already has over 4,000 miles under her furry belly, having traveled to Sandpoint, Stanley, and all over Washington and Oregon since we brought her home on May 17th!  Seriously, we couldn’t have asked for a better dog!  And she helps to mend the hole that was left in our hearts when our beloved Osa passed away!  So much to be grateful for!

Juno finally knows her name after a month. Whether or not she chooses to come when called by her name is another story, but ultimately she’s learning very quickly.  Our running joke has been, “Juno! Do you know your name yet?” It kind of rhymes, and makes us laugh. She just wags her tail with a vengeance; her whole little body wags along with it.  She cracks us up multiple times a day, and it’s such great medicine!  We highly recommend doggie love to any who’s brave enough to love something so precious, but who’s only here for a short time, a chapter, really.  Bittersweet, but sooooooo worth it!  To those of you who have already met her, she sends a big wag your way!  And for those yet to meet her, well, watch out, cause she’s likely to pin you down and give you a face bath! 

We’re mostly local and in the mountains this month, so we hope you can join us for a show or two! Here’s the schedule for next week, and a little about what’s to come.

Fri. July 28th Willi B’s Saloon8:00-11:00pm

This is a great place to meet your buddies for a fabulous Friday night!  They have a full bar and food for all palates, kids are welcome till 9pm, and if you like dancing, they have a great dance floor!  Darts, and pool tables are also available.  Hope to see you there!

Sat. July 29th Private Party for BoiseHouse Warming event!  We are only booked out primarily through October, so if you want to have us entertain at your home, or for a private event this winter, or the holidays, please visit our booking page at:  https://www.blazeandkelly.com/booking/

Wed. Aug. 2nd Highlands Hollow 6:00-9:00pm This local hang out offers great food and libations, plus the bonus of live music!  Always a great time!

 Thurs. Aug 3rd Bar 365 at the Riverside Hotel5:00-8:00pm This listening venue offers a wonderful listening experience, sometimes turning into a concert!  They have half off appetizer and drink specials till 6pm, and a full bar and dinner menu also available.  Bring your buddies and come on down to kick start your weekend!

STANLEY/SUN VALLEY:

Fri. Aug 4th The Sawtooth Hotel 6:00-9:00pmYou’ll love a night of music and wonderful dining at the infamous Sawtooth Hotel in Stanley!  Tim and his band partner will kick off the night for the first set, and then we’ll entertain you from 7-9ish.  If you’re in the area, please come join us for a fun-filled night of music and stories!

Sat. Aug. 5th Ketchum Town Square for “Ride Idaho”  5:00-9:00pmThis wonderful event is hosted by Ride Idaho annually! Bikers from all over the USA and Canada come together to bicycle our beautiful State for a round trip ride that goes 500-700 miles over a week.  We will be entertaining in downtown’s Ketchum Square that evening!  This event is open to the public, so please come join us if you happen to be in Sun Valley this weekend!  It’s a blast!

Wed. Aug. 9th Redfish Lake Lodge Concert on the Green 6:00-8:00pmWell this venue offers a superb view of the lake and majestic Mt. Heyburn!  A great time for friends and families of all ages!  Food and beverages are available at this event!  Bring your lawn chairs or a blanket, and cozy up for an evening of live music!  Look forward to seeing you!

So that’s what’s cookin’ these next two weeks.  Stay tuned for upcoming dates and details, and hope you’re having a fantastic summer!  Big smiles to you!

Hope to see you soon!

Washington Club Concert

Washington Club Concert

All our best,

Niccole, Mo, and Juno

Club House Concert!  Wonderful listening crowd in Washington! 

Club House Concert!  Wonderful listening crowd in Washington! 

Summer Begins to Heat UP!

Hey Friends,

Well life has been full of surprise and wonder, both for us, and for our new puppy, Juno! She is full of energy, observes everything (i.e. you can’t get anything past her…) and the novelty and joy in her eyes while learning how to be a touring dog has been amazing to witness!  She’s 35 lbs of love and spunk at 4 months old, and already knows many fun tricks and commands.  She even takes direction from others, which is a must since she is going to be a village dog! 

So our early mornings are now full of exercising the pup, what we call “taking her for a drag” because the first block or so she hunkers down, won’t budge, and tries to escape her harness, while chewing on her leash. This is both frustrating and comical, and as the song goes, “you just have to laugh….or you’ll go crazy.”  We try to get most everything done while she’s napping, and are helping her learn that the kennel is her friend, not her enemy, so we can have a life too.

Juno chewing on her ice ball. Perfect for a teething pup! 

Juno chewing on her ice ball. Perfect for a teething pup! 



So “where did June go?”  Or in our case, “where did Juno go!?”  Ha!  She finally knows her name after a month. Whether or not she chooses to come when called by her name is another story.  She definitely has her own ideas about how things should go, and despite numerous chew toys about, she insists on chewing on us as well!  Ah, puppy love….we look forward to the chance for you to meet her someday soon before she becomes a BIG DOG!


So since June is now behind us, and the 4th of July is soon upon us, we wanted to wish you a fabulous holiday and hope you’re doing something fun with friends and loved ones.  Here’s our Stanley schedule for those of you that may be up in the mountains. We look forward to playing to all the happy folks with the beautiful Sawtooth Mountains in the back drop. We live in an incredibly gorgeous place with wonderful community, and we are so grateful for your continued support of the Arts, and Music, and yes, reading our blogs and newsletters! Here’s what’s coming up.

Stanley:
Wed. July 5th Smiley Creek Lodge “On the Green”  5:00-8:00 pm Free to the public
This wonderful little Mecca is a fine place to bring your low back chairs, and a picnic and enjoy some tunes for your afternoon delight!  They have incredible home-style food, and “real” milkshakes!  And you simply can’t beat the view! Hope to see you there!

Thurs. July 6th The Sluice Alehouse and Eatery (250 Niece, downtown Stanley)  5:00-8:00pm
Always a great time at this local hang out!  Excellent food and libations for all palates!  Please join us for a leisurely afternoon of live music and good fun!

Sunday July 9th Light on the Mountains Spiritual Center  Ketchum, ID. (We perform twice today)
9:30-10:30 am Sunday service: we will be the special musical guests that morning. Please join us!

6:00-8:00pm  is when we’ll be performing music to celebrate their 30 year anniversary, and strong spiritual community!  The BBQ/event starts at 4:30pm at the center and goes till about 9pm. 
 
If you’d like to catch us here in Boise, here’s a sneak peek at what’s coming up next:
Tues. July 11th The Local 6:00-8:00pm
This fantastic new local business features specialty dishes, and a variety of Northwest brews and wines.  A great place to gather with friends after work or play!  Hope to see you there!
Fri. July 14thThe Sandbar at the Riverside Hotel 6:00-9:00pm with Dominique Tardiff on mandolin
Who doesn’t love this venue? Right on the river, gentle breezes, dog-friendly, food and libations!  Please join us for a night of live music and great fun with the talented and lovely Dominique!  Always a great time at the Sandbar!

Sat. July 15thThe Vine Wine Shop 6:00-9:00pm 1320 S.  Maple Grove in Boise

If you enjoy fine wine and dining in an intimate setting, you’ll love this venue!  Please call for reservations if you’d like dine this evening (208) 949-5561.  This is a great place to bring your partner or your buddies! Look forward to seeing you sometime soon!  And have an excellent summer! Till next time!

All our best,
Mo & Niccole

Juno's first house concert!  She did a wonderful job chilling and taking in the tunes! Good doggie! 

Juno's first house concert!  She did a wonderful job chilling and taking in the tunes! Good doggie! 

Puppies and finding Doggy Love!

Sweet friends and listeners, 

Last month we let you know about loosing our sweet girl Osa.  It's been a reflective 3 months and as you can imagine, lots of sadness and emptiness. In that time we managed to embark on a new website and I turned to playing a LOT of guitar.  I should be Eddie Van Halen by now yet...Niccole Blaze seems to dominate the picture ha!  Scales scales scales.  Repetitive scale skills like a meditation that helped me through the rough spots.  

I normally write a song when I'm that sad, but it didn't come (yet).  I just couldn't put my pen to paper.  I was more than sad.  We went down to Utah and played some house concerts.  We also took up something completely different...scuba diving!  Yep, like Dory says, "Just keep swimming". We found that something new helped us put our mind in a different place, yet we would still return to an empty house.  

I would search on line like a woman who just had a break up scanning match.com but looking for "doggy love".  I found nothing.  Osa was a cross between a black lab and golden retriever.  I had one before her too. Basically, this cross breed is a "mistake", very rare and hard to find.  What I did find out was after 30 years of having this mix was that she was called a, "Goldador". Yep, that pseudo name comes in very handy as you will find out! 

We took a trip North to spend time with friends and I mentioned I was having NO LUCK finding my breed that I loved.  Well she researched it and my  my, there they were...that beautiful cross breed I know and love. 

I contacted them and sent pictures of my sweet baby and asked to be on a waiting list, because you know...it takes time.  She responded back to me in 3 days, "Your in luck! We have puppies!"  PUPPIES!!!! OMG!  

So here's the freaky part.  I told Osa I didn't want to wait too long and asked her to help me out before she left.  After she passed I had this feeling and I told Mo, "I think we are going to get our next dog from Oregon".  I also had a feeling that with all the friends that we have, surely I will get word on a puppy.  The website my FRIEND helped me find was OREGON Goldadors!!!  What!?  True!  I had a vision that we'd be coming  home with a sweet puppy at the end of that tour.  I didn't know how, but I knew. 

Another freaky part of the story.  Before knowing of the website and being present with the absence of dog in our home, I was in the shower.  I get most of my inspiration in the shower.  "Juno....I like that name!"  I have a hunch that Juno came into the world that very day, March 7th is about the time we decided on her name.  

More freak to freak you...so the woman sends me this picture: 

 

Which one would YOU choose!?  I was drawn to one of these baby girls. The one with her mouth open.  She's singing a song and looks like she has a sense of humor. They are ALL adorable!!! I want them all! Ha ha!!!  I had asked the breeder to pick me the one with the most soulful stare and curly hair. 

2 weeks later she sends me two more pictures with 2 puppies in each picture, "it's between these two", and I was drawn to the one on my right ad chose that one.  I then asked her, "is this by any chance the same one who had her mouth open in the first picture you sent us?" YES YES it is!  That is our girl, that is our Juno!  And since I am a musician, why not name her Juno Mars!  ;-) 

To be drawn to the same doggy consistently where as you can see, they all really look alike...I think is fascinating (or freaky, which ever you like)!  

And that is our story of how Juno came to be.  We get her May 18th and I'm sure we will keep you up dated on our new "tour manager" ha ha!! Right now we are enjoying the quiet. Still missing Osa but looking forward to puppy paws, puppy breath and sweet little smooches.  I find it incredible and beautiful that a new little soul will come and enjoy her time with us and live in our home and share our journey.  She will have her own temperament and personality. How awesome and exciting! "

"The sunshine resides above the rain!!!"

Well, we hope you enjoyed our story, here are some highlighted events we will be partaking in this summer season.  We are not touring as extensively as last year (a good decision with a new pup) but we will be getting out regionally and definitely locally. However this is not a FULL list (please refer to the calendar for all dates) but this list gives you some very special concerts!  Mark your calendars!

 

May 6th Café Capri 6-9pm. This is a great listening room, and a fun place to gather with friends!  Owners, Terri and David Becker will be celebrating their 5 year anniversary at this fine place of business.  A wonderful BBQ dinner is available for $8-10, and there will door prizes in addition to other fun surprises, so we hope to see you there to liven this celebratory engagement!

May 11-18th Oregon Coast Tour We have the special privilege of being invited to perform for two house concert events in Newport and in Lincoln City. Please see the calendar for specific details. We will have a furry creature in tow upon our return!

 

June 17th Bustin Out of Boise Event/Gerber Park in Eagle. 4-8pm.  This is a wonderful annual fund-raising event to assist women in the Treasure Valley who are under-going cancer treatment and need additional assistance.  There will be door prizes, games for those that want to participate, amazing prizes that you can bid on during the silent auction, a BBQ dinner, and live music by yours truly!  If you don’t have any other plans this Father’s Day weekend, please bring your lawn chairs, and enjoy a bit of afternoon delight!

 

June 18th Indian Creek Winery Father’s Day Celebration 3:30-5:00pm. Nothing to do on Father’s Day?  This outside venue is absolutely gorgeous and their wine selection in unparalleled by few.  Bring a picnic and your comfy chairs and enjoy a special afternoon with us celebrating our dear ol’ dad’s!!  Food and other vendors will be available as well.

July 19th-July 25th  Washington Tour

This year's tour will bring us to Lacey for the Lacey Parks and Rec "Music in the Park" Concert Series, and another house concert hosted at the Clubhouse in Mt. Vernon.  Please see our calendar for details. 

 

AUG. 4th-9th  STANLEY/KETCHUM:  

The summer just wouldn’t be the same without a trip to the magnificent Sawtooth Mountains!  We have the special privilege of performing at these favorite venues:

 

Fri. 8/4 Sawtooth Hotel 6-9pm: You’re in for a treat if you’d like to enjoy the fabulous listening room at the infamous and historical Sawtooth Hotel. Reservations are recommended if you're dining this evening. 

 

Sat. 8/5 Ride Idaho Opening night, Ketchum Town Square 5:00-9:00pm.  Hundreds of folks join this event each year to do an incredible 7 day bicycle ride around beautiful Idaho.  We will be playing in the town square till 9pm.  Please check out www.rideidaho.org for more details.

 

Wed. 8/9 Redfish Lake Lodge “on the green,” 6-8pm.  You get an incredible view of Mt. Heyburn that stands almost 10,000 feet, and the pristine Redfish Lake to gaze at while listening to some tunes.  Food and beverages are available to purchase but you can bring your picnic and lawn chairs if you’d like too!  Hope to see you there!

DONNELLEY, ID.

Wed. 8/30 Roseberry Music Festival 6:30-9:30pm.  This venue is great because it’s in historic Roseberry, Idaho, and the setting is sublime.  If you’re in the area, please come by for a fun-filled evening of music and watch the sunset with us!

 

Sat. 9/9 Bill Wade’s House Concert Series 5:30-8:00pm. Nestled in the Boise trees near a beautiful babbling brook is where you’ll find this gem of a concert.   Come enjoy a relaxing evening of music with friends.  Bring your chairs and a little nosh of food or drink if you’d like. Donations of any size will be accepted at the door.

 

Sat. 9/23 Miracle Hot Springs Event Dome Concert 7:00-9:00pm. We’ve been hosting this show for two years now and it’s starting to get more popular, so if you want to “get-away”, come join us for a very special evening of acoustic music unplugged….that’s right, the acoustics are so heightened and resonant in the event dome, that we don’t even need amplification.  You'll feel each note and song touch you! It’s a unique listening experience that brings people together.  The Thousand Springs Festival is also happening this weekend in Hagerman/Wendell, so grab your tent, or a hotel nearby and come play with us this weekend!

Thank you for checking out our blog! We hope to sing a tune for you in the near future!  Be well!  

Niccole and Mo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greetings Friends, Listeners and Folks joining us for the first time,

Welcome to our NEW WEBSITE!  Yes, the old one was grand and this one is even better!  We hope you like it and can find everything you need and more.  There are plenty of songs to listen to, all the lyrical content included, pod-casts, membership & press information and a new look because you know…new is better right?  Ha, well…not always, but we do hope so in this case.

Cruise over to the calendar page and see where we’re playing while you’re in town, or see descriptive on the many different types of venues we play. You can also check out the booking page for opportunities to book your own event with us. Yep, it’s all there and more is coming! So check back in with us once in a while, stay in touch, and add your e-mail to our newsletter.  This way you’ll know where we will be playing, the latest songs we’ve been working on, and our tour plans.

We are still celebrating our NEW RELEASE, “The Sun Runs”.  The songs on this CD came out just in time, not only for me personally but for many whom I know.  People who are dealing with some tough things, myself included, can listen to a song and remember what’s truly important.  

For me (and Mo), we’ve lost a great friend and our “tour manager”.  She was beautiful; long black hair, soulful brown eyes, and a dazzling white smile from ear to ear.  She was always happy, always up for a trip, and loved to sit and listen to us rehearse for hours on end.  She traveled with us everywhere! Up to Montana, through Washington, California, Oregon, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada and of course lived with us in Idaho. She met many of you and had many friends.  Folks sought out her advice and comfort as she was so good at calming people down, and bringing lightness and joy to so many.  I learned a lot from her and it’s been a truly difficult adjustment being without her these past 3 weeks. She truly taught me how to wag more and bark less.  Yes, Osa Mae Black, aka “Big Dog” will live on in all of our hearts and in our music forever. She was that special.

People underestimate the power of a canine.  Many think of hair, slobber and doo-doo pick-up.  That is the extent of their experience.  I can understand if you see it from only this perspective.  It’s no fun being jumped on, slobber stamped, or having food stolen off your plate.  I get it.  

But for me, dogs have always been so grounding, understanding, compassionate, and inclusive.  They “get me” emotionally and give me a comfort more than most humans.  I happened to have had the most polite, charming, and sweetest girl, and I could continue to brag about her yet, I digress.  

Soulful Osa Pic

Soulful Osa Pic

My point is, music helps us remember what’s important.  I love my old dog, my old mic stand, my old guitar, but I think I will love this new website and one day, when we heal over, perhaps there will be another four-legged sweetie that wants to go on the road with us.  What a journey it has been!  Thank you for visiting with us here and we hope you enjoy the “new” in your life as well as these pages!  Be well!!!


Something for the first time!

Hey Friends and Listeners!

We just got back from our travels in Montana on Friday where the evening temperatures were 24 degrees.  We were in our “tour bus” (trailer) and had to drain the water so it would not freeze the pipes.  Only to come home to nearly 100 degrees on Sat. and play in the baking sun for 2 hours at Art in the Park here in Boise!  Wow!  What a shift! Needless to say, we sweat our butts off! Summer is here one day then leaves the next, then it’s Fall then it’s Summer…welcome back to Idaho!

We had a terrific time in Big Sky Montana! What an epic place.  So vast and big and beautiful!  The people were amazing and I’m pretty sure we will have some block bookings locked in to play at the ski resort this winter!  Yippie!  I’m dreaming about snowboarding those slopes!  While we were there we met with inspirational giants such as Mary Morrissey , Jean Houston, and Karen Drucker.  We also had the chance to sing “Life is Beautiful” for 250 new listeners and be in a choir lead by the awesome Michael Gott and Karen Drucker.  Wow!  It was a life changing phenomenal event.

During one of Mary Morrissey’s talks, she asked us, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”  Well, it just so happens that there was a trampoline outside of the hotel with bungee cords on it.  It’s the kind of thing they strap you into, the bungee bands get cinched into the harness and you start bouncing.  Well, you bounce and get tossed like a sling shot up in the air!  It feels like 20 feet that your body lifts off the ground from your weight and momentum on the trampoline!  AMAZING!  EXILLARATING and EXHAUSTING all at the same time!  Talk about a workout!  My lungs felt like they exploded and I swear it literally MOVED MY HEART!  My heart is sitting in a different spot than it was before I got on that thing!

One bounce sent me high in the air and coming down was such a rush!  Mo was a natural.  She bounced around and trusted the “rubber bands”. Doing back flips and forward flips while cracking up.  Me however, I was more reticent about the thrashing of my body up and down with gravity.  First of all…I was not sure my bra would hold upha ha!  I mean, let’s face it girls, that is something to consider!  AND there a people watching you!   It’s funny how Mo and I can roll reversal at any given moment.  We even surprise ourselves!  So we did it and had a ball.  We both loved the back flips. My first flip was not so graceful.  I made it harder than it had to be (hmmm…?  No psycho-analysis there) and about landed on my face.

I DO have to say, that two days later, we hit it again…and: I was a champ!  I was back flipping a lot!  I got the hang of it and fear wasn’t operating me any longer.  Hmmm…make the life parallel there will we?!  The next day after our trampoline experience I decided to push the envelope and do the “GIANT SWING”.  What is THAT you ask?  Well, you climb up a 20ft. ladder while wearing a harness.  The guy clicks you in to a 5 point system.  You hold a rope, that keeps you from falling (WTH?!!)  They machine crank you up, it feels like 40 ft.  and THENget this…THEN…you are suppose to LET GO of the rope!  WHAAAAATTT!!!!???   I got cranked to the top and almost cried!  Ha!  I literally had fear gripping the life out of me!  Terrified to let go I’m looking down at tiny little Mo and the guide all shouting at me to “let go…let go”  and I was seriously in a panic.  I started to get embarrassed that I was such a wuss and in the middle of explaining it to them and myself I just let go.  In the middle, as if to surprise myself, my fingers just let go of this piece of rope that was holding me 40 feet up!

And then…I screamed bloody Mary and swung nearly a football fields worth of distance.  It was quite a rush.  Wow, a bit of self torture, but freeing too!  Ugh!  It’s that, “not knowing what to expect” feeling.  Wow!  And I use to be a dare devil in my youth.  I used to ride motorcycles and jump over things with them all the time.  Wow!  I have really gotten away from the risky thrill seeking activities.  Whew!  Mo, of course, “monkey Mo” let go with such ease and grace and trusted.  Ha!  She even hung upside down and let her hands go. I had NO idea I was such a control freak!  I tease her about being a control freak from time to time.  She likes to have a plan and be in the “know” and I can ride by the seat of my pants just fine…but hang me from high heights and I lose it!  Ha!  But I did it!  I over came some fear there.  I feared for my life that I was going to die some crazy death, but instead…I flew!  And it was amazing!

Mo coming out of her beautiful back flip!!!

Mo coming out of her beautiful back flip!!!

high in the sky, the rock behind me has nothing to do with the picture

high in the sky, the rock behind me has nothing to do with the picture

Imagine what could happen if you JUST LET GO!  Isn’t that the truth?  I know you’ve heard this before, but if you KNEW you weren’t going to go SPLAT…what would you do?  If you knew you couldn’t fail?  We spent last week expanding our own minds at the Big Sky Retreat.  I listened to some of the most magnificent speakers and hung out with some amazing, loving powerful women that I now call friends.  But that little voice that “dared me” to go on the trampoline and giant swing sealed the deal.  Everything the speakers talked about I put into practice by letting go of that rope, of letting go and bouncing to the stars!

Contemplating the drop from below

Contemplating the drop from below

Mo getting cinched up

Mo getting cinched up

Since coming home, I’ve been on a cleaning spree.  Old drawers are getting purged and I am ridding myself of old stuff.  It feels wonderful and productive.  I was also struck with a novel concept on Face Book.  One of my friends posted something like, “Teachers and parents don’t teach our children that they must be extraordinary, instead teach them to find value in the ordinary”…that way their lives can be fulfilling no matter WHAT the circumstances are.  I’m paraphrasing here, but this hit me because I think I’m from that generation that we simply believe, “we are not enough”, “we must DO more”.  And I am making my way to re-invent myself as being enough and enjoying the ordinary, the “Simple Things”.  And yes, my heart is definitely in a different, more centered place than it was before going to Montana!

I hope my words in this newsletter and our music we play can literally “move your heart” more to center and you grow and stretch and enjoy every blessed day you are here on Earth!  Thanks for reading about our journey.
I will be posting our video of our “wild ride” on the trampoline and giant swing on our VIP page for those of you who are on it…AND those of you who would like to join…go here http://blazeandkelly.com/vip-corner/  and catch up on what you’ve been missing!

Much love and many thanks to you all!

Niccole & Mo

Winter time lounging and songwriting!

Happy Holidays Friends!

I know I’ve been a recluse on the blog activity.  I’ve been in my transition mode between Fall and Winter.  I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving!  There are so many things we are grateful for.  One of them is YOU!  For listening and supporting our musical journey!  The other is being blessed by the “song ferries”!  They gifted me with a tune that came straight from another orbit on Thanksgiving Eve. I’m so happy about that!  We had just returned from a dear friend’s holiday feast and Mo crashed out on the couch with big dog, Osa.  While they snored away in unison, I put my trusty guitar in hand, and started to pluck away a sweet melody. It felt like a new master piece dropped out of the cosmos!  It’s called, “I Give Thanks” and I really love the song.  It’s stuck with Mo and I since I wrote it.

 

We are also so grateful for our winter gigs and private parties.  They keep us a float in the winter time (when we “chew our fat” ha!) We are happy to provide warmth in the winter cold with good cheer, songs and friendships!  So thank you for joining us in the winter and we truly appreciate those of you who have hosted parties!  If anyone would like to host a party, please check out our booking page here:http://blazeandkelly.com/contact-us/booking-form/

You can also go to the Blaze and Kelly Face Book page now and click on the “Booking” button on the main picture to book too! Face Book has come a long way for those who are on it.  If you “Subscribe” to our blazeandkelly page (not just “LIKE” our page but “subscribe”) that will allow our events to show up on your event calendar so you won’t miss out!  Yay!  So if you will, please go to:https://www.facebook.com/BlazeandKelly   and “like” and “subscribe”.

How good can you stand it?!

Howdy Friends,
We are back from our travels and into the “thick of things” here in Boise Idaho! And this week is gonna be a HOT one! The weather forecast is in the triple digits topping out 110 degrees on Sunday! YIKES! So for those of you who are local, ha…come on out and sweat with us! Let’s talk about a cooler time, such as our tour through Washington and Oregon just two short weeks ago.

Basically, our trip to Washington and Oregon was absolutely amazing! Like three trips in one. Thank you to all the friends along our journey that made it extra special: Steve & Tess, Bob, Paul & Michelle and “the Rock” gang, Sue & Ellen, Karen, Wendy & Diane, Jayne & Tammy, Stu & Sharon, Rudy and Marilyn, Joni, Keith & Susan. It was fabulous to spend quality time with you. Time has been running fast these days. Some of you got to hear a brand new song I wrote called, “The Sun Runs”. We were blessed with such beautiful audience members, it really meant a lot to us that we could share such a vulnerable tune that was so well received.

When songs are first written, some of you may not know, but they are like newborn babies. So fragile and so pure and you covet them as a mama would. It’s quite a process, bringing them out into the world and sharing them. Some artists think nothing of it, and some songs are meant to be shared easily. But some, like this new song, I’m feeling selective of when we sing it. So, if/when the audience energy is just right, or if I’m feeling the muse of this song come through, maybe you will be lucky enough to catch it. I DID make it available on our “membership page” of our web site, if you’d like to join or have questions, please feel free to click on the link: Cyber Campfire!

Highlights from our trip consist of spending some awesome moments with folks both on and off the stage and seeing the geology of this amazing country we live in. We were thrilled with the reception we had at the Port Angeles, “Juan de Fuca Festival”!

Also, at the Seattle Center Sunday, the crowd at Northwest Folk Life quadrupled in size during our 30 minute set! It was epic! The MC said he’s never seen anything like that happen before and he’s been there for 25 years!

Journeying through the Washington Peninsula was a highlight too! We saw green moss and trees for miles and miles in quiet temperate rain forests. Even a spotted owl posed for a picture! And the Eagles were phenomenal! I bet we saw over 40 eagles at different times! We had a super intimate house concert in Mt. Vernon that was a pure delight and spent some time with good friends.

 

Once in Oregon, we discovered Silver Falls State Park. This place was amazing! An absolute MUST see if you’ve never been there. Over 10 waterfalls and miles of trails within a small area took you to the most remarkable and beautiful scenery. We walked behind many falls where the water dropped up to 177 feet! Incredible!

Then we made it to the coast. We had a phenomenal house concert at Rudy’s Piano Bar. We played to a sold out show in Lincoln’s City. We met wonderful friendly and hospitable folks, and had a super fun time. Rudy has a baby Grand piano that plays itself through a midi program. He’s got all the classics and when I first arrived, the piano was under a dark sheet on the stage. He had music piping through it and I thought, “man that sounds live”. He pulled back the sheet to reveal its key’s pressing themselves down in just the right places and I was fascinated. Of course I sat down and acted like Elton John for a while. Here’s a video of me being silly. Super fun!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Vk2x1HGd2I

HOURS of entertainment after a stellar show! Needless to say, we stayed up many a many night past our “bed time” (whenever that is) on this trip. In the morning while we were at Rudy and Marilyn’s, they made the most amazing espresso I’ve EVER tasted! And I’ve been to Italy! Wow! I’d go back to Lincoln just for the coffee! LOL!

We had a day to unwind in Manzanita, one of our favorite hang outs. We walked the beach and as the sun set while our old doggy frolicked, many tears of gratitude streamed out of my eyes. Ever so blessed and ever so grateful! People listened. People were moved and friends were made. How utterly incredible, that I have had the chance in this lifetime to touch and be touched by so many, on such a soul level! I am so grateful!

Now, were there any bummer factors? The hardest one was both Mo and I catching a bug. Whew, that was hard. I fought it off but it was exhausting. It’s frightening when you play for a pin drop audience and you don’t know if your voice will “wobble” due to the infection going on in there. Mo followed in my footsteps singing, “anything you can do I can to better” and she caught the cold with full force for the ending of the trip. Ugh! That was tough. Upon leaving Boise mid May a person about clobbered into our trailer while they were running a red light. That was a near miss. Mo said, “Ok, got that out of the way. No more close calls.” We put 2906 miles on our car and about 80 hours in the “saddle”, which you can imagine the ol’ butt cheeks start yelling after a while. And we only had one not so cool venue with a crappy business deal, but other than that, we sold out of CD’s and had to have a local friend ship us more. (Thanks Kimmy!) And I think we made a wave! Let’s pray for some more waves. How joyful can you stand it? How good can you let it be? Good questions. I’m opening to that idea and I hope our words, music and what we share brings you closer as well. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Upon our return we ran into 4 straight shows and the daily doings of life. We play 6 more this week! It can become difficult to keep the mind slow when you run at that pace. Sharing my thoughts and these pictures has helped me remember just what it is I’m doing this for and I hope you enjoy!

Meanwhile, for the regional peoples reading this:
We will be in McCall @ Crusty’s on July 5th whew hooo! 7-10pm

Also in Donnelly we will be part of the Roseberry Festival Wed. Concert Series July 8th with Rochelle Smith on mandolin and back up harmony! 6-9pm

Idaho Falls: You will see us at Derailed on Fri. July 17th 7-10pm

Jackson Hole Friends! We will see you at Hayden’s Post on July 18th and 19th. 8-11pm

Sun Valley & Stanley folks we will be your way on Aug. 9th The Arts and Crafts Festival in Ketchum 12:30-2pm and Redfish lake Lodge, same day on the green from 5-7pm.

And don’t forget about the 1000 Springs Festival at
Ritter Park outside of Hagerman Idaho Sept. 26th
***we will also be hosting a public concert at Miracle Hot Springs in the giant yurt the evening of Sept 26th to celebrate another epic summer! If you’d like to camp or reserve a yurt please give them a call Miracle Hot Springs.

All details are on our website www.blazeandkelly.com

And for those of you in the BOISE area, here is where we are this week!

Thursday 6/25 Hyde St. Pub 7-10pm
Friday 6/26 Sandbar 2-5 pm **please note the time, mid day show.
Sat 6/27 Eagle Market 10-1pm
Sun 6/28 Smokey Mtn. Pizza 18th and State 6-9p
Mon 6/29 Payette Brewery for a fundraiser 5:30-8pm (benefit starts at 3pm)
Tues 6/30 Sockeye Brewery 7-9:30pm

Thanks so much for reading and being in touch with us! Here’s a few more, I couldn’t resist. Hope you all can see the pics. If not I will be posting them on our website too! Under “News”. Just in case the technical gremlins are up to their tricks! 🙂

Happy St. Patricks Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Friends!

We arrived home safely from our trip to Idaho Falls and Jackson Wyoming. The weather was amazing and we spent some wonderful time with new and old friends. We played our “heads off” at the Trap Bar in Targee and I also got to snowboard on this “ol foot” for the first time since surgery. We haven’t been all season, so it was sure nice to be on the slopes and take in the sights.

 

Done for the day!

We want to give a shout out to Bob and Joyce for scheduling their vacation during our time in Jackson. They came all the way from Michigan to see us play and to get their runs in on the hill! Super fun times with these amazing beautiful people! Thank you both for such a great time!

 

I’m sure many of you are wondering, since our last Newsletter, what is going on with “America’s Got Talent”. Although we had an amazing experience trying out for it last month we did not receive a call back. So, onward and upward we go! *smile*

 

Sometimes the potential is there and you just have to monopolize on the right moment.

We are excited to be selected for the Juan de Fucca Festival in Port Angeles Washington in May and we were also selected for Northwest Folk Life Festival. The two festivals ironically are happening on the same weekend, so our logistics is a bit nutty, but we will keep you posted on how it will all work out. I find it funny that the one year we get these gigs they are at the same time! Ha! Washington/Oregon people we are asking for your assistance in filling some dates while we are out your way! Please check out the link under “Travel Plans” below.

Upcoming Local Shows:

Tuesday, March 17 – Sockeye Grill on Cole (near Ustick) from 8-10 pm, with SPECIAL GUESTS, **ROCHELL SMITH. Rochelle always makes music fun with her beautiful voice and wonderful accompaniment on the mandolin and box drum.

Saturday, March 21 – Willi B’s off of Chinden from 7-10pm. This is a super fun venue! It’s big enough for people to dance and intimate enough to play some beautiful ballads, so come on down for some fun music, good food and full bar!

Saturday, March 28th– Boise Brewery off of Broad St. downtown Boise, from 7-9:30pm. We are honored to feature special guests and friends at this show too! The lovely ** Wade will be joining us from Reno. Mel lived in Boise years past. She brings a soulful sound with every song she sings. Rochelle Smith will be playing with us and with Mel so that makes it EXTRA SPECIAL! This is the same weekend as the Tree Fort Festival so if you are out and about downtown, stop in for a great local beer and some special tunes from all of us gals!

Sunday, April 5th – Happy Easter! @ The Center for Spiritual Living @ 10:30 a.m. – Everyone is welcome at “CSL”! We always get our cup filled with Rev. Jackie Holland’s talk and the boys in the band do such a great job backing us up. If you want to get your cup filled this Easter, put this on your calendar and join us!

We have some private events and personal travel plans booked for a few weeks in April, then we will be back at the Crush, Willi B’s and the 365 @ Riverside Inn. Please check the website if you would like more details about any upcoming shows or to make a booking with us for your own private event go to **LINK**. We make it super simple to have a rockin’ good time! J

Travel plans:

We will be heading off to the Seattle WA area the 15th of June with the Juan De Fucca Festival we will be headlining in on May 22 & 23rd. We have several shows booked around these dates but are looking for more private parties and venues. If YOU know of a place you think we’d fit or want to book a house concert or party, please get in touch with us by responding back to this e-mail or going to the booking page **LINK**

We will also be in the Oregon area the first week of June for a private event. We are looking for shows, venues, places to “crash” June 1st-8th. Any and all help with this would be super wonderful!!! A small gathering of friends by a campfire, to a major celebration…we are heading WEST, so let us know if we can play for you!

Mark the date:

Saturday, Sept. 26th at Hagerman ID Miracle Hot Springs,   we will be in the dome hosting our own listening concert. Mo and I were amazed with the quality of the sound in the dome one time visiting the springs. We thought, “What a place to host a concert!” So this is the year! We will most likely be playing at the 1000 Springs Festival too, so make plans to get to Hagerman and finish up a lovely summer with us at the dome. Exact time will be announced and the cost will be a love donation. There are campsites available and yurts for rent on the premises too, but make reservations because the place fills up! We’d love to see you there and soak in the hot water after the show! 😉

Members Corner:
This is a special corner of our website dedicated to give you exclusive free downloads, exclusive stories, pictures and movies from the road. Our members are part of our special team. “Keep Facing the Sun”, a brand new original song is a new download made available now on the membership corner only.  This month we will post a beautiful song called, “The Eye” by Brandi Carlile! This is off her latest new album and I think Mo, Roxx and I cover it super well. So sign up today!  VIP Corner!

We would like to thank ALL of you who have taken the time to read this message and to listen to our music.  We are extremely grateful to you!

Niccole & Mo

“Though our time here may be small and seemingly insignificant, there is a great destiny in each one of us!”  -NB

It’s time to launch!

Howdy Friends,

We are on the road again, heading West to Oregon!  We will be playing many big shows this month and what a great way to spend our “birthday month” 😉

Both Mo and I are “Rocktober” babies, we are October bookends, with Mo turning my age in the beginning of the month and me slipping away into “older age” at the end of the month.  But for right now…we are the same age *big smile*!  She catches up with me once a yearha ha!

Isn’t it amazing how time flies?  12 years ago I wrote and released “Smile”, our second CD.  I’m sure with some of you, you look at your children in this way.  You just can’t believe how old they are and how fast that time went.

I look at our catalog of music that way, especial this time of year.  Fall brings out the reflective spirit in me.  It is my “New Year”.  As the summer busyness comes to a close we get to slow down and reflect on our path.

I am looking forward to playing for the people of Oregon. I am looking forward to giving our best shot to the Juried Showcase and sharing the best of what we can.  But I am also looking forward to sitting on the ocean and listening to the waves come in.  In hopes that my mind is filled with “no-thing” and the sound of the waves pound out all the “to-do-lists” and things I think I HAVE to do.

I love that about music too.  It just puts me in the now.  And although the business of it may take me out of the “now” at times, I am grateful that I know that special spot of a minor chord meeting it’s major.  Happy that my fingers are flattened like “Frankenstein fingers” and numb to the pain of any string pressure.  Calloused and getting older, you do wonder in this business, how long you can “schlep” equipment in and out of buildings, drive for hundreds of miles and have the energy to give people some joy and meaning from your words and art you’ve created.

It blows my mind what we do, and I am forever grateful!  The power of music always sees me through.  And I hope it does for you!  When you are down, try turning on your favorite 80’s rock band and just see where you go!?  It’s trasportive and that is why I LOVE it so much!

Thanks to all the listeners out there, who’ve believed in us and have been swept away by our tunes.  Thanks for letting us transport you to another place and space.  Thanks for telling us so and for greeting us with big smiles on your faces and hugs.  We so appreciate you and hope you are enjoying the Fall Season!

Namastes’

Mt. Peal Animal Santuary Needs YOUR Help!

Hey Folks,

We will be heading off to the beautiful state of Utah to help our furry friends at the Mt. Peal Animal Santuary!

“Mt Peale Animal Sanctuary and Healing center is an integrated center of Healing. At Mt Peale we believe in looking at the totality of life. The plants, the animals, the land and the humans are inseparable. What befalls one effects the other. Mt Peale center holds that we are here to learn with all life through spirit that is manifest upon this earth. At Mt Peale center we believe that true deep healing arises out of the knowledge of this integration.”

If you would like to make a contribution to help this wonderful organization or learn more about what they do please click here http://www.mtpeale.com/   We’ll be playing on June 21st if you are in the area. Cris Williamson, Kathryn Warner and Kate MacLeod will be joining us in a grand celebration!

Happy Easter and Happy Spring!

Hey friends!

We arrived safely back from Grand Targhee Resort and the Trap Bar in Alta, Idaho/Wyoming. We met some new friends in Idaho Falls, and saw some “old ones” too! (They weren’t really old, but you know what I mean).

Playing at an altitude of about 8000 feet honestly, kicked our butts! Ha! It made me take stock in the fact that I best keep myself in shape if I want to continue this career. We felt as if we ran for 3 straight days! If we had not partaken in certain practices and physical exercises we surely would have been suffering because of it. We basically bounced back and snowboarded and skied the next day. So it was a good dose of motivation for us to be at our best physically!

If you ever wondered about what we do to keep our energy up, stay healthy and balanced, I will be posting a blog on our VIP membership page that will include more detail about this. I am eager to share with you all this knowledge as it’s been quite a journey the last 14 years of my life. People always ask, “How do you do it?” I am grateful to have a platform like the membership page to elaborate with those who wish to know. If you are one of those folks who desire to “dig deeper”, go here and check out the VIP membership. : http://blazeandkelly.com/vip-corner/

For the rest of you, this Newsletter provides a point of contact for us to simply say, “Hello, this is what we’re up to and we appreciate you!” It will cover some of the details of our recent journeys in music, though VIP’s get the whole enchilada!

The VIP Corner allows YOU to be a part of our journey in a more intimate, exclusive way. We share our new creations, whether we post an mp3 that is just an idea or completely finished. We are committed to adding new pictures, movies, blogs and music on a monthly basis. You get your own password that gives you access to the VIP corner whenever you’d like! There are discounts, gifts, and other wonderful things to share as well. Come sit by our “cyber fire” and feel the warmth!

Meanwhile, for those of you who just want the skinny on when and where we are playing, we have lots of LOCAL (Boise) shows this week! You Boise folks are probably saying, “it’s about time!” Ha! Know you are LOVED Boise! And we would/could never abandon you!

We’ve been on the road A LOT this year already and will be throughout the rest of the season. Plans for Seattle area the beginning of May, Utah area third week of June, McCall ID area throughout the summer, Stanley ID, Eastern Oregon in August, and mid to Western Oregon in Oct.

So you local folks, when we play home, we want to see you and celebrate you! So come on out and join us for some fun!

Those of you in the areas we mentioned we are traveling, if you know of anyone who wants to have summer parties in the area, or house concerts, please feel free to contact us regarding this as we still have some “road dates” that are open during those tours! Super fun times to be had!

Local folks, I’ve never asked this before, but if you have a minute, please jump on line at: http://www.idahostatesman.com/best-of-treasure-valley/
and vote for your favorite “Best of Boise” band. We are in there, I’m not assuming we are your favorite, but if you pass us a vote we would love you more! (ha…we’ll ALWAYS love you regardless, but it would be cool to be recognized in that publication AND if we do, that means MORE doors locally could open up, which means MORE gigs for us to play for you! Yippie!) You don’t have to vote for everything to turn the form in, it’s an extensive list. Just do what you would like and know we appreciate every vote!

I highly encourage all of you to “jump on the VIP membership corner” and check it out! http://blazeandkelly.com/vip-corner/ . There’s no obligation to sign up, but know that with your support, the possibilities of creating musical moments and living this dream are realized and we love you for it!

Thanks so much in advance! Here are the up-coming shows this week! Oh and our show at the Botanical Gardens has been moved from Sept. 11th to Aug. 21st !!! 6-9pm
Door: $10

4-20 Easter Sunday – Boise’s Center for Spiritual Living, service starts @ 10:30 and we will play a few songs. Rev. Jackie Holland always gives such a powerful sermon. Come get your cups full!

4/22 Tuesday, Happy Earth Day – The Lucky Dog from 7 till whenever! We are hosting an ALL WOMAN’s Jam!!! A traveling girl band, TheUndercurrents, http://violetvonderhaar.com/violet-and-the-undercurrents-3/the-undercurrents/
from Missouri will be a highlight of the night and we local ladies will do “mini-sets”. Get ready for a night of creativity, ad lib, excitement and camaraderie! Joining will be Rebecca Scott, Emily Tipton, Rochelle Smith, Pat Folkner and perhaps some “others” who might decide to slip in a note or two! J $5 cover.

4/24 Thursday – ADD THE 4 WORDS BENEFIT @ the Balcony! 7:30-9:30 – Here in Idaho there is a lot going on as far as equal rights. We will be at the Balcony down town Boise to help raise funds for those who stood up for the rights of ALL humans and unfortunately got arrested by our legislation. L So help us do good things if you can!

4/25 Friday – The Buzz Café 7-9 pm. A fun place to have some coffee and listen to some tunes, sometimes it gets really quiet in there and can be like a private concert. Let’s see!

4/26 Saturday- Café’ Capri 6-9pm. Join us for a fabulous BBQ as our lovely hosts celebrate another turning year of doing business. This Café is located off of the Gowen exit in Boise. There is a GREAT vibe at this venue, and we really appreciate the people running the café. There will be plenty of food, beers, wine, coffee and tunes! Hope to see you there!

Come get your “cup” filled! We are super excited to be home in Boise for the next 10 days! Hope we get so see our “old friends” (no, your not old…but you know what I mean! *wink!)

All of our best to you and yours!

Niccole & Mo

P.S.
For everyone, especially those avid bicyclist and folks that want to see some of Idaho’s finest country side and get in shape! There is an organization we play for each year called RIDE IDAHO. They roll out the red carpet to cycle some amazing terrain of Idaho’s finest country side offering you a fabulous trip! This year they will explore the Sun Valley area down to the City of Rocks. Please check them out @ http://www.rideidaho.org/ . All the proceeds for this tour go towards funding Idaho and making this state great! Tell a friend and pass the word! Thanks again!

New Membership Corner has launched!

Friends around the campfire

Friends around the campfire

Today is the day! It’s NO APRIL FOOLS trick! We have a new VIP Corner of the website and it is up and running! So even though it’s raining in Boise today, I’d say anyone up for a toasty cyber space campfire with some hot toddies, new tunes, stories, pictures, MOVIES and an inside track that is COMPLETELY EXCLUSIVE, for your enjoyment, go HERE: http://blazeandkelly.com/vip-corner/

I am thrilled of offer to our most avid supporters (YOU) a chance to catch an inside glimpse of our music while it’s being created and also to share some footage of our wacky moments while on tour. Come along for the ride at your own time and leisure through our designated corner of our web site that is available to you 24/7.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a musician you will get first hand insights to the trade of music in a super real, down to earth way. Plus you’ll get to keep downloadable mp3’s, gifts, discounts and much more!

We were inspired to create this membership based on listener’s desire for us to share more. We literally had our friends, followers, avid fans say, “do this”…and so we did! We hope you partake in the fun and we appreciate any and all membership proceeds, as they help get us on the road and stay on this path of creating music!

Thank you so very much!!! Happy “Fools” day! 😉

Niccole & Mo

Spring thoughts!

Wowsa Folks!

I have been thinking of you SO MUCH!  I know Boise folks have been asking, “Where are you girls playing next locally?”  And honestly, we’ve been out of town a LOT this winter, more than normal. And now it’s Spring, which takes us out of town still!

Video: Mo is filming up a storm!

Video: Mo is filming up a storm!

Down time is good, but it hasn’t been down time for us at all.  I feel like I’m wrapping a HUGE CHRISTMAS PRESENT for all of you!  I’ve been working on this VIP page and putting things together and learning so much about technology.  I’m pleased to say my usual temper-tantrums with “Miss Mac” have subsided, as I’ve selected to make “nice” with “her” instead. (I have a PC too for when Miss Mac is just beyond moody!)

We are hand selecting mp3’s for our members and I made a fun movie of our travels to Sandpoint recently.  This “thing” that we are creating is BIG in so many ways.  It really extends into what we do and who we are as music makers and is quite vulnerable.

I’ve noticed this when trying to determine which mp3 to select for you.  “It’s not quite perfect, it still needs work. Am I really going to put that out there? Are they really going to catch this idea when I’m not even complete with it myself yet?”  Bold, brave and a bit scary at times, I wonder if I’m up for the task.  But something inside me says, “go into the fear”, simply because growth lives there.

We want to grow as artists and we want to share that experience with you.  I don’t know of any other artist doing this in such a way, so… we have no one to guide us on this journey.  We will certainly be open to feedback (but not “slams” of course).  I will want to hear your ideas if you join and of course there is no obligation to join, nor stay a member.

So, when will it be up and running?  Ha!  I thought this week, however…Miss Mac is making me wait…she’s keeping me wai a a a a a ting (think Carly Simon’s “Anticipation” song then you’ll know where I live in my head with this! Ha!)

I’m on a learning curve with the technology.  I’ll tell you all about this process in the VIP blog once the “door” to membership opens.  But…all I can say now is….It’s Coming!  J http://blazeandkelly.com/vip-corner/  Feel free to sign up on the “interested” list connected to this link.

Meanwhile, here’s our schedule in the next upcoming weeks!

March 30th  send us your good thoughts as we are teaming up with “Purple Carrots” to write more songs!!! Yippie!  If you go to our Blaze and Kelly Face Book page we will try keeping you in the loop with what is going on.  That will be another 24 hour experience with Rebecca Scott and Dan Costello!

April 3rdVino Rosso in Idaho Falls 7-9:30pm

April 4th   The Trap Bar in Driggs Idaho 3-5:30pm

April 5th   The Trap Bar in Driggs Idaho 3-5:30pm

April 25th the Buzz Café’ 7-9 Boise ID

April 26th Capri Café’  6-9 Boise ID

*Boise friends, mark your calendars for Sept. 11th Botanical Garden’s Concert Series!! This is one of our favorite places to play!

Seattle friends, we have some bookings for May, but are looking for more.  Is there anyone who would like to do a house concert in the Seattle area the first or second week of May?  Or do you know of good venues we would fit well with?  Shoot us an e-mail!  We’d love to hear from you!

Thanks so much for being a part of our journey in music; we appreciate you all so very much!

Niccole & Mo

New CD and DVD for the New Year!

Hello lovely people! We have been hard at work creating FABULOUS NEW MUSIC for you to enjoy!


Our “Live at the Sapphire DVD” has just recently been release as has our “Live at the Sapphire CD” too!!! This body of work is a complete LIVE recording, you can hear the audience and experience this magical night for yourself whether watching or listening.
Also, the PURPLE CARROT album will be release this month! Get your tickets here: PURPLE CARROT TICKETS! And read about this awesome collaborative below:

Three of Boise’s most gifted musicians; Rebecca Scott, Niccole Blaze, and Dan Costello, seated themselves around a tray of purple carrots, hummus and some garlic olives. On a journey for newness they decided to collaborate writing songs together based on a web driven idea called, “Album in a Day”. The end result was a “smokin'” CD!!!

On Jan. 31st, they will release “Purple Carrots” for all of you to “munch on”. “The Sapphire Room”, one of Boise’s most premier venues, will showcase these amazing artist together for the first time in “singer-songwriters in the round” fashion!

Drawing on over 40 years of musicianship among them, these artist will fill your cup with sweet grooves and harmonies from their fresh creations! You will get an inside look into the song writing process as they share about what it was like to stay up for 24 hours and create with each other for the first time.

Come be a part of this magical, creative energy and share the camaraderie as you connect with some of the finest songwriters of the Treasure Valley! Show starts @ 7:30 (doors open 6:30). Seating is first come first serve, and only 150 tickets will be sold. This is sure to be an intimate and sold out show, so get them soon!

CD’s will be sold at this event. If you would like to purchase the Purple Carrot CD, please send me a direct e-mail and I will make sure we get it to you: niccoleblaze@hotmail.com

Have an AWESOME New Year!

My car rolls over 200K this trip and so do I!

Good morning friends and listeners (if it’s morning for you)

It’s morning for me.  I’m up early thinking, “I’ve wanted to write an update to everyone, telling them about our trip, and about the DVD progress and what’s happening now”.  Basically, I want to write.  Spill it all out there cause there has been so much of life recently I just can’t “grab hold” of, and it helps to put it in writing.

Shows: 
So for those of you who want the quick “knitty gritty” show information:
Friday 11/1 we will be appearing for the FIRST TIME @ The Kilted Dragon from 7-10pm.  It’s a new brewery in town and we are hoping to pack it!  Panzano brick oven Pizza will be there too and their Pizza is fabulous!

Sat. 11/2 a favorite place, The Wood River Cellars 7-9pm.  This is a GREAT venue to hear music.  Most times the audience is a listening audience and this room is amazing for sound.
All details about the shows can be found on blazeandkelly.com

Next week we are in Arizona.  We will be playing a private party in Scottsdale and a private house concert in Tucson.  If anyone lives in that area and wants a private invite, it is very possible to attend.  Just e-mail me and I’ll give you the information.

Opportunities:
We had the best times in Washington!  Indeed!  We had 3 house concerts and they were all a “smash”!  They were all very different and very fun.

What a house concert is:  Someone hosts a concert in their living room, patio, garage, closed restaurant, where ever you can put 20 people or more.  We ask for a “love donation” of $10-20 from each person.  Sometimes there’s a pot luck, sometimes the host serves wine/beer…or maybe maple cookies (wink!)   We play a set and tell stories and you can hear EVERYTHING and interact with us a bit.  We take a little break, mingle then play another set.  People listen, close their eyes sometime, laugh, cry, relate, and sometimes we all “go up 100 feet”!

I must digress into the most amazing moment I’ve experienced to date!!!   We were at the end of our set at a Mt. Vernon house concert.  There was about 25-30 people there.  It was a magical night, so many cool souls in that room!  As we finished “Life is Beautiful”,  I opened my eyes and everyone was silent for a very long 5 seconds.  They didn’t even clap…we were all transported so high up we had to stop and look around at each other and no one wanted that moment to end! There was such energy in the room that is indescribable as I try to convey it to you now.  We were all “enlightened” for just a second. Their mouths agape and my own consciousness checking back in with my body, realizing I was still on this planet!  Then I told them they were beautiful and they clapped and clapped and clapped and it made me cry!  Ha!  (such a sap!)  Seriously…it was AMAZING!!!

House concerts, I’ve discovered, makes those moments happen more frequently than anywhere else.  So why not have one?  If you have friends and family and a few feet of space you can do it and we will help you!  For some of the hosts in Washington, it was the very first time they have ever done this.  They didn’t know what to expect and were quite please with the outcome.  Surprised in fact!  Elated with the experience, they want us to return.  And that is a great feeling because that is the kind of energy exchange we are after.  When everyone feels “filled up” we know we did our job.  So, if you are tired of trying to listen over conversations of others, let us help you put on a show in your own living room!

Alternate opportunities:
Now if that sounds too vulnerable and too scary with the lot of friends you pal around with, go for the “party”, that’s a whole different energy.  That is where you invite your friends, they don’t pay a suggested donation (but can tip and buy CD’s) and you and I come up with a flat fee. If people listen, great, and if they chat it up that’s o.k. too.  Parties can sometimes turn into house concerts (because that can be the nature of music) but all fees are negotiated before hand and you’re not asking your friends to contribute.

We’ve had some awesome parties too I must say.  I really LOVE the house concert format.  People can be intimidated by it and worry about people showing up, but I tell you…once you experience the whole room floating on a cloud and all your friends being amazed and impressed by you putting this thing on…you’ll want to do it again.

What’s happening with the DVD? 
For those new to the Newsletter, we did a live show at the Sapphire Room here in Boise and had the most amazing night!  We filmed it with about 5 cameras and have been anticipating a professional video to come hopefully by the end of the year.

We are getting a proof copy of the DVD this week!  Yes!  The audio and video got “married” earlier this month.  I have written out all the credits and talked to the artist who is designing the cover.  The local manufacturer is ready to take on the project too.  We are good to go…just have to approve of the video, get the art work finished and then put it all together!  I’m shooting for early December!  Just in time for CHRISTMAS!  😉  I will be so excited to get the film out there and share that amazing night all over again. Thank you for your patience and support!

200,000 miles – the Panida Theatre and getting Older! 

 

Well, our truck and I rolled over another click on our odometer!  Ha!  “Betty Lou 2” my Ford Explorer clicked 200K and I turned another year older last Sat.  Yep…happens to the best of us, I guess *wink!
I’ve been thinking about all the miles we’ve traveled. I had such the fortunate opportunity to play one of my favorite theaters.  I got my big start at the Panida theatre and what a treat to be invited back.  On so many levels going back “home” to open arms was very surreal.  The Daily Bee put us on the front page! You can see it HERE.  And there were posters up on every window of the town, pellted in all the shops! Also the marquee was lit up like a Christmas tree with our names right on top!

“How amazing,” I thought.  I left this town, its’ beauty and those dear friends and family and that awesome ski mountain.  I left that whole other life behind, as I needed too.  “But now I’m back”, looking across that beautiful lake with friends from Boise who made the trip.  How did these ten years go by so fast and how did I get here?  That whole tour was the biggest birthday present I could have ever asked for, so special, so many amazing people on this journey.

I had an older Ford Explorer that turned its’ numbers high, a little over ten years ago.  I had an old graying dog then too.  With every gray hair that pops out of my head, or out of Mo’s head or my dog Osa’s face I wonder about the “miles” we’ve put on life.  I think about what is important, the growth, the love I’ve shared and have gotten to witness.  The hearts that have cracked open in the middle of a song.  The opportunity to be the one standing behind the microphone trying to make a difference, witnessing the real show.  The show of life.

We aired on two radio stations while in Sandpoint, KPND and KRFY.  The hosts of each show asked GREAT questions.  Reflective and insightful questions about what it was like to make music. “How do you come up with melody lines?  When did you and Mo meet?  How did you start playing music.” It causes me to answer and seek myself over.  I love live radio for that reason.  It use to terrify me.  I have literally stepped myself into terrifying situations voluntarily.  Ha…who does that? Why do I do that!?  David Gunter interviewed me for the Daily Bee and asked me that very question.  He plays music too.  He asked, “Why do we do this?  Put our hearts and souls out there for others to judge, or reject?”

 

I said, “I think I’m trying to prove to myself over and over that love is the only energy that exists and the rest is all B.S.”  I need to keep believing that.  I lose sight (as most of us do from time to time) but if I can just stay “on that line”.  That line of love and truth and knowingness and belief in myself and the best in others.  If I can continue to BE THERE and LIVE from there, others can see it and feel it and choose it for themselves too.  And…we can all float up 100 feet together, and when we come back down, laugh like hell, cry tears of gratitude and start clapping!  Ha!

I’ve literally been around the world over 8 times in the last 10 years (24,900 is a loop around the Earth – thanks google!  )  It was an epic tour – to date.  It’s been an epic journey.  It’s been a VERY cool trip around the sun for me this year.  Thank you for your support and I am grateful to have been on this journey with you! Have an awesome day!
Much love, Nicc, Mo & Osa!

The Panida Theatre, 2 CD’s a DVD and 2 Tours!

Hey Folks,

Wow time has certainly slipped away and I have “updated” you all in my mind, I swear…but that doesn’t do you much good huh?  Anyway, you have been in my thoughts as we’ve motored along on our local and distant shows.

Big news…the Purple Carrot Collaboration is done and going into replication this week!    This is the “album in a day” we worked on in March with Rebecca Scott and Dan Costello!  It turned out AWESOME, I’d have to say!  It was SO cool to work with those two and the songs are groovy and fun!  Let me know if you’d like a copy, I’m hoping to have some fresh copies on our way to Sandpoint!

NEXT WEEK:  We play the Panida Theatre in Sandpoint!!!!    Oct. 10th 7:30 pm! 

This is such a full circle!  I released my first album “Despite the Dents” on this stage almost 10 years ago!  We were selected at last year’s Northwest Booking Conference to play for the Panida this year and are so excited to see some old friends!  We hope those in the area can come to this special event!

The DVD….yes everyone is wondering WHEN that will be out.  The good news is…the audio has been completed and a big part of the video has been edited.  Now we are ready to marry the two…video and audio and I can’t wait to see the results.

We will do a final edit in the next month and I am working with an artist to complete the artwork.  Then it goes to replication, but not until final editing and art work is finished…but it’s getting there.  Hopefully before the year is out we’ll have the DVD finished AND a CD cut of the live show as well!  So if you want to HEAR the songs from this show, we’ll have the “Blaze and Kelly Live at the Sapphire Room” CD.  This is really exciting!

Pushing a huge body of work forward feels good!  It’s been a GIANT undertaking getting Purple Carrots, Live at the Sapphire DVD and the Live at the Sapphire CD up and running.  Wow…when I do something — I go BIG!  Ha!

We are also working on new local venues and planning a tour to Seattle next week AND a tour in Arizona Nov. 7-14th!   I’m happy to say Mo has been in on the full time music crusade with me since June and if feels wonderful to have her working with me on the administrative stuff for this “job”  J

So we will be in touch when all these new items hit the public and hope you partake in the new goods!  Our upcoming schedule is below:

Friday10/4The Blue Moose@ 6:30-8:30ish….OUR FIRST SHOW HERE, we are hoping to make a good impression!

Sat.  10/5The Wood River Cellars @ 7-9always amazing acoustic sound

Sun. 10/6The Harvest Festival @ the Botanical Gardens3-6 pm w/Rochelle Smith, this looks like a fun event, hay rides and things for “big kids” too!

Off to Sandpoint!!!!

The Panida Theatre!!!!  Thursday Oct. 10th7:30 pm

You can tune into public radio for our interview while we visit Sandpoint @ KRFY 88.5FM

http://www.krfy.org/  happening Oct. 9th @ 9:00a.m. (PT)

Wed.  10/16Cellar Café in Wenachee*

Friday 10/18Open House Concert– public welcome   Mt. Vernon WA area*

Sat.     10/19Open House Concert – public welcomeTacoma WAarea*

*see details on the web for these shows  http://blazeandkelly.com/calendar-of-events/

We hope to see you in our home town, or in our travels and we hope our music has brought some joy to your life.  Thank you for partaking and being on this lovely journey with us.  If you have information for us in our travels, don’t be a stranger, feel free to write!

Much love to you all!

Niccole & Mo

Summertime gigs

Hey Folks,

I hope this finds you looking forward to your weekend!   Mo and I just returned from meeting up with some friends in the Tetons.  I got to spend some time with friends I’ve made over 33 years!  Wow!   Anyway, it was a great few days and for the first time I sang “Sweet Wyoming” to the audience I wrote it for.  Yes, there were tears and of course laughs too.  It is impossible to sing and cry at the same time!  (It’s also impossible to sneeze and sing too, just in case you were wondering!  However, it almost happened to me a few weeks ago!)

Anyway, I wanted to give you the latest on what’s going on with us and the music schedule:

Friday, 7/19@ The Piper Pub right down town with Rochelle Smith! 8:30-11:30pm

Sat.  7/20 @  a Private Party   – YOU can schedule one too!!!

Sun. 7/21@ the Sandbar at the Riverside Inn on Chinden2-5pm

Wed7/24 @ Sa-wa-dee 6:30 – 9:00

Friday 7/26 @ Carl Miller Park in Mtn. Home from 6:30 -8:30please bring lawn chairs or blanks and come enjoy some hot music in the cool shade!

Wed 7/31 @ Smoky Mtn. Pizza Eagle 7-9a GREAT patio!!!

This will do it for a bit locally.  We will be off and running to other states and places so we hope to see you and some of your friends at these great local venues!

Also!  Mark in your calendars…we will be playing the Harvest Festival at the Botanical Gardens this year on Sunday Oct. 6th from 3-5pm.  This looks like a great time for kids too and you big kids because there will be hay rides too! JWho doesn’t like a hay ride?

 

Many hugs!

 

Niccole & Mo