Hitting the Studio!

Well Hello Fabulous Friends!

So much to let you all know so I hope this finds you well.  Go grab a cup of tea (or marshmallows) and let’s have a good time by this cyber fire shall we?

First of all, I want to tell you we have been working on a NEW CD!!!  Yes!  If you are reading this, you are the first to know about it although we are soon to tell everyone else too, but I wanted you all to know first!  So we have 11 songs that will be on this next CD and usually the other thing people want to know is WHEN!  Right?

Well, these things take time, I’m hopeful that by the summer (July) it will be out.  I actually think it could be sooner but who needs that pressure right?  I want it to be a great album so we want to take our time.  We already have guitar, drums and vocal laid down.  Tomorrow we lay down Bass! So most of my hard work is already done!  Yippie!

We slipped studio time in between our trip to California and Jackson and it’s been a pretty intense schedule.  But the GREAT news is…we are having fun!  Being in the studio again has really been enjoyable and I’m so glad because sometimes it’s not folks.  Honestly, sometimes it drags.  I mean, to make a project is ALWAYS fun…but I have experienced some difficult times trying to get people on the same page in what I would like to hear.  It’s a hard thing to convey.  But this project I had one intention in mind.  HAVE FUN!  And that has come through on the recording so far.  So I’m delighted to let you all know.

So since we are creating a new CD we will be having a celebration BEFORE we release it…ha ha! Why not!  I didn’t want the pressure of planning for a CD release party and having that rush the project, but we do feel like celebrating!  Our drummer/engineer Blaine will be with us as well as Rochelle Smith!  Sure to be a super great time.

Next is our stories from the Road:  (that sounds like a great book title, probably already exists)

We headed to Black Foot Idaho where we played in a little theater, about a 250 seat theater.  The turn out was not exceptional (as people don’t really know of us there YET…but NOW they do 😉  We had some great friends in the audience though and that made all the difference.

Especially when this guy kept standing up and saying, “Do you know any Merl Haggard?  How about Loretta Lynn?  Hank Williams Jr.?”  Ha!  I could feel the audience getting annoyed with him and he kept on doing it.  Mo said, “How about you book a party with us and we’ll learn those songs for you?”  Ha!  That was classic.  He wanted to be heard, indeed.

On break he came up and chatted my ear off about this group and that group and I educated him and told him that I am a “singer-songwriter”.  That means I write my own stuff and yes I do covers but we aren’t a cover band.  He was quiet the second set.  I think some other audience member said something more to shut him up.  After that, I think it was a really good show.

We stayed in a cool little house in Pocatello and the next day had lunch with a good friend, then made our way to Jackson Hole.  Dropping into that valley is so breath taking.  I never tire of the beauty that is there.

We stayed with our good friend Robbin for a week. She has an apartment over her garage.  Completely self contained and private.  We had some great days of downhill skiing, visiting with friends, tooling around the town, cross country skiing and then playing at the Trap Bar outside of Driggs ID.  Two bluebird days and I skied instead of boarding because there was no new powder.

There hasn’t been fresh powder for a while and this is not ideal for snowboarding.  In fact, I had a good friend give me her skis and trade up, so I finally invested in boots and bindings this year (thanks Marsha!).  My body is SO HAPPY!  I can be on the mountain and not kill myself.  Plus I still “got it” according to our good friends Bob and Joyce, who met up with us from Michigan!

Our show at the Trap was super fun.  Lots of people packed the place.  We played a mix of originals and covers and they seemed to like it.  Friday was better than Sat. it seemed.  I blamed the sunshine.  It was sunny Friday and we were fresher.  Sat. we had to go over the pass and it was snowy and icy which made for a very stressful trip over the mountains. We resolved to get a hotel room and stay in Driggs Sat. night due to the crazy weather that was happening.  That was a smart move.  The next day the sun was out, thank God and we made our way over the pass pretty easily.

We traveled across that pass 10 times that week!  Whew!  Lots of miles!  We were super lucky 8 out of the 10 times were relatively sunny and easy, but those other 2 times…yikes!

We woke up the morning we were supposed to go and there was a blizzard outside! Snow, sleet, freezing rain and a bit of hail!  What the hail!!!  The mountains were “growling” at us and we panicked and quickly packed the truck.  That was the fastest we ever got out of Jackson Hole to date.  Ha!

We got home and we immediately had a house guest, a meeting with the “Songbirds” then many lessons and appointments.  THEN! I did something I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD DO!!! But I made my mind up one day as I was loving on our precious big dog Osa.

“I’m going to get a tattoo!”  Yep….

Ok, so here’s the tattoo story:  (Ready?  Go refill your drink and come back…I’ll wait.)


 Got it?  Here we go):

When I was young I always wanted to get a tattoo, but of course it just never made sense to me to mark your body with anything that would be on you permanently.  I mean, what is permanent in our lives anyway?  We go through stages.  I mean, thank God I never got that Pegasus tattoo when I was 19!  Ha!  Or the smurf lifting a barbell LOL!  (I was into Steve Miller Band for a time.  Then weight lifting for a time too, still do it, but so grateful I don’t have a blue smurf on my body LOL!)  I mean that we fall in and out of phases in our lives.  Some of us have different primary relationships and that is always dangerous putting initials carved into our bodies.

And truthfully, I’m really not a tattoo girl.  I don’t think they are all that attractive.  Many of them look satanic and represent a dark side.  However, I have been intrigued by them and have seen some pretty cool ones.

To me it had to have a very special meaning in order for me to spend time under the needle and show it to the entire world.  What does that for me…what is it?

DOGS + Music = Love! Dogs for me have always been a place of safety.  Have I been bitten by dogs, yes.  Do some of them scare me, indeed.  But the dogs that I have owned have been such blessings.  To me they exemplify the unconditional love we all need with their waggy tails and happy attitudes.

Now, I have had brilliant dogs in my day.  Osa, for any of you that know her, is an exceptional spirit. (Here is her daily thing she does: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5A8TD3KcXwY ) And dog lovers will “get” what I mean.  Part of my tattoo is Osa’s actual foot print wrapped in musical notes which is the chorus to “Life is Beautiful”.  The song has become a motto for life for me.  Really.  If I died tomorrow “Life is Beautiful” would be my eulogy. The heart in the paw brings it all together.

So, Osa is almost 12, and she is a big dog.  She is in the winter of her years.  There are moments when I am overwhelmed with the thought of her not being with us.  We are such a pod, the 3 of us.  We move together.  She has certain things she does and she reads us and we read her.  To me, doggie love has always grounded me, soothed my Spirit, helped make me whole.  And Osa has been quite amazing.  She looks into people’s souls and touches everyone she meets with a unique joy.  I could go on and on about her like a puffed up proud parent, but I think you get the idea.

This tattoo is my way of saying “Life is Beautiful” and I honor doggie love, unconditional love, and true friendship.  I proclaim with this tattoo that I honor all the dogs I’ve had and all the dogs that will come into the future.  I will ALWAYS have good dogs.  “Dog” is God spelled backwards and I acknowledge their unique gift.  I will ALWAYS love dogs and so therefore, this tattoo will never be ridiculous to me.  Ha!  Right?  I will never phase out of this.

And music! Can I go on about that?  I’ve met the most cherished people through music and dogs.  Honestly.  The greatest people in my life are met through music and dogs.  So there it is! I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for music!

Now, I did this tattoo 4 days after returning from Jackson, and that weekend I had many firsts!  My first tattoo, then that evening I carved my first carving at a party.  I loved doing this!

Can you tell what it is?  Yep, a Bear.  😉

Then I shot sporting clay with Bob and Joyce!  That was such a super fun time!  They are two of the most genuine and generous souls I know! Thank you Bob and Joyce for all you bring and all you give!

Sporting clay is something I’ve always wanted to try. My Dad was a big hunter so when I was a little girl I got my hunting license and that required us to shoot clay, but more like “trap”, which is a disc made out of clay that usually travels away from you.

I was 13 when my father took me for that test (to get a license) and I was in a group of about 50 boys except one other girl.  I was the first girl up.  All the boys struck out and didn’t get there clay.  I stepped up and knocked out all 3 of them.  I was almost embarrassed.  The girl who stood in line behind me got 2 out of 3 of hers.  And the boys got back up and shamefully missed.  I’ll never forget that experience.  The Dad’s of us girls were so proud.  I never did gravitate toward hunting, but had I known about sporting clay when I was younger that’s what we could have done instead.

Sporting clay comes from all directions and Joyce was kind enough not only to lend me her 20 gauge but also her warm shooting coat.  And since it was a cool day and I was in shorts for the first day of tattoo care, I graciously accepted.  I didn’t really feel the cold because it was so much fun to watch those two blow the clays to bits.  My victory was the rabbit.  The clay disc rolls along the ground and bounces and I got two in a row!  It’s such a Zen place getting the shot right!  I could tell before I pulled the trigger if I was going to hit it or not.  I guess you can really compare it to golf in a way.  A very focused activity.

I feel blessed to meet such great folks through music (and dogs)!  I also love doing things for the first time.  I’ve been on a kick with that too as we’ve talked about.

So now it’s time to pack up and get ready for McCall and then on to Oregon.  We have many big shows in OR, enough to make butterflies flutter in my belly when I think about it!  The crocus is already coming up.  Spring is ready to spring and it’s hard to fathom how fast the “sun runs”!  Wow!

Your downloadable MP3: is our first co-write, “Open Heart”.  Mo takes the lead in this song!  JIt’s wonderful to hear her pretty voice this song.  I hope you enjoy it.  It’s taken a long time to finally finish this song!

The Movie:  Moments at “Level One Recording Studio” with our Engineer Blaine Johnston.  You can check out the process. We play the song to a click track to mark the time and I sing.  That is called a “scratch track”.  Then, we cut in the drums, and I play REAL guitar with microphones to get a great quality guitar sound.  Then we sing over top of that.  So you will see some of the REAL cuts and some of the practice cuts.  And you will get to meet ChiChi, the killer dog.  What a case he is.  The bathroom for the studio is inside the house.  Well, ChiChi guards it well and about bites your leg off while you exit.  Crazy pooch!

We hope you are enjoying your cyber fire experience.  It’s pretty cool that you saw and heard the beginnings of, “I Give Thanks” and now get to see the real cuts!  JHope it’s been fun for you!  It has been for us and we do, “give thanks” for all of you!