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Running Down A Dream: January 2009

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Running Down A Dream: January 2009

Running Down A Dream

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Oh What a Night

Tonight was definitely "one of those nights"... eh em.... where "the show must go on". We get to the Jack (Jack Daniel's Saloon at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville), and everything seems normal. Then Hootie tries to turn his bass amp on... ummm.... makes a really strange loud noise, and then it is DONE. I mean... done. He tried everything, but NOTHING worked. He ended up having to use my Direct box so we could run his bass through the main speakers. But that meant there was no way to amplify the fiddle. We tried so many different options. The only way was for me to try to put the fiddle up to my vocal mic. But you could BARELY hear it.

I tried to play the first set without the fiddle at all. But it just seemed silly. I kept having to skip over songs... I didn't realize just how much a part of the show the fiddle is until I couldn't use it. I mean, Miguel was able to fill in most of the holes but he's already got so much responsibility with his parts since there are no other guitars. He's basically a rhythm AND lead guitarist at the same time! So I just made do with the tiny bit you could hear through my vocal mic. I was on my tip toes every time I played and my hand was cramping up because I was playing as hard as I could to get the most sound out of it.

Then I cut my A string with my pinky nail. It started unraveling, which made it very difficult to play. But I didn't have any time to restring it. So I just had to make adjustments as I played. I couldn't slide my finger at all because the string was so rough from unraveling. It was very strange. That has NEVER happened before. But hey, if there was a night for that to happen.... it was tonight!!! You couldn't hear me anyway!

Then Miguel broke a string. That's pretty common. But it was awesome because it helped continue the theme for the evening.

Then, James' cymbal stand collapsed and while he was playing, I had to adjust it back into place!

And at the end of the night - these very enthusiastic but very inebriated ladies decided to pile on stage. It is usually awesome when people get that excited. Mostly because that is pretty indicative of an incredible show. But there are certain times and venues where it is so stressful.... We have LOTS of expensive equipment and meaningful instruments up there. This specific stage is barely big enough for the 4 of us. And these ladies were very ummm.... clumsy? by that point in the evening... if you get my drift. One of the ladies tried to stand on my fiddle case, and I have NEVER done this before, but I told her to step down over the mic DURING a song. That makes me feel so unbelievably unprofessional. Then she fell down on it, and we all thought my fiddle was smashed. Thank the Lord it wasn't!!! But 2 of the ladies took over Hootie's mic and started screaming into it. They knocked James' cymbols over 3 times before they even turned around and realized there was a drum set back there. There's much more to that story, but it would be inappropriate of me to continue....

Needless to say, I cut that song off early.... even though the guys couldn't see hand signals because there was so much going on... But somehow we all ended at the same time. :)

And it's such a shame. I love it when people get spontaneously inspired. I wish we all had more of that "dance like no one is watching" mentality. We are just VERY restricted by that stage.

But all of this is exactly what made tonight's show, well... tonight's show! We know they won't all be perfect and you just figure out a way to make it as great an experience for everyone as you can. And despite some of the drama, I had a really good time tonight. People from Australia and Mexico were there. A very sweet couple who just got engaged last night were there celebrating. And there was a huge group of people from Kentucky that have been without power for days, so they came to Nashville to get away for a bit! So yup.

Tomorrow night we do it all over again :) My goal = being able to hear the fiddle!

Peace, Love, and Amplified Fiddle

Friday, January 30, 2009

Hoods and Back Doors Flying Everywhere!

It was a good day today :)

I finally fell asleep somewhere around 7am. Didn't sleep very hard because I was so worried about waking up on time. :) Got up at 9:30 and headed to my writing session. On the way there.... my trunk flew open on my jeep... It's a Cherokee so the "trunk" is really just a back door. I was driving down the road and all of a sudden I could hear the cars and semi's WAY too loudly :) It's happened before... and gear has fallen out in the middle of the road... but thankfully, there was nothing in it today. I safely was able to pull over and get it latched quickly. Thank goodness I had already gotten off the interstate!

What happened was:
When we got in early this morning - I tried to open the back door to load the sound system into it. But the door was frozen shut. We realized we were probably taking the sound system on the next trip so we decided to leave it in the trailer. When I tried to open the door, it must have come unlatched... just enough. Even though I body slammed it (I was suspicious of it opening since it's happened before), and LOCKED it.... that all proved futile this morning while I was driving. Apparently my body slam isn't quite as ferocious as one might think. Once the door unthawed - it was open for the whole world to see!

That's much better than the night the hood flew up and covered my entire windshield on the interstate. I had given James' car a jump and I guess I didn't slam the hood down all the way. Once I picked up speed and the wind caught underneath it.... the hood flew up, rendering me completely blind to the road. I couldn't even see to get over. I was in the right lane though, and James helped talk me through getting to the shoulder. It all happened so fast. It was one of the scariest moments of my life. I was on the way to a show that night, too. I was so shaken when I got there. Man, that was JUST the beginning of that night. But that's a whole other blog :)

So today was my first writing session with a lady named Angela Lauer. I am a big fan of her writing and we had such a great first day together! We have a lot more sessions on the books, so I'll have a lot of music to share with you soon :)

I came home and did an interview over the phone for our show at Bates College for next week. I am excited to go play in Lewiston, Maine! My very first guitar player at Berklee - Mr. Nate Telow is from Lewiston. He was in Green Line South and lived at my house with the band the first summer we played around Nashville. He has gone on the be the Massachusetts State Body Building champion!!! He used to train me back in my "buff days"... :) So I have been to Lewiston before, but never played at Bates!

And then I did a very monumental thing. I went to the grocery store!!!!! WOOO HOO!!! We are here for a few days, so I actually got to go get food to cook at home. It's such a rare occurrence. It makes me feel all normal and stuff. :) But alas.... it's 3:30 in the morning... and I am just now thinking about bed. So I guess I am back to being all weird and musiciany. But who am I kidding? I like it that way. :)

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Tears Froze To My Face

It's 6am and we just arrived in Nashville. Jenn and Ella were in the
parking lot to greet Miguel :) I have a writing apointment at 11... At
least musicians don't start their day too early! I am gonna get to
sleep a few hours. :)

One little story from this morning... or I guess it would be yesterday
morning? ummm... the last time I "woke up" that's how we'll put it...

We asked the managers at the hotel last night if we could leave our
gear and instruments inside so they wouldn't sit in the cold trailer
over night. This cold is pretty brutal to our gear. And the guys said
"Oh yeah! There are NO events in here tomorrow. Not a problem. Leave
your stuff here and we aren't even getting any deliveries... so you
can leave the Suburban/Trailer parked in front of the loading dock"

That was PERFECT.

We all got to bed around 4am. And 8:30 ring ring ring....

Awesome. They had deliveries and needed us to move the car....

As we were walking to the car we passed a tv that said "It's -15
outside!" Which is exactly what you want to hear when you are half
asleep, half dressed and all disheveled.... We moved the car (and the
guy in the truck actually said "Oh you guys don't need to move tha!t"
which made it even better.)

As we were walking back in... my eyes were watering. They usually do
if it is REALLY cold and I am not quite awake yet. It always looked
like I was crying on my way to class in Boston. But ummm.... in minus
15.... apparently your tears freeze to your face. Seriously. My tears
were FROZEN on my face. Rude awakening.

We got back in bed after our little adventure. Right as we were
falling asleep:

Ring Ring Ring. Wrong number.

Again.... about to fall asleep....


"Uh, this is Bob with conference services. We need you to move all of
your equiment out of here"

It was so sweet of the managers the night before to let us leave our
stuff there. But I guess no one told the morning manager. None of it
is really a big deal... it just seems that way early in the morning.
We eventually got all of our stuff out and just got on the road. If
you had asked me this morning... I probably would have given a
different answer, but it was definitely worth it to keep our stuff
from sitting in the cold. :) I am NOT a morning person. I can stay up
ALLLLL night long... but waking up? No way. Not my thing.

The moral of this story:
Don't cry in -15 weather.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


In case you were wondering... Stowe, Vermont to Ames Iowa is a LONG drive. Very, very long. It was snowing today on our drive in. We were so close to the gig... but the roads sure did look like they did last February when we had our wreck. James didn't even realize how tense he was until he noticed that BOTH of his hands were asleep (from grabbing the steering wheel so tightly).

I went through the same thing on part of our drive to Vermont. It was only a few hours - but we were on some state highways that were just two lane roads, curving around mountains in the snow in the dark.... I was going the speed limit but not ANY faster.... which apparently made people very angry. Especially since we are pulling that trailer... I was taking it really easy around the curves. And people kept passing us over a double yellow line. Real smart people. It was stressing me out. But going any faster wasn't an option. And after you've been hit by a semi because of road conditions... it adds a whole new perspective to driving.

But it was worth the incredibly long haul to get here ;) We played a really great show. They actually had foosball, pool tables, Poker tables, Buck Hunting, Car racing games, and electronic darts going the whole night. It was pretty impressive. The guys and I had a pretty awesome foosball game going at the end of the night. I'm pretty terrible. But I don't ever play that game in my defense! And I try really hard. But everyone had a REALLY good time. It was hundreds of men with only 3 or 4 ladies again :) So they weren't getting up and dancing or anything. Well... except for this one guy who called himself "The Rabbit." He was doing all KINDS of dance moves. So I got him up to sing on "Love Shack" :) But the crowd was singing their hearts out by the end of the night! We played almost every song we know (or know well enough to play without rehearsing) and then we played "Living On a Prayer" for an encore. We haven't played that song in FOREVER. It was really fun :) Made me think of Cameron from Sam Hill's in Columbia!

I am so worn out. These drives have really taken it out of me these last few days. But we get to go home tomorrow for a few days. I can't wait to see Cinnamon. I miss that sweet puppy so much.

Night y'all!

PS Anyone who gets the Backyardigans reference in the title gets bonus points. :)

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Our Weekend in Stowe!

If you ever go to Stowe Vermont, it would be hard not to end up at the Matterhorn. It's this great little bar right next to the mountain with incredible food (the sushi is amazing!), live music, and an "everybody knows everybody" kind of feel. It's great because most of the people are from out of town and are just there skiing - but EVERYONE knows Charlie - the owner.

Charlie is the one in the Black shirt. :)

It reminds me of Sam Hill's in Columbia, TN. (My favorite bar in the world) EVERYONE knows Peter, the owner of Sam Hill's. And if you don't, you will before the night is over. :) So I felt right at home at the Matterhorn. Well.... except for the -12 degree weather.

It's amazing how quickly we adapt, though. When we were loading our gear to leave on Sunday afternoon, it was 14 outside. And I was thinking, "Wow, it isn't THAT cold today".

I had a lot of "Firsts" at the Matterhorn. :)

My first time in Vermont.

My first time to play 2 full shows in one day at the same bar! We played happy hour from 4:15-6:30 and 9-12:30. WHEW!

My first time to experience -12 degree weather.

My first time to watch a snow storm from stage.

The first time I have ever seen liquids explode from a can because of the cold. (oops. we left some sprites, waters, red bulls, and cokes in the car that were left over from our Greenroom in Peoria. I didn't know the difference!!!)
This is Hootie licking his frozen Propel....

My first time to witness a volleyball tournament in the snow.

My first time drinking out of a mug that had just been carved out of a block of ice.

My first time to help give away a snow board from stage. (Jagermeister gave one away Friday and Heineken gave one away Saturday during the Happy Hour Show)

My first time witnessing a "frozen t-shirt" contest. The way Heineken gave away a snow board was by the frozen t-shirt contest. They got 8 volunteers and handed them shirts that been dipped in water and then frozen.... the first to get a shirt on over their clothes won! It was really entertaining!

The first time we've ever stayed in a hotel where Miguel and Hootie had to sleep in bunk beds! HA! There was one full bed for James and me and then bunk beds for the guys. It was such a cute little "mountain lodge" room. :)

The first time I couldn't hear myself at all in the monitor during the last set because the crowd was singing so loud.

My first time at the Ben and Jerry's factory :)

So yeah. It was a REALLY REALLY fun weekend. Driving into Stowe just looked like Santa's village (as described by Hootie). They tried to open a Walmart and a Dunkin Donuts in Stowe and it was voted down by everyone. That's how cool and quaint this town is! I would love to try ALL the restaurants. They all look so good!

I shall leave you with a few more fun pics from the evening. ALL of them can be seen at:

This is sweet Ava. She's Charlie's daughter and she made me the sweetest picture that says "You are a great singer!" Isn't she beautiful?

DAVE-O!!!! Go Red Sox!!!

These girls thought that Hootie looked just like Agent McGee from NCIS. :) And they wanted us to play a Pussycat Dolls song.... but we didn't know that one :)

These two got engaged at the Matterhorn a year ago. They had a huge party with 50 of their friends. They were all divided into teams that were competing all weekend. I was told that whichever team could convince us to come back to their lodge after the show WON. Awesome. :) But after 3 shows in 2 days, needing to load gear in 0 degree weather and a 22 hour drive ahead of us... we didn't quite make it to their cabin. But I thought that was pretty funny :)-

And this was a group of Chileans!!! They are in Stowe working for a few months in a foreign exchange program! They were all VERY proud of Miguel!

I think we ALL have come away from the Matterhorn with a BUNCH of great stories. Many I have shared. And as usual... there are quite a few that I can't ;) But I think it is safe to say that none of us will forget our first weekend in Vermont!

Peace, Love, Fiddle, and Ice Cream


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Monday, January 26, 2009

Peace, Love, and Ice Cream

Everyone that we talked to this weekend calls Stowe "The Aspen of the Northeast".

It is the home of Ben And Jerry's. And it is also home of the Trapp Family Lodge... as in the "Sound of Music".

We went to the Ben and Jerry's factory to take a tour, but it was going to be 45 minutes before the next tour AND they weren't making ice cream today. Plus, we'll have a bit more time when we come back to Stowe in March. In a 22 hour drive - we just don't have 45 minutes to sit around and wait! But our next trip up there.... we are going to do the tour (it looks like it will be AWESOME). And I hope to make it to at least go skiing one day while we are there, too. More on all this later. Now, it is bed time. :) We're somewhere a little past Rochester New York.

I was pretty excited about the "Peace, Love, Ice Cream" sign. So much that I bought a shirt!


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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Snow Volleyball Anyone?

I have NEVER heard of this before!!! It's a volleyball tournament in
the snow! They play from 10am until 4pm. It's pretty harcore! I mean
it's 2 degrees out and dropping. Wow.

The Matterhorn

There is Sooooooooooo much snow up here - it is crazy! It was really
weird to be able to see a snowstorm out the window from stage tonight.
That's definitely a first! The Matterhorn is this really cool club in
the heart of Stowe - and everyone goes there. We are actually doing a
show in the afternoon AND evening tomorrow. The afternoon show is for
everyone who is just getting in off the mountain after skiing all day.
The place was packed tonight and they said it will be even busier
tomorrow! I like to hear that!
So the pic:
Mr. Rich Bubin
He is here for an ice carving competition. He holds the Guiness World
Record for fastest ice sculpturer! And that which he is holding, my
friends, would be a drinking mug MADE out of ice! Later in the evening
he made me my very own and I drank Woodchuck Cider out of it!!! I felt
so cool! "coldest drink you'll ever have!" :) thanks Rich for hooking
a country girl up!
I will load more pics later. I have no Internet so I am sending this
blog via iPhone (which just means I can only send one pic at a time)
They say it is supposed to drop to -25 tomorrow night.... Ummm that
doesn't even make sense in my brain. You should have seen us trudging
through the snow tonight with our bags, instrumets, and gear... It was
quite comical. I had to stop twice to rest and twice to laugh. The
snow drifts are taller than ME. Yeah. It's an adventure!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Driving to Vermont

Today we have driven and driven and driven....

We had a minor detour when our GPS, Jeeves, (we have it set to the British voice) decided to try to route us through Canada AGAIN!!!! We had agreed on a route at the start of the trip, and for some odd reason, without notifying us, he decided to change our route to take us OUT OF THE COUNTRY. Why in the heck would a GPS that asks you if you want to take toll roads or not.... NOT ASK YOU IF YOU WANT TO CROSS INTERNATIONAL BORDERS!?!?! Plus, it was going to ADD hours onto the trip. So strange. Luckily, James noticed that we were a little too far north in Michigan than actually made sense. And we got back on track and only lost an hour and a half or two.

So we are still driving. We are going to stop in a little while around 3:30am or so. That way, we'll only have 6-7 hours left tomorrow.

Maybe on our way out of Vermont we'll have time to stop at the Ben and Jerry's factory. That would be yummy. And one of the best things ever.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Peoria, Il

I am getting ready for bed in a gorgeous room at the Pere Marquette
Hotel in downtown Peoria, Il. This place is beautiful. And cold. Very
cold. :)

We played another event for BASF tonight :) And Lord, they know how to
have a good time!!! They definitely lived up to their previous
reputation from the gig we played in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor
Hotel. (Only, we missed you Adam!!!) When we arrived, we were scoping
out the venue and they had posters ALL OVER this hotel! It was crazy
to walk into a hotel and just my picture plastered everywhere. But
they really did it up here! It was kind of funny though.... the ratio
of men to women was more intense than Berklee (where I went to
College). And it is pretty hard to get a room full of guys out on the
dance floor :) At one point in the evening I saw 8 ladies in the room
(compared to the hundreds of men), but the ones that did get out on
the dance floor CUT A RUG! I will have TONS of pics, but I'll have to
wait until I can get them from Sue, who somehow became "photographer"
tonight :)

So two stories that are a "must tell" from the evening.

Story #1:
This happened about halfway into our last set :) Hootie was singing a
song, I think we were playing some Hank, Jr. And I was all into sawing
away on my fiddle. I look up and realize there is a man trying to get
my attention at the front of the stage. I bend down (as I am still
playing) to hear what he has to say.
He says, "Are you the singer?"
Me: "Well, Yes I am!"
Guy: "Awww, man! We JUST got here - and we came just to hear you sing,
but I guess we missed it!"
Ummm..... dude... we are in MID SONG! You are talking to me WHILE I am
performing. :) Needless to say... there was an open bar here. Who
knows. Maybe he had been there all night and JUST realized I was the
girl on all the posters. MADE my night. :)

Story #2:
Not quite as funny at the time.... But I've laughed a lot since this
happened earlier
So we are loading out and I am trying to take my first load out to the
car. I have my fiddle amp with box of cds and some drinks stacked on
top of it. There wasn't an elevator close to us, so I was trying to
get this on the escalator. Ummm... I THOUGHT I had it all on the step.
Not so much. MY amp tips over as I am going down the escalator, and
the box of cds falls backwards as I am trying to hold the amp up with
all my might. Hootie gets on behind me with a huge speaker and the two-
wheeler. When I get to the bottom of the escalator - 99 cds (I had
just taken inventory) and cokes, sprites, and waters galore are caught
at the edge of the escalator. And Hootie is coming fast. I push my amp
which wheels straight into a couch and am frantically trying to move
all the cds out of the way. If Hootie and that huge, awkward speaker
(it is about 5 feet tall) get to the bottom..... all 99 cds are most
likely crushed. Hoot starts trying to move up a step up at a time,
against the flow of the downward escalator, but he can't go faster
than the stairs are moving... so he was coming really quick. I've
never moved that fast in my life. And I think Hootie got the hardest
and toughest work out of his life!!!! Somehow, not a single cd had a
scratch. It was amazing. But I felt like taking a nap after that.

I feel like taking a nap after telling that story.

I should probably just go to bed. It is almost 3am.

We drive to Vermont tomorrow. Whew. That makes me want to take a lot
of naps.

Yeah. It's bed time.

Peace, love, fiddle

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How Are You Going To Change The World?

Today is a day that proves ANYTHING is possible. It's a day of hope. And it's a great opportunity to look inward and think about those things in our own lives that need an injection of faith.

I truly believe that we can do anything that we can dream about. When I look back and think about all the ways the stars have aligned at just the right time in my own life, it only makes me believe even more. I can honestly say that I have NEVER doubted what I am supposed to do with my life. I don't know how I got so lucky to just "know" at a very young age. But I have been dreaming about a HUGE stage, millions of listeners, and the responsibility that comes with that my WHOLE life.

There is not an ounce of this career that is easy. There is not a second of my lifestyle that is "normal" (though, who wants to be normal?). And there is so much more sacrifice that goes into being on the road and bringing my music to people one by one than I ever imagined. There are days where the set backs are so hard that the only thing I can do is cry. But those are the times where I realize I am being tested. Those are the times where I hope I can shine the most. Those are the days that make me reevaluate the path I am taking and give me the chance to make it better.

But I NEVER doubt what I am supposed to do with my life.

It's never too late to dream. It's never too late to change the world. I may not be the President. But I plan on trying to change the world in my own way.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I already miss Cinnamon... and I haven't left yet

I got up this morning and it was SNOWING!!!!!!! I LOVE the SNOW! And
ESPECIALLY in Tennessee. That just doesn't happen very often. It put
me in a happy mood on my way over to Ruthie's place. :) Ruth Collins
had a writing appointment today. I REALLY really like the song we
wrote - but it is gonna take some practice before I sing it for
anyone! The phrases are long, so I am gonna have to learn where to
breath when I am singing it to make it sound natural. :)
We actually tried to make a video of "Lottery" (the last song we wrote
together... ) but umm.... there's no sound for some reason. I've tried
saving it in all different formats, but there's just NO sound.
Strange. I mean, I guess I could post it and make some subtitles....
but that's just not the same. :)-

We're leaving tomorrow to go off into the record-breaking-bitter-
coldness of Illinois and then up to Vermont. I've never been to
Vermont, so I am looking forward to visiting a new state. That is
pretty unusual at this point!

But it's 4 in the morning and I am having to concentrate way too hard
to make any kind of cohesive thoughts at this point. So I think I
better go to bed. I have actually started about 7 different paragraphs
and keep deleting them...

But I will say that I think our roommate has ESP or something. I was
thinking about how we have no food in our apartment (pretty typical
since we don't REALLY live there....) but then I thought... ooo I have
pancake mix and probably a couple of eggs....
I walked into the kitchen and drumroll please.... my roommate was
making pancakes. Now, this was about 1:30am so it's not like it was
breakfast time where that might be a little more normal. It kinda
freaked me out.

So I ate one of her pancakes. (Don't worry, she offered... I didn't
just steal it) and then James and I drove down to Columbia to pick up
the trailer. My parents are AWESOME and let us park the trailer their
house. Plus they always take care of Cinnamon while we are gone. So
we're spending the night in Columbia and then heading back up to
Nashville in the morning to pick up the guys.

I'm really gonna miss Cinnamon when we have to leave her in the
morning. I hate that part of roadtrips. :(

Monday, January 19, 2009

Live Video Taping, The Well, and WHEREVER YOU ARE!

I am back home in Tennessee and it will be the first night I have slept in my own bed since the New Year began! Pretty happy about that :) But I'm definitely not complaining!!!! This year has begun with such an energetic start, and I don't plan on slowing down. If we can keep this pace up... well... then all the huge things I am dreaming about are just at my fingertips!

After receiving such a warm welcome at Texas A&M University in Kingsville, we headed on to Dallas.
We were filming some live videos in Dallas at a club in Deep Ellum. The guys at Frozen Fire Films do such incredible work, so when the opportunity presented itself, we JUMPED at the chance to be a part of this taping! I am really excited to see the footage, but it'll take a few weeks before we can see any of the film.
But here's a sneak peak at some still pics that Randy Peterson took during the filming. :)

They were also shooting video for another up-and-coming artist named Katie Mariah. Katie is from Oklahoma and is getting ready to release her first cd! That is THE most exciting time for an artist and I am so excited for her. She and her band sounded SOOO good at the show. You can check her out at:

She has an adorable video about her very first radio interview.... I wish I had captured my first one on tape! How cool is that?!?
Plus you can listen to a few tracks off the new cd on her myspace page!

We had another show later that evening at The Well Coffee Lounge in Royse City Texas. (This is the one that I posted the article about yesterday) Now, I had NEVER played in Royse City before, and I had never been to this venue before. We knew going into it that we wouldn't be able to set up our FULL stage. I mean, James only set up a kick and snare... and we all turned our amps way down. We never want to blast anyone out of their seats - especially in a more intimate environment.

So we start unloading our equipment and we could barely get in the door the place was so packed!!!! There ended up being over 75 people there! Which was PACKED OUT in that place!!!! It was just the best feeling. :)

It is SO much fun to play to an audience like that. Every show we play right now is so different. And this one just made me feel like I was in someone's living room... I mean, a pretty large living room... but you get it. Most shows we play are not this intimate. And though I am a ham and I LOVE a GINORMOUS audience, there is something so special about playing this kind of show. I was really able to talk to everyone and see their facial expressions and hear what they were yelling out to me. We played two, 45 minute sets, and I just told so many stories about my songs. It was a delight to play there. And the people all just felt like family. Texas is so similar to Tennessee and even though I didn't know anyone there, I felt like I was playing at home.

This little one - Evan aka MR. PERSONALITY!!!! He was getting DOWN To "If I Run To You Now" so I felt like I needed to give him something that was a little more "dance friendly" :) I dedicated "Orange Blossom Special" to him and he clogged and just did his own thang the whole song!!

This is Zach, the creator of "Zach's Wellnini" - only the most amazing Panini I have ever tried!

And this is Jen - one of the owners of The Well (the other is her sister, Kari)

And before I leave you for the evening, I must share one of my favorite moments from stage at this show..... We played "Wherever You Are" and after the song was finished, I said "that one went out to everyone in a long distance relationship". And Hootie leaned into me and said "You just have to sing it REALLY loud". I didn't even realize what he meant or get that he was making a joke at first... But once it sank in - I couldn't stop laughing. I turned around a couple of times and almost shared it with the audience, but the moment had passed, plus I couldn't speak anyway cause I was laughing so hard. Don't know why that cracked me up so much....

You have to sing it really loud so the other person can hear you.....

And so since then he'll just come up to me and scream "WHEREVER YOU ARE!!!!!!!" :) Oh Hoot....

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cool Article Write up in Royse City, TX

Rising artist shooting video during Royse City concert

Friday night show at ‘The Well’ free and open to public

David Wilfong
Royse City Herald-Banner
If you’re an up-and-coming country music artist and you take the time to perform shows for American soldiers at Fort Benning...that’s commendable.

If you have been invited to sing “God Bless America” for the President of the Untied States at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner...that’s impressive.

If you can figure out a way to insert Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” into the middle of a Charlie Daniels song and actually make it work...well, that’s darn near musical genius.

That is one feat actually accomplished by a young lady who will be performing in Royse City on Friday night.

Natalie Stovall will be stopping in town for a free performance at The Well, Royse City’s relatively new Main Street java joint.

Her sound is described as “a little bit Dixie Chicks, little bit rockin’ and a whole lot of party fun.”

A quick perusal of videos available on YouTube reveals that this is an energetic young performer with a lot of skills, a lot of personality and a more than a bit of that distinctly southern, infectious “girl-next-door” charm.

Her resume goes back quite a ways. She can boast of having performed as a child on the Oprah Winfrey show and spent some of her formative years as a young performer in Opryland.

She wraps all of her experience and drive into the mantra “Peace, Love and Fiddle!”

Stovall will be taking the stage at The Well Coffee Lounge at 7:30 p.m. She will be playing songs from her upcoming CD as well as some classic originals and covers.

Natalie has played for the past several years at college campuses, military bases and various venues in the music scene coast to coast.

She ended last year’s tour in Florida by opening a show for the legendary Doobie Brothers. After a year of playing larger venues, Natalie said she is excited “to get into a small, intimate setting where she can connect with her audience.”

The concert in Royse City will be a filming opportunity for Stovall as she is working with Frozen Fire Films producer Brad Davis.

Davis, a resident of Heath, works out his second passion for music through Wayrock entertainment; bringing music shows to the Ray Hubbard area.

It might be good to up one’s stock by attending this Friday’s show. After all, Stovall asserts that, “I think people who come to my shows automatically qualify as the coolest people ever!”

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

MMMMmmmm Cookies

It is officially 4 am and I am one exhausted but completely satisfied little girl. I will tell you all about today's events during my 13 hour drive tomorrow. But I must say - if this week is ANY indication of the rest of the year, it is going to be the best year of my life. And I've had a lot of really good years so far.

But before I abandon you for the comforts of a warm bed on this cold Texas night.... I must leave you with my favorite wall decoration from the Coffee House we played tonight. It was conveniently placed on the wall in front of the toilet. :)

You should have seen the size of the chocolate chip cookie I ate tonight - it was the size of my head.

Peace, Love, Fiddle, oooo and chocolate.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Texas A&M University Kingsville

We played at Texas A&M University in Kingsville last night and had one of our best shows in a long time! The audience was unbelievably enthusiastic and made us feel so welcome! It's so funny how the exact same grouping of songs can feel so different from show to show.
We played a new song that we haven't played a lot yet (The one the Uncle Corndogs Loves from Ribfet!). It's one that Charlie and I wrote called "Just Like That". I could NOT for the life of me remember the 4th line of the song. And I even sang it in sound check without thinking twice about it! I was trying to figure it out back stage before the show.... it's the line that comes before "The warmth of your touch makes me melt" so I knew it needed to rhyme with "melt". I kept trying to figure it out, and then Hootie started making suggestions for filler lines in case the original didn't come to me on stage.
The first one, which I actually used because it wasn't too bad.... for a filler...
"I'm feeling things, I've never felt" I mean.... yeah, we figured it was better than NOT singing anything!
His next suggestion, and my personal favorite "The way you look, the way you smell" :) k, yeah, not so much! LOVE IT.
I think Hootie should write ridiculous alternative lyrics to all my songs. :) Wait. He kinda already does most days in the Suburban....
So anyway, the line is SUPPOSED to be:
"You draw me in like no one else"
Da Da DAAAA! DUH!!!! Wow. Can't believe I couldn't think of that one.

We took lots of pics after the show! Everyone was so gracious and fun. I want to go back! Oh!
And Eva Longoria graduated from that school :)

CAB - the wonderful group that brought us here, took care of us, and put the entire show on. Thank you so much Nino and everyone in CAB!!!! You guys were so awesome to us!

Our awesome sound crew:

Our protector:

Some new friends next at the merch table:

A bit of Greek life that came out to the show :)
Aren't these girls adorable?

I was ok with being in the center of all these guys! (I look like I match)

So yeah. GREAT way to start off the new year. We'll have more pics posted in the slide show on myspace :)

Right now we are staying at Randy Peterson's place in Dallas. We are shooting a video in the morning and currently the guys are all upstairs playing foosball - they are getting pretty into it. We have spent the night playing a little rock band (I am TERRIBLE at the drums!) and Mario Kart.. so much fun. I'm glad hotels aren't this entertaining.... we'd never get any work done!

But now I am off to sleep... lots o' hair and make-up to get done in the morning!!!

Peace, Love, Fiddle and Good Night

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King Ranch

Our show tonight was a PERFECT way to start off 2009 on the road! But I can't talk about it until tomorrow. :( I left my downloader doo-hickey (you know, the thing that gets the pics from my camera to my computer) in the back seat of the Suburban. And ummmm.... I just kinda injured myself working out in the hotel room. I mean, not badly. But I feel like such a dork. I was just doing leg squats, but something in my leg wanted to stay in the same place, even though the rest of my body went to the side.... not good. So anyway, all that to say, I am staying put and will blog about the show tomorrow.

BUT! on the way there.... we passed this GINORMOUS cloud of smoke - half yellow and half white, and the smell.... good lord. Yeah, it looked like a tornado. And in searching about what the heck was going on (maybe a huge, but controlled brush fire?) James figured out that it took place on one of the largest ranch in the world - called King Ranch. We never figured out what was going on... but it looked cool. Smelled? Not so much.

Oh and this next story.... I have to share. :) Not good for the dinner table. Wait... I did share it at Chili's tonight. But everyone was done eating... so that doesn't count. Right?


So, we walked into the gas station today. James and I were both headed back towards the restrooms, and this guy came up behind us... apparently we weren't going quickly enough for him. He said, "sorry guys. I'm on a mission from God!" and pushed us out of the way and barreled into the bathroom.


I love people. :) Especially people without any inhibitions.

Oh! And they left us a twix and milky way on the bed with a sweet letter welcoming us at this Comfort Inn. Best Comfort Inn EVER.

peace, love, fiddle


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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

On The Road Again

We're definitely back on the road again! We left at 10am from
Nashville and drove until just now (3am). We're a little north of
Austin, Tx (I've always wanted to go there) and we'll have about a 5
hour drive to get to Kingsville for tomorrow. Originally the gig at
Texas A&M was supposed to be outdoors, but it's cold here in Texas! So
they've already emailed and said we'll play indoors tomorrow. :) I'm
ok with that. Lord knows we've played in colder than 35 degrees, but
it's always fine with us to avoid that! Instruments do NOT like to
stay in tune in extreme weather!
Not a whole lot to report today... Got some good work done in the
Suburban. I think I finished a song! I need to sit with it a few days
but I am pretty excited about it.
The guys watched "Burn After Reading", "Blade", & then I picked "Just
Friends" while I was driving. :) The new trailer makes a HUGE
difference in the way the rig drives now. It is SO much easier to
stop! I had gotten so used to the old one, but now it feels like a new

More tomorrow. I am one tired girl. Good night!

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Trailer!!!!

We got a new trailer today!!!! So.... as an homage to our first trailer...
I give you the "officially retired" Homesteader Runner Challenger:

Look at that boy... You can tell he's been through a wild ride! Yeah... we only had him for 21 months, but he withstood over 100,000 miles, 3 suburbans, 32 states (I actually just wrote them all out and counted!), 2 countries (that one time we "accidentally drove through Canada.... but that's a WHOLE other blog), ending up in a ditch after being bashed in by a semi, and most recently a blow out on the highway... Pretty amazing to think of all the things we went through with this trailer.

And now we have a beautiful new (well... used, but new to us!!!!) trailer that has..... drumroll please... TRAILER BREAKS!!!!! We REALLY needed to get them before we head up to Vermont next week in the crazy winter weather!

I don't think there are words to describe the feeling of being able to open and close the new trailer door. Seriously. You think I'm kidding. But for almost a year, the door has been so jacked up that we had to use a huge belt strap that went all the way around the trailer to reinforce the door.It took all 4 of us to secure the thing for James to actually tighten it around the trailer. We were so accustomed to just "assume the position" when the door needed closing. And the most frustrating part for me was that my hands were too small to deal with the belt strap on my own. So I ALWAYS needed help (if I didn't want it to take 20 minutes JUST to open the door) with getting the trailer open. I don't like that. I want to be able to get things done myself. And I don't like feeling like a "girl" when it comes to things that have to do with this business... I can load in just as much gear as the next guy. It may take me a few extra trips.... but it'll get done! That is, unless the door to get to the gear is closed with a heavy duty belt strap... not cool...

And since I already took the time to write them out.... and I am pretty amazed when I look at the list.... I am going to copy and paste now the states that have seen us on the highway henceforth:
Fl, Wi
Ga, Mi
Al, Pa
Ms, Md
La, De
Tx, NJ
Ok, Ct
Ar, Ri
Tn, Ny
Sc, Ma
Nc, Va
Ky, Mo
Ks, Co
Ne, Ia
Il, Wv
Oh, In
Ontario, Canada :)

That blows my mind! We've done lots o' travelin the last year and a half! Wow. We leave for Texas in the morning.... and when we get back from our Texas trip, we'll actually be adding a few new states to the list once we hit New England. This trailer is getting broken in pretty quickly! Texas to Vermont... think of ALL those states :)

And to completely derail from this topic:
I went to see Ruth Collins tonight at 3rd and Lindsley. She put on SUCH a good show. If you don't know her as a solo artist, you may know her from "Can You Duet" on CMT. She was part of Wild Honey. :) Ruth and I go way back... to college :) And then she and James were roommates until this last May. Cause, you know... he got married and stuff in June :) And she sang a song we wrote together called "Lottery" tonight. It was so fun to hear a song I wrote from the audience. Actually, I think that may be a first for me! Whoa! That is crazy!
She is one of those people that just has an innate ability with melody and lyrics. She is such a talented writer and artist and I am SURE you will hear big things from her.
Check her out!

peace, love, fiddle y'all!

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

One Child At A Time

Ezra Jane and The Raining Season have returned home from Africa and they just posted a video. I know that they went through an unbelievable emotional roller coaster while they were in Sierra Leone. They encountered some unfathomable circumstances, but they were able to do so much to help. Not only did they provide scholarships, clothing, food, and books to the children you see in this video, but they also provided food and water to an orphanage of 84 children that was in dire circumstances. Because of their work and love and willingness to give, 84 children have a new chance at life.

It only takes $130 to provide an entire year-long scholarship for a child.

Visit to find out more about how you can help.

peace, love, fiddle

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Leaving NYC

James and I are packing up to Leave NYC. :( We love getting to come
here. My mother-in-law has an incredible view from her apartment...
It's so much more fun to watch Netflix when you are looking at the
Chrysler Building in the background. :) The snow was really pretty
this afternoon. And as much as I don't want to leave.... I am really
excited to get back on the road. It's funny how we are at a point
where it feels like we haven't played in FOREVER when it has only been
a week and a half....

Gordon texted me tonight... He was headed to Florida tonight. While he
was on the plane he said the lyrics to the song we started last night
just "hit him like a ton of bricks" :) I can't WAIT to see what he has
come up with. This was an idea I have had for a while..... I knew what
I wanted it to sound like. The whole vision made sense in my head, it
just hadn't come to fruition as a song yet. I have actually brought
this idea up with other writers, but Gordon is the only one who "got
it". Once we got the melody mapped out, we threw some lyrical ideas
out there, but I had to get on the last train, so we didn't have time
to really form them. :)

And I had been divinely inspired today on one of the other songs we
had written this week. I still have a ways to go on it, but the
concept and some of the lyrics are definitely there. Just need to form
the whole song. But there are 2 others that I haven't even STARTED yet.

Whew! I've got my work cut out for me! But I am SOOOO ready for all of
it. I see hit songs in the very near future :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Festus, Writing, and SNOW!!!!!!

Africa Update:
The team that went to Africa has made it home safely. I haven't had a
chance to catch up with everyone, but I do have an update about sweet
Festus. I mentioned in my blog earlier in the week a story about a
little boy they met at an orphanage named Festus. He's 2 years old and
weighed 6 pounds when they took him to the hospital. (you can read
more about his story in the earlier blog if you need to catch up!) He
gained between 3 and 4 pounds in 3 days and was even able to stand up
on his own before they left. Because of the Raining Season this sweet
little boy has a second chance at life.

So I am done with my trips out to New Jersey for the week. But I have
a LOT of work ahead of me. :) (which is AWESOME) We started 5 new
songs. Only 1 of them is totally done, but I am so excited about
working on lyrics and sitting with this material over the next few
weeks. I REALLY wanted to do my second "Natalie Unplugged" with Gordon
tonight. And we were about to record our new song when inspiration hit
us out of nowhere at 10pm. And with the last train was coming at
12:24am... well... we barely had enough time to get our new idea
completely formed! :)- But it's all good. Miguel and I will have to do
another one for you next week when the band goes back out on the road.
I have so much work to do back in my little nest in the Suburban. : )-

Lots of good energy has surrounded the start of this new year. So
I'm gonna keep it rolling...

They say we're getting lots of snow tomorrow in NYC.... not gonna
lie... I'm pretty stoked about that. :) As long as James and I can get
back into Nashville in time to drive to Texas for Wednesday's show...
we are golden :)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Finally! Lyrics!!!

We finally wrote some lyrics!!! YAY!!!
We finished the song that we had started yesterday :) It was an interesting process for us though... it didn't really go the way we expected....
This was the song that I described to you last night as " an Olympic theme.. a song about miracles and overcoming obstacles" Well... it started there and about 5 or 6 choruses later it turned into something much more personal.... a situation that has been weighing on my mind lately. Who knows if it is my next huge smash hit (I love that I said my "next" smash hit.... as if to imply I have ALREADY had a smash hit....) But that doesn't matter because it now serves a much higher purpose. One of my best friends has gone through such a painful time in her life and so many of my thoughts have been with her this week. And I feel like I was meant to write this song today.

Hopefully we feel as strongly about it after we've slept on it. I got so wrapped up in the emotions of writing this song that it's a little difficult to look at it objectively right now.

And for something completely out of left field.... I found out that my nephew, Cameron:

thinks that when kids grow up, adults get younger... he thinks that when he is an adult, his parents will be kids.

I find that absolutely FASCINATING.

Peace, Love, Fiddle Y'all!

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Something In The Water

Just got back from another amazing writing session with Gordon. :) We
wrote ANOTHER full song without words. :) We had every intention of
just writing lyrics and working on the first 3 songs we've written....
but we never quite got to that point....

When Gordon picked me up from the train today, he told me that we were
changing locations to get some inspiration. Gordon has a friend that
did well for himself on Wall Street and is a HUGE music fan. He just
loves having music in his home and is always encouraging Gordon to do
writing sessions at his house. He has this gorgeous room with a Grand
piano in it - so who wouldn't be inspired?
The cool, good mojo part of the whole thing is that the last song
Gordon wrote in there was with an artist a few weeks ago. It was only
their 3rd song into their project and the head of radio at a Major
label in New York heard the song and is ready to sign this girl and
move ahead with her. That kind of thing NEVER happens! So... Gordon
thought, "hmmmm, maybe there's something about writing in this
room..." The house is very close to where Bruce Springsteen lives....
so maybe it's just something in the water. Wait! Dangit! I didn't
drink any water while I was over there... Hmmm. Well, hydrated or not,
the Grand Piano inspired us to write from the piano rather than guitar

There's NOTHING better than just singing a big ole heartfelt, moving
ballad with a piano. So that's what came out when Gordon started
playing!!!! It was yet another day of inspired music. The one today is
the only one so far that has any semblance of lyrics.

But at least I've figured out what I think each song sounds like:

One is very triumphant... like at a crossroads...
One is (as James called it) "standing on a mountain top screaming 'I
One has inspired me to think about that moment when someone has to
move away to pursue their dreams...
And the one from today sounds like the next Olympic theme... all about
Miracles and overcoming obstacles...

That's at least what they sound like right now.... but who knows!
That's the beautiful thing about writing. But at least I have great
starting points with each song! They all have so much potential, and
now I have to figure out how to enhance them with words. Tomorrow is
going to be a good day! (Wait! Didn't I already write that song?)

I think I have the most invigorating and inspiring commute to "work"
every day this week. :) Even in the coldest and rainiest of
conditions. I am basically walking from the United Nations building to
Penn Station/Madison Square Garden every day. And I always go the same
way so that I can hit each awesome landmark. The first big building
down the block from my mother-in-law's apartment is The Chrysler
Building. I pass that which takes me into Grand Central Station (which
was REALLY nice to walk through in the pouring rain today) And then I
cut over another block to walk past the Library and Bryant park. The
Christmas tree and ice skating rink are still up. :) Yesterday they
were playing the Jackson 5 as people were ice skating.... don't think
it gets much better than that! Then I walk through Times Square and
over to Penn Station. So yeah.... I feel like I am walking towards
something HUGE every day. And it just puts me in a really good
headspace for writing!

The last two times I wrote with Gordon, I would walk down this one
street in Times Square because Rachel Smith (former Miss USA) had a
GIANT billboard of her modeling jeans on it. She was in my cast the
final year of the Kid's Club Show and it was just so inspiring to walk
down a street and see a GINORMOUS billboard of a good friend. It only
feeds my fire and belief that anything is possible!!!

So DREAM BIG PEOPLE!!!! And drink the water in famous people's
neighborhoods... We'll see if it brings us good mojo.... but make sure
it's filtered....

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Channeling My Inner McCartney

Gordon and I have been rockin!!!!!!!

3 songs in 2 days.... They are complete other than... ummm.... lyrics.
Some may think.... well then is it a song if you don't the lyrics? But
getting chords, melody, and structure all nailed down feels like a
great accomplishment! We have been having so much fun. And all of the
songs so far have been divinely inspired.

Yesterday we had a really awesome conversation just catching up from
the last 8 months. We haven't written together since March of last
year. And when we walked into his studio, he started playing guitar, I
started singing, and BAM! It just happened. Full song.
And today he started singing a melody out of NOWHERE.... and then we
played around with it and it morphed into 2 different songs!!! One is
really driving and up-tempo, and the other is sweet and laid back. Go
figure. They came from the same place. :) And the most fun part is
that I have the whole evolution of when one song started to turn into
another on my phone. I had the recorder on for 40 minutes and didn't
even know it! iphones ROCK.

It's so fun to write with other people because it has really expanded
my musical vocabulary. When I write by myself, I typically write
lyrics and melody together and then I edit later. Gordon and I
usually come up with the melody first, figure out what it sounds like
and then add in the lyrics. But it is different with everyone. I've
written with a lot of writers where we pick the topic first, figure
out the story and then worry about the music part. It all just depends
on the day, the mood, and the people in the room!

I'm pretty encouraged that Paul McCartney's first attempt at
"Yesterday" was "Scrambled eggs... Oh baby how I love your legs". He
says it took him months to actually finish the song and they all
referred to it as "Scrambled Eggs" for the longest time! So who
knows.... currently the songs are titled by the dates and the two from
today are "1/6/09 Nat & G" and "1/6/09 Nat & G up-tempo". But maybe I
should come up with ridiculous titles and I then I can channel my
inner-McCartney. :)-

"A Major Award!!!"

Whoa! My agent just sent me an email that read as follows:

"Natalie Stovall has been nominated in the Best Female Performer category in the annual Campus Activities Magazine Reader’s Choice Awards."

ME?? I bet it was the rice krispie treats! :)

That's pretty awesome! I am so excited to be nominated! You have to be a member of Campus Activities to vote, so if I have performed at your school and you liked us.... then please vote! The voting begins wih the announcements in the January issue of Campus Activities Magazine.

(kudos to anyone who gets the special holiday movie reference in the title)

Peace, Love, Fiddle

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Year's Resolutions and a Thank You from Africa

First of all let me say THANK YOU. I have heard from so many of you about the Raining Season blog I posted yesterday. And many of you have already said you will donate to the cause. The girls said the first thing they did yesterday morning when they woke up in Africa was read my blog. That BLOWS my mind. I didn't eve realize they would be able to see it. But all of your comments, help, and prayers only strengthens them to do even more good. So keep it coming and THANK YOU from The Raining Season in Africa!! I know that it sure has inspired me even more!

Tomorrow I begin a week of writing with Gordon Brown. He and I have an incredible musical relationship and I am so excited to see what will materialize from this next round of writing! :) I am already excited to share the music with you and we haven't even written it yet! (It reminds me of the scene in Pretty Woman when Vivian tells Edward "Thank You" in the elevator on the way to the opera before they have even started the date!) And yes, I just referenced "Pretty Woman" I'm a dork, I know :)

So it's been a few years since I have actually written down New Year's Resolutions. That's just unacceptable! :)-

Natalie's New Year's Resolutions:

1. Write hit songs.

2. Blog EVERY day :)

3. Write MORE hit songs. LOTS of hit songs.

4. Work out.
Yep, the typical New year's resolution. My sister, who is a personal trainer gave me some workouts that are hotel room-
friendly for the road. So now there is NO excuse. I love working out and running... I've just gotten out of the habit.

5. Write beautiful, inspired, meaningful hit songs.

6. Respond to emails/phone calls immediately after I get them.
I get into this thing where I would rather sit down and write emails when I can REALLY respond. It happens on myspace,
facebook, and especially with work. But by the time I have time to get to them.... there's a million other things that need
more immediate attention. My intentions are good... but..... too many times, things get lost in the shuffle. It makes me
sad. So NO MORE!

7. Ummmm.... can you say #1's??

8. Use my time more efficiently on the road.
It sure is easy to get into bad habits on the road. EVERYTHING has to be adapted, so the things get put off. But I am
learning (and also just being more conscious lately) of how I can make normal stuff work better from the back of my little
nest in the Suburban. :) It sounds simple... but it sure is easier to just play games on my iphone than actually sit back
there and act like I am "in the office"

9. Eh emmm..... Billboard, chart-topping, Number ONES, people!

10. Do more for those in need.
If you can't tell from my blog yesterday, I am so inspired by the Raining Season. And charity work has been heavy on my
mind lately. There is SO MUCH MORE that I could be doing. I already have a bunch of ideas stewing!

So yeah. Now you guys can hold me accountable since I am sharing this with the whole world! :) I am really excited about this year though. I have lots of good creative juices flowing. And I feel a lot more renewal happening within my own life than I normally do around this time of year.

It is very easy to get caught up in this crazy record industry world and listen to what you are told. EVERYONE has an opinion. But I am not the person who will ever be content with doing "just enough". I don't just want the next big hit as a country artist. I want the next HUGE career. The type of career where your songs mean something. The type of music that is inspired. Too many times in country radio I hear songs that may be good songs, but they could have been sung by anyone. And no matter how hard I try, I can't for the life of me distinguish who the artist is.

But I am ALL about dreaming BIG and reaching for the sky! It's what we sang about each and every day in the Kid's Club show. And I KNOW that we can all do ANYTHING we put our minds to.

This is such an exciting and rejuvenating time for music. The internet allows us to connect with people in such a HUGE way! We can connect with people in a way that has never been possible before. And it forces ALL of us musicians to work harder and persevere. I can tell you right now, that there is no disillusionment in my mind to where I expect a record label to sign me and do all the work for me! It is up to ME to get my music out there. And in utilizing every tool I can find.... eventually people will come on board that can help me take it to the next step whether that's a record label or my own version of that. But I'm just saying that I don't expect anyone to do it for me. That is for sure.

So here's to dreaming big, inspired music, doing what we love, and helping those in need!

2009 Here I come!

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Sierra Leone

I sit here and write this with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart.

Many of you may remember a benefit concert I did back in November at 3rd and Lindsley. It was an incredible night filled with a star-studded cast of songwriters. The Raining Season is the organization that put the concert together. My good friend, Jessie introduced me to Ezra Jane, which consists of Erica and Kelly a country duo that started this organization. It only costs $135 for 1 child to go to school or an entire year in Sierra Leone which includes books, uniforms, 1 meal a day, and tuition for that whole year! We raised enough money to provide 50 scholarships for children there. I was so honored to be a part of an evening like that. And James and I can't wait to hear all about the child that we sponsored!!!

Jessie, Ezra Jane, and a few others left on Christmas Day to travel to Sierre Leone to give away the scholarships and spend time in the orphanages and with the people of Sierra Leone. A day when most of us get to spend time at home with our families and friends, they were making a trip halfway around the world to help those who need it most.

Erica has started posting blogs during their trip. They are doing so much good over there. They are making a difference 1 life at a time, and it is truly amazing to watch. But it hurts so badly to hear about some of these children and their stories. They came across an orphanage that was not in their plans. It had about 75 children the first day, which grew to 84 by the next. Many of the children are severely malnourished and the orphanage is completely out of food and their well is dry. Because this was not originally in their plans, they didn't have enough money to do anything. They ended up scrounging up anything and everything they could to get rice and water to these children. They even had a money donation wired over from the States to help them. They have a video posted on their blog of these children cheering when they deliver a truckload of rice to them. Can you imagine feeling joy because you will have the privilege of eating rice for EVERY meal for who knows how long?

I am going to post an excerpt from Erica's blog here just so you can read and see an example. Here, Erica is talking about a little boy named Festus that she met at the orphanage.

"Festus was first....This is where we began to realize that in Sierra Leone there is a difference between the dying and the almost dying....Festus was suffering from starvation...not extreme malnourishment by starvation....he was making sucking noises with his mouth that proved he was in the final moments of his life....He is almost 2 years old and they weighed him in at just over 6 pounds....horrific...I cannot evein begin to explain what it feels like to touch and hold a child that is in his last days....Kelly held tight to him all day...she never once put him down...

They were not able to admit Festus right away so about 3 hours later we returned to the hospital and went inside to wait for a bed....At that point our hearts broke....they did not want to admit him because he was an orphan and there was no birthmother to stay with him....we pleaded and begged him to change his mind....finally he softened and I paid him some extra money so he could take time to watch him since a birthmother could not be there for his feedings. Inside the hospital we were horrified by the condition of each child....Festus was only one of many who were all suffering from starvation, malaria, typhoid, etc.....each one was dying and there was little at this point that anyone could do.....The room was hot, the beds were crammed in side by side like sardines.....the staff was overworked, and the parents were weary...I can't begin to imagine what it feels like to watch your child die from something that is so easily preventable...."

To read more of this blog:

Sierre Leone has been left in shambles after Civil War. The people are struggling to survive. And on a continent where little food can be grown, and with very little resources available, it is so much more difficult to get their feet on the ground. We can't even conceive of the life these people lead. We are inconvenienced when the line at Starbucks is longer than normal. I don't mean to sound like everyone has it easy just because they are in America. We face many of the same problems here which is almost even more unbelievable since we live in a country of plenty. But in Sierra Leone it is a way of life. Children in hospitals can't be admitted because they are sick. They can only be admitted when they are dying.Our eyes and hearts and minds need to be opened here at home as well as abroad. And it takes so little for us to help.
If you would like to sponsor a child or help in some way visit the Raining Season's Website.

I have seen these kinds of pictures and heard similar stories before. But it brings it so much closer to home when I see my friends holding these children in their arms. It makes it so much more real and doesn't feel like it is a world apart from my life. And I KNOW that the people running this organization make sure the money donated goes where it needs to go. I know that has been fear of mine in the past for donating - not being sure that my money is going where I am trying to send it. But I know these people personally, and they document their trips so that you can see the good your donation is doing in others' lives.

This is a photo of all the students that received scholarships and now have a chance to go to school this year.

And here is a picture of Jessie with a bunch of kids. Look closely and you'll see that Peace Love Fiddle has made it's way to Africa!!!!!

The Raining Season is a wonderful organization. I am sure we will being doing MANY more concerts and benefit shows in the near future. ANd it is amazing who will show up when it is for such a good cause!

Again, here are the links to check out their blog and their website.

Peace, Love, Fiddle

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Friday, January 2, 2009

My Meeting with F.R.E.A.K.

I just had an great meeting with FREAK. :) He's produced tracks for 50 Cent, Jay Z, and tons of other very well known artists. AND he's a country fan!!! :) He's even working with Brad Paisley for a future project. So who knows.... maybe someday I could get some awesome remixes of my music done! You just just never know what each relationship in your life can lead to.
Here's to "thinking outside the box" for 2009!!!!!

(It's COLD here in New York! I'm in my snuggly sweater)

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!!!

Happy New Year!!!!

James and I are beginning the New Year out in New York City! It was fun walking around today - there were still pieces of confetti caught in the cracks of the sidewalks here and there. :) But it was eerily quite on the streets. Very few people were out and about.

I had QUITE the night last night bringing in the New Year. I spent it with some of my closest friends at a Masquerade Ball in Nashville. :) My best friend Sarah and I have been performing together since we were 10. We met doing the Kids Club show together and have had many crazy and wonderful adventures since. :) We brought in the New Year in 2000 together as Saloon girls out at the Opryland Hotel. And when we BOTH happened not to have gigs this New Year's - it was like a reunion!! I hardly ever get to see her anymore, and we both love any excuse to get all dressed up and go dancing. Plus, when else do you have an opportunity to go to a Masquerade Ball AND have incredible costumes and make-up provided FOR you?!?!? We even made it into the 70's disco party for a little while and got to see Bradley Johnson who was dancing at that party!!!! He was recently on DANCE WAR, BRUNO vs. CARRIE ANN :) And has gotten so much great exposure from doing that show. He lives in L.A. now, and we were so excited to see each other that he grabbed me, picked me up and carried me onto the dance floor!!!

I think my favorite story of the evening happened out on the dance floor at the 70's party and I MUST share. I can't remember laughing this hard in a LONG time :) So we wore saddle bags under our dresses to make the dress poof out more. This entire costume was authentic down to the last detail. (except for my French, or lack there of). Well, as I was disco-ing my little heart out - my saddle bags popped off and fell to the floor. My eyes got HUGE and Sarah and I LOST it. Our stage manager/Saint/Angel/Saviour, Heidi, saw the whole thing happen. I had squatted down with my dress around me.... trying frantically to find my lost hips... but Heidi swooped in, picked them up and carried them out of the room. When the song was done, we went backstage and put them back on me... but it was hysterical. Definitely will NOT forget that moment.

So here we are in the FULL costumes along with our escorts:

Here's a close-up. You know the best part? I smiled for every picture the entire 4 and 1/2 hours of the party.... my cheeks were hurting before we even took our first break. BUT YOU CAN'T SEE MY FACE.... I knew that. But I see a camera.... I smile. It's a habit that apparently can't be broken!

So Happy New year!!! I hope it was wonderful whether you sat on the couch and kept it low-key or attended a big fancy glittery party!!! Here's to the best year yet!

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