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Running Down A Dream: May 2009

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Running Down A Dream: May 2009

Running Down A Dream

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Beach Hair

I Spilled The Sweet Tea

Well dangit!!!

I forgot my camera uploader thing a ma doogie. SO I can't upload any of the great pics from the weekend so far!!! I have a couple from my iphone from yesterday, though.

TONIGHT?? AMAZING. Hot, sweaty, full of rock, packed with people. The way it's supposed to be!


I spilled sweet tea all over my jeans during dinner. It also spilled all over the set lists I had just written out.... which actually made them stick to the floor better and not blow away :)

But Jenn & AJ had to take Ella back to the band house after dinner, so Jenn brought me some extra jeans to change into after the first set. It made me SO happy!

You know what's funny, though? The conversation we were all having at the band house was about wardrobe changes in shows. We were talking about how it's not very "rockstar" to change your wardrobe a bunch of times in a show. I mean, the girl in me thinks that would be so fun. Wear ball gowns for the big ballads... crazy rockstar outfits for the more uptempo ones... But I have to agree with the guys on this one. I mean, that's what the award shows are for. I am REALLY girlie. I'll never get away from wanting to curl my hair, wear dramatic eye make-up, and over-the-top ballgowns when I can get away with it. But for my regular shows? Yeah... one outfit. The show isn't about what I am wearing... it's about the music. As long as I wear something that allows me to move my hips back and forth and dig my heels into the ground... I am good to go! Tom Petty wouldn't change outfits... or Steven Tyler... or Mick Jagger...

Anyway. I thought it really funny that we had JUST talked about that... and then I go changing jeans for a Spinnaker show. I mean, I had a valid reason, but it seemed quite ironic to me. :)

Here's our view from stage:

And here's the guys setting up onstage. They look so summery in their colorful shirts!

May I just interject that the morning news just came on?? :) Yeah... this schedule is hilarious.

We had lots of repeat customers tonight - people from Macon Georgia, and people who have seen us previous times at Spinnaker. I had a blast onstage tonight. I let loose even more than normal and the crowd was incredible. I sure do love my job. I haven't felt that sweaty/rockstar in a while. I think it came with the change of clothes :) After I felt comfortable? I let it all go.

Can't wait to see what tomorrow is like!

Night night! Or Morning Morning? :)


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Saturday, May 30, 2009

UNBELIEVABLE Guardian Angels

It's nearly 6am, the sun is out, and everyone JUST went to bed.

Life back out on the road! :)

It's actually been a typical morning... everyone bustling around the kitchen... eating egg sandwiches... only none of us have slept yet :)

Spinnaker is SUCH a beautiful club. And tonight turned out to be a great night, but it started off pretty rough.

We had all been talking ALLL day about eating dinner there... I was pumped about the awesome tuna sandwich they have. And things were looking good. One of my good friends from Nashville, happened to be in town and she was meeting us at the club around 9:15. (Our show didn't start until 10:30)

We're about 2 blocks from the club, and we all hear this loud, harsh screeching noise. After comparing stories - James, Miguel, and I all looked forward because it sounded like it was ahead of us... then CRASH!!!!! Someone had just SLAMMED into the back of us.

It sounded horrible. Like COMPLETELY RUINED car kind of horrible.

All I could think was... "DANGIT! I'm gonna have to buy ANOTHER Suburban... at least this one lasted a whole year..."

The guys were all shocked and making fun of me the rest of the night... I had a "FUDGE" moment... like the slow-mo "fudge" in "A Christmas Story"... which I don't even want to admit. But it's a shock to hear me say that word.... because well.... I don't. But yeah... I let one (And the guys swear it was 2) rip.

The poor guy who ran into us? His car had a waterfall coming out the front. Debris was all over the road from his front bumper. And you could see the trailer hitch indentation in his radiator. It was pretty bad. But the Suburban? Not scratch. It's was ridiculous.That thing is a BEAST. I mean, if you look REALLY REALLY close, you can see some red and blue paint that scratched off from his car. The only thing that may be damaged are the trailer electronics and the hitch itself. We'll figure that out when we hook the trailer back up.

So we made it to the club after the kitchen had closed and right before the show started. I was a bit frantic trying to get everything set up before the show... writing out set lists and setting up the merchandise. As soon as I tried to talk into the microphone, we had the most ear-ringing, mind-numbing feedback that would NOT quit. It went on FOREVER, or so it seemed. It took the poor sound guys a while to get everything under control. I do NOT envy their job. But we had pretty major sound issues the whole first set.

The night turned out great. Jenn & Ella, (Miguel's girls), Bridget (Hootie's girl), and AJ (good friend of all of ours) came to the show tonight to surprise the guys. I've never seen a more confused look on Miguel's face than when he saw Jenn tonight in the crowd during his solo on "Sweet Child Of Mine" It was so great.

I never really felt like I got caught up from the frantic start to the evening. But I am VERY MUCH looking forward to tomorrow night's show.

I'll share my pics with ya tomorrow. Tonight... or well, this morning - I shall go to bed!

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Beds In EVERY Room :)

Why is it that people always take the batteries out of the remote controls for the tv at band houses? EVERY TIME!!! The band house at Whiskey River... here... ok. Well, that's only 2 but it's every time! We always spend a long time wondering why no on can work the remote and then realize that... umm.... there's no batteries in it.

Also, there's always 1 or 2 remotes that don't go to anything. :) But that makes me feel at home... so that's all good in my book.

They've painted the band house down here and it looks so nice! It's quite bachelor pad-y. THANK GOODNESS they didn't get rid of the cheetah carpet in the den. It just wouldn't be right without it ;)

And the finished off garage-turned-bedroom with the hanging Red-Dog Pool table light. Hootie has always claimed that room for himself.

But I think my all-time favorite is the laundry room bedroom :)

Somehow, no one ever ends up sleeping in there? What's up with that? :)

I'm not sure if I have mentioned this... but I AM SO EXCITED TO BE IN PCB! Beaches, here I come!

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Last Day In the Studio!

Today was our last day in the studio for this record!!! Holy cow, y'all. Seriously? What a whirlwind. Ben opened up his calendar and suddenly realized that we only started this undertaking a mere week and a half (well, not even...) ago. WHAT!?!? It seems as though that is UNPOSSIBLE! (sorry kids. unpossible is not a word... yet ironically that seems to emphasize it's meaning... in my head...)

Miguel came in to record his awesome Chilean Rockstar parts today. Ella and I got some good "hang time" in while her Daddy was recording. We played outside the WHOLE time... with sticks... lots and lots of games with sticks... and Cinnamon... and earth worms... and a GIANT STICK that took BOTH of us to carry!

Yeah. Recording is fun. :)

Today is not only the last day of recording, but it is also the eve of the SUMMER TOUR!!! Again, WHAT?!?! How is that possible? I'm not sure, but I am so excited. You know what's funny? Going back out on the road actually feels like somewhat of a break! I never knew THAT would be the case. Due to our intense marathon week of recording, we have yet to design the slick and shiny version of the Summer Tour schedule, but it will be done for all to see VERY soon. So until then, just check the regular calendars here and on all my various websites!

Very appropriately, our summer tour starts off with a full weekend down in Panama City Beach, FL. at Spinnaker Beach Club. So here's to going back out on the road! (I'm holding up that imaginary Pina Colada... in my head...) And here's to big hair from the humidity... ala Monica from Friends... or the Frizz-ease commercials. :)

What in the world will Ben do without us tomorrow nagging him in the studio??

Peace. Love. Fiddle. Beaches.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Hat Factory Cinco

Let's get to know Ben Strano aka The Sonic Fedora aka my friend, co-producer, engineer... oh yeah! Roommate... the list goes on.

Thanks to Ben... currently sitting in our living room, we have 3 ukuleles (all different kinds) baritone... lefty, for Katie.... normal... a banjo, a french horn, a mandotar (my new favorite of the collection), a trumpet, a lap steel, and yet he was a trombone principle at Berklee. Hmmm... He's played acoustic guitar at shows for me, run sound, and even sang onstage with me before. The guy is an all around musical mind. This is why he is the Sonic Fedora.

I love working with Ben. It's always fun to work with friends, but it is really important to be able to trust your engineer. I put a lot of faith in how he does things. He always makes me sound the best that I can. And the best part about recording with the Sonic Fedora? His studios are ridiculous. Not kidding.

I am sure it started with The Hum Depot, the first studio he managed when he moved to town. They had all kinds of crazy stuff on the walls. And since then it has become a theme for all of Ben's 6 studios since he has been here in Nashville. Ben's really fun to shop for. If you see something unbelievably ridiculous in a store and you think "Who would ever buy that? Or why would you need that?" Then you could buy it for The Hat Factory. :)

In fact, James and I did just that when we saw a tube of Jamestown Settlers. Because who WOULDN'T want that? I mean... what fun are pioneers? They need to be Jamestown specific to have any sort of credibility.

One of my personal favorites in the control room... Because, seriously, what would you do if you went to a carnival and saw this? How awesome would that be?

When in doubt... always ask the ninja

And if you need to perfect your nunchuck skills

Possibly to defend yourself against these guys...

mmmm yummy

I'm curious how one acquires such a sign? Maybe he got in good with nuns that day at the bumper cars

But if it's "Air Guitar" why is there even a tiny one included?


And this is in the room where I have been singing every day. The pedals, foam race car, toy banjo, cable, I get. It's the gun that confuses me.

Anyway.. just thought I'd share a little insight into where we've all been hanging out the last week or so. It NEVER gets boring at the Hat Factory. :) And Cinnamon LOVES the couch. Well, because it is the best couch ever.

Peace. Love. Fiddle. Recording.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Potato Skins Are Just The Carriers

"The way I see it.... potato skins are just the carriers for the cheese and bacon. The same way that the vocal is just the carrier for the fiddle."

Ben Strano (friend, engineer, co-producer aka The Sonic Fedora) upon discussing the vocals for "Devil Went Down To Georgia".

Turns out there's a BIG difference in singing this one on stage and in the studio. I think we were all a bit aware that this would be the case. I'm pretty animated when I sing this song live. It's hard not to be. It is such a fun and energetic song. But again. Recording is a microscope. And if I tried to sing this on the record as hard and excited as I sing it live? Well, it would sound almost cartoon-like... theatrical, if you will. And even though it is a song about a fiddle contest between the devil and a good-ole Georgia boy.... the song is cool as well... (sorry but I gotta...) hell. (You know, Devil... Hell... I'm a dork!)

I've always noticed that rappers do that... everything is way more hyped live because it is harder to get energy across when you are speaking. Never knew I'd be drawing inspiration from Jay-Z or 50 Cent in the studio. Just call me a Southern Ghetto-Fabulous Belle.

The other thing that is so different about the studio... NOTHING sounds like it will once it is mixed. When Ben is done EQ-ing and compressing my voice and mixing the track... it will sound sound a million times better than it does as we listen back right now. And the EQ-ing automatically makes it sound like it has more energy. We were talking about this... And the way I described it to him was... it's like the different between a matte black and a really sharp, rich, glossy black. (I was thinking in color because one of the photo set-ups yesterday was in front of a matte black wall) Ben's mix will take my voice, put it right in your face and it will go from the flat, matte black to a beautiful rich glossy black.

If I've lost you in all this talk between mixes and potatoe skins and matte or glossy finish, I apologize. But you probably know me by now if you are reading this, and you know it is 4am :)

Miguel and Ella get home from Chile tomorrow morning!!! They are probably in our hemisphere by now :)

Peace. Love. Fiddle.
Southern Ghetto Fabulous Nat

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Monday, May 25, 2009


YAY!!!! :)

Today was so much fun. Ridiculous, glamorous, hard work, pampering, and FUN FUN FUN!

We hired miss Amanda Van Sandt to shoot and Lorena Lopez for hair and make-up. Lorena had not 1 but 2 amazing helpers - miss Shaina for hair and Katie for make-up.
Here's Lo and Shaina workin on me :)

I want to work with BOTH of these ladies as much as possible. I have done many shoots before, but only a couple for myself... And I have NEVER been this happy with my hair and make-up. These two ladies are unbelievably talented individually, but put them together? Dream Team.

My good friend, miss Jenn Bostic, got her photos done for her album with Amanda a few weeks ago and I FLIPPED over the shots. James and I both knew immediately we needed to work with her and that she would be PERFECT for this record.

Amanda has worked with a lot of my friends - Kingbilly, Alana Grace, Kree Harrison plus some Huge stars here and in NY and LA.

Lorena... ummm.... where do I start? Britney. Eminem. P. Diddy.... I thought this video was fun on her website. It's just a tiny example of the hair and make-up design she has done:

And we got to shoot in the HUGE white house that you see driving down I65 at Peytonsville Rd... the one with the buffalo!!! The one I have admired since it was built... I would drive by it EVERY DAY on the way to school in Franklin. I feel like I've said this a lot lately... but again, today... I felt like the coolest kid in school.

We did a bunch of different outfits and I am freaking out to see all the shots!! (And we just wrapped a couple of hours ago.) A day like today makes the record feel like it's REALLY happening and coming together. And tomorrow... I put vocals on the final song!! WOOT WOOT!!

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Funeral, Graduation Party, and Birthday Party

Today began with the mourning of an incredible human being. My speech and drama teacher from High School passed away, Mrs. Sandra Davis. A beautiful memorial service was held today in her honor. I can't imagine there ever having been a better speech teacher on the planet. This was a woman who constantly defied the odds (the doctors would say she couldn't possibly overcome... and inevitably she would... :) MANY a time). And no matter how sick she ever was... her first priority was always the classroom. And she undoubtably had a God-given gift for teaching.

For as much as I learned in her classroom and under her direction in musicals...
One of the things I will never forget her saying had more of an "every day life" application. She was talking about relationships and though I know she said it more eloquently, she said something to the effect of:
"If you ever feel bad with someone MORE than you feel happy with that person... then you shouldn't be with them."

What a simple way to say that! There is so much wisdom in that statement. It may seem like an obvious one, but that isn't necessarily the case.

And for some reason, it resonated with me in a pretty big way.

The service was beautiful. And I had one of the strangest de ja vu moments. I sang a song with the choir... there were a few other alumni from my specific years in choir. I was watching my chorus teacher for queues, and I was looking out onto a room of my teachers and friends from high school while singing with friends. It just felt like a BGA performance all over again!! :) The song was beautiful, and I think we made Mrs. Davis proud. I hope we did.

I headed to a graduation party AND a birthday party afterwards. Both were a nice balance for the first ceremony. I felt like I was living Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3 all in one day. :)

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted...

I have a photo shoot tomorrow for the new record. I AM SO FREAKIN EXCITED. My photographer AND the hair and make-up ladies that we have hired are an all star team. My living room looks like the back room at a retail shop right now, though.... I have the steamer out... clothes hanging up... clothe on the floor... everywhere. Gettin all sorts of prepared. It's fun :) But it's 4am, so I am going to bed now. Don't need puffy eyes!!! ;)

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cinnamon Does NOT Like The Devil

While I was recording the "Devil's part" on "Devil Went Down To Georgia"... Cinnamon hopped up on James' shoulder and crouched as close to his face as possible. She was completely on alert and terrified.

So I guess I did my job. :)

I had to explain to her later that it wasn't really the Devil... it's only a song where I pretend to be the devil.

I love that dog.

Being in the studio is such a crazy world. It is so easy to get really REALLY nit-picky... listening to one note at a time to make things perfect. But that's not really the point, is it? Who wants to hear perfect? It's all about capturing the best performance possible.

Sometimes that's easier said than done. I have a tendency to pick apart every squeak, every time I "accidentally hit" another string... almost like I am getting a "lesson dot" in Suzuki. (That's when you had to play a song PERFECT before you could move on to get a lesson dot on the next song in the book) But the crazy squeak's and scratches are sometimes the character and charisma that makes a specific performance magical.

I'm a lot better at determining that when I am doing vocals. But I guess recording fiddle parts is a much newer venture for me. ESPECIALLY something as intense and crazy melodically as "Devil Went Down To Georgia". Recording a cover is difficult. There is an expectation there of how awesome it should be. Charlie Daniels wrote a real winner with that one. :) And so maybe there is a little added pressure trying to put that one down in recorded form. But it's been such a huge part of every show for me for so long that it was one of the more obvious choices. Now I just have to deliver, in a big way.

James, Ben, and I (and Cinnamon) were sitting outside on a break... discussing the whole "not making it TOO perfect" thing. Cause I was talking about how someone like Aubrey Haney, Tammy Rogers, or Rob Hajacos would play on a record. (Some of the fiddle players I LOVE). And Ben was saying... "well... yeah, but you wouldn't hire Jimi Hendrix to cut guitars on your record." He was saying there's a difference between a FIDDLE PLAYER and an artist who sings, writes, and plays the fiddle. So then I was using Keith Urban as an example. He is a monster guitar player. And I strive to beas great a fiddle player as Keith Urban is guitar player. I still have a ways to go, but touring and playing as much as possible is what's getting me there.

And then tonight I saw this article and it made me all aglow. Guess I am doing EXACTLY what I should be doing to reach that goal.
Keith Urban Grateful For Lessons From Bar

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Country Girl Fairytale EP on itunes!!!

So I was pretty stoked yesterday when I heard that my good friend Ruth Collins has her EP "Country Girl Fairytale" on itunes!!! YAY!!!!! :)

Know why I am EXTRA excited about this one? One of the songs on there is one that we wrote together! Ruthie is such a talented girl. She was in a duo called Wild Honey that was on the first season of CMT's "Can You Duet". Ruth and I went to Berklee together, she was roommates with James last year, and now she is one of my favorite co-writers :) She is every bit as sweet as you think she is from her pics and bio. And she writes all of her own music. I love that girl! We wrote a really cute song called "Lottery" together and she sounds fantastic singing it!

You can get it on itunes OR you can order "Country Girl Fairytale" HERE.

She put a lot of love into the packaging because she hand-made them all herself!!! So go support Ruthie! And if you've got the time... write a good review on itunes for us ;)-

Studio Update:
I really forgot how all-consuming recording in the studio is.

We got soooo much done today. Fiddle AND vocals on 2 songs. Whew. May not sound like a lot... but when you're putting something creative under a microscope.... well it takes nothing but precious time.

So now we need to get fiddle and vocals on 2 more songs. I am hopeful to get both done tomorrow. Then we'll just have to get the backgrounds and any other miscellaneous parts added on. YAY!!!!!!! Have I mentioned how excited I am to be recording new music?? Yeah. I think I have. But I will AGAIN!!! WOO HOOOO!!!

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

That Guy is So Nashville

It's funny what the term "Nashville" means.

As in - that guy is so "Nashville".

I hear people saying that more and more these days to describe someone. Typically it is used to say that someone who is extremely well dressed... probably networking you for something... has the talk down, the right hair cut, and looks like they could be playing with Rascal Flatts... You get the picture.

The funny thing about that is, most guys in town that are the REAL deal... the guys who've been on something like 40 million records or more... look a lot more like your neighbor... Or maybe the guy you would see behind you in Whole Foods. :)

True story: A few years ago James got the chance to go to lunch with one of his all time drumming idols, Greg Morrow. Greg has been one of, if not the most recorded drummer in Nashville for a while... Like probably 50 million+ records... Big time.

Well, James met Greg at a Captain D's fish place down on 8th Ave. Greg showed up in typical comfy studio clothes: Sweatpants... high-top Chucks... Cut-off Tshirt. They sat and chatted for a while. At some point in their conversation Greg trailed off and paused a second. He looked at James and asked, "Who is this on the radio right now?" "It's Carolyn Dawn Johnson" James replied... "Who played on this?" Greg asked. "Ummmmm. You did..." James said. "Oh good... I thought someone was trying to steal my stuff..."

Are you kidding me? How nutty is that?

It was Carolyn Dawn Johnson's "Complicated" which was #5 on the Billboard Charts at the time. :) RIDICULOUS.

What made me think of all this is that Dan Dugmore came in to put steel on my songs tonight. Before tonight I definitely knew OF Dugmore... but I had never had the privilege of meeting him. There couldn't be a nicer guy in the world. He has a farm. With horses. His wife has a Yorkie rescue. He's so soft spoken, but hilarious... He seems like a guy that would have a nice farm.

After he had completely floored me with his playing.... I sat in awe and tried to connect the mild-mannered man sitting in front of me with the stories of hanging out with Keith Richards and the night that "Jackson Browne" ended up driving him home after a Linda Ronstadt after party in the Hollywood hills. Yeah... ridiculous. His resume is astounding... everyone from Stevie Nicks and James Taylor to Keith Urban and Reba. Hmmm. And I got him on MY record! That's right!!! :)

Here he is in action:

I am so very fortunate to be able to hear my music realized in such a way.
Yeah. Recording is fun.

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy Fedorial Day!

Happy Birthday Fedora!! It's the Sonic Fedora's birthday, today. :) So we only worked a half day in the studio. But we were surprisingly productive for a half day! Wait... that sounds like I am surprised that we are productive.... But I mean.... surprised at how MUCH we got done in a short time... umm, eh, ok. Not important. :)

In honor of the Fedora's Birthday, I am putting up my favorite picture of us from recording the first record...

Awww... the Hat Factory II. I miss that place. :)

We listened down all the tracks. It's a LOT to take in. It doesn't seem real. It's been almost 3 years since I have recorded any new music. (Other than demos) It's great and crazy and ridiculous that it has been that long!

I am glad we've waited. I've written a lot since the first record, but not everything I write necessarily deserves a spot on an album, ya know? So I had to write, rewrite, and write some more. And now, I have a really solid EP going, and I already have a GREAT start on some music that I am excited about for the future as well. No more of this "playing catch up" thing.

With the first record I would write... we'd record 3 songs or so... and then I'd have to go write more music (and make more money) to go back into the studio. The first album took over a year and a half to record. This one? Probably going to take a week and a half for the whole thing. Granted, it's half the amount of songs.... but still!

Today, I got the vocals done on "Standing My Ground." It took, oh, a couple hours. With the first record? We'd spend DAYS on a song sometimes. I would punch in on the first half a word sometimes. :) It's amazing how much you learn and grow in 3 years. Plus, I've been singing these songs live for long enough that I know EXACTLY what I want on them. So that's cool.

James wasn't even allowed in the room when we were cutting vocals the first go 'round. I had completely forgotten about that! That's so funny to me now. But Ben and I were both SO SERIOUS about NO ONE ELSE being in the room when I was doing vocals. Now, I think it would be really really weird if James wasn't there.

It's a good thing we're getting this done quickly, though. I don't think I could wait that long to share it with everyone!

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Recording My EP on Music Row

Today was bananas. In the BEST possible way.

Remember when you were a kid and you'd go swimming ALLL DAY long on a hot day with your friends? And at the end of the day you'd realize how exhausted you were, but it didn't matter because you had so much fun playing Marco Polo, Sharks and Minnows, and doing flips off the diving board?

That was today. Only the pool was the studio.

It was an entire day of eyes bugged from being so focused...
Heart racing from adrenaline pumping...
Ears buzzing from amps blazing...
And brain spinning from quick decision making...

I was "Mayering" all day. Definition of Mayering: Tweeting all day about recording an album. :) I liked that one. John Mayer has officially become a verb. :)

I knew today would be amazing. But I didn't REALLY know all at the same time.

This time I am coming from such a different perspective. We recorded the first record before we had a band and were playing out very much. So playing with the musicians was the first time I had heard the songs with a full band. But THIS time, we have been playing these songs for a while. I know them all so well. So hearing the new ideas and approaches the session players bring makes me feel like a kid in a candy store.

I can't wait to go in and listen to everything tomorrow.

You know what was crazy, though? The only cover song we did - "Devil Went Down To Georgia" was by far the hardest one of the day! That REALLY threw them (and me) for a loop! I wasn't expecting that at all. We have played that song for so long I almost forgot how tricky the form is. But it's not at all like the typical "verse, chorus, Verse, chorus" form. So you have to KNOW it to be able to play it. Michael Rhodes told me he was glad we did that because he had never had to play it before! And Gary said that he doesn't even think he has ever listened to the whole thing.
Everyone studying/ writing/ rewriting/ trying to understand their "Devil" charts

You know it's the REAL DEAL when 7 out of the 9 people involved in the session are wearing Chucks.

This was a puuuurty room:
Rhodes Basses & Audley's guitars

Gary's guitars - same room, other side... the one on the chair reminds me of a Vans Sneaker. Remember those?

Everybody! (Well, CJ, the studio manager, was taking the pic)
Left To Right:
James you know... Bavendam :), Audley Freed, Gary Burnette, ummm... me, Greg Morrow, Ben Strano, Scott Velazco, Michael Rhodes

The 1/8 note I found on the pavement in front of the back door of the studio :)

And just so you know... THIS is what you get when you pay for a high class studio on Music row:

I can't believe today just happened.

Peace, Love, Fiddle,

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Over 500 Hours in the Suburban

In my sleepy stupor this morning, I failed to realize we had just completed the last date on our Winter/Spring Tour of 2009!!!

What a ride it has been!!!

53 shows... lots of rockin'

27,209 miles... lots of driving

Over 500 Hours in the Suburban... LOTS of Sopranos

Spending day and night with Hootie.... Priceless.

Google maps only lets you put in 25 locations at a time.... I had 64... So it is split up into 3 different maps. But I figured I'd include since I had to map it out anyway to see how far it was!!! :)

1st 25: 12, 676miles 8 days and 9 hrs

View Larger Map

Next 25: 9,596 mi – about 6 days 16 hours

View Larger Map

Next 14: 4,937 mi – about 3 days 8 hours

View Larger Map

It's so fun to think back on all the different shows and locations we played this Tour. I have an abundance of great stories and memories on the road with these guys already, and I am just getting started!

Tomorrow is the big day!! We will record all the "basics" with the session players for the new EP!!! WOOO HOOO!!!

What an exciting time.

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Too Many "Natalie's" for One Bathroom Stall

One of the harder things to do as an artist, is to play original music during long sets at a club. I've gotten spoiled lately by doing only college/ Performing Arts Center shows. Club shows are very different from a show where you get to just be an artist... At colleges I get to do all my own music. But at a club (until you get to a point where you ARE the draw) You have to create such a balance. Most people come to a club to hear songs they already know... so if they don't KNOW your songs, you run the risk of disappointing your crowd. And it is much easier to keep people on a dance floor when they KNOW the music.

I have always tried to balance that by playing a few of my strongest originals here and there... in between all the recognizable covers... and usually earlier in the night (before everyone is crazy and just wanting to dance and sing as loud as they can).

Every time I get a new batch of songs rehearsed with the band, I get so excited to play them for a crowd. That's the TRUE test.

But tonight, every time I did an original, there was a noticeable difference in the crowd response. It lets me know I am headed in the right direction. If I can get a room filled with hundreds of people who have never heard me play before to respond almost as strongly to my stuff as they do to a Shania song.... I am doing something right! It hasn't always been that way. But the progress is visibly different to me. And THAT, my friends, feels wonderful!

The show was REALLY REALLY fun. We were all able to cut loose and let it all out on stage. The stage and lighting and sound was AMAZING.... so that always inspires a more energetic show. When we first walked in, I thought that Georgia must have switched over to the "no smoking" law. The club didn't have any remnants of smoke in it. It wasn't until I noticed the ash trays that I figured it out. Well, until the doors opened and everyone started smoking.... THAT was a big clue ;) But it's just ventilated that well! It was one of the cleanest clubs I've ever seen... And every bathroom stall in the ladies room had a full length mirror on the back of the door. Hmmm... I guess in case you want to watch yourself pee?? But yeah, I was surrounded by "Natalie's", which was a tad umm, let's say, Strange. There were posters on the walls with my picture... plus the mirror.... too many Natalie's for one bathroom stall!

Before we even got started, Chester walked in and brought me a picture from the last time we were in Augusta. He came to our Coyote's shows. What a great surprise!

Brandi and Chad were celebrating their 6th Anniversary!!! We played "When You Say Nothing At All" for them and afterwards they told us it was their wedding song. I LOVE it when that happens!
Plus Bradi was down front dancing and singing all night long!

The Bachelor and Bachelorette - Chris and Kaelin
They had a huge party up in the VIP section right next to the stage.

21st Birthdays!!!

God Bless our Troops!! And we had a lot of them at the show! The one with the tags is stationed at Fort Gordon which we are playing on June 6. YAY!

And I will leave you with my favorite audience member of the night. I don't like to play "favorites" but this guy was amazing. he was down front and dancing from the first song on. He had the most infectious smile and was a sweetheart. :)

Yay for The Country Club!!! Can't wait to go back there :)

I have now officially been up for 28hrs. We had to drive back right after the show to get Miguel to the airport. He gets to go home to Chile today!!! YAY!!! But oooohhh how I am about to sleep!!! My husband and puppy have already crashed. And now, so will I :)

Peace, Love, Fiddle,

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Band's Theories of Lost

Different theories thrown out by the band of what the final episode of Lost will be:

The whole thing is Leprechauns dreaming.

By the time this thing ends... Apes will just be ruling the island.

It ends in a good Locke/ bad Locke showdown and becomes the new Sister/Sister spin off with the Locke twins trying to make it in a New York City Loft.

It's all a big elaborate scheme by the "Dude" just to get compensated for his rug.

Peace, Love, Fiddle,

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Jenkin's Auto: The Hub of Columbia's Tour Support

How to make an upside down cookie:

Put oven on "broil" instead of "bake". Cookie will be burnt on top and gooey on the bottom. Ummm.... What? I TOTALLY meant to do that tonight ;)

My sister, Stephanie, is a personal trainer and today is the first day I have been able to work out with her in a long time. OH MY LORD. She kicked my boootay, in the best possible way of course :) I am already sore.... actually I was sore before I left her house! How's THAT for a workout? I'm pretty excited , though. I feel like I need to work really hard on keeping up with everything she showed me today, so I can be a good example of one of her clients. :)

James and I were really hoping to get in bed early tonight.... NOT happening :) But what fun would that be? We are heading down to Columbia to get the trailer and it is 3am - our primetime. But we got a LOT accomplished tonight. Miguel and I recorded acoustic demos of all the songs for my session on Monday. Miguel is going home to Chile, so he won't be there with us to play the songs live for the studio guys.

So I guess, I am basically saying that we recorded a bunch of songs so that we can go in and record those same songs. Did ya catch that? :)

(And of course, we squeezed in plenty of hang out/dinner time with Jenn, Ella, and Miguel!!! MMmmmm spaghetti and meatballs. And Ella figured out that if she takes the cushions off the couch, she has a trampoline. Hours of fun right there!)

When James and I got back to our apartment to pack and load up, Ben was hanging out on the porch. Of course, we all started scheming and planning for the upcoming session. We've got a good idea for what the marathon week of recording should look like!! So that was good.

AND THEN... out of nowhere... at 3 am... the BEST THING EVER happened. We have the greatest friends in the entire world. I am still beaming and in a bit of shock right now. I had left the Suburban at my friend, Keith's place. We had a few things that needed to get checked out... and just overall maintenance since she is over 115,000 miles! Keith has a great shop in Columbia - Jenkin's Auto. And I always take the 'Burb to him to get some doctorin up. Keith is basically the reason that Columbia's touring bands can stay on the road so safely!!! He keeps Scott Holt and I going... and going... and passing each other.... and going...

Not only did Keith get all the maintenance done and fix the AC... HE DETAILED THE ENTIRE SUBURBAN. She was as shiny as the day we bought her... actually, probably shinier. And the inside... oh the inside... shampooed carpets, organized, Armor Alled.
Our trip to Augusta and back tomorrow is going to be so FRESH! (and that's not new lingo. I mean, literally. I'm not cool enough to come up with "lingo")

It was one of the more ridiculous things he's ever done for me, and he's done a LOT. He's probably one of the most "on-call" mechanics. I can call him any time with ridiculous questions about "What to do". Keith Throneberry rocks my world. Now the only problem is... it's gonna take me even longer to fall asleep because I need to think of a great way to repay him for this fantastic surprise.

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Barcelona. Absolutes

Listening to the new Barcelona record, Absolutes.

:) I'm so happy right now.

James grew up in Seattle with Brian Fennell, the lead singer, so I have gotten to know the guys through hanging out in Seattle and going to their shows here in Nashville. They have a very Coldplay or Fray sound. BEAUTIFUL melodic piano-based pop-rock. The first time I saw them play was at 12th and Porter and the next time was about a year later at Exit/In, and if I were to guess the next time will be at the Ryman. They are unbelievable live. I LOVE their show. And it is SOOO much fun to walk into a record store and be able to buy a friend's album.

They actually got signed to Universal Records in New York while they were staying at my mother-in-law's and they had JUST slept on our floor in Nashville. :)

Isn't the life a musician amazing? One night sleeping on your friends' floor... the next popping champagne and living it up in NYC at your label signing!!!

These guys are so deserving. They are such unbelievably nice, down to earth people. And they have worked so hard... but of course... NOW the real work begins. I'm excited to watch them climb the charts!

This is a great video of them at the Showbox in Seattle doing "Stars"... one of my favorites!

So today I got a google alert for an article promoting our show on June 5 at a Marine Base in Beaufort, SC. And I had no idea it was the grand opening of their new facility!! That makes me feel all kinds of cool now!
Here's the article:
Single Marine Program Presents Burners to Fightertown

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Heart Is Full

My heart is so full right now. I am always speechless and overwhelmed when I read the blogs on

Katie, who started this ministry is younger than I and she is living in Africa running an orphanage and feeding the hungry. Her story is so inspiring and every time I read it, I realize that we have an immense capacity to change the world. Sometimes it feels overwhelming and doesn't seem like "there is much that I can do" But when I read Katie's story, I am so uplifted, and I know that there IS so much I can do.

I know that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing right now. I am working as hard as I possibly can to achieve my dreams. And though I am swamped and enveloped in my own personal journey, I know I am soon coming to a place where I can do so much MORE. I can't wait for that time. I get nervous excitement in my belly when I think of all that is coming.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for coming to shows. Thank you for listening. Together, we're gonna spread a whole lotta peace, love, and fiddle.


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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What You THOUGHT You Sounded Like In High School

Got all the session players nailed down for recording the EP next week :) I don't think I could really emote through words just how ecstatic I am to be recording some new music finally!!!! Some of the guys I have worked with before, but we've got some newbies as well.

Greg Morrow on drums
Michael Rhodes on bass
Gary Burnette electric/acoustic
Audley Freed electric/acoustic

When Ben told Audley the rest of the band today... he said "Best Band Ever" :) It's always good when the session guys are excited about who they're playing with! They do this every day. So it's no big deal to them. Yet it is UNBELIEVABLE to me. I can't believe that I get to work with players like them. I wonder how many hundreds of millions of records have been sold that they have played on combined? I mean, I know Greg has played with Martina McBride, Ray Charles, Dixie Chicks, Trisha Yearwood, Montgomery Gentry, Sugarland, Reba, Trace Atkins, Steve Earle, ummm do I need to keep going? And that's just Greg. Rhodes has played with everyone, too. I haven't met Gary or Audley, but I have heard so much about them. Audley is the guitar player in the Black Crowes! AHHHH. SO AWESOME.

Tonight Ben described Gary Burnette's guitar playing as:

"What you THOUGHT you sounded like in high school"

I freaking LOVE that. I know exactly what he means by that, too! This EP is gonna be so good!!!

Speaking of new music...
I went to the New Faces show tonight at the Basement to see my good friend Jenn Bostic play. Her new songs sounded incredible and I can't WAIT to hear her new album! I LOVE getting to go support my friends that are working so hard at this business, too when I am home. It is so inspiring!

Tomorrow, we get a new air conditioner!!!! WOO HOOO!!! Exciting times.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cinnamon's in My Nook

After being on the road for the better part of the last 5 months...
Here's just some of the things I LOVE about being home:

NOT having to be packed up and checked out by 11am.

Cinnamon (my sweet puppy) in my nook when we sleep

Catching up on "The Office"

JJ's fruit tea!!!!

Holding hands with my husband

Laughing and reminiscing with Granny

Driving my Jeep Cherokee (even though she's barely hanging on - we've passed the 220,000 mile mark together)

Driving WITHOUT the trailer!!!!

Hanging out with my parents

Cinnamon relentlessly licking my face until I have to make her stop (cause I have to be able to breathe!)

NO housekeeping knocking and ignoring the "do not disturb sign"

Taking baths again!!!

NOT having to put a toilet seat cover on to pee (gas station bathrooms... while I feel they have improved... still wouldn't trust em!)

Getting to do laundry (never thought I would LOVE that one so much)

Coming home to honeysuckle and the greenest GREEN I have ever seen!!!

Sleeping on my awesome pillows I got for Christmas

Purity 2% Chocolate milk

Shopping at the grocery store

And that's just after one day :) Who knows what all I'll be thankful for tomorrow!!!
Now... I'm off to dream with Cinnamon in my nook... Let's hope I don't have any crazy "Jurassic Park - style - T-Rex is after me" dreams like I did last night. That REALLY wasn't cool.

Peace. Love. Fiddle. And Hopefully Sweet Dreams.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Natalie Stovall Newsletter #2 (Now with Free Song Downloads) ; )

Happy Mother's Day!!!

I sure hope all the mothers out there, conventional and unconventional, had a wonderful day. We spent it driving home from Michigan. Though I didn't get to spend the day with Mamma, she held up the phone so I could "be in a picture" with her and Granny and my sister. :)

Next Week

5/16 The Country Club - Augusta, GA : Show 9PM

If you are in the area for this, we would love to see you! For more information about this show or any others you can see my full calendar by clicking here!


Did I mention that we are HOME?? We've been on the road since Jan 13!!! We've had a few stops here in Nashville, but for the most part, we've spent our time elsewhere. We have 1 more show this weekend in Augusta Ga at The Country Club, which is our final show for the Winter/Spring Tour of 2009. I sure didn't think it would go by this fast. What a whirlwind of zigzagging all over this beautiful country! We've gone through snow storms and sunburns, ski lodges and spring flings; I've tried scrapple (and spit it out) Chacarero's and empanadas, and I've gotten to sing at the Boston Garden, open for Josh Gracin, AND the Los Lonely Boys!

What a ride :)

And now... we're gearing up for the summer tour. We're constantly updating the summer calendar, so keep an eye out. We have some really exciting shows and venues coming up!!


Last Week

Picture Of the Week (I <3 Miguel)

Other fun stuff:

We found Bear Poop in our Hotel Lobby :) It was pretty exciting... and not nearly as gross as it sounds! (Click HERE to learn more)

We learned that they still don't even have leaves on the trees up in Northern Michigan!!!

We spent 4 days in Reading, PA

The whole band got to sign a script of "The Office"

We played shows at colleges with punk bands and ska bands and I got in touch with my inner "indie rock chick" by sporting a Valencia Hoodie all week. :)

Some great blogs showed up online about some of the shows. This one is from a fantastic photographer and it is filled with tons of great pics of one of our shows:

And this one is from the same show, but includes some video of the crazy rock medley we do:

Free Song Downloads!!

As promised... finally... the song demos for "Silly Kid" and "Best Years" are the first two songs available for download EXCLUSIVELY for people on my email list! YAY!! There will be plenty more where that came from, don't worry!!

To download the songs head to


Wanna know something that blows my mind and makes me so happy? We've SOLD OUT of another batch of "Late Night Conversations"!!! It's time to reorder cds! I knew we were getting close, but I had no idea we would be OUT by the end of this trip. We didn't even have enough at our show last night. Thank goodness for itunes!


For anyone who doesn't know.... I add ALL the pics we take at shows to my facebook page and myspace/website slide show. And I write a blog every day where I include pictures and stories of our crazy adventures :) Twitter is all the rave now, and I am proud to say that I am a full blown addict. Can't hide it and wouldn't try. And of course the Youtube page has had a few additions as new videos keep popping up online!

Peace, Love, Fiddle,


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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day from a GINORMOUS Lumber Jack

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There's Bear Poop in Our Hotel Lobby

Quote of the day:

Miguel: "I LOVE bear poop... YEAH!!"

Speaking of Miguel... you know.... just talking to his mom...

We ate at Lumber Jack's tonight. It was EVERYTHING I could have ever hoped for. Plaid carpets, all things made of wood, hearty meals on the menu, deer, moose, and bears on the walls...

I love it here. :) Hootie really wants to run through the forests. Since it is a major lumber area, the forests are very neatly grown where they have replanted all the trees. :)

Tonight we played at the Kirtland Center for the Performing Arts in Roscommon Michigan. Highlights included a 75 birthday, a 70 birthday, selling OUT of cds, a really cool theater, and LOTS and LOTS of Mothers!!!

The audience was incredible. I was so comfortable and felt like I was having a conversation with 3 people instead of 300. We did 2, 45 minute sets, and since we had a bit more time, we got to play a LOT of songs that we normally don't have time for. I hadn't played Orange Blossom Special or Silly Kid in forever!

Grandpa's 75 Birthday!!

This lady told me that this had been the best Mother's Day she'd ever had. That was incredible.

These ladies brought their Mom for Mother's Day, too!

She plays violin, saxophone, AND dances!

Robert!! This was his first concert! And he was an awesome kid.

We made it back to the room in time to see "Talkin It Up on the Barry Gibb Talk Show" on SNL with Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon. I was just laughing SOOO hard that I think I woke up the rooms next to us.

Happy Saturday Night! And, actually... it's official... Happy Mother's Day!!!

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Got Wood?

We've been in the car ALLLL day.

One thing is confusing me, though.

Pennsylvania ---> Michigan 11hrs 19min < Michigan ---> Tennessee 10hrs 39min

Doesn't it seem like PA to MI should be SHORTER than MI to TN?

View Larger Map

But what do I know? :)

Even though we're still in the U.S. we are north of Toronto right now. Whoa. Crazy right there.

We are currently staying in what I would guess to be the "Most Lumberjack Themed Hotel" in America. There's a HUGE Lumberjack statue out front, the restaurant in the hotel is named "Lumber Jack's", and EVERYTHING is made out of wood.

That's some serious room numbers right 'ere.

And you know how most hotels have a nice picturesque scene or flower on the wall to add some ambience?

Check out this ambience:

You might have to double click on that pic to blow it up.. you know.. to FULLY brighten your day ;)

And Mamma, you'd love it. There's a moose on EVERY lamp. Mamma loves her some MOOSE!

And for those who want to see some awesome pics from our show at Penn Tech.... Check out this blog that popped up online today! Thank you Danielle!!! You are THE PHOTOGRAPHER. And don't you forget it! :)

Barden Photography Blog

Peace, Love, Fiddle, and MOOSE EVERYWHERE!

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Albright College, Getting Ponded, and I'm an Author

We're still in Reading, but we've moved :) We're in a hotel right down the street. It reminds me of the hotel we stayed at in Stowe, VT. Very old school.

This morning I did a radio interview over the phone with Eagle 101.5 in Gaylord, Mi. Were playing there Saturday night. The interview was really fun - Mike the dj was a fellow baby-crier!!! We had a baby-cry-off. It was a good time.
I can also add "author" to my resume. When I first called in, Mike had me confused with the author that he was interviewing later in the hour. He told me he Really enjoyed my book.

For a split second I thought, "How has he already read the children's book I haven't even written yet?"

But when I said "What?" He goes, "OOOOH!!! You're the singer!!! What I meant was, I love your VOICE!" :) It was so funny.

Tonight we played at Albright College. They were so much fun!!!

This group of students was there when we arrived to help us unload and stayed until the very end to help us reload the trailer! I <3 you guys.

Before we started the show, we got to talk to and hang out with Billy, our protector for the evening. He told us some pretty crazy stories about being on duty. Don't know if y'all realize this, but things can get pretty crazy here in Reading, PA. *wink wink*
He gave me his walkie to let me feel all official.

This is Zero and Hazel. I asked him if he'd seen Wolverine!!! Zero is one of the characters... So basically... I feel like I got to hang out with a Superhero tonight :)

At Albright there's a tradition. If it's your birthday - you get "ponded". Everyone grabs you and throws you in the pond on campus. And we got to witness a few "pondings," tonight. Tricia, one of the girls that helped us out all night, got ponded. It was pretty exciting.

This girl was pretty emotional when we talked. She lost her little brother a couple years ago and she told me that Angel meant a lot to her. It's never ceases to amaze me when someone is touched by one of my songs. It makes so thankful that I do this for a living.

So tonight was a really great night. The audience was so appreciative and made the show really fun for us. Plus, they had these amazing free cookies at the show for everyone. Yeah. That rocked.

Peace. Love. Fiddle.

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