I am so happy to have announced partnerships with two new corporate sponsors. Check out the great stuff from my creative and playful friends at Living Like a Pirate. And visit the website of the awesome boutique hotel in Bucerias Villas del Sol, who are offering a ten percent discount on lodging for Brittany fans coming to town. Great service and facilities and a short stroll to the best part of the beach!
The season is ramping up, and I am having so much fun! So far I am playing weekly in Puerto Vallarta at Que Pasa, and twice a week in Bucerias, including my Sunday evening show at The Drunken Duck with my full band, and a duo show with Esteban at Bistro on the Bay every Friday evening. Bistro on the Bay is a brand new restaurant on Avenue Pacifico. Wonderful food and decor, an intimate setting, a great wine selection, crazy good prices, and of course, live music! It’s an intimate place, and so far it’s been a pretty popular event, so I recommend that you make your reservations at least several days in advance!
After an amazing 10-day tour of South Florida in late October and early November, I am back in Bucerias, where I’ve been rehearsing with my band to get ready for the South of the Border unveiling of Dream in Blue. Even though the album has been out for four months now, this feels almost like a whole new album release! The band has learned several songs from the CD, and I am so ready to be playing a lot more of my original music during our performances this year!
The South Florida tour was incredible. We started it out with a house concert at the Sandbox on Anna Maria Island, a block from one of the greatest white sandy beaches ever, and we set an attendance record there with a great audience that included musician friends Charlie Imes and Rick “Kid Conch” Schettino. From there we headed South and played at a wonderful park setting in Punta Gorda on Charlotte Harbor for the Songwriters Island Sunset Concert Series Anniversary show, where we had a great turnout and another awesome audience. And as an extra bonus, our set break was covered by Marisela, a great singer from Venezuela making her US debut and our friend and superstar songwriter Thom Shepherd (“Red Neck Yacht Club”, “Riding With Private Malone”). We then trekked through the Keys, hitting all the pit stops on our way to Meeting of the Minds, where we played about 10 times in five days, including a show opening for the Southern Drawl Band at Margaritaville. Everywhere I went, I was touched by how warmly and enthusiastically I was greeted by the audiences, and it gave me goose bumps to see people singing along with our songs in the crowds. A truly remarkable trip!
Hey y’all! So looking forward to bringing Dream in Blue to YOU in South Florida and the Keys during Meeting of the Minds week beginning October 25! Starting with house concerts at Anna Maria Island and Punta Gorda, then heading South through the Keys on A1A toward Key West. With nine scheduled performances in nine days, plus drop-ins in Key Largo, Marathon Key and Ramrod Key, and probably a few surprises along the way, it’s going to be an awesome trip. Looking forward to being accompanied by my co-writer/producer Rob Hill AND, for at least three of my performances by the dynamic and beautiful and supremely talented Djembabe, Melanie Howe. She’ll be sitting in with us for my performance at the Trop Rock Music Awards on Thursday night, October 30 at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Key West, then later that same night at the Songwriters Island Songwriter Showcase at Island Dogs, then again for a full length concert at the Dockside Tropical Cafe on Marathon Key on Saturday evening November 1. These Florida shows will be my last performances North of the Border until May of 2015, since I will be starting up my regular performance schedule in Mexico right after the Florida trip, and that will take me all the way through the end of April – more than 100 shows! So if you’re planning to be in the Sunshine State, plan to come on out and see me! Here’s the complete schedule as of today:
As excited as I am to go home to Mexico, I am equally grateful for the amazing summer I have had in the US.
By last Spring, I had come to love my life in Mexico so much, I wondered if I would be able to stay away, even for the low season months of May to August. I literally woke up every morning having to pinch myself to make sure it was all real. I was living as a legal resident of Mexico, living a block from a spectacular beach and making my living primarily by playing music four days a week with great Mexican musicians. Meanwhile, back in the US, my first album was being played on a bunch of radio stations, and my producers Rob Hill and Kevin Johnston were busy working on tracking Dream in Blue, the second album that was slated for release in July.
I arrived in May and had just one day to relax before we hit the studio to work on vocal recording for most of the rest of the month, interrupted only by a four-day trip to Laughlin, Nevada for the Phins to the West gathering, where Rob and I got to play a couple of sets by the pool and enjoy some time hanging out with some of our favorite trop rockers. We also had the great honor of debuting our song “One With The Ocean”, a tribute to DJ Jeff Allen, and then performing it at a memorial service on the shores of the Colorado River.
After some long days and nights in the second half of May and into June, Dream in Blue finally came true, released on July 11 and celebrated with a performance at the Laid Back Attack Festival in Seattle that night. It was a memorable night, a great audience, and one of the proudest nights of my musical life. I was especially stoked to have my friend Melanie “The Djembabe” Howe fly out to Seattle for the occasion and sit in with us not only for the album release concert at Laid Back Attack but also for two more performances in Olympia that weekend. Rob and I did four more acoustic shows that week, including amazing house concerts in Portland, where we performed in a backyard tiki bar and Twin Falls, Idaho, where we performed while looking out at a corn field. After playing a couple of festivals close to home, Rob and I hit the road for an 8,200-mile 17-day tour in August that included performances in North Dakota, Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California before we returned to Washington for a couple of shows to close out the summer tour. All in all, we played in 20 dates in 16 cities in nine states and traveled 10,000 miles.
As you can imagine, touring the Western US was an adventure and an unforgettable experience. I am beyond grateful to all our hosts along the way and for all the fans that turned out to listen, to cheer, to sing along, and party with us!
I found out last week while we were on the road that I had not only been nominated Best Female Vocalist for the second year in a row by the Trop Rock Music Association but that I was also nominated for the organization’s Horizon Award that honors an up and coming artist.
All humility aside, it is a great honor to see my name alongside those of the other nominees, and it really goes a long way to affirm that I made the right decision when I decided to quit my day job and devote myself to music full time. I am so grateful to the Trop Rock Music Association for all that they do to promote the artists, I am thankful to the trop rock fans who thought enough of my music to pencil my name in as a nominee, and I am grateful to everyone in the radio world who has helped me to get my music out to those fans. You guys are awesome!
It’s a very exciting time in my life and career, and this is certainly one more exciting development. It’s nice to be recognized by fans and peers. That said, I never think of myself as being in competition with other artists. Making music is its own reward, and I LOVE that my JOB is to SING for YOU. So Best of Luck to all my fellow nominees!
I LOVE to do house concerts. There have been times I’ve played in bars with hundreds of people “listening” and had to wonder if anyone was really listening. But when I sing at a house concert, I know that everyone in my audience is listening to me, that they hear the lyrics, they listen to what I say, and (yikes) they notice my mistakes, too!
How can you host a house concert? There are no hard and fast rules, but here’s how it’s often done:
If you’ve got a good party house or yard and would like to host, contact me on Facebook or through a booking inquiry on the website. We’ll figure out when I am going to be in your area, and we’ll agree on a date. I’ll send you some digital posters to email to friends and neighbors and club members and other invitees or to post in social media. It can be as private or as public as you decide. Hosts will often treat the event as a potluck party and invite people to bring food or beverages to share, and typically ask that guests pay a ticket price or entry fee ($15 to $20 is pretty common), which goes to pay the artists.
The host of a house concert typically provides lodging. For me, that means two bedrooms (one for my accompanist), or something close to that (at least a wall between us – you know how guitar players can be). The bedrooms can even be in different homes, or if that’s not feasible or you’re just really generous, the privacy and quiet of a hotel room can be a nice change of pace for us, too. We will generally stay just one night, but there are times when an offer to stay for an additional night, either the day before or the day after, would be helpful due to travel schedules and off days on the road.
Because of the travel and other expenses we incur, we generally ask the host of the concert to guarantee a minimum payment of $500 (25 people paying $20 or the equivalent), but if you are confident that your turnout will generate at least that much and you have places for us to sleep, then hosting a house concert could cost you no more than it would to have some friends over for a potluck party!
This isn’t the only way to do it. If you would like, for instance, to host a concert in a place where I don’t generally tour (Australia, the Virgin Islands, The Bahamas, Tahiti, the French Polynesians, New Zealand, Aruba, etc.) I am willing to sacrifice some of my time if you insist on having me travel to these places at your expense. Just to be sure I deliver the best possible performance for your event, it is in your best interest that I have several days before the event to relax and rest by a pool with a dedicated cabana boy massaging my ukulele strumming hand to ensure maximum dexterity and pouring me some coconut-based beverages to achieve the ideal vocal cord hydration levels. I know this may seem like meticulous preparation, but I am willing to go to these lengths to ensure the success of your event.
I am off on the road next week for the second leg of the Dream in Blue tour that will take me through North Dakota, Kansas, three cities in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California and back to Washington for a couple of shows before heading back to Mexico. I will spend September getting myself re-settled and rehearsing new material with the band to get ready for the tourism season in the Puerto Vallarta area.
The third leg of the Dream in Blue tour is in the process of being booked now, and the plan is to play several dates in the Southeastern US in the latter half of October leading up to the Meeting of the Minds festival in Key West, where I expect to meet up with lots of friends and play a bunch around town before flying back home to Mexico for the start of the season in November.
I expect to play upwards of 100 dates in Mexico between November and the end of April for the Mexico segment of the tour, with perhaps a short break here or there for special events in the US (if someone invites me!) My plan is then to take the month of May off to work on writing and recording before completing the 13-month Dream in Blue tour with a 60-day trip across Southern Canada West to East, then down the Eastern seaboard of the US, and then across the US East to West, during which I hope to play in 45-50 cities/towns in the US and Canada. After that, I will probably need a nap! If you are interested in hosting or know someone who is interested in hosting a house concert or backyard concert, let me know! Send me a booking inquiry on the contact page. And check out my blog on house concerts to learn more about how it works!
After playing a couple more dates with the full band at the Thurston County Fair July 31 and the DB Cooper Music Festival in Chehalis, WA on August 2, I am hitting the road for acoustic shows in the following places:
August 8 Fargo, ND O’Kelly’s
August 9 Andover, KS (Wichita) House Concert
August 12 Kemah, TX T-Bone Tom’s
August 15 Van Horn, TX TBA
August 16 Floresville, TX (San Ant.) House Concert
August 18 Tucson, AZ House Concert
August 19 Albuquerque, NM Nicky V’s
August 22 San Diego, CA House Concert
August 24 Westport, WA Westport Winery