What is the sweetness?

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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSWvo92TCe4]

Here I am in Terre Haute Indiana, on the way to Chicago for a show this Saturday evening at Tonic with Aly Tadros and Sam McLellan.  Sam and I have now been out on tour for 3 weeks from New York to Boston, Cambridge and then Memphis where we met our wonderful comrades Aly and Douglas Jay Boyd for Folk Alliance International, a large music conference where nobody does much else than play music all hours of the day and night.  After 5 days of madness, and a sleepless night spent along the Mississippi River, we said goodbye to Douglas and friends and left for a house concert in Evansville Indiana along with Aly in her SUV named Betty.

Memphis was magical.  Short story, we decided to start a band, The Sweetness, consisting of Aly, Sam, Douglas and myself.  Everyone was pushing for it to happen and shucks, they ARE 3 of my best friends in the world and we DO happen to have some of the most incredible musical chemistry I’ve experienced, so why not?

We are all pretty spontaneous so decided to make it happen, Aly and I concurred that they must join us for our European tour.  How, was not yet decided.  But suddenly, once we put that mission into the universe people fell from the sky handing us support in the form of monetary donations, advice, contacts, gigs, and perhaps a tour van, etc.  NEVER have I seen people believe so much in something.

We are stoked about it and talk about little else, speaking with Douglas via phone at least 3 times daily, and having regular bursts of childish giddiness. Thus far we are heading to:
Germany (Berlin and Stuttgart) then Paris to play at the European Independent Film Festival, then over to the UK for some big shows I have planned, one with Canada Blast, and one with The Local in London, heading to Oxford, Nottingham, and hopefully a few more places.  Then hopping over to Italy where we hope to collaborate with some talented musicians Aly and I fell in love with while there last.  Who knows how this tour will end.  I only know it will open new doors never imagined.  Looking back a year I barely knew these people.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  We first have to get through this tour, still with 3 more weeks to go, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Louisville, Lexington, New Orleans, and then Texas, concluding at the intense music festival, South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin.

We are in the midst of putting together a Kickstarter account so that The Sweetness can afford to bring Sam and Douglas and later to record.  We will be asking for donations that come with some incredible incentives.

Want some home-made cookies?
Want a postcard from every city while on tour?
Want a private house concert?

More incentives to come.

But for now…Wish us luck tonight…
XOXO
Chloe

The Sweetness begins…

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It’s kinda neat when life takes charge and hands you something incredibly unexpected…

I’m not the most superstitious person but I can’t help but take notice when opportunities fall into your lap, opportunities that, if not taken advantage of, would be absolutely insane.  When 4 people come together after  a year loaded with serendipitous events all uniting at one point, it’s somewhat explosive.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56EY955EvAA]

You all know Aly, my tourmate for the past year across the US and Europe.  You probably know Douglas from Austin.  You know Sam.

Today we had a radio interveiw and explained how we all came together.  It’s actually ridiculous, hard to believe it was not fated.  Last year was my first time at Folk Alliance.  I went there under strange circumstances.  A few years earlier in Nottingham England, I met a woman who was psychic or at least claimed to be.  She and another ancient lady, literally like 95 years old, told me some strange strange stuff, most interestingly and pertaining to this story, was that I needed to go to Tennessee.  In the middle of the night she was woken by a young boy who relentlessly kept her up through the night ensuring she would get this message to me.

2 years later I went on the spur of the moment, after the infamous Richard Flohil told me to with only 2 weeks until the conference.   The first day there, I met Douglas Jay Boyd, immediately bonded as if we had known each other forever. We spend every moment together, waking and sleeping, although between the 2 of us we perhaps had 10 hours in 5 days. We had never played together, I had no showcases booked, but somehow I managed to wrangle 6 and play every one with him, wowing the attendees. Not only did we connect on a personal level but the musicl bond was so intense.

He was with his tourmate and best friend Aly Tadros. Douglas was positive we would love each other, personally and musically. She arrived later than him and I was nervous about meeting her.

“What if she doesn’t like me?”

Well, surprise surprise, Douglas was right.  WE LOVED each other in every way possible.   2 weeks following the conference, I was in Austin and played with Doug and Aly around Texas about 20 shows in 19 days.

You know how that developed – 4 tours later over the course of 1 year.

Sam, she is incredible, fell into my lap through the recommendation of my good friend Neil Whitford from Ninja Funk Orchestra and rocked my album making it more than it ever could have been without her.

We began playing together and quickly she became what I consider, an integral part to my music. She came down for part of my last US tour and it was then that I decided I wanted her to always be there.  So, I somehow managed to find a way to bring her down, not quite knowing how I would afford it but WHO CARES!  When things are meant to be they WILL work out.  And guess what, they did, we got offered a showcase, the Suite  Beaver Suite that  along with the wonderful house concert hosted by Michael Jones and Bette Jones in Cambridge played our costs were covered.

Unbelievable!

On my last tour with Aly, we decided to sign up both Sam and Douglas for Folk Alliance without asking them.  GOOD MOVE.

They now thank us.  Hehe.

So we finally got to all play together, quickly figured out some SWEET 4 part harmonies and decided then to rule the world.

Over the span of 8 showcases in 5 days, it became clear that there was some magic between the 4 of us, and after hearing at least 10 times each day that we needed to come together to create a band, it hit us….Hey, why not make a band?

One late night / early morning while playing in the staircase someone excited to hear us yelled out SWEETNESS…and there you go..we are “The Sweetness”.

Sam is on…Doug is on…Aly is on…I AM SO SO FREAKIN ON!

They are coming to Europe with us.  We will find a way!  We just need to raise 3000 dollars.  We have already had one enormous donation from David Wells, of 500 dollars when he waved our publicity fee. Phillip Beasley of the Memphis Songwriters Association waved our showcase fee’s after seeing us. Michael Jones, president of Just Strings, the largest international online instrument string distributor hosted us in his hotel room for nothing.  The support we have already witnessed in the past 5 days is exciting and scary but so so beautiful.  Things that aren’t meant to work don’t run this smoothly.

Every time I’ve jumped I’ve fallen into the right place…

We The Sweetness hold these truths to be self-evident, that not all music is created equal. And sometimes, the whole of the sum is greater than its parts.

Massachusetts, where are the Boston Cream Pies?

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Sitting in a lovely New England condo in a refurbished Chocolate Factory in Cambridge Massachusetts, sipping my coffee by the fire-place while Sammi Jane reads up on Boston.  It is our third day here at the Jone’s house, 3 days in this lovely city being taken care of ever so generously by Michael and his wife Bette.  People’s kindness never ceases to astonish me.

This is Michael!

I met Michael, owner of Just Strings, last year at my first Folk Alliance in Memphis Tennessee.  He was a fast friend and an immediate supporter.  We kept in touch throughout the year, him always giving me advice and business sense.  It helps to have someone in your life who can be objective and really has an understanding of developing a business. Remember Chloe, this is a business!

Yesterday we had a show in Shelburne falls, West Massachusetts, near Northampton.  We left Boston early so that we could stop in Northampton, what looked to us like a perfect story Christmas town, with ice sculptures, Christmas lights and lots of snow.  I guess the flash blizzard helped (not actually a blizzard, more like a gently snow).

We have been eating tons of amazing food.  Yesterday in Northampton we ate at  Moroccan Cafe and the day before Michael and Bette took us out to an Afghan restaurant where I had some incredible lamb dish.

The show last night at Mocha Maya’s was probably one of the best.  Small towns are amazing that way.  People come out and are excited to have new faces there and the staff are always so nice and appreciative.

We played the other night at a neat space called the Lily Pad in Cambridge, a venue that happens to be one of the strong holds of good music here: This is according to Sam’s friend Nigel, a trumpet player who here at NEC (New England Conservatory).  Again, Nigel was an example of kindness, going out of his way to find Sam a bass to borrow while here.

By the way, anyone heard of a new jazz movement or genre called Lower Case?  Well Nigel enlightened us to its beauty, extreme ambient minimalism.  Can’t explain, just listen.

Lucky us got to listen to some fantastic jazz by Trio 11, piano, bass and drums.  I can’t find their stuff online but I did find another band of the pianist’s, ZiggleZaggle Music.

Today is our last show here in Boston.  We have a house concert hosted by Michael and Bette and then are going out to dinner with them and their daughter, a very talented flute player.

Tomorrow we fly to Memphis for Folk Alliance, 5 days of musical insanity.  Trying to get my sleep beforehand because I surely won’t be getting any there!

Fun Facts:

1) Cheers was set in Boston
2) Boston is rated one of the most livable cities in the world (Vancouver is 1st and Toronto 4th)
3) From 1659 to 1681 it was against the law to celebrate Christmas in Boston because according to the Pilgrims it was debauched.

Well ta ta for now.
XOXO

P.S.  We have yet to find a Boston Cream donut or Pie!!!! NOOOOO!!

A few words of gratitude for a special family…The Singers

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Here I am on vacation, for the first time in a long time.  It is wonderful.  Christmas was wonderful.  I am finally decompressing due to the fresh air, incredible food, wonderful company of my Feef, my Father, Step Mom and Step Brother after quite some time of separation.  I am being pampered, no question.

I am very lucky right now, lucky for this and for so many other reasons.

I feel very motivated to start showing my gratitude for the selfless deeds of friends along the way.

The most memorable and touching of my tour goes out to the Singer Family – by far the warmest, most generous, caring, supportive families I have come across in years.  There is so much love within the confines of that house and so much radiating from it.

Sharon, daughter of Gladice and Lou Singer, is a friend of my Step Mom. I met her for the first time along with her parents years ago in New York.  Having only heard about me she came with presents for me and for Felix.

From then on she kept in touch with me.

Years later, when Felix and I decided to spend New Years in New York, she offered us her place to stay.  Sharon picked us up with flowers in hand, a cake at the house welcoming us, balloons, and presents filling our quarters.

We had a wonderful stay with them, many deep chats, access to the best local food – we made friends for life.

The Singers have remained my biggest supporters in anything I do.  Every once in a while I receive an email from Sharon, telling me how wonderful I am doing and to keep doing what I’m doing.  Her words of support always renew my energy and faith in this business.

As you know, if you read this blog, I had some troubles with Enterprise this tour and was completely scammed by them.  Long story short, I received the most outrageous, most expensive unexplainable bill from them leaving me in the red for my tour.

But the Singer family came to the rescue.  First Sharon enlisted her very persuasive yet elegant writing skills as well as her detective skills to uncover the root of the problem.  Making friends everywhere she goes she was able to uncover that in NY state such a scam would be unheard of.  Leaving pretzels as presents makes getting information much smoother.  Gladice, a 90-year-old woman who is more positive, more giving, lively, beautiful than any senior I know and most people in general, despite her healing broken neck and heart problems offered her help after hearing that a friend was taken advantage of.  She was appalled by Enterprise’s behaviour.

Lou, a retired accountant, who was still recovering from a broken hip, helped by decoding the bills for us.

After numerous calls, Gladice was able to reduce the bill by nearly $300.  She worked so hard to help me, knowing what a burden this was for me, what a damper on my tour this was, that I worked so hard to make ends meet and couldn’t actually afford this, and all the while knowing I was quite sick and struggling to keep positive she kept my spirits up, giving me words of wisdom and motherly wishes from years of experience.

What I am saying is that the Singer family was my saving grace through a bit of a rough patch.  They helped me because they care, put in time, lots of time, energy, good thoughts, support for no reason other than I am their friend.

I love this family and still can’t believe how much they did for lil ole me!

Thank you Sharon, Gladice and Lou.

You are so special!

I hope this true story inspires in you readers a little selflessness.  In this crazy world, it goes a long long way.

XOXO Merry Christmas Y’all!

 

 

Texas tours…friends…sigh sigh

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Of course this is dated….yes I have left Austin…yes I am in St. Marteen in the Caribbean…Will update soon..

Driving back to Austin from Bryan TX.  Beside me is Scott Andrews, of course a wicked artist, who pampered me yesterday, drove me to my gigs and accompanied Aly and I on violin.  MMMMMMmmmmmm you know I have a string fetish and have I ever been jonsing this tour for some string backup to rile me up.  Thank you Scott.

Aly in the back, blissfully dozing off.  Scott breaks out into a moment of reverence and gratefulness for the lives we live as musicians and the adventurous nature of touring.  We are so open to experiences, good and bad, but 99.9% of the time we are witness to the beauty of humanity.  People’s kindness, the daily reminders that people DO care, do want to help, do have a ton of love to give and want to give it, refreshes every sore muscle in my body, my tired eyes and mind.
Yes, we are lucky.  I am so happy to be doing what I love, traveling the world, meeting new people every day, touching people, and making some sort of impact.
This weekend has been a whirlwind – 3 shows in TX all over the place, a lot of back and forth driving and TONS of fun.  Friday, we played in Tyler TX, a very conservative town that is dry, meaning you cannot buy alcohol outside of bars.  A huge room that could fit perhaps 400 people with only about 30.  4 acts shared the stage.   Need I say more?
Chad Petty accompanied by Taylor Sansom and Will Tarrant opened the night up.  We were fast friends when we met at the beginning of the tour while Sam was still around and spent a night partying in a hotel in Bryan TX after a show at the Village and a radio interview together on KEOS with Stevo Schlemmer.   These boys rock our world.   Not only do they sound incredible but they are friggin hilarious leading to unending inane banter.
Aly brought up a band for the gig in Tyler, her drummer John Ray and sub bassist Darrell Phillips.
I was unconscious for the 4 hour ride up from Austin after an incredible show at One 2 One in Austin on Thursday night.  I was so lucky to have Douglas Jay Boyd on cajone and cymbal, and Gumby on cello play with me with my dear Aly on harmonies.  It was a beautiful evening.  Gregg and his wife Destiny take such good care of the musicians, me especially.  They helped me get my US work visa – something they really didn’t need to do after only hearing me play once in April.  Amazing people!!!
So many of my friends came out to support.  Fared Shafinury came to see me, a beautiful singer and artist who I met at the Ham Jam in April (the Ham Jam is a very special Austin event where one affluent man in town opens his house up to all the musicians feeds them, supplies drinks and his many decadent rooms for jam sessions.)  In the courtyard I met Fared, Omid and Roberto  Riggio (insane violinist) and along with Aly was daunted by their music.  We were then asked to play and they were equally captivated.  Since, they have been a few of my biggest supporters in Austin.
Funny enough, it turned out that Fared and I share a mutual friend in Toronto, Maneli Jamal (If you’re from Toronto, you will know him.  If not, check him out NOW)
After One 2 One we headed over to see Douglas play with Dan K Trio, what was originally called Dank Trio until they noted the smelly implication.  From Tap Room we slowly meandered over to Josh’s house where the festivities continued.
Anyway, after a late night we hopped into the car headed for Tyler.  Now you understand why I was tired, and obviously this has been the regular pace since returning to Austin, actually for the entirety of the tour.
Will runs a bead a breakfast, lives on about 2000 acres of land of farm, woods and lakes made by his grandfather.  That was our residence for the night.
All prepared by Will, fresh collard greens, avocado, sweet potatoes.  To top it off,  a bon fire 3 meters by 3 meters kept us toasty under the starry skies despite the chilled wind.  We watched, laughed, made music. Taylor and I harmonized, him on kazoo, me vocals.  New duo perhaps?   I had a hard time retiring to bed.
3 hours later we awoke to hit the road and head back to Austin.  Aly stayed with Will on the farm but I had to go back to Austin for a show at the Hyatt by the river.  The ride back was difficult, all of us semi conscious.  But we made it 4 hours later and I dropped everyone off.  I hopped in the shower and jumped into a pretty dress and made myself up to be picked up by Scott and escorted to my gig.  He brought his PA for me, got me fed, set everything up and waited for me throughout the gig.
I played in a huge corridor in the Bar of the Hyatt where the music carried through 20 flights.  The acoustics were unbelievable. Resounding through the entire hotel, people slowly arrived to listen.  One such audience member on break showered me in compliments.  He also mentioned that the Wu Tang Clan was staying in the hotel.  Hmmm interesting.  The other day Scott and I were browsing though the music listings and saw that they were playing in town but didn’t think much more of it.
On break, one of the 2 black men in the bar asked me for my name.
“Chloe” I said.  What’s your’s?
“Young Dirty Bastard, son of Old Dirty Bastard”.  Hmm I don’t know much about rap but I remember Old Dirty Bastard.  He says, ” I’m with the Clan.  The only one not here is Meth”.
What the frig?  Ok well, that was fast, I guess being the only other coloured person in the room, singing, he felt obliged to say hi.
Before I left I said bye, we exchanged numbers and he said he wanted me to sing on his album.  HAHAHA regardless of if it happens, it’s still a cool story and I got to see a bunch of Wu Tang Clan.  Kinda cool I’d say.
So from there, Scott and I hopped back in his car and headed to Bryan, 2 hours away, for a show at Revolution Cafe, booked by the biggest sweetheart, Stevo Schlemmer.
Bryan is right by College Station, a college town.  They are both super cute all lit up with Christmas lights.  Opening for us was Chad, Will and Taylor – can’t get enough of these boys!!!
The bar got packed with all types.
My favourite was a black man who loved my face.
Quote – “You look like a chocolate chip cookie.  I could eat you right up!”  Hehehehe amazing!
Entertaining situation number 2 – A long-haired, leather skinned, t-shirt tatooed, man saw me and was blatant about his intrigue.
“Where are you from?”
“Canada”, I said.
He quickly responded with an “Ewe” and then proceeded to say that he shouldn’t be talking to me, that “they” might think he’s in cohorts with a terrorist.
To that, I added sarcastically ” well I also have brown skin and may have some bombs under my clothes”.
I set myself up for this….”Well, can I search you baby?”    Blahahahahaha!  EWE!
While playing he sat directly in front of me, less than a meter away and after every note gobsmacked he grunted “WOW”.  I couldn’t look at him and maintain my composure.
Aly, Scott and I called it quits and let Chad take the stage yet again.
Taylor had sung our praises to a woman working at a snazzy hotel around the corner.  She heard that we would be sleeping in some tight quarters and offered to set us up in the hotel.  Mmm big comfy hotel beds.  Dreamy….
In the morning she had just bought breakfast taco’s saw us and offered us some, gave us fresh orange juice and we enjoyed a morning peaceful chat in the sunny hotel bar.
Today is a gorgeous day, sun blaring, blue skies, crisp temperature, gentle breeze. Today I have nothing I MUST do except go and appreciate the friends I won’t see for months.
XOXOXO

 

 

Apathy and pick-me-ups in N’awlins

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Backed up on these blogs…yes this is from days ago.  I will catch up asap.  Much has occurred!

Feeling pretty apathetic today.  Can’t seem to snap myself out of a mood regardless of Aly’s hilarious attempts – a common one being when she catapults herself up against the car window or the hood.  This always leaves me in laughs but today the smiles didn’t last.

Lesson:  Never check your email first thing in the morning. It tends to set the tone for the day.
Anyway, enough whining for today because I actually have a ton to be happy about.  Aly and I played last night in New Orleans at the Circle Bar and what a demonstration of happenstance that turned out to be.  As Aly attempted to parallel park on a curve, a man smoking outside of some Architecture exhibition made some gentle teasing remarks.  After about 5 attempts the car was parked…on the curb that is.  Oh how embarrassment is the key to conversation.  Need a new friend?  Well be sure to make a fool of yourself and they will come flocking!
He asked us if we were playing tonight for the exhibition.  It just so happened that he was booking acts for the weekend architecture exhibition.  No, we said, we’re playing at Circle Bar.  This led into an introduction.  He was staring at me strangely and when I said my name he immediately said “I have your CD”!
No way!  What?  I have only been to New Orleans once and played twice and guess who was there?  This guy!
He said “Your packaging had string on it”.  Damn right it did!  Oh the benefits of branding!
Both Aly and I were in shock that the first stranger we met in New Orleans happened to have my CD.  We decided it was more than coincidence and instead a sign that we are doing something right!  I like to believe that happenstance is just proof that you are on the right track.
And of course, he now came by the bar to see us play.  Way to go Chloe and Aly!!
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So I LOVE Nawlins (New Orleans pronounced correctly).  We gave ourself a little time today to walk around the French quarters and pick up some knick knacks.  The temperature was perfect, skies blue, sun pouring down, buskers at every corner, a cellist, acrobats, a sax player and an old man singing “When you’re smiling the whole world smiles with you.”  – another reminder to buck up, lighten up and smile a little.
On our way back to TX.  We actually just passed the Louisiana border as I type and are now in TX.  Tonight we play in Houston at the Usual, an awesome lesbian bar.  Can’t wait!
I think the last time I wrote was weeks ago.  I can’t really tell anymore.
Perhaps I left off in Evansville Indiana.  There we celebrated lyy’s 24th birthday which ended up being an all-nighter. On pretty much zero sleep we jumped in the car and headed up to Chicago to play that same night at Reggies Music Joint.  Again, we had heard good things about this place.  We arrived on a Tuesday night expecting to have a minimal crowd, instead to a packed house.  NICE!
(Now that I am writing this, I think I am repeating myself)  Hahaha!
From there we headed to Terre Haute to play at the Verve.   Awesome venue with free popcorn, and nice people.
Did I mention that I had my very first Thanksgiving in the USA?  It was lovely but pretty much the same deal as in Canada – STUFF YOUR FACE!
From there, down to Louisville to stay with our publicist.  We drove straight from Terre Haute, Indiana in the snow which as we got more South turned to rain.  ICK!
Arrived late at night and were given some Kentucky 140 proof Bourbon with a slight maple taste. Mmmm…and then we crashed.
The day after Thanksgiving in the US is called Black Friday, the equivalent of Boxing day in Canada.  We all went out for breakfast and were waited on by a woman, overtired  by her 2am frantic shopping.  She was so drunk tired that she was dangerous.  Not was her chat near incomprehensible, but she nearly poked Arianna in the eye with a pen, and proceeded to spill coffee in Aly’s purse all over her special thank you note cards that she had acquired from one of the Assisted Living Centres along the way (designed by the students).  We were all so embarrassed for her.  I wouldn’t have wanted to be in a car with her!
That night we played at Natasha’s, an up scale restaurant.  Strangely herds of elderly popped in looking for the salsa dancing.  It turns out that the floor above Natasha’s was rented out to a dance studio.  If you know my music, you know that I am no rock star, pretty intimate, gentle at times.  Well, now imagine 30 terrible dancers in leather soled heals banging along to Salsa music.  Perhaps if it had been in time with our songs, it would have been less distracting.  What a joke.  Regardless, we had a good crowd, ate well and had tons of fun.
Aly’s producer came by to watch and later invited us back to his studio with a few other people.  What a great space – a big warehouse full of tapestries and instruments.
Back in Louisville to sleep at about 1:30am we made a split second change of mind and hit a pool bar.  We both needed a break from music and business, just silly fun.  When chatted up, we decided to lie.
“Hi, I’m Courtney.”  Uh ok I thought.  So we’re role-playing eh?   “Hi, I’m Tania (me).”  Hehe.  How nice it was to avoid the same old questions.
By now I was so sick of:
1.  Where are you from.
2. Wow, how did y’all meet if you live so far apart?
3.  What kind of music do y’all play?
4.  Oh Canada is cold.
5.  Where have you been?
6.  Where are you going?
Blah blah blah…
Next morning, eat, dress and hop in the car to Atlanta, Georgia where we arrived to play immediately at Kavarna.  Out of the entire tour, this was our only poor turnout.  We shortened our set and opted to play games with the staff.
1.  What is the sexiest part of a woman’s body?
2.  What non physical attribute can a woman change to make herself more irresistible?
Hahah…Sure is a good way to get to know people quickly!
Went to our hosts house, Tyler Lyle, another incredible singer songwriter (check him out).  He wasn’t there so Aly and I had the free range of his cozy wooden clad home.  What did we do?  Sip some red wine and stalk up on our greens.  For me, hummus on avocado on a bed of cooked spinach.  Mmmmm…
The following day we played at an old age home.  Being PMS-y I was overly sensitive to the imagined lives of the seniors.  They were so touched by our songs, and our willingness to share them with them.  Singing Salamander Red now has a whole new meaning to me.  A song about time passing and the importance and beauty of memories made, in comparison, my short life seemed insignificant to theirs.  Imagine 90 years of acquire experience, of friends made, friends lost, family, of change, growth, of progress.  Wow!
I fought myself to keep the soaked eyes from overflowing.
That same evening we were ready for competition at Eddies Attic .  I hate competition and was dreading for days this show.  Eddies Attic is a renowned venue for singer songwriters – a true listening room.  Posted on the wall behind the stage is a banner basically telling the audience to SHUT UP or GET OUT!  Every Monday Eddie hosts an open mic, where artist compete for 1st place.  All winners then are invited to the shoot out, the final competition set later in the year.
The room was packed, everyone was silent.  Both Aly and I were invited for the second round with one other artists.  Great…exactly what I was fearing – I now had to compete with my friend.  The feeling made me sick to my stomach.
Well to end it all, Eddie chose Aly and yes I was sad, my ego was wounded, I struggled to maintain a positive outlook.  Happy for Aly.
Off to New Orleans, another 7 hour drive through some incredible scenery.  I will say it again…I LOVE New Orleans.  So Romantic, colourful, creative and inspiring.
As this post has taken me 2 days to complete, I am no sitting by the pool at Aly’s sweet aunt and uncles house in Houston, TX where the weather in better than perfect.  I think I heard it was 75 Farenheit which I would guess is around 23 Celcius.  Whatever it is, I’m basking in it.
This tour has been rough.  I have somehow never been afflicted so constantly with sickness.  Each ailment has overlapped with the last.  After 2 bouts of antibiotics I would think I would be back on track. Oh but guess what?  I wake up in New Orleans with a terrible case of hives on my face.  Thank goodness I am not 16 anymore.  I could see that being a disaster deserving of home stay.  Meh whatever, so I look blochy faced.
Yes Mom, I stopped the medication and now look human again but am back to a sickly me.
Tonight we hit up Nacadoches, TX, which is in East TX.  We are playing a hotel and will be given a room, food and drinks.  Yum, free food!
And finally, tomorrow back in Austin.  Don’t let that deceive you.  There are still 11 shows to go before I’m outta here!
And by outta here, I mean off to St. Marten!!! Whoot Whoot…That’s right…vacation time!
XOX

 

 

Louisville Kentucky

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In a cafe in Louisville, I am trying to finish up my Ontario Arts Council Grant due on Dec 1st.  Lately I have been so exhausted that I haven’t been using my travel time to actually accomplish anything whatsoever.

We got in late last night from Terre Haute, Indiana (during the first show storm I’ve witnessed on this tour)  where we spent my very first US Thanksgiving with the owner of the Verve, the venue we played the night prior.   Mmmm turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry, pecan pie, pumpkin pie and on top of that a plethora of skittles and M & M’s.  Danger.

Connie, the owner of the Verve is amazing.  She has a bunch of kids, is gorgeous, lively and runs an incredible club, blues festival and a charity for children over Christmas.  Seeing her gives me hope for having children one day and maintaining a life outside of them.

This week has been insane.  We were in Chicago the night before, racing from Evansville, Indiana where we played 2 house concerts, 2 shows, and a radio performance.  We stayed with Katie James, a spunky hairdresser more hospitable and generous than imaginable.  We left with a new wardrobe, new hair, hats, full bellies, money (thanks to her hit of a house concert) and amazing memories.

Aly celebrated her 24th birthday 2 days in a row, one on the eve of her birthday into the late hours, and also her actual birthday which happened to be the night of a show.  That was quite a show and quite a few too many nights of insane partying.  After no sleep we got in the car and had to race 7 hours to Chicago to arrive at Reggies Music Joint half an hour before our set – just enough time to eat our free food!! Yummy.

With little time beforehand to plan, we just showed up in Chicago with no place to stay.  Having done this multiple times in Europe, we were not even the slightest bit concerned.  On stage we directly asked for couch or bed offered for the two of us and of course, were offered more than necessary.  Luckily we were able to wean through the creeps (I feel that I shouldn’t let me mom read this).  We met a sweet guy names Ben Masters who happened to be a jazz drummer studying at a conservatory in Chicago.  As it was the day before Thanksgiving, his 2 roommates had left for home, leaving us 2 double beds in private room.  Oh my god – HEAVEN!!!  And guess what?  He made us breakfast…awwww!

Now I can’t seem to shake this cold.  I think I am better but somehow keep catching some bug and stay exhausted beyond belief.  The last 3 days we’ve had decent sleeps in real beds but frig, my body is ANGRY!

I am trying to take it easy.  Tonight we play at Natasha’s in Lexington, Kentucky.  Our publicist is coming out to watch.  I have a feeling it will be an intimate crowd as neither of us really know many people in Lexington.

Wish us luck.  Tomorrow we are off to Atlanta, Georgia to play Kavarna and Eddies Attic!

Made it to Austin!

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I don’t know what it is about traveling that turns me into super woman but when on tour, surrounded by chaos, with little control over the happenings around me, I seem to be able to handle anything.  After reading Sam’s account of the past few days shed in a not so positive light, I realized just how much the two of us have had to put up with.

In the end, I think I am better for it, stronger, more experienced, more street smart, conscious, and balanced.
I am just more revved up for my future in music and all of the adventures it will bring.
We did it, got through our last show in New York at the adorable, moody, Sidewalk Cafe in the Lower East Side.  Sandwiched between 2 angsty girls Sam and I sullenly played to a tiny crowd.  Sam for some unknown reason suffering from a mild panic attack and me simply emotionally exhausted, we played a tight set with minimal banter (Mom, I know you like when I talk so sorry).
But here I am at Laguardia airport much earlier than necessary.  With my flight leaving at 6:30 we caught a taxi at 4:30 this morning in order to be here by 5am, perhaps an over overzealous decision since I now have an hour to sit and bide time.
Story time…?
Well, you might think yesterdays happenings were enough but no, that was not the end.  Life doesn’t let up just because you’re tired.
When we arrived in NYC, both depressed, we planned to head to the venue drop our stuff off and get a chance to wander the Lower East Side in the day time.  It is full of great little boutiques, vintage clothing stores, and nick knacks – the perfect place to browse.  However, the venue staff made it very clear that leaving our stuff wasn’t the best idea, and with the way the day had started off we weren’t testing our luck.
We opted on silent blog writing at a cafe.  Instead we went for Happy Hour and Wireless, drank a $3 pint each (Sam is actually allergic to beer) and typed.  Eventually, feeling we’d over stayed our welcome, we wasted time in small shops along the way, surely making nervous the shop keepers as our luggage and gear swung around on our backs just waiting to break something.
Back to the Sidewalk Cafe, met up with Music and Julia and hung out in the venue.  Coincidentally, they were also playing a show around the corner almost at the exact time we were.  All too cheap to buy a drink, Music bought a coffee and we felt entitled to be there as musicians – clearly the bar tender did not like us.
Music and Julia’s show started half an hour before us so Sam and I determinedly attempted to catch the beginning of their set but being Canadian and 25, I tend to forget about my ID.  Sam and I took our chances and left our stuff at the venue, which meant I left my bag which had my everything in it.
The bouncer ever-so-nicely told said let me stand by the door and said, “You know, I am being very patient and generous to let you even stand here.”
“That is so kind of you sir”, I said sarcastically.
I stayed and watched 2 songs through a glass window just to show some support.
Sam and I played and for as down as we were, we sounded great.  The duo is getting tighter and tighter with Sam’s harmonies getting stronger, her comfort level on this new bass increasing and our minds becoming more synchronized.
The artist after us happened to be the booker of Ae in Berlin, where I played this summer.  She needed a strap for her guitar so I thoughtlessly lent mine to her.  A few min later, Music arrives to pick us up in their van and escort us home to bed.  But now I don’t have my strap.  Mother!  I decide to leave without it and buy a new one in Austin – I just want to get to sleep.
Just as we get up, Tanja (the singer) blows a fuse, ” I like to scream and make noise but it doesn’t work here so I’m not playing!”
Shit, being 3 of the few people in the audience, perhaps our leaving was the last straw?
Whatever, now I have my strap!!  This is the best piece of news of the day!!! We’re on a lucky streak!!!
But no..we head to the van and are warned that Ian is not feeling well.  She is in the back of the van and has thrown up on the seat, the seat which we are about to sit on.  Julie, is a thinker and throws a wood board overtop and we carefully get in.
Poor Ian is having a rough time.
Find out that strangely enough, Music was also depressed during their set.  Was it a full moon last night?
Anyway, we got back, relaxed, packed, called a cab for the morning, ate celery, and said our goodbyes.
We awoke on time, alive, with 3.5 hours of sleep to our names, jumped in the cab, with a cabby would couldn’t speak English and couldn’t seem to understand ours.
All I know is that I have made it to my gate, Sam I don’t know.  I forgot to mention that the two of us are taking separate flights.  Not sure if Sam was going to come down with me originally, I booked my flight without her.  Hopefully she has no problems!  Cross your fingers for us!
I just can’t wait to get to Austin, see Aly, see Douglas, and all the rest.  Tonight is a night for letting loose!!!
XO

Shady Car Rentals!

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When everything is running smoothly, life is boring right?

Ha no!

So if you know me I am generally positive.    That is, until I am over stressed.   Then I become a little shaken.

Today ladies and gents was it for me.  Before I tell this story, know that I am calm now.

This weekend started off perfectly.  A great show at Goodbye Blue Monday in Brooklyn where Sam and I silenced an audience. From that show we went back to the apartment, slept soundly on a floor and raced out to catch the bus to Philly.

I spent an hour putting together the video blog of our times in Rochester, and an hour napping.
We arrived to a lovely city where all architecture is pretty and well kept, where trees line the streets and the golden sun sparkles on golden leaves.

How gorgeous! We walk to our destination which of course is about an hour walk, much farther than google told us.  Our backs may be aching but we are happy to be in a new place seeing staring up at the houses, the people, the river.

When we arrive, we realize we are staying in an all boys house, a gorgeous house, huge with a beautiful back yard and front patio.  However, if you’ve ever been in a house where 5 males lives, you will surely know how messy it can be.  No complaints.  Our host was a dear, showing us to our bed, taking us grocery shopping, playing us his music but I am definitely missing the feeling of ” at least it’s my own filth”!

No biggy.

So we have a show in PA, what we thought was Philly, but what turns out to be more of a suburb of Philly.  Part of me wants to bail and just not go, but of course, I would never do that.  So we trek out there, and is it ever a long way, and find our way to Milkboys, a cute cafe where we quickly realize not many people go to on a Friday night.

Forgot to mention that the day before I received an email from the opening band that they were told we were bringing a PA.  On the other hand, I was told they were bringing a PA.

NOPE.  They decided to cancel.  There went our local pull!

SO here Sam and I are playing to a pretty empty room for tips and feeling like more than anything we are a disturbance.  Hello self esteem!!!
Not to add, Chloe was PMSing like hell.  For those who know me in that state, not so fun…

Oversensitive Chloe and Sam ask for a drink but they will not let us have any espresso drinks unless we pay.  Only brewed coffee or tea.  Wow, I feel so very valuable.
Murderous feelings fill me while Sammi laughs and picks up the mood.

On our way back we see the real side of the city, riding back to what is called University City (there are like 3 universities in Philly) with a pile of tipsy and very oversexed adolescents.

Arrive home, greeted by boys watching sports inside in their winter coats and hats because they refuse to turn the heat on, something I understand too well.

Jump into bed, under 4 duvets and pop on a Criminal Minds…What a ridiculous show and crash.  Well I crash.  Poor Sammi is kept up by her incessant coughing.

Saturday is a new day and we are excited to play a show with a good guaranteed fee.  One issue is location – it is in Lititz PA, just outside of Lancaster, a town known for it’s Quakers, Wilber’s Chocolate Factory and Pretzels.

We need to rent a car because public transportation would have left us stranded there at night and nobody had a place for us to crash that night.  On top of that, no PA.  Lovely Erika, the owner of Lititz Junction tried her best to find one and in the end did.  Thank goodness.  A big restaurant full of people would be hard to sing over.

When we picked up the car they looked it over and the only thing we saw was some dirty spot.  Not much to worry about.  Didn’t think about that again until the next morning…

Looking forward to the drive, we went early and were able to enjoy the fall scenery.  How gorgeous!
We arrived and checked out the famous Chocolates.  Of course one of us caved in (Sam) and bought something.

We got back to the venue, were fed some delicious dinner (first time since being out on the road) and set up.

Start time was 7pm.

6 comes and nobody is there, 7 and 7 people are there.
We start and play to a large yet empty room.  About 10 people filled the room that night.  It turned out to be a great rehearsal!

Happy to get back to bed and head back to New York, excited to head to Austin and see my Aly and Doug, we smoothly zip back to the cold house.

Sleep falls on us quickly but for some reason we both wake up about every hour on the hour until we get up at 8:30am.

Wearing the same clothes for the past 3 days, sleeping in them half the time, we roll out of the house and into the car and back to Enterprise.
Drop off the car, happy and healthy, in a rush to catch our bus back to NYC.  Suddenly the manager is making us look at the dirt spot.  No no no it’s no dirt spot, it’s actually more of a scratch and guess what, they didn’t happen to write it down as pre-existing.  Stunned and shocked, I freaked out not knowing what to do or say.

No way.  This couldn’t happen.

I say I can’t deal with this now because I am no good when I am this flustered.  I mention the liability insurance I paid for but no ” that only covers if you hit someone”.  WHAT THE?  If I had known I would have bought the other.  Sneaky squirmy people!

My head is in a haze and I am super freaked.  I can’t afford to pay for a this stupid car’s repairs and I SHOULDN’T.

But now I have learned my lesson.  Never trust people who haven’t gained your trust.  I tend to be overly trusting and opened and assume that people are thorough and have only good intentions. NOT TRUE.

So I write myself a poem:

You like to think money means nothing

Until the loss of
Smacks you
Reminds you
Of your dependence
On paper

You pretend you are superior
To greed, green and commercial
Until the loss of
Paper
Pieces
Plastic cards and numbers
Mean you have less

Less freedom
Less choice
Less human

I am now less
Because I lost
I am now less
Because I have less
I am now less
Because desires are hopeless

Because numbers have decreased

Today I will remember that paper is paper and I am not less

As if to propel me out of this fantastical reality and reliance,
I lost.

Get over it Chloe!  it’s just money.  You are no less!
Yes I do have insurance through my mom who has kept it up since I first got my license but who wants their premium to go up and for nothing?

Anyway, tonight we are playing our last show in NYC at the Sidewalk Cafe which will be wonderful because it is a wonderful place in a wonderful city in a wonderful area, again Alphabet City in the Lower East End.
Got some agents coming to watch.  Wish us luck and tell me that money doesn’t matter again.

You’re as Ugly as a Flower that Stinks!

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Goodbye Rochester! Hello Ba ba ba Brooklyn!!
On the bus to New York city with Sammi.  The two of us are already zombie like, still recovering from our last two weeks of madness.
Our first time in Rochester has warmed us to this little city full of surprises.
Our lovely host Charlie Bailey toured us around the city, bringing us to the hippest and most interesting places offered.
What would they be?
1. Garbage Plate.
You may have heard via Facebook of my nauseous state.  Well this delicacy was the culprit!
Your choice of hots (hot dog wieners), burger patties, or grilled cheese atop a pile of everything comforting – baked beans, hash browns, macaroni salad, with a slop of fried onions, mustard, and ground meat will drown all your sorrows and gently lull you into a satisfied coma.
Or…you will just feel sick, as did I.
This is the food of hung over mornings or late drunken nights.  Thank you Nick Tahoos!
2.  Eastman School of Music / Concert Hall
One of the best music schools in the country.  Pay 25 thousand dollars yearly and it gosh darn better be a good school.
With Charlie being a bassoonist in the Rochester Philharmonic, we got the royal tour.  Enamoured by all the glamourous decorations, the ornamental details, bronze fish spewing water, and crystal chandeliers the size of a Hummer, poor Sammi had an air of jealousy.  U of T Faculty of is definitely not as conducive to creativity and inspiration as this school. But hey, there is a bit of a price difference!
Luckily, one of the ensembles were playing in the concert hall and from the balcony the sound resonated through our wide eyes.
3. Java
Rochester has a pretty strong coffee culture with enormous cafe’s decorated with piles of art, comfy chairs, and great music.  Not to add, the prices are to die for.  Giant cookies for $1.50, tea for $1.30?  Hahahaha try to find that in Toronto!
Located beside the Eastman School, filled with students, I would LIVE there!
Sam remembered she had a friend studying there and it just so happened that he was playing at Java on his Hammond.
So soothing to finally listen to music!
Beside me was a lovely man who loved to chat.  In the midst of designing poles for your hands, intended to make the normal man quadrupedal, he inquired about my writing (good live music always inspires me to write).
Obviously a lover of youth and art, we chatted for quite some time and he filled me with anecdotes I hope to never forget – ” You’re as ugly as a flower that stinks” (my favourites), or “Music should take you down a road and inspire you to look out the windows”.
4.  Marks Diner.
Before our show at The Bug Jar, we head out to find cheap food and were directed here.
Whoa do they ever feed you!!! Yummy Greek Salad and Chicken Wrap with a side of bread and butter more than enough for Sam and I to share.  I love American portions!
5.  The Canal.
Duck watching by the water settled our heads a little.
DID YOU KNOW??
1.  Rochester has the highest population of deaf people in all America?
2. Has an abandoned subway, home to Rochester’s homeless?
3. Has an abandoned Mental Institution with an epileptic gorilla as a mascot?
4. Is home to Kodak?
The Eastman family started Kodak and funded the development of Eastman University
Oh to learn!
5.  Had a ferry direct to Toronto?
And the learning continues…
We will arrive tonight in Manhattan and then head straight to Brooklyn, Williamsburg for a Halloween Party – sadly donned in nothing but our normal wear and perhaps drawn on curly  Captain Hook mustaches.  We’ll see!
Keepin it real everyone! (Haha)
Happy Halloween!
XOXOX
Chloe