~Kelly Brightwell CD Release: I had the honor of playing drums for Kelly Brightwell at her CD release party in Portland, OR, this month. Her new album, Hearts and Home, is stunning, and I don't say that lightly. There are very few artists and CDs that really speak to me, or that I would listen to more than once in a very cursory way. Hearts and Home blows me away every time. The writing, vocals, production, and arrangements are stellar, and the drums, played by Anders Bergstrom, are flat-out amazing. It was a welcome challenge for me to figure out the multi-layered percussion textures in these songs and come up with hybrid parts that could be played live. I hope Kelly will tour this record nationally as it truly deserves a mass audience.
~Django Jones finds a publicist: Waldmania!, one of the foremost (and only) PR firms who specifically represent kids' music artists, has agreed to take us on as a client to spread the word about D is for Django. We are SUPER excited! We've set an official release date of April 2014, with a three-month PR campaign leading up to the release (but you can still pre-order the record up until that date here).
~D is for Django: The Django Jones CDs arrived! We assembled and mailed 400+ packets for all the pre-orders and Kickstarter backers of our kids' music project, which included folding several hundred copies of the miniature kids' book by Doris. Whew! It was quite a undertaking, but felt good to be getting the CDs out and into the hands of the people who helped make the whole thing happen.
~Girlyman: Sadly, this month marked the end of our beloved band. Doris announced on what would have been Girlyman's 12-year anniversary that she is officially leaving the band. I am heartbroken that this project that meant so much to me is totally over. But I also know that closure is what's needed right now. Girlyman may yet live again, but in order for that to happen the old Girlyman has to pass. There is so much more I could say on this, but for now I am just grieving. Please send lots of love and good thoughts to us during this intense time of transition.
~Lucy Wainwright Roche: Lucy's record, There's a Last Time For Everything comes out next month and Mary Chapin Carpenter and I are both on a song called "A Quiet Line". Very exciting and a big honor, as I am a fan of both of these amazing songwriters.
~Margaret Cho: Nate, Doris and I performed the song we wrote and recorded with Margaret called "Fat Pussy" at one of her Atlanta dates at the Laughing Skull this month. She's making a video for the song and wanted to film us playing a live version. So fun! The best part was getting to see her stand-up routine. I'm The One That I Want is still the funniest movie I've ever seen and made me an instant fan, so it was amazing to see one of my comedy idols and activist heros at her best that night, as well as be in her back-up band!
~D is for Django mixing done: We finished mixing the Django Jones record and have started on the artwork, cover layout, and mastering. It's been an amazing 7 months of creating and so awesome to hear how it's all fitting together!
~Girl's Rock Camp ATL: I participated in Girl's Rock Camp ATL earlier this month and had an absolute blast. Here's what Doris from Girlyman wrote about it: "We taught 10-16 year olds. Some of them had never even played an instrument, but by the end of the week all the girls had formed bands, written a song together and performed it to a crowd of 200+ cheering people. We were beaming with pride!"
~Beverly "Guitar" Watkins: I had the great privilege this month to be part of the backing band for Atlanta blues legend Beverly "Guitar" Watkins. This 74 yr-old phenom has played with such greats as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and BB King. It was an absolute honor to play with her, and as you can probably tell from this pic, she tore the place up.
~Kickstarter successful: The D is for Django Kickstarter was a success! Our friends, family, and fans pulled us through at the end and we made $6500 in the last four days, making us the most popular music campaign on the Kickstarter site for that time. I am grateful to everyone who participated, and generally made us feel loved and supported. Y'all rock, plain and simple. Thank you.
~Margaret Cho: Nate, Doris and I had the distinct pleasure of writing and recording a song with none other than Miss Margaret Cho! Margaret was in town filming the next season of Drop Dead Diva, so she stopped by and we proceeded to write and arrange a song on the spot, and recorded the entire thing over the next week. It is called "Fat Pussy" and is as X-rated as it sounds (do you expect any less from Margaret??). Fave quote from her: "It's art. We have to make it." Well said, madam.
~Tylan's CD: Tylan's CD One True Thing was officially released and I am playing drums on three tracks. I recorded my parts with Michael Connolly at Seattle's Empty Sea Studios last September. Michael is one of my favorite producers to work with because he's incredibly specific as to what he wants in a drum part. It's challenging (and a bit nerve-racking) since I never know what he's going to throw at me. To add to the challenge, these songs were already mostly recorded by the time I did my drum tracks AND they had not been recorded to a click. So, it was an intensely focused experience, but in the best way. To hear a track, go to my Audio page and listen to "Earthquakes" or "Wild Awake".
~ Django Jones Kickstarter: We've launched the Kickstarter for D is for Django! Check it out at: http://kck.st/10ukkdL. We had a ton of fun getting everything together for it, especially the video. Can't wait to see what happens!
~Nate's CD: Nate Borofsky put out his solo CD Every Wish this month and I am on three tracks. (Go to my Audio page and listen to "Rule Number One".) I had an awesome time recording these songs as it allowed me to explore tracking in my home studio a bit more. I'm really proud of Nate for this record, too. It sounds GREAT.
~Recording continues: Recording continues for D is for Django, as does the great time we're having!
~A name for the CD: We're continuing to write and record basic tracks for the Django Jones record, and we've come up with a name for the album (or, I should say, our neighbor came up with it!) -- D is for Django. So great.
~Django Jones pre-orders: We've also started pre-orders for the album, so sign up to get an advance copy and digital download of the CD and help support this awesome (if I do say so myself) project!
~Teaching private lessons: This month I started giving private drum lessons here in Atlanta. So amazing! It's an incredible feeling to witness someone grow and get better right in front of your eyes. Thank you, Universe! for showing me that I have so much to offer and can be of service to others in this way.
~The birth of Django Jones: With Girlyman on hiatus from touring, I've started working on a kids' music project with Nate and Doris (of Girlyman) called Django Jones. A children's record is something we've talked about for a long time as there are so many kids who are fans of Girlyman, and because we each already have children's songs we've written that we've been waiting to do something with. So, we are excited! It feels good to be working on something so fun, and so freeing. Pretty much anything goes in kids' music and we can be as silly and goofy as we want -- just like we already are! ;)
~Ladies Rock Camp ATL: I was an drum instructor and band coach at the Ladies Rock Camp ATL this month, and it was a truly life-changing experience. Here's what I wrote on my Facebook page about it: "I had an incredible time this weekend teaching at Ladies Rock Camp ATL. So honored to coach my band 'The Pills' who ROCKED their showcase song on Sunday night after having just met each other on Friday (and three of the members had never played an instrument before). I was humbled and inspired, to say the very least. Feeling huge thanks to have had this amazing experience." Can't wait for the Girl's Rock Camp ATL in July!