Gig Day/Game Day

If you've ever watched Friday Night Lights, the words, "game day" should conjure images of coach driving to school with the radio announcer talking up the Friday game, praising or cursing past performances while the electric anticipation needles your own chest. Gig day does the same, especially if it's a new place that you'd like to make part of your regular circuit.I've created some of my own rituals to employ that vary with time, travel and schedule restrictions.


I give myself the most relaxing, enjoyable day possible. This may appear odd at the top of the list, but the vibe from a good day does wonders bringing out the best of creativity, passion, and precision. Some gigs come at the end of a full day of teaching, and in that case, I might get fifteen minutes watching the trees blow in the wind. Some fall on a weekend or summer vacation. That's when I get to include yoga, exercise, and tourism if I'm on the road.


At least five minutes of meditation. Years back I stumbled upon jazz pianist Kenny Werner's book, "Effortless Mastery." It delves into both the physical and psychological mechanics of tapping into excellence in any field. There's a CD with four meditations you can use to get into a positive frame of mind. 


Vocal and guitar warm ups. There are thousands of great websites with warm up techniques. I enjoy some of the ones from the beginning section of the "30 Day Guitar Workout" book, and the breathing, scales, and arpeggios from AAron Lim's site.  


Choose a sexy AND comfortable outfit. I could pretend that it doesn't matter, but I perform better when I feel like I look and feel good.


Last Friday Dave and I played at the Epicurean Connection in Sonoma. We decided to make a day of it coordinating Dave's student lesson in St. Helena with the later gig. I cruised consignment shops and cafes while he taught, and then headed for Sonoma stopping by the Fremont Diner for some appetizers that would double as dinner. It's a "farm to table" hotspot that I've been curious about, and I wasn't disappointed.

 

 

After vocal warm ups in the car, we still had time to kill before setting up, so we watched ducks in the Sonoma Plaza before loading gear into the cool colors of the Epicurean Connection.

 

 

The room sounded great, and we started to play for a group of about ten finely dressed Spanish-speaking men enjoying several bottles of wine paired with cheeses, entrees, and desserts. They showered us in tips and bought CDs before leaving the place empty early on in the evening. We assumed folks would wander in, but as the night progressed, it seemed the streets were deserted and we would continue to provide a soundtrack for the two staff members' closing routine.

 

 

Alas, all the preparation doesn't guarantee an audience, but it does feed the soul and keep the focus on the path rather than the destination.

A Sense of Place

Since I broke free of the ever loving tractor beam pull of Chico, I have been discovering the romance of a new place. Granted, getting to know Sonoma County is more like taking a lover in Italy while on summer vacation rather than a conversation with a nice looking guy in line at the post office. The initial encounter is overwhelming enough, but it just gets better the more time you spend.

In the world of music gigs, the enchantment continues. So far we've played about five different places, each with its own charm.

First, the Gypsy Café:

We went to see Dave's friend play some gypsy jazz at this Sebastopol restaurant in the fall, and he encouraged us to talk to the owners about playing. From the first show we were hooked by the attentive, generous listeners and the wonderful dinners at the end of the night. I am so grateful to have a regular place to play that feels so comfortable and friendly. It's been a long time dream to find a "home room" gig like this, and I'm so grateful.

Then, Hopmonk Tavern:

There are three Hopmonk locations, and so far we've played at the one in Sonoma on a lovely patio, and also in Sebasotpol on an unusually hot day. Once again, even in a pub environment we enjoyed interested listeners. These are great places to develop a fan base in the area.

The icing on the cake has to be the Bluewater Bistro in Bodega Bay.

"Goodbye my beautiful ocean" was written about this very area about ten years ago after renting a beach house in the neighborhood of this restaurant. The little crowd here loved the back story about the song and seemed almost as touched as I was as I sang watching the waves below.

Dave and I have been including Tom Petty's song, "Angel Dream" into our longer sets, and the line, "I found an angel, I found my place. I can only thank God it was not too late" comes to mind. Many places feel like home as I get older; my best friend's living room, standing behind a microphone, and now I'm pleased to include Sonoma County on the list.

Story Behind the Song series

I've started a new blog in which will appear a weekly series of the story behind each of my 21 recorded songs. Over the years friends and fans who attend live shows have heard my introductions to many songs, but probably not all of them. Like a mother looking over baby books and school pictures, I'm going to allow myself to linger a bit over my creations and explore the settings and situations that conjured up these little beings. I posted the first one today which I'll cut and past into the blog right here on my website, or you can visit it directly at Tell it Slant.

Late Bloomers

Tomorrow marks a long awaited first show with my twin sister. She's a talented singer, songwriter, and guitar player whom I am fortunate enough to be closely related to. Join us if you can for a 1/2 hour opener for my fiancee's all star band, Cloud Chambers. Check the calendar for details.

Summer School

Now that the "Little Words" has officially been released, reviewed, and made available physically and digitally, I'm taking a moment to go back to school.

Really, I'm taking advantage of an involuntary work vacation to pay attention to some guitar instruction and practice even if it's just me and some online tutorials and an actual practice schedule. Since I've moved to my groovy new dowtown location, it's inspiring to sit in my lovely living room with hardwood floors and pluck away at my scales, hammer-ons, slides and bends.

My gospel choir education continues, and I feel my voice opening up and relaxing into some solo work that I always thought was in me.

I'm going to continue to push the album for reviews and maybe song licensing for TV/movies, and I've got some ideas for a jazz ensemble that I'm going to see if I can get in motion.

I'll let you know when I've got a new show coming up, but for now, back to school.....

Village People

You know that it takes a village to raise a child, but did you know an album needs that too? The idea behind the Clinton quote is that children benefit from a variety of input rather than the American lone-ranger-outpost approach to parenting.

My second album is a little bigger than the first in that it involves the band, and just like a growing child, it needs a lot more to eat. If you've come to a show, were there at the beginning Bean Scene days, played Fabulous Junkyard on repeat, or any such fan-like behavior, now's your chance to help KJB to the next level.

According to current calculations, we're looking at $3000 of recording and printing costs. Alone, I can't front that kind of cash to get the project started, but together, it's attainable.

The home page of this site has three options:

1. Donate: If you want to encourage the band to spend their weekends on this album endeavor "no strings attached", then donating is for you. I APPRECIATE THIS.

2. Pre-purchase: If you've been waiting two years for this next #$%^&* album, you probably want to buy it now. "A little guilt goes a long way" according to my old pastor, and I agree 100%. When I see those dollars piling up, you'd better believe I'll find a way to make this happen to assuage my pangs of post-protestant obligation.

3. Both:This no problem. We like.

Momentum is a powerful invisible force. Let's get it going village-style.

What's Wrong With Loneliness?

"Anything you do deeply is very lonely," muses Natalie Goldberg in, Wild Mind. The deeper I go into music, the more I understand the intensely personal nature of writing, and even performing. Bringing something of quality to the stage requires hours, months, and sometimes years of soul mining.

The paradox of my pending new album pairs the wilderness of self knowledge with the joy of collaboration and mutual comprehension. Songs brought to the surface after dark and breathless pearl diving have taken on dimension from the expertise of the Bona Fides bass and guitar work.

The next step invites further friendship by asking KJB fans, old and new, to contribute to bank of faith by pre-purchasing "Little Words". Many singer/songwriters engage their listeners in their recording ventures, and I see the value.

Alone, I can't front the money it takes to record and print the album, but pooling resources makes it possible, and a little less lonely to boot.

I'll keep you posted on the technicalities, but in the meantime, think about what friends you can invite into this process who would appreciate the music, and can stand a little anticipation.

I'm looking forward to witnessing the response of so many of you who have always encouraged me along the way. The experience will be richer for having accomplished it together.

Summer Seclusion

I suppose the fact that I have four shows on the books casts doubt on the theme of "seclusion", but I feel it. I'm participating in normal life including work, cooking, visiting my sister in Portland, biking, running, etc., and it feels good. Although the recording of my second album slowly takes shape, I'm fighting the urge to "make it happen" just to prove that I've got it together.

Friends and fans have commented on a new quality in my vocals that I think comes in part from my intentional detachment from public relations. I've known for a long time that there was some professional development needed in the area of vocals and guitar, and I think that's happening thanks to things like gospel choir, and paying attention to some sloppy elements of my guitar work and doing the time consuming clean-up practice.

Maybe my fans will get tired of waiting and forget about me. Maybe I'll lose momentum and inspiration. These are risks I have to take. I like the feeling of calm and confidence I'm developing by taking this time off frantic booking and traveling, and frankly, I don't want to do the same coffee shop tour I did two summers ago.

I've changed, and I want this next round of recording and publicity to reflect that. I invite you to wait with me for the quality CD that I'll be selling, and if you're curious about the content, come by for a show the next time Karen Joy Brown and the Bona Fides are playing. I think you'll like what you hear.

Those Who Wait

I'm shocked at the criminal neglect of this journal, but aware of the reasons. It's taken alot to get settled and employed, but upon arriving to the anniversary of my departure to Spain last year, I think I've made some progress.

1. Karen Joy Brown and the Bona Fides: We've now played several gigs and a radio spot under the alias, and have developed a decent set. It's been a long time goal of mine to recruit wonderful musicians/people for a project and it's starting to gather momentum.

2. Adult ESL: I was sad to leave Spain with its abundant opportunity for language development. I only hoped I could find some local employment that would provide income and a link to further Spanish learning. Thankfully, that is the case, and although I have a serious commute, I get to work with remarkably motivated adult students that have taught me so much already. We can't help but throw in a gossip session in Spanish at some point each class, so it's really a two way street of language learning.

3. Gospel Choir: I started attending what I affectionately refer to as "vocal boot camp" last fall in the form of a small acapella choir for the local AME church. I couldn't pay enough for the training I'm receiving, and I love the ladies I get to spend two hours with every Monday night.

4. Daily Writing/Music practice:After years of trying to develop a practice of writing and music, I think I've stumbled upon a rhythm that works. I worked through "The Artist's Way" book at the beginning of the year, and it helped free me up to discover a way of tapping into the creatve flow and put the "play" back into playing music.

I hope to add a new recording to this list, but at the risk of sending fans into despair, I am letting that process develop at it's own speed. Every time I get together with the Bona Fides and practice or perform is a step closer to the new album. I think we have a special thing going, and I want the recording to capture the joy and just good old fun we feel when we play together. So hang in there, and test the saying "good things come to those who wait."

WTF?

Toto? We're not in Kansas anymore. You really have come to the correct site if you're concerned. I decided to do a little spring cleaning, revamp the website, UPdate. Nothing like getting over a serious illness(I don't remember a lot of March due to viral meningitis) to inspire change. Over the next few weeks you'll see some information on the bio about my new project, Karen Joy Brown and the Bona Fides. I'm finally enjoying the chance to work with some excellent musicians on a regular basis, and I'm slowly incorporating some band gigs into my regular solo routine. You're invited to stop by and hear the difference upright bass and some well placed lead guitar makes with my simple songs. It really does make them sparkle like the perfect setting for a gem. Heaven knows that some gaudy gold would make a tiny diamond look ridiculous, but an antique band would bring out its quaint beauty. That's just what this trio does with my music, so I'd be delighted to have you visit the big debut on April 25th at Cafe Coda.

What's Goin' On?

Excuse me for disappearing off the map, but I’ve been getting situated back in Chico and figuring out where to go from here. If you followed my blog at all, you already know I had a wild ride in Spain, and hope to return for visits as much as possible, but am not looking to move there any time soon. Big experiences change you slowly, like wine aging in a barrel. If you were to taste it early in the process you might spit it out, but in a few months or years, it’s a delicately layered, smooth cabernet. With that said, I’m moving forward with life knowing that a fine fermenting process is taking place somewhere inside me. During the last five years I have hotly pursued some lifelong dreams and enjoyed moments that I didn’t believe possible like playing to a full house in the Sierra Nevada Taproom, or hiking my way across northern Spain with just a backpack and the kindness of strangers. What’s becoming clear in the face of these fulfillments is the need to constantly assess and revise those dreams in the light of real limitations and resources without losing faith. So, I find myself in the precarious position of balancing the need to support myself with my desire and determination to expand my knowledge and experience as a performing songwriter. Lately that looks like substitute teaching while applying to a Master’s program to teach international languages. Meanwhile, I’m getting an incredible education singing in a local small acapella gospel choir and continuing to write songs and connect with other musicians however I can. Like all songwriters, I live in a historical context that incites or inspires me. Bob Marley hoped to change the world bit by bit by bringing love and music as long as he could, and Marvin Gaye asked the quintessential question “What’s Going On?” in the midst of a troubling time of racial discrimination. Last week we elected our first black president and California voted in a constitutional amendment to curtail the civil rights of a minority group. I find myself moved to write about this typically American turn of events and hope that you all as fans will have space for me to explore the political as well as personal whether you agree with me or not. I hope that my singing, guitar playing, and powers of observation and poetry become more subtle and sophisticated rather than less as the years go by.

Buen Viaje

If you’re keeping up with KJB news, you’ve already heard rumors of my eminent departure to a foreign country. The most common response I hear when I lay out my plans is, “Of course you‘re going to Spain for a year! That makes perfect sense.” It is an equally abrupt and thoroughly predictable move. It would be an understatement to describe the past several years of my personal life as tumultuous, and music has had me drive all over California to show after show. I’ve made a concerted effort to stay put since January in an attempt to get my affairs in order, as well as some clarity on the next step. This evaluation process has revealed some realities that are unpleasant to face, but I am determined to make decisions based on things as they are rather than how I wish them to be. Truth be told, my eighteen year (I’m not kidding) residency in Chico that started as a grand adventure involving college, marriage, teaching, and finally music is like a glass of rich, complex, ruby-red wine that I have drunk down to the last drop. The bottle is empty, the buzz is fading, and it’s time to go to bed. There’s a lawyer joke that goes something like, “What do you call a hundred lawyers on the bottom of the ocean?- A damn good start.” What’s happening for me and so many of my friends is exactly that- a damn good start. I’ve got girlfriends getting married, adopting babies, and creating beautiful, dignified lives after divorce. I sense the need to create something new for myself with the basic ingredients that I know inspire me. Even more, to surround myself with those things in abundance. More low-riding than white-knuckling every aspect of my life. If you’re reading this blog, you know that no matter what I’m doing, music and writing will be a part of it. I would be delighted to keep in contact with all of you friends and fans while I’m overseas via blog, email, photos, etc. Dialogue that springs from these mediums has continually encouraged, inspired, and challenged me and I’ve come to rely on it. Please keep coming back, and wish me a buen viaje.

Room 22

I'm always busy aquiring new fans, and this week is no different. I'm currently working on my "Fans Under Four" subgroup, meaning under four years of age or four feet. I got to sing to and with the fine kids of Room 22, and it was about as much fun as any concert as we all belted out a chorus of "Home on the Range" and "Darling Clementine". In case any of these smart and funny little second graders read this message.....Hasta el almuerzo!

Bad Day/Good Night

Thursday was just one of those rough days for no apparent reason other than the fact that it was cold, rainy, and that put a lot of people in bad humor. I was substitute teaching as usual, except that I had none of the usual patience for high school attitudes from kids I’m being paid to teach. I knew I had a show, and call me strange, but I like to start off feeling confident and sassy when I’m playing my original music to a crowd of people. That wasn’t going to happen, so I had to put on my game face, and wait for the actual moments on stage to transport me outside of my self-perpetuated, introspective gloom. As usual, I wasn’t disappointed, and seeing my beautiful comrades, Marquesa and Robin, when I arrived lifted my spirit a bit. We had worked hard to prepare this event, and I certainly didn’t want to curse it with my unfounded malaise. If you didn’t make it to this show, you really missed one of the most widely attended Coda events I’ve ever played. Standing room only was the theme of the night, and the crowd was alternately rowdy and attentive. I’m proud to say that the three of us as well as the backing bands played some excellent sets. Once again I found myself musing over what an honor it was to be playing with the cream of Chico’s music crop. Of course there are many other mountains to scale, but it’s a good policy to enjoy the view along the way. Check out some of the incredible pictures taken by Alpine (of Alpine Photography) at www.alpine.myphotoalbum.com. This is the same talented guy, also a local R&B/gospel singer deluxe, who took some great shots at my CD release party last April. Plans are in the works for more collaboration that I’m excited to be a part of, so see you there next time!

Free Song Download on KJB MySpace

Happy holidays, folks. I'm enjoying a glass of wine(or two) this Christmas Eve before I head down to the bay area for some family fun. Maybe it's the wine, but I'd like to give away my favorite song from my new album, Fabulous Junkyard, called "Thinking of You" at www.myspace.com/karenjoybrownmusic The holidays are a beautiful time that mysteriously make us feel wonderfully together and terribly lonely. This song embodies both musically and lyrically the tenderness and connection we all feel with those we love, and reminds us that even the act of thinking of one another links us in ways we can't fully understand. You'll be able to download "Thinking of You" for the next couple of days, and then the window of opportunity closes. After that, you'll have to visit iTunes at http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=254484413&s=143441 Merry Christmas, and remember that I'm thinking of you. Karen

Holiday Frickin' Cheer

Trying to write a look-at-all-I’ve-accomplished blog entry in the midst of some holiday melancholy makes things interesting. While it’s too true that I: 1.Recorded and released my first album, Fabulous Junkyard. 2.Got nominated for Best Acoustic/Folk act for Chico Area Music CAMMIE awards. 3.Received a special mention for my poem, “Let Love Fall” the News & Reviews first annual poetry contest. 4.Completed a round of touring with some delightful bands this summer and fall. 5.Played my first out of state show in Ashland. It’s also true that I: 1.Filed for divorce. 2.Moved out on my own for the first time in my adult life. 3.Tried dating for the first time since I was fifteen. 4.Felt the thrill and fear of supporting myself financially via substitute teaching and music gigs. 5.Faced the fact that I’m thirty-fucking-five years old and trying to build a career and a decent concept of a loving relationship from scratch. Well then. What’s next? Here’s what I’m thinking. I’m not the type of girl who can politely take a sip and then say, “Oh no, I couldn’t possibly. Goodness gracious, little old me?” So, now that I’ve taken the plunge I’m going to try to play with a little strategy, a bit of finesse rather than the blindfolded pinata swings I’m so darn good at. Don’t let looks deceive you when for the next six months I forsake a NoDoze tour/work schedule for a more subtle approach. I plan to: 1.Submit some of the best songs I already have recorded to song contests, TV, and film opportunities. 2.Go after getting my stuff on some more internet stations like Pandora. 3.Get my press kit together so I’m well prepared for the next round of summer/fall touring. 4.Work with other local musicians for possible band/ensemble shows, recording possibilities, and just for the joy of it. 5.Record a single I’m really proud of. 6.So much more…… Thanks to all who have supported me musically and personally this past year. I can only hope that this next one will bring a little less relational tragedy and more healing and hope than we know what to do with. In fact, I invite enough love and success to make us all feel downright uncomfortable.

Poetry 99

The Chico News&Review caught my eye the other week when I noticed that they decided to follow up the ever-popular "Fiction 59" contest with one designed specifically for lyrical writers. Several friends made me quite proud this year when they entered their fiction and won third place as well as a few honorable mentions the first time they ever submitted material. I figure I can at least give it a shot. Of course, here I am painfully choosing only THREE of my poems(read:children) while the rest gaze wistfully at me as I press "send" only hours before the deadline. Having tracked Fiction 59 entries over many years, I have a pretty good idea of the quality and content required and appreciated for that particular milieu. Not so for the new game, so I suppose I'll just have to wait until the November 15th issue to see what kind of verse and meter make the cut. Here are the three I entered: #1 The Future is Quiet You speak of Europe, house projects, and San Francisco animated and hopefully. There is no echo to confirm these great ideas. Only muffled, muted sadness. #2 Transparent Everything I see at home is becoming transparent. Like living inside a memory that is the present. It seems I could pass my hand right through the coffee table and our conversation is as familiar as lines from an old movie. Why do I feel compelled to keep watching though I know exactly how it ends? #3 Let Love Fall Let love fall like tiny white petals of spring. Holy snow that won't melt. Cover the asphalt in a carpet fit for kings so commoners like us can tread barefoot on this living kindness.

A Real Weekend

I am about to experience two consecutive days off at the same time many other citizens are experiencing this phenomenon- Saturday and Sunday. There are no official gigs(except for a possible sit in at Bidwell Perk with Dave, Matt, and Becky on Sunday), and no SAT tests to proctor. What's a girl to do? I'm thinking about: 1. Finding a good book in which to lose myself. 2. Enjoying the delightful combination of a Sierra Nevada Octoberfest and a shot of Jameson. Again. 3. Getting some delicious produce at the Farmers Market. 4. Taking a hike. 5. Doing whatever I damn well please.

We're Going to Ashland

Sing the title of this blog entry to "Jackson" and you'll get the feel of the tour this last weekend. I was pleasantly immersed in the old school country/americana feel of the various band/solo/duo configurations of Ashland's own One Horse Shy. They played songs full of wisdom and wit set to beautiful finger/flat picking and toe-tapping rhythms that could make you get up and dance, laugh, and cry at the same time. As if such a delightful discovery wasn't enough, Garth Michael McDermott and the Fingerprints rolled into town to fill the Jefferson State Pub stage with some incredibly well crafted acoustic pop/rock played with passion and precision. I felt like I was in an exalted school of rock classroom, and I was hoping to get some serious detention. Sunday night didn't let up when I finally got to hear the solo work of One Horse Shy's bassist, Mysha Caruso. This seemingly soft-spoken guy enchanted the audience with his poetic lyrics punctuated with Dylanesque harmonica and guitar. I feel quite tired and quite enriched after an incredible weekend of inspirational music and conversation, and can't wait for our next shows together. Especially when I get to introduce Chico to these people at our October Cafe Coda show!

Get Out of Town

Today marks the first time I'll go out of town; out of state even, to open for some like-minded musicians. I can't decide if I'm more excited to play music in an artistic town I've always wanted to visit, or to meet the talented and friendly songwriters who invited me to come along for the ride. Four shows in three days will make things move fast, but I hope to get a bit of a feel for the lovely town of Ashland, Oregon that I've heard so much about. Be sure to check in again with this news section or my myspace blog in the next few days to find out what kind of crazy adventures ensue when you drive to another state to play music with people you've never met except through cyber space.

Silence and Songwriting

Paulo Cohelho's novel The Alquimist tells the story of a young Spanish shepherd who leaves his flock in search of a treasure he saw in a dream. His search takes him on a physical and spiritual journey across the deserts of Egypt. While traveling across the desert, he learns to adapt and learn from the silence and vastness that surrounds him. Creativity and understanding require silence for life's experiences to develop and take shape. As a songwriter, I'm becoming more and more familiar with the feeling of thoughts and ideas stirring and kicking inside me. Although I perceive those signs of life, I'm also starting to sense when those ideas are ready to see the light of day. Here are some lyrics to a song that recently came to be through that process, but requires further practice to be able to pull off in a show. Wish Me Well I didn't want to be just another broken heart Never thought I would see my story on a statistics chart But tonight, I'm alone And tonight, I know you're at home I cannot imagine what you are feeling now and you can't even fathom, cannot understand how tonight, you could, turn down the heat in this hell if tonight, you would, just wish me well Now I'm spending my days work to pay the rent and spinning stories Up 'till three am smoking cigarettes, going from glory to glory Maybe tonight, another shooting star baby tonight, I'm going to see how far Yes, tonight, I'm going to live to tell tonight, the world is wishing us well Tonight, I wish you well

Emotional Pornography

As usual, I get on board with trends about five or ten years after they become popular. I therefore faithfully report that I’ll be starting up a daily blog that will be posted on both myspace and the KJB website. The inspiration arrives via various channels, one of which includes my musical endeavors. The music industry had changed, and it’s no longer a question of being discovered by a label, but about directly reaching and cultivating fans. I want a place for those fans to connect where there will always be some new tidbit awaiting. Another reason involves a phrase, “An unexamined life isn’t a life worth living,” that I heard somewhere and has stuck with me. I find myself at a very strange point in life where I’ll admit that I’m lonely, damn it. My songbird’s mind is always musing about something and I need a place to put my thoughts other than their mad orbit inside my mind. Some say that loneliness is the result of purposeful or unintended estrangement from friends. Many of the wise have declared it the basic human condition. I think it’s most likely both, but no matter the reason, it’s a common painful experience that can be slightly soothed by knowing someone else understands. Some of the stuff in this blog may not be appropriate for those without the taste for such emotional pornography. Those people would rather keep that kind of intimacy and exposure behind a closed door and most certainly not mentioned at the dinner table. Anyone who’s listened to my music, or spent five minutes with me ought to understand that I’m not in that camp. Today is the first installment, and I’m delighted and honored to share my naked attempts at living a mindful, free, and passionate life where I say and do what I mean, and reap all the wonderful benefits and consequences of my risks.

Two Timing

I'll be at Monk's tomorrow at 9pm for the second time this summer. Looks like I'll be able to round up guitar guru Dave Elke for a few songs after his 6-9pm gig at Johnnie's. Who says musicians aren't hard working? We've got some arrangements for Goodbye My Beautiful Ocean, Gathering, Song Bird, and more that are worth staying up a little late for. Speaking of hard working and staying up late, it's going to be a busy fall for me between some serious substitute teaching and traveling gigs. I'll be heading up to Ashland for a three day weekend of four different shows in September to team up with a really fine band from the area called One Horse Shy(www.onehorseshy.net) We'll be mixing it up with show openers, whole band shows, and singer/songwriter in the round presentations. I've been wanting to get connected like this for some time, and I think my grateful heart is going to make for some good music.

Let the Good Times Roll

Who says you have to be playing the Greek Theater to have an after party? One of the reasons I do what I do is because I love the rock and roll lifestyle. Allow me to clarify. I love playing music, talking to people about music, meeting new people all around Northern California and finding connection even in our differences. When you take all that and combine it with some good friends, good beer, and tunes from the juke box at the midnight hour you’ve got magic. That’s what I’m looking for and what I’m offering when I go out on tour. Music has always been about heart connection whether it was the worship songs at church, Duran Duran alone in my room, or my guitar and voice serenading the lone woman with her glass of wine listening with eyes closed. So far the weekend has been full of good times. First St. Café was packed and people were doing their summertime job of having a good time very well. I had a first winner of a CD giveaway contest where a guy named Cody recognized the guitar solo I vocalize during “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”. I met some Chico people who just happened to be visiting a friend in Benicia that night, and got to hang out with both my sisters. Saturday night brought the unexpected pleasure of sharing a show with my San Jose singer/songwriter friend Alesandra Valenzuela. The whole thing evolved into a sing along, pub-like experience ending with an impromptu duet of U2’s “With or Without You”. What else could we all do but head over to downtown Saratoga at my favorite bay area bar, “The Bank”. Friends and fans stayed late catching each other up on life circumstances and choosing the perfect late night songs from the juke box like Alesandra’s crowd pleasing choice of Van Halen’s “Jump”, and my insistence on old school Michael Jackson’s “Rock with You”. Let’s see what other pleasures await as I head over to Santana Row for a 4-7pm outdoor show and stop by Sacramento’s infamous Fox &Goose Monday night for a feature spot of the open mic. Let ‘em roll.

Enriched

When you're broke, a few dollars make you feel loaded, and hunger makes the best sauce as the saying goes. The beginning of this year had me running around in teacher mode most of the time which left me feeling a bit musically bereft. So, this weekend really felt like money in the bank. Friday night filled me up with some jazz/rock/fusion bliss by local kick-ass trio Bright Size. Saturday unexpectedly whisked me off to the High Sierra Music festival where I was blown away by powerhouse singer/guitar goddess Carolyn Wonderland, old school bluegrass king Del McCoury, and the creepy funkiness of Les Claypool from Primus. As if all of that weren't enough, I had to haul myself out of bed on Sunday morning to bring my own music to the Spiritual Enrichment Center here in Chico. I was hoping just to perform my couple of songs with as much soul as one can expect before noon without coffee and was kindly surprised by the turn of events. My songs met with thunderous applause and even a standing ovation at the second service! People enthusiastically expressed their delight, bought cds, and demanded to know where I would be playing next. What a privilege to be part of the give and take of the spiritual/carnal riches of music.

Summertime gigs

Things heat up in July with a couple of Thursday Night Market gigs on the 5th and 17th. You'll find me next to the squash and tomatoes trying to hold on to my guitar as sweat drips down my neck. If this sounds like the beginning of some sort of twisted fantasty, feel free to stop by and check it out as long as it ends with a little cash in the tip jar.... After that, I'll be driving around the North State with a beloved First St. Cafe gig on the 13th, Frescaroma in SJ on the 14th, and then a little open air gig on Santana Row Sunday afternoon. Later that week I'll be in Modesto for a first time gig at Queen Bean Coffee. The end of the month combines business and pleasure when I play at the Headlands Coffeehouse in Fort Bragg. That makes for the second time I get to commune with the ocean after an impromptu visit to Cambria at the end of June's boggled tour week. Check back to the calendar for more updates.....

Ace in the Hole

I cruised into Sebastopol in a rental car due to a mid-week tour car catastrophe yesterday afternoon. The name of this pub expresses perfectly the feeling you get as you walk in; like you've discovered something that might get you to the end of the game and maybe even come out on top. It's got a great little outdoor seating area where families, post-work drinkers, and bikers all come together over a fine brew. I simply plugged my guitar into their sound system and settled into a three hour musical mystery tour. The crowd was so responsive and warm that I knew I had to come back to this laid back almost costal community. I talked to professors, fathers recently gifted with 12 string Taylors, and ladies who understood what I meant when I asked, "Who was your favorite Monkee?' Who wants to get dealt in to my next trip?

Willow Glen Gone Wild

As I approached dowtown Willow Glen for the show last night I knew something was up. Scores of people were walking the streets(this is the bay area- people don't walk), and the streets were closed off. Well, how does one haul 50 pound speakers from an illegal parking spot for a block? One just does. After about 45 minutes of weight lifting and deciding to park in front of some dumpsters the show began. Right outside the window was a platform with an eight piece band playing and people dancing in the streets. Soooooo, I just turned up the speakers and avoided the heart-touching slow songs and let 'em have it. More people got a chance to hear my music than a normal night, and people respected me for "the show must go on" mentality. To top of the disaster to delight scenario, my high school pal who taught me guitar, Rich Ajlouny comes in with his old band mate and music collaborator Mr. David! I even got them to get up and do some songs for the appreciative female audience that suddenly developed when they took the stage. Check these guys and their extremely creative and joyful approach to their many musical projects: www.myspace.com/richajilouny, and www.myspace.com/mrdavidmusicworks

French and Italian

If you can't make it to Europe this weekend, head over to Monsieur Beans at 8pm tonight in Willow Glen, or Frescaroma on Sunday at 3pm. I'm packing up my gear as soon as I finish this, and voila-I'll be on my way.

Made in Chico

Since the Fabulous Junkyard album was technically made in Chico, I figured that would be a good store to sell some cds. So, if you happen to require a copy ASAP and you don't want to buy it over the internet, and can't wait to buy it at the next show head on down to Made in Chico and buy one!

The Albatross

I'm always looking for a decent in-town gig, and therefore recently was in contact with The Albatross. I'm sure I'll be scheduling more dates with plenty of advanced notice, but I was recruited to do a show tonight from 6-9pm on the patio due to a cancellation. So, if you have the means to enjoy some delicious food while relaxing in the beautiful outdoor patio area, be my guest!

Thanks for Voting!

Thanks to all who participated in the voting process for the CAMMIES. It brought me some great publicity, and I was really touched to hear from alot of folks around town who stopped to say that they cast their vote for me. I actually surpassed my goal for the year which was simply to attend the CAMMIES this year, so it's really a win/win situation. But there's always next year....

And the winner is.....

The polls are closed and now I can only wait until May 5th to find out if I'll win the acoustic folk category for the CAMMIES or I just got a bunch of free publicity, shows organized and promoted on my behalf, and a cool new thing to put on my resume. I do invite one and all to come to the show where one band from each category will perform for exactly 8 minutes, and people go up and make silly acceptance speeches. I'm planning a funky outfit, so it may be worth it to come just for that.

Early and Often

It's time for me to shamelessly ask for your vote in the Acoustic/Folk category for the Chico News & Review CAMMIES awards. Whether you're a die-hard KJB fan, or just visiting this site for first time, you can still join in the fun! All you have to do is click this link- http://www.newsreview.com/chico/ballot/cammies07 to cast your ballot for Karen Joy Brown. Then, if you want to go above and beyond the call of duty you can spam everyone you know and make them do it too! Voila.

Fabulous Junkyard Party Photos

I'm sitting in Monsieur Beans on a Wednesday afternoon of the spring tour partaking of the wi-fi. Take a look at the photo section to see some wonderful photos taken by Chris M. Woodcox who just happened to come by the party with friend Dave Elke. Lucky for me, Chris does professional photography and was kind enough to drop a disk by of shots from the party. They're great!

News and Reviewed

Catch a lovely article written by Chico's own Christine La Pado in the current News & Review by clicking: http://www.newsreview.com/chico/Content?oid=302919

Fabulous Junkyard Friday

Friday marks the day I'll be celebrating my first full-length cd at Cafe Coda. I've got the dress, a date, but I'm still waiting on the CDs.... Even if you've got other plans for the evening, I'd love to have you stop by to say hello and pick up a CD hot off the press. I'll even sign it for you! So here are the only F words you need to know: Friday/Fabulous Junkyard/Fifteen dollars/Fun.

Nominated for a Cammie!

"You like me, you really like me!" O.K., I promise not to make the Sally Fields acceptance speech. I probably won't be making any acceptance speech, but it is quite an honor to be recognized by the local music scene enough to generate a nomination. Chico's 1st Annual Cammies Awards started last year modeled after Sacramento's "Sammies". It's a mixture of public and industry voting where the local music industry nominates who they believe to be worthy characters, and the public gets to vote on their favorites. Once again my competitive hackles are raised, torn between the mindless desire to be number one, and some disgust at pitting artists against each other when each one offers quality work with their own flavor. I’ve already won in the sense that it’s a great batch of PR to get as I’m releasing my album. Also, it’s always helpful to have something else to enforce credibility on the resume. Voting starts April 3rd and goes on until the 25th, so I’ll post the information again when it gets closer so you and any random human cruising the website can put in a vote. Until then, here’s the link to see who else is on the ballot. http://www.newsreview.com/chico/Content?oid=287904

Signs of Life

Spring and I are in step as signs of new life and rain alternately set the daily stage. As the tulip tree flowers defy gray skies to announce something beautiful happening, I see the album taking shape. The final mastered CD is on it’s way in the mail waiting for my approval and subsequent sending off for duplication. The graphic design is in the last stages, licenses for Eleanor Rigby have been secured, and the songs titles are being processed for registration with ASCAP as we speak. Once again I’ll put my unperfected creative work in the world to be criticized, ignored, and enjoyed. Within that whirlwind I’m still substitute teaching and tutoring, booking and gigging, and writing new songs. I’ve had some great gig experiences this last month including an unplugged jam session with other musicians featured on First St.Café’s compilation CD, a cozy night at Chico’s new Café Coda, and a delightful discovery of another favorite on my list at Lodi’s Old Arch Brewing Company and Restaurant. I’ll be doing some more traveling in early March with two weekends in Benicia, back to Lodi, and then another Monday night at Café Coda on the 12th. The next one will be none other than the Fabulous Junkyard CD Release party back at Coda Friday the 30th! See you there…

Go Roadies, Go!

I’ve returned in one piece from the 1st Annual Girls Roadie Weekend. It’s going to be tough to top the experiences that rolled out like a royal red carpet for us all weekend long. We experienced delightful accommodations at Chez Hambleton (aka-Dude, we stayed at my mom’s.) followed by a packed house at Monsieur Beans. Fans, dogs, and family made for a lively audience that egged me on to some silly monologues I am wont to indulge in from time to time. I was pleased to meet a new fan who saw a flyer at the café, checked my website, and decided to attend because he liked what he heard. Isn’t that encouraging? We had a leisurely morning that included brunch at the classic south SJ site, Alexie’s Diner, and then slowly made our way to Benicia to check in at the Union Hotel replete with oversized digital clocks juxtaposed with antique armoires, and Jacuzzi tubs. Righteous. There’s a phenomenon performers talk about that ponders the mysterious connection between an audience’s level of anticipation and participation and how it affects a show. Saturday night’s show at First St. was the embodiment of the best case scenario of said mystery. From the first strum at 8pm to the final song at 11:30, the entire audience ate out of my hand and begged for more. The sound was great, the crowd was living it up with good wine and conversation, and I was on fire. A night like that doesn’t happen often, and I’m convinced it was the love and support of my dearest friends and sister combined with the always wonderful staff and patrons of First St. Café. It didn’t hurt that as I was playing “Look upon me with Love” I noticed a table of enthusiastic fans singing along! I found out that these ladies saw me a month before and had bought my CD. They were there expressly because they heard that I was coming. Love it. I’ll only mention a bit of the after party to keep the heat off of some anonymous participants. Basically, we added four people to our group who were at the show and we tripped the lights fantastic at Choices (lame name, great music) until closing where a kick a** soul band was playing. Later we strolled the waterfront until the wee hours of the night where apparently that is not the local custom according to some uniformed officers. Thanks to all who made it such a memorable weekend, and let us look forward to next year!

From the Mountains to the Bay

It feels good to be playing music again. The last week and a half has taken me from Pangaea Pub in Quincy, to a Women’s Health Specialists open house, and on to the bay area this weekend. Pangaea Pub was a gold mine of a find up in the beautiful mountains off of highway 70. I had no idea what an artistic little town awaited me with free wifi, great beer and food, and a nice little crowd. I got to meet the KHGQ board of directors who were there to partake of the music and beverages. I’ll definitely be back in the spring and summer when the Quincy farmers market is in full swing and the place is packed. Tuesday took me to the Women’s Health Specialists open house where I was invited to play some background music while community members toured the facility and ate some incredible Indian food. As some of you may know, I had been on the board for another clinic in town that focuses on supporting women in the midst of a crisis pregnancy but does not offer abortion services. It was an interesting spiritual process for me to visit another clinic where there are similar stated goals (supporting/empowering women) but different methods. I was inspired by the messages on the walls and in the attitudes of the workers that expressed a fundamental trust that the clients coming in are capable, thinking women. Music continually takes me on a path of growth that constantly challenges me to participate, think, and stand by those ideas. This weekend is a gladly anticipated girls roadie extravaganza to Monsieur Beans in San Jose, and First St. Café in Benicia. For me it’s a time of connecting with my tribe as they follow me into my sacred world of music making what is mostly a very personal experience even while I’m performing into a party. I’m looking forward to playing songs as I watch my beautiful friends laugh, drink wine, and listen to me with the pride and encouragement we all need to keep going forward in our calling. We’d love to see you there too.

People with Ridiculous Expectations Club

Hi. My name is Karen, and I’m a lifelong member of People with Ridiculous Expectations Club, or PREC (read “prick”). One can always tell another member by the alternate surges of respect, irritation, and jealousy you feel upon meeting them. PREC members frequently spend their time wondering why things aren’t moving fast enough, why they can’t seem to do everything all at once, or survive and prosper in the midst of family and relational crisis. This grateful PREC member would like to take this opportunity to recognize the many events of the year that qualify me in this remarkable organization. This year the foundation of my life as I have known it has shifted and regrouped with all the cataclysmic glory one might expect from a 8 point earthquake in Mexico City. The friend group I have hung with for over a decade dissolved and reformed by means of divorce, soul searching and space giving, and some much needed growing up. Not to mention the losing of my lead guitar player and confidant Amos Clifford so I could focus on some personal issues. Don’t forget my fourteen year marriage being stripped down like a Mercedes in a dark L.A. alley followed by attempts at repair via counseling and some good old fashioned honesty. As the ground was shaking and the buildings crashed around my head I also managed to: - get my music on iTunes Karen Joy  Brown - do a week long summer bay area tour complete with a radio interview on KKUP - do a few shows with an old high school friend who’s also doing the singer-songwriter thing, www.alesandravalenzuela.com - won the Wild Oak Record Spring Songwriting competition followed by a showcase performance at the Sierra Nevada Taproom - got picked to be on the News & Review’s Chico Area Music Compilation CD followed by a showcase performance on the Chico State campus - played at the Oak Grove farmers market - joined ASCAP as a composer/publisher - performed at Sacramento’s Fox and Goose open mic as a special guest - sang at at least six different Borders locations in Nor Cal - played at Chico’s first annual women songwriter’s Chillith Fair - got a song on First St.Café of Benica’s compilation CD featuring their regular performers for charity As you can see, I have truly distinguished myself as a PREC member, and I only hope that some of you readers are experiencing those aforementioned surges and can count yourself a member of our ever growing family.

School is Music

I'm smack dab in the middle of the "coal mine" phase of my music plan. As the saying goes, nothing valuable is free, so I'm substitute teaching to pay for the printing/duplicating costs of the upcoming CD. My method of motivation is to tell myself that being in the classroom IS music is several ways. First, it is music because music comes from daily life. The interactions and observations an attentive mind makes are the components of a good song. Second, it is music because any work I get paid for from catering to the classroom makes it possible for me to tour, buy guitar strings, and go to music conferences. Third, this journal entry is starting to look like the paragraphs I've been teaching the fourth graders and it's making me nervous.

High Noon

It’s high noon and I’m sitting at the desk typing while still in my robe and slippers. What does it mean? The deeper meaning can be discovered by the following facts: -There’s no school this week, so I can’t be “Super Substitute” traveling between classes while students yell, “That’s my favorite sub!” -I’m still recovering from my FAR-West conference where the sleep hour total was under 8 hours for the whole weekend. -My husband isn’t here and I get the house to myself! I spent yesterday going though all the business cards I accumulated during the networking madness and started to contact people and add them to my rather gaunt friend list on myspace. I had made notes like, “Talked to him at breakfast on Sunday,” and “Incredible musician and wine drinker.” I’m still a little bit high from all the fantastic music I heard and the kindness of everyone who took me in and shared their songwriting communities with a first time attendee. I’m still trying to figure out how to link all the great people I heard so you folks can check them out. I’ll probably create a link group just for FAR-West people on my site as soon as I get through the Thanksgiving gauntlet.

Angry Mob Mauls Singer/Songwriter

I’m a little concerned that I could be facing the above headline when I tell you that that the November/December show calendar is sparse to non-existent. Just maybe, I can deflect the looks of wounded wonder and bewilderment when I explain that there are good reasons: #1 I’ll be making two important trips during November. First to the FAR-West conference where I hope to make some good connections with other folk musicians, venues, and festivals.www.far-west.org #2 I’m heading to Middletown, CA to Matt and Kristy McCabe of www.finleysound.com to finalize the mixes for the first six songs of the album, and hopefully record the last few songs too. If not, I’ll go back there again at the end of the month. #3 Everyone is so busy cooking turkeys and cleaning the house for the in-laws’ visit that no one really has time to come to a show. I’ll start up again in January for sure with a Café Flo show, and then San Jose and Benicia at the end of the month. You’ll have to hope it doesn’t rain so I’ll do Sunday morning at Bidwell Perk.

Going Aggie

I'll be heading out for my first show in Davis on Friday, November 3rd. Luckily, Roadie M will be at my side transforming a lonely drive into girlfriend fun. I've only spent a few brief moments in Davis, some I'd like to forget from my psycho Christian days. Not that there's anything wrong with Christians, but let me say if you haven't been to a pentecostal youth rally you haven't really lived! This time the only spirit that will be moving is a little caffiene at Espresso Roma on E Street and that's plenty holy for me. So if anyone from Davis is out there, join me at 8pm!

Chillith Fair

Saturday night marked Chico’s First Annual Chillith Fair. Join Chico with Lilith, and you get Chillith where eight women singer/songwriters played to a rapt audience in the Pageant Theater. I didn’t know what to expect from an evening packed with so much music in so little time, but saying that I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. The evening purred along like a well oiled machine finishing with hardly a lull between performers. When I say performers, I mean that each woman was truly a performer whether in their formative stage or at the start of a prime that I personally can’t wait to experience. My breath was taken away by complex, witty and wise lyrics sparkling in the setting of the delightful finger picking, keyboard playing, and captivating voices of each unique artist. I felt like I had taken a special trip to the city to see a show but I was right here at home! By the time I took the stage at the end of the night I was in a state of humbled gratitude and quiet delight that made it difficult to get in gear. I was reminded that it’s not about getting the next gig, or hoping that people think well of me, but about being a part of the mystery of music; the something that comes from nothing to make life seem less of a mistake. I’ve got a lot of hopes coming out of this show. Hopes of feeling less alone on this strange path, hopes of sharing the stage with some of these ladies again soon , and of being inspired again and again to believe what we can do when loving friends and strangers gather to hear what new song has decided to come to life through our hands and voices.

Holiday Lull?

It's the time of year when shows start to slow down a bit due to the fact that Jingle Bells and Joy to the World aren’t high on my set list. I’m busy planning a week long spring tour, a three week summer tour, and of course, don’t forget about making the album come together! I’ll also be attending the FAR-West Conference (Folk Alliance Region) in Sacramento in a few weeks. The conference will hopefully help out with the former list items by connecting me with venues and other performers within my genre. Don’t despair, because I’ve got two shows to choose from this weekend. Saturday night brings the Chillith Fair to the Pageant Theater at 7pm. I’ll be playing a 20 minute set along with six other women singer/songwriters. Weather permitting on Sunday at 9am, I’ll be back at Bidwell Perk enjoying a mellow morning of coffee, newspapers, and music. See you there!

Showcase Success

Thanks to those who stayed out late enough to hear me at the Chico News&Review's showcase for the release of the CAM Cd. It was an intimate evening in the basement of Chico State's BMU where I got to rub elbows with some of Chico's finest musicians and give our local paper a good show. Check out Chico State's award winning publication, The Orion's article: http://www.theorion.com/media/storage/paper889/news/2006/09/20/Entertainment/Compilation.Album.Flaunts.Chico.Talent-2285894.shtml?norewrite200609261831&sourcedomain=www.theorion.com

Members Only

You are now reading the news of an official ASCAP member. Now the royalties from my songs can start pouring in. Well, acutally I have to register the songs, but at least it's a first step!

Backwards

Singer songwriter David Wilcox has a touching, ironic song called “Start at the ending” that suggests that approaching relationships and life from the ending makes so much more sense. The breakup would be over with so we wouldn’t worry about that, and you’d get a gold watch the first day of work. I’ve been reading a book that has me making goal lists starting from a base palette of life/dream goals, to ten year goals, to five, two, and one. The idea is that by starting with dream goals for life and work you get the big picture, and from there you write down where you want to be in ten years so you know what small decisions will help you arrive. It really does make sense, and by the time I got to writing down the five year, two, and one I started to see how the small steps I’m taking actually bring me closer to my destination. The Saturday, September 9th Café Flo show fits because one of my ten year goals is that I want to become somewhat of a Chico legend. There. I said it. I’ve only been playing in town the last 4-5years, and I want to eventually be a familiar, respected part of the Chico music scene which takes time. Each time I play a farmers market, Café Flo, I’m working toward that goal. The Friday, September 15th show at Common Grounds also supports that goal by being recognized by my local media, Chico News& Review. I need hometown fans and media behind me wholeheartedly in order to go out and achieve my other ten year goals which you can read more about by checking back to this KJB news site……..

KJB Makes the Cut for the News&Review's CAM cd

Breaking news via email informed me that I made the cut for the CAM (Chico Area Music) compilation Cd! I submitted my stuff at the beginning of July amidst a lot of personal brainwashing talk (You have to try, it’s ok if they don’t choose you, those s***heads should if they know what’s good for them, etc.). It comes at a time when some encouragement would be nice, so I’ll take it where I can get it. There will be several shows around town featuring the various bands/artists and mine is slated to be September 15th at the Common Grounds café located on the Chico State campus in the BMU. I’ve been wanting to play there anyway, so I’m thankful for a chance. I wouldn’t even think about trying for things like this without the kind and encouraging words from all of you that are so generously offered when I’m playing the farmers market or I see you around town. Thanks for your support that allows me to take risks that help me move forward with my musical aspirations.

Back to work

I'm getting ready for a three show run starting tonight at the Chico farmers market, followed by the Blue Rock Shoot show with Alesandra in Saratoga, with another First St. night in Benicia as the chaser. Speaking of Benicia, the folks there are getting very close to releasing the charity sampler CD featuring First St. Cafe performers, inlcuding me! I felt like a VIP yesterday when I was signing mechanical liscensing agreements and getting back in the mail so the project could go forward. I'll let you know as soon as it's out and how to get it. There's some good music on there! I'm looking forward to playing every day and further brainwashing myself that I AM a musician.

Single Step

Confucius, or Lao-tzu, or one of those smart guys said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” So often with music I feel like where I want to go is so far away that it seems useless to try. However, I also believe that any big accomplishment is comprised of countless small decisions, efforts, and risks. On the docket this week of my “first step of a thousand mile journey” is joining ASCAP (a songwriting/publishing rights organization), meeting with a drummer to work on songs for the album, and going back to the bay for a few shows. I want to learn to approach these and similar tasks with an attitude of curiosity, playfulness, and enthusiasm, but too often I find myself freaking out about details or doing it right. Whichever way I approach it, I acknowledge that I am on my way.

Getting in My Space

I finally got into what everyone who's anyone is into:My Space. As usual, it takes my about a year to warm up to anything that is a good idea, but outside my perception and experience. After meeting various musicians who use and swear by it, I decided to give it a go. I admit that I feel like a poser because it seems like an "under 30" activity to me, but what the heck? I'll probably be a hardcore myspace person in the course of several months. Please visit my myspace page and make it look like I have friends! www.myspace.com/karenjoybrownmusic

The Purity of the Road

I’ve been getting to know the “purity of the road” that Jack Kerouac wrote about. The bay area tour at the end of June, and now I’ve just returned from Mammoth Lakes where I did a Spanish Language institute for a week. There’s something soothing about leaving everything behind and following a yellow line to wherever it may take you. It’s taken me to some beautiful places and introduced me to some fine people. I got to be a student again and sit in the back row with some like minded ladies and ponder deep grammatical questions like, “Is it functioning as a past participle and an adjective?” I forgot that I was such a complete grammar geek and could happily talk about that for at least four hours a day. The language institute happened to coincide with the annual Jazz festival, so on the last night new room mate Rosalinda and I hit the town and listened to some incredible bands while enjoying some of the local brews. Getting in at 2AM didn’t really help the six hour drive home go any faster the next day, but you only live once, no? The night before I left to go to the institute, some of you joined me for another intimate Café Flo evening. I met some fans that have enjoyed hearing me at the market for some time and made it out to the show as well as some old friends that I was delighted to see again. One friend brought along a wonderful photographer who took some great shots of the night. They really do capture the feel of the night. Here’s the link for you to check them out. http://www.flickr.com/photos/brpinc/sets/72157594197482072/

Home Sweet Home

What a great Cafe Flo evening. Thanks to all who came out on a hot July night to retire from the madness and connect with friends and music. Met some wonderful new fans along with old friends, and during the audience participation section of "Got to be a better way" I heard the best snapping ever! It's really true that it's both the audience and the perfomer that contribute to a good show and that certainly was the case for my "I'm back in Chico at good old Cafe Flo" show.

Coming soon...

Ok. I'm finally back in Chico and am heading off to deal with photos, accounting, and other loose ends so I can get ready to take off again on Sunday! Point is, I should have some photos and news up here regarding the tour as well as the Saturday show at Flo's by Friday. Check back then!

Last Stop

I've made it to Benica for the last show of the tour!Orchard Valley Coffee topped off the south bay scene with the best crowd I'd seen yet and the OVC crew gets a gold star because they actually put up the posters I sent. Alesandra sat in for a few songs and we parted with plans to do more stuff together in the future. What a lovely woman and energetic ally to have in the crazy music world. Thank you! Well, I'll be heading back to Chico tomorrow and will hit the ground running at the Thursday Night Market reminding people to come share a Cafe Flo evening with me on Saturday, July 9th. I'd love to see my Chico people there because there's no place like home.

News from the Road

Coffee Society 6/23 Friday- I’m starting to get a better idea of the occupational hazards I face. Quinton’s mechanical heroics in replacing a leaking water pump last minute put me on the road later than I intended. I found myself facing bay area traffic in 100+ heat in my not-so-cool ride sans air conditioning. However, I got to the Coffee Society on time and experienced the unexpected pleasure of Ozzy’s Iron Man in the background as I set up. The acoustics were great, and I think I gave some new listeners a good show. One down, four to go. Red Rock 6/24 Saturday- I was proud to navigate the bay area seas to land at Red Rock Coffee in time for the 7pm show. Word on the street was that my sister in law and some other friends were coming, but I made it through the first set before anyone I knew arrived. The room filled as the show went on, and I closed things up around 9:30 to varied comments like, “That was a short one.” I was puzzled until I investigated further to find that the website said 8pm, but my schedule said 7pm. Sh**. Blue Rock Shoot 6/25 Sunday, 10:45am- Found KKUP. Great promo interview with Laura Rinaldi. Thoughtful questions and sincere interest in my responses and the creative process. Played four songs, pitched the shows and my songs on iTunes. A fine connection and addition to the musical community I am discovering. 1:00pm- Arrive at Blue Rock Shoot. Set up equipment in the sweat lodge the place had become due to some unusual bay are heat. Played the first set to a small but appreciative audience. 3:00pm- Alesandra Valenzuela arrives. Hugs. Exclamations. Hearts that recognize one another. 3:05- Alesandra leads me on an improvised promotional stroll down the streets of Saratoga singing and harmonizing whatever comes in our heads. 3:08- We crash a restaurant hosting a graduation party for “Brittany”. Alesandra steals the show with inventive on-the-spot songwriting wishing the graduate well. I follow her lead and shake the maracas convincingly. 3:13- Cheering. Applause. Emphatic promises to come join us at Blue Rock as soon as the party ends. 3:15- I have more fun with Alesandra in 15 minutes than with some people I’ve know for 15 years. 4:15- I sit down and enjoy Alesandra’s wonderful performance. I’m impressed by her fun, funky style, and her engaging, lovely voice and guitar work. The audience laughs and sighs alternately caught in her story telling web. 6:00- Open mic jazz starts up making the place jump with some incredible piano, congas, and vocals. We do a few numbers and make new friends. 2:00am- Our group of old and new friends is stopped by three Saratoga cops as we walk back from escorting one of the gals home…….

Get Buzzed

Here's a link to a little preview of my bay area tour. Thanks ER for giving me some coverage! http://www.chicoer.com/buzz/ci_3963753

KJB on i Tunes

For every 50 things that go wrong, something goes right. In this case, my i Tunes link that I've been checking obsessively for a month finally works! Now, you can buy my songs individually or get all three for you or a friend by clicking http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?playListId=148151988 This is the most direct method, but if you don't want to deal with it now, I've got this in my links section for all eternity. One small step for mankind.

Before the Bay

I’m sitting here this Monday contemplating my “to do” list before the bay area week tour. It’s a bit daunting. However, I am going to employ the whole “one thing at a time” concept and we’ll see what gets done. I’m hoping to get some CD’s duplicated, some inserts printed, some flyers made, and some PR stuff sent out for the Café Flo show coming up when I get back. It always seems simple, but obstacles do arise, or sh** happens. I was talking to my dad on Father’s Day, and he handed me some of his down home wisdom that you may be able to use. He was reminiscing about his work days and people suffering from the 6P’s which he defined as “Poor Planning Precedes Piss Poor Performance.” God forbid that happen to me! I’m getting back to work.

Firsts

Sade sings, “It’s never as good as the first time,” but I’ve recently passed through some firsts that aren’t so good. I was leaving Colorado after a visit with the in-laws on the last on ramp to DIA airport where I was caught like a fat fly in an opportunely woven speed trap. Sh--! Now I get to add another $100 bucks to that vacation that wasn’t a vacation and can no longer say with smug superiority, “Why, I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket in my life!” To complete the sorry start of my departure from Colorado, our flight was delayed due to mechanical problems that caused me to miss the adjoining flight to Chico. Spent a delightful (not) night at the Radisson in Brisbane. Never been bumped like that before. Another first occurred before the Colorado trip when I played to a crowd of deaf people at a Redding Starbucks. I’m not kidding. Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I’ll mention a better “first”. The Saturday before my trip I bought my first nylon string guitar at Gates Resale. I’ve been wanting one for a long time, and I was waiting for the right price/guitar. I think it’s a good find. It’s a Kremona classical made in Bulgaria of all places from a company founded by a WWI gunsmith-turned-luthier. You can visit www.kremona.com to read the cool story. Tomorrow I get to play at my first bautismo(baptism) party for the woman who owns El Grullo on the Esplanade.

Borderline

Just seeing that word makes me want to go back and listen to old Madonna music. Really, I just wanted to update y'all about the Borders Roseville Show. I took a roadie-in-training along whom I shall now refer to as "M". We had an excellent car ride down with some fine cuisine and were met at the curb by a local music scene dude, Dave Baldwin. Dave immediately became part of the family by helping haul gear and giving us the low down on the Sac. music scene. Turns out Dave hosts the open mic at Sac's Fox and Goose, and would be delighted to have me be the featured performer sometime soon. I'll let you know.... The show went well, meaning I was feeling loose(musically) and I think the sound was pretty good. People kept stopping by to check out the music in the midst of their book purchases, and everyone in the cafe applauded enthusiastically at the end of each song. Cool. Afterward roadie M and I decided that we needed to check out the local scene and we stumbled upon the Town Lounge. Not ANYTHING like the Chico Town Lounge for those of you who may be aquainted. We had a nice drink and chat and arrived back home a little tiny bit later than we had intended. Check out the pics in the photo section......

Bay Area Booking

Every now and then things go well with booking. It's a proverbial jackpot when you can book several gigs at once, and that's what happened. I'm in the process of rounding out my bay area week at the end of June, and I made a great connection while calling Saratoga's Blue Rock Shoot. I spoke with a guy who books for several venues right up my alley: the Coffee Society in Cupertino, Blue Rock Shoot in Saratoga, and the Sofa Lounge in San Jose. Now if I could just hit on that kind of luck in Chico........

Call in sick?

I woke up exhausted last Saturday morning and my throat was pretty messed up from a spring allergy onslaught. I was due to leave for two shows in the bay area in a few hours and I was perplexed. I really wasn't sure if my voice would work for two grueling three hour sets, but I was kind of excited about the trip. Sanity told me to take it easy and just cancel the shows because I need to take care of myself. The clock was ticking, so I went with the stubborn determination I was feeling to not miss out although it was not the most reasonable course of action. As it turns out, the Bencia show was a lot of fun as usual, and all the hot water with lemon and honey I had been drinking non-stop seemed to do the trick. The crowd was small but attentive, and I met two ladies who just loved everything I played and bought CD’s. I think the trip was worth it just for that. The next morning I left early for San Jose for my outdoor show at Santana Row. It was a sunny, beautiful day filled with that lazy, Sunday feeling. People were strolling around the shops, enjoying the outdoor seating at the lovely cafes and restaurants, and I was playing my music to a new crowd. So many people stopped to say how much they liked it and wanted to come to my bay area shows at the end of June. I’m glad I didn’t call in sick.

Oh, what a night!

I’m still savoring the experience of the Taproom show. This is the first show I’ve tried the disposable camera concept in an effort to document/celebrate/propagandize with pictures, so I got to muse over the memories as I uploaded. Click on “photos” in the toolbar and you’ll see a few shots from the evening. A big thanks to Angela and Jim who snagged one of the best seats and let me sit with them while I waited for my turn. It felt good to be with friends who would shower me with supportive comments before and after my performance. Thanks to the whole crew who occupied a table on the other side of the room. I knew I had a whole table full of love when I looked out onto the crowd. Thanks to new KJB fans who came because they got the email, or took me up on my invitation the Friday prior at Duffy’s Pub Scouts happy hour! I had a wonderful time playing to such a large crowd in such a cool place, being the only woman performer of the night, and meeting all the other songwriters and bands. I hope to do a show with a really wonderful songwriter, Bobby Martinez who plays primarily with his band, The Bennys, in the Sacramento area. Three cheers for Wild Oak Records who worked so hard to organize this event, and for giving me the judges’ vote that allowed me to be featured in the show. Hip, hip, hooray!

Every day is a winding road

As overplayed as Sheryl Crow is, the woman CAN write lyrics. “Jump in, let’s go. Lay back, enjoy the show……. Every day is a winding road.” To get anywhere in life requires planning, hard work, and the single-minded pursuit of a vision which sometimes obscures the scenery of the ride itself. Music, like any great love should, makes me a little crazy and in the process of trying to make things happen I forget what the hell I’m doing it for. I think it’s because I love to sing, reflect on what life means and why we bother with it at all, and frankly, I get a big rush being in front of people saying alternately silly and profound things while putting on my show. All artists need an audience, and today I’d like to appreciate the fact that I have one and I get to perform in one of the coolest spots in town, the Sierra Nevada Taproom. Of all the times I’ve hung out there sipping on a Brown Ale, taking every guest that comes through to a meal, the birthdays that have been celebrated , I honestly never pictured performing there. One of the reasons it took me so long to dive into the music scene at all is because it seemed so impossible (and wonderful) that it didn’t even cross my mind. Now this evening I’ll be playing a 20 minute set of MY OWN MUSIC in a place I thought only big names could play. So, instead of obsessing about where I’ll end up, if I’ll ever make a living in music, I’m going to go through today with wide eyes thinking, “So this is what’s it’s like to do music!”

Monday, Monday

Mark your calendars for Monday, April 24th at 6pm for an evening only to be found in our groovy little town. Sierra Nevada graciously offers Chico State’s Wild Oak Records the whole taproom once every spring for their annual showcase of local music talent. It’s a great example of how things should be: a local business working with the university in hopes of mutual promotion and support. I’m really grateful to be included in this year’s scene along with fellow singer/songwriters and two of Chico’s favorite bands, Three Fingers Whiskey and Deer Pen who have received a lot of good press lately. I’ll fill my 20 minutes of fame with the best KJB material along with a new one I debuted in Benicia to some serious audience approval. Pass the word along and let’s pack the house!

Santana Row Rained Out!

I won't be singing in the rain, so I'm terribly sorry if you were planning on stopping by. Forces beyond my control(how is that possible?) dictate a cancellation, so I'll see what I can do about scheduling another Santana Row appearance back to back with my next Benicia show on May 6th. Check back to see if the booking gods show me favor!

Winning isn’t everything- but it’s kind of cool!

I suppose Pa’s pep talk paid off because I dragged myself to that songwriter’s competition, gave them a heartfelt dose of “Thinking of You”, and I won! Well, at least the panel judge vote. Winning means that I get to play at the illustrious Sierra Nevada Big Room on April 24th along with other competition winners past and present. I’ve seen a few concerts there, and I certainly salivate at the opportunity to play at such a beautiful venue. It’s been an aspiration of mine to play there eventually, so I’m glad to get a taste sooner rather than later. Thanks Wild Oak Records people, and thanks to all of you who encourage me with your words and support! I think Pa would be proud of me for participating and winning.

Winning isn't everything......

I recently saw an old Little House on the Prairie episode replete with this sentiment. Each character learned this lesson in some heartfelt, tear-jerking manner, and I was downright inspired. If you’re wondering why I was watching Little House, well, some people smoke crack, and some people mainline TV shows that present the "family you never had" when parents were doing whatever it was they did in the 70’s. I’m a “slightly “competitive person, so when all the contests and competitions related to songwriting appear I tend to retreat into a fit of irritation and secret longing to have everyone vote for me. So, after the Little House pep talk from Pa, I decided to get out there and give it a shot. This Wednesday at 8pm, I’ll be at 1078 Gallery participating in Wild Oak Records’ songwriter’s competition to be decided by audience vote and a panel of judges. It’s a little like scenes from “Never Been Kissed” where Drew Barrymore returns to high school to write an undercover piece on students when I show up to Chico State’s recording arts program special events. I feel like everyone must know how profoundly uncool I am, but then I am distracted by the enthusiasm of these students for the music industry and the high caliber of songwriting and musicianship I encounter. So, win or lose, I hope I have a good time playing music to a crowd that probably wouldn’t get to hear me otherwise and get more practice winning joyfully or losing with grace.

Three for three

Made it through last week’s three show extravaganza with flying colors and some big headaches. Monk’s was a delight as usual starting off with owner Colleen complimenting my retro plaid skirt. Once again the place was packed with people enjoying wine, fondue, and appetizers as I sang and watched helplessly. Got some great compliments and encouragement as if I needed any to book another show there ASAP. I begged the crowd to send some people to my three hour LaSalle’s gig the next night and received the worthy exhortation from a new fan to “expect nothing” and then anything good that does happen will be great. Well, he was right and LaSalle’s turned out to be a lot of fun. First off, I felt like a real star with a personal sound guy, Rich, who made my voice reverberate through that sacred bar’s huge space. There I was onstage at the pinnacle of my Chico career singing to a decent pre-St. Patrick’s day crowd bent on whooping it up and playfully heckling me to be a human juke box. At one point I was looking out on the small but spirited crowd swaying with their lighters held high like I was the Rolling Stones or something. I’m apparently that cool. Friday found me in Marysville for a three songwriter showcase in a quirky theater housed in an old cannery building. I met before the show to talk shop with young fan/fellow songwriter, Amber McDaniel who is working diligently on her own singing career. The hour flew by as we talked about demo cds, printing, performing, reading, having fun and how all those things fit together. This young woman is dedicated and I have no doubt you’ll be hearing her name more and more as she pursues her career in the north state and beyond. The rest of the night unfolded with me up first playing to an attentive audience. They really enjoyed my version of Johnny Cash’s Walk the Line and I received some pleasant compliments on my unique style. I spent the rest of the night enjoying my introduction to two of Sacramento’s best singer songwriters, Robertta Chevertte and Phillip Flathead along with a bonus performance of a visiting friend. Each performance was captivating in it’s own way with enchanting combinations of some great guitar playing, singing and creative lyrics. I was honored to be a part of it. Check them out in the links section of my site. Maybe I’ll get one of them to come up and do a Chico show with me. Next up is Benicia on April Fool’s Day. First St. Café has been cooking up all sorts of interesting stuff like getting the calendar section of their website to have photos and audio clips so people thinking of coming to a show can have a little preview. They’ve invited me to contribute a song to a compilation CD of those who play at the café that they’re putting together for charity. Once again I’m so honored to play at a venue so on top of promotion but also dedicated to making music events the joyful, inspiring community gatherings they should be. I’ll let you know when it’s done.

Arrivals and Departures

I’m still thinking in travel mode after riding in more airplanes, subways, trains, and cars in one week than the in last ten years. When on the road, my senses are always straining to see something beautiful, something good, something human. I suppose travel evokes such thoughts because there is so much coming and going; joyful greetings, and tearful goodbyes. So many chance meetings and moments of brilliance that may only last for a few moments, a few hours, a few years but will always be remembered. My sister and I happened upon such a happy accident on the plane from Baltimore to our Chicago connection. A packed plane got us sitting next to two fine young men; clean cut sixteen year old Ethan, and long-haired professional programmer Eric. I was questioning the flight attendant about carrying on a guitar since we hadn’t had the best luck with checking my sister’s when Eric leaned across the aisle to tell us how his brother brought home a sweet classical guitar from Spain and just shoved it behind the last row of seats like where we were sitting just then. From there we spent the most rollicking two hours hearing all about his adventures working in southern Spain’s beautiful Costa del Sol, and Ethan’s saga of multi-state and school mishaps following his stepfather’s ever mobile career. We toasted with straight up Coke for Ethan, Jack and Coke for me and Eric, Kim with a beer, whatever sundry thought we could come up with from recently departed great grandmothers, to lovely ladies and gentlemen, to the complementary liquor courtesy of a fun loving flight attendant. Sometimes it’s a good day to be a human being 10,000 feet in the air trapped in a metal box. Cheers again, Ethan and Eric! I know you’ll go far if you mix your devotion to work and fun with your beautiful hearts. As for departures, I’m heartbroken to have to relay the news that my wonderful lead player, Amos Clifford, won’t be part of the show. You can still catch him playing with one of local musician Rich Cockcroft’s ensembles, and hear his leads on the Fabulous Junkyard album when it’s ready. His support, collaboration, and friendship has taken my music to levels I only hoped were possible and I will sorely miss his presence, smile, and beautiful sounds when I’m playing live in and out of town. More arrivals next week in the form of three back-to-back appearances: 7:30pm at Monk’s on Wednesday the 15th, La Salle’s happy hour on the 16th, and 7pm at Marysville’s new music venue, The Gallery for a triple bill line up of songwriters. Those of you faithful website visitors may also notice that I cancelled this Saturday’s Coco Café show. Too much on the plate for now, but I’m sure I’ll be back there soon. It will be hard for me to return to the solo Karen Joy Brown scene since I so enjoy the live interaction of acoustic instruments and human beings, but Lord knows I’m crazy enough to fill the stage by myself with my humor, sorrow, and songs.

West Coast Girl

East met west last week as I traveled about from Maryland, to Boston, to New York city and back with my aunt and twin sister. Even though I’ve been in California for the last 20 years or so, my heart always skips a beat when I go back to the states of turnpikes, beautiful brick buildings, and snow. The songwriter in me reveled in people watching, listening for Boston and NY accents, and reconnecting with my beloved aunt who’s story can be heard in my song, “Change Your Name”. I’ve seen the light, and sooner or later, I have to plan a Karen Joy Brown east coast tour just for an excuse to get back there ASAP. For now it’s back to work on the west coast in the slow process of putting together an album I want to listen to. With five tracks already recorded, it’s time to get in touch with the right musicians and production people to polish and prepare the songs to stand the test of repeated listening. I’ve got some avenues to explore, and I’m looking forward to seeing what some collaboration can create. Here’s some poetic musings from my trip to show what a crazy songwriter type is thinking while taking the commuter Amtrack train from Penn Station, NYC to the Baltimore metro……. Take the train Though it moves so slow Through the dirt and gray-white snow Though all along be old and Used, Broken windows, bricks and Blues Garbage trails and highway art Lonley places, Lonely hearts Take the train And watch all well, Live the heaven, leave the hell Take the train And on the way Wide-eyed, openhearted Stay.

Back to Electric Canyon

What a difference a year makes. Last year Amos and I drove up the lovely road to Dale Price’s Electric Canyon Studios not knowing what to expect as we recorded the EP we’ve been selling for the last six months or so. We fumbled through and learned the general process of tracking and mixing songs and came out with something pretty enjoyable and functional for getting us some more gigs. This time we were able to track four songs- Change your name, Thinking of you, Please don’t go, and Porch song in one session. We felt really encouraged by the quality we were able to produce after a year of rehearsing and performing these songs. Plenty of mixing work awaits, but we’re excited about how it’s going to sound if we feel this happy about the initial takes. We’ll keep you updated.

Do you know the way to San Jose?

While some of you are attending the Church of the Holy Mattress this Sunday morning, Amos and I will hit the road humming that catchy, but annoying Dionne Warwick tune. I hope we have lots of friends in San Jose because we’ll be playing at the Santana Row Borders bookstore at 2pm. My SJ connections inform me that it’s quite a happening spot, so there should be at least an intermittent audience for us. Borders bookstores are EVERYWHERE, and it seems they frequently host live in-store performances. Lots of singer-songwriter types use Borders gigs to fill out their touring schedule, and it seems like a good idea to me, so here’s to the first one!

Wednesday at Monk's

Wednesday, January 18th at 7:30pm you could be at home watching TV, but what about sipping a glass of wine at Monk’s Wine Lounge instead? Let’s face it, winter is to be survived, and a midweek wine and music break might be just what you need to face those cold, dark mornings before work. Amos and I have got a really nice set prepared with just the right mix of soulful and soul-searching songs to inspire and delight. We’ll be waiting for you…..

New Year Resolutions

There's something magical and terrifying about making resolutions, but I think these are both reasonable and motivational for KJB music: 1. Write and perform more songs that are maximum fun, minimal effort. 2. Play in beautiful, inspiring venues as much as possible. 3. No more Mrs. Nice Guy when it comes to performing. Own the stage with pride and pleasure. 4. Attend lots of live shows in town from the Pub Scouts to the Big Room. 5. Become a novice booking agent. 6. Enjoy every moment of this wonderful musical life I have chosen. Hauling speakers to sparkly earrings and heels. What more could a girl want? 7. Learn more about taking rejection in stride, and gracefully. 8. Allow myself to feel really cool when fans, venues, and fellow musicians like me. 9. Sing and play unplugged outdoors more. 10. Record an album I want to listen to.

Tis the season for.... booking?

Other people may be out shopping, wrapping presents, or planning holiday meals, but not me! Nope, I'm on the computer hunting down groovy spots in the bay area to put on some KJB shows. It's sort of in the holiday spirit, because I'm trying to give these little venues a musical gift. More accurately, to make them believe that they really MUST take advantage of this exquisite offer like any other advertiser this time of year. Speaking of gifts, ah ehmmm, is there anyone on your list who simply MUST have the current KJB cd? You can order it right off the website, and voila, it will be delivered to the proper doorstep! Another gift I am busy preparing is some new songs in the set list. When Amos and I are considering songs our new criteria is, "maximum fun, minimal effort". We've got a catchy, in your face version of Billy Joel's "My Life" going, and a suprise written by our very own Amos Clifford called "Crazy Little Angel" with some quirky guitar stuff that fits the maximum fun requirement. So to quote a wise man of our time, "Don't you worry 'bout a thing"*, because I'm here keeping the music simmering on the back burner ready to serve up hot and spicy as soon as all this holiday cheer settles down. *Stevie Wonder (you really MUST get the Inner Visions album if you don't already have it.)

A Year in Music

Things are slowing down on the calendar now and it's a good time to reflect on the productive year it's been for KJB music. *Hard to believe, but this is the year we started playing cover songs!Eleanor Rigby, Don't Stand so Close to Me, and Don't Stop Believing all made their debut at various live shows. *Karen Joy Brown EP's got recorded and delivered into the hands of ever so patient fans, and onto local music shelves at both Tower and Melody Records in downtown Chico. *We kicked off the KJB World Tour in modest locations like Benicia and Marysville. *New personal favorites like "Thinking of You", and "I Know What Heaven is" were created. *We opened for several shows of Chico music veterans like CrazyGrass and the R E C Band finding new fans and having alot of fun exploring the Chico nightlife scene. We feel like real musicians now! Next year will mean more musical adventures as we record the "Fabulous Junkyard" album, step up the out of town show schedule, and book some performances at new Chico venues. Thank you so much for coming out to shows this year, buying the CD, and bringing new friends to enjoy the music. I'm truly grateful when I think of all your encouraging words and support. Keep checking the calendar for impromptu shows and updates/photos/soundclips of the album progress!

Brick House

The second stop in the KJB fall tour extravaganza lands in historic dowtown Marysville at the Brick Coffeehouse Cafe this Friday, November 4th at 8pm. It's a dinner and music show that starts serving an hour before the show until 9pm. Join us if you can for one of the last shows of the year before we start hibernating for the winter rehearsing and recording the full-length album in the dark, cold hours ahead. We'll keep you informed showing special sneak previews and photos documenting the making of the album, so stay in touch! See you at the Brick.

Eat Sushi for Mexico

Join us Friday at Teaz Me to drink tea and eat Asian food to help Mexico! Keep reading.... We'll be playing an hour long set around 6:30pm, and then Climbing Ivy will take the stage. A percentage of what you buy will go to the youth group at a local church's annual trip to Mexico to help build houses for a Habitat for Humanity-like organization. If you haven't been to Teaz Me before, it would be a great time to check it out. Hasta la vista, amigo-san.

Let's go Crazy

This Friday we'll be back at Moxie's Cafe and Gallery as guests of Sid Lewis's newest project, CrazyGrass. Amos and I will play a few songs during the break, and we're delighted to share the stage with these Chico legends. Sid runs Chico's version of a school of rock, The Acoustic College School of Music, and is an award winning banjo/guitar player himself. Join us for a great "unplugged" evening.

From First St. to Cafe Flo

We couldn't have had a better first out of town show experience than we did at First St. Cafe. It was as lovely as we had hoped, and it was a rare treat to set up our equipment while gazing out the second story windows onto the bay. My whole family showed up in support forming the most important part of an attentive, encouraging audience. We can't wait to go back, perhaps another trip during the winter months to come. Visit the photo gallery for a glimpse of our wonderful first touring show! We'll be returning to Cafe Flo this Saturday, October 15th for an equally promising evening. I've never seen an audience so involved and eager as our last Cafe Flo crowd, so we'd love to have you come out and participate in what ought to be a deliciously cozy October evening show.

Two of a Kind

Two unique events occur this week in KJB history. First up is my glorious RETURN to La Salles in dowtown Chico. Not many of you may recall that long ago when I was just a wee Chico State undergrad I graced the stage of La Salles for a fleeting moment. One of my Konkow dorm mates was in a band, and I was invited to sing back up for their rendition of Gloria, G L O R I A. Well, in a slightly more bonafied way I'll be opening for a bunch of bands that have organized a fundraiser for Hurricane Katrina victims. Amos and I will be onstage at 9pm accompanied by Rich of the Butte County Players Club on upright bass. Should be a real hoot! Next up is my first out of town experience! I'll be heading down to Benicia to play at the First St. Cafe located in the quaint waterfront dowtown area. I hope to get some pictures of the show up on the site so you can share the experience with us at least in spirit.

Saturday Night Fever

Thanks to all who came out for our first show at the Coco Cafe! I think we've found another great Chico venue. New fans were made thanks to the Coco staff talking up the show and long term fans bringing friends. We had a great night inspired by the attentive audience that allowed Amos and I to make the most of subtle vocal and musical nuances that can get lost in a loud enviornment. We felt quite famous signing CDs, and the Coco staff definitely wants us back before the year ends, so keep an eye out on the calendar for another hot Saturday night show.

At the Coco

Saturday, September 24th you're invited to join us at the Coco Cafe, a secret little coffee shop hiding in a corner next to Kinko's. You'll hear new songs, and old songs that have been renewed, so come on out to pack the house for our first show at the Coco.

Shall I compare thee....?

As an independent artist, I get to be my own public relations person. That means I think of neat things to say about myself that new venues, the media, or reviewers can refer to when they write articles. People reading those descriptions often want to know who I sound like. Naming well known artists that have similar qualities is often more effective in generating interest than just naming a catergory like "folk rock". It's almost impossible for me to perform this exercise in an impartial manner, so I invite YOU to click on the guestbook and let me know who I remind you of. Thanks for your participation, and I'll fill you in later on everyone's interesting ideas! Remember, a rose by any other name smells as sweet.

KJB CD at Tower Records

Time for another shameless plug because as the saying goes, "If you don't stick up for yourself, who will?". Let anyone know who might be slightly interested that the KJB CD is now available at Tower Records in lovely downtown Chico. It's great news for people who fear buying on the internet and haven't been able to catch me selling CDs at the farmers market. Thanks for being my promoters!

Radio Friendly

Well, Chico has done it's job of sending another hapless victim to audition for American Idol in Chicago. I spent all Saturday with the other judges, three of Chico's finest radio personalities from Z-Rock to KCSC(Chico's college radio)trying to get these cute, young country/R&B singers to do something like "Sweet Child of Mine" for us. No luck, but we had a great time, saw alot of talent and got this really cool pen that lights up and an American Idol baseball cap. These are the perks I'm in the music industry for. Check out the article in the Chico ER. http://www.chicoer.com/local_news/ci_2980358

Judge Brown

This Saturday I'll be in the local Fox/30 studio for the second time listening to the long string of American Idol wannabes screech, warble, or croon their way to the top of our judges list. Once again I'll play "Paula's" part in our local Norcal Idol competion that sends one lucky winner to a real audition with the big boys. I'll let you know how it turns out......

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