Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tucson: Eric Hansen's houseconcert

Eric Hansen, the singer-songwriter with the voice of an angel, the curls of a surfer, and heart-healing songs, invited me to perform at his house in Tucson. (www.erichansen.com) Heaven! Roberto Montero and I flew out on Saturday. Tucson is pale desert green, spacious, gorgeous, calm, ringed by mountains, domed by a Big Sky.

The show was sooo great: lots of really kind, lively people ready for good music and a show. I sang, told stories, danced, joked around, and the ladies all fell in love with Roberto. He opened the second set with "Girl from Ipanema," which had them swooning. When I mopped his brow with my scarf, a la Tom Jones, one lady cried out, "Can I have that?" It brought the house down! Afterwards, delicious pot luck food and Good Conversation till 1am.

Eric gave me the honor of sleeping in his touring van named The Beast: beautiful double futon, flannel sheets, heating, lamps. Reading a book of meditations before sleep, the one that stuck with me simply said, "Don't Hurry, Don't Worry, Don't Think Too Much!"

I love my life!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Temple Bar, Phlight Restaurant, Valentine's Day performances

The Temple Bar show was wonderful: the musicians sounded incredible, the Sound sounded incredible (thanks to Swan Montgomery), Alecia and Kara both danced their behinds off, good numbers in the house, and financially, I broke even.

My older brother, bless him, brought a pile of wild friends who looked and acted as if they'd been bussed in from Burning Man. Lots of whooping and "tribal writhing" and sequins for our set's calm early numbers. Half of me wanted to get offstage and slap him. The other wanted to burst out laughing and hug him. He is a true Character.

The only hiccup was that my skirt fell off mid-second-dance, much to the crowd's delight. Underneath was a "beccio" (a white thin underskirt) which, as my mum would have said, "left nothing to the imagination."

All around, though, a great show!

The Phight restaurant show was interesting: lovely ambiance, great food, very nice people, but a little tricky. Diners want ambiance for their meal that's not too demanding, so I kept wondering if they found my original material annoying? I did have one table's-worth of fans, thank God. They made the three hours of singing worthwhile! Oh, and Christopher Perez, who booked us and is such a heartful, sweet man. Roberto Montero played beeeeautifully!

Valentine's Day, I had been asked to come along and sing to a fan/friend's wife as a surprise. When she answered the door, she burst into tears and cried, "Oh Bill! You didn't!" I sang three songs a cappella to them in the garden sunshine where they were having breakfast, accompanied by the screeching of trash trucks. In a strange way, it was really great. We sat together chatting and drinking coffee and telling stories for an hour before I headed off. How romantic is that?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

KPRK Radio Interview with Sergio Mielniczenko + Fake Nails

Yesterday, Sergio Mielniczenko of KPFK invited me onto his show to perform two songs live (with Roberto playing guitar) and be interviewed. Sergio is from Brazil and has a super-sultry voice that I always try to match (and fail) when talking to him on air. Bless him. He's the one DJ in LA who has consistently supported this music. He always asks me Big Questions that I love over-answering. Told one story about Manu Dibango and Andre Manga that was far too long. Must edit it for future usage!

We sounded great singing/playing too. At the end of the interview, Sergio told listeners that the first three callers would receive a pair of free tickets to our show tonight. The phones instantly lit up!

Feeling really excited about tonight. It'll be Otmaro's first time playing with us, the place should be full, the band sounds great, the dancers are ready. I even got a French tip manicure with a double gift certificate my neighbor had given me. My first ever (and probably my last). They look weird, they feel weird, they are hard to type with, and my hard-working mama-hands look like a scullery maid's with a manicure. Yet, at the same time, I keep looking at them, flitting them about, and they do make me feel like Something Special is going on. Everyone in the nail salon was cracking up at how clueless I was. Cinderella city!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Countdown to the CD Release Party

Three days until our Big CD Release show at Temple Bar on Saturday, Feb. 11!!! So excited!

Had a rehearsal on Saturday last Saturday at a Hollywood studio. The guy who ushered me into the room looked around and said, "Yup, here it is...all you need is three microphone stands and some Lysol." The stink of the room WAS gag-worthy, but I loved how he said it so cheerily and matter-of-factly. He had the traditional long fried blond hair and red nail-polish of a hardened rocker. Why are those guys always so sweet when you get close enough to talk to them?

One by one, the musicians filed in, greeting one another warmly and setting up. Stories flying around the room, Andre and Paul kicking into a bass/drum groove with some impossible Cameroonian time signature. We whizzed through the five songs we know and then launched into the five new tracks. Ooooh, they sounded SO great!

Having Otmaro on board feels like a gift from the heavens. This will be my first show ever with a pianist in the band and what a pianist!!! Everyone else in the room is so talented, I feel as though I have the best world/jazz/African/Latin band in LA!

I've been rehearsing with Alecia and Kara too, when we manage to stop chatting and howling with laughter. Lambert sounds like an angel. Also, loads of emails from friends and fans saying, "We'll be there!"

I have been performing at Temple Bar for about 4 years now. We are ripe and ready to get out and start performing nationally, internationally ... Let's go Global! May this evening be beautiful, inspiring, wild and rich and free. I am so blessed!