The New Songs…

 Grateful Blog: Day 91: I spent the morning writing 2 new songs. They’re coming lately in bunches. I can’t say why but I think finally having my CD ‘Ash and Bone’ done has a lot to do with that. The weird thing about being a songwriter is I never know when they’re going to come. I can prime the pump for sure; try to get in the right ‘space’, in the ‘flow’ as it were but sometimes it just boils down to some finicky combination of available time, restless energy and the sheer discipline of just doing it and not letting yourself get distracted.

The truth is I have no idea how or why it works. I spent several hours on one song this morning while it was raining furiously, the song was predictably moody, poetic and full of the melancholy I was obviously channeling. At some point I ran out off steam but felt it was close. I then noticed the bright sunshine that I’d failed to see for who knows how long it’d taken to get from downpour to just gorgeous out. I went outside, it was warm and suddenly and just as predictably, moody, poetic and melancholic felt inappropriate. I sort of reflexively went for something 180 degrees different, a little boogie-woogie thing and 15 minutes later something upbeat, catchy and weirdly compelling popped out.

I don’t know which song (if either) will last the numerous inevitable revisions they’ll be put through to get to ‘keeper’ status but I can tell you this: I’m still not sure why songs come. I’m still not sure that after the last one that another one will ever, ever come again. It feels that tenuous, like one day I might wake up and say ‘nothing inspires me’. I know that may sound funny or over dramatic but half a dozen years ago I had just had several years’ without writing a song. So it’s happened before and it crosses my mind that it could very well happen again.

So the thing is, they’ve been coming in bunches lately. So rain or shine, any day of the week, when a song wants to arrive I’m ready to open the tap and see what happens. Any day is always a good day for writing a new song. I’m just Grateful when they come…

Doverlaff House Concerts: ‘The Church of Song’

Grateful Blog: Day 85: (Part 2) Continued…

After yesterday’s Talent Show, I finished up my set list for the 2nd Official CD release show for ‘Ash and Bone’ and got ready for the show. The show was part of the Doverlaff House Concert series. It’s becoming legendary in the Portland area one epic show and fabulous artist at a time. It’s put on by Dan Dover and Cheryl Mitzlaff, 2 of the nicest people you’ll ever meet hosting musical acts in their home with 50 of the best audience members you could ever hope to have. In fact, it’s the polar opposite of the talent show: A full house and no judging. Its part concert and maybe part church service: The ‘Church of Song’ perhaps.

There’s something magical about the setting and the room, or I should say the people in the room. They show up early, stake out a choice seat, and then mill around with the artists prior to the show. Folks hug, catch up, and you can palpably feel the warmth in the air. Then the lights get set down low, the artist takes the ‘stage’, less than a foot from the front row, and then something special is about to begin.

There’s this beautiful mix of intimacy and electricity. At some point in the first set I played a brand new song, less than a week old. I wasn’t even sure I knew it. So just to highlight that (and because I’m a sucker for a certain degree of that high wire act) I got out from behind the microphone and played the song unplugged, acoustic and stood even closer to the audience. You could hear a pin drop. That might be scary for some musicians but for those of us who’ve played one too many noisy clubs the opportunity to really be heard is intoxicating. I think they loved the song as much as I did and somehow I believe they felt the experience as intensely as I did. It was truly amazing. The opposite is also true; with no real encouragement or direction that wonderful audience spontaneously bursts into song and sings along with you. Like being able to hear a pin drop, it’s also music to the ears. It’s better than that actually, it’s like being swept up in a wave and allowing yourself the freedom to enjoy the ride…

There are not enough words to describe how I felt about last night. Like the first ‘Ash and Bone’ CD release show it sold out and did so really quickly. I like to think it’s because my songs are getting better and because my shows are gaining a reputation for being special events. I don’t know. I guess I have no real perspective on that and maybe I shouldn’t. I’m just so dam Grateful when people spend their precious free time spending an evening with me, to let me tell my stories and sing my songs. It’s a bit like this blog. You start out thinking you’ll create something and then that something becomes more special than you ever imagined. And like the show at Artichoke Music, last night’s show was so, so special. It felt like part celebration, part graduation and part conflagration. For a little while we set the place on fire, fanned the flames and it kept us warm.

There’s nothing better for me than living in the moment and nothing better than that wonderful ‘Connection’ with the audience. Moments like last night define my life in a way I had no idea was even possible until I started this journey 4 years ago when I met Dan and Cheryl. I’ve often said that anyone you meet on any given night can change your life. It’s so true. And last night was just further proof of that. I’m so Grateful to be part of a circle of friends and a community that can still hear a pin drop, that loves to sing along on a chorus, that cries with you, laughs with you, and hugs you once beforehand and twice afterwards. Some night’s are better than other and last night was one or those…Amen!

The ‘Talent’ Show…

Grateful Blog: Day 84: (Part 1) I missed yesterday’s ‘Grateful Blog’. Actually that’s incorrect. I didn’t miss it so much as I lived it. I went to be early Friday night only to wake up Saturday morning at 4am and while tired and still 16 hours from my 2nd Official CD release show for ‘Ash and Bone’, I had a set list to do. Set lists are funny things. I’ve tried the spectrum form avoiding them entirely, under the guise of spontaneity to a blow by blow word for word set up. I’ve found the best lie somewhere between the 2 extremes. In any case, I was up early and spent a good portion of the morning toggling between working on my set list and listening to the early morning ‘Swing and Country’ radio show on KBOO 90.7 FM. By mid-morning I was off to do a talent contest (a what???), yeah, one of those American Idol type talent show deals.

It was set up very much like the TV show talent shows are. I was ENTIRELY unsure what the heck I was doing there but when they asked I thought ‘sure, why not, no harm right?’ It was first class and well run and when I got there the contestants backstage were anxiously awaiting their turn. At some point I realized that it was just like everything else I do in my life—I do it for the fun, for the experience and for the amazing people I meet. In fact I was having such a good time doing just that backstage that suddenly I was called up and it was my turn.

So there I was on this big stage, with almost no audience but the 3 judges at their table and I was clearly on the spot. It was actually a little nerve-wracking for a second or 2. But then I did what I did what I always do, tell my story in words and in song. I know that it’s not for everyone but for the people who like what I do, they really like what I do, and there’ll be that ‘Connection’ they’ll make with the songs and with me and that alone with be worth it.

I have no idea how I ‘placed’ or didn’t place in the contest but I know how it turned out—I did my thing, I met some great people and my song actually moved one judge to tears. I don’t know if that qualifies as ‘talent’ or not, but I do know this: I’m Grateful that I did it because it involves the process that as artists we continually struggle with: The fear of rejection. Nevermore is that so on naked display as a ‘talent’ contest. But I’m most Grateful because I met some really great people: Fellow contestants, organizers and judges–every last one of them. In the contest between ‘winning’ and that ‘Connection’ I’ll take the ‘Connection’ any day of the week. It’s really no contest at all. And I’m Grateful for the wisdom to know the difference…

Giant Steps: Jazz. DJ’s and Radio in the Desert…

Grateful Blog: Day 70: When I was a Park Ranger in Canyonlands National Park, almost 20 years ago, I had scheduled duty of 9 days on and 5 days off. I stayed mostly in this little ‘Sheepherder’ trailer high above this place called ‘Horseshoe Canyon’. If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘128 Hours’ you’ve seenHorseshoe Canyon. It’s Amazing to say the least. That little gypsy trailer didn’t lack for much. It was pretty well equipped with a wood cook stove, propane lights and a little AM/FM car radio that ran on a little solar panel mounted on the back. We had a ‘solar’ shower too—yeah the old hang the black bag in the sun all day variety.

Well this wasUtah, and it was 168 miles from the nearest ‘real’ grocery store inMoab,Utah. It was 46 miles of dirt and sand and rock road to get to the highway. It was 68 miles to get the mail. So there wasn’t much for towns around and there wasn’t much for radio. About 5 varieties of 90’s era country stations and one NPR/all jazz station. I listened to a fair amount of country, some NPR and a bit of jazz too but mostly it never struck me. I think something about that vast desert and jazz seemed incompatible. You could probably make a case for classical music and the ‘western’ variety of country but jazz found profoundly out of place. Until one night, that is, when I was back in the trailer listening.

The DJ that night got to spinning old jazz records. CD’s were here to stay by then but he still liked to spin the real thing even though it was more work. That one night he played John Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps’. The song’s less than 5 minutes, short by some jazz comparisons, but I remember the singular beauty in which Coltrane descended and ascended the scales with such precision, fluidity and beauty. It was the very first moment that I felt like ‘Oh, now I GET jazz’. I was riveted, just stopped in my tracks hearing it. When the song ended the DJ lifted the needle off the record and came back on the air. He audibly sighed and then said in deep-voiced manner of all classic DJ’s, ‘That was THE John Coltrane and that was Giant Steps. Wow, wasn’t that great? You know, I dug that so much I think we should it again? What do YOU think? Yeah, alright. Well then let’s hear it again. Here it is. Mr. John Coltrane and Giant Steps.’

And then he played it AGAIN! You could hear the needle drop, the crackle, and the opening salvo and the intoxicating ride started over again. It was like going back to your Senior Prom and getting to do it RIGHT the second time. I don’t know how he knew, but that DJ KNEW I was riveted to that little AM/FM radio, running off the last of the day’s suns rays, high atop the mesa above Horseshoe Canyon, probably 400 miles to the nearest jazz club in Salt Lake City, awash in the beauty of ‘Giant Steps’…

I’ll never forget that moment. So today I wanted to say how Grateful I am for that DJ and for DJ’s near and far, who go out on a limb and play what their heart desires. A bunch of them, Diane, Jack, Jim, Scott, Wayne, Kathy have been playing songs of my new CD, ‘Ash and Bone’ a lot and I’m in their debt. Every time someone plays one of your songs on the radio and it puts it out there over the airwaves into the universe it’s hard to know what happens next. But having been on the receiving end of so many great songs for so many years I can only say that sometimes magic happens, and it doesn’t happen without a DJ who’s willing to play what touches their heart. And every time I hear one of my songs on the radio I’m inspired, to write a better one, next time. Every one is but a small step on the way to Giant Steps…

My new Biggest Fan…

Grateful Blog: Day 69: I heard through the ‘grapevine’ that I’ve got a new fan these days. He’s a bit of a ‘mover and a shaker’ as it were. I don’t want to say his name because I don’t want to get him in trouble. He’s been listening to my CD ‘Ash and Bone’ a LOT and has become a really big fan very quickly. Clues? Well, his favorite song is ‘Take the Central GeorgiaHome’. He not much for long-winded prose and I’m not sure he’s ready to go on record yet in public, but privately he told a friend of a friend who knows my wife that he pretty much can’t be in the car without hearing it.

That’s pretty damn cool. In fact, its waaaay cool. Alright a few more clues? His name is Gavin? Ummm Gavin who? Well, I can’t say. That might just be the name he’s going by right now. The thing is he’s a BIG fan of mine and especially that song. I heard every time he gets in the car he yells ‘Mommy, play that train song!’ Seriously, Gavin’s like 4 now and a serious DUDE of the world. And his favorite song is ‘Take the CentralGeorgiaHome’. You can find it on my new CD at www.danwebermusic.com

I don’t know what’s cooler: That Gavin’s Mom is driving around playing my CD non-stop because she and her son dig it or that Gavin totally dig’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written. Either way I’m Grateful. I’ve sure gotta meet Gavin one of these days. Like I said, he’s a BIG fan of mine and well, I’ve gotta say in all honesty, I’m a BIG fan of his.

And one last thing: ‘Mommy, play that train song!’ Damn straight Gavin…Damn Straight!

Lawnmowers, Camelias and Dandelions…

Grateful Blog: Day 68: I heard the sound this morning: The low rumble, the whirr and whine of a small engine spinning round: The neighbor’s lawn mower. It’s been coming for awhile. I saw the first Camellia bloom and the other day and today the first dandelion. Last week it snowed but this week you need to mow the lawn and pull dandelions??? That’s spring in the Pacific Northwest. They say this past winter was the warmest on average. I don’t know. Maybe it felt that way and maybe it was statistically. Every winter seems too long to me. But today the sounds of lawn mowers filled the air and I was indeed surprised. March 8th? Lawn mowers? Really? Incredible. Surprised? Yes. Grateful? You bet…

This is what we DO…

Grateful Blog: Day 66: I got the email today that said:

Help! We need more copies of Dan Weber: Ash and Bone.

Congratulations! You’ve sold enough CDs through CD Baby that our all-knowing inventory management computer wants you to know that we need more discs to satisfy anticipated demand.

I LOVE that!

Not because I’m making any money selling CD’s, I’m not. The simple truth of the matter is when I gave the first copies away to my wife and my Mom I was already under water on the project as it were. It ‘is what it is’ I guess. But I didn’t make ‘Ash and Bone’ because I wanted or needed to make a profit. I made ‘Ash and Bone’ because I cared about the songs and I wanted people to hear them and maybe share in the joy they’ve given me. Making a CD or any form of art is something like: 70% long shot, 19% exercise in vanity and 11% ‘What the HELL were you thinking’?

For my 11% I was thinking: ‘You know, this song, or that song is REALLY something special, and all these Amazing people who come to my shows tell me how much that means to them, so I think, just maybe, I should record them and share them, and somehow spread that feeling that you get when you truly connect with a song or an artist. You know, see where it goes, see who you’re drawn to and who’s drawn to you. Take that shot in the dark, bet on the long shot, and hey, don’t over think it, because the songs are good, maybe REALLY good and you NEED to share them…     

So that’s it in a nutshell. I could go on at length and try to rationalize it further but I think my friend Gil Reynolds summed it up best when he said ‘Look Dan, we write songs, we make music, and then we record them and then do it all over again. It’s what we DO. It’s who we ARE.” I couldn’t agree more.

Tonight I’m Grateful for everyone who’s listened to or played ‘Ash and Bone’, who’s sent me a nice note, who written a review on CD Baby or iTunes, bought it, downloaded it or even pirated a copy. I don’t care. I want YOU to hear it. I think it’s REALLY good. Oh and that email from CD Baby, they wanted a BUNCH more copies. I guess it’s selling really well. I’m Grateful for that too. I’m gonna need the money one of these days, to make another CD, because as Gil pointed out “It’s what we DO. It’s who we ARE.”

Thanks for listening!

If you want a copy you can find it at:

http://danwebermusic.com/ or at CD Baby at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/danweber

The Grateful Blog: Day 64: Music and Show News…

Hey Friends…

A bunch of years ago I went backpacking with my friend Nate at this place called ‘Snowgrass Flat’ up in the Goat Rocks Wilderness. It supposed to have a beautiful view but that day everything was fogged in so we not only couldn’t see the view but at some point, hiking at 6,000 feet on the Pacific Crest Trail we lost all sign of the trail too. It’s rough country and rather than fall off a cliff, we pitched our tent right where we stopped, got out the deck of cards and the whiskey and spent the rest of the day and night playing the world’s longest game of gin rummy, occasionally toasting everyone we could think of until the bottle was empty. In the morning I got up to use the ‘bathroom’ as it were, walked out of the tent, and at some point I managed to open my sleepy eyes and realized two things ‘WOW!’ The view ofMt.Adams,Mt.St HelensANDMt.Rainierwas beyond amazing. The second was that lost in the fog, we had literally managed to pitch out tent directly in the middle of the trail…It was an ironic sight, an incredible view and a great and memorable trip.

The ‘Ash and Bone’ CD Release Show at Artichoke Music on February 18th was a bit like that morning. In a word: Amazing! The view was incredible and the trail ahead was clear. I’m not lost for words much but that night was one of those nights for me. I could not have enjoyed a crowd, a venue, a show or a night more than I did. To EVERYONE who could make it, Thank You!!! for making that one of the absolutely most special and singular night’s of my life. It was so incredible and just perfect. I’m so humbled by the sheer outpouring of your Love, Support and Enthusiasm. Let’s do THAT again—and Soon!!!

So speaking of ‘Soon’…

We have a NEW show to share and this one’s going to be special—AND really cool. On Saturday morning March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day) Jerry and I will be getting up early to play LIVE in studio at KBOO 90.7 FM on during Wayne and Kathy Johnson’s ‘Swing and Country’ show at 8am.   http://kboo.fm/SwingCountry Playing live on KBOO is a big honor to me considering I’ve been listening (and taping) the show for over 10 years.

To hear the show you can set your alarm early and tune to 90.7 FM in Portland(100.7 FM in Corvallis& 91.9 FM in HoodRiver–or online at http://kboo.fm/ and click ‘Listen’)

Or? (Here’s where it get’s cool!) Or you can come down to the station at 20 SE 8th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214 (Just south of E. Burnside by the Doug Fir—lot’s of parking that time of day) and Be Part of the Show, and see it Live. Yeah, Live! A bit like they did it in the ‘50’s. You can check out the station, meet the DJ’s, and as an added incentive, we’re going to have plenty of good local coffee and I’m buying a bunch of Voodoo Doughnuts. That’s right: Portland’s own World Famous Voodoo Doughnuts. http://voodoodoughnut.com/about.php It’s going to be a fun way to kick off the St. Patrick’s Day weekend and a very rare chance to part of a live studio audience. So yeah, a live in studio show, good coffee and Voodoo Doughnuts!

Seating is EXTREMELY limited (and is already filling up!), so to guarantee a seat ASAP, send an email directly to Wayne or Kathy at KBOO at kjwj@comcast.net or go to https://kboo.fm/user/4258/contact and send them a note and tell them you want to be part of the show! They’re requesting folks get there about 7:30-7:45am to get settled in and get the coffee and doughnuts going. I’ll also have the new ‘Ash and Bone’ CD’s there if you’ve not gotten one yet. Come on down, it’s going to be a Classic!

So you know by now that ‘Ash and Bone’ is FINALLY out! It’s selling extremely well and you can get it at my BRAND NEW fantastic website at www.danwebermusic.com through CD Baby and iTunes.

CD Baby http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/danweber

iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/ash-and-bone/id499666252

Scott Docherty at Redhare www.redhare.com did the brilliant design work on the CD and also built me a top notch website. Be sure to check out his work and my site at www.danwebermusic.com for updates, new shows and links.

Finally, our 2nd Official ‘Ash and Bone’ CD Release Show, at the fabulous Doverlaff House Concert Series, will be as special as the first. On Saturday March 24th it will be in the intimate ‘Tiki Room’ and will feature Mike MidLo of far and wide Pancake Breakfast http://pancakebreakfastmusic.com fame opening up the night. I first met Mike at the always incredible Sister’s Folk Festival and have been a big fan ever since.

The show has already Sold-out Thank You! but you can Contact Dan Dover at doverlaffhouseconcerts@gmail.com to see about getting on the waiting list. There’s always a last minute ticket or 2…

And the News…

Song News???

Last month week my song ‘Lost and Found’ was given an Honorable Mention in American Songwriter Magazine’s Lyric contest. http://www.americansongwriter.com/2012/01/lyric-contest-winners-januaryfebruary-2012/ It’s a big contest so it’s pretty darn exciting!

A Blog???

Yup. My new blog ‘The Grateful Blog’ is now in its 65th day (only 301 days to go!). It was my New Years resolution to be Grateful for something or someone every day of 2012. It’s my way of giving something positive back to the Universe. You can find it at: http://danwebermusic.wordpress.com/ and click ‘Follow’. It’s pretty cool, or as my friend Barbara Louis recently said “The best way to start my day…reading Dan’s Blog!” Sweet!

And speaking about blogs: Check out our friend Gerry Hubbard’s blog: http://hubbardfamilymusic.blogspot.com/2012/01/wishing-is-just-for-fools-dan-weber.html?spref=fb

Please tell your friends to come see us play and say ‘Hi’. We’d love to meet them! Thanks again! for a truly Special, Amazing and Overwhelming show of support for the CD Release. Don’t forget to tell your friends, ‘Share’ on Facebook, Twitter, etc. It ALL really, really helps spread the word and takes just a minute or 2.

And Thank you! for Listening,Reading, Sharing, and Helping me make this long musical journey possible!

Gratefully,

dan

Get show specifics (times, addresses, etc.) and listen at

www.danwebermusic.com

Facebook??? www.facebook.com/danwebermusic and ‘Like’ us…

Video???

Check out my one and only video by filmmaker Travis Madden of my song ‘Hank and Jesus’ at: http://www.youtube.com/highway142/

Newsprint???

If you didn’t see it already, here’s a cool feature article that Rob Cullivan did last year for the GreshamOutlook http://www.theoutlookonline.com/features/story.php?story_id=130386495708649600

To ‘Unsubscribe’, just put that in the title at dan@danwebermusic.com

 

‘Deep in the heart ofTexas’…

Grateful Blog: Day 62: I was just talking to a friend a minute ago when I realized I had 11 minutes to get my blog done. That’s how it works sometimes. It reminded me of this time I was in Austin, dancing with a young lady at the Continental Club and while doing so she grabbed y hat off my hat, and shortly thereafter disappeared. I spend the next frantic 20 minutes searching for her before we were reunited…me and my hat that is. InTexas, you can get life in prison or shot for less. A cowboy hat is something sort of Holy there…but that’s Texasfor you. It’s a 181 contradictions wrapped into one: A decidedly Red state with a love of poet singer-songwriters and a state of mind as much as a state that borders Mexico.

Today is the 176th anniversary of the Texas Independence Day. It’s serious business down there. They still talk of secession (from THESE Unites States) while sending an ever madding succession of their own to try to run the county. Think LBJ. George HW Bush. Bush the 2nd (the ‘Shrub’) and Rick Perry. Yeah, it’s a contradiction. I get it. When I think of Texas I think of wide open spaces, Austin, good barbeque, poet singer-songwriters, the Alamo, San Antonio, the hill country, Kerrville, 108 degree heat, Luckenbach and caliche (limestone) dust…there’s a thousand other things that are associated with Texas (feel free to name your own) but those are mine.

The thing that strikes me the most however is a woman I once met who’d recently moved to the Pacific Northwest from Texas. She said ‘When I first moved toTexasI saw all the people who went out of their way to display theTexas flag in some sort of display of state pride. At first I thought it was obnoxious, after all, who can you think of that you know that regularly displays their state flag??’ I thought about it awhile and understood what she was saying and I said ‘well no one I can think of in Oregon, Washington or any other state I know of’ and she said ‘Exactly!, that’s what’s so SPECIAL about it, because people who live there REALLY love Texas.’

It took me a while to realize but I finally GOT it. What’s wrong with people having pride in the state they live in? Nothing! And so I finally understood what was so SPECIAL about Texas, it was the people, and the passion they felt about the place they were from (or lived in). So here’s a Happy Independence Day! to all me friends in (and from) inTexas.

All I’ve got to say, that really matters to me tonight, is that I’m Grateful that the spirit of Texas lives on in the hearts and minds of its people, that they still have kick-ass barbeque, wide open spaces, the Alamo, the hill country, Kerrville, 108 degree heat, Luckenbach and that they still have a soft spot for poet singer-songwriters…

Amen…

Oh and one last thing: Bob Wills is STILL the King! Awwww Haw!!!

‘The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart ofTexas’…

American Songwriter Magazine…Lost and Found…

Grateful Blog: Day 57: I’m sicker today than I was yesterday or Friday. Damn flu of some sort…It was a crazy week, starting with the amazing CD release show last Saturday night to the hospital tests on Tuesday to the flu and then today…

Today I found out today by complete accident that my song ‘Lost and Found’ (on ‘Ash and Bone’) was given an ‘Honorable Mention’ in this months song lyrics contest in American Songwriter Magazine.

http://www.americansongwriter.com/lyric-contest/current-winners/

It’s a BIG magazine and from what I understand it’s fairly stiff competition. Naturally I’m tickled. It was a total surprise when I stumbled on it. It made the whole surreal week seem more surreal. So today I’m Grateful for that, but mostly I’m Grateful that the guy I wrote about in that song seems more ‘Found’ than ‘Lost’ these days…