Sunday, July 28, 2013

We rocked Astoria!

Last night I performed in a special "ladies night" of music at The Shillelagh Tavern in Astoria, NY. It was added to my schedule kind of at the last minute, but it turned out to be one of the best shows of the summer so far. With the tight backing work of Mike Salina on bass and Steve McCluskey on drums/vocal harmonies, my songs sounded tight and we even had the audience singing along to our rendition of Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire.

Astoria has been gaining a reputation lately as a growing music and arts community, with The Shillelagh known as one of its best live music venues. It was a nice feeling for this Eastern Long Island girl to be welcomed with such open arms by the natives in attendance, as well as by bar owner Rusty - who said he really digged our sound - and the impeccable sound work of Miles behind the board. I will definitely reach out again to them for future bookings!

On a personal note, it was a rare parents night out for my husband and I. Usually, he's the one watching the baby while I'm off doing shows. But as I'm not one to drive into "the city" by myself, I arranged for my mom to watch the baby so he could drive me, and catch a show for a change.

We left early (and beat traffic!), the GPS didn't get us lost, and we found parking - after only a half hour of looking, but that was good considering how impossible parking looked at first. It was a beautiful night, not too hot nor chilly, which made the short walk to the tavern worth it. We enjoyed hearing the acts that came before me - and wished we could have stayed longer to hear the rest - but mom had to get up early the next day, so we left shortly after my set was over.

The only damper of the night was I should have planned better for dinner before heading to the city. Halfway through the show, we were starving from only grabbing some sandwiches in the late afternoon. I thought we'd have to resort to finding a 711 on the way home, as many gigs have ended with him buying some chocolate frosted Entennmann's doughnuts to hold us over. Not wanting to walk all the way to the car in my weakened state, my husband went to fetch the car so he could double park it while I loaded my gear in. And luckily, on his way to the car he stopped at the Chinese food restaurant next door and placed an order of egg rolls and fried cheese wonton (my fav!), which was ready by the time he got the car and drove up to the tavern. Next time we go out that way, I'll research some restaurants in the area for a pre-show dinner, but the Chinese food was a pretty good anyway.

Next week is the always awesome Sayville SummerFest. Can't wait to play there next Sunday with the band - and there's plenty of food vendors there, so we definitely won't leave starving!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Great Spring Gigs, Followed by Awesome Summer Shows

Summer is in full swing, after a great Spring season of successful shows. Highlights of recent months include flawless solo acoustic sets at 89 North, the Plaza Cinema Media Arts Center, Hoptron Brewtique (all in Patchogue - Long Island's hot bed of music right now), and an invigorating full band show at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, hosted by the Folk Music Society of Huntington. While new motherhood has created time limitations on my performing schedule, I'm glad to be in a place of "quality rather than quantity" when it comes to booking recent gigs, as I've been very fortunate to have so many renowned local music venues adding me to their lineups.

Another great local venue that I performed at in June was Tiger Lily Cafe, in Port  Jefferson, NY. I was asked to do one show a month over the course of the summer, so if you missed the first show, I have two more dates coming your way: Sunday, July 21 and Sunday, August 18th. Shows start at 3:30pm and go until 5pm, where I'll be doing an upbeat mix of songs from my 2 CDs as well as my favorite covers. Tiger Lily is an awesome eatery, with many vegetarian options too. Love their wraps, in particular the Kansas City Wrap or the Southwest Wrap.

I do have full band shows planned too - like my return to the Sayville SummerFest on Sunday, August 4th at 12:15-1pm on the corner of Main Street and Candee Avenue. I'm hoping to book something in Astoria, Queens as well before then, once I have details confirmed I'll post here too. Closing out the "Summer festival season", will be the Cedar Beach Blues Festival - this year at the beginning of October - and the band and I will be in the acoustic tent.

New songs are in the works - both new covers with the band, and some acoustic based solo songs of mine. I debuted 2 songs I wrote about my son recently, having played one on keyboard at 89 North, and one on guitar at the PlazaMAC songwriter series. They seem perfect in an acoustic arrangement as they're tender and introspective, so not sure if I'll play them with the band, but when I take them into the studio I definitely plan to add more layers of instrumentation, perhaps strings. Also added to my musical bag of tricks are more harmonies. Drummer Steve and I have been rehearsing vocal harmonies for him to add to many of my songs as well as covers, which make the songs so much richer. All the more reason to stop by some of these upcoming shows to hear all these new developments.