Touring in Tulsa


 

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I recently returned from such an incredible first tour in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area.  I wanted to detail a little about our travels for that weekend of shows.  I would love to give a shout-out to the absolute greatest Airbnb hosts out in Tulsa.  If you’re ever in Tulsa, check out staying with Heather and her sweet family.  They were so supportive and kind to us.  Check out their listing here.

Our first day we set out West and drove through the Arkansas country.  Nikia Burns, my talented violinist, my best friend and jack-of-all-trades, Kayla Bogs made a fabulous team.   We arrived in town on a Thursday evening and got to catch the tail end of Jared Tyler’s show.  He recently played on the John Moreland album, so that’s pretty cool!  He also co-owns a violin shop in town called

Bright and early on Friday morning, we had the pleasure of playing Lakes Country 102.1 with Lou, Blake and Faith.  They were so welcoming, and we enjoyed playing live.  To hear the entire broadcast, visit this link.  It was fun to play on live radio for the first time- you really have to be able to think on your feet.  Hopefully they enjoyed the Paradise donuts we picked up on the way for them 🙂

We spent Friday in Tahlequah visiting the Cherokee Prison Museum, a local coffee shop and a music studio.  We invited people around town to our show for Saturday night at the Branch.  It was a great experience to actually meet people in the area and feel like we got a little taste of the local culture.  We especially loved the fabulous silver and turquoise rings we drooled over at the Cherokee gift shop later that day.  We headed back to Tulsa that evening to get ready for our gig at the Campbell Hotel in downtown Tulsa.  This is such a neat hotel, and they have recently renovated it and invite people from the community on a certain Saturday of the month.  A new friend, Scott Ayecock, from Folk Salad Radio, came out to hear us play live.  It was great meeting him and his wife and chatting about music.

Saturday was a great field trip day.  We had brunch at Dilly Diner downtown Tulsa which was so yum!  After that, we headed to the Woodie Guthrie Center which I highly recommend to anyone visiting Tulsa.  It was a great place for some pre-gig inspiration as we walked through the exhibit, read inspiring quotes and learned a little about the man behind the music.  After this, we headed to our sweet friends house, the Jarrett’s, to get ready for our gig that evening in Tahlequah.

On Saturday evening, despite the rain, we had the pleasure of playing at the Branch in Tahlequah.  It was a nice restaurant and some old friends as well as new-found friends from Tahlequah came out to hear us play.  It was so great to have the support from them.

The people were the nicest souls ever and Tulsa was so receptive to music and opened their hearts to us.  They were super generous and hospitable, and I feel so blessed to have spent my first tour dates in Oklahoma.  Thanks Oklahoma for all you did to make us feel welcome!

~lme

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30A Songwriters Fest Spotlight on Caroline Cotter


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I wanted to feature my next 30A Songwriters Fest songwriter, Caroline Cotter. With a voice as sweet as a budding flower and the fabulous content of a travel diary, she’ll pull you close like a warm embrace. Her music transports me to some farm in Connecticut as if were going to pick apples and get maple syrup or across the ocean to another country in Europe.  She’s a lovely storyteller, so you have to listen carefully to her lyrics or you’ll miss a page of the story.  Journey in C is one of my favorites. She sings, has harmony, snaps the whole song and it’s a travel dialogue. You know it’s a good song when you can just listen and there’s not even any instrumentation but the vocals. Love it! You can hear it here.

Her strong love of travel is something that connects me to her story. From her Biography online:  “Music has always been at the heart of Caroline’s life, alongside an insatiable passion for travel and global exploration.  In the past ten years, Caroline has lived in and traveled to 27 countries on five continents. While writing and recording Dreaming as I Do, she spent the last few years working for the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) in Portland, Maine. CIEE provided amazing opportunities for international community and travel, and further inspired Caroline’s songwriting.”

So, please check out her music and drift off into a world of peoples, places and ideas. I think you’ll find it absolutely perfect for daydreaming on a Tuesday afternoon.

~lme

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Simple Love lyrics


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Just thought I would share some lyrics from a song I co-wrote with my friend, Denny Burton, who is back in Canada for the summer.  This song touches on the simplicity that should be at the base of a real relationship.  It’s really very simple and we convolute it.  And ultimately loving someone, despite requiring work, shouldn’t be agonizing.  If people are meant to be in our lives, they will be naturally. Love shouldn’t be forced and shoved like cramming as much you can into a crowded suitcase. Hopefully this song will be gracing listeners with its presence on one of my upcoming recording projects! Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comment section below 🙂

Simple Love

Winter nights were growing cold

Lonely footprints in the snow

Faint light

Comin’ from my room

What once was fire in my soul

Are embers that I hardly hold

And I hope it changes soon

Yeah, I hope it changes soon

 

Summer in the valley

Winter in the Forest

Springtime in the mountains

And Autumn is the chorus

of my love, my love

For someone true

Oh simple love

I will wait for you

 

Warmer weather’s blowin in

Chasin out what might have been

there’s time for something new

Love in boxes that I own

I’ve been told they’ll find a home

Don’t try

But I do

Don’t try

But I do

 

Summer in the valley

Winter in the Forest

Springtime in the mountains

And Autumn is the chorus

of my love, my love

For someone true

Oh simple love

I will wait for you

 

Oh simple love

Just take your time

I’ll be still

and let you find

Me

here

 

Summer in the valley

Winter in the Forest

Springtime in the mountains

And Autumn is the chorus

of my love, my love

For someone true

Oh simple love

I will wait for you

~lme

Spoiler alert: No such thing as a “big break.”


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Just like a breaking of a tree branch, artists have come to believe in this so-called concept of the big break.  Spoiler alert:  There is no such thing as a big break.  Need a tissue?  Tis true.  We musicians have been warped into thinking this mentality about the “big break” from shows like American Idol or America’s Got Talent.  We expect it to happen fast without all the uphill battles, sores upon our feet and weariness for the dream.  I think it’s time we stopped looking for our “big break,” and started looking for ways to work at our craft or spend our time more effectively as music business owners.  Why on earth have we spent so much time thinking that one door would solve our problems?  For the same reason people think that marriage will be the holy grail of perfection in their lives.  We need to start viewing things as new challenges and new opportunities to work and use our talents.

Another aspect of the “big break” is this.  It amazes me that “new bands” are seen by people and no one really knows the behind the scenes.  They think- wow this band just catapulted into stardom.  No, no, actually they didn’t.  Every huge band you know and love did not begin that way, and there is SO MUCH more that has gone into what people thought was their “big break.” Musicians sometimes are in multiple failed projects before settling into a really great one.  Years of sleeping on couches or working terrible jobs to fund their touring endeavors are never seen by the public.  Then there are the countless hours of doubt, worrying whether people like the music and even asking why they’re doing it in the first place.  The public never knows what goes behind the seemingly easy “big break” that actually isn’t big, but it is a break.

You know what the real big break is?  It’s a breaking of these things: Your pride (playing for an audience of 2), Your bad attitude (giving excuses for why you couldn’t or didn’t do something), Your unwillingness to work (willing to drive for a gig and lug your gear in the heat or rain or ice to play) and Your desire to take the easy option of giving up (and believe me, you’re gonna wanna give up).  The big break is breaking off all of those pieces of yourself as you continually reach farther and higher and push yourself to new goals and new heights.  Sure- an incredible opportunity may come your way, but without utilizing that and keeping the momentum from that, it won’t do you a bit of good.  The big break is not just a moment, a person or a venue you’ll play.  It’s a culmination of many moments, meeting many people and playing countless shows all around that begin to shape you, shave the laziness off of you and the bad attitudes that won’t help you work for your goals.  It’s being broken and vulnerable and real that is the honest “big break” for an artist.  Once you have let go of that one pill fixes all mentality in this cut throat music industry, you’ll begin to view things in a healthier way, pick up the tools in your toolset and get to work carving your own niche in the business.  Until then, you’re just a hotshot that wants others to notice how amazing you are, living for the fame and glory.  Let’s get up, get moving and get over ourselves.  There’s enough ego out there without more.  What do you guys think about the “big break” mentality?  Let me know in the comment section below 🙂

~lme

Songstress Night at the Bluebird!


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Last week I had the pleasure of playing the Bluebird Cafe alongside several other talented female singer, songwriters at Chick Singer Night hosted by Jaclyn Brown.  I played alongside such talented ladies as Sam Hatmaker, Rhetta Jane and Peyton Parker.  It was so nice to be featured along with these ladies at one of the greatest intimate venues in Nashville.  It was great to have my mom in town for the show and then to pull my sister up onstage to sing my final song, Pilgrim, that my brother and I wrote together back in Texas years ago.

After my show, I had a moment to reflect on one aspect of the gig experience that I really enjoy.  It’s the post-show conversations.  Of course the music and the performing and selling merch go into it, but connecting with people is enjoyable to me.  Those conversations with new musician friends, visitors from other states, someone celebrating a birthday, sisters from New York, a couple from Gulf Shores and three gals from Scotland who were traveling around America for several weeks make it worthwhile.  It’s those moments with people that really bring me to a good place as an artist.  Take away the drama and the makeup and the stage and the lights and I really love the opportunities I have to connect with humanity.  I love to see the similarities in the human race as we are bonded through our shared love of music.  Despite the fact that there is a lot of bad out there, I continually meet people who redeem my view of humankind.  I realize there kind souls who want the same things for their families and just want to make a good life for themselves.  Human connection resonates with me just as much as the chords I play on my instruments.  As I begin booking my first tour for this fall, I hope I will make new friends, share stories with those on the road and come back richer from my experiences while sharing music in the great, big, wonderful, frightening, humbling and rad world we live in.

~lme

Who ya doing it for?


bluebirdAs I am hours away from playing my first slot at the famous Bluebird Cafe (which is sold out!!!),  I am going to ask myself, and my musician readers, a really important question.  Who are we doing this for? Why do we make music and when we are performing, where is our head?  I believe when performing and marketing and anything musical, our fans should be kept in mind.  But I want to pose a thought to each performing artist out there.  And I realized this while watching a talented man with just himself and his guitar perform last week.  You have to come to the point as an artist where you don’t wholeheartedly “do what you do” for other people.  While the two girls in front of me rattled on about their lives and people were laughing it up during a contemplative song by the artist, I had this realization.  He was in his zone, living in the moment, because he does it for himself and seemed to exude a genuine love for what he did.  It’s almost as you have to forget what the other people are doing, saying, thinking or that they may not even like what you sing and play.  Deep down, it has to be in you to perform the best that you can whether there are 2 people listening or thousands of screaming fans.

The music should be sewn inside your heart and the will to find joy no matter the setting.  Come to think of it, performing onstage is a lot like life.  Despite the storms, the frustrations, the struggles or what it took to get you there, joy can’t be based on circumstances.  So as we live our lives, may we carry our fire inside, and find joy in the beauty of the gift as opposed to seeking the recognition that may come along with the gift.

Keep giving it your all and putting your heart into it 🙂

~lme

Something every musician must have


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Every serious musician, in some form or fashion, dreams of success, whether it’s being paid for their craft or fame that is far reaching and iconic.  Success is defined in various ways across a large spectrum, and they tell you to define that early in your career what that looks like for you. That’s not my point here, but that is just where we begin.

Let’s talk about success in terms of non-monetary terms for a moment.  Let’s view success in terms of setting goals and achieving them one at a time.  Interestingly, success is not one moment or one mountaintop goal achieved.  Take it a step further and I say success is not an isolated event.  Rather, it is a culmination of many years of hard work peppered with moments of trying, doubting, finding a way and refusing to give up.  And even more momentous is that success is not isolated to an individual, despite the emphasis we place on one person.  If success was dependent on and resulting from one person, I think achievements could be made much faster without other factors involved.  I am nothing without the countless people who paid for my music lessons, friends and family who encouraged me along the way, people who told me not to quit, and those who held my hands when I felt lost and let me cry on their shoulders.

When you reach career milestone goals like playing at some amazing venue, selling out a show, or gaining traction in some way, don’t forget to remind yourself of one thing.  Repeat after me-“This moment is not just for myself.”  This moment is for all of them out there- all of you who were cheerleading, encouraging, hugging, praying, telling us not to quit and to stay the course.  We musicians are merely the vessels, the channels through which the gift comes.  It is not without the shoulders of giants that we are carried throughout all of our creative phases.

Dear artists and musicians of the world, please consider a new vision.  May we, especially musicians, learn to leave ego at the door.  If used properly, success can humble us instead of puffing up our vanity about how great we are to the world around us.  We should view it as giving back the gift to the world around us.  Something every musician should carry in their gear case….  Thankfulness for the gift and the ability to use it.

~lme

Fanswell!


uke in mountainsSo there’s this great new tool out there for musicians.  I know, I know- there are a million tools.  But Fanswell is super helpful because it takes the music straight from the artist directly to the people wanting to hear it on tour!  Graham Colton, one of my earliest musical loves, created this for artists.  He saw a need for many independent artists trying to do their own tour booking.  He realized we get stuck when there are only so many venues and a huge amount of people clamoring to play the same venues.  I love that it can help me manage my own touring and booking directly with my fans as I begin managing my own tour logistics.

So here is the page if you’re interested in me coming to your home, your porch or somewhere else near where you live.

Leah’s Fanswell Page

Feel free to share this with others through social media outlets.  This fall, I’ll set out to come play for all of you lovely listeners eager to hear some earthy music.  We are starting with surrounding states and also those surrounding my home state of Texas.  Thanks Graham for creating this and thanks to all who are supporting me on this exciting entrepreneurial and creative journey 🙂

~lme

 

 

Upcoming Gig at Evins Mill


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Photo Courtesy: Marie Ellen Photography

Hello friends,

Wanted to let you know that I will be performing at the new music series, Music at the Mill, at Evins Mill Bed and Breakfast in Smithville, TN on February 21st at 8 pm.  The talented guitarist, Luke Metzger, will be joining me onstage for the evening.   Here is a write-up about the event for you to check out:

http://evinsmillevents.blogspot.com/2014/12/music-at-mill-sat-feb-21-2015.html

In addition to the concert, the “Music at the Mill” package includes hors d’oeuvres, four-course dinner and a hearty gourmet breakfast and is $295 to $360 per couple depending on the room reserved. Reservations for dinner & concert only are also available at $120 per couple. Call 615.269.3740 (Nashville) or 615.286.2090 (Smithville) for reservations.

Adoption Benefit Show this Saturday, November 15th


I have the pleasure of playing the Sacred Selections Adoption Benefit Dinner this Saturday from 4-5!  It will be a great cause supporting a particular family in adopting a little girl who is yet to be born.

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Here are the event details for anyone interested in attending:

Dinner & Auction from 4:00-7:00pm Saturday Nov. 15th

Location: Indian Hills Country Club in Bowling Green

Dinner Buffet provided by Home Cafe

Tickets: $30 for adults $17 for children

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/sacred-selections-bowling-green-tickets-14028279963

Sacred Selections is a 501c3 Non-Profit organization. Tax forms are available upon request.

Contact Caleb Hastings at chastings@edmontonstatebank.com with any questions.

A little information about this adoption agency… Since 2006, Sacred Selections has assisted financially in the adoption of children into Christian homes. In just 8 years, they have helped to fund the adoptions of more than 100 children. In Bowling Green, we are inspired by the work of these individuals striving to fulfill the Lord’s plan. The local committee of Sacred Selections families and volunteers have arranged an opportunity to assist in their efforts to raise funds to help even more families in adopting children into loving homes.