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.

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Itcy Feet


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I can see the desert

or life there by the sea

or somewhere that’s less traveled

somewhere in between

In the bustling city

or a smaller town

or maybe overseas

where I cannot be found

Do you ever feel it

The itch under your feet

to be somewhere far away

maybe it’s just me…

As I contemplate these final 10 months living at this great house in Nashville, Tennessee, I have begun a new research project.  What new, where to live, what to do at the end of 2015, beginning of 2016 in my life?  Here’s your brown bag, breathe.  I have various ideas such as take a vacation and work on an organic farm before I move to my next locale I’ll call home.  I’ve considered by the ocean that I love, possibly out West near a desert or a small but vibrant little town where I can grow, connect and relate as an artist to a community.  I would like to be near my family, but I’m not certain currently whether I’m ready to settle back down in the Lone Star State.  Anyone who knows me knows I’m not the biggest fan of cold.  If I’m bundled properly, then ok.  I want to be in a good area, but I also want a slower pace than a bustling city life.  At moments, I’ve thought about New York City and also the DC Metro area, but I’m just not sure it’s calling me strongly enough.  I’m currently a little messy-headed and trying to pray about it and decide what my next move should be.  After our travels to Italy (which I will post about in the upcoming weeks), I feel strongly that I would like to live there within the next several years.  Should I look for some exciting, adventurous and new job or should I launch into trying my music full-time.  I’m at a precipice here people.  I welcome advice, thoughts and encouragement.

But here are some thoughts, places to visit, things that seem to draw me to themselves:

~South Carolina- Charleston and Beaufort

~The Pacific Northwest- particularly Seattle and Portland

~Wilmington, North Carolina- a place where various movies and television shows have been filmed- quite quaint and on the water

~Sedona, Arizona

~Simplistic and healthful living- a job in this realm

~the travel industry- being a travel writer is not easy, but something in that field would be of interest

~I want to possibly visit places that hold some negative meaning for me and create new and beautiful memories there to retrace those memories in goodness.

~the concept of making music my career for a year, just to try it.  Because honestly, there are always jobs to be had to fall back on in a few years.

~Family- not more than a 2-4 hour plane ride from them

~possibly overseas for a time being

~a short stint working at an organic farm and staying there

~Sheep farm work in Ireland- sounds fun

I welcome thoughts, connects, advice or anything else as I grow through this research project in the next six months.

~lme

The Invisible Man


My song, “Boxcar Betty,” had the pleasure of being recently featured in the Invisible Man five-part web series produced by Waterfoot films.  The song plays in the first episode when the daunting, masked man shows up downtairs suddenly.  You can view all five episodes here.  Please enjoy watching, share them with others and let me know what you think!

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Waterfoot Films is the creative collaboration of Timothy Compton and Sean Malone. The two have produced numerous award-winning short films and are currently releasing The Invisible Man, a web series based on H.G. Wells’ classic novel. The Invisible Man is a five-part series set in modern America and filmed in Colorado, North Carolina, and Florida. Waterfoot is also currently releasing its first comic book, an ongoing series called Monster City which features classic monsters reimagined in a gangster-noir setting.

Historic Rock Castle this past Saturday


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This past Saturday I had the pleasure of playing outside at Historic Rock Castle in Hendersonville, Tennessee.  It was a lovely Saturday evening and a delightful and attentive crowd.  There were various other talented songwriters who played throughout the night to a welcoming crowd.  Sara Beth Gideon, the Executive Director was welcoming and wonderful to all the artists while her fiance worked awesome sound for all of us.  It is much appreciated by artists when the sound system is up and running and ready for the artists.  Many thanks for that Rock Castle!  At one point during my set, I was told that 8 or more deer were bouncing through the brush in the field behind me as well as some bucks who stopped to listen for awhile.  Let’s hope they liked what they heard- just call me the deer whisperer.  Ohhh, new band name?  Anyways, it was a nice gig to welcome the month of August in Tennessee!

Feel free to visit here and read more about Rock Castle and all the great events they host!  Have a lovely Monday and get outside with yourselves!

~leah

Welcome Spring and New Endeavors!


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So many great things to share with you friends…

First, I wanted to let you know about a few gigs coming up…

I will be playing this Saturday at the Nashville Art Crawl May 3rd downtown from 6-9 with a talented guitarist, Alec Vinsant.  Feel free to check out his music here!  I will also be playing at Historic Rock Castle on August 2 at 8 pm for anyone who wants to come north 🙂

If you’re interested in hosting a house show or have ideas for venues in your area, feel free to shoot me an email with dates and places at leahemusic@gmail.com.

Thank you so much for reading, and come out and see us this Saturday!

~lme

The need to be seen and the gift of getting lost


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Photo Courtesy:  State Library of New South Wales flickrstream I do not condone the usage of cigarettes in this picture… ha.

Each of us is a cog in the wheel of the great symphony of mankind.  Our voices blend in cadences and sometimes result in dissonance.  We all want to be seen, heard, appreciated, understood and loved.  We vocalize thoughts for some validation and eat heaping platefuls of both negative and positive energy from social media feeds daily.  A desire to be seen is something we feast upon.  But is being seen really what it’s cracked up to be?

Do I really want others eyes upon me continually?  We musicians tend to strive for recognition as if our art is only validated through more and more exposure.  But recognition comes with a high price on the pathway to fame.  Perhaps we are diseased with a weight of self.  Look at me, adore me, follow me, share my stuff, like me, love me, befriend me, idolize me.  Is that really what we want?  If I should never be able to get lost, disappear from the world for a day and run free, my soul would suffocate.  I sometimes pity the creative people, especially high-profile artists, in this world. They have intense pressure put on them to daily perform on a level of perfection.  I pity their inability to quietly slip into the unknown to observe, write, think and be.  It isn’t natural to think that someone can be switched on that often.  True art needs a cultivation period.  To get lost in the woods for a day is a blessing taken for granted.  To latch the door and head outside and feel the ground beneath our toes is something we have yet to do because we’re far to busy every day.  To learn how to be still and know that He is, and that we are not, is an aspect of life we too often choke out.  We let the “cares and the deceitfulness of riches” suffocate our hearts and smother our souls.   And I must ask myself why I let my soul wither away from malnourishment of good things and a lack of breath.  If breathing is important for physical life, perhaps it is important for me mentally and even spiritually.  Take some time to really meditate on the blessings and your purpose, vision and goals in life.  Don’t half-heartedly bounce from activity to activity without really comprehending and assessing the significance of each thing you do and whether it draws you closer to your Maker or farther away.

To the artists… don’t let recognition or lack thereof be your ultimate goal.  Are you any less of an artist because only two people hear you or 2 million?  Not in the least.  Keep sharing your message with the world and if you are genuinely in line with your truest self, practicing what you say, people will listen and take it upon themselves to also share your message.

Ponder the reason why you do what you do.  What is your purpose in pursuit?  Steeping in your ultimate goals can help you eliminate daily tasks or events that are merely cluttering your time and mind.

~lme

Boundaries, Creativity and Music Therapy


Music is woven in me and I have yet to be able to separate from my love for it.  This morning I recently read these two amazing blog posts that remind me that music doesn’t’ merely have  a self-involved process.  There is so much more to it being on this earth than that.  Music Think Tank is a great blog for those in the music industry, and this article on Creativity in Constraint really hit home.

We are such musical beings…. Just like the birds and the chimps and even trees and flowers.  There is so much music continually around us in earth and the sky.  Sadly, we are often too plugged into our indie rock to really listen to the music of nature.  But music is a healing thing from God.  It’s awesome the way that a song can transport us or lift our spirits.  God created that in us to do just that very thing.  Music is part of worship and He knew that it would bring us closer to Him.  Why is it that so many of us as musicians tend to think that we must shirk our God to pursue the thing He wanted us to be a part of?  Why do so many of us cut Him off in pursuit of that?

This article discusses our limitations as creative people.  If our limitations are what encourage our creativity such as creative fashion coming from poverty and resourcefulness arising from want….. perhaps there is a connection between spiritual limitations and creative limitations.  Perhaps the boundaries God has given me are not something to be angered about.  They are rather constraints that guide me and teach me how to excel in them.  Is creativity going beyond the lines?  Perhaps, but what if the most creative approaches to certain things were staying within some sort of parameters and finding ways to do that in more innovative ways?  I hope to find ways to do this through my career.

As I listen to some of Neil Young’s greatest tunes, I know he had limitations in both his technical abilities as well as his voice.  I can relate to that.  I’m no picture of perfection.  I get upset when I lack more abilities than I wish I had and to be disciplined to become better.  I am someone trying to change the world for good with my art.  I leave you with an image that tugs at the heart of every songwriter…. Thank you to this blog for sharing:

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And as my wheels are turning, how could I ignore the healing power and therapy of music that have existed since long ago…. Through God.  King saul utilized David’s musical gifts to ease his depression and whatever mental demon he was continually fighting.  Music heals our pain in different ways.  This girl’s blog is an amazing testament to the healing properties of music and is a great resource into the world of music therapy.  I think this new field gives validity to the scientists of the world who don’t believe art and music are really something that can be effective in large ways.  It is intriguing that science and art are closely tied and the health of our bodies and minds can be changed due to it.  This is all just more evidence that points us to our Maker.  God knows us and knows how to heal us, and He equipped us with the tools for this.  Thanks mom for the realization.

Pensive on a Thursday am I,

~lme

Why I will persevere as a visionary


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I’m currently reading the first chapter of a great book called The boss of you… written by two brave women.  And they challenged me to really think about the why behind what I want to pursue.  So here’s the why behind it.

1.         For those who love creativity.  I’m creative.  I believe we can be that and be different.  We are people with conviction, faith, love and want to soak up the world around us.  But we’ve been told to tell ourselves no, believing there wasn’t an arena for us as people of faith and artists.  I’m here to tell you I will not believe that lie anymore and neither should you.

2.         I believe in the future, in the artists, the musicians and those who have worked really hard at their craft, despite math and science brains saying what they have is more important to offer.  Because if one is more important than the other, then why are the doctors buying tickets to our shows and unwind after a surgery by listening to some enchanting melody from our contribution to society?  In a world of negativity and increasing ills, hope is needed through the arts.  I believe that so much good and blessings can come from what music can offer.  And I believe that I can contribute to that.

3.         I want to be able to write songs and share them for a living and create a listening experience that is unparalleled and exciting.  I want creative venues for shows that have so often been forced into a narrow idea of what a venue is.

4.         I want to use my music to fuel goodwill and do good things in the world around me.  I want to write songs that give people hope and stir them onto good works and to look to a greater home after they die.  I want to bring people to an appreciation for life, God and a healthy hereafter.

5.         Money will not be the goal, nor will fame.  I will welcome the blessings and use them as I think God would have me do, but I do not want the goal other than supporting, saving and giving back.  And my goal is to be able to have health insurance and feed myself and others in the future all because I work hard at honing my craft of songwriting and performing.  I will be the Barnabas in a world of excuses and failings.  I will encourage the people I meet every day.

6.         I want to show people that someone who wants to do what’s right can be successful in a difficult industry by paving her own path.  Someday I hope to help others find their way of making a difference around them.

7.         I want to tour, make friends all around the world and have countless stories from a life well lived.

8.         I will not be average…. I will live awesomely through the talents I have been given and through the God who gave each of them to me.  And I will restore them to him, rusty and worn and say “thank you for these gifts- they are loved and worn and my hands are tired and my mind is ready to be at rest forevermore.”

Live the life you’ve imagined…

love,

~lme

Let me know how you can relate!

Follow a Leader or Lead a following… just move


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Photo Courtesy: This flickr Stream

While reading Ross Hudgins’s blog today, I came across this statement….

“Leaders should understand the power of team, and the weakness of individualism. Communicating individualism divides team, and is a bad choice for any grammatical situation that would be better fit for “we.”

I’ve been struck recently by the difficulty of leading and having to really stick your neck out and stand for something, accept conflict at times and plow through things that aren’t often enjoyable at the moment.  I think we either yearn to follow effective leaders or to be effective leaders ourselves.  For those of us who see problems in the world at large, we want to lead some kind of effective change that has lasting impression in the minds and hearts of those who have followed us.  I believe there are four pitfalls that most leaders face.

  1. They really want people to like them and they choose to avoid conflict.  This just is not possible.  You will undoubtedly always make someone unhappy.  Trying to please each and every person will get you nowhere as a leader.
  2. They allow criticism or praise to affect them strongly.  Some people want to gripe and when you are trying to do what you can, a complainer instead of an active participant is more of a dead weight as a leader.  But on the flip side, basking in your previous accomplishments will only cause you to ferment in yourself after so long until you get the label stamped on you of “washed up.”  You should never be this- you should always be swimming onto bigger and better things.
  3. They get so focused on a goal that they forget the purpose of the goal in the first place, and when a new strategy is needed, they cannot adjust.  Leaders must remember that flexibility is highly important throughout the process.  You will have a goal in mind, but it will change and develop over time.  A leader must remember to not forget some aspects of a project will come easily and others will need work.  But you must always remember to step back and assess whether the original big picture problem or issue is being addressed.
  4. Poor communication skills.  If you want people to understand your perspective or your vision, you will have a hard time converting them if you can’t properly communicate it.  It may take work at times, but listening to others’ views and trying to really see what they are seeing is imperative for a successful leader.  You can not lead people you know very little about.  People want to be accepted and understood. If they feel this need is being met, they will align themselves with a group of people.

Self-indulged and sick with it


“The self-indulgent man craves for all pleasant things… and is led by his appetite to choose these at the cost of everything else.”
― AristotleThe Nicomachean Ethics

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Photo Courtesy:  George Eastman house photostream

We are self-indulged.  And we’ve never truly known poverty or hunger or bitter cold.  Much as we’d like to deny it, there isn’t much we can’t have right at our fingertips at any given point and with the right amount of money.  And if we are forced to “wait,” we become quite impatient and angered at the situation.  Believing we are self-made men and women, we have slowly drifted into a mindset that we really have no need for God.  Why depend on someone when we believe we can do it alone?  We are self-sufficient and have no desire for anyone telling us what to do or how to live our lives. Sadly, this quote by Aristotle rings true in the world of musicians.  Therefore- a picture of a self-sick society…

Life was good there.  And in this prosperous society, there was a sect of people.  They were called musicians and they lived in their own separate world, believing no one understood them.  They were continually busy with distraction, every form of media on which to plug themselves and their talents.  Their pursuits and fever for fame flooded the bulk of their thinking, acting and discussion in the community.  While those in the worlds of ancient Greece and Rome worshipped physical idols, the musicians had no need for these.  The idols were rampant in their hearts- held up daily as they bowed mentally to them both day and night.  They could have been faulted had it been completely their doing.  Rather, they were products of their society to some extent.  They were put on stages, high above the crowds.  Looking down on others always helped one to feel loftier than the others below.  The observers would scream and chant praises.  Others would grab at their legs, longing for one touch.  And still others would emulate their style and strive to meet them backstage. 

It was innately human, though.  Like all beings, they had a need for association and to become a part of something bigger than themselves.  In the music industry, they had found something to fill the void.  God had made them with this need for acceptance and to connect with something grander in scale.  But this desperate need for association had become misdirected somewhere and was funneled toward a people, performance and things.  The musicians were sadly warped in their thinking.  They knew that the world did not revolve around them, but somehow, they had been led to believe that it did by a self-sick society.

Moral to the story:

As musicians, we must work to not become saturated with ourselves.  What is continually in our thoughts?  That is what we are serving.  We often say daily that we are “pursuing” something.  Our truest pursuit should be toward the ultimate Creator and then whatever goals we work toward are merely just honing our skills and talents in this and that area.  It would take an immense pressure off of ourselves if we let go of the thoughts that we had to prove ourselves to the world, become well-liked by everyone (which is a total joke) and that success in music was only measured in terms of dollars or facebook fans.

No wonder musicians have such a warped view of themselves.  We commoners treat them as gods.  But what if we treated musicians and the actual process of making a living at music as less-dreamy and as something that required hard work just like an architect or a teacher or a dolphin trainer.   If we put jobs on respectable, even playing fields and believed that everyone should use their talents to better the world at large, we might not see the arts as being so lofty.  If we viewed it as a normal career path that one might pursue- and not some lottery, one-in-a-million chance to make you a big star- then society might begin to view musicians in a healthier light.  My feeling is that as musicians, our business models should begin to include more service and a change of heart toward fans and a respectful kindness toward all we come in contact with.  I’m not sure how start this change on a larger level, but I welcome ideas in the comment section below.  Feel free to leave comments and thoughts!

Enjoy your Tuesday!

~lme