Sunday, September 4, 2011

1UPs, Anyone can spay!, and freeze dance

She's a fierce freeze dancer.

The Stump Challenge after Irene

I got to knock out a few kitties for surgery.

The Weepies at TLA in Philly

We found Amanita on our hike.

We found strange boys too.

I always grasp at those last few weeks of summer like everyone else. Luckily mine were chalk full of good times. Even Irene couldn't really get me down. While many homes around me sustained heavy damage, I escaped with just a few inches of water in my studio. I lost a good deal of bedding, some furniture, and a handful of stock CDs. It looks like there will be some Irene Specials on my Sarah Donner CDs at the upcoming shows!

I spent a week at the City Arts Camp 2011 in Trenton teaching songwriting to groups of kids ranging from 6-14 years old. It was a bit crowd control and a whole lotta freeze dance for the little ones. We did write a few tunes though. I'm always impressed with what kids come up with in class. They just need the opportunity, a beat, and a simple chord progression. 

Some lyrics from our tunes: 

My tooth was loose loose loose
It wiggled so so much
I want to pull it out

The tooth fairy flies flies flies
She soars in the sky sky sky
It's gonna come out soon

You knock me down 
I fly back up
Cuz that's how good my shoes are

I hiked with some good friends up in Jim Thorpe, PA. It was a tough hike. I got my hands dirty, and my bum got wet. I am such a baby when it comes to trying new things. There were spectacular water falls and plentiful mushrooms on the path, so that made it better. If I did it again I would invest in some fly shoes though. 

I had the pleasure of knocking a few kitties out for surgery at the Forgotten Cats Clinic in Willow Grove, PA. When I volunteered after dropping off a few ferals I trapped, I assumed I'd be cleaning cages and feeding kitties. Nope! I got right in there and injected the patients, weighed them, and help prep them for surgery. The vet let me watch her pull out ovaries from one of the lady cats. It was totally amazing, and I am looking forward to the next time I can volunteer! 

Finally, I saw The Weepies on Friday. I rank them in my top 5 bands that I listen to frequently. Their craft is stunning, and I can never quite put my finger on why I love them so much. They really hone in on the ability to blend simple chords, thoughtful lyrics, and damn catchy melody. So many songs make me think "damn I wish I had written that", but then I probably wouldn't enjoy it so much. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Getting out of your comfort zone is overrated.

Yeah my sister is WAY more brave than I am.

Mercy Bell's CD Release!

This is how mom broke her foot!

Jet the kitten

So I've spent the last week or so in the arms of my motherland New Bedford, Massachusetts. If you've ever been to a show, you've probably heard me spout off about not being from New Jersey. It's funny how you don't realize how tied you are to a place until you've left. There's a very strong 'Boston' accent here in New Bedford. When I first left for college, my peers often thought I was from another country due to my thick r-less brogue. Now I listen to Car Talk on NPR just to feel like I'm home. 

I played in my first trailer this week. Mercy Bell released her new album All Good Cowboys, which by the way, is spectacular. Go download it now. I'll wait... New Bedford has a handful of festivals each year which feature bandstand music inside trailers. I used to wonder, how can I play in there? Apparently you need to be friends with the mayor, or friends of friends of the mayor. 

Music wise, the new album is starting to shape up in my imagination. I need to start working on pre-production once the cicadas quit screeching outside my studio. You know studio is just a fancy word for basement with a microphone in it? Don't let those DIY kids fool you. I'm kind of excited at the new prospect. Recording is usually a chore for me, but I think there's a lot of potential in my new tunes. I just need a new animal to grace the cover art! 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Do you eat, sleep, do you breathe me anymore?

Morning news is fun!

My niece has been practicing her mermaids

Gah! Lisa Loeb is a sweetie.

detail from Princeton Art Museum - I think her face is made of silly putty
SO it's been an adventurous week that culminated with opening for Lisa Loeb at the ArtsQuest center in Bethlehem. I was nervous heading into soundcheck because I am a huge fan. Well I had nothing to worry about because she was kind and down to earth, you know, on top of being a musician on top of her game. She had a few friends there who made me feel comfortable and at home as well. Once we were all in the dressing room the topic soon became cats and pets. It's like a short cut to finding kindred spirits. 

When the show started I was assuming I'd get a chatty crowd uninterested in the opening act. I was totally chuffed to find an attentive room of 300 or so people. Man, I was ON MY GAME! It's so bizarre that some people get a high from being the center of attention when others live in fear of it. Anyhow, I think it went well on my part. The crowd was lubed and rev'd up for the main act. 

Lisa played an assortment of old and new songs. I loved it, and I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity. One of my favourites is Do You Sleep? for sentimental reasons. I was too much of a wuss to request it myself, so I was glad when someone else did! We exchanged emails, and hopefully I will be able to do it again next time she's on the east coast! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Win 2 tickets to see Lisa Loeb & Sarah Donner this Friday!

Want to win 2 tickets to see Lisa Loeb (Sarah Donner opens) this Friday 7/29 at Musikfest Cafe in Bethlehem? Tell me why your cat (real or imaginary) thinks that you should go see the show. Email your brief essay, pictures, or video to Points for creativity! The contest winner will be announced tomorrow morning 7/28 at noon EST.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Back again. Jiggity Jig.

Bean takes a peek inside the new cajon

Stag beetles don't belong in my yard. 

The Indie Music Night mascot. 

Because I'm lame and can't stop taking pics.

The tour is over. I miss those zings of dopamine when I get to a venue, when I meet a new fan, when the van starts making funny noises. Anyhow I've been trying to get back to some half finished projects mostly which involve paint. It's hard to stop me once I get a brush in my hands. There are a few songs to finish writing so I can get started on the next album! 

I've mostly got my identity back. After the St. Paul Zoo theft, I am finally on my way to being Sarah Donner once again. Josh is my new friend at my bank. He sat down with me for an hour and a half wiping my tears and wiping my overdraft fees away. Those shifty bitches were very efficient at ruining my credit and my good name.

There are some good shows coming up, namely opening for Lisa Loeb next Friday at ArtsQuest Cafe in Bethlehem PA. I hear she is a cat lady so we should get on pretty well. Her first two albums really made a dent on my formative singer/songwriter self back in the day. I forced myself to learn bar chords just so I could cover her tunes. That could have been the start to me not "playing guitar like a girl". I will expound on that another day though.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Flipflops & Rest Stops 2011 Tour: North Carolina & Tennessee

North Carolina mountain road at 6am

The band Town Mountain performing at WDVX's Blue Plate Special

The river rejuvenates on the last leg of tour!

We are down to the last few days, and I'm mulling over ideas for one last music video. The Twizzlers are stale enough for percussion purposes. It's been a fine journey, but I am ready for a steady diet. There is a mess of identity, bank accounts, and credit card charges that I need to clean up too thanks to the break-in back in St. Paul. My purse is light, but I'm the type of lady who is comfortable with a Target on her shoulders.

I had a day of rest in Boone, NC which was just what I needed. A day with close friends, a cool river, Pinot Grigio, and stars in the sky. My friends live on the side of a mountain which is gorgeous, but I'll think twice about driving a sketchy minivan up there again! I'll just tour in a helicopter next year.

The Blue Plate Special is a live radio show on WDVX in Knoxville TN. I played this show a few years ago, and I knew the crowd leaned towards with a southern flavour. The new host is a sweet funky lady named Red Hickey, and she did a great job of welcoming the musicians, keeping a friendly report with the audience, and making the show run smoothly. It was a packed room. I gather most of the audience comes in for their lunch to enjoy that music. It's a great thing they got going there, and I wish there were more radio stations following their lead!

Tonight's show is at Refuge Coffee in Cincinnati, 8pm. Tomorrow it's one last music video or bust.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Flipflops & Rest Stops 2011 Tour: Atlanta

Bailey was our short legged host in Durham, NC.

fountain near the aquarium in Atlanta

Sounds itchy

$hClean, beer, and art nouveau come together in Atlanta

I think I'll just stop calling this the Flipflops tour and start calling it the Where The Hell Is The Sunshine tour. It seems like we've had a solid three or four sunny days since we left New Jersey. It's total nonsense. If you've seen any of my shows this month, chances are it came with a cloudy day. I'm like Eeyore with better hair and antidepressants.

The Atlanta stay was short and sweet. Eddie's Attic is a kick ass venue that prides itself in featuring the acoustic artist. They have cultivated a sizable audience that listens intently and respects every single musician that gets up on stage. Eddie actually hosts it, and I have to say it is refreshing to attend an open mic that isn't run by a douchebag. He commands you to hush and then gets out of the way of the music. It's clear he isn't running this event as an ego booster. He leaves that to the singer/songwriter. It's also a competition, and I was a finalist along with Emily Kate Boyd of the band Joyscout (awesome band name!) and Samuel Sanders. Check those kids out!

Last night I played the Broad Street Cafe in Durham. I have words for the waiter who bussed our table before we were finished. There was some quality brick oven pizza that I was counting on for today's minivan leftovers. The taste of soggy cold cuts is totally tragic when you had an eggplant margharita pie in your future.

Otherwise all is well, and tomorrow is a lunch time radio show at WDVX in Knoxville. You can tune in at at noon EST. After that it's Cincinnati's Refuge Coffee on Friday night, 8pm.