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Woody Guthrie’s Archive Sparks Songstress’ Creativity

I’ve always been a fan of folk music … so this news item caught my interest.

What a unique opportunity, when someone allows you to co-write, or re-do songs that were started so long ago … sort of like being placed in a time machine … with someone as great as Woody Guthrie. Wow.

Woody Guthrie’s archive sparks songstress’ creativity

From the article: 

“It’s the rare artist who gets to collaborate with a true legend — especially one who passed away 41 years ago. Jonatha Brooke was invited by Nora Guthrie, the daughter of Woody Guthrie, to go through the songwriter’s archives and pick lyrics she would adapt to song.”




Pumpkin Festival 2008

There are farms around us, out here in Canyon Country, California … and one sponsored a Fall Festival (wouldn’t have known about it, except our good friend, and fantastic blues singer/songwriter, Teresa James, and her band were a major highlight there).

So, I thought you’d like to see how healthy the pumpkins are … and how I love to take photos of “natural patterns.”


Valet for Bikes in Santa Monica

A very creative (and green) idea:

Maybe it’s just me, but I absolutely love that there is a valet service for bicycles in Santa Monica, on Main Street, on Sunday mornings (so people can go enjoy the farmers market or the nearby beach).

Hopefully, we’ll see more of these around the country soon!


Electrify My Soul – New Book by Dan Kimpel

It gives me SUCH pleasure to tell you about Dan Kimpel‘s newest book, Electrify My Soul (Songwriters and the Spiritual Source).

Gosh, is this his fourth one? His others are: Networking in the Music Business, Networking Strategies for the New Music Business and
How They Made It: True Stories of How Music’s Biggest Stars Went from Start to Stardom.

If you don’t know who Dan is … well, then, shame on YOU.

A former singer/songwriter/musician, he currently writes the Songwriting column, Song Biz, in Music Connection magazine, as well as the Songwriter Profile interviews. He’s been doing that for years… And besides that, we’ve known him as a manager (mostly world music artists) and event coordinator (starting with the Songwriters Expo in LA, years ago), plus is seen either on a panel or moderating a panel, at virtually every music event in Los Angeles, teaching classes that reach all the way to Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in England. I could go on … like the fact that he, along with John Braheny and others, wrote and recorded interviews with major hit songwriters for United Airlines (via Disc Marketing) … and I could go on … let’s just say he’s incredible.

I first met Dan when he started working for the now-defunct offices of John Braheny’s and Len Chandler’s Los Angeles Songwriters Showcase, when Dan just moved to Los Angeles. We had just acquired a Macintosh Plus computer (don’t ask how long ago this was) and Dan was too nervous to touch it, much less use it. OBVIOUSLY, he really overcame his fears! Now, he’s the father of 4 books — and to think that he told us that John Braheny was the first author he’d ever met. Wow. Talk about “you’ve come a long way, baby.”

Bravo, bravo on a job well done, Dan. Oh, yes, and let me add THANK YOU for including John Braheny and ME in your new book, Electrify My Soul (Songwriters and the Spiritual Source). We love what you wrote about us in Chapter One, no less!

For this book, Dan interviewed songwriters about their connection with “spirit” (or not) in the process of their songwriting work. Remarkable insights and so varied … it’s truly an honor to be included along with …
Bill Miller, Craig Wiseman, David Nichtern, Mark T. Jordan, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Steve Seskin, Marcus Hummon, Christine Lane, Sam Baker, Melissa Etheridge, Paul Williams, Gary Malkin, Daniel Moore, Jason Blume, Pamela Phillips Oland, Sophie b. Hawkins, Charles John Quarto, Peter Case, Rodney Crowell, Susan Werner, Billy Joe Shaver, Michelle Shocked, Harold Payne, Peter Himmelman, Michael Silversher, Jeffrey Steele, and Karen Taylor-Good.



Music Talks Sessions event March 30, 2008

John Braheny will be one of the featured speakers at the upcoming Music Talks Sessions on Sunday, March 30th, 2008.

The event will be held from Noon to 6:00 pm.

(Note: John’s session is from Noon-2pm. Click MusicTalksSessions.net, and click “Schedule” at the top of the page. Scroll down to the program grid for
March 30th.
John will critique your songs, so bring your CD and lyric sheets! Thanks!)


9240 Deering Avenue (near Canoga & Nordhoff, in the San Fernando Valley)
Chatsworth, California 91331

(From the press release):

‘Music Talks Sessions attracts, educates and engages motivated recording artists, songwriters, producers and musicians seeking to increase their knowledge in their music and recording careers. Music Talks teaches the value of entrepreneurship, personal development and artist development to recording artists.

Learn from and interact with master songwriting consultant and critiquer, John Braheny, Jennifer Lyneis, record promoter for UE3/Sony records, and entertainment attorney, Ben Mclane, among others.’

Registration: $20 online or at the door.

To Register Online, click here: MusicTalksSessions/register.

For more information visit: www.musictalkssessions.net

Contact: Organizer/Producer, David Knight: david@musictalkssessions.com.



Creativity Jazzes Your Brain – article

I love scientific data about how a musician’s brain works, especially when he/she is in the ‘throws’ of being creative.

The writer, Lauran Neergaard, describes how brain scans show the process to be very much like “dreaming.”

Great article for you from Associated Press:
Creativity Jazzes Your Brain.



The Synesthesia Challenge – Fun Quiz

Ever think of a number and see it, in your mind’s eye, in a particular color? That is only one example of how synesthesia shows up in our lives. It’s also connected to what makes our hearts pound when we’re watching a movie car chase … crossing the lines in the brain from what we see to our other senses, like hearing or feeling.

Take this quick Synesthesia Challenge to see your feelie-touchie quotient …




The How of Happiness – new book

Today, I happened to catch an interview with the author of this book on the radio. It caught my attention because of her unique approach — definitely not your typical how-to-get-happy book.

The How of Happiness author is Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside. She and her colleagues researched thousands of men and women … which has got to be tough, when you think about the criteria they might have used. After all, most of us are happier at some times than others, etc.

“Lyubomirsky’s “happiness strategies” introduce readers to the concept of intentional activities, mindful actions that they can use to achieve a happier life. These include exercises in practicing optimism when imagining the future, instruction in how best to savor life’s pleasures in the here and now, and a thoroughgoing explanation of the importance of staying active to being happy. Helping readers find the right fit between the goals they set and the activities she suggests, Lyubomirsky also helps readers understand the many obstacles to happiness as well as how to harness individual strengths to overcome them. Always emphasizing how much of our happiness is within our control, Lyubomirsky addresses the “scientific how” of her happiness research, demystifying the many myths that unnecessarily complicate its pursuit. Unlike those of many self-help books, all her recommendations are supported by scientific research.” — from amazon.com.

Much of what you’ll see, you already know — but might need to learn again — like how living in gratitude is a big plus. Also doing kind deeds for others. And having good relationships. But there are some surprises in her findings too, one of which is that happy people work at being so. Also that people can definitely overcome abusive childhoods and become happy.

Another is that, yes, it’s true, people might be more happy when they get a large sum of money, but then the glory fades and they will only want more. Heck, don’t we know this by now?



Venice Art Walk – May 18, 2008

John Braheny and I have volunteered to work at this incredible art show for the past 14 years (skipping once or twice) and have always found this one to be top-notch.

Just as you’d expect, if you know anything about Venice, California, the art is kooky, but often luxurious, and includes a jaw-dropping array of talent & crafts that you just can’t find anywhere else (we’ve looked).

Put the date on your calendar (Blackberry)
now if you’re anywhere in the Los Angeles area, or are planning to be.

The Venice Art Walk features self-guided tours of more than 60 local private working studios and homes of notable Venice artists and private collectors.

Sunday, May 18th, 2008 – 11am-6pm

Where to go when you arrive:
(Tickets/Info and site of the silent auction):
Westminster School
1010 Abbot Kinney Road
Venice, California

A major reason for the exceptional distinction of the Art Walk is it’s location in Venice, home base of many of the West Coast’s best loved artists: Charles Arnoldi, Ruth Weisberg, Laddie John Dill, Martha Alf, David Hockney, Richard Serra, and many others.

The event also features a food faire, located at the Westminster School, offering gourmet cuisine, an al fresco cocktail garden and live music performances. The event benefits the Venice Family Clinic, the largest free clinic in the United States. They
provide medical care to uninsured individuals and families in Los Angeles County who would otherwise have no access to health care. (from their brochure)

It’s only one day (Sunday, May 18, 2008) unless you purchase special tickets to participate in more exclusive activities on the day before. Tickets for Sunday are usually a bit pricey (around $50) but are well worth it — and it’s deductible — for a good cause. Or, you can do as we do, volunteer preceding or during the event, and get in free! They can always use an extra hand.

Prepare to hunt for a parking space. You’ll be doing a LOT of walking, so wear comfy shoes, and bring hike-like supplies: water/granola bars, etc. Fortunately, shuttle buses roam the streets (you need your badge to ride those).

The whole event is very well organized. However, much as you try, you’ll never be able to see it all in one day…so, when you buy your tickets, study the program guide and choose the artists’ studios you’ll want to see first. This event is not for sissies! (And sure, you’ll see some stuff you don’t like, but the stuff you DO like will definitely be worth the trip!



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