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Winter!

Hello!! 
We’ve been really enjoying the rain here, in L.A., after so much time.  I know to some of you that is a very humorous statement!  
We had a lovely Thanksgiving with mostly family, and my best friend and her family.  Only 14 people this year! I hope you were able to gather with friends and family, and that you had a feast!  I know some people cannot afford these luxuries, and I felt truly grateful to be surrounded by love and kindness, humor and laughter, and yes, plenty of food.  We sit around the table every year and say what we’re thankful for. This year, as I’ve said a lot recently, I feel incredibly blessed and lucky. I’m highly aware of how rare this is, and I’m embracing each day with appreciation.  
Over the long holiday weekend, I was in hermit mode, which I love, (lots of reading) but I had started two more songs a couple of weeks ago, and dove back in today. One of the songs is reminiscent of the song By 7:30, in the energy and groove (and chords, I just realized; lots of “4ths”).  I had been working on another song, and it exhausted me (!!!), so I sat down in “The Big Chair” and fell asleep for 10 minutes. When I awakened, I sat at the piano, and without looking started pounding out these unusual chords. I was still half asleep, so there is a different feel to the song. It’s called Red Light, Green Light.  Out of the blue. I like those!  
Also, I’m very much looking forward to touring again next year!  Hope to see you out there!  
I don’t remember if I’ve already given you the Pumpkin Cake recipe, but I’ll include it here, as it’s just a fabulous winter cake.  (There’s a great children’s book called Thunder Cake… so sweet! Check it out.)
I hope your Holiday Season is filled with Joy, Peace and Love.
Vonda 

Enjoy this extremely low-calorie cake!!  

Natalie’s Pumpkin Cake:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground clove (add a couple of shakes more if you like the spiciness of clove)
1 cup canned or fresh pumpkin
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour a Bundt pan. Set aside.

Cake:

Beat the butter with the electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in the sugars and the eggs, one at a time, until smooth.
In a separate bowl, combine pumpkin, buttermilk, and vanilla.
In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, and clove.
Using a mixer, add flour mixture into the batter in thirds, alternating with pumpkin mixture, until smooth.
Pour batter into prepared pan (or cupcake cups)
Cook for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Icing:
Using a mixer, blend 1 1/2 cups of SIFTED confectioners’ sugar with 3 Tablespoons of milk and 1/2 tsp. vanilla
I simply eyeball it and mix confectioners’ sugar and milk until the icing looks like a glaze that I can drizzle on the cake. You want it to look white still, not translucent. Lately, I’ve been adding a small sprinkle of cinnamon and clove to the icing.
Once the cake is cooled, drizzle icing on cake using a spoon in a zigzag pattern.

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Vonda 2020

Made of Rain 11 09 19 rough mix

Hello!! 

Mitchell and I just finished recording another song for the new album! It’s a heart-wrenching piano vocal…what a surprise!!  

I’m including a rough mix of this song, titled: Made Of Rain. You’ll get a feel for the new material, though there will be full band songs, as well, with different tempos, etc. But I know my hardcore fans (at least many of you) like these the best. Some of you prefer the super funky tunes, though… and there are already a couple of those. 

I originally envisioned the song as a duet with Sharon Corr for our tour last March. The music was completely different…it was an entirely different song, actually. I kept working on the original song, but it was so complex. I basically lifted the concept and put it into this new version. Sharon and I were going to write this together, originally, but I never sent it to her to work on! I must not have been happy with it. Anyway, here it is, done. Break out the Kleenex. 

I am also very happy to announce our new U.K. tour for October/November, 2020! It’s a ways off, but by then the album should be finished. Tickets go on sale November 15 at 10 am! That’s right now! Click on the image above to get your tickets today!

We’re also announcing a new Spain tour soon — looking like summer of 2020. And there will be more European shows around February, 2021. 

Come to Vegas for our Smith Center Shows, March 20th and 21st!! It’s a gorgeous room… make a weekend of it! (I’m going to!)

Okay, I’ll keep you posted, and we’ll start posting some “behind the scenes” footage of the making/writing and recording of the album.

See you soon! (In Vegas?!) 

Vonda 

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Late Summer!!!

Hello!!! I hope you’re having a lovely summer! Back to school, and thankfully it was relatively smooth. Phew…

I’ve been writing my new album, and it’s finally really rolling along. I like to work in batches of three songs so that when I’m fed up or disenchanted or bored with one particular song, I jump to another one, so I always have something to work on. Usually, all three songs are finished around the same time. I’ve always worked like this, and it’s going well! And the songs are about 87% finished… just tweaking lyrics, endings of choruses, etc. It’s not that I need a new album, but I guess I just NEED a new album. Haha! I feel a need to play a few new songs live that really represent where I am today. When I look back on It’s Good, Eve, part of me wonders how I wrote that whole album. It only took four years… !! That’s how it goes, though. There is no point in settling when it comes to lyrics — which is the most difficult part for me, so I must persevere, and it can take a long time.

I won’t say when I’ll have an album, but I’ll keep you posted on the progress. I’ve already started going through the songs with Mitchell, and he has helped out on a couple of very important parts of the song and is a co-writer on one.

As you know, I’ve taken time off from playing shows for the first time in 23 years. At first, I didn’t like the feeling of not having anything on the books, but now I can see that it has been really good for me. And when I go back, I will welcome the travel, the adventure and playing for whoever can make it!

On another note…

This is a real summer recipe, so make it soon… it’s amazing! Corn/Avocado Salsa:

Ingredients:

  • 2 ears of fresh corn
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half, or a couple of small tomatoes, diced
  • 2 small avocados, diced into 1/2 inch cubes (or one large)
  • Fresh Cilantro about 1/2 cup, leaves plucked off
  • 1/2 a small red onion, diced
  • 1/4 of an orange pepper (for color and flavor) diced. Red or yellow, if they don’t have orange
  • 1 lime, squeezed
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Grill a couple of ears of corn until a bit charred — 15/20 minutes Cut corn off of cob, once cooled.

Mix all ingredients together gently.

Check for salt and pepper, as well as lime. My lime yielded a lot of juice, so you may need a bit more.

I serve this salsa piled over Halibut or Salmon. If you’re a vegetarian, it’s amazing to just eat by itself as a kind of salad or side dish.

Enjoy!!!

And enjoy the end of summer… 

Vonda

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Mid-Winter

Hi there!  I realized recently that my last “Blog” would almost already apply again to this year, as Spring is just over a month away!  I need to keep up on these things…

It’s raining L.A., much to my great joy.  I’m lucky to have a cozy home with a fireplace that has gotten a lot of use this last few weeks.  Mostly what I’m feeling these days is gratitude for my life, my family, my friends, my health and just basic privileges in this world… especially when I think of the less fortunate.  So much happens in our hectic lives, that I forget to look around and realize how much I have to be grateful for.  

As you know, we’re heading back to the U.K. and Ireland in a couple of weeks, with the lovely Sharon Corr, of The Corrs!  She and I are doing a co-bill, where we’ll each play a set and sit in on a couple of songs with each other, then at the end play several songs together with the band and feature our vocal harmonies.  This should be really fun and something different… it’s good to change things up sometimes.  

Visit http://www.seetickets.com for tickets and info!

I will then head over to Paris (!!!) for one show with just my band and me.  I’ve been trying to get back to Paris for a few years, and we’re finally going to get there…yay!!  Come on over from Belgium or Denmark or The Netherlands and spend the weekend in Paris!!  I am slowly branching out to other countries, as you can see, and we really look forward to visiting you there… and soon to many other places I’d love to visit.  

I hope you all have a lovely end of winter season… stay warm and dry, and oh, how about a couple of book recommendations…??  

I just read 3 excellent books:

Olive Kitterage, which came out awhile ago, Less, which I believe just won the Pulitzer and I’m just finishing Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.  All three are great reads… not without some tough sections, emotionally, but excellent books.  

See you on the road in a couple of weeks!!!  

Peace and Love,

Vonda 

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Spring 2018

Springtime!

vonda-jim stage uk

Hello!!

It’s almost Springtime!! Raining in L.A. today, but we need it and I love it.

We had such a wonderful tour in the U.K.!!! And now I’m home making beds and cooking again… driving children to playdates, doing laundry and writing another album (haha!). Seriously though, I do have some material to work on. Now comes the hard part… editing!! Any writer knows this phenomenon … 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration!! The reason it takes me so long to write an album, is I work on the lyrics until I love them. That can take awhile. The music and melody come much more easily, and I don’t write the lyrics first and fit them to the music… it’s the other way around, except for some gibberish that I try to decipher to find out what my subconscious wants this song to be about. Sometimes my subconscious has TERRIBLE ideas (!!!) however, and it’s my conscious mind that has to reject those old habits or clichés in the lyrics. I used to write at night — late into the night, but when you have children, everything shifts, as you know. Now it takes a lot more discipline to be creative. There is always a drawer to organize, or a closet to clean out. I’ve been “Kon Marie-ing” my house for the last year… I LOVE that book!! The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying. Everyone would benefit from this book!

I’m reading Pachinko right now, and am completely lost in the worlds of Korea and Japan…it’s a fabulous book.

Let’s talk about tomatoes now!! It’s a bit too early to plant tomatoes in L.A. — I’m going to wait at least 4 weeks, but then I’ll head over to Tomato Mania, where they have a pop-up sale of the seedlings. Those cute, innocent 4 inch plants will take over my backyard in 2 or 3 months!! Last season I bought 12 — I could barely keep up with those tomatoes, but it was wonderful. One of my favorite things to plant is many herbs. It’s wonderful to be making a bruschetta and just walk into the backyard and cut fresh Basil… no running to the store at the last minute! I also have Thyme on hand, for when I make Ottolenghi’s Very Full Tart, which I made 3 nights ago… a savory winter tart with yams, eggplant, zucchini, caramelized onions, feta, ricotta, etc… you get the picture. I love that cookbook, Plenty.

Next up, I’ll be opening for Jackson Browne on a handful of East Coast dates in May!! I’m thrilled to be going out on the road with him and his wonderful band, many of whom I’ve played with for years. I’ll bring Jim on bass and vocals, but otherwise will be playing with Jackson’s guys. Can’t wait!!

And after that, we’ll head to Spain and a couple of U.K. shows in late June and July!!. We’re also trying extremely hard to get a show in Paris while we’re out. There are so many details that I won’t bore you with, as to why it’s not easy getting a show there, but it will happen!! If it’s not on our July run, it will be in November, when we’re coming back to Europe. We’ll know very soon, and I’ll post it! We’ll announce the next European tour by early summer!! There are so many places I’d like to visit and play, including Chicago!! Haha!

We’ll be sending lots of songs from the latest tour, and we’re working on a new live album with songs so many of you are requesting!

I hope you survived the crazy weather in England, Europe and the east coast of the U.S.! We got out the night before the U.K. storm hit, so we felt very lucky.

Here’s a nice side dish recipe for Spicy Beet and Carrot Salad!

Ingredients:

  • One large red beet (or whatever color they have).
  • One large carrot
  • One apple (any kind)
  • Cilantro (about 1/4 cup, chopped)
  • Lemon (1/2 squeezed)
  • Red chili flakes 1/2 teaspoon (or anything spicy that you have… could even be jalepeno or hot sauce)
  • Salt and Pepper

Grate the beet, carrot and apple. Add cilantro, lemon, chili flakes and some salt and pepper. Mix! Chill!

SO good!

Enjoy your Spring, and I’ll see you out on the road somewhere!

Love and Peace,

Vonda

New video from the UK! The Wildest Times Of The World shot in Milton Keynes!

 

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Welcome To Winter!!! And Happy 2017!!

Vonda---Winter-is-Coming-web

I want to begin by saying how absolutely wonderful it was to tour again this year (last year, now!) in The U.K.  What an amazing experience it was, again!!  For those of you who didn’t see the choir performance from Gloucester, I’m including a link here (click the underlined text!)… enjoy it!

When I book these tours with my agent, I spend months preparing and thinking about the thrill of traveling, of playing songs for people who really listen or sing along, and these thoughts really inspire me.  To have a tour to look forward to and plan for is one of my favorite things in life… I only wish we could visit so many other countries.  Maybe when my son goes to college!!  Until then, we’ll keep going where we can. I am grateful to you for showing up at the shows with your love and enthusiasm, and I’m incredibly thankful to still be able to do music as my job, thanks to you…which brings me to our next tour, right around the corner, in Germany!  We are heading over for a couple of weeks at the end of April… can’t wait!!  Some people ask me if I’m tired after the show, as I sit out at the merch table signing albums, etc., and my feeling is the same every night; it’s so wonderful to meet people in each city and to laugh with them or talk for a bit (and hug…ha!).  I also learn a lot from these conversations… I hear your requests, and I truly appreciate the feedback.  My wonderful friends, James Ralston (guitar) and Jim Hanson (bass) will be with me, as always, and we will have a drummer, as well, this time around.  Check the website for dates!!  

I just found out that we’ll be coming back for one week to London and a couple of other cities, as we’ve been invited to do a festival in July!!  I’ll keep you posted with details. And the most recent touring update, is that we’re putting together another U.K. tour in February, 2018.  I’m trying for another European tour in November of this year, as well.  We’d love to get back to France, Spain, Belgium and so many other countries.  There is even talk of going over to Japan, at some point in the next year… I haven’t been to Japan since I opened for Jackson Browne in 1996!  21 years ago!  I also remember touring in Japan, when I was Rickie Lee Jones’ keyboard player/ background singer, in 1985 and 86’.  I wrote a song called “Forward My Mail To Osaka”. (Haha!)  I never recorded the song, but Japan had quite an impact on me.  It’s incredibly eye-opening to go to a place so different from home… and I loved it.

I’ll keep you posted on that…

Ready for a new recipe???  I AM!!  My sister-in-law was in town from Israel, and made this in my kitchen… it’s a great side salad.  Let’s call it “Cabbage with Pine Nuts”.

Cabbage With Pine Nuts: (as discussed… haha.)

Ingredients:

  • Cabbage, very thinly sliced (maybe use a mandolin – play it very quietly, and the cabbage will be thin.)  
  • Toasted pine nuts about 1 Cup (buy raw and gently toast on stove — never take your eyes off of them — they burn if you look away (kind of like my ex boyfriend of 30 years ago).  So about 2 minutes on medium/low heat, until golden and you hear Harps and Angels singing – Thank you, Randy Newman, for the reference.  
  • Toasted sesame seeds  About 3/4 of a Cup (same deal as above). 

Sauce:

  • Soy Sauce 2 Tablespoons
  • Sugar 1/4 Cup  (I know, it is a lot, but it works… or as Ina Garten says “How bad could that be??!!”  
  • White wine vinegar 1/2 Cup
  • Canola or sunflower oil (or something similar) 1/2 Cup

Boil sauce ingredients for about 2 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved, then let cool for a bit.  

Mix cabbage, pine nuts, sesame seeds, then pour cooled sauce over and mix.  Enjoy!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday Season, and are enjoying the colder weather… I am!!  It’s finally raining in L.A.  Yay!  I realize how silly this may sound to some of you in Eastern Europe, or in Chicago — maybe I should move…?  Haha!

There is so much going on in the world in politics, and I’d rather not get into it here, but I would like to say that, as always, I wish for peace for all, and for love to win, over everything.

Have a wonderful winter, and I will send more recipes soon!!

Peace and Love,

Vonda

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