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Autumn Post

Ah… finally, autumn is upon us. Root vegetables, a chill in the air, reds, rust, oranges, yellows…and of course, new ideas. (Let’s hope!!) Summer dresses into the back of the closet, but what to wear? Haha! Shop? Nah… too much to do. I remember when my son was about 1 year old, we’d go for long walks when all of the Halloween decorations were being put up. He loved the fake spider webs. Those lovely, innocent days – years. Now it’s the grind of homework, and the occasional “time out”… just for the fun of it! Can any of you relate to this?

Just finished lyrics for a cheeky new song, and soon to record a vocal. It’ll be a fun song to play live. I’m also looking for a venue to play in L.A. So sad about Witzend – about Jeb. That was a great place to play, and I may still try to play there if they keep the club opened. I played in New York last week at SubCulture, which was a fantastic, intimate venue, and where my good friends, Larry Saltzman and Renee` Goldsberry sat in. (They were wonderful!) I stayed an extra day in N.Y. and saw The Book of Mormon! Yee Haa!!! Wo. Pretty over-the-top, but very cathartic.

As you may have noticed, I’m posting a lot of the songs from Ally McBeal on SoundCloud, as I’ve gotten so many requests over the years to hear the songs in their entirety.  Because they’re only for streaming, and not downloading, I can finally do this.  I really hope you enjoy going back in time and listening to these songs!  It was an era where all of the musicians were playing together – nothing was programmed, and we recorded onto 2 inch tape (not pro-tools), so some of the vocals are out of tune, and we edited in the old school way.  We did do overdubs, so it wasn’t all live, but the spirit was captured by the 5 of us playing together… nothing like it.  I often chose takes for songs based on the live vocal that expressed the emotion of the song, rather than the perfect drum performance (much to the chagrin of various drummers, but hey, it worked!)  The first year was mostly Val McCallum on guitars, Jim Hanson (with whom I still play now), Jeff Young on keyboards, as well as myself on piano much of the time, and Andy Kamman on drums.  From around the second year on, we had Pete Thomas on drums, Davey Faragher on bass and often Neil Larson on keyboards, as well as Jeff and myself.  The whole first year, Val, Jeff, Jim and I, and sometimes the great Lynn Davis would sing the background parts.  At some point, David K. added the 3 wonderful back-up singers in the bar… Sy Smith, Renee Goldsberry and Vatrina King, all of whom have wonderful singing, songwriting and acting careers in movies, in television, and on Broadway.  Carmen Carter sometimes joined us as well… how lucky we were to have a budget for all of these tremendous talents!   I’ll keep the songs coming, and please send your requests… FaceBook is the best way for me to get these, and I’ll try to find the songs you like!

I have some new recipes I’d like to share… will work on getting those to paper (computer) soon. One has lentils, caramelized onions, mint, sun dried tomatoes (which I can live without), some sort of vinegar… excellent! Now, about that cooking show… I actually pitched a cooking show where I suddenly break out in song, and all of the songs are about food – with titles like “Mix it Up”, and “Stir it, Mama” – any takers? “Spoon it in…” This is what I do when I’m not actually writing songs that are viable for a record. Read a great book – The Hummingbird’s Daughter, by Urrea. Such vivid characters… you’d have to be into magical realism a bit, and folklore. I liked it much better than 100 Years of Solitude, but it could have just been my mood. And the sequel is fantastic as well.

I feel like I’m writing a letter to a friend, only I’m not asking how my friend is. How are you? People? What’s new? What are you reading? Cooking? Thinking? I don’t really feel like writing about politics at the moment… too frustrating, but let’s all keep connecting, staying positive, smiling at each other, letting each other turn in front of us in traffic – being generous, breathing, appreciating our health, and the moment, our families, in whatever form they may take.

Have a great October, and hope to see some of you soon on the road! (This is the first time I don’t have any shows booked – just need the time to finish this record!)

Peace,

Vonda

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Summer Update

Hi friends! I hope you’re having a great summer!
Our tomato plants are taking over the backyard, and since
we cut back the sage, mint, parsley and other herbs,
everything is thriving. We have a compost bin, which I
cannot picture ever not having – it’s so natural to throw
vegetable and fruit scraps into a bowl, then into the bin.
We have quite amazingly rich soil now, and have cut our
garbage down by ¾. (I highly recommend it.) Check out
the Hawkins Bio Stack. I think you can get it online. Call
now… do it today! Ha!

Everything is good on the writing front so far. I scored a
documentary film for Sugarland, as some of you know, and
in the process, found some really nice ideas for new songs.
Music always leads to more music, which is so wonderful.

As is usually the case, my best songs are once again the
sad ones, so I’m going down that road again – excavating
some memories and emotions that apparently have been
hiding in the recesses of my heart. When I try to write
political songs, or chipper little ditties, they sound unnatural,
especially to sing, so I’m sticking to the most personally
authentic subjects for the new songs. The writing process
is always very rewarding, (though one of the toughest things
I can imagine). Sometimes I’ll just change one part of a
melody, and the whole song is more “realized” – which
happens to put me in a good mood for the rest of the day.

Next Sunday, August 4th, I’ll be joining Sugarland in Mount
Pleasant, Michigan to open the show. I’ll be playing solo,
but invariably some of the musicians from Sugarland hop up
on stage toward the end. (They’re wonderful musicians, and
it’s a blast to be able to work with them and watch them from
the sidelines during their show).

Today I’ll watch some Olympic gymnastics and reminisce
about watching Nadia Comaneci when she was a little girl,
getting perfect “10”s. Isn’t it exciting to watch such high level
athletes? So inspiring! Do you cry at the end of an event?
I do. I love how sports and music bring people of all walks
of life together – I think that’s why I’m crying, as much as the
great athleticism.

Book recommendations for the month:

State of Wonder by Anne Patchett (One of the best books
I’ve ever read).

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (Brilliant, rich, funny)

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (Beautiful, life
changing book).

Music recommendations:

Pepper Island (The one Mitchell produced with the black and
white cover – put it on at a party and enjoy the vin rouge).

Well, that’s it for today… I know it’s been awhile since I’ve
written, but I’ve been busy reading those books!

Have a great August, and see you soon!

Vonda

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StageIt pt. II / Bochum pt. II

StageIt logo

 

The online StageIt show last week was totally great, even as it was totally strange! Playing to a great group of fans who I can’t see or hear was a brand new experience. But I knew you guys were listening, so even a few technical difficulties at the beginning couldn’t slow us down, and I think everyone had fun! Well, we’re doing it again and this time I’ll have the camera a little closer so I can actually read your comments as they’re coming in. Join me this Thursday for a short, sweet concert. All you need is a computer, the internet, and $4 US (registration required).

SOLO – Live for Europe” will begin at 11 AM Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), March 15, 2012.

In other great news, the tracks I promised for the fans who were coming to the canceled Bochum concert last December are finally available! Look under the Music tab above to find these two limited edition high quality recordings.

And finally, I joined Twitter! Follow me if you like, but I’ve got to warn you, I haven’t gotten the hang of it yet! But hopefully soon I can give you some fun updates. Let me know what you want to hear about. Have a great weekend!

Vonda

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Online Concert!

Hey friends,

I want to let you know about my upcoming show on Stageit, entitled “SOLO – Live.”  I am really excited about this, because it will be be a one-night-only performance, streaming live! I’ll be broadcasting from (and with) my favorite grand piano. You’ll be able to send me messages throughout the concert, so that will make it very cool and intimate.

 

Vonda Shepard SOLO – Live” will begin at 9 PM EDT/6 PM PDT, March 15, 2012.

 

If you don’t already have a ticket, register at StageIt. My concert is $4.

I hope you can make it!

 

Vonda

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