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Winter Blog 2016


I’d like to welcome all of you who are new to my email list!!  We had such a spectacular time touring in Germany and of course England, over the past few months.  The tours leave me with such a good feeling of sharing music, seeing people sing along and even seeing tears in some peoples’ eyes.  Writing can often be a lonely business, though very fulfilling. Sometimes I wonder if the music I’m doing will reach people, move people, uplift anyone… so to see the amazing reaction is truly gratifying and really keeps me going.  Also, we get to meet you after the show and have a little chat!  I was invited to someone’s house for dinner in Northern England… the women were so lovely, I almost took them up on their offer!  Touring is such an adventure and a gift… a busman’s holiday.  We get to see the world, sometimes one small town at a time — like Barton, England!  Or Burgrieden!  These are places I would never know existed, were it not for going on the road.  Some of the best Thai food I’ve ever had was in Leeds, England, on a night off… just me and my journal, out for the evening. I have a section of restaurants I keep in my iPhone, for when we travel, and often will go back to some little Italian place in Düsseldorf, or in Paris.  As you will soon find out… I love great food. (Who doesn’t??!)  I’m not really a foodie (well, in my heart I am!), but I sometimes willcook a great meal.  I’m working on a cookbook, which I’ll eventually publish, but in the meantime, I’ll be posting some fabulous recipes I’ve learned from sisters, friends, chefs, or that I’ve made up. Today’s recipe will be a Mexican Casserole!  It’s a good way to use many vegetables that need to be cooked.

L.A. is getting some rain… yay!  We need it, as you may have heard.  My favorite thing to do is to light a fire after a good home cooked meal, and to read — no music on, just the rain.  Looks like we’ll be getting many opportunities for bundling up and lighting fires… I know that some of you laugh, because you live in places where it’s freezing!  But for us here, in L.A. rain and cold weather are novelties.  It’s exciting!
The future holds many good things… I’m already writing a new album, we have a U.K. tour booked for October and are in the process of booking a Spring 2017 tour.  Hoping for Ireland, Austria, Germany, Spain, etc…We’ll keep you posted!  Maybe that cookbook will be finished by then!   Please feel free to post recipes on my FaceBook page… I think all friends should share their best and favorite recipes… keep things interesting!
I realize that it’s a huge world and that there are so many countries we haven’t been able to visit or return to.  As you know, the music business has changed dramatically, and we artists are doing our best to keep it all going, so I appreciate your understanding in this.  When my son goes to college, I’ll probably tour a LOT more!
Here’s the recipe:
Mexican Casserole:
Prep time — 30 minutes
Cooking time — 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Red onion – one medium, diced.
  • Olive oil — 2 tablespoons
  • 2 Zucchinis – medium, diced (about 2 cups)
  • Frozen corn or fresh about a cup (at least)
  • Black Kale or any leafy green vegetable, like chard, spinach, etc… chopped roughly. 2 cups
  • Two cans of organic, black beans, rinsed. Or if you can make your own, that’s better.
  • 1/2 cup diced red, yellow or orange peppers
  • About a cup of shredded cheese – Mexican blend (or really any cheese) or cashew cheese or any vegan cheese, if you prefer.
  • Corn tortillas (it’s a bit of an extra step, but often Mexican restaurants will sell their fresh corn tortillas… very reasonably priced). You can freeze what you don’t use.
  • One container of fresh salsa (not from a jar). Or you can make your own – it’s very easy… just dice tomatoes, about 2 cups, mince 1/2 fresh jalepeno, dice 1/2 red onion, chop together with fresh cilantro, add a bit of crushed garlic, and a bit of lemon, salt and pepper. So much better than store bought. My friend Alejandra taught me this.
  • Cilantro (fresh)
  • Avocado
  • Sour cream, or vegan sour cream.
Preheat oven to 400º
Sautee onion in oil on low heat until soft 5 – 6 minutes
Add the zucchini and sauté until soft – 5 more minutes.
Add peppers, cook 2-3 minutes Add Black Kale, or leafy green vegetable – Sautee 2 minutes, until just mixed in.
Add corn Salt and pepper to taste.
Once the corn is added, just cook a couple of minutes.
In a casserole dish, rip up and lay down a layer of corn tortillas. Add a layer of salsa, then 1/2 of the beans and 1/2 of the cheese.  Add 3/4 of the sautéed vegetable mixture.
Repeat with remaining ingredients, layer again… ending w/ last bit of cheese.
Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until bubbling hot.
Let it rest for about 15 minutes, before serving.
I serve this with sliced avocado, cilantro leaves sprinkled on top, dots of sour cream and hot sauce! (And great, green salad on the side.) Enjoy!!! 
Looking very forward to meeting again, at some point, and until then a very Happy New Year to one and all, and may peace prevail on this gorgeous Earth we are so blessed to reside upon.
P.S. How are YOU?  Ha!

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8 Responses

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  • Jamie on

    So great to hear you’re already working on another album! Keep writing – as a friend reminded me recently, music can affect and transform people in a thousand different ways that we’ll never even know about, but it was encouraging and uplifting for them!

    Glad you enjoyed the UK and you’re already planning to come back. I was gutted to miss the tour this time so I’m looking forward to October. You must’ve taken the rain back home with you (check out the UK news and you’ll see what I mean)!

    Don’t forget Bristol next time you’re here. Best place to eat, definitely http://www.thethalicafe.co.UK – amazing like bohemian veggie place (I’m a total carnivore but it’s still my favourite place!)

  • Rickey Bates on

    Dear Vonda,

    I write collect and write, “Notes, Letters and Stories.” and this one I just thought I’d send to you with my thanks.

    I thought I’d share a letter to woman I’ve grown rather close to, over many miles. We’re making no promises and both are christians old enough to know the wisdom in taking things slow and steady…keeping things decent and in order. Though frisky and playful at times, we’ve taken a liken to each other, and we can’t hope but wonder about the future, and what only time and togetherness will reveal.

    Below is the email, just one of hundreds of “Notes, Letters and Stories,” we’ve already shared.

    Just Listening to some music while fix in’ supper for the crew.

    Rm Bates Today at 7:29 PM
    To Elaine —–
    Message body

    I wanted to share a few things with you.

    Thoughts of the woman on your mind…for a guy, it sounds much like a woman’s voice in a song, with a sweet voice you could never get tired of.

    Women like to hear male singers and songs. But know this, the woman’s voice we don’t readily admit to longing to hear, represent a tie that binds them with thoughts of care and concern for the very woman, held oh so close, while apart.

    I listen to 2 particular CD’s that help keep hopes of that all elusive dream woman I’d like to have near by, just to keep me company. It’s no replacement for the woman, but when you can see her singing those songs, bouncing around on the dance floor or just in the chair beside you with a smile, and a certain look…it surely helps keep them alive for you. The sweat words of a good woman, gets us every time!!

    I think you know, I look for the heart, words, mind and beauty on both sides in and out. I’m thankful to see it so clearly, and get a kick out of knowing you sound such music to me.

    Whether you ever hear them or not, I hear you in them.
    Vonda Shepard:
    It’s Good Eve
    A Radical Light

    Have a good night Dear,


    You are an amazing artist am thankful all the time, you’ve been there is times that are in so many other thoughts and stories.

    I lost a love of 14 years to lung cancer in February. It takes a long time, but with music like yours…well its just helped me find a place to keep her spirit of her o love alive and with me always. Music of yours and the likes of it with such heart, has fostered hopes that maybe again, such love once again…may be possible.

    It doesn’t suite me being corny, but I thought you should be thanked warmly and sincerely by a man you’ll never know, has thanked God for you and your music. You’ve helped.

    God Bless you richly 7-fold for you, your heart and magic that’s so works and me and I’m sure, so many others. May your cup of blessings continue to be filled, pressed down, shaken together and running over. What a lovely woman of music, of stories and matters of the heart; you truly are indeed,

    Rickey Bates

  • Rickey Bates on

    Dear Vonday,

    I apologize for the typo’s. Sooner or later, I’ll look at what I’m writing long enough to correctly proof it, but not so long, that it never gets sent, for the all-too-common “second thought” of being foolishness for such an effort.

    Be well,
    Rickey Bates

  • Tony Harte on

    What a joy to see you in Selby, England recently. Sunshine on a rainy day! Always a warm welcome here in Yorkshire.
    So glad to see that you’re coming back to this neck of the woods and my home town of Leeds next October. (Thai food available!) I’m sure that you’ll know the history behind the City Varieties venue where you will be playing … “Built in 1865, this much loved venue, hidden in the heart of Leeds city centre, has survived virtually unchanged across three centuries while most other Victorian Music Halls have passed into history. Many of the world’s greatest entertainers have trodden the boards here including, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harry Houdini, Lilly Langtry, Harry Lauder and Mickey Rooney”. Esteemed company indeed Vonda! (But I suggest that you sidestep the visual comedy or escaping from a chained up tank of water!)
    Have a great 2016. Much love from Tony and Lindsay xx

  • Leticia Vidal on

    Dear Vonda,
    Hi! My name is Leticia Vidal and I live in Uruguay, a beautiful country that surely is one of those “many countries you haven’t been able to visit”.
    We are in South America, between the great Brazil and Argentina.
    First of all, forgive my poor English.
    I met you with Ally McBeal, how I loved this TV serie !!! Since then, I collected your CD’s, the ones I was able to get, buying then in internet, asking friends that travelled, or myself when I was in New York twice.
    I chose your songs in my singing classes many years ago. Now I share my tapes and your CD’s with my daughters. I have three that are my pride.
    Just to wish you the best in this new year, and let you know and be sure that someone in this distant country will be always enjoying your great music. And why not, some time could listen to you personally. I think everything is possible if you really want it and work for it. That’s what I try to teach my daugthers .

    With kind regards,

  • Ralph Dratman on


    Glad to learn that you are touring and hopefully doing well in your life. My wife asked to hear your “You Belong To Me” cover this morning and I ended up at your site. Say, have you heard Joey Alexander? Check him on youtube. No, this is not a promo message, he is just so amazing.

    We have had a lot of pleasure from your music. Thank you.


    Ralph Dratman
    New Jersey

  • Alan Abrahams on

    Dear Vonda,
    I hope you remember me. I certainly remember you when I owned The Flying Jib in Encino and you came in with your grace and songs and elevated our funky little club.
    If you go to my website you can view what I have been so fortunate to have produced over the last many years – from Joan Baez, Kris Kristofferson and Ladysmith Black Mambazo ( including Phoebe Snow, Dolly Parton and Lou Rawls) to Jazz legend Les McCann, ( we have a best selling book “Invitation To Openness: The Jazz and Soul Photography of Les McCann 1960-1980…… 14#1 Gospel albums ( New Jersey Mass Choir, L.A. Mass Choir, Beau Williams), Freddie Jackson and tons of others.
    I am currently representing the inimitable Merry Clayton ( I am sure you saw her in The Oscar winning 20Feet From Stardom) who is recovering from a near fatal car accident but unbroken in spirit ( she even sang on the new Coldplay album!).
    I have been living in La. for 3 years but I am moving back to L.A. and I have been approached by a hotel owner/art/music patron to partner with her to bring The Flying Jib back and recapture that spirit missing from L.A. for so long………as everyone says ” you would have had to be there”………..I am considering it and have been encouraged by every musician from then to know to do it……………it was always about the musicians, the music and the spirit that was so memorable. Please contact me if you feel inclined, to give me some input from your point of view Kindest regards and continued success Alan Abrahams

  • Kevin Weber on

    I’m so excited to see you at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano tomorrow night for the 3rd time! It’s a surprise for my wife who has never seen you live before. By-the-way, thanks for Cartwheels a few years back. You’re always a part of my life’s musical soundtrack. Safe travels for you and your crew.

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