Mondays are Hard

So yeah, Mondays are really hard. I thought I'd throw some links your way, to try and ease those Monday Night Blues. 'Golden Wake' a phenomenal track from the gorgeous new-ish album from Mutual Benefit - via Songs For The Day.

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=3678151605 size=medium bgcol=ffffff linkcol=63b2cc t=2]

 

As winter approaches, I'm very eagerly awaiting the forthcoming album from local artist Simon Balto. Listen to 'The Cut'. Wow.

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=1349278374 size=medium bgcol=ffffff linkcol=63b2cc t=1]

 

As long as we are on a winter-y note - this Tiny Desk concert from Daughter. I sat speechless watching this.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-OoG1aGYO0&w=480&h=360]

 

Speaking of Tiny Desk concerts - a throwback to one of my favorites - from the Low Anthem

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcpUZO9dn7k&w=640&h=360]

 

I love Volcano Choir, and I love everything Dan Huiting films - so I'll leave it with this City of Music video of 'Comrade".

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vvp305B9FoQ&w=480&h=360]

 

I hope the rest of your week is tolerable - and I hope to see you on November 13th at 914 for an incredible house concert with Cuddle Magic and Kalispell!

 

 

 

Under Construction

Hey all - Over the coming months, you'll see some slow changes to the platform of this blog, including the design elements, the layout, etc. I want everything to reflect every project that I'm currently working on as part of this blog - from the Skyline Sessions, to the intimate concerts, to the blog itself. I don't envision actually taking the site down to do significant updates for a while, so don't worry! I just wanted to give everyone a heads up.

In the meantime, I'll be announcing a few more shows over the coming weeks - and doing a few more Skyline Sessions. I'm so unbelievably excited about all of these, and I hope you are too.

If you didn't get a chance, take 3 minutes and watch the most recent Skyline Session, which we filmed the night of Courtney Marie Andrews and Erin Rae's house show. I haven't felt as emotionally vulnerable as I did listening to those two women on that beautiful evening in a long time.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXMXCa2hHtM&w=480&h=360]

 

Please keep an eye out for exciting changes here - and hopefully I'll see all of you on November 13th at 914 N. California for an intimate evening with Cuddle Magic and Kalispell.

Be well.

Music Means Family House Show #7 - Cuddle Magic w/ Kalispell

I'm very, very excited to announce that on November 13th, Brooklyn-based experimental folk band Cuddle Magic will be playing a Music Means Family house show, with an opening set by Kalispell. This is an incredible opportunity, and will be the most unique show at 914 N. California to date. Watch this video of Cuddle Magic below, with a bonus video from Kalispell, and then head over to the event page (https://www.facebook.com/events/1426182267604021/) and tell me your coming (don't forget to RSVP at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com if you want to guarantee a spot.)

As usual, bring whatever you'd like to drink, bring some money to donate to the artist, and come with your hearts open. Bring some friends. See you then!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQR3dXbEx-s&w=640&h=360]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-dkESHiP74&w=640&h=360]

 

See you there!

Introducing...The Skyline Sessions

Hey everybody! Happy almost middle of the week! As many of (read: all of you) know, I've been obsessively curating house concerts as of late, and hopefully, you've all been to one or will be coming to one in the future.

However, if you haven't been able to make it - I have a special treat for you. My cousin Dan and I have begun to record simple sessions before each show, one or two songs, with the hope of sharing them with you. Well, after some trial and error, I am truly, truly overjoyed to present to you the first two Skyline Sessions, from the recent shows with the fantastic gentlemen of Field Report, as well as the exceptionally talented Hip Hatchet. Know that I intend to write more thoroughly about these shows in the near future, but I wanted to give you a glimpse of these - and frankly, I was too excited not to share. And now...

Skyline Session #1 - Field Report - I Am Not Waiting Anymore (Alternate Version)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRhccdmYbY8&w=640&h=480]

 

Skyline Session #2 - Hip Hatchet - American Charm

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGz1gXVopqE&w=640&h=480]

 

I am so, so excited about these - and I can't wait to share more with you! Also, if you're in Chicago this weekend - two really incredible house shows coming up, with Courtney Marie Andrews and Erin Rae on Friday, and Bryan John Appleby on Saturday. Come over to facebook.com/musicmeansfamily and RSVP!

 

We Are Alone In This Together - Autumn Mix 2013

The leaves are starting, the air is getting crisper, and I find myself on the porch most evenings with a great Saison, or Marzen, or glass of whiskey. You know what that means? It's time for an autumn mix. I make no secret of my love for autumn, and the music that accompanies it - and I'm really excited to share this mix with you. Listen to it here, or over on 8tracks (which is mobile compatible!) or, as always, e-mail me at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com if you want a zip copy of it.

I hope you all enjoy!

[8tracks width="400" height="400" playops="" url="http://8tracks.com/mixes/2527395"]

A Little Too Busy

Hey everybody - sorry for the infrequency of the updates. I've been traveling for work, and working on getting house shows set up, and seeing shows, and biting off maybe just a bit more than I can chew. There are worse things, right?

Anyway, I wanted to drop by and post a few things that have been keeping me sane while I wait for the leaves to change (don't worry - a fall mix is brewing)! Let's jump right in:

I'm in love with the new album from Luray - the project of Shannon Carey, who is the sister of Sean Carey (of Bon Iver). She strings together soaring melodies, soothing banjo, and copious layers to create a fantastic fall soundtrack. This has been on many mornings for me as of late. Here's a beautiful single take video of the title track 'The WIlder'. Go get this album folks.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INZVnzwxEtM&w=640&h=480]

 

Also, Caroline Smith's new album will find its way to your ears shortly. I can't say enough about Caroline's talent - and this album will most certainly deliver. Sharing this one again - make sure to grab this on 10/8.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeBPKCtUC9M&w=640&h=360]

 

Nathaniel Rateliff's new album is absolutely breathtaking - and it's a wonder for the beginnings of autumn, Enjoy this video, and then go grab it.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7pfEsHQuzU&w=640&h=360]

 

I'll be dropping by with a true Autumn Mix soon - in the meantime, I hope to see you out at one of our house shows coming up. Come over to www.facebook.com/musicmeansfamily and check them out!

 

9/24 - Field Report

10/3 - Hip Hatchet, Justin Klaas, and Old Sap

10/11 - Courtney Marie Andrews and Erin Rae

10/12 - Bryan John Appleby

 

You REALLY don't want to miss any of these. I promise.

A Special Announcement - Music Means Family House Show #6

Hey everybody, I know it's almost Monday, and that's really sad. Fortunately, I have a really special announcement for everyone.

September 24th. 7:30 PM. Location to be announced shortly. BYOB. Suggested Donation ($10+).

A very intimate acoustic evening with Field Report.

I can't think of a better way to usher in fall, and all of its wonders. They released one of my favorite albums of 2012, and their live show is incredible. Not only that, but this is a rare opportunity to see them in an incredibly intimate, acoustic setting. You can't miss this one. If you do, you're honestly crazy.

This one will fill up, so please RSVP on the Facebook event or via e-mail at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com. I can't wait to see you there.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pj_mcgid39M&w=640&h=360]

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTgo0QJ73i0&w=640&h=360]

take note, there's still a hole in my heart

My favorite thing about Saturday mornings is putting on a record, grabbing a mug or 4 of coffee, and just taking some time to myself to listen to whatever is moving me at the moment. It's a way to sort of exorcize the stresses of the week, to forget about the trivial stuff, and to really spend some time taking care of all of the thoughts and ideas I haven't worked through during the week. This morning, I can't stop spinning Volcano Choir's new album, 'Repave'. I was lucky enough to see them last night, and this record is just as incredible live as it is recorded. If you haven't picked it up yet, please do yourself a favor and go grab it. It's a soundtrack for the fall, a means to shake off the last hazy days of summer and embrace the crisp changing of the seasons. Justin Vernon's voice is still as entrancing as ever, and, similar to Bon Iver's eponymous album, there is a constant feeling of introspection and calm that this record brings. Here's "Comrade":

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4dZbJHT7_4&w=560&h=315]

I've been listening to a ton of other stuff lately as well, and I feel bad I haven't been sharing it here. So I think I'll just throw a bunch of great stuff out to you to accompany that Volcano Choir album, and hopefully you find something new (or old) you love this weekend!

 

I recently acquired a copy of Gregory Alan Isakov's 'That Sea, The Gambler' on vinyl, and I fell in love with this song all over again.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2RgYkkK7OM&w=560&h=315]

 

It's no secret that I love Noah Gundersen, and SerialBox just did a great session of his song 'Cigarettes':

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvnZRnK7ySk&w=420&h=315]

 

It's almost fall. Which means I'll be listening to the Field Report album from last year a lot. I love this stripped down session from SXSW earlier this year:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEziJYWV9vk&w=560&h=315]

 

Like I needed another reminder that I wanted to be at Doe Bay - here's a video of Mikey and Matty with the Passenger String Quartet at this year's Doe Bay:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tQfXmQ0Bmg&w=420&h=315]

 

To make it clear that I'm ready for fall - here's an old favorite from Lucy Rose:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWpvtTNJPVM&w=560&h=315]

 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend y'all. Also, if you haven't yet - please come over to facebook.com/MusicMeansFamily, click the 'Like" button, and check out the upcoming house shows. There are going to be some special ones.

Be well.

 

 

 

House Shows! 3 of them!

I promised I would be announcing a couple more house shows - and I'm here to deliver! So without further ado:

10/3/13 (8:00p) @ 914 - Hip Hatchet w/ TBA

Philippe Bronchtein (Hip Hatchet) is a stunning, raw talent with a voice that knocks me off my feet whenever I hear it. This will be a great way to usher in October, with whiskey in hand and friends surrounding us. Check out this video from Hip Hatchet earlier this year, and then swing by and check out the Facebook event (http://on.fb.me/1a3MBi6). RSVP at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6XYIl-06us&w=560&h=315]

 

10/11/13 (9:00p) @1858 - Courtney Marie Andrews w/ Erin Rae

I can't tell you how excited I am about this. If you've stopped by the blog at all this year, you'll know how fond I am of Courtney's album that came out earlier this year, and Erin is a phenomenal talent as well. This one will be at a new venue, and we'll be doing some things a bit different. Bring a blanket, or pillows, or a lawn/folding chair to sit on. Think candlelight, soft October shadows, and what promises to be an unforgettable evening. A video from each of these stunning songwriters below, and the Facebook link for the event (http://on.fb.me/1447Gq9). RSVP at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHUaulRv83I&w=560&h=315]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MEHzHfb8oM&w=560&h=315]

 

10/12/13 (9:30p) - Bryan John Appleby (solo)

Again, there are very few words for how excited I am about this. Bryan is one of the finest songwriters around, and the opportunity to see him perform solo in an intimate space has me jumping for joy. The space for this one is yet to be announced, but it'll be great - I promise. I really can't wait to see you here. Facebook link (http://on.fb.me/1clOhRB). RSVP at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tm8tr-UDYH8&w=560&h=315]

 

I really do hope to see all of you at each of these. I'll leave you all with a quote from the best thing I read all week:

"That darkened hall, that holy space, where the face next to you no longer matters. That place where the arms on your wristwatch are meaningless. The hurried things of your life are made common and then invisible by the hovering heaven of strings – suddenly the pedestrian things are made unimportant by the music. Here, in these places, the darkened audience all faces forward watching only one thing: the musicians."

Building Communities - Or Why I Write This Blog

As I mentioned before - I'll be announcing a few more house shows over the next week. I just want to say I'm incredibly excited about these, and about many more we'll be scheduling in the future. At the last show we did, with Small Houses and Ty Maxon - a friend of mine asked me, "So why do you do these shows? It seems exhausting. What makes it worth it?" I didn't give this person an answer that I was satisfied with in that moment, and I've spent a lot of time over the last week or so really thinking about it. After digging through endless reasons in my head, and weighing their importance in my heart - I realized it all comes down to one thing.

It's about community. It's about camaraderie. It's about shared experience.

I've seen hundreds of concerts. I have incredible memories of so many of them. But the one thing that almost always eluded me is a sense of really, truly sharing those memories with the people around me. It's rare that I could sit down with a stranger next to me after seeing a show at Lincoln Hall, or the Vic, and open one more beer jsut to talk about how incredible the concert we just saw really was. It's rare that I'd get a chance to chat with the musicians, not as fan and artist, but instead as two people who care deeply about art, music, and the human experience.

With these intimate gallery shows, I feel as if I've found a way to open hearts, to create spaces where artists can share their lives and their experiences through their music in a setting where everyone listening is just as invested in the artists themselves. And maybe in those quiet moments, when a few people sneak over to pour themselves another glass of whiskey, the artist can tell us something that they've never told an audience before. Or maybe they'll be able to play a song they haven't been willing to play for anyone, especially strangers.

Most importantly, I feel these shows are becoming a place where strangers can become friends, and where I have a chance to meet young, talented artists who came out to the show not because they're trying to make a name for themselves, or connections, but because they really care about music and the people who play it.

It really is about community.

I loathe posting without sharing music, as well as my thoughts - so I wanted to finish this sentiment with a couple songs from artists who I've had the fortune of meeting, spending time with, and getting to hear their music because of interactions I've had with them in person - not over the internet - which sometimes feels like a minor miracle.

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 track=1476767367 size=medium bgcol=ffffff linkcol=63b2cc]

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=149657411 size=medium bgcol=ffffff linkcol=63b2cc t=4]

 

I really hope to see all of you at one of our upcoming shows. It would mean the world to me.

 

 

 

 

 

will the light be enough to see/will the love be gone...

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of hosting the 2nd Music Means Family House Show, with the talented Small Houses, as well as Chicago local Ty Maxon. On this particular quiet, August evening, as the last rays of sun disappeared behind the Chicago skyline, we sipped ice-cold beer and watched two wonderful musicians, sweat pouring down their brows, capture the attention of everyone in the beautiful gallery space at 914 N. California.

Small Houses - Music Means Family
Small Houses - Music Means Family

We had the pleasure of hearing a slew of new songs, as well as old favorites from both Small Houses and Ty, and each song was as spellbinding as the last. If you have a chance to catch Ty before he holes up to record his new record, or Jeremy (Small Houses) as he traverses the U.S. and Europe before settling down to record, you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't go.

Ty Maxon - Music Means Family
Ty Maxon - Music Means Family

I had the pleasure, with the help of the wonderful Lev Kalmens and Dan Kolen, of getting some exceptional photos and video of this evening. Here's a bunch (more) of those photos, courtesy of Lev - video will be up soon!

Small Houses - Music Means Family
Small Houses - Music Means Family

I'll be announcing 3 or 4 more house shows over the next two weeks - and I'm really excited about them. Check back often!

Ty Maxon - Music Means Family
Ty Maxon - Music Means Family

I can't tell you enough how grateful I am for the opportunity to put on these shows. Everyone who has performed, who has showed up to watch, who have helped out in countless ways. Thank you.

Small Houses - Music Means Family
Small Houses - Music Means Family

And again - to Jeremy and Ty - thank you. There was no better way to spend a late summer evening.

Can't wait to see everyone at the next house show!

Upcoming Albums - Part Two

Of course, the minute I post a list of albums I'm really, really excited about - I'm reminded of a bunch more albums that are coming out that I'm really, really excited about. So, with no further ado - a couple more (and don't forget to look at yesterday's post!): 1. Caroline Smith - Half About Being a Woman

For anyone who follows my blog, I've been pretty vocal about my support of Caroline, her incredible musicianship, and her stunning stage presence. I remember sitting in The Hideout earlier this year, eyes closed, beer in hand, and just letting the sublime power of Caroline's voice wash over me, lost in her incredible storytelling. Jump over to their Kickstarter, donate, get a free download of the new single "Magazine", and be incredibly happy. This one's definitely worth it. If you need a brief reminder, just watch this video of the title track, which I've posted before:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2NsbvOaujw&w=560&h=315]

 

2. The Avett Brothers - Magpie and the Dandelion

There's never a bad time to be excited about The Avett Brothers, and the new single from their upcoming album reminds me of some of their earlier albums, which hold an unquestionable place in my heart. It's rare that I don't find myself listening to at least one Avett Brothers song a day - so a new album sounds like the perfect thing for fall. Listen to 'Another is Waiting' over at NPR. Trust me.

 

3. Basia Bulat - Tall Tall Shadow

I saw Basia Bulat play at Schuba's earlier this year, and she really is enchanting. She brings me out of my head, which is always welcome - and her music makes me feel as if I'm sitting in a chair along a river somewhere peaceful. Not a bad thing to have come out in the midst of what will inevitably be a busy fall, eh? Listen to the first single below:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfjnRbHtLAQ&w=560&h=315]

 

I'm sure I'll have to amend this even more as time goes on - there are so many albums that I'm beyond excited about this fall.

Upcoming Albums

As many of you know, I'm incredibly fond of complete albums. Albums that from the first song to the last, you never feel compelled to his shuffle, or switch to another song. In short, I want an album to take me on a journey, and I want to be on that journey for the duration. This year has already seen some incredible albums, many of which I've written about. For a quick recap, The National - Trouble Will Find Me, Courtney Marie Andrews - On My Page, Small Houses - Exactly Where You Wanted To Be, Dessa - Parts of Speech, and Josh Ritter - The Beast in Its Tracks all jump to mind. If you haven't buried yourself in any of these albums yet, you are absolutely missing out.

The next five months look just as bright as the previous seven. I wanted to take a second away from writing very specifically to take a moment to point out albums that I can barely contain my excitement for - and that I hope you can get just as excited for.

1. Typhoon - White Lighter

Typhoon's orchestral folk-pop has been dear to my heart for a while, and I can tell you with 100% confidence that this album only confirms my feelings about this band. Kyle Morton's tremendous lyricism, coupled with incredible musicianship, result in a type of music that deeply affects me, both positively, or in the case of tracks like "Morton's Fork" in a more pointed, soul-searching manner. Enough writing - the whole album, due out 8/20/13 is streaming right now on NPR.

Go listen to it: Typhoon - White Lighter

 

2. The Head and the Heart - Let's Be Still

I don't have to tell any of you how much I love The Head and the Heart. I've seen them approximately ten times, and my vinyl copy of their debut album has been spun countless times. They write music that's incredibly elegant in its simplicity, but so complex emotionally and lyrically that it stands up to countless listens. They released the first single, entitled "Shake", this past week - and the album comes out 10/15/13. Listen to "Shake" and go pre-order the album ASAP.

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/103616868" params="secret_token=s-DJm0b" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

 

3. Volcano Choir - Repave

As juvenile as it may sound, I genuinely believe that everything Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver) touches turns to gold. Volcano Choir is no exception. WHile their first album, Unmap, was deeply experimental, their upcoming album appears to have worked with all of the fascinating ideas they wrestled with in the first, and blended that seamlessly with the intoxicating narrative and musical sensibilities of Bon Iver and DeYarmond Edison. Honestly, this single is incredible, and I'm beyond excited to sit down with this album and nothing to interrupt me for hours when it comes out. Repave is out 9/3/13. Watch the video for the first single, "Byegone", below:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MqA0a5iw5k&w=560&h=315]

 

4. Vikesh Kapoor - The Ballad of Willy Robbins

I had the opportunity to see Vikesh Kapoor's spellbinding set at Timber! He kept all of us on the edge of our seats as he wound his way through his haunting narratives. This album promises to be one of the most intriguing of the year. Listen to the first single, "I Dreamt Blues", below:

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/101771051" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

 

I'm sure many more albums will be released this year that I'll want to share with you, but I really wanted you to be as excited for these as I am. I also wanted to quickly remind you of a few things:

Come visit me on Facebook and Twitter. Lots of stuff happens there.

Facebook

Twitter

Also, don't forget. Small Houses and Ty Maxon will be playing the second concert in my intimate house series on August 17th, at 914 N. California. You'll regret it if you don't come out. You can bring a bottle of whatever you love to drink, relax with some really great people and great artists, and witness phenomenal music in an unusual setting. RSVP at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com

More posts soon!

Timber!, Or How The Pacific Northwest Won My Heart

I landed at O'Hare Airport last night after 11 days of jaunting around Oregon, Montana, and Washington State - with a very special two night stop in Carnation, WA for the very first Timber! Music Festival. Timber! was put on by the wonderful people at Artist Home, the same folks responsible for the magic that is Doe Bay Fest. It featured a slew of talented artists from the Pacific Northwest, and was built on the same principles as Doe Bay: community, kindness, and a respect for music.

When we arrived at the beautiful Tolt MacDonald Park,, less than an hour outside of Seattle, the first thing I noticed was the sense of calm. This was no Bonnaroo, no Lollapalooza. There were no corporations, they hadn't packed everyone in like a sardine. This was a beautiful County Park, wide open spaces, and a pair of quiet stages brimming with talent.

To get to the stages from the camping area, we crossed a beautiful suspension bridge into the park area itself.

Photo by Jason Neuerberg

Our group of four crossed over, exploring the merchandise, and wandering over to the Campfire Stage, where the incredibly talented Andrew Joslyn and the Passenger String Quartet started the weekend off in about the best way possible. Their blend of covers, original compositions, and contemporary pieces washed over us as we sipped our first beers, laid down in the grass, and enjoyed the breeze gently rolling off the river.

Passenger String Quartet

We lazed around this stage for most of the day, relaxing as we listened to fantastic performances from S and Avians Alight, then meandered around the grounds, checking out the main stage area then changing into evening clothes (it got chilly!) to prepare for my most anticipated set of the evening, the incredibly talented Bryan John Appleby. He commanded the campfire stage, quelling chatter from the beer garden with his soul-searching voice and beautiful songwriting. His cover of Simon and Garfunkel's Sound of Silence silenced the crowd as the stars glistened over head.

Thanks to Kelly Alexander for this incredible video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Z4y4MmJRvk&w=560&h=315]

After basking under the stars briefly, we wandered back to our tents, and in a delightfully impromptu twist, we found ourselves wandering the grounds, my friend Chris playing his banjo, with some new friends in tow (playing a drum and another banjo). We wandered the darkness until we stumble upon a midnight jam around a lantern tucked behind some bushes. Lucky for us, this wasn't an ordinary jam session - it was Jacob Miller and the Bridge City Crooners, and they were happy to have a couple of banjos jamming along. I can't say enough about how nice these guys were, and how electrifyingly talented they are. If you get a chance, put on some dancing shoes and check them out. Trust me. Check out this song and buy this album. Do it!

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=2442650288 size=medium bgcol=ffffff linkcol=63b2cc t=8]

My girlfriend and I wandered away from the jam session after an exhilarating 45 minutes, and as we stumbled through the dark back to camp, I heard a familiar voice arcing over the trees of the park. We ran up the hills, to a campfire outside of one of the yurts, to find none other than Matt and Aubrey of the unbelievably talented band The Local Strangers playing a set around the campfire. Even as I type this, I struggle to believe the incredible amount of things we witnessed in such a short time. And this was only the first day!

We woke up early on Saturday, wandered around, hung out with neighbors and new friends, and then wandered down to the Main Stage where the day was starting off. After a fantastic set from Jacob Miller and the Bridge City Crooners, we walked behind the stage to take a swim in the river while we listened to Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers. We swam around, listening to the fantastic set, and ran into some of the artists who had played the day before taking a swim. It felt like a really special opportunity.

We stayed at the Main Stage for the next four sets, and man oh man, was there some incredible music played. We witnessed a stunning early afternoon set from the fabulous Lemolo, who played for an absolutely entrancing 45 minutes. They're a band that everyone should be listening to. Seriously.

Lemolo

We then found ourselves dancing, jumping, and hollering along with infectious drum-filled choruses of Kithkin, and the catchy pop-folk of Ivan and Alyosha. Both of these bands also fall under the category of not to be missed.

After Ivan and Alyosha finished, we felt the need to take a break. While wandering through the field near the quiet camping area - we stumbled upon Noah Gundersen filming a session of his song 'Dying Now'. We settled into the grass and watched him play the song a few times, just incredibly grateful for that twist of fate.

'Dying Now' Session

We found our way back to camp, changed into clothes for the evening, and headed down to  the campfire stage to catch the final two sets of Timber! The first, a stunning set from Boston transplant Vikesh Kapoor, performing with the Passenger String Quartet. His careful, contemplative brand of folk whistled through the air, sending shivers up all of our spines. That paved the way for the last, and most memorable set of the fest. Noah Gundersen, performing with a full band. He wove his way through songs new and old, and performed maybe the most heartbreaking rendition of the Joni Mitchell song 'A Case of You' that I've ever heard. Thinking back on the weekend now, Noah's set still renders me a little speechless. Here's another video from Kelly Alexander - this one of Noah performing his track 'Fire'.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVBC-1aG_sE&w=560&h=315]

As I struggle to find a way to get back into the spirit of work, and Chicago, I needed to write this just to express my incredible gratitude for having had the opportunity to experience such a perfect, perfect music festival.

Our Timber! Family

and everything i saw/came bursting into life

I don't think I've posted a Take Away show since that fantastic set of Kodaline songs earlier this year. Well, I couldn't wait to share this one as soon as I saw it. Shot in an abandoned disco in Paris, Paul Thomas Saunders fills the entire room with an unfathomably haunting voice, and incredible, piercing lyrics.

we were just young blood/
waiting for a fight.../
the broken and unloved/
huddled side by side...

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lc58yy1KqBE&w=560&h=315]

 

Also, don't forget - our next house show is with Small Houses and Ty Maxon. Don't miss it! August 17 at 914 N. California. RSVP at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com

Monday Funday

Outside of keeping you fine folks in the loop about house shows and other events of note, I haven't laid out a particularly exciting post in a while. Sorry about that. When I woke up today, my heart was very heavy. Some days do that. Some more than other. A slow commute to work, black-gray clouds, and a relentless rain didn't help the situation much at all. So what did I do? I pulled out my phone, grabbed my iPod, uncoiled my headphones, and went to the tunes and videos that have kept me sane through the chaos of the year.

So I thought I'd sit down and put some of those out there into this little space, in the hopes that they might lift up your Monday evening in a way that was so damn necessary for me today. WIthour further ado -

I've been obsessed with Courtney Marie Andrews lately. She's all kinds of powerful, and this video is no exception. It's so hauntingly reminiscent of a young Joan Baez, her heart heavy and her eyes brimming with tears. Goosebumps. Wow.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPhNSn01KUU&w=560&h=315]

 

I also can't stop listening to Dessa's new album. She might be every ounce of everything I love about the possibilities of hip-hop as an art form. She broke down a song off that new album into an acoustic living room session. 'Call Off Your Ghost':

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSoxRBFOlS0&w=560&h=315]

 

I'm not sure how long this will last online, but I'm madly in love with The National, and this is the whole performance from Bonnaroo this year. Get it while it's still up...

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLmcl1AOfWk&w=560&h=315]

 

Adam over at Songs For The Day put this song up today, and I can't stop listening. Seryn - 'Ivory Black'

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 track=2045771189 size=medium bgcol=ffffff linkcol=63b2cc]

 

Something about this song from Cloud Cult taps into the adult version of all of the fears and the amazement I possessed in high school. I can't stop playing it. Thanks to Bailey for this one.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbHg5WbKKO4&w=560&h=315]

 

Some exciting announcements over the next couple of weeks - so keep your eyes peeled. And if you haven't seen yet - I'm posting stuff over on Facebook as well, so come visit me and like it for more frequent updates!

 

Love y'all!

Another Day, Another House Show

I know it was just yesterday that I posted a thank you to all of those involved with my first house show, but today seemed as good a day as any to announce the next.

Small Houses

I'm thrilled to announce that on August 17th, Music Means Family will welcome Ty Maxon and Small Houses to the gallery at 914 N. California. Both of these songwriters are stunning, and I guarantee you'll regret missing a balmy August evening with these two serenading you.

Watch these videos, then send an e-mail on over to me at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com. Remember, there's no admission, but donations are highly encouraged, as it's the only way we can keep putting on these shows.

I really can't even begin to tell you how excited I am about this one - I hope you are too!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReutD19ZtVM&w=560&h=315]

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iktpRXesnNE&w=560&h=315]

 

I really can't wait to see you there.

there's a light bulb's burning glow in linoleum/Sunday stays later than most...

This Sunday, Music Means Family presented its very first concert, in the intimate gallery space at 914 N. California. The evening...

The beautiful summer eve washed over us with an incredible performance by the talented Shane Leonard of Kalispell and Field Report, with a beautiful opening set by Brendan Losch. Wine was drank, whiskey was sipped, and all of the people gathered were swept up in it all.

 

No words for this...

I can't thank Shane and Brendan enough. They are stunning songwriters and unbelievable musicians. It really was an evening I won't soon forget.

We'll be doing more and more of these as the year goes on. I can't wait to see you there.

Listen to this one from Shane, and have a wonderful night.

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=204595338 size=medium bgcol=ffffff linkcol=63b2cc t=2]

A Reminder

Hey All - I wanted to throw a reminder out there - we're only 8 days away from the very first Music Means Family house show!

"What is this, 'house show' you speak of", you ask?

Well, imagine this.

Sunday evening, you arrive at a quiet corner somewhere in Chicago. You walk into a beautiful space, lit cozily by candles and lantern light. You open a bottle of your favorite wine, or whiskey, and you settle into a cozy corner. Perhaps you mingle, wander a bit, take a gander at some of the free art for you to take home from the intrepid Free Art Machine (http://bit.ly/11gb7px). Perhaps you just take a seat, waiting for music to begin.

As the room quiets, the wonderful Brendan Losch emerges from another corner of the room, guitar in hand. He begins to play a beautiful song, quietly at first, then louder, until you're wrapped up in his potent lyricism and the quiet still air underneath his chords.

When he's done playing, you look around the room, and see the other people, no more than a few feet away, smiling, basking in the moment.

Then, Shane Leonard (of Field Report & Kalispell) begins to play. Soaring melodies - you close your eyes and are transported away from the city din, if only for just a moment. You forget yourself for a while, just enjoying the music, the experience...

I hope that helps paint a picture. Take a listen to songs from these artists below, then RSVP at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com. Sunday 6.30.13, 7:30 PM. Be there.

[bandcamp width=450 height=120 album=3653278897 size=medium bgcol=ffffff linkcol=63b2cc t=3]

[bandcamp width=450 height=120 album=905825989 size=medium bgcol=ffffff linkcol=63b2cc t=5]