So those of you who check in on Facebook (which if you don't you should) - know that I've announced a couple of house shows. I wanted to make sure you all knew they were coming up, as well. Also - I've added a page with some general info and FAQs about these house shows in general - click the link at the top of the page! On January 30th, I'll be hosting the talented local songwriter Simon Balto, with an opening set from friend and Chicago native Hanna Ashbrook. Simon's new album has guided me through these cold winter months so far, and I would guess will be a frequent listen through those ahead. This one (as well as the other two I'm writing about) will be at 914 N. California. Doors at 8. Show at 8:30ish. All the usual rules apply - BYOB, Suggested Donation. Come hang out, spend some time meeting new people who love music as much as you.

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On February 6th, we'll welcome the very talented Chris Kasper, with Music Means Family alumnus Ty Maxon. Chris has toured with Amos Lee, The Wood Brothers, and many more, and is a huge talent. I really hope you'll be here to enjoy this one with me. 914 N. California. Doors at 7:30. BYOB. Suggested Donation. Etc.


On February 16th, I am very, very excited to announce a house show with an artist who released one of my ten favorite albums of last year. Luray, the incredible project from Shannon Carey, will be in Chicago playing a very special solo show. Opening for her will be Mike Noyce, of Bon Iver. Doors at 7:30. Music at 8ish. Same rules as all the other shows, BYOB, Suggested Donation. Please make it out for this one!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ4uWmPmRdQ&w=640&h=360]

Update - Up To Date!

Hey everybody - So I'm sitting at home with a fever, nursing a nasty headache, and I figured that was as good of a time as any to throw a big old update your way.

1st of all - if you've missed them so far, I urge you to check out the Music Means Family Skyline Sessions - we take a bit of time before various house shows to film 1 song sessions, and I'm really proud of how the first three turned out. It truly is amazing how talented these folks are. So, take a look at the 1st three sessions, with Courtney Marie Andrews, Field Report, and Hip Hatchet.




We'll have a couple more coming your way, after our next few house shows. Which you should come to. They're next week. And they'll be awesome.

On November 11th, we have a special evening with Vikesh Kapoor. Vikesh is a stunning songwriter, and wowed a couple thousand of us earlier this year at Timber! Watch this video - then go to the event page, then RSVP, then come.


The Event Page!

Then, I'm beyond excited to present the Brooklyn-based Cuddle Magic, with an opening set from Kalispell on November 13th. Again, watch this video, click the link, RSVP, and show up!


I really do hope I get to see some of you at one of these shows. They really are special occasions.

Last, but not least, Caroline Smith is playing at The Hideout this Friday. You'd be crazy not to go. She just did an awesome session with the great guys over at Audiotree - check it out, and come hang out on Friday night.


See you soon, I hope!


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!




See you there!

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.




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



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




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



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.

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[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!

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!





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.

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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]

Gallery Show #1 - Kalispell w/ Brendan Losch

Hey all, big news! Kalispell

As of this summer, I'll be presenting intimate house-style shows in a beautiful art gallery space in Chicago. There will be stunning music, beautiful art, and a place to share drinks (BYOB) and a love of music in an exciting, cozy setting.

I'm so thrilled to announce that the first of these shows will be on Sunday, June 30th, at 7:30 P.M. (doors at 7), with the incredibly talented Kalispell, whose music I have extolled frequently here, with what is unquestionably going to be a wonderful opening set from the talented singer-songwriter Brendan Losch. If you haven't had the opportunity to experience a concert in this kind of setting before, you're in for an absolute treat. The ability to connect with the performers is wonderful, and it really is an opportunity to experience music in a way that can't be replicated.

I can't wait for all of you to be a part of this experience, and I really do think you'll be as thrilled as I am. If you would like to come, please e-mail me at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com, and I will respond with the address, directions, and a confirmation. There is no set ticket price, but donations are strongly encouraged so we can continue to present these hopefully phenomenal shows.

[bandcamp track=3686072507  bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=0687f5 size=grande]

[bandcamp track=2073437377  bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=0687f5 size=grande]

Take a listen to these songs - then e-mail me and RSVP. Space is limited, so don't delay. Can't wait to see you there!