Future Music from Future Thieves

Last night, my buddy Mike and I were trading text messages about the future of music, and I got a little fired up about fans who don’t really support the bands they say they love…and today, I had an opportunity to back up my talk and support some really talented artists.

If you haven’t heard me talk about Future Thieves yet, let me introduce you to my favorite band discovery of 2016.

This Nashville quartet is straight up, rock n’ roll, with maybe just a shade of 80s guitar nostalgia. My friend Brandon’s side project, The Wealthy West, got booked to play a show with them here in Charlotte last spring, so a month or so before the show, I went to check out their music. It took two songs for me to download their 2015 album, Horizon Line. It didn’t leave my ears for weeks, and I’d venture a guess to say that it was probably the record I listened to most in 2016.

And then I saw them live. That was all she wrote, folks. I was sold. Hooked. Obsessed in a way that is likely somewhat annoying, but hopefully slightly endearing. I spent the remaining eight months of the year plotting ways to see them again…and again…and again. You get the picture.

This morning, my 2016 musical crushes launched a PledgeMusic campaign to record their second studio album. Now, I’ve supported a bunch of PledgeMusic and Kickstarter campaigns, and I gotta tell ya, the rewards these fellas are offering up are some of the best value for the dollar that I’ve seen. PLUS YOU GET NEW MUSIC.

Head on ever to PledgeMusic and check out their launch video, all the rewards, Gianni’s antics, and if you look real hard, you can find a new song to grace your ears. If you have a few extra bucks to spare, consider supporting Elliot, Nick, Austin and Gianni on their mission to make great rock music. I have a feeling you won’t be disappointed.

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P.S. The guys are releasing a new live album next week, Live at Blue Rock, and you get that as part of the AccessPass when you give just $10. That’s TWO records for $10. No brainer, gang!

2017 Musical Adventures…continued

Whether you’ve known me for 10 minutes or 10 years, the likelihood that I have talked to you about The Rock Boat is substantially high. So you can really just stop reading unless you want to hear me gush some more.

For those of you that don’t know me, you’re probably like, “The What What?”

The Rock Boat.

Imagine this: Five days floating in the Caribbean. On a giant cruise ship. With 30+ musical artists on board. And one or two adult beverages.

Nope, I’m not making it up. It’s real life, and it’s been happening for the last 16 years, thanks to an amazing company called Sixthman and a little band called Sister Hazel.

I’ve been on it for 11 , soon to be 12 of those years. Because The Rock Boat XVII is happening NEXT MONTH. 38 day days until my favorite week of the whole year.

I can’t even do justice to this event. Imagine waking up, going to breakfast, staring out at a peaceful sea and then having your favorite musician sit down at the table next to you and say, “Good morning.” Or seeing a singer you love from one band pair up with another singer you love from another band, a guitarist from yet a third band, and a drummer from another band in a late night jam of cover songs. It’s hearing your favorite song, surrounded by your best friends, and hundreds of other people just like you…and you’re all singing along to every single word. All of this, and so much more, happens on The Rock Boat. Multiple times a day.

Me and Cary Pierce, The Rock Boat, 2003.

Me & Cary, 2003.

The photo  at left is me on my first Boat in 2003, stupid happy over meeting Cary Pierce from Jackopierce within about 2 hours of boarding the ship. I cannot tell you how unbelievably happy I was in this picture – I fell madly in love with Jackopierce in college, and I was completely starstruck. My friend had to introduce me because I couldn’t even talk. Cary, on the other hand, was effortlessly cool and was like, “Let’s take a picture!” Oh my goodness. And that, my friends, is how my love affair with The Rock Boat started. I blame Cary Pierce and his curls.

margaritamadness

Margarita madness and straw counting

I have a billion stories like this from my Boat adventures. Perhaps one of the the funniest involves Barry Privett, the lead singer from Carbon Leaf and a bunch of straws. There are some artists that I just cannot talk to because I idolize them a bit too much. Barry is one of them. On this grand day, I was having a particularly margarita-tastic day and had been saving all the straws from my drinks to “keep myself accountable.”  I was at about 7 straws, and standing at a bar talking with some new friends when Barry came up and started chatting with the group. Then he turned and started talking to me. About the Dale Chihuly sculpture that was nearby. And then asked me why I had so many straws in my cup. HOW IS THIS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW? So combine situational-rock-star-induced mutism with 7 margaritas. I looked at him and said, “Keeping count of my drinks.” Mortification ensued, I gracefully exited. The next day, I was running up a flight of stairs and as I rounded the corner, Barry was getting off the elevator. To my horror at the time, he looked at me and said, “Hey! What’s your straw count today?” I can laugh about it now… Thankfully, I don’t think Barry has recognized me at any Carbon Leaf shows since.

I have made some of the best friends of my life on this cruise (and off of the cruise, like when Libby stalked me online and then decided to go on her first Rock Boat adventure). I literally have music friends around the world. I think that may be the greatest part. Knowing that there are other people out there like me – people who love music as much as I do. Who don’t find it odd that I go to 100+ shows a year, but instead are my champions. Man. It’s a special kind of awesome.

This is the Rock Boat. And its magical and marvelous and filled with laughter and amazing memories.

I can’t do it justice. So watch this video. It’s from a few years ago, but it’s the year my buddies Saints of Valory were on board, so it was a special one for me. So here it is…a bunch of experiences that I can’t put into words, encapsulated in 2.5 minutes.

Amazingly, this year’s Boat is not yet sold out (but it’s super close), so if you want to join me on a grand musical adventure in February, click here.

Let the 2017 Musical Adventures Begin

appleton_wiSometimes, ya gotta follow your heart. This summer, I’m following mine to Wisconsin.

For the last few years, I’ve watched the lineup for Mile of Music and salivated. I wanted to go so badly, but life circumstances prevented it. And, to be honest, I probably talked myself out of it because of the cost factor (the festival itself is free…but ya gotta get there and have a place to stay, right?).

If you’ve never heard of Mile of Music, it’s a four-day music festival held in Appleton, Wisconsin. Essentially, they shut down a road and every possible venue along the road is a music venue. There are literally hundreds of artists that play the event. One of the artists involved in getting it started was Cory Chisel, who I’ve had a serious musical crush on for years. Last year, my buddies Wild Adriatic and SUSTO both played.

I’m not missing it this year. Reserved my hotel and bought my Music Maker badge today.

Two double bonuses:

One of my dearest friends in all the world, who I haven’t seen in years, lives just outside of Appleton. So I get Steph time!

The festival starts on my birthday. Happy birthday to me!

Carpe diem, guys. Life is too short not to do the things you want to do. Anyone want to meet me in Wisconsin in August?

2017 > 2016

Let’s face it, 2016 has been a big, festering wound of a year.

My personal stuff is well-covered territory: My mom died. My job changed dramatically. Really, when you think about it, those are really hefty things and the fact that I am sitting here at 12:15 am on December 27 in my sister’s living room and not a complete puddle of tears is an accomplishment in its own right.

Beyond the personal dramas, there’s a whole slew of collective world stuff that has been weighing on all of us. Syria. Brexit. Small-scale terrorist attacks that maimed and killed hundreds and threaten our daily routines. North Korea. A divisive and horrid U.S. election cycle. Donald Trump being elected. More celebrity deaths than any of us want to count (David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, and just yesterday, George Michael – are you kidding me?). Zika virus. It’s A LOT to handle.

But here we are, December 27, on the verge of a new year. Like everyone, I’ve got my goals for the year. Among them:

  • Train for and run my first half marathon in five years
  • Lose weight
  • Travel to Australia to see Shelia and Wales to visit Caroline and Lee
  • Go to Denver and see Red Rocks
  • My first Montana trip to see Libby
  • Send a letter or card a week
  • Write at least one blog post a week
  • Conduct a massive, soul-cleansing closet purge (trust me, this one is LONG overdue – there are clothes and shoes in there that just shouldn’t be)
  • Maybe go on date or two
  • Reduce the amount of Sugar Free Red Bull and Coke that I drink
  • Go to 125 concerts in a year
  • Get back into taking real photos

My list is probably too long and someone, somewhere will tell me that I should pick one or two of them and focus on small goals. But that’s not the way I want to do it. I either want to win big and revel in glory or fail just as spectacularly and learn from my mistakes. That’s a bit out of character for me, but something in me broke in 2016 (and it’s a good thing), and it’s time for me to stop living on the sidelines of my own life.

People say to me all the time, “You have the best life.” They say that because they see the world through the lens of my Facebook and Instagram pages. Pictures of concerts and cocktails and me out with friends, posts about bands that I love, and my adorable nephew, and things that bring smiles and happiness. And I do love all those parts of my life.

But I think that for a lot of people – including me – only show the world the highlight reel on social media. You see all the good stuff, and none of the bad stuff. Most of those people that tell me I have “the best life” don’t realize that I probably go to 75% of those shows by myself. That I see the staff and the bartenders at my favorite venues more than I see my friends. What most people don’t realize is that I am scared to death 99.9% of the time about what other people think of me. People don’t see that when I’m at home, I curl up in the corner of my couch wearing leggings and sweatshirts and eat salt and vinegar potato chips and watch endless reruns of The Big Bang Theory. I’m lonely, but I have built freaking fortresses around myself to keep from getting hurt (and that, my friends, keeps people out). Half the time, I’m sitting there berating myself that I should be doing something … running or cleaning my closet or reading or writing something. But I haven’t done ANY OF IT. Because I’m so frightened of winning or failing or anything other than things that keep me on an even keel.

And I’m tired of it. So, in 2017, I’m going to change it, and it starts with that great big list of things I want to do. Writing it down and putting it out there in the world is my version of Andy Dufresne’s “Get busy living or get busy dying.” It’s here now. For everyone to see. So there’s no turning back (because now you all know that I worry about what you think of me).

Maybe it’s hopeless optimism, stupidity, or perhaps even that Liz Gilbert book I’m reading, but I feel like even if that checklist above has zero checkmarks on December 31, 2017, 2017 is still going to be a good year. I feel it in my gut.

We’re all due for one, don’t you think?

Doubling Up: Krissie’s 2016 Fall-Winter Mix

“It’s been a long December, and there’s reason to believe, maybe this year will be better than the last…” – Counting Crows

img_1332I don’t think it’s just me. 2016 has been…challenging, to say the least. Okay, it’s been downpour of terrible. I’ve been dealing with some things over the last few months, and haven’t been as inspired to make my seasonal mix as I normally am. I’ve been tossing potential songs onto a playlist since August, but when it comes to Mixes, I’m a fusspot. The flow has to be just right…and if it’s not, I’d rather just not put one out. I just could not get this one right. At one point, this mix was over 40 songs long!

Anyway…I finally got my mix-making mojo back. I pared the tracks down a bit (sorry, Jimmy Eat World). I decided to make it a combined Fall-Winter Mix. Then I sat down to write the liner notes…and well, frankly, they are a giant ball of feelings. There are 5 pages of liner notes, you guys. All I can say is…I’m sorry. But you’ll understand, I think, as you go through them.

So anyway, here it is. I hope you dig it. I hope your 2016 ends on a high note. And cheers to a much better 2017 for all of us….