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….

2016 Goals – Show Count Update


Future Thieves at Evening Muse back in June.

If you’ve been reading my blog for at least a year, you know that 2015 was a record breaker for me. I’ve been keeping count of all the concerts I’ve been to since 2004, but in 11 years, had never managed to make 100 shows in a year. Last year, I hit 101.

And because I’m a serious overachiever in some areas of my life, I started 2016 with the goal of going to 125 this year.

Obviously, 2016 has not gone as planned. I actually ended up spending about 2.5 months of the year in New Jersey with my family, so I had to revise my goals a little bit. New goal: beat last year.

So the magic number is now 102.

Right now I’m at 93, with 34 days to go. I’ve got a big 10 days coming up here shortly, so I SHOULD make my number – hopefully get to 104 or 105. But you never know – things can always come up. Show cancellations. Sickness. Car issues. You get the idea. I don’t want to jinx myself.

102 will either be Wild Adriatic in Asheville or Future Thieves in Atlanta, if all goes as planned. I’ll have to document with a photo with the band (one of those will be easier than the other).

So far, SUSTO is leading the pack with who I’ve seen the most this year at six times; and of course, my most visited venue is The Evening Muse (29), but Visulite (21) isn’t far behind (I have to mention this, or Chris will never forgive me).

I’ll give more stats and fun facts when I actually make my goal. So keep your fingers crossed for me!

How is everyone else’s count looking so far this year?

It’s been awhile, Internet.

There was a time when I would write on my blog…a lot. Good ol’ jrzygyrl.com has been around in some way, shape or form since 2001. Back then, I wrote on it daily, like a diary. I look back on those entries now and cringe a little, seeing what I thought was okay to put on the Internet. Yikes.

Then I met some friends who loved music like I did. They introduced me to bands and artists I didn’t know, and started going to shows, buying more music, getting outside of my musical boundaries. And I loved talking about it. So I wrote. Slowly, jrzygyrl.com morphed into a music blog. And it was pretty good for awhile there.

Then my job got all adult and my Mom got sick, and I found myself wanting to be online less and less. I was tired of writing by the time I got home from work. I was worried about my Mom, stressed out about something at the office, wanted to blow off steam by grabbing a beer at a show, rather than sitting down and writing. Nights would come when I knew I should put out a blog post and I would half-ass something and throw it up. I didn’t even proofread or spell check. The horror.

And I hate how the page looks, but web designer I am not. So there’s that, too. It’s like going into the room in your house with the ugly wallpaper. You hate being in there because it makes you feel bad with its ugliness.

The worst part? I stopped reading other people’s blogs. Blogs I love. Partly because there aren’t enough hours in the day, partly because it depressed the shit out of me that I knew I could be doing it, too…and I just didn’t have it in me.

This year has been pretty tough. Mom got really sick; she passed away in August. I think it’s just now really starting to hit home. I cry a lot. I watched “This Is Us” tonight and about lost it when one of the characters started talking about losing his Dad. I wrote a little bit about the stuff with work before; it’s been a challenging 14 months, to say the least. I let some friendships go. Hard, but let me tell you, when your life feels like it is falling apart, you realize who will be there for you. And it’s not always the people you think. Despite all of this, or maybe because of it, I’m starting to find myself again. Or maybe a new version of myself. The hard stuff changes you.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot…writing. I actually miss it, which I suppose is a good sign.

And now, here I sit. Cursor taunting me. A double-dog “I dare you to write.”

But what in the blue blazes do I write about? Two nights ago, I actually contemplated that I should write a message to door guys everywhere to learn how to put on freaking wristbands. Then Shelia posted an Instagram photo of her wristband last night, and I knew I had to write it.

So tonight I’m going to show. And because I have to make myself write SOMETHING, I will be back tomorrow with proof of my hack job wristbanding.

Ya gotta start somewhere.

P.S. To be completely honest, I did not proofread or spell check this blog, either.