Thanks for stopping by!

Hi! I am Marilyn, a singer/songwriter in Hudson, NY. You have landed on my personal website/ blog/ calendar, and you will find here all kinds of things about my musical life. Look around! My blog is below, but over in the right column under 'Pages', you can see links to videos, show schedules, song lists and the other musical projects I am working on. I really hope you will consider getting to a show or even have me (and my friends) come and entertain you at your party or event. People enjoy having us play for them!

When the music calls, I *will* be there....

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

750 Words

Every morning, I do a creative exercise called 750 words. It is the digital variation of Julia Cameron's 'Morning Pages'. Originally, I started the exercise because I was not happy and I thought the writing would be a sort of self-therapy.... which it is. It is a very interesting experiment, and if you have any interest, I highly recommend it. It is meant to be a sort of brain dump, where you put fingers to keyboard or pen to paper and don't stop until the 750 words or 3 pages are done. I can't do that. I have to refill the coffee, check the email, document something... But the writing is still helpful. It is helpful just to get stuff out, 'out loud', where they exist somewhere other than just your head. I guess that why so many used to (do they still?) recommend journal-ling.

So, how you do it is: Just write. Not well. No restrictions. Just write. It is both harder and easier than it sounds. Harder because even I run out of things to say, and easier because even that doesn't matter. Just write.

Just. Write.

Now, why is it a creative exercise if you are not trying to WRITE (as in, well)?

I use it to plan my day, remember gratitude, record memories, document happenings, b*t*c*. I wonder 'out loud' why I haven't written a song in a while. I speak sternly about not finding time, again, to practice the bass.

You can see, it has a lot of uses.

Just. Write.

(No, I did not write this or plan this while doing my 750 steps. I think I am wasting time INSTEAD of practicing bass.)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Shows!!

Happy Summer!!! It is finally here, both officially and weather-wise. 

And Rick and Marilyn have SHOWS, lots of them, all summer. Every weekend! 

Without exaggeration, we will play at least one Farmers Market, local festival, and/or bar every single weekend that I am in town, so there are lots of opportunities to catch up with us somewhere.

AND we are still looking to play for YOU at your summer party or other event. Contact us here ------> , or on facebook, text or cellphone, and we can discuss how to make your event a lot of fun for everyone! Our fee depends on how many musicians (solo, duo or band), how much time you want us to play for, and if there are any special songs you want us to learn.... Contacting me does not cost a dime and you will likely be pleased!

Rick and Marilyn.... When the music calls, we WILL be there.....

Monday, May 29, 2017

It is a rainy Memorial Day. It was pretty decent all weekend- cool, overcast. Except for a party Saturday night, I haven't done much playing. I probably should have been out busking, but because of a hundred little things, I never figured out when, and so, never did it....

I recently went to a songwriting class. One of the suggestions of the teacher was to get a representative of the voice in your head that tells you that your songwriting stinks, that there are better uses of your time than working on your music, etc. You know the one. She called hers Ethel or something like that. She advised us to actively tell it to go scratch when that voice kicks in. When I got home, I decided that was too negative. I didn't like telling the voice in my head to be quiet. It seemed to me that was giving it more power than I want to hand over.

So I took my little felted dragon, sent to me by a lovely woman who lives across the big pond, as a positive spirit for my house. It has served in that function admirably.

I decided to give the dragon an upgrade in function, however, and address it as my muse. My muse now sits in Screendale, which is where most of my artistic ventures happen, at least in the warmer weather. He sits and watches me and encourages me to work. I feel the pull, but, unfortunately, not strong enough to get me working!! I still feel pulled in so many other ways, all of which more often get answered. Maybe i do need a symbol of my none-artistic voice to say NO to as well as the dragon, to say yes to when I get distracted by life.

And the worse thing is, I know that after you ignore the muse for just so long, it stops talking to you. It stops whispering that there is work to be done, a song waiting to be written, a melody waiting to come through. I haven't really written a song in a long time. I have taken songs and REWROTE them, but no, no writing. And I have planned to for MONTHS. I went to that songwriting weekend and came home all fired up. The fire is down to coals now. Needs a breath of air. Maybe today. I have to go meet a friend for brunch, then practice this afternoon with another friend and then??? Maybe write. Maybe practice the bass that I just bought and took a lesson on recently. Maybe work on some arranging. I think I have to say yes more often to the little green dragon who sits and smiles at me every time I am in Screendale.....

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Nashville

I just returned from Nashville. It was not at all what I expected. I saw live music twice... Once on Friday night at the Gaylord Opryland and once at the Tootsies in the Airport. I felt more bad for those folks than envious or interested. My understanding is that they play for tips. The venues do NOT pay unless you have a name and can draw. Even though people come to Nashville to be immersed in music, and they expect to see people all over playing and that is part of the reason people come to Nashville, the venues don't feel they need to pay the artists. I am sad and mad about that. I think that artists in general and musicians in particular, get taken advantage of all the time, to make money for the owner and crumbs for themselves. I wish I could say that they talk about big tips too, but they don't. A recent entire evening that was talked about socially, only brought in a total of $100 bucks, and that was for 4 bands, at least one of which is known in town. When I questioned it, I was told they were not playing those gigs for money, they played for love.

Yep, we talk that way here, too. But I also expect the venue is going to pay me SOMETHING for my gas to get to the venue, at least. After all, they are likely making money. OR, have a line on the food bill.... total, tip, musician tip, grand total. In both situations that I saw, the artist never mentioned the tip bucket at their feet.

What I really want to talk about, though, is the camaraderie among the musicians. I had thought that Nashville was a dog eat dog place. I am glad to see that at least among some long timers, the people who lived there because that is where they want to be and not just to 'make it', not only get along but help each other. I so thoroughly enjoyed discussing things like creative process, buying gig clothes, forming your 'brand', and seeing how others do it. Wow. I realized that I don't do that here. It has always felt like those are the things that you hid that you even think of, as if it is just not cool. It is cool to BE cool, but not cool to PLAN *HOW* to be cool. It was refreshing to be in a situation where figuring out and presenting you brand is expected as part of how you are going to get gigs and be seen... and something for conversation. A natural part of conversation, even. As if it is recognized that you ARE a performer, and part of your art IS the performance.... and part of the performance is how you dress, what you say, and how you present that to the audience. A role, so to speak. I think we all KNOW this, and maybe it is just me, but around here, it just isn't cool to RECOGNIZE it out loud.

It likely really isn't cool to discuss it with 'outsiders', who you want to dazzle with your performance and not confuse with reality. Because part of the art of performance is being real and authentic and cool and GENUINE! ...and somehow, people suspect that if you have a plan, that disqualifies your authenticity. It does not. When you are on stage, you are PERFORMING, this is a piece of time that does not define you, but it does help your audience have a good time right NOW, which is the only thing that matters, right now.

Nashville made me think of things that I didn't expect. I am so glad that I went and had exactly the time that I had. My education into this world continues.....

Sunday, April 16, 2017

China Rose

Yesterday was a big day for me. I did not get adequate sleep the two nights before and walked, according to Samsung Gear, 27 THOUSAND steps that day. Yep. I am sure that I have walked more than that on days long past, but certainly not recently. I was tired....

And that was before I even got to my gig at the China Rose, to start at 9pm.... no, make that 9:30pm. Wow. Somewhere along the line I should have made better decisions. And then, to make it just a little worse, I discover that close family members of my partner- in- crime, Rick, have arrived to see what kind of music he is making as Rick and Marilyn. They have seen him work in Clouds (his rock band), and, judging by things I overheard, likely making his own, Pluto style music, as our friend Kevin calls it. But this is the first time they are seeing our duo. It is stress that I have to just stop thinking about.

I am pretty sure I can make this work, though. Almost always, as soon as I strap on the guitar, my mood picks up, my energy returns, my mind clears (or goes into that space that I have yet to define... but if you have seen me perform, there it is..... ). I did have a little nagging doubt when I was lugging my gear in, with a little upset stomach and getting dizzy whenever I leaned over....

But yes, tune it up, smile at Rick, play some chords, he plays along and before you know it, we are performing a song that will be on the record, 'Blue Love'. It sounded sweet. Several more songs, and I suddenly remembered that just a little while before, I was too tired to play. Huh. Just give me the guitar and the mic...

And I was soooo glad to be there. Ricks solos were RIGHT on the money (as per usual), and my voice was cooperating, for the most part, at least. An older man in the corner, who was obviously there to listen to the music, pulled his harp out of his pocket and played a sound as we finished a song. That bought him an invite to the stage for two songs, and that made me a new friend! There were a few times that the songs got many of the customers singing-- loudly!!!.... and I tried to encourage that. They were having so much fun, and it is SO much fun to have a part in giving others a good time. During the break, people stopped me to speak about the songs.... the selection, the sound we got, Ricks guitar.... And yes, it was a bar group, but most folks, most of the time, were listening (and singing) nevertheless.

As usual, I did not eat before singing (I think if you think about that just a little bit, you will certainly understand why), but both Rick and Judy enjoyed their pre-show meals, so I think I will have to go back and try the food out. It certainly did smell excellent!! And the atmosphere is cozy but welcoming and comfortable.

Overall, an excellent time, in a very pleasant space and an excellent audience!!!! I hope we are asked back!