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....

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Thoughts

I used to use this space to document my feelings and fears about performing my music.

Then someone came along and criticized it...this blog.... because it was not 'professional' enough. Apparently, to be thought of as a serious musician, one must put forth an attitude of complete confidence, not admit to what you know are your weak points as a musician and promote promote promote.

As time goes on, though, I start to realize that I am who I am who I am. And there are other things that I am not. And I have forgotten about PRACTICE, working on the material you are going to ask people to spend TIME listening to.....

Last week, I worked the Hudson Music Fest. I did not put a lot of work into my set, after all, I play these songs here and there on the street, in the song circle, at home. Right.

Wrong. I got on stage unprepared. I delivered a set that I would have been proud of.... 8 years ago. I embarrassed myself and my friend who got on that stage with me. I tried, at the last minute, to get people to come up with me, I guess so that I had a reason to not sound tight. I am apologizing to all those people. You were smart. I was unprepared. I am sorry.

And this weekend, I played the Copake Farmers Market. Songs that were not written by me or Betsi, but we have been practicing. Practicing by standing on the street and playing each week. Figuring what works best, what sort of things make people stop for a minute out of their day to listen. Working out harmony. Fooling around the sounds we can make on our instruments so that the music is interesting. Arranging the songs so that the natural story is told and emphasized. Working, really. But having fun too, because if it is not fun for us, it won't be fun for the audience....

And this week, this past Saturday, we delivered. We had some bomb songs. We had a great many with tight harmonies, interesting musical breaks and right-on vocal deliveries. We tried some new songs and worked on some other songs. We watched people who stood at a distance and obviously paused to hear us, stopping later on to tell us it was pleasure to have us play.

We had a conversation about the search for perfection.... and how illusive it is. How serving the spirit of the music seems to work better for us than serving the search for the perfect note. I do have to admit that the search for expanded skills does give one the power to express more spirit, but it interferes with spirit when it is done in the vacuum of perfection. When I try to be perfect, the music lacks the living energy that makes it communicate with people. When I try to be correct, my anxiety produces more bad notes. When I am concentrating on the performance, the spirit leaves me dry. When I am thinking about me instead of the music, it rots.

None of that, though, means that one can get up on stage, zone out, and produce music that anyone else wants to hear. NO. You gotta woodshed. You gotta work out those kinks. Try out different ways to deliver that vocal, hit that string, keep that silence, to develop a piece that is worth a listeners time. No matter how well you think you know your material, you get stale if you don't work.

You'd think I would have learned this by now. I guess it is one of those things that goes deeper as you get deeper.

Guess I will go practice now......

Sunday, August 11, 2013

HMF Part II



What a lot of great acts yesterday.... and I am SO TIRED!!! But the end of the night, though, I sorta got kicked out by the guys taking down the stage.... I felt RESPONSIBLE, they thought I was a problem....LOL.....

I would have been if I tripped over that cord again, though....

I like meeting and assisting musicians. Most are very appreciative over next to nothing, they are just glad there is someone there to answer questions, stand in the crowd to check the sound and contact the sound people if the need arises.... Then there is the occasional musician who is not happy no matter what you do for them, they will not accept the limitations of the equipment or they bring fathers who keep hounding staff for a solution to the bad sound (that ends up being the batteries in the bass).....

Musicians, don't be the one that the stage host is going to cringe over when they next see your name. It doesn't get you anywhere. The person you are treating like an ill mannered slave may be a musician too. And that person will either do their absolute best to make you sound as good as they can .... or they may just do enough to get by. And I can guarantee that you are going to get further with a smile, a please and a thank you.....

But enough commentary on rude people.... the day was over all great!!!! Some notes....

Holly and Evan, pictured above, was a great example of a very talented act. Great stage presense, good crowd interaction, talented musicians. They were also very nice and appreciative... to the crowd, to me, and to the folks approaching them after their set.....

My first act was the 'Exchange Act' with Jazz Illusion from the Hudson Music Festival in Quebec!! I am not often interested in Jazz, but they were really very cool!!!! Great players.

Adele and Jude described their sound as 'stomp and shout' and that seems to be a great description!!! Old timey and lots of fun!

I was a little nervous over the name 'Playing with Sound', as I expected experimental music, but they were women who sang and played with enthusiasm and the sound they played with satisfied!

Loni Pont, Matt (representing Nightmare River Band), Abby Lappan (local favorite) and Steve Mulvaney all delivered sets that were right up there in ability to draw a crowd from the hundreds of folks walking by..... with Steve closing the night with his rocking show!!!

And now, Sunday. I will be on stage at 413 Warren today at 2pm. I got a lot of hard acts to follow....

Saturday, August 10, 2013

HUDSON MUSIC FEST!!

I will be playing at 413 Warren Street, Hudson, NY at 2pm Sunday August 11.

But I am also working that stage.

I was feeling all day yesterday, that the last thing I wanted to do was stand in the rain 'hosting' a stage. I thought that most of the acts would not show, and the ones that did would be grumpy about playing in the rain to who?? people walking home from work from the hospital?? dog walkers?

I came late to my stage, the result of paying work, errands and hesitation. The band on first, The Cupcakes, were already there, already trying to set up and when they discovered I knew less than they did about the sound system, did get a bit grumpy.....

But Rob came and saved the day, gave me my [very quick] lesson on how to run the board and took off for greener pastures at Helsinki.... no rain and easily available food!!! lol..... and The Cupcakes turned out to be a talented, very cool group of ladies with extraordinary harmonies and good tunes. Thoroughly enjoyable....

And the sun came out.
And so did the people.

Now, I was reading Facebook here and there, and a musician I know classified the Hudson Music Festival as 'Hudson Music Walk', I imagine being sarcastic about the festival and likening it to the 'Hudson Art Walk' and possibly for similar reasons.....

But I happen to like that designation, particularly as a Busking Artist..... People stroll the streets and listen a bit here, a bit there.... if you are looking for a crowd to play to, the Hudson Music Fest isn't the place..... if you are happy with having the skill to turn some heads, get people to stop and talk to you, sing with you, thank you for your sound and move on to the next act, then you will be happy playing this festival......

The Cupcakes made a lot of friends in the hour they were on stage....



And so did the next act, The Levins.... a couple with, again, these fine harmonies, great stage presence and wonderful interaction with the walkers! Truly enjoyable act. Moved here from California to be able to live on making music full time.... and they are doing it and love it!!! I was very happy to meet these folks and hear their tunes....

Unfortunately the next act was late, but he was something to see!!! a pedal board with the ability to loop and process and you see a guy with an electric guitar, but you hear the sax and the piano..... cool act!!!

Unfortunately, as the night wore on, the walking traffic stopped and the last act played to his friends and me without getting attention from the few folks hurrying by..... he decided to stop and pick up, leaving me off early!!!!

So now, *I* get to see the festival!!! I headed down to the Food Court, since I heard that the bands were good and the Back Bar was finally open.... cool scene, but one beer and home was the way to go....

I am off now to eat a bit before meeting Betsi for a bit of street busking before manning my station at the 413 Warren Stage.... Find me there.... Looks like a good day for Music Walk!!!