Huge shout out to Wolf Navarro, who graciously got me into NAMM this year. If
you can, next year and you’re into music in some way, shape, or form—GO TO NAMM. Mind blowing and inspiring in every way. I had but one day, not enough to see, do, hear, meet, and play all that there is to experience.
Pics and fun below.
Tonight, I’m back in San Luis Obispo where I headline Songwriter’s at Play Monday evening soiree at Bang the Drum Brewery.
I’m getting ready for the tour.
And SoCal sunshine.
It’s still there, right, sunshine?
Here’s a quick vid – enjoy!
I have to share this because Hollyweird happens:
Like today, after farmers market when a fellow creative put me in check, a chiding encouragement delivered with body-shaking force to show-me-the-life-of-the-mind.
A young man originally from Georgia writing in Hollywood, socially-media-ed and strategic. We have our phones and use them to look at each other’s work and projects, a peek into where we’ve been as reference for where we’re going. Where we want to be.
Where we will be.
“Sing something right now,” he casually dared.
Of course. Amazing Grace—my song. A mantra. Everyday.
I sang. Delivered. The people sitting next to, across from us smiled, the guy
behind the counter smiled. A shared moment of unexpected cheer and authenticity. It was nice.
The light coming through the large open windows shifted with the passing clouds. The young man stood up slim and serious and grabbed my shoulder, pulling me to my feet.
“What are you doing? When the grace of God shines on you, you must use it. Be relentless. Everyday you sing—sing covers, sing originals and post them on YouTube. You have a YouTube, use it! Be relentless. Live relentless. RELENTLESS. Listen to me, Monday you are relentless and you shine and you don’t give up. Shine on, angel sister!”
His gripped my shoulder firmly once more before raising an eyebrow and sitting. The fervor of our conversation reached the people beside us, drawing us all together. And it was good.
Here’s the thing: I had just been having—five minutes prior?—a conversation with a friend encouraging him to use video and YouTube and social media to promote his band (Free Rain) and new CD. When this young man stood up and shook my shoulder, it was like all that encouragement, advice and ideas I’m constantly spouting were double-slammed back at me. Listen, we’re telling YOU: follow your own damn advice and do those things! LISTEN!
Fuck. Be relentless, lady.
Do not give up.
Do what you say.
Not too long after, I had to excuse myself. Because I got sick, really, like ate-something-funky-at-the farmers-market ick. Puked. Not good. And I had to bail on dinner plans with Kyle and Iku. I went home. Got sick again. And slept until now when I am compelled to re-commit to relentless.
But do you see how we’re connected here? It’s like when you recognize another beating white heart against the flames and the urgency you feel to reach across the inferno to help keep each other’s space. You get it?
Also check out Barton Fink.
Piet Dalmolen (guitar), Dan Davis (bass), and Jay Forbes (drums) join her to create a smooth sonic force to be reckoned with.
poet, wordsmith, the night’s MC
acid coutry, gloomgrass duo
surfer, painter, all ‘round rad guy
live paints during the performance
Doors open at 7:30
Show starts 8:00
$15 at the door
A portion of the proceeds from the evening goes to support Food for People, Humboldt’s primary food bank. Just before Christmas 2014 a big rig bound for Eureka was destroyed in a fiery crash south of Benbow. Thankfully, the driver sustained only minor injuries, but the entire shipment of food was destroyed. Concert-goers are asked to bring a canned food item. Artist Matt Beard will auction his creation to the highest bidder at the end of the night. Mr. Beard is graciously donating half the final bid to Food for People.
Bring a can of food.
And get ready to rock
What a month.
What a year.
What a life.
It’s that time. Because less light. Because reflection. Because gratitude. Because introspection. Because warm hugs. Because friends. Because family. Because the light begins to return. Because holidaze. And I will do my best not to make this one of those cringe-worthy year in review posts tinged with melancholia. Or braggadocio. Mostly, I’m really thankful for all the people I’ve met on the journey this year and thankful for friends and family who keep on with me. Because spirits. Because guidance. Because all this love we have to share. Share it!
Let’s kick this off with a track the guys and I worked on just before Christmas. I’m a sucker for the obscure, weird, uncool and off the beaten path. Pink Floyd’s “On the Turning Away” is one of those underdog songs, well-written with an uplifting, egalitarian message. Piet and Jay liked the track, too, so we hit it, tracked it, and then Piet mixed and made it radio-ready—all in a few short hours. I think the recording captures the friendly, easy ethos typical of our interactions—we don’t get to see each other much these days, and when we do, our company is golden. I think that feeling comes through.
The Guys: sound art cool like that * yo no matter the idea * always got my back
Hope you like it:
I’m blessed and lucky to get to write, sing, and perform music with a lot of great folks that I love.
I do. Love. I am.
Lucky. Not only have I gotten to work with some of Humboldt’s finest and kindest musicians (Piet, Dan & Jay!), but also this year I’ve gotten to meet a whole new crew of awesome, talented, and keen players. Like Kosuke Yoshitome. We played some super fun spots—El Cid, House of Blues, Viper Room, concerts for our housemates, house parties and anywhere we could find/create an audience. I’m grateful for his friendship and encouragement, and I am in awe of his talent and generosity.
Kosuke: dang such a bass boss * all treble clef and four strings * he gets the funk out
Here’s a recording from our May 2014 performance at the El Cid in Los Angeles:
Another highlight of the year was meeting Juli Crockett and the Evangenitals. The Evangenitals. EVANGENITALS! C’mon, try saying “Evangenitals” out loud without smiling. Go on…TRY it! See? Chortles and grins—you can’t without cracking a smile. And the Evangenitals are a win, too, because, well, they already love YOU. They do. And they loved me so much right away that in February, I got to be part of their video for Turbulent Flow, a song from their 2014 release “Moby Dick“. A really great crew of people. Juli, Michael, and I are collaborating to record a few songs for my next album project along with Humboldt’s Piet, Jay, and Dan. More on that in the new year. Ready for some rad-ness from the Evan (ha ha!) genitals, Evangenitals— shout out to Sofia Garza-Barba who directed. Oh, I’m the pink-tentacled anemone.
Juli Crockett-Feldman: renaissance lady * million dollar double fists * dang how you slay me
I can’t forget Modesto and all the good folks I’ve met there this year— music and art, some of the most generous folks in the universe live in that sleepy agricultural town. Here’s an adventure I won’t forget, that 102 degree July afternoon when Anthony Edwards convinced me to ride bikes with him. And it was a beautiful day of searing blue skies riding along almond groves and irrigation canals. But *dang* that sun was oppressive, full on summer heat so heavy you could feel
it in your ears, behind your eyes. Melting. Challenging your ability to breathe, pedal, and think. So I put my head down and gave up thinking. Pedal on! Yeah, it was hot….but we made it. A true bonding experience. Or more recently when Steve Nelson and I showed up at Cafe Deva to cheer for Modesto’s most beloved singer-songwriter, Patty Davis Castillo. Patty does this arrangement of Amazing Grace that makes me look up and catch my breath every time, a beautiful way to begin Sunday morning. Thank you, my Modesto family, for taking me in and letting me be one of you. Many thanks to Aaron Rowan for booking me at several of his acoustic events this year!
Here’s this great pic from the Anthony’s annual benefit concert at the State theater in Modesto. The people on this stage are wonderful humans, so humbled to be among their friends. I love these folks!!!
Modesto: almonds cattle trains * singing whispers in the rain * comfort finds me there
Well, for goodness sakes, it’s been a lovely year, and I’m so thankful for the love, good people, and great spirits that have managed to find me. I don’t know how to tie this all up in an elegantly incisive way, so I won’t. Just know that I’m aware of all the love and good thoughts you all send my way. I can feel them and I’m grateful for all the encouragement and support. Thank you! We’re really gonna send it in the new year—you ready? I am!!! Let’s do this.
Howdy. Here are two bright bits of news Thursday (tomorrow) I’m kicking off SHINE, an evening of storytelling at the Westside Santa Monica YWCA. Doors open at 7p. $10 suggested donation. The theme is finding bravery, which, if you’ve been following the Josephine saga, is more than apropos. I’ll be sharing my best and most uplifting tunes along with a story or two from 7:30 to 8p.
And then on Friday, November 21, Stormy Phoenix at KCSS 91.9 is featuring my CD Let It All Out from 4 to to 6p. KCSS is the alternative music voice of CSU Stanislaus. You can stream it and listen live here. (Thank you, Stormy, you are kind and rockin’.)
Ok, this is a quickie. Love and good things to you. ~Jos
Humboldt’s Hidden Treasures
Spreading the love with geocaching
- PHOTO BY JOSEPHINE JOHNSON
- Geocacher Jessica Davis’ collection of shiny things.
Over an after-work round of brews, healthcare worker Jessica Davis pipes up, “Well, I’m a treasure hunter,” she says, “I look for GPS locations with hidden treasure caches.” She slips out of the room and proudly returns moments later with two jewelry box-sized treasure chests. One contains a miniature mountain lion, smooth chunks of colored glass, a quartz crystal, a rubber duck keychain, a shark figurine and more tiny, colored trinkets reminiscent of sandbox make-believe. “See,” she says, holding out a bright rainbow heart bracelet, “these are some of the things I’ve found.” She leaves her own little baubles behind, too.
Geocaching is what happens when inquisitive tech geeks hide things and then dare each other to find them. To date, there are more than two million geocache sites all over the world (there’s even one in Antarctica). It started back in 2000, when techie and computer consultant David Ulmer hid a bucket of random objects in the woods near his home in Beaverton, Ore., and challenged his tech buddies to find it in order to test the accuracy of the newly-improved GPS. It’s everywhere in the world, even Old Town, the Arcata Plaza, the community forest and the marsh.
Davis has a second box of trinkets that are “track-ables” with a specific geocaching mission. With their own individual GPS markers, you can trace them as they move from hiding place to hiding place all over the world. She selects a small bunny rabbit and explains, “This one’s mission is to get to San Diego. Next time I head south, I’ll find a cache and leave her there to get her closer to her destination.”
Ready to go hunting? Sign up at geocaching.com to discover this world of secret stashes all around you. Humboldt County is home to hundreds of hidden treasures in town, on the beach, in the forest and even out at sea. Of course, you will need a GPS device or tracking software. If you have a smart phone, you can download the geocaching app directly from the site. The Geocaching app is solid — it also can link you to clues if you’re having a tough time in the field. Go to the maps section on the website and find an area you’d like to scour — again, they’re everywhere! The caches also have difficulty ratings, so on your first few times out, select easy ones. That way you’re less likely to get frustrated and give up.
According to the maps, there’s one at Arcata City Hall, where Heather Leigh Stevens, recreation manager for the city, has watched treasure seekers investigate the ferns, climb the wall and tap on the water fountain just outside her office. “It makes us smile and sometimes laugh,” says Leigh, who has seen her fair share of students, traveling retirees and occasional traveling families trying to find the cache in the past three years. She also notes that the people who do this tend to be focused and tenacious — they keep at it until they find the treasure. “I rarely hear people resort to anger or profanity,” she says. “Most people in this office know where it is, and if someone is having a really hard time, we’ll offer clues. For us in recreation, we like seeing people poking around in the bushes, getting out, getting active.”
If you attempt the Arcata City Hall cache, note that it has an “easy” rating, even though the overhang of the roof skews the satellite signal. It took this reporter 40 minutes. Though said reporter did not swear, she did utter a whole string of “dangs,” “holy cats” and “for goodness sakes” before finally finding it without a clue from the recreation folks. She also crawled around the water fountain numerous times.
Curious? Get out there, Humboldt. And let us know what you find.
Well, for goodness sakes, it’s been almost a month since the last post. I’ve done some stuff…
First, in a weekend of mad-marathon driving, I went back to Humboldt to release the new CD—January 25th, the Eureka Inn—26-and-a-smidge hours grand total of driving to play a fine show for some of my dearest friends. A release and an opportunity to say goodbye to a whole crew and community that have loved and supported me since the early days.
Way back in the way, way back, when I used to play Thursday lunch at Has Beans in Eureka, folks like Brother James, Pat, Ralph, Ginger and more would show up just to make sure there were folks to listen. The night of the release, they all showed up one last time, and it was genuinely touching.
To be sure by evening’s end (2 am rock star time!), I’d made a few new friends and fans to keep me pointed forward on this journey. It was a really, really kind night. Some quick shout outs to that HumCo crew who helped make it happen:
Many thanks to Dale and Lei Winget—they put me up in their ‘rabbit room’ and made sure the next morning’s send off included a Humboldt-proud breakfast from Golden Harvest. Another big thank you to Perry
Brubaker who designed the flyer and locked in a date for this performance. Mo Hollis MC’ed and engineered the night—thank you, Mo! Jay Forbes, your drums–a pleasure & honor to get to play with you—thanks for being part of the night. And more, so many more thanks. It was a great celebration marking the end of an era and beginning of a new.
***AND just as I was leaving LA, I managed to get in a phone interview with
And so then after the grand-Humboldt-rock-star-adventure, I was booked at Pig ‘n Whistle in Hollywood as part of a Friday night indie musician showcase. THAT was a great time, too. Thank you, Sharon Groom, Joey Maramba & more!
Last but not least, in the near-month since I’ve posted, I also got booked on Kato
Kaelin’s new British podcast. For reals. Not once. But twice. And oh my goodness, that was a fun time. Maybe because I’m so new to show business, but it all was like a comical, hyper-frenetic, yet well-heeled circus. And Kato’s funny in this goofy, rapid fire way—the guy made me smile. And I enjoyed getting to be part of the show. Am hoping I get to go and visit again.
The second time, Down Town Julie Brown was the special guest—you know, from MTV when it was about music? Videos? She’s a sweet cat, too.
Well, that’s it for tonight. Enjoy the pics-n-links-n-such. And have fun, have lots & lots of FUN!
A Home in a Redwood
Treehouse dream to reality (TV)
Maybe you’re feeling low, a little too close to the ground. You want a place of retreat to elevate, inspire and get you floating again.
For Humboldt County resident Crystal Miller, a longtime lover of great trees, that meant a treehouse in a redwood in her backyard. Miller and her fiancé Arif Malik bought their rural property together in late 2009 with the shared dream of building a treehouse in that one big redwood out back, but tragically Malik died in a car accident in December of 2009, just as their place went into escrow. Miller remained determined to make good on their original dream and honor his memory.
A genuine do-it-her-selfer, Miller had been following the work of treehouse builder Pete Nelson through his books and building conferences. She says she knew building one properly would require special know-how and that she couldn’t do it by herself. It would take expertise, hardware, equipment and grit — precisely the moxie and special knowledge of Nelson and crew. So, a couple years ago, Miller reached out to Nelson, who responded eagerly that he’d love to build a treehouse in a California coast redwood way, way up — 60 feet off the ground.
As fate would have it, just as Miller was contacting Nelson, so were Animal Planet and Stiletto TV. They wanted to do a reality TV series with Nelson and his treehouse projects. Miller’s project was waitlisted until network negotiations, production and construction schedules were all settled.
Nelson grew up building treehouses in his father’s trees. As a kid he practiced in his backyard with old storm windows, discarded lumber — whatever was in the garage. But lacking building skills, his structures couldn’t match the grand vision in his head, and he grew frustrated. After working his way through Colorado College doing construction, he had the chops to start building lush, adult retreat spaces in trees. For the first decade, he financed many of his projects himself, including much of what went into his first book, Treehouse: The Art and Craft of Living Out on a Limb. His custom treehouses for private clients can cost up to $300,000, but ones built for theTreehouse Masters show run from $80,000 to $120,000.
After a couple years of waiting, following Nelson’s treehouse building exploits and hoping her project would be next, it was finally Miller’s turn. In November, Nelson and his crew began constructing Crystal’s dream tree retreat.
For nearly three weeks, a TV crew and building crew spent 14 hours a day — and sometimes longer — on Miller’s property building and filming the tallest structure the crew had ever attempted. Miller was not content to merely stand by and watch. As any true tree-loving, hardcore Humboldt woman would, Miller donned a hardhat and safety harness and went to work along side Nelson and his crew. “I needed to help build this,” says Miller. “I wanted to get my hands dirty finishing a dream I fondly shared with someone who’s no longer on this earth. Finishing this feels really good.”
Nelson found Miller’s project a fascinating challenge. “We’d never built a treehouse as high as 60 feet,” says Nelson, “plus we’ve only built a handful where the tree is actually inside the structure.” He pauses, runs his hand through his hair. “This will be fun to monitor!” He explains that the redwood adds a challenge to Miller’s structure. Redwood is a soft wood, and when conditions are right — lots of moisture and moderate temps — they grow rapidly, as much as 3 feet in height per year. Humboldt’s redwoods typically (though not this year) endure tough winter storms, too, with winds sometimes gusting over 50 miles per hour.
Miller’s treehouse would have to be built to accommodate extreme wind and rain, as well as the natural growth factor of the tree. Nelson would need to use at least four 21-inch long treehouse attachment bolts to firmly anchor the structure to the tree. These special bolts reach into the tree’s heartwood and provide solid anchor points. Once in place, the bolts jut out far enough from the bark to allow for the redwood’s growth. For a little while, anyway. Nelson would like to check up on Miller’s treehouse in the next two to three years.
You can check it out on TV when the Treehouse Masters “Sky High Redwood Retreat” episode airs Friday, Jan. 31 on Animal Planet.