Deborah Crooks

 
 

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April Full: Bridges and Rainbows

 
While traveling over the San Mateo bridge last week an epic rainbow appeared over the span, touching down in the middle of the bay on one side, a wetland on the other. Awed and inspired, I started snapping a ton of photos with my phone, only to find not one image fully captured the brilliant spectrum of color we'd witnessed (I ended up sharing a screenshot of the photo album, above). It was one of those "this happened but you had to be there" moments.
I feel this way at shows all the time. There is nothing like being in a room with live musicians, whether on stage or in the audience, to really feel it all — joy, connection, challenge, awe, etc.
Last month, I played a variety of venues, from house concerts to songwriter showcases, taprooms to art schools. Each one was a unique adventure, its own momentary rainbow of experience, sound and vibration, which photos and video couldn't completely capture. There is simply nothing like real experience.
This month finds me playing another variety pack of one-of-a-kind settings, including a show at The Lost Church in San Francisco on April 13 and a 3-show run on the Central Coast with Bay Station. Choose your adventure! I'd love to see you here or there! xo, Deborah
 

This week: Songwriter Showcases in San Francisco and Oakland

 
I was recently asked what advice I had for someone just starting to write songs. The gist of my reply was: "get out, go to shows, play open mics and surround yourself with other artists. You'll be humbled, you'll grow and you'll find your people."
I found many of my people years ago at San Francisco's Bazaar Cafe. Home to one of the city’s more venerable open mics, the Bazaar was and is about music being made now, by the people who write the songs, and about creating a space to hear it. It was one of the first places I ever went public with an original song, and I still play there a couple times a year. This weekend, I'll join my pal Mick Shaffer in the round along with Shawn Brody. My plan is to take a page from my early days, and play something that has yet to get out of the house. Come on down, order a drink (and perhaps a slice of pie), and take a seat with us this Sunday at 6pm.
 

Oakland's Octopus Literary Salon occupies a similar psychic space as it likewise provides a space for literary events, open mics and every kind of music you can imagine. For the past several years I've hosted a quarterly songwriter showcase there, inviting artists I know and respect to share their work alongside several of their peers. The first of such events in 2018 takes place this coming Wednesday, March 21 at 7pm. I'm excited to alternate short sets with songwriters Paul Griffiths (the Bogues), Joan Wilson Rueter (Penny Opry) and Sterling Spence (Westerly). Come take a listen!

 

 

 

Weekend recap and what's next

 
WI had such a full-meal deal of a musical weekend, starting with attending Paige Clem's joyful CD-release at Terrapin Crossroads. I got to pipe up on a couple of her songs and generally appreciate some truly great musicians at work. Speaking of great musicians, Saturday, Kwame and traveled to Niles to share a batch of Bay Station tunes with a full-house house concert with our friend Michael McNevin. What a great group and fun vibe! Sunday afternoon, my friend Rebecca opened her Alameda garden space for a wonderful warm afternoon of local a acts including Bay Station.  Yes, Wiggling occurred.  I took a day to recover and now I'm working up a bunch of my newer and vintage songs for a pair of Songwriter nights coming up. First to the plate is this coming Sunday's show at The Bazaar Cafe with Shawn Byron and Mick Schaffer. We'll swap songs, eat pie, and further season the Bazaar with songwriterly vibes.

Alameda house concert photos by Tania Johnson.
 

Musical weekend goodness: House Concerts and More

 

Looking forward to a fun musical weekend! Come join one or more of these parties:
March 9 Paige Clem Cd-release at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael
March 10 Bay Station (duo)/Michael McNevin House Concert in Niles
March 11 Alameda House Concert w/Alameda Island acts Bay Station Band, Nate Jones Sloe Sippers, Yours Truly, Michele and Joan Wilson Rueter

++Get right with the Cowboy-chi music community vibe! RE: video action: Michael and I are singing backup on two Paige tunes tonight + Michael is co-billing Sat (and hopefully sitting in on a few+++); Kwame is all over the Bay Station house concerts, and Joan is playing a set of her own Sunday plus sitting in with us and playing with Yours Truly.

+++ Joan and Michael guest star on the new Bay Station record Other Desert Cities coming out April 27

Looking forward to a fun musical weekend! Come join one or more of these parties: March 9 Paige Clem Cd-release at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael March 10 Bay Station (duo)/Michael McNevin House Concert in Niles March 11 Alameda House Concert w/Alameda Island acts Bay Station Band, Nate Jones Sloe Sippers, Yours Truly, Michele and Joan Wilson Rueter (RSVP baystationband @ gmail.com) ++Get right with the Cowboy-chi music community vibe! RE: video action: Michael and I are singing backup on two Paige tunes tonight + Michael is co-billing Sat (and hopefully sitting in on a few+++); Kwame is all over the Bay Station house concerts, and Joan is playing a set of her own Sunday plus sitting in with us and playing with Yours Truly. +++ Joan and Michael guest star on the new Bay Station record Other Desert Cities coming out April 27

Looking forward to a fun musical weekend! Come join one or more of these parties: March 9 Paige Clem Cd-release at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael March 10 Bay Station (duo)/Michael McNevin House Concert in Niles March 11 Alameda House Concert w/Alameda Island acts Bay Station Band, Nate Jones Sloe Sippers, Yours Truly, Michele and Joan Wilson Rueter ++Get right with the Cowboy-chi music community vibe! RE: video action: Michael and I are singing backup on two Paige tunes tonight + Michael is co-billing Sat (and hopefully sitting in on a few+++); Kwame is all over the Bay Station house concerts, and Joan is playing a set of her own Sunday plus sitting in with us and playing with Yours Truly. +++ Joan and Michael guest star on the new Bay Station record Other Desert Cities coming out April 27

A post shared by Bay Station (@baystationband) on Mar 8, 2018 at 10:30am PST

 

Let's go March!

 

March marks a return to performance after a lot of studio time. "Be Your Own Bird" has fledged, Bay Station's Other Desert Cities is off for duplication, and I've a bunch of fun shows on the calendar. I'd love to see you at one or more of these!

Shows!

The Monkey House Theater
this Friday, MARCH 2
Alex Walsh Birthday Bash - 7:30pm
1638 University Ave
Berkeley, CA
Tickets: $10-20 sliding scale at door

I'm opening the show for longtime pal Alex Walsh, who will be playing with his full band to celebrate his birthday. This should be real fun one. Reserve seats here: seats@themonkeyhouse.org

Live at the Poster Room
MARCH 6
The Fillmore - 7pm
San Francisco, CA
 
I'm jazzed to play The Fillmore Poster room again before The Lone Bellow and The Wild Reeds play the main stage! At the show? Come say hi upstairs.
Niles House Concert
MARCH 10
Michael McNevin & Bay Station (Duo)
Niles, CA
Tickets at door: $15-25 suggested

In the historic Niles District of Fremont, CA. A songwriter house concert co-bill with Michael McNevin & Bay Station (featuring Alameda songwriters Deborah Crooks and Kwame Copeland). Doors at 6pm, show at 6:30pm. Sliding suggested donation is $15-25. Light refreshments provided, and/or BYO favorite beverage. RSVP Caroline.Testard@gmail.com 

 

Alameda House Concert
MARCH 11
Bay Station CD-Preview -4 pm
Encinal Ave (@Grand)
Alameda, CA
Tickets: $10 adv/$15 door.
Bay Station is sharing the bill of a special garden house concert with several of our fellow Alameda Island acts: Nate Jones & Dawn Roorda (Sloe Sippers)oan Wilson Rueter, and Yours Truly, Michele. Plus we're reviewing our new record Other Desert Cities!  Buy advance tickets HERE. Email for more information. Address provided upon ticket purchase.

 

Octopus Literary Salon
Octopus Songwriters Showcase with Paul Griffiths, Joan Wilson Rueter and Sterling Spence - 7pm
2101 Webster St, Ste 170
Oakland, CA 94612

I'm hosting and playing the first of my quarterly songwriter nights at the Octopus with a great group: Paul Griffiths, Joan Rueter (Penny Opry), and Sterling Spence (Westerly).

More shows being added. Check the calendar!

 

 

"Be Your Own Bird"

 

This week, as I approached a not insignificant birthday, seemed like a good time to record a tune I wrote last summer while on a songwriter retreat, surrounded by birds and birdsong (as some of you know, birds have played a big role in my life since childhood). So I rounded up several of my favorite musicians — bassist Ben Bernstein whose produced or played on many of my recordings; musician Kwame Copeland, whose been playing with me for more than a decade; and multi-instrumentalist/composer Peter Whitehead, who I met a few days after moving back to California years ago.  I hope you enjoy it! xoxo, Deborah

 

 

Love Songs for Valentines" "Jumped in Anyway" on WOS Radio

 

Tune in Women of Substance Radio Podcast #747 Love Songs for Valentines series to hear "Jumped in Anyway" and more great music http://ow.ly/glgh30ifWkU

 

February Song Notes

 

Songs, Moons and Trees

 There's a lot in process in these parts this month, informed by a songwriting camp, Super Blue and Red Moons and custom-made acoustic guitars...

 

On Monday, we returned from a songwriting camp on the Central Coast, where we were immersed in a community of avid songwriters for an extended weekend. I started several new tunes, worked on a co-write, played to some new ears, listened, learned and came away with a renewed appreciation for the heartfelt community and deep insights that making music can bring. Then came the super moon! Wowza! Did you see it? I sat on my front step with my coffee yesterday, mesmerized. Yes I'm feeling restored for what's next....

On the new song front, we reviewed the test masters for Bay Station's latest CD Other Desert Cities on our drive down to Cambria. We'll be releasing the CD in April, with a celebratory show on April 29 at the Starry Plough in Berkeley. Mark your calendars!
On the new-new song front, next week,  I'm going into the studio to record a ditty I wrote last summer in Idaho. Keep an eye on your email later this month as my intention is to turn it around for your ears ASAP.

 

A Night of Desio Guitars

"Is that a Martin? What is that?"
Seems there's not a show I play that someone doesn't ask me about my guitar, a beautiful acoustic made by my pal Mario Desio more than five years ago. Mario has since built many fine guitars (I've even written an article featuring his work for No Depression magazine. Check out the Summer issue, 2016), many of which will be on display and in play this coming Sunday at The Monkey House Theater in Berkeley. Come on out! Show starts at 7pm at The Monkey House 1638 University Ave, Berkeley, California....

 

On creating

 

“How do you not go nuts?” a friend recently asked me.

She’d taken some time off from work to ‘just write’ and was having a hard time settling down to focusing on the creative as much as she’d dreamed.

I laughed. My approach to staying sane on the creative path as been decades in the making. I often feel the same restless uncertainty when faced with the time and a blank page, even when it’s what I’m desiring half the time.

After many years, I’ve settled upon an approach that’s about making the work a practice. In fact, my days are structured by practice: a yoga practice, a Buddhist chanting practice, a writing practice, and a music practice, all with with their own Recommended Daily Allowance. Read more on Medium HERE

 

December Music News: Octopus, RoadTrips, Other Desert Cities

 

Octopus Songwriter Showcase #4 Wednesday, December 20, 2017

December 20, 2017 7-9pm  
The Octopus Literary Salon
2101 Webster St @ 22nd
Oakland, California
$5-10 suggested donation

The Octopus is friendly hub of literature and music in downtown Oakland. Featuring a full menu of healthy food and drink, and very close to the 19th St BART.

Spotlight: Girls Guide

I'm pleased to have my music included in this nifty Spotlight:Girls holiday shopping guide along with almost 200 other women artists, makers, musicians & business owners. This season #ShopWithHer!

And this December you can get all 3 Deborah Crooks releases available on Bandcamp and save 25%. This includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Beauty Everywhere, Something Special EP, and Little Bird.  

Roadtrip Nation's "Changing Gears"

We're one of the featured musicians in “Changing Gears,” a Roadtrip Nation documentary about three young people who take a life-changing road trip! Watch it here: www.changinggearsfilm.com
 

Performance review

Thanks Dick Miner for reviewing our recent duo show for @breadandroses_ca at New Bridge:
“How do you get love to survive?  Just go out and make some.”  These are lyrics from the song, “Go Out Sand Make Some” and they are just some of Deborah Crooks’ powerful lyrics that touched the residents of New Bridge.  She and Kwame Copeland (Bay Station) brought their beautiful original music to the facility and provided a joyful evening for all.  ….
The night continued with upbeat songs that encouraged audience participation and the room became quite raucous.  “Look But Don’t Touch”, “Anchor,” and “What To Say (Come Here)” brought about loud clapping and yelling and created a party atmosphere.  “Be Your Own Bird” is a song about individuality and so we had a room full of people joyfully providing birdcalls.
The show ended with a lovely version of “Beauty Everywhere” and the audience was on its feet asking for more.  The encore song was a very funny piece called “The Bay Station Wiggle.” This song had every one on their feet dancing with complete abandon; a very unusual occurrence at New Bridge. 
Deborah’s soulful singing and laid back performance style, combined with KWame’s beautiful bluesy guitar work created an evening of uninhibited joy.  The residents of New Bridge, through the music, allowed themselves much needed emotional release.  In return, Deborah and Kwame fed off the love that the audience provided.  This interaction of audience and artist was powerful and very emotional.  It all made for a very special evening at New Bridge.”