Deborah Crooks

 
 

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Hello August!

 
 

Wow, what a summer. The months have been going by in a whirl of road trips, shows and rehearsalsfor what's next. Thanks so much to you who I saw or met at July's run of performances. I feel very fortunate for the opportunites I have to perform my music and all the great people I meet along the way.  
Looking forward, August will find me playing a selection of shows in San Francisco and Northern California in a variety of formats and getting ready to release the KCDC CD.  Please check the calendar and join us!
xo, Deborah

 

Keeping Things Rolling and Shows Going Amid Chaos

 
I pretty much run my life on projects. I didn't consciously plan this, but over time I've seen the pattern. There's always something in the works: a show, a poem, a tour, a recording...a blog post. It's how I create order and meaning for myself, even as I know things run on their own time, despite my intention and bunch of calendar entries, and the world may perceive things very differently than I do.  I can't really tell what and how my project habit will add up to in the end, but I do know I feel happiest when I know I've made something — which I hope will be of some value — that wouldn't have happened without my efforts.
Such was the case for Saturday night's show, a showcase for six songwriters, three of whom would play in the round on stage at once. I've been doing these songwriter showcases every few months for the past couple years, rounding up five other artists and playing myself. It's not a unique formula —playing-in-the-round, one song at a time, is a fairly traditional way of sharing a bill — and we knew the venue well. But I started to freak a little when two artists had yet to arrive five minutes before showtime. I sent the first three artists up to begin and began texting and emailing the others. One confirmed straight away they'd be late due to a contentious commute. One artist (who I'd learn was not feeling well the next day) would not show.  My mind racing, I scrapped the intended order and made a game plan to swap out an artist every time they'd completed a turn of three songs. Amid the shuffle, I sat down and played my songs,  too anxious about how the whole evening was being received to feel nervous about my own performance (Perhaps that was the hidden benefit?).
In any case,  it all was fine. More than fine. The other artists were relaxed (and good at what they were doing) and the audience enjoyed themselves. Food and drink kept coming out of the kitchen, new connections were being made, and by the end of the evening I was enjoying myself as well. We'd done it.
Yesterday, we came home to a box of our newly-pressed KCDC "Your Own Reaction" CD. We first wrote these songs as a songwriting challenge in February 2013. We recorded them in September that year, and we've been overdubbing and then mixing up until a month ago as schedules allowed. We haven't been hurried or anxious about this project but we've kept it going, scheduling rehearsals, working with engineers and graphic designers and learning parts amid work and other projects and, in the case of our co-producer, a pregnancy and birth.  September of this year, we'll release the music officially and have a show.
There will be more to do between now and then, but yesterday, we turned over the CDs in our hands to check it all read correctly, then popped one into the stereo to make sure it played. We had run into a friend on our way home so we gave him one, too.  We felt pleased with our musical efforts. I noticed when I woke up this morning, I'd slept better than I had in weeks. Chaos and meaningless averted... for the moment!
 

2014 Golden Gear Award Nomination

 

Rhythmix Cultural Center here in Alameda is presenting its first annual Golden Gear Awards to three East Bay artists in recognition of their outstanding contributions in three categories: visual arts, performing arts and arts education at our Wine, Women & Song extravaganza on August 23rd.

I was  honored to get on the ballot! The public is invited to submit one vote in one, two or all three categories.  

Votes will be accepted through Thursday, July 31st at http://www.rhythmix.org/article/478-award-nomination.html

 

Tonight! Wine & Music in Cloverdale, CA

 
 

Northwest Postcard

 

Portland is cooler than ever: Here I'm waiting for the free piano seat on Alberta St. to open after enjoying the best gluten-free cinnamon roll from Back to Eden bakery and a fine coffee from Caffe Vita
I'm truly hooked on the open road, big skies, and opportunities to play songs for new people, which is why I set out on hours-long drives even when plans go awry, tech goes wonky and the temperature averages 95 degrees. Some snaps from the latest trip North and back
Big Sky on the way to Bend, Oregon. Bend is beautiful and boasts another good stage in Volcanic Theater Pub

The amazing Horse Tail Falls along the Columbia River. I didn't take a dip but wished I had later.

The dear Sue Quigley who shared the bill with us at the awesome listening room that is SoulFood Coffeehouse in Redmond, Washington


My trusty Desio Guitar awaiting its orders for the day
 

Northwest Mini-Tour & Staying Loose

 

"A flexible spine equals a flexible mind" is an oft-repeated phrase in yoga circles. I believe it. And during weeks likes this, I'm especially glad I've a regular yoga practice. A run of dates in the Northwest have been on the calendar for months, but in the space of a couple of days, my musical accompaniment for part of the trip changed, a show that was the impetus for the tour was postponed, the tour was rerouted through Portland, I added a new date in a town in which I didn't think I'd be playing, and I'm leaving a day early.   Here's to applying what practice teaches one to your day-to-day — breathe, focus ...and get out there and rock it! If you're in Oregon and Washington the next few days, come on out to a show.

Upcoming Dates

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
Volcanic Theatre Pub- 8:30pm
70 SW Century Dr Bend OR 97702 USA
With Johnny Nash!
 
Friday, July 11th, 2014
Soulfood Books and Music - 8pm
Redmond WA 98052 US
Heading back to Redmond as part of a summer NW tour. We had a great time paying here in January. Come on down for acoustic music in a great listening room. With Sue Quigley.

Saturday, July 12th, 2014
The Playwright Public House
8pm-10pm 258 A Street Ashland OR 97520
Our first time playing this pub in one of our favorite NW towns.



Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Volcanic Theatre Pub

8:30pm
70 SW Century Dr Bend OR 97702 USA

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Soulfood Books and Music

Acoustic in Redmond - 8pm
Redmond WA 98052 US
Heading back to Redmond as part of a summer NW tour. We had a great time paying here in January. Come on down for acoustic music in a great listening room.

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

The Playwright Public House

8pm-10pm
258 A Street Ashland OR 97520
- See more at: http://www.deborahcrooks.com/shows/#sthash.wFD1QFL6.dpuf




Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Volcanic Theatre Pub

8:30pm
70 SW Century Dr Bend OR 97702 USA

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Soulfood Books and Music

Acoustic in Redmond - 8pm
Redmond WA 98052 US
Heading back to Redmond as part of a summer NW tour. We had a great time paying here in January. Come on down for acoustic music in a great listening room.

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

The Playwright Public House

8pm-10pm
258 A Street Ashland OR 97520
- See more at: http://www.deborahcrooks.com/shows/#sthash.wFD1QFL6.dpuf



Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Volcanic Theatre Pub

8:30pm
70 SW Century Dr Bend OR 97702 USA

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Soulfood Books and Music

Acoustic in Redmond - 8pm
Redmond WA 98052 US
Heading back to Redmond as part of a summer NW tour. We had a great time paying here in January. Come on down for acoustic music in a great listening room.

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

The Playwright Public House

8pm-10pm
258 A Street Ashland OR 97520
- See more at: http://www.deborahcrooks.com/shows/#sthash.wFD1QFL6.dpuf
 

Happy Fourth + Your Own Reaction

 

Growing up, July always seemed like the hottest month, but somehow the heat didn't disrupt the desire to set off a firecracker. Because we were inland a few miles, we'd often take our holiday fireworks to Manresa or Beer Can Beach to set off after dark. The fireworks sold at stands at that time packed a punch, and watching the official displays in Watsonville and Santa Cruz was nearly secondary to the rogue displays going off at home and along the coastal beaches. We'd buy what are likely now-illegal bottle rockets and other items promising high voltage glitter and thrill from a roadside stand outside of town. During the week leading up to the holiday, we'd preview our cache of snappers, sparklers, and those weird charcoal snakes that grow before your eyes with the strike of a match, on our brick patio. One never knew exactly what would happen once the firework was lit, which was the real fun. One year, my dad shot a defective firecracker off early that flew low into a small conifer and burst into flame, a fire that was fortunately easy to contain. Considering our impulsiveness, we were lucky to escape being burned badly or worse: there's good reason so many fireworks are illegal.

The thrill in lighting your own fuse is primal, and the beaches of Santa Cruz were crazy on the Fourth, as they are likely are now, crowded with similarly reckless pyromaniac types intent on figuring out how where to roll the keg in the sand, light the brightest bonfire and set off the loudest explosion. The folks who wanted bigger and brighter on their own terms bought their fireworks from vendors in Mexico or through other underground routes. There were always some impressive, if dangerous, unofficial displays.

Tonight, we'll venture out into the middle of the Bay on the boat to see what we can see. The forecast is calling for the East Bay to straddle the fog bank that's been coming in the past few days so the display could be muted.  But who knows? Maybe we'll drum up a few sparklers of our own before nightfall. In the meantime, here's another preview track from the KCDC project, "Your Own Reaction." Happy Fourth!

 

 

Northwest Prep

 

In the wake of last weekend's run of fun shows — thanks to a crew of producers, we went from the Always...Patsy Cline pre-shows to ULUV to Sailstice to Barkissimo (above photo)— I've been getting ready to hit the road the second week of July for another run up to the Northwest, to Bend, OR and Seattle July 9-11 before circling back. Check the calendar for last-minute show additions. We'd love to see you along our route!

 

Boarding Barkissimo

 


Barkissimo is a 'floating oasis' in Emeryville, aka a 80' yacht, 'St. Augustine trawler,' that has been transformed into a multi-use venue.  This Sunday, 6/22, Barkssimo will be in form as a music venue, and I'll be part of an (early) evening of songwriters performing our originals. I'm honored to be in the company of this crew of artists--join us!
Alexis Harte • Rick Didia • Deborah Cooks • Maurice Tani
Port opens at 5:00 • Concert begins at 6:00 pm • $22 Donations at the door • Bring Food to share • Beverages are available •Reserve through EVENTBRITE link 
 

ULUV Music Festival

 
ULUV Music Day is a connected set of free, public music events which takes place each year in parklets, parks, Bart Stations and other public spaces on the 21st of June to celebrate music and the people who create it! San Francisco will be bursting with live music performance all day, on Saturday, June 21, starting at noon.

As part of the celebration, I'm delighted to play Trouble Coffee and Coconut Club, out in the Avenues (this is the place to get a coffee before hitting Ocean Beach IMHO). I'll be leading off the line-up at Trouble. While there's all sorts of greatness happening during  ULUV,  you can't go wrong parking it here for the afternoon if you're in SF (and not in Alameda later in the day for my 3pm Sailstice* set!)

ULUV Music Day @ Trouble Coffee - 4033 Judah St, SF
12-1pm Deborah Crooks 
1-2pm Y Axes 
2-3pm Elsie White 
3-4pm Quinn Deveaux 
4-5pm VeJah aka MicChecka and Anthony featuring Maya Songbird
 The updated schedule for performances at venues all over the city is HERE.

ULUV Music is a charitable organization whose goal is to increase revenue streams for the Bay Area’s music industry by producing community driven music events that showcase local artists, businesses and charities. Through creating more opportunities for the local music community, ULUV Music will help sustain, grow and preserve the San Francisco Bay Area’s rich music culture.

Two Bay Area visionaries, Starita and Robin Applewood, founded ULUV Music and both have dedicated their careers to uplifting the Bay Area music community.  They have united their visions to create this event-based movement so that musicians and industry professionals can thrive and sustain their careers in music.  http://uluvmusic.com/