Deborah Crooks

 
 

Blog

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.”
 

Looking back, moving forward: new tune...

 

** Looking back, moving forward: new tune, playing a couple of celebratory gigs, mixing and giving THANKS... 

I realized last week that it had been exactly 20 years since I returned to the San Francisco Bay Area. After spending most of the 1990s in Colorado, I left the Rocky Mountain State in the rear view mirror of my VW Golf, which was jam-packed with everything I owned, and didn’t look back, bound for... West Marin. I‘d been headed that direction after college, before I veered right, got hitched and hauled off to Boulder. When the relationship flamed out, it seemed like a good idea to start where I’d left off. And that’s exactly what I did, driving back to California, subletting a studio on the mesa in Bolinas, to reboot and start all over again. After a couple months in the coastal community, I moved to Mill Valley, and then to San Francisco…and so on and so on…writing and singing my way forward, and as it turned out, all the way round the actual San Francisco Bay itself. Flash forward to now, November 2017, I’m headed to Bolinas again. I didn’t consciously plan it to coincide with the anniversary of my move; nonetheless, this coming weekend, Sunday, November 5 — I’m playing a show with Bay Station at the venerable Smiley’s Saloon. We’ll feature songs from our getting-closer-to-finished Other Desert Cities CD—and perhaps I'll drop in this new tune commemorating many stations of the Bay as well as those loved and lost. 8pm-11pm. Join us!

** Listen to the "On the Other Side"

I wrote this tune a couple months back after I got word that an old love had passed away. It's as much about my Bay Area peregrinations as it is a song suitable for The Day of the Dead.

** Upcoming shows:

* November 5, 2017 Bay Station in Bolinas Smiley's, 41 Wharf Road Bolinas, CA 8pm

* November 23, 2017 Thanksgiving Live Music Class Symmetry Yoga, 1708 Park St. Alameda, CA 9:30am

* December 20, 2017 Songwriters Showcase with Jeffrey Halford, Amie Penwell, Megan McLaughlin & host Deborah Crooks at The Octopus Literary Salon 2101 Webster Street, Oakland, CA 7pm

 

Truth and beauty, more please

 

 

Nature, the great equalizer.


It was key to get outside this week amid avoiding smoke, watching friends and families navigate evacuations and home/community losses, and the empowering and re-stimulating groundswell of #MeToo.

Truth AND beauty, more please.

And wouldn't you know it, this week marks a year since the release of Beauty Everywhere.
To celebrate I'm offering a little NoiseTrade sampler of songs from the 2016's record, plus some tracks off earlier CDs — listen, share and download HERE. I also got word that Beauty Everywhere made it onto the first-round GRAMMY® ballot for Record of the Year and Americana Album. Both are incredibly competitive fields; nonetheless, I'm pleased and grateful to keep getting to make original music and have it included in the mix.


Going forward, between the hiking and hawkwatching, writing and ruminating, I'm back in the studio with Bay Station to complete the Other Desert Cities project that we started recording in April. We're looking at a Spring 2018 release. Before that, Bay Station has a few more shows on the calendar, including a return to Smiley's in Bolinas, on November 4. As always, I'd love to see you there.

Be well, take care, much love, Deborah

We happily do a number of performances each year for the nonprofit organization Bread and Roses (including this weekend), playing for audiences in a variety of institutional settings in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bread & Roses recently released a new documentary short film about their work directed/co-produced by Dan Foldes of Pint of Soul (who did the videos for my songs "Record of a Day" and "Wishing Tree" earlier this year) and co-produced by my friend and fellow songwriter Francesca Lee. It's a great piece — take a look at it HERE to find out more about the great work they do.

 

Howl!

 


Howl! 'Howl', is shorthand in our house for hurt and disappointment. And howl I did after receiving a text from Kwame and another bandmate about the passing of Tom Petty yesterday. Not Petty! Not Petty on an already soul-crushing day. And like so much of Petty's music has done for me throughout my life, the news about his death focused the uneasy grief I'd been feeling since morning, about Las Vegas, about how fast things can change, about how fragile we all are.

Howl!

I grew up with Tom Petty's music. He was touring his fifth album when I attended his show at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. I was 14 years old and had already been singing along to "Refugee" on the radio for a few years, but I'd never been to a rock show before. My older sister drove me and my best friend Sally into town, and we lined up on the sidewalk in the foggy evening air. I was excited, shivering slightly in my favorite striped Esprit shirt. I had no idea I'd soon be ecstatic.

Petty came on stage, a young, prowling, slightly goofy-looking, supremely confident, blue-eyed dervish. He twinkled, and he and the rest of the band rocked in the truest, most unabashed sense of the word. I made my way up to the edge of the stage so I could get a little closer to his bright light, and danced and screamed like the teenybopper I was, leaving the auditorium a believer, in music, in myself, in the strength to speak — and sing — truth to power.

Inspiration. Inspiration is gold. It's an especially good time to play Petty's music. Loud. And howl a bit as needed.

And then go see some live music!

Beauty Everywhere is a year old this month. Tag me on Instagram with your latest #BeautyEverywhere find and I'll send you a download code. In the meantime, I'm heading up to Marin next week for a few unplugged days on the mountain.

Truth! Beauty! Love, Deborah

"Deborah Crooks makes the case for a return to the roots of rock"- Consequence of Sound
.

 

Octopus Songwriter Showcase at The Octopus Literary Salon - September 20

 
 

Tonight at The Lost Church: Another Hot Water Session

 

This weekend: Hot Water Sessions in San Francisco and Martinez

Join me this weekend as I take part in a couple gigs with my Hot Water Session pals, including Yours Truly, Michele and special guests, starting tonight at The Lost Church!

 

Good times and what's next

 

September sees more shows with Michele, ala May's Hot Water Sessions, and a Northwest mini-tour with Bay Station. Check the calendars for more!

 

"Wednesday night race/out on the bay....but we're playing on a Saturday" THIS SATURDAY, August 26

 

Peace, love and music in Oakland at The Open Matt. Join us!