Blog

Shelter-in-place Coping by Creating 

This week our house has been a music venue, a yoga studio, an office for two people and a home. I've been walking most places and avoiding the store as much as possible (last night's Farm Fresh to You delivery felt like the arrival of Santa Claus!). I've cooked all but one meal, made bread for the first time in more than a decade, tried out a couple other new recipes, written a new song, resumed some electric guitar practice and used Zoom for more activities than I thought possible. The now weekly Alameda…

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Notes from a hilltop: Chalk Hill Residency 

I had a plan to work on a project related to birds and people when I applied for Chalk Hill Artist Residency, so I was more than delighted to be greeted by an avian chorus upon my arrival. Over the subsequent two and half weeks in Sonoma County, I came to think of the Spotted Towhee, Brown Towhee, Scrub Jay, Stellar’s Jay, Dark-eyed Junco, Tufted Titmouse, Bushtit, Mourning Dove, Northern Flicker and Acorn Woodpecker combo as one of two of my 'house bands.’ Within a few days, a Red-winged Blackbird could…

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Muddy Sunday! Danny Allen, Deborah Crooks and Michael McNevin in Niles 

It’s on its way to being a tradition to do a birthday show Michael McNevin in February. This year's bday-related show takes place on Feb 23, a week after my actual birthday BUT the day (or weekend?) of Mr. McNevin's birthday. So we're gathering for musical mud pies and mayhem at the Mudpuddle Music Shop in Niles this SUNDAY at 4pm. Department of the West co-producer and songwriter/guitarist Danny Allen joins the mix. Get muddy! RSVP info@michaelmcnevin.com

"Be Your Own Bird" is 2 

February Music: Monkeys & Mud 

Perhaps it was the added chicory in the coffee, or all those great artists we heard and connected with at Folk Alliance, but I came home from New Orleans doubly fired up for live music and general music-making. I'm happy to report the next couple months are full of creative possibility, including several collaborative shows and a residency. First up is a special show this Sunday at The Monkey House, where I’ll be co-hosting/playing the Bay Station Love the Bay Retrospective screening and performance In…

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Making out in 2020 

"Make out" is an interesting term, isn't it? As is "how'd you make out?" or  "could you make it out?" and "let's make out!" (which is actually pretty low on the definition list according to Merriam). I'm riffing on the phrase both as it's an   interesting time on the planet right now and I've a show at the Make-Out Room at the end of month, which I very much wish you'll make it out for.

Miss my record release? This will be a near reprise, as I'll be sharing the show with Gayle Lynn & The Hired Hands as…

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Bay Area Recording Roundup by SF Classical Voice 

Appreciate that Department of the West is included in this roundup of Bay Area Recordings!

"Welcome to SFCV’s 2019 year-end roundup of recordings released this year by local artists. Our list isn’t limited to classical music: We’ve embraced everything from Baroque music to jazz to Celtic, folk, blues, and bluegrass. We can’t claim that our roster is comprehensive, but we tried to provide a solid sample of the area’s musical wealth. There is so much great music here that we aren’t able to hear or review over

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Americana Highways Poll: Vote for The Department of the West 

This is a nice list just to be on. That said, if you'd like to show your love for The Department of the West, I'm that much more grateful if you vote for it in Americana Highways' favorite THREE releases of November/December 2019 poll:

"Americana Highways needs you to vote for your favorite THREE releases these past two months, November and December 2019. The vote stays open until January 20th at 11:59pm EDT; results will be posted January 21st. Write in, if we overlooked one!  The top three winners get

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