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Behind the Song: Piece on Earth

Rae Hering

A few years ago I was in Henderson, KY enjoying a beautiful summer day at my in-laws’. Richard was on the far side of the yard at his meat smoker, faithfully turning a batch of ribs. I closed my eyes to take in the scent of charred sweetness when I hear Dorothy’s infectious laugh, all full of life, coming from the sunroom.

That day in Henderson the sun laid lightly on the skin and the breeze drifted through like we were seaside. I let blades of grass go through my toes and listened to the birds happily chirping away…

Well maybe the City Girl in me is getting a little sappy here, but you get the picture: it was a really nice day. It was the type of day that inspires a songwriter to write a Summer Song.

I had my guitar with me and started picking out some chords. I wanted the song to sound like it had a porch swing built right into it. I wanted it to feel like that little smile you get as you’re drifting off in the hammock under the shade of a tree.

“Piece on Earth” is an ode to loving your Home. It's about accepting what you have and being happy with your life for what it is. No frills needed, just your own backyard.

I think that’s just how Dorothy and Richard have lived their lives. They’re still in the house my husband grew up in and have made a lot of history in that house! It’s also a house with a strict open door policy: you can expect friends and neighbors to stop in on the regular just to say hi. They have an open refrigerator policy, too. :) 

So here it is: "Piece on Earth," my Summer Song, written in Henderson, KY. I hope it’ll make a nice companion to your summer days ahead! 

Did I just take happy pills?

Rae Hering

It’s inevitable. Around this time of year, every year, I’ll start waking up a little more refreshed than usual. I’ll think, “hmmm, that’s nice…” and go about my day only to realize that everything seems to fall into place, I'm bumping into friends left and right and even cracking jokes and starting to think I'm actually funny. Soon inspiration is flowing and I start to think I really must have hit my stride in life and WOW! am I doing a great job at being an Awesome Human Being when suddenly it hits me…ohhhhhhhh, it’s the nice weather.

!!!!!!!!!🌷🌼🌷🌼🌷🌼🌷🌼🌷🌼🌷🌼!!!!!!!!!

So I guess it wasn't that power smoothie I've been making for breakfast after all.

Nope! Just good old Spring. Open windows, vibrant flower colors, and the sunlight, oh the glorious sunlight again!

!!!!!!!!!☀️😎☀️😎☀️😎☀️😎☀️😎☀️😎!!!!!!!!!

What I find fascinating is that this scenario happens, without fail, year after year. I forget how it feels to live in a springtime world. My body, slowly and willingly adjusts to the overcast skies and lack of precious vitamin D and just…copes. Sluggishly, it comes to think that this is how it always has been and always will be. That is, until that warm air starts moseying on in...

I have to chuckle at myself. Did I seriously think it was something I had done to make me feel so great? Uh…NO. Some remedies just take their time to come back around, and you can’t do a darned thing to rush it.

Lesson learned, until next year that is 😉.

 
 

P.s. - Why Imagination in Bloom? It a lyric from my song Red Red!

 

What?? It's Women's History Month?!?

Rae Hering

Alright, all you Procrastinators, if you haven’t gotten around to doing anything for Women’s History Month yet, or heck, didn’t even know it was going on, now’s your chance!

(Note: being that this blog post is on the last day of Women’s History Month we can all tell who’s the Biggest Procrastinator of all. Uh…yeah.)

Actually, I’ve been thinking about notable women throughout history a lot lately. Not because it’s the month of March even though, hey, it’s nice to get some yearly recognition for our gender, but the real reason is that I’m working on a concept album inspired by fascinating women from all different time periods and backgrounds whom, quite frankly, I’ve never heard of and maybe you haven’t either!

I’ve written five songs so far and oh my goodness! these women have truly become my muses. They’ve entranced me thoroughly with their triumphant valor, bloodthirsty schemes, charismatic wit and unearthly resilience. Are they perfect examples of what humanity should strive to be? You bet they aren’t! But that’s what makes them so beautifully interesting.

Which leads me to sharing with you this magical wonderland of a website I found in my research, www.rejectedprincesses.com. Expect to find (and I’m quoting the site here): “Women too Awesome, Awful, or Offbeat for Kids’ Movies.” Let me introduce you too:

(All artwork by Jason Porath)

Creator Jason Porath sums up what he does this way, “I illustrate and wax poetic about interesting legendary women you’ve probably never heard of.” (Got that from his Twitter profile. He also has a Patreon account you need to check out.)

And I’m totally sucked in. The way he writes about these women’s stories is completely engaging and his animation-style images make each come to life. Suffice it to say I have a lot of food for fodder here for my concept album and I hope you dig in, too! Once you get acquainted with a few of these colorful characters you may want to check out his official Rejected Princesses book that just came out late 2016. 

OK folks, Happy Last Day of Women’s History Month and enjoy the good reads!

Notes on My Fridge: Success Is...

Rae Hering

I like to keep little notes on my fridge to help me be mindful and reflective throughout the day. Here's a quote by American humorist Evan Esar that I've been thinking about:

 
This little quote came with a beautiful Judith Bright necklace I got as a present.

This little quote came with a beautiful Judith Bright necklace I got as a present.

 

I'm mulling over how different, yet connected, the terms success and good fortune are. To me, success conjures notions of hard work and determination to reach a sought-after goal. Good fortune makes me think of happy accidents and favorable circumstances we all wish would fall into our laps. 

Oh, so many times I've been envious of people that just "seem lucky" while I grumble to myself about how I have to pull myself up from my bootstraps and keep my chin up...LOL!! Haven't we all had thoughts like this?? The thing is, hard work and luck go hand in hand; the more perspiration we put into our aspirations, the more lucky breaks we seem to come by.

Now, I've heard some people say they don't believe in luck, or at least that they don't need it. As long as we put the effort in we get results back, right? While I would love to believe that I'm in 100% control of my destiny I think Evan Esar's quote reminds me that that's not entirely true. In fact, the things in life that we can't control are often our most important motivators. Desperation can lead us, albeit painfully, to stumble upon serendipitous inspiration!

Easier said then done, for sure. But I figure with all the times I open my fridge in a day it'll start to sink in :)  

Scoping It Out - A Musician's Look at Periscope

Rae Hering

I’m a Live Performer; I love connecting with an audience and feeding off of the in the moment energy that’s so palpable at a show.  For the audience and myself alike live performance is exhilarating because we know that anything can happen…because it’s live.  Case in point:

 
falling off stage.gif
 

I’d be fooling myself if I said that that same in the moment thrill transfers over to a carefully crafted 140 characters on Twitter or an edited YouTube video (or this blog post?? 😬).  I mean, apples and oranges, right?  My scripted social media self is just different than my spontaneous stage self.  Well…that was true until I discovered a social media platform that changed all that.

Periscope is a live-streaming social app that allows folks from all around the world to watch broadcasts in real time.  In my opinion it’s the perfect marriage between social media and live performance.  Alas! the two have found each other - what a love story!  OK, I can’t help myself:

 
 

You’ve probably noticed that live-streaming is quickly becoming “a thing,” especially since sites like Facebook and Instagram have adopted the concept.  It’s easy to see why.  People are hungry to know what’s really going on behind the curtain; they’re ready to make a connection and to be in the moment with us musicians, artists, speakers or anyone who has something to share!

So every Sunday at 6p CST you can find me in my little music room, on Periscope, playing a different batch of songs each week.  I’ve gotta say it’s been a learning curve to adapt to singing while reading comments and responding quickly to people’s questions.  But it’s SO much fun, and exhilarating – like performing on stage!  What I love best is seeing that people are ready to be active listeners, to engage and even to share about their own lives.

 
Click to watch my latest scope

Click to watch my latest scope

 

If you’re interested in joining me next Sunday find me at www.periscope.tv/raehering or download the app on your phone and search “Rae Hering.”  While you’re there you can also view my past scopes like the amazing Pre-Valentines House Show I threw in my apartment (25 people in my tiny living room!!) on Feb. 12th.  

While you're on Periscope make sure to stumble across more fascinating content.  A few of my recommendations are Piano Around (a guy who takes his upright piano all around the world), Clare Means (singer-songwriter and street performer sensation) and Neil Gaiman (yes, the fantasy author).  Have fun being in the moment!

Nothing working for that sore throat?

Rae Hering

What’s a musician to do with three shows this week and a raspy throat that makes her sound like Scuttle in the Little Mermaid??  Well, let’s open up the pantry…zicam, airborne, lemon, honey, zinc, garlic, chicken broth, vitamin C, throat coat tea, neti pot, cough drops, apple cider vinegar…

OK, I’ve got enough vitamins and superfoods to start a homeopathy side business, but even still, sometimes a cold manages to kick my I’m-sick-so-I-get-to-sit-on-the-couch-and-watch-Netflix butt! (Hey, any excuse will do 🤧 😬)

Point is, this up-and-down weather’s got me keeping Kleenex in steady business this year and it’s likely you’re in the same 2-play boat.  Thankfully, I learned of a new trick to bolster my medicine bag when I visited Music City Tea yesterday… 

 
Jenny, owner of Music City Tea, pouring me up some tea to taste.

Jenny, owner of Music City Tea, pouring me up some tea to taste.

 

First of all, I just love visiting this locally owned and operated teashop.  I go there to stock up on this killer Black Water Fairy Oolong that's sourced straight from the Chinese province that the owner, Jenny, comes from; her family has been making green, white, black and oolong teas in the Wuyishan area of the Fujian Province for over three generations, and it tastes like it, too!

So I was about to head out the door with my oolong when Jenny noticed my hoarse voice and suggested Farmer’s Tea.  Well…OK, let’s give it a try!  Another great thing about this teashop is that you can try any of the teas before you buy.  Believe me, if you sit down at her tea table the teas will keep coming!  

 
Looks like Simon, my Persian kitty, likes Farmer's Tea, too!  NO CAFFEINE, steep in boiling water for 5-10 sec.

Looks like Simon, my Persian kitty, likes Farmer's Tea, too!  NO CAFFEINE, steep in boiling water for 5-10 sec.

 

So I sat down and she poured me up some Farmer’s Tea with fair warning that it does not taste good.  After following her instructions to slurp (yes, noisily slurp), gargle, swallow, and repeat two more times I can say that indeed, you don’t drink Farmer’s Tea for the flavor; however, it doesn’t taste horrible.   

As yesterday progressed and a few hours went by I’ve gotta say my voice started doing much better!  Guys, I think I’ll be ready for my shows this week!  Next time I feel a cold coming on I’ll make sure to get the Farmer’s Tea out right away.

To check out Music City Tea’s various teas and tea sets, visit: www.musiccitytea.com

The Christmas Song

Rae Hering

I wanted to say a quick Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all, so I decided to play you a song to enjoy in the comfort of your own home this holiday season.  I hope you enjoy it and may your days be merry and bright.

 

Simon the Cat 2017 Calendars

Rae Hering

The "Adventures of Simon the Cat" calendar features photos taken by me of my very fluffy and friendly feline: a ginger-colored Persian named Simon.  Each calendar will be signed and can also be bundled with CD's.

The perfect stocking stuffer for you cat-loving family and friends! 

 

Click here to check out all the photos in the calendar.

A brush with Death, a Chopin Nocturne and yes...Thanksgiving!

Rae Hering

The other day I was talking to my upstairs neighbor.  She told me that a friend of hers, only 25 years old, had a massive heart attack; no one saw it coming and no one knows why it happened.  Her friend died, was resuscitated, and then remained unconscious with doctors predicting that she would be permanently brain damaged.

Woah.  That’s heavy stuff.

Two days later she woke up and started talking and laughing…with no signs of brain damage at all!

At this point in the story my jaw is halfway to the floor and I’m flooded with all kinds of emotion: shock, sympathy, relief…and lots of thankfulness.  A close encounter to death, even if it’s just hearing about your neighbor’s friend, has a way of making the important things in life crystal clear.

Needless to say, my neighbor has been on the emotional roller coaster of a lifetime and is exhausted from spending day after long day at the hospital.  But here’s the part that really got to me: she said she stopped by the apartment one of those worrying nights before heading back to the hospital and heard me playing a Chopin Nocturne.  It was just what she needed to hear in the midst of all the turmoil.  It was a comfort to her, hearing that melody, and she told me thank you for that song.

Well, besides the fact that I’m relieved my neighbor actually enjoys my music and doesn’t file noise complaints on me, I’m thankful for this reminder of how powerful music is - how music can offer a moment of reprieve from life’s problems and can calm a storm of negative thoughts.  How it can resurface emotions that we’ve stuffed away and can sort through the ones that are tormenting us.  Music certainly is a subtle and mysterious healer.    

With this in mind, I’m thankful to be one of Music’s willing and able conduits.  I’m thankful for my neighbor’s friend’s recovery and I’m thankful for the gift of Life, in all its fragility.

Below is a video of me playing Chopin’s Nocturne in Eb.  Chopin has always been particularly close to my heart, and now I have even more reason to love his music.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Still Sophie

Rae Hering

Hume-Fogg theater in Nashville, TN.

I’m so happy to have been a part of such a meaningful and poignant film, “Still Sophie” directed by Caroline Knight, which will be making its world premier today in Charlotte as part of the 100 Words Film Festival (a festival where all films must use exactly 100 words!  Talk about tricky!)

“Still Sophie” is a seven minute documentary that tells the story of a young woman, Sophie, who suffered a stroke when she was 19.  After four years of therapy she’s made amazing progress but still struggles with aphasia, which is where her thinking process is completely intact but speaking those thoughts is extremely difficult.

Singing, however, is easier.  Sophie has always loved to sing and that hasn’t changed a bit because of her stroke!  In fact, the documentary features Sophie singing “Maybe This Time” and that’s where I come in – I’m accompanying her on piano!

What a strong, determined and beautiful young woman Sophie is!  An inspiration!

Read more about “Still Sophie” and The 100 Words Film Festival.

Sophie and me on set! 

Caroline Knight, director, talking with Sophie about the interview.

I Got a Song Cut!

Rae Hering

That's right, folks, I got my first major record label song cut - how cool is that?!?  I'm feeling pretty excited and very thankful.  The song is called "It's Alright" and MCA/Universal (Philippines) artist Solenn Heussaff just released the pop ballad on her third album titled Solenn.  Give it a listen!

I wrote "It's Alright" with my husband, Jonathan Morse, and our friend Jimmy Borja.  I'm lucky to have met Jimmy - he's a great friend, a wonderful piano player (he taught himself by ear which completely amazes me!) and a hit songwriter.  Many of Jimmy's songs have become classics in the Philippines including the Christmas song "Sana Ngayong Pasko," performed by Ariel Rivera.

So now that you've heard Solenn's version, I thought it would be fun to share with you my demo version of "It's Alright."  Personally, I find it interesting to hear where a song started, so if you find it interesting, too, check out the link below (I included lyrics at the bottom).  By the way, that's Jonathan on the left and Jimmy on the right in the Soundcloud picture.  They're just the greatest!

It's Alright - by Jimmy Borja, Jonathan Morse and Rae Hering

If my eyes were mirrors
Would it bring you nearer,
Would you see what you want to see?

If my eyes could show you
What your heart has been through
Would you stay or would you look away?

No use fighting,
Stop your hiding,
You can’t escape it
But you can face it.

It’s alright, it’s alright,
It’s alright, it’s alright.

The trials and the triumphs,
The song and the silence,
It’s all a part of who we are

Lift your eyes and see
Through the brokenness there’s beauty.
Don’t be afraid, to be afraid.

No use fighting,
Stop your hiding,
You can’t escape it
But you can face it.

It’s alright, it’s alright,
It’s alright, it’s alright.

Look into my eyes,
I am your reflection.
Look into my eyes,
I am your reflection.

It’s alright, it’s alright,
It’s alright, it’s alright,
It’s alright, it’s alright,
It’s alright, it’s alright.

"Daddy's Little Girl" is a Big Success!

Rae Hering

Big News!

Remember that short film, "Daddy's Little Girl," I wrote the music for?

Well...after showing at ten film festivals around the world and winning Best Short Film at Hollywood's SCREAMFEST Horror Film Festival, "Daddy's Little Girl" is now available on iTunes and even made it to #1 on the iTunes Top Short Films Sales!

 
 

Waa?!? It even beat out "Frozen"???

🎉 🎈 🎊 (Insert party noises here) 🎉 🎈 🎊

 

The song that I wrote (also called "Daddy's Little Girl") unfortunately wasn't able to be included in it's full form for the iTunes version of the film.  But no worries!  That just gives me an opportunity to give you all a FREE DOWNLOAD of the song on Noisetrade!

"Daddy's Little Girl"
By Rae Hering

I’m gonna make you love me,
We’re gonna build a castle,
You’re gonna kiss and hug me
When you see I’m special.

You can be my hero
And save my whole wide world,
Cuz I’m gonna make you love me
Like I’m Daddy’s little girl.   

 

So how did this project come about anyhow?  In February of 2014 I got a text from my friend Trey McClarnon asking if I'd write the music for a film he and his brother Chad McClarnon were working on to submit Studio 360's 30-Second Horror Film Festival Judged by Wes Craven.  Trey told me a few details about the genre and storyline over text and about an hour later I sent him a scratch version of the song "Daddy's Little Girl" which then became the title of the film.  After entering the 30-Second Horror Film Festival, Chad decided to re-edit the film to lengthen it and submit it to film festivals everywhere.  After a great festival run,. the film is now available on iTunes and is even flying high with Virgin Airlines as part of their in-flight entertainment.

I Smell a Video Series...

Rae Hering

That's right!  I've posted two of these babies over the last couple of weeks so I thought it was time to call it what it is.  

You see, I've been exploring my beautiful city of Nashville for the tucked away (or not-so-tucked-away) places that inspire me to find my muse in Music City.  I hope you'll come along with me...  

Why I color INSIDE the lines

Rae Hering

First thing’s first: I LOVE to color.  And yes, I mean that I color in a children’s coloring book; me and the Sesame Street gang have spent A LOT of time together and no, I’m not 8 (at least not on the outside…) 

Somewhere in my early twenties I got the notion to return to this childhood mainstay and quickly got obsessed.  I love picking out a page that reminds me of someone I know and coloring it for them; I even colored a page for a man I met on an airplane once.  People will see me coloring and break out in a smile or a light-hearted chuckle.  I get the feeling it brings them back to simpler times when coloring felt as necessary as washing the dishes.  Well for me, it still is that way…or at least, I’ve prioritized it to be that way. 

You see, I’ve come to see coloring as a form of moving meditation: as I focus on this one simple task my mind clears and relaxes.  I’m not worrying about my to-do list or my personal anxieties and I am completely at ease with life.

But in order for this to happen, I need to color INSIDE the lines.

It hit me one day that the reason I’m addicted to coloring is because it’s one of the only times where I allow myself to take a break from attempting to be original and adventurous. 

Society is constantly telling us to color outside the lines, think beyond the box and forge our own path.  We’ve learned to praise innovation as the greatest good and to see following the pack as something for the dull-witted masses.  While being different or innovative is not bad in of itself, I think there's value in trotting the beaten path as well. (Mind you, this is coming from someone who's life's ambition has been to buck the system!) 

When I color, I follow the lines in front of me and use a limited set of pre-existing colors.  Consequently, my expectations of making “great art” are lowered and the burden of “being genius” is lifted (as though that were a real issue, ha!)  The paradox is that when I put down my coloring book, I am able to better create and innovate in other areas in my life, like songwriting.

The pressure to be different in our world gets compounded with the multitude of choices we have in front of us on a daily basis.  In this great NY Times article about the dilemma of having too many choices, the author says that according to research “an excess of choices leads to us being less, not more, satisfied once we actually decide.  There’s often that nagging feeling that we could have done better.”  What if we all took a little time to give ourselves limited options?  To be satisfied flowing with the river beneath us?  To color inside the lines?   

Only in this past year did I realize there’s a growing community of adults that are discovering the benefits of coloring and can’t get enough.  There are now even coloring books for adults!  My favorites are by Johanna Basford - I have her magically intricate “Enchanted Forest” book (thanks for the Christmas present, Mom and Dad.)  Here’s what I have so far: 

 
 

So how 'bout it?  Color INSIDE the lines!

Live Performance Montage VIDEO

Rae Hering

Quick 'lil post...just want to put out this montage video that Jonathan made recently.  We're hoping it will help us book regional house concerts and gigs, but really it's just some fun footage that I think you all will enjoy!

Happy WEEKEND! :)

A Free Christmas Album for All!

Rae Hering

Happy Holidays Everyone!

I've got somethin' for ya...

 
 

This is the time of year when cookies and egg nog are the two main food groups, when Christmas sweaters are unusually fashionable, and when our collection of Holiday music makes a triumphant return into our daily lives.

Well, here are some fresh arrangements (and even some original tunes) to add to the rotation this year. My friends at Firebreath Records have put together their 2nd annual holiday compilation, Firebreathmas 2015: The Wrap Album, and I'm just happy to be a part of it!  

It's totally free to download. But if you choose to donate, all proceeds go to Nashville Rescue Mission, a non-profit that helps the homeless population here in Middle Tennessee.

Check out all 19 tracks, or skip ahead to #14 (that's mine!) - the choice is yours. Either way, enjoy the music and have a Cery Merry Christmas!

 

Should songwriters perform cover songs?

Rae Hering

photo by Chad McClarnon

photo by Chad McClarnon

Over the years I’ve heard varying opinions about songwriters including cover songs in their live shows.  Some say having a sizable amount of covers (40-70%) is the best way to connect with listeners because it offers a measure of familiarity.  Others say adding covers dilutes the experience the songwriter is creating for their audience.

Should songwriters perform cover songs?

As a songwriter, I go to concerts to see musicians perform their original material because I’m passionate about songwriting!  But I know that not everyone is like me in this respect, so I posed the question to my Faceboook friends where a discussion got going...

Some folks said that performing covers can be a foot in the door and referenced Tori Amos (check out her version of Angie by The Rolling Stones) and The Beatles as those who have used this technique.  Others staunchly opposed including even one cover in a set or echoed that they only want to see original music performed.

The resounding majority was somewhere in the middle: people like hearing one or two covers from a songwriter if they can perform it in a way that’s unique to their artistry.  

I agree.  I think it's really cool when a songwriter whips out a badass cover and kills it.  For instance, when Ray Lamontagne sings Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” it sounds like a completely new creation.  However, if the cover outshines the original material, the unfortunate comparison can sure make the audience cringe!  Songwriters can find themselves with the opposite problem on their hands, too; if the cover song bombs everyone walks away remembering that one moment.  

Considering these two pitfalls, I've come to the conclusion that songwriters can’t rush the process of finding covers to perform.  It should be natural (almost accidental) coming across the right song - as though it fell into the your lap!  Great cover songs also come from the songwriter's history.  To offer a personal example, "Bei Mir Bist du Schöne" by The Andrews Sisters was my solo in my high school musical; I've loved it ever since and couldn't help but create an accordion version of this near and dear tune.  Now, it's become a highlight and audience favorite at shows.

When it comes down to it, songwriters have varying abilities and inclinations to perform cover tunes and there's really no "one right way."  I know of many songwriters who started their professional careers singing covers and transitioned to writing because, according to them, it felt more meaningful.  There are some bands that even lead double lives as a cover band and an original music band, like The Empty Pockets (read more in this CD Baby article). 

But for us songwriters that want to be known primarily as songwriters, we can't get caught up in representing ourselves differently!  If we're cramming to beef up our cover repertoire for that 4-hour long gig (I've totally been there and it wasn't pretty) or if we keep giving in to singing those covers that everyone is used to hearing from us, we won't ever be satisfied with our musical selves.  

Songwriters need to ask themselves this question: how do I want people to know me? and to realize that representing ourselves this way is not a future endeavor, it starts NOW.  Know who you are and stick to it!!


Absolute, total, HIGHLIGHT of the summer!

Rae Hering

As summer starts to wind down this Labor Day weekend, I got to thinking about the highlights of the past few months.  Waterfall excursions with friends, family reunions where I ate way too much, pool parties where I regretted that I ate too much, and even going on my first weekend tour with the band! 

But one thing really stands out.  On July 31st my husband Jonathan and I had the honor of curating a Nashville Fringe Festival event from the ground up.  We called it "Face to Face: An Up-Close Concert" because we wanted to create a unique atmosphere where people can come together and get to know each other while enjoying a free live music event.  Thanks to Jan Bossing with the Nashville Fringe Festival, we turned South x Sea recording studio into an East Nashville music venue and had a ball celebrating our Nashville Community!

Face to Face: An Up-Close Concert

Our M.C. Jason Marsden characteristically weaved his way through the audience (the word "stage" is a broad term in his book) and not only kept the laughs coming but spoke about the meaning of Community much more eloquently than I could imagine.  My favorite part of his monologue was when he passed out blank Thank You cards to everyone because - well, what better way to build Community that to send an old fashioned personal note, right?

Our local beer sponsor Little Harpeth Brewing came through with refreshing craft beer that was perfect for the summertime heat.  Also (you may have noticed this in the slideshow) we had two giant donuts - let me repeat - TWO GIANT DONUTS from Fox's Donut Den because, well, that's just awesome!!!! 

Yes, our theme was the Nashville Community for this event, but we didn't want to leave everyone else out!  That's where our friend Ford Heacock with FIREBREATHrecords came in.  He provided high quality lifestream for everyone, everywhere.  I regret we couldn't find a way to get our internet guests some of that delicious giant donut though...

I will leave you with one of my favorite songs from the evening.  It's a cover song I sing called "Bei Mir Bist du Schöne," originally sung by the Andrews Sisters.  We're having WAY too much fun in this video to be allowed, especially at the end when it gets all dramatic!!  Enjoy!

Rae Hering on accordion, Keith McGonigle on drums and Jonathan Morse on bass.  Video by Make it Pop.

The Man on Mars

Rae Hering

Jason Marsden, dressed in costume at his third Mars Variety Show event, themed "PORCH."

I want to introduce you all to a friend of mine who will be adding a touch of magic and a hint of crazy to the "Face to Face" event this Friday: the Marvelous Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Jason Marsden, aka: MARS.

I met Mars at a holiday party shortly after he and his family moved here to Nashville from L.A.  As an actor, L.A. made sense for Mars, but the reasons for his migration resonate alongside others that have transferred here from bigger, busier cities: they fell in love with the Nashville Community and found that the change of pace feels like home.  After all, his wife Cristy is a Nashville native and their frequent visits over the years had fostered friendships and a strong foothold on the local scene. 

So if it was Community that brought Mars to Nashville, it's no surprise that Community is what he is working to strengthen and grow.  Enter: The Mars Variety Show!

Inspired to celebrate the creative diversity in Nashville (and his birthday at the same time) the inaugural Mars Variety Show this past January was a whimsical evening of live music, comedy, short film, prose and even burlesque...all done with style.  The success of the first event has spawned parts two and three and...an anticipated plenty more!

 
 

As spectators, we quickly learn that the traditional concept of "the stage" is nonexistent in Mars' world.  Held at The Building in East Nashville, our Ringmaster transforms the entire venue into his circus.  He'll be weaving through chairs during his monologue until we realize the casual conversation he's having with an audience member is actually a comedy routine in disguise.  Then we're turned around to discover a songwriter standing atop the bar leading the crowd into what turns into a spontaneous sing-a-long.  He's even taken the show outside and around the block, turning the entire assembly into a rousing funeral march mob: replete with tuba, trumpet and song, we marched and danced down and around the 5 Points neighborhood.  It was quite the spectacle and absolutely wonderful.

It's a tricky job capturing the wonder of the Mars Variety Show, but Michael Shumate does it splendidly.  Here are a few photos he took from the Mars Variety Show pt 3, themed PORCH, which I was thrilled to be a part of as a performer:

You're probably getting a hunch that to Mars, life looks a little grander than the every-day, run-of-the-mill perspective.  And I love that about him.  What I love even more is how he's bringing the Nashville Community together to create art which inspires conversation which leads to connections which makes friendships which means more Community which...you get the picture.  

That's why I'm thrilled to have him as my M.C. for "Face to Face" on July 31st, helping me celebrate our Nashville Community.  I hope you can join us for this Full Moon, Friday Night, Free Event sponsored by the Nashville Fringe Festival!

Face to Face: an Up-Close Concert
Friday, July 31

BYOBeer and BYOFood

6:30p: doors and bring a picnic-style dinner if you want
8p: Rae and her trusty trio start playing music!

Look forward to a craft beer sampling by Little Harpeth Brewing!

If you can't be there in person, FIREBREATHrecords has us covered with live streaming of the show at 8p central here: www.firebreathmedia.com/live.

Held at South by Sea Studio: 1313 Jewell St., 37207
(If you're using Apple Maps, type "Jewell" with two L's otherwise you'll get the wrong location!)
 

What's a Shaggy Turtle?

Rae Hering

What's a Shaggy Turtle?  Well, keep reading.

It was a sunny June afternoon when my band and I pull up to the next stop on tour.  We’ve made it to Charlotte, NC by way of Knoxville and I’ll tell you right now, this venue is quite a bit different than what you might call “the norm.”  No smoky bars here, folks, this is a HOUSE CONCERT!  And a House Concert is where MAGIC happens. 

Ya know how Magicians can make a handkerchief turn into a wand?  Well, hold on to that imagery for a moment and apply it to what I call “House Concert Magic:”

Abracadabra!  A Home transforms into the Venue!

Poof!  A Back Patio morphs into the Stage!

Marvel as a Delicious Potluck becomes the Menu!

And right before your eyes Audience Members turn into Friends!

Thanks for letting me be silly :)  In all seriousness, the Shaggy Turtle House Concert was all this and more.  Founder Phil Murphy is an amazing host.  He puts together these shows literally out of sheer love for music; doesn’t make a dime but certainly organizes an event like a true professional. 

Shaggy + Turtle = Shaggy Turtle!!  The name and emblem was fashioned from Phil's tattoo.

Thankfully for Phil, he’s got a solid Community of folks who are willing to lend a helpful hand.  I witnessed everyone in the Community offer something to make the evening flow smoothly: chairs, lights, homemade beer and food for the table, and of course a warm bed for us weary musicians!

Community has been on my mind lately (read my last post here).  With so much going on in our daily schedules or on the news, it can be easy to isolate our selves.  I certainly get caught up in my own little frenzied world of worry or over-work.  But at the Shaggy Turtle House Concert, a Community of people made the choice to gather and be together, bonded by their love of music and desire for fellowship.  It’s a little slice of what I think we all want, which is connection.

If you’re in Nashville on Friday, July 31st I hope you’ll join me in being a part of my Community.  Together with my husband Jonathan we’re putting on a FREE Nashville Fringe Festival event called “Face to Face.”  The vibe will be very much like a House Concert (or as I like to say “Up-Close Concert”) and the theme of the evening is COMMUNITY.

 
 

Face to Face: An Up-Close Concert
FREE
Friday, July 31st
6:30p doors, 8p show
2301 Franklin Pike
BYOBooze and BYOFood

Lastly, thanks to Phil and Everyone at the Shaggy Turtle House Concert for allowing me the opportunity to share in your Community!  It was an unforgettable evening!

Here we are after a successful show! Jonathan Morse, Phil Murphy, Yours Truly and our drummer, Nic Wiles.