White Lady Problems

So I was having a pity party for myself a week ago, because Adorable Husband was headed out on the road and wouldn't be back for two months....and my chronic back pain was flaring up...and I grew a damn bunion (WTF??).... and....well....harumph!! I'd had it with my week and planted myself on the couch with a pint of Ben & Jerry's in one hand and a pint of something else in the other.

...when I got an email asking if I'd be available to go on the road with Martina McBride for a month-long Christmas tour as part of a 4-piece background vocal group. I said yes. 

Bunchastuff. But mostly, I WON!!!

Bunchastuff. But mostly, I WON!!!

Hi. I have several things to share with you, some location specific so please look to see if I'm specifying at YOU....

1 - video of me singing the national anthem at the Nashville Sounds game
2 - Reminder about upcoming WI shows
3 - Possible solo show in Chicago on 9/3 (Labor Day)
4 - House concert host search in NC/VA for duo show w/Bryan on Sunday 9/23
5 - Adorable Hubby on cover of Bass Player Magazine 

But first.... I WON!!!!! Look:

ToMAYto-ToMAHto Tour Ketchup

"Only 2 days in and my face hurts from laughing..." @emilybaker on Twitter

Attempting to put into writing how much fun Emily and I had on our recent 3-week ToMAYto-ToMAHto Tour has been a daunting and ultimately insurmountable task. My mission was twofold: 1- play a bunch of shows for lovely people. 2- show her as big a slice of America as I could in 3 weeks. Because it would take FOREVER to try and tell you about it all, I'll distill it into headlines.....moments....you know, how I do....

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“I wish you Oprah.”

“I wish you Oprah.” A friend of mine said that to me a few years back and it stuck with me. I liked the implication of that. Wishing me to live my best life…be the most authentic, shining, brilliant, true expression of myself. Yeah. I’ll take it. I’ve never been big on New Years resolutions, but this year something went pop and I made a rocking list that excites and inspires me to action. Near the top is this:

-   Get “I Will Raise My Voice” to Oprah

First I wrote down that I wanted one of my songs to be used by major media to empower, inspire and encourage people. I still want that. But that was just a fancy way of saying I. Want. To. Sing. That. Song. On. Oprah.

When the seed for my song “I Will Raise My Voice” first planted itself in me and began to germinate, I said to myself: “I want to write something Oprah-worthy – something she would have on her show.” Sometimes I even fantasized about it being her theme song. Oprah’s all about living your best life, feeding your soul, and expressing your authentic self, right? And who doesn’t have to walk through some fear to get to those places? (Anybody who says “me” right here is lying…or actually Buddha.) Well, my song is about exactly that – walking through fear and raising your voice to express your truest self. 

It’s also about being a candle in the darkness. “If I don’t sing no one can sing along…so I will sing.” Many of you have shared how much that song has touched or inspired you. Everywhere I sing it, people are really moved by it. And nothing moves me more than knowing that, feeling that. We all have a song to sing, at least metaphorically speaking. I don’t have a tragic tale to tell, didn’t struggle through great adversity…I’m just an average white girl from the Midwest. I had a modest but more than comfortable upbringing where my creativity and individuality was always encouraged. I went to an arts high school and a music college and excelled in both. I’ve been singing for a living for years. To top it off, I’m pretty and relatively thin. All of that positive reinforcement and I’m still afraid to speak. I still have to mount up tremendous courage to speak my peace and sing my song. Sometimes I think all I have going for me somehow diminishes my right to speak out. Who am I to say anything? What have I overcome compared to so many others? It’s utterly ridiculous, I know. As someone who believes in the inherent dignity and worth of every human being you’d think I’d stumble upon my own a bit sooner than my late 30’s. All this rambling to say….logic would dictate that if I need to hear this song there are bound to be some others who could benefit from it as well.

Which is why I want Oprah to hear it…so ERRYbody can hear it. Here’s my plan:

  1. find an appropriate address to send things to the Oprah camp.
  2. find 20, 30, 40+ people who are passionate enough about that song to send a letter to Oprah about it and enclose a CD (which I’ll provide, of course). The more copies that penetrate that giant machine the better chance it has of getting noticed. (Props to my new friend and beautifully gifted voice-raiser Joe Jencks for this brilliant idea.)

This is where you come in, my dear friends:

   * Does that song inspire you enough to tell Oprah about it?

   * Do you have an “in” to the Oprah world that you could share with me or use to further this endeavor? Like Gayle’s mobile number or something…?

I would love to hear from you if this moves you in any way or you have any ideas for me about this.

In case you’re unfamiliar or just need a fix, this is the album version of “I Will Raise My Voice” in all its organ-kissed, choir-blessed glory:

"I Will Raise My Voice" album version

And here is a video of me singing this at the FARM (Folk Alliance Region Midwest) conference last October. It’s not a perfect performance but I love the energy and spirit of it. Mostly I love that people are singing along. Amen.

"I Will Raise My Voice" live at FARM


Thank you for reading this. I wish you Oprah.

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Raise My Voice 2010 Tour Wrap-Up Shblog

Well, y’all – I raised my voice. I raised it 22 times across 18 states and over 7800 miles. And here lies the day-by-day accounting of our month-long Raise My Voice Tour – starting in Nashville on Oct 14 and returning again on Nov 12. I tried to start this blog once about halfway through the tour…but when I realized I had barely scratched the surface after 30 minutes, I stopped. I spent about 9 hours yesterday and several more today going through each and every day trying to remember as much as I could. It might be boring as hell but there was no way I could sum it up in a few clever paragraphs. I'm not that good. And this thing was way too big. There were at least 100 times when I wished I’d had a camera strapped to my head so I could somehow live stream what I was seeing. There. Was. So. Much. So many little moments…I know I won’t get even half of them in here but I had to try because I spent the better part of 30 days looking out the window wide-eyed and wonder-filled.

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"Raise My Voice" Tour - Oct/Nov 2010 (blog-cheating alert)

I have utterly failed in my "blog once a week" quest. Crap. Well, OK, not "utterly"...but in the "once a week" sense, yes. In the interest of preserving my mental health I am hereby forgiving myself and acknowledging that there are certainly more blog posts than there would have been had I not made that "once a week" declaration.

And now, in the interest of promoting my independent music career, I give you my most recent email about our upcoming tour. Cheating? Who cares. We're going on tour and we busted our asses to put it together. And there is important info I really want folks to know about how house concerts work.

Besides, this is your chance - if you're NOT on my mailing list, to see how hilarious and charming I am. There is also a picture of my cat. He's quite helpful. And by "helpful" I mean "not at all helpful, actually, but obnoxiously cute". Read please:

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This land is your land

My dad and I started road-tripping together when I was in high school. We were really good at it too – traveled the same way and were great road companions. Not a whole lot of focus on the intended destination, whatever it was. We were far more interested in turning off the road to go investigate something we drove by that looked interesting. This would drive some people crazy I’m sure, but we loved it. We always had AAA books with us and while Dad drove I’d read out loud about towns or sites we were passing. Learned a lot that way. Our first road trip was out west – from Wisconsin to Calgary & Banff in Alberta, Canada. We saw an indoor water slide in the hotel in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, watched the building frenzy in anticipation of the Calgary Olympics, and trekked out to see “beautiful Lake Louise” which was entirely covered in snow and therefore indistinguishable from an empty parking lot. We also saw Wind Cave, a big bunch of buffalo, had a groovy meal in Anadarko, OK, and somewhere in Montana Dad pulled over and without saying a word we both got out and just looked around 360 degrees, in awe of just how far we could see. If you get me drunk enough I might tell you about the wild mountain pigs…maybe.

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I Really Needed That

After our show the other night a woman came up to me and said, “I really needed that – thank you.” I am always so touched to hear something like that. It makes my heart happy. What’s really moving is that was the fourth gig in a row someone has said that very thing to me. I’m listening…

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Why I'm Good At Stubbing My Toes

So far I suck at blogging once a week. I kinda skipped a week and have felt failingly behind ever since…hmm…

Know what I’m really good at though? Stubbing my toe. I stubbed it so good yesterday I broke it. My poor little toe! It’s all purple and red and taped to the one next to it. I thought about posting a picture here but my friend Tracy advised against it, apparently from prior experience. Feel free to silently thank her now.

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chosen paths

I just went to my 20th high school reunion. Well, more or less. It got rolled into the picnic for the classes of ’85-’95. I went to Milwaukee High School of the Arts and my graduating class was less than 100 people. All the classes cross-pollinated through our particular majors – art, music, theater and dance – so we weren’t as defined as classes as some other schools might have been. But the bulk of us there at the picnic were from the class of 1990 cuz it was our magic reunion year I guess. I had a ball. Most of us look exactly the same, with the possible exception of a few more pounds. I’d like to think our waistlines have expanded to account for our broadened horizons...and that we’ve earned the right to stretch out a bit.

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I Fall To Pieces

It's a song I will sing forever and never grow tired of.

I'm not sure how old I was when I first heard Patsy Cline sing "I Fall To Pieces"...probably a teenager. I do know that it gave me that twinge in the gut feeling I always get when something really breaks my heart. And it's done that every time I've heard it - twice as bad when I sing it - since.

When I was 20 I spent a summer singing that song 3-4 times a day - dressed as Patsy Cline in a theme park show....

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Moments

I really should blog more. I think what would be required is a promise so I HAVE to do it. I want to do it so I'm able to share all the magical little experiences we've been having lately. I post little snippets on twitter and facebook...that's easier to do in the moment...but these should happen too.

In the last few months I've released my CD Raise My Voice, got filmed/interviewed by CNN.com for a piece on house concerts, played a show in Austin honoring veterans, played 10 duo shows in 8 different states w/Bryan, taught at Berklee for a weekend, and snuck in a week-long vacation in the Smoky Mountains complete with river-tubing and an 8 hour hike up Mt. LaConte and back. Any one of those things I could have written a blog about. And I wish I had - cuz now it seems too overwhelming to do so, and too far back to remember teeny magical details. And that makes me sad. Silly reason to be sad, and I'll get over it, but I want to notice it now.

And all of this stuff happened since the flood....

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Raise My Voice now available!

RAISE MY VOICE, the new album by Kira Small, available now!

I'm elated to say that my new album, Raise My Voice, is finally available...right here on kirasmall.com. (Or click here to purchase a digital copy) I've put together some other special package deals, as well. Click the lovely album cover pic to purchase or for more details.

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G-Pa P

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G-Pa P

People have been telling me for years that they love my Christmas letters. I do love writing them. This one was really hard, and bittersweet, and took me until March to finish. But the more people I share it with the better, I think, so I've decided to post it here. Especially since I haven't posted anything else here...yet. This one's long but worth reading when you have a moment, and perhaps a cup of tea. Pics included. 

********************************************************* 
Last year I wrote this in January on a plane heading for my Grandpa Edwards’ funeral. This year I started this letter on a plane back in January having just learned that my Grandpa Petty had moved into a nursing home. He died February 12th, 3 weeks shy of his 95th birthday on March 6th, and a month before my birthday, which is today, March 12th. Since this is the first birthday I’ve had without him I knew what I’d do today…and how I’d finish my “Christmas” letter: tell you about my G-Pa P. 

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WesFest 5 at The Roxy (featuring Tal Wilkenfeld)

WesFest 5: A Concert to Benefit the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship at Berklee College Of Music is happening at on Sunday 2/28 at The Roxy in Hollywood ADVANCED DISCOUNTED TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE THROUGH 2/25!! CLICK HERE TO GET YOU SOME!! 

For 5 years now Bryan and I have been joining friends new and old to celebrate the life of
Wes Wehmiller, our friend and contemporary at Berklee College of Music. Our way of celebrating is to rock the house and raise money for the scholarship at Berklee established in Wes' name. We've raised over $50,000 so far. Pretty rad, huh? 

Speaking of rad, check out our headliner
Tal Wilkenfeld (aka Jeff Beck's hot young Aussie chick bass player - WAY rad!!). She'll be playing with her own band: Oz Noy (guitar), John Beasley (keys) and Vinnie Colaiuta (drums). There's more info on my calendar page about the show 

CAN'T ATTEND BUT STILL WANT TO CONTRIBUTE? We understand that there are plenty of you who won't be able to attend the event but still wish you could help out. We invite you to check out the
WesFest 1 and WesFest 2 DVD's, as well as the one and only CD from Wes' band I, Claudius: Bleed (The Wes Demos). The sales of all these items also count towards the WesFest 5 fundraising total Click here and scroll down on the WesFest page to see all of the products available to support this year's fundraising drive.

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i haz a blog?

When did I get a blog? Woo-hoo! Thanks, website! Now I must think of something to say. Oh crap! 

So many times I've thought to myself "You know...why don't I have a blog? If I had a blog I could blog about what just happened." Alas, I can't remember any of those things I thought would be blog-worthy. The fact that the most recent time that happened was in Scotland a few weeks ago as we were busy sampling every wee dram the country had to offer probably has some bearing on that lack of remembering...uh, yeah. 

But beyond whisky-soakedness, there's something that just doesn't feel right about blogging after the fact. Like all relevance and authenticity are lost after some arbitrary amount of time goes by. Maybe there's a way to do it. "The Hindsight Blogs" or something. Figures I'd try to come up with some rules about it all...f*ck!! If I could just get over that compulsion I'd be in MUCH better shape. Well there's my first neurotic blog confession. How thrilling. And is it just me or is the word blog kind of ridiculous and silly-sounding? As I type this I hear my own voice speaking - until I get to the word blog - which is suddenly and consistently voiced by Kermit the Frog. Aaaand that would be n.b.c. #2. Man, this shit just rolls on out, I guess! Muppets in my head aside, now that I have someplace to write things before I forget them, I shall endeavor to be entertaining...or at least honest. That counts. Cheers, pals.

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