Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oklahoma City and finally EP Release!

Oh guys we're to the end of the living room tour. My last traveling stop was in Oklahoma City with my good friends John and Rachel. Some history here, John (whom I refer to as my little brother) and Dustin (another brother) and I made up THE band, Beyond the Fleece. We recorded a little short album at the end of my college days at Drury. Here's a pic of us at our final show and album release. They teased me alot as brothers do and said our band was actually called, "Lee Ellen and the Boys." Great memories with these guys. The first song I had ever written was performed with them. We recorded at John's house, and he got to experience my unfiltered "recording studio" flip out from trying to record an original.....haha they put up with my shenanigans beautifully :c) Anyway, it was really great to play in his living room because he's been around from the beginning of my performances with instrumentation. He hasn't heard me in a few years though. It was great to hang out and play some covers we used to do together and his original "Seasons." Both "the boys" are married now and Dustin (pictured in the middle above) has a beautiful little girl! It's hard to believe we were college kids playing music in the little free time we had only five years ago. So I played in Oklahoma City Thursday night and drove back to Springfield Friday morning. I got back around noon to find my boxes of EPs had arrived so I frantically signed all the preorders and prepped for the EP Release! The venue was perfect, the crowd was perfect, the cookies my mom brought were perfect, the opening acts were perfect.......are you getting the idea? Everything was perfect! All the way down to the unidentified man that left in the middle of my set announcing to the crowd that he was a marine vet who killed people while we were safely sleeping in our beds. He left immediately after the statement so I squeaked out, "Thank you." And then after he walked out without thinking, I said into the mic, "I think he said he kills people, and I just said thank you...." My EP Release would not have been complete without that experience. And tons of my family came to show their support! Thank you thank you thank you to everyone for sharing that night with me. It is burned in my memory forever!!!

So this past Sunday I was stopped in my tracks by an honest and amazing seven year old. Whenever I sing at church, I am there early. Whenever I don't sing, I'm generally five minutes late. I noticed a trend of chatting with my little friend every week I am there early. This Sunday we talked about school and how she had learned her first Taylor Swift song on her pink guitar. I said something about how I enjoyed talking with her. And she said, "Sometimes I can't find you in the crowd." I knew the truth of that was that she couldn't find me because I either wasn't there or arrived too late to chat with her. Maybe that statement strikes a deeper chord than I can explain here, but I tell you what. Every Sunday I am in town, I will focus on arriving early on Sundays so she finds me in the crowd. :c) Here's a link to the love songlet I debuted at my release. video


Friday, October 8, 2010

Oil changes and sundry things......

One of my least favorite things to do is car-related things. That's probably the only place I consciously feel discrimination these days. I know it still exists in other ways, but this is my experience. It was time for an oil change. I asked some guy friends where I should go. I called one place and the guy literally said, "oh wait, it just went up a few dollars today. Could you hold?" The guy quoted me $37, but I had a coupon for 15% off. When I got there, a sign on the wall said that oil changes are $34. They ended up charging me $34 with a 15% discount, but things don't always go that way. I just found out my bro-in-law can do oil changes and even change out my brakes so I will gladly drive to KC for my car work in the future.

Anyway, so I left off from my living room tour in Kansas City. From KC, I traveled out to west Kansas, Ashland to be exact. I was lucky enough to stay with my good friends Ben and Kaila. I rolled into town just in time for a quick dinner at a church potluck. BRISCUIT!!! haha and then went to the nursing home/assisted living center/hospital/doctor's office......yes all in one building! A group gathered at the nursing home, and I played a concert for them. A couple of residents sang along with the ones they knew. It was a very sweet crowd! One sweet lady came up to me afterward and complimented my guitar skills. She said, "And I was watching!" so cute! I had some good conversation catch-up time with Ben and Kaila before falling asleep in the most comfortable bed of my entire tour........I slept like a baby. I hit the ground running pretty early the next morning for Pine, CO. I got to stay in the cutest cabin ever for a couple of days and went hiking with one of my best friends, Valerie. They had a great BBQ at their cabin, and friends packed out the living room. We ate yummy food and made s'mores before retiring to the living room for some music. Valerie was present at my first performance at Drury when we were in college in 2003 I think. It was great to have her face in the room. I was so blessed by hanging out with my married friends that week. Valerie and Lewie have been married a couple of years. I learned so much by simply observing Valerie and Lewie and Ben and Kaila this week. They are two young couples of many that I know that I admire very much for a commitment to each other and keeping God at the center of their marriages.

Back to the present, last weekend my cousin Katie got married in Broken Bow, OK. We got to stay in some excellent log cabins! hot tub on the back deck! yayuh! The wedding party walked in to Temper Trap's "Sweet Disposition." So good! I played Bright Eyes' "The First Day of My Life" as they walked out. It was so great to see my family. We had a photo shoot with Jennifer Rodick, www.imagesbyjenphotography.com. I'm so excited to see what we look like these days. :c) I ALSO got to meet my best friend from high school's little boy!!! He was born Friday night! For some reason my photo uploader isn't working in blogger :( Believe me, he's the cutest thing ever.

I've got two gigs this weekend! I'm super excited about both. A living room concert and then I get to play some songs at a storytelling event! Happiness for me because I LOVE hearing stories!

OH AND MY WEBSITE IS LIVE!!!!!! My webmaster, Jason, is working on a music player and some other things so this is just the basics. I want to keep it pretty simple, but let me know if you have any suggestions or things you'd like to see! Thanks so much for reading this! :c)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Homeless? Get outta town!

Ok so I'm so close to catching up on blogging the living room tour experiences! On Monday, August 9th, I had the privilege of playing a living room concert in Springfield! It was so nice to play for friends. My young friend, Kenzie, played the first song she has learned on the guitar. I assure you she was the star of the evening. :) My friend, Jennifer Rodick, attended and sang harmony on a few little ditties.

As for the rest of my life at that point, I hadn't really thought about the fact that I needed to be moved out of the Potter's House by the end of that week so they could have the basement back for the beginning of the college fall semester. It is not like me to not plan AND worry about that impending homelessness, but I didn't. By Tuesday, I had two unsolicited "come live here" offers. Such blessings. Wednesday and Thursday I moved all of my things into my new "temp" place. Thursday evening my good friend, Catie Neuber, offered to do a photo shoot for me. My last music photos had been taken two years ago. Here's what she had to say: Catie Neuber Photography.

Friday, August 13th, I headed back to Kansas City. I was hosted by Dominic at a beautifully remodeled home in Overland Park! The house was packed and with mostly new faces to me. A new acquaintance I made that night requested this YouTube video. It was a great, intimate setting accompanied by a nice rain outside. :c) UNfortunately, the AC wasn't functioning properly leaving me a hot singing mess. Some in the audience, no doubt disgusted by my visual melt down haha, came to the rescue with an oscillating fan. So nice! Yay for fans! ;) ;) In all seriousness, it was so nice to play for a room of almost all strangers but somehow feel like I'd known them all for much longer.....must've been the sweat :) Even better, the night ended with a lovely PB&J made by the host for me. In true 'lee ellen' form, a spot of jelly ended up on my jeans. AND in the morning, Dominic made an amazing breakfast! It was a great beginning to my week of traveling. More to come on the ending of my living room tour with stops in Ashland, KS, Pine, CO, and Oklahoma City, OK.

Fast forward to the present, I played Artwalk this past Friday. I love playing outside. Thanks to all my lovely friends for stopping by! I think I'll play in some parks this fall just for fun. I'll be traveling to good ol' Oklahoma this weekend for my cousin's wedding. AND Jennifer Rodick will be doing a family photo shoot of MY family! We haven't had professional family photos in years!!! Life is good. Things are changing. Good changes. I'll let you know!