Thursday, November 04, 2010

In Case you missed Eric Slick with Dr. Dog on Craig Ferguson last night...

Gah! I set the alarm for 1:15AM to watch this and naturally could not fall back asleep again.

So today I am dazed and confused but happy. Craig Ferguson called Dr. Dog "brilliant". A big thank you to The Audio Perv for already posting the You Tube so that you can hear it for yourself:



Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Tonight! All New! Dr. Dog/Eric Slick on Craig Ferguson!

Morning, morning:
I do not want to discuss the election, especially as a Pennsylvanian, but at least "we" still have control of the senate.

America? How dumb can you be.

Sigh...don't answer. It's a rhetorical question, anyway.

I should stick to talking about my family and music. Lucky Eric Slick is currently in San Francisco, where he will not only be fortunate enough to see the World Series victory parade this morning and hang out with his lovely significant other, he's playing two nights at the legendary Fillmore (tickets here), and then late, late this evening (around 1:15AM eastern) Eric will be behind the drums with Dr. Dog on the Craig Ferguson Show (with special guest Stephen Fry!) This is an all new show, but in case you missed Dr. Dog's appearance on Ferguson in July of this year, here's the You Tube:

Julie, Adrian, and Marco, a/k/a the Adrian Belew Power Trio, are currently on holiday in least I think so...because I haven't heard from Ms. Julie in a couple days and I know they had three days off between their show in Belgium Monday night and their performance in Portugal this Thursday. So either there is no internet service available or they are having the best time ever being tourists. In case you missed it, Julie has a new blog post up, and how connected are we - neither of us had blogged in weeks and we both picked the same exact day to write.

I miss my kids. I'm kind of blue today.

That is all.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

I've got some splainin' to do...

Saturday, October 30
"So I've decided to blog. I haven't decided how I'm going to use this forum yet, right now I'm just playing around to see if I can even do it correctly.

I may post excerpts from my novel in progress; I may whine and rant about my life; or I may just post my favorite recipes - what the hell do I know.

All I know is, I'm doing it and whatever happens, happens.

And now to figure out how to post photos and other cool stuff...."

That was my very first blog post, six years ago today, and it was even a Saturday! I used to blog daily, sometimes 3-4 times a day. I found the medium so exciting, I could not stay away. But now, yeah, six years later, I am shocked to realize over a month has passed since my last post and I've got some serious splainin' to do, Ricky.

Oh, cursed Facebook, you have stolen my blog writing time from me. That, and I must confess to those who haven't read my FB blurbs, I have a very cool but temporary gig in the real world at a local university (best.job.ever.) though I admit it, I come home and assume the fetal position. So the only time I do have for writing is at dawn and I must reserve said time for my new novel. I've also been mildly depressed this month because it was exactly a year ago that I was on tour with Julie, Eric and Adrian all throughout Canada and the west coast, and it seems like every day during the past couple of weeks I've remarked, "This time last year I was driving through the most amazing scenery ever (Zion National Park in Utah)..or...this time last year I was sunbathing at Redondo Beach where later that night I would eat probably the best restaurant meal of my life at Maison Riz and you must click on that link to see how freaking gorgeous it is - both the restaurant itself and how it seems to sit atop the ocean - and to view the menu because as good as it sounds, trust me, it's even better in person. :)

Here are photos and my blog blurbs from the tour last year, just to refresh your memory and to make you understand why I've been out of sorts this year:

Well, duh, I had to have my photo taken as well. When the fuck am I ever going to get to the Grand Canyon again?

Erm...actually, that's not the Grand Canyon. Now that I carefully look at that pic, I think it was taken in the parking lot right outside of Zion National Park in Utah a few hours later. Oh well. Whatever. Most gorgeous drive/destination EVER. And if you don't believe me, have a look at the rest of the photos from our Utah gig:

Here's a shot of both Eric and me in the parking lot of the hotel where we stayed in Springdale, was called Majestic View and yes, it was the most magnificent view ever...but the lodge, oh the horror, inside it was taxidermy heaven...I looked away from the big stuffed bear and various deer heads but when I saw the tiny stuffed mountain lion hanging on the wall in the restaurant where we had breakfast, I gagged and was once again proud to be a vegetarian. If you click on the photo of the lodge Julie took and enlarge it, I believe you can see pretty clearly what I'm talking about


What a difference a year has made, huh. Eric is now in a different band, Julie still tours with fact, she's in Europe with him right now on a six week tour (more on both Julie and Eric will be included in this mini-series of a patient) but she never expected to write and release her debut solo CD, which, by the way, has completely sold out of its first 1,000 pressing and she's currently well into selling out pressing #2...and I will most likely never go on tour with either of them again which leaves me both sad and happy (if you've ever been on tour, you'll know exactly what I mean)...but yeah, if I said I wasn't blue from time to time, I'd be lying. But I think it's more of an "Oh crap, I'm getting older" kind of sadness more than anything. Then I remember that getting older sure beats the alternative and I've now outlived both my mother and her mother by several years, so...

Okay, I'm smiling. Life is good. Julie and Eric are both incredibly happy and that's all that matters. If they are happy, I'm happy. And yet...

Enough. All that being said, oh man, do I have a lot to catch you guys up on.

First, my apologies to Ariel Leve, Marcy Demansky, and Gina Frangello. They are part of my "Celebrity Book Club" and I owe them reviews on their recent releases, "It Could Be Worse, You Could Be Me", "Bad Marie", and "Slut Lullabies", respectively. My new job came as a total surprise to me and I never expected it to consume my brain and body so thoroughly. I still intend to write these reviews, and if I were the type who could write something on the order of "I really liked this book - go buy it" without giving details, photos, author bios, etc., they would have already been posted. But these three books deserve better than that, and I am hoping that at some point in the very near future I can actually sit down and do them proper justice. But trust me on this -- if you can swing it, buy all 3 ASAP and hopefully by the time I post these reviews, you'll have read them and we can have a real discussion. Cool? Cool.

And of course the same goes out to my good friend, Anil Prasad, who celebrated the release of his brilliant collection of musician "Innerviews". Anil sent me an email yesterday which has me so elated!

"We are 50% through first print run in just two weeks!"


"Just a quick note to thank you all for your amazing support for my new Innerviews book that came out last Tuesday. I also wanted to let you know about some amazing things happening with it. Media coverage has been extensive so far, and is exceeding my wildest expectations. Here are a few highlights:

NPR’s Echoes ran a great 8-minute documentary on the book and the history of the site.

Ottawa Citizen, one of Canada’s biggest newspapers, did an extensive review/interview in print.

Ottawa Citizen also ran an even deeper online interview.

No Depression, the revered music magazine, ran this review.

JazzTimes, a highly-influential jazz magazine, continues running excerpts from the book here.

User reviews on Amazon have also been great.

Many more reviews are at the book page on the Innerviews site (which also lists all the artists/chapters featured)."


While I'm on the subject of newly released books, there's one which features Julie, Eric, and Adrian called "Their Love of Music" and you can read all about it right here.

So much to read it's like Christmas! Oh right, according to the displays at our local stores, apparently it already is Christmas. Holy cow, they used to at least wait until after Halloween to put out the decorations, didn't they? And now I just heard that Black Friday is being moved up as well. Ugh, we are devolving at an even faster rate than I thought. Don't even get me started on next week's election. But vote, dammit! I know all the candidates suck, believe me, but do you really want another four-six-eight years of a Bush-Cheney regime or worse? These tea party people are lunatics and they scare the hell out of me.

I know I'm preaching to the choir. If you read my blog, you most likely share my sentiments, anyway. Except for those two Rush L./Sarah P. dementos who still visit me daily :)

So when I last left you, it was release day for my pal Susan Henderson's beautiful debut novel, Up from the Blue, and I have a whole story that goes along with that but first, look at all the attention it's receiving:

The New York Times!


Book Club Girl!

San Francisco Book Review!

Book Club Radio!

The Nervous Breakdown!

For more info on Up from the Blue and for links on where to purchase it (though I highly urge you to visit your local independent book store), please visit Susan's website right here.

Anyway, Sue's book was released on September 21, and that Friday, September 24, she was scheduled to give her second reading at Word in Brooklyn. I promised Sue I'd be there -- I was really looking forward to it -- several weeks prior to my re-entry into the work force. Still, since it was a Friday night, I knew I could make it happen. The university where I am employed is literally four blocks from the train station to NYC; it's only an hour and 15 minute ride, so I could technically be in NYC by 6:30, allowing an hour to get to Brooklyn. I called the book store and asked the best route from Penn Station via subway and they advised me to take a cab. The clerk told me I'd need to take two separate subways -- I would have to change trains somewhere along the line -- (and for a klutz like me who gets lost walking in her own neighborhood, this is no small feat) -- and that even though it was rush hour, if the trains weren't timed properly, it could end up taking me over an hour to get there. Since Sue's reading was from 7:30 to 9:00PM, there was no way I was going to risk that. The clerk cheerfully told me that a cab would get me there in twenty minutes; it was less than seven miles from Penn Station, and I cheerfully replied "Oh, I am so taking a taxi!"


I arrived in NYC at 6:25 and the line for cabs stretched around the block. Huh? Wtf? But I've been in cab lines in NYC before, they move fairly quickly, and as they always announce on Cash Cab, "There are 13,000 cabs in New York City" (Btw, Cash Cab is the show on which I not so secretly fantasize about appearing because God dammit, those questions are easy though I'd never be dumb enough to go for the double or nothing video challenge unless Julie or Eric were in the cab with me since my knowledge of geography and weird animals is so I wasn't worried. But when my watch said 7PM and the line had only moved a few inches, I started to go into panic mode. I ignored all the gypsy cab drivers hawking the line (in retrospect, I should have taken one but, you know, I could have ended up as fish food in the Hudson River after I couldn't pay the $500 fare) though I did pathetically respond to a rickshaw driver who looked at me incredulously and said, "Brooklyn? You think I can peddle YOU to Brooklyn?" which then made me paranoid he made the comment due to my weight, not the distance har har...anyway, I kept glancing at my watch nervously while I tried to reassure myself that it would all end up fine because Sue's reading was not ending until 9PM so the worst that would happen is that I'd miss the intro.

Finally, at 7:30, I was first in line and a cab pulled up. I got in, and gave the driver the address.


"Brooklyn?! You want me to take you to Brooklyn?! What's wrong with you! Why aren't you taking the subway! How am I supposed to make a living, driving you to Brooklyn!"

I was so shocked -- I mean, in Philadelphia, the farther you go, the nicer the cab driver is to you. I am usually the most non-confrontational person in the world, but having stood in that line for an hour and taking a long train ride after work to see my friend whose reading I was about to miss, I yelled back. I still can't believe I did it, but yep, I screamed, while desperately looking for some kind of driver identification so I could report him.

"How dare you yell at me! I'm the customer! I don't know New York (oh boy, saying that was a big mistake but luckily it didn't come back to bite me in the ass and it was a lie, anyway...I know New York, I just don't know the subway system because I am either a prima donna who takes cabs everywhere or I walk)...and I called the clerk at the bookstore and she said it was only a 20 minute, 7 mile drive!"

"What's the cross street!" he barked.

"I don't know! You're a cab driver, you're supposed to know. I gave you the address of the shop!"

Do I believe he continued to holler at me for the next fifteen minutes? And I hollered right back. I so wanted to get out of that cab but having waited for over an hour, I wasn't about to do that and be stranded altogether. Also, he was driving like a maniac through parts of New York I'd never seen before and I had a vision of him pulling over in the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge and making me get out of the cab.

Does 911 work in NYC, I wondered, clutching my cell phone.

So even though this maniac told me he didn't know where the book store was and screamed at me for not knowing cross streets, he sped on like he knew exactly where he was going.

He did.

To add insult to injury, I would later learn that the reason the line for cabs was so long was THAT THE SUBWAYS WERE UNDER CONSTRUCTION THAT WEEKEND AND SHUT DOWN BEGINNING THAT NIGHT!

Oooh...I was so mad. I really wish I had his I.D. I'd out him here so bad and if I knew how to work my stupid cell phone (yes, I am the last person in America to not have an iPhone or Blackberry but as you can tell from my last sentence, I don't even know how to work a cell phone), I would have taken his picture and posted it here with a slogan: DO YOU KNOW THIS MAN? DO NOT TAKE HIS TAXI!

Anyway, all that, and it was in fact only a 20 minute ride and the fare was only $12 and because I am mentally deranged, I gave him a $5.00 tip to prove that all Americans are not arrogant fucks like he practically came out and accused me of being, slammed the door, and raced into the bookstore....just as Susan was answering the final question of the Q&A which followed her reading.

I missed the whole thing. I was so distraught and so frazzled by everything that preceded it I could hardly talk.

But there was a bright side. I did get another copy of the book, Sue signed it, and we all went to a bar around the corner. Not only that, but I got to meet my friend Martin Lennon, the brilliant singer/songwriter I wrote about here. Martin and his lovely friend, Sarah Anderson, who sings on the CD as well, were visiting NY from Scotland so that Martin could do a series of open mic nights that weekend. That being so, along with the fact that I knew we would be partying after Susan's reading, I booked a hotel for the night so I could see Martin play on Saturday and not have to worry about rushing home for the last train to Philadelphia, which is inexplicably at 11PM. Sigh...getting that hotel room was the best move I made and I even checked the New York Bed Bug Registry first to make sure I chose a decent place and don't click on that link unless you have a strong stomach because if you've been to New York recently, chances are you've visited a bed bug infested location. My skin is crawling right now because yeah, I see in the recent updates I stayed at a bed bug hotel last year. Ew, ew, ew!

I felt so terrible missing Sue's reading and then when we went to the bar, it turned out to be a tiny place which luckily had a beautiful garden out back with picnic tables to sit and drink so we all sat down communal style and I still didn't get a chance to really talk with Susan! But, every dark cloud has a silver lining because I got to chat with Martin and Sarah a bunch and then, terrified that I would encounter a similar experience with a cab driver getting back to NY, practically begged them to take me with them which was kind of funny, given the fact that they are from Scotland and knew more about transportation in NYC than I did (that's how I found out the subways were down)...we ended up with a very sweet cab driver who dropped me off at my hotel first (though not before circling the block 87 times trying to find it...argh...did NYC not hear of GPS systems that their drivers can see, not the backseat passengers? What is up with that?)...and at midnight, I finally crashed into a lovely, clean bed with plans to meet up with Martin and Sarah the next day. Martin had two open mics planned, one in the afternoon that I could make, and another that evening when I'd already be back in Philadelphia. I didn't want to say anything to Martin to deter him but I had weird vibes about a Saturday afternoon open mic event. Who goes to a bar on the lower east side at 2PM on a Saturday to hear live music? And this was really the lower, lower East side...when my cab pulled up, a homeless guy was sitting on the steps of the venue eating something I'd just seen him fish out of the trash, and the bar itself, Banjo Jim's had a big metal gate over the doors and windows. In other words, that place was closed. Having arrived there before Martin and Sarah, I groaned. This really was going to be one of those weekends from hell, wasn't it.

I am happy to report I was wrong. Dead wrong. At 2PM, the gates went up, and the place filled with aspiring musicians and their significant others. I had a 5PM train to catch and I was a little worried about time for a change, but Martin was #3 on the sign-up sheet and the bartender/emcee/sound guy (all the same person and the poor fellow sliced his finger cutting lemons prior to start time so he pretty much bled everywhere but I prefer not to think about that right now, especially as I'm still scratching from the thought of bed bugs but yeah, he poured me wine and if there was ever a time I should have asked for beer in a bottle...) announced that each performer would do two songs and if there was time, they'd go around a second time.

I really wanted to write a comprehensive review of the open mic show, too, and even wrote everyone's name down in a notebook, but I currently do not know what the hell I did with it so it'll have to wait.

All I can tell you is this: If you are ever in NYC on a Saturday afternoon, a visit to Banjo Jim's is a must. I had tears in my eyes from these performers. Okay, not all were great - there was one guy who thought he was Leonard Cohen and I don't even like the real Leonard Cohen let alone his out of tune clone. Okay, I love Leonard's poetry, but could/would I sit through one of his concerts? Hell no. I'll leave that for the hipsters who think they discovered him. Blech. That being said, here are a couple of lines from one of my all-time favorite Leonard Cohen lyrics, and the reason I could never really hate him:

"And quiet is the thought of you,
The file on you complete,
Except what we forgot to do,
A thousand kisses deep."

Those lyrics just kill me, and yeah, the song is indeed called A Thousand Kisses Deep.

It's just too bad I can't stand his droning delivery, huh.

Sorry, I'm a rocker chick.

Getting back to Banjo Jim's, so the first guy who performed looked like a 60 year old government worker - thinning hair, Hagar slacks up around his chin, glasses held together with tape...he sits down at the piano and does a rousing rendition of the Doors' Love Me Two Times. I almost died. And I teared up. It was a truly beautiful moment.

But Martin was the show stealer. He performed my favorite song, the one which first introduced me to his music and the title track of his CD, The Crow. People came up to him afterward and told him how fucking awesome he is. Leonard Cohen wishes he sounded 1/2 as good as Martin because Martin is the one who should be selling out Madison Square Garden, not Lenny.

Have a listen right here.

Hearing Martin perform live totally made up for missing Susan's reading. I cried throughout the entire two songs, I was so verklempt. There was indeed time for another round but I had to catch my train so I bid Martin and Sarah a tearful farewell and made it to Penn Station just in time. Whew.

So that was my weekend in New York City. I always have a lot to write about whenever I go there, huh. By the way, if there's anyone left reading this blog who has not read my first book, Three Days in New York City, well, what are you waiting for? I refer you to my Amazon Author Page. Three Days is the first in the trilogy, followed by Another Bite of the Apple, and Bitten to the Core. They are available in both paperback and Kindle, iPhone, and all that other happy electronic stuff. If you want to read my very, very creative non-fiction autobiography which includes the evolution of Julie and Eric's careers in music, that would be Daddy Left Me Alone with God and that is available both in print and digitally via my Amazon page as well.

And now for the real reason anyone reads my blog - news about Julie and Eric Slick.

Eric is currently on tour with Dr. Dog in the United States and he's out on the west coast. Very important: This Wednesday night, Dr. Dog will appear on the Craig Ferguson Show (it's their second appearance this year) and the special guest that night will be Stephen Fry. Last night, they played in Seattle and if the tweets I read are any indication, it was yet another kick ass show. Dr. Dog has released four brand new songs with Eric on the drums, and I know I'm his mother, but holy cow, these songs take the band to a whole new level. Especially Black-Red, my all-time favorite Dr. Dog song. To listen and/or purchase these tunes, which are also available on a limited edition seven inch vinyl that you can pick up at their shows, please click here.

They will be playing two nights in San Francisco next week, and Eric is all happy because he will be joined by his significant other, the lovely Nicky Devine. You should see those two together - they are soulmates. You know how most mothers never think anyone is good enough for their kids? Well, I lucked out. I adored Nicky the minute I met her, and I hope she doesn't mind me doing this, but you should all friend her on Facebook right here. Nicky lived in San Francisco and is from the area so her parents will be coming to the show at the Fillmore - I am sure they will love Eric, too. How can you not love Eric?

I miss J&E so much right now it's ridiculous. At least Eric will be home in time for Thanksgiving, and since Nicky is going out west now to see him and visit her parents, that means I get the two of them for turkey day. Which is good because, sob, for the first time ever, Julie will be on tour and won't be home until December. After the European tour wraps up on November 20, Julie, Adrian, and Marco head for Sweden, where they will participate for one week at an extremely cool event you can read all about right here. Julie wrote to me the other day that Thomas Olsson, who coordinates this event, has gotten her access to a kitchen where Julie can prepare a Thanksgiving meal for the many musicians participating. In other words, she's going to cook a massive meal for a massive amount of people. If she didn't look exactly like her father, I would swear they switched babies on me in the hospital. Eric, too. Where did I get these two brilliant, gorgeous people from?

Okay, I've been working on this blog post for the past four hours. I know I have a lot more to say and as usual, if I think of anything else, I'll pop back and edit it. In the meantime, in case you are not on Facebook and haven't seen the most recent You Tubes, etc., here are a couple of Julie on tour last week in Europe and Eric and Dr. Dog on the wonderful television show, On Canvas along with a You Tube of Black-Red.

Watch the full episode. See more On Canvas.

Later! For sure!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

An e-Party for Susan Henderson and Up From the Blue

I am so excited about today's release of my friend Susan Henderson's debut novel, Up From the Blue, I feel like a little kid. For those of you on Facebook, you know Jessica Keener, Tish Cohen and I have an event announcement up, and we'd love it if you would join in today's celebration by blogging, commenting on Facebook, using The Twitter, The Tumblr, whatever! The reason for our party is to see if we can all unite and make Susan's book #1 on the best seller list. You can click the "on sale" link in the next paragraph for various "to buy" options.

I had already written this blogpost a few days ago but I was just over at Sue's website and I could not resist copying part of her post here. I could feel her joy radiating off the page. She's so cute.

"It’s finally happened! My book is on sale today! Thank you if you can help spread the word!

Here’s the pretty cover, including the very cool, purple spine:"

I agree. That is gorgeous. And so perfect for the book. New York Times best selling author Jamie Ford gives Up from the Blue a stunning blurb on said cover:

"Beautiful and maddening, hopeful and condemning, simple ket like a knot that takes a lifetime to untangle...(a) rewarding story that still haunts me."

And oh, this book. It's more than just one "you can't put down" - it will leave you breathless. You will fall in love with Tillie, the young narrator, and with Susan herself, who writes brilliant lines like:

"Some people, not many, can reach the most tender spot within you and hold you there--sometimes without even knowing that's what they've done."


"Sometimes the easiest thing to do is nothing. You just make do. Keep your mouth closed and hope all the rattling goes away. You walk home from school, pretending everything's the same, running your hand along the hedges and fences, like there's nothing waiting for you but your homework."

I am in awe of Susan. You have to read this book. The story itself is mind boggling and full of both big and subtle little surprises.

You're going to see a lot of people blogging reviews today. I'm adding in one I found last night courtesy of amazing author Robin what Robin has to say about Up From the Blue right here.

Also, one of my favorite authors and FB pal Caroline Leavitt has a really cool interview with Susan.

In addition to reviews and interviews, everywhere you look around the web today, you're going to see glowing tributes. Susan has given so much to the writing community via her website, where she has tirelessly promoted authors via brilliant interviews and this one about some famous writer guy and his hair.

I would love to tell you the whole, amazing story of Susan's road to publication but that is hers to tell and one I am sure she will be sharing with many other interviewers over the next several months.

So instead I will tell you about how I met Susan. It was one month after September 11, 2001. As I struggled with a way to cope with my grief, I went on line looking for kindred spirits in an old AOL chat room called "The Authors Lounge". Trust me, no one in that room was a real writer, but I did meet one person who was pretty serious about his craft, and he suggested that I join Zoetrope Studios, a new online writing community founded and financed by Francis Ford Coppola. Back in 2001, we were a bunch of unknown writers who blindly sent our stories by snail mail to literary reviews with a stamped, self-addressed envelope, only to receive said envelope back in about a year with a tiny piece of paper - the dreaded form rejection: "this doesn't quite fit our needs" or in my case, "have you ever considered pottery as a hobby instead of writing?" Heh...I remember that editor's name and if I knew his address, would have sent him all six of my books :) So it was at Zoetrope that I met Susan and another wonderful author I mention a lot here, Ellen Meister, who is currently awaiting publication of her third book with the fourth already sold. Other Zoetrope Hall of Fame alumni include authors Ron Currie, Jr., Nicole Mary Kelby, Claire Cameron, Hannah Holborn, Jim Tomlinson, and perhaps one of our most famous, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

We used to have real world Zoetrope get togethers in NY, and the first time I met Susan in person was in December of 2002. She walked into the restaurant and everyone's head turned at this gorgeous, gorgeous woman, who came with a big photo album of her husband and kids. She melted my heart when she did that...ha ha, you know me, I have a soft spot for family pride and would have done the same had I thought of it. Ah, it was before the digital era, when people had real snapshots; not ones we have to squint at on iPhones. Yeah, yeah, I'm still a luddite at heart.

Sue and I clicked, and a few months later, she handed me what looked like a box of copy paper. Inside was the very first version of Up from the Blue. It was before laser printers and if you wanted to share stuff you had written, you had to go to Kinkos and make copies - hence the box. I did not realize at the time what a gift she had given me. A bunch of us were swapping novels for critique - we were all excited about this brave, new publishing world - and I did not immediately process the trust Susan had to have had in me to share this deeply personal and beautiful story in its raw and tender stage.

I'll have that version up on eBay in about an hour. :)

Oh, I'm kidding.

So yeah, after that first meeting in NY, we made sure to get together a couple of times a year. Here's a photo right before we all got "famous" - there's Susan, second from the right, top row, Ellen is directly beneath her, and I of course am the one in the shades on the far left. We could only dream of what was to come...

And then our little group expanded via other online groups, and we met Tish Cohen and Jessica Keener and that friendship led to the Great Canadian Writers' Retreat, which was a life-changing experience for all of us, and if you haven't already read my post, please do, as it will give you a little more insight into our friendship and why it is we write.

Yeah, that's us in Canada, Jess took the photo...Tish actually made us exercise by walking even though I was at a point in my life where I was happy never to venture outdoors. Thank God for Tish.

Getting back to Susan, she recently gave an interview titled "At What Point Can you Call Yourself A Writer", which you can read right here. It made me cry.

Susan, you have always been a writer but today, you have validation. I am bursting with pride for you, and I'll be back throughout the day to add more links and comments as they come in via Facebook and Blogger, etc.

But in the meantime, everyone...let's take Sue to number one!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

More Random Blogging

Well, before I deluge you with some posts for incredible books I've read this summer, I have a few more random comments, photos, You Tubes, etc. to talk about.

First off, from the amazing show I attended earlier this year, here's my brilliant son, Eric Slick, on drums, Tom and Jim Hamilton of the American Babies on vocals, guitar, and bass respectively, Aron Magner of the Disco Biscuits on keyboards, and a whole host of other notables sitting in on cello, violin, etc. If I talk to Eric later today and get their names, I will add them in with links. In the meantime, enjoy their awesome cover of David Bowie's Life on Mars.

Also, I now have better photos of my birthday presents, including the gorgeous flowers and collages. And for good measure, photos of the Slick farm, which this year not only featured basil, oregano and tomatoes, but...holy cow...peppers! Ha ha, considering these were grown in front of my "townhouse" in Fairmount (I am sure the neighbors are all thrilled) because apparently my backyard has become a country club for squirrels (did you know they like to munch on bicycle seats, too)...anyway, considering that, the bounty this year is most impressive! Getting back to the squirrels, I am easily distracted watching them everyday because my writing desk is right next to the sliding glass doors leading to the backyard and I've been studying them as they've apparently been building their nest all summer...erm...out of bicycle seats, an old umbrella that used to be attached to a table I have out there and keep meaning to replace every year, and whatever trash I keep in cans without lids until collection day...I gotta figure out a way to take a picture of said nest (after I find it, that is) because it must be one hell of a piece of abstract art. In case you are wondering why I put trash in containers without lids, well, I wonder that, too. Wait. What I really wonder is, where do the lids go? The same place as socks in the dryer? I'm thinking when I am brave enough to go out back and search for the squirrels' nest, it's going to be a bilevel condo constructed of said lids with sofas and chairs made out of my expensive socks from Plage Tahiti. Ha ha, I put that link in not because it's a link to the actual store, it's a Philly magazine site that recommends it but if one is to believe said ad, my socks are "well-fitting and trendy without being brash."

By the way, the book you see on the table was a gift from my brother, David, and here's a link to the author and his work...mindblowing stuff.

I always hated my birthday - well, I didn't hate celebrating it, I just hated the date: August 17, because it meant the summer was ending and it was either back to school or, when I did my time in the legal field, it was generally trial season which meant I was pretty much nauseous 24/7 until Christmas. But now I'm like, oh good, I love the fall, all of my favorite holidays are in the autumn, even the Jewish ones I don't celebrate religion wise, just food wise...actually, let's be honest, I love all holidays solely based on food. So from September until New Years, between the Jewish New Year, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, I'm in heaven.

Speaking of food, and when don't I, daughter Julie will be over here later today for her usual Thursday visit, i.e., my house becomes a laundromat while the two of us hit the local Farmer's Market at my corner (yep, I'm lucky!) and then head further into town for Happy Hour. We were going to take a walk on the wild side and try a new place called Tweed because they allegedly have outrageous $5.00 cocktails at Happy Hour but I'm worried about the many fattening bar appetizers. One drink and I will be throwing caution to the wind and eating fried everything which is not a good idea when I am trying to get into shape for the real eating season mentioned above. So we'll probably just hit our usual spot, Fish where I will stay my sensible vegetarian self and merely indulge in things like cocktails made with cucumbers and basil. I know, I know. That sounds yuppie/hipster disgusting. But trust me on this...delicious. Really. Sometimes yupsters do get it right. But I am laughing my ass off at certain menu items I've seen recently, and I am not making this up: Harpoon caught swordfish (lovely image and I get what they are telling us, but still. Ew.) and my personal favorite, sustainable nature harvest pork belly. Damn it, I can't find the link for the restaurant which serves that but trust me, I read about it somewhere this week. Someone please explain what the hell that means. I do know one thing. I am glad I gave up meat a year ago before they started calling pulled pork sandwiches "pork belly". That alone is enough to make me gag. Ooh, ooh, lemme have some more of that belly, will you?

What the hell is wrong with people?

Anyway, yeah, tomorrow marks my one year anniversary as a vegetarian. I am thinking I am going to celebrate by making this:

Here's the recipe.

(But most likely I'll just order from Charlie's even if it does mean driving there.)

Hide your eyes, Perry Block. I met Perry yesterday in the most roundabout way which I'll explain in a minute but his blog, which I just linked, is cracking me the hell up. Apparently Perry has a problem with cheese. Here's his post on that, which caused me to literally laugh out loud. Fromage-A-Phobia.

So how did I meet Perry? Well, I signed up for another one of my on-line follies, an authors' group with a notoriously slow website and infuriating people who serial blog all day. They have a home page for the most recent journal entries and only space for about a dozen photos of authors for each incoming new blogpost. So if someone serial blogs throughout the day, their photo pops up five different times and in five places, knocking everyone else off the home page, thereby ensuring the rest of us no readers. I was in a feisty mood earlier this week and wrote a blog post complaining about them and offering a simple, courteous suggestion, i.e., if you must serial blog all day, make additions to your original post so you don't keep wiping all of us out. But...sigh...apparently serial bloggers only read their own posts because I didn't shame the worst perps out of it and they continue to cluelessly post throughout the day. I could tolerate this if they were funny or interesting, but most of the time, they just post links to other people's articles. Yo, buddy. This is 2010. We are all internet savvy and can find cool articles ourselves. But hey, thanks, anyway. NOT.

So I wrote that blog post trying to shake things up, and I got a response from a very cool writer out on the west coast who basically told me to calm down, relax, and not let it get to me. Sure, easy for him to say, living in the sunshine as part of the original Summer of Love group out there. But all kidding aside, I saw his point and we corresponded, and lo and behold, I find out he's originally from Philadelphia. He asked me if I'd be interested in submitting work to a publication out of Philly I never even heard pays! So I clicked on the link he provided and learn it's run by the former editor of Philadelphia Magazine, and I absolutely loved it..and that's where I stumbled on Perry Block's work. After reading it all and spending hours giggling like an idiot, I wrote to Dan (former Philly Magazine editor) and asked him if he'd be interested in having me on board. I sent him a link to something I wrote and within minutes he wrote back "Yes!"

So now I'm all happy.

Thus that frustrating authors' site with the serial bloggers was good for something after all so I'm not going to give up on it. Yet. I also met a cool guy who just wrote a book about Jimi Hendrix there and we've been corresponding, too. He got a review in Rolling Stone! Since my good friend Anil Prasad has a new book coming out in October with brilliant interviews of what has to be the most interesting people in music, I want to pick his brain how he got Rolling Stone on board. Heh...I'm not going to link his book until he tells me. :)

Okay, enough. I leave you with one of my favorite Dr. Dog tunes, which someone was just kind enough to put up on You Tube from the XPN festival last month, and you can actually see my son on the drums...excellent quality so now I am in even better spirits.

Actually, I am not 100% happy. I need to give a serious shout out to my good friend, Andre Cholmondeley, whose significant other, Cheri Jiosne, is fighting breast cancer. From Andre's Facebook page today:

"Very tough day. Cheri in hospital, her cancer fight has become very very difficult. Need miracles."

Our lovely health care system in this country has effectively destroyed their lives. I was ripped apart hearing the latest news. Andre has been such a good and close friend - as I've written here repeatedly, he was the first person to take a chance on Eric when he was 18 when he hired him as Project Object's drummer, and then he was basically the right hand man to Adrian Belew for almost three years taking care of not only Adrian but my son and daughter as well. Andre has been with Cheri since college over 20 years, and he recently told me she was the one who helped him launch Project Object.

My heart goes out to them and their families. Even if you are a total heathen like me, please light candles, envision white light, pray...whatever it is that works for you. Life is beautiful, but it can also throw you some pretty awful curveballs.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Odds and Sods for Wednesday, August 18, 2010

(I'm adding ETAs (edited to add) at the bottom of this post and I've already put in some links I neglected to put up in my original post today)

Whoops, here's an ETA I want to put up front: Dr. Dog in The Huffington Post!

Well, before I launch into my usual spiel of all that's been going on at Casa Slick, I woke up this morning to a very nice surprise: All About Jazz has an absolutely stellar review of Julie's new CD.

"Julie Slick
Julie Slick | Self Produced (2010)
By John Kelman

Despite a sudden explosion of female bassists—from Aussie Tal Wilkenfeld (Jeff Beck, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea) to acoustic bassist/singer Esperanza Spalding (Joe Lovano—assessing them on the basis of gender would be wrong, since every one of them easily stands beside their male counterparts. The same can be said for Julie Slick, still on the shy side of 25 and with a remarkable number of high profile credits in the progressive rock world, including King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew's Power Trio, responsible for the live Side Four (Self Produced, 2007) and e (Self Produced, 2010). Since joining the Paul Green School of Rock Music in 1998 at the age of 12, she's gone on to record and/or tour with artists including The Police's Stewart Copeland and Yes' Jon Anderson. Slick's self-titled debut reflects the progressive tendencies of her recent work with Belew; a studio concoction of fourteen originals, where she layers keyboards, programming and guitar, in addition to some stunning electric bass work...."

Read the rest right here.

Also, my Google stalking of my kids yielded yet another review I was not aware written by DGMLive's Sid Smith, who had this to say:

"A Slick Debut
Julie Slick

There are some players who take a while to mature and there are others who miraculously arrive fully mature. Just in her early 20s, bassist Julie Slick can confidently be said to fall into the latter category...."

Read the rest here.

So I just had one of the best birthdays ever yesterday - and actually, it spanned two days, since Julie had to work last night. Monday night the entire family was together, which is so rare with Julie and Eric usually off touring the world and now that they are in different bands, the chances of having them both home at the same time is greatly diminished so trust me, I really appreciated that dinner! We went to my favorite low-key hang-out, Silk City...vegetarian friendly, great cocktails, and a funky outdoor area with colored lights and I guess a tiki theme, I dunno, but we sat outside with our drinks and there was a nice breeze blowing and just a general, awesome vibe, and naturally J&E knew a bunch of people also eating/working there which is always fun because they are always asked a million questions about their brilliant lives and I sit there beaming like I'm 100% responsible. Well...I am at least 50% responsible, right?

Julie and Eric showed up at Silk City with a huge bouquet of flowers and a bottle of wine for me. When I left the restaurant holding them, I felt like Woody Allen when he won the beauty pageant in Sleeper.

Okay, so that photo doesn't show him holding the flowers he won when he was crowned Miss America but of my all time favorite movies and I'm very much like Woody Allen (circa 1973, that is)

So we sat outside and sipped our drinks and Eric told me all about the Dr. Dog show at Governor's Island in NY Sunday night...I listened to the live stream, it was amazing, and here's two You Tubes from that...the first is Shame, Shame, the title track from their latest record, and the second is a brand new song and that's all I'm saying, other than it rocks!!
(Though perhaps there are a few hints in the You Tube comments?)

Eric also mentioned his new website should be up and running any day now, so I'll definitely make an announcement here as soon as that happens - I saw the initial design and it's very cool and very Eric.

Julie is still unwinding from what was the most incredible tour ever with Adrian down in South America. I posted You Tubes of that on my Facebook page but in case you missed them, here's A Little Madness and Three of a Perfect Pair as you've never quite heard them before:

And if you visit Adrian's website, the dates for the European tour are starting to appear and I understand there's a secret week being added at the end. (Sob...does this mean Thanksgiving alone? Eric may have a top secret gig, too, but he hopefully will be home in time regardless)

So everyone is in a really good head right now, including me, even though I am backed up with book reviews. Ariel, Gina, Marcy...they are coming. I have the first drafts written, and if I wasn't such a perfectionist, I'd have posted them already but I want the reviews to do your respective books justice...all three blew me away and I don't want to simply write a few paragraphs.

Anyway, back to my after a really lovely night out, yesterday, the actual day, I spent writing and surfing the web in my favorite outfit, i.e., pajamas, and then I decided to get dressed because Eric was coming over for dinner but the dog went ballistic on me as soon as I put jeans on and took my hair out of its usual messy ponytail. He was like, "Oh, no, you don't. You are not going out two days in a row." Think I'm kidding? Eric saw it for himself. The dog hounded me so much that I finally gave up, took my pajama pants into the powder room to change back, and while I was doing that, Monty stood outside the bathroom door and howled and scratched at said door. It was hilarious. He must have thought I was doing something even more ominous, like putting on lipstick and a coat.

I mean, really. Who has to put their hair in a ponytail to please a dog? But I kid you not, the minute I shake my hair free he starts to panic. It's really very touching - he's twelve and a half years old and essentially on chemotherapy so he's a bit shaky at times - he won't walk up stairs now unless someone is behind him, etc.

This time last year I was preparing to fly to Nashville to embark on a three week tour with the kids. That seems like a thousand years ago now and I could never do anything like that again, anyway. Selling merch at rock concerts is not for the weak of heart, and neither is touring. I am much better off at home base, living vicariously through J&E.

So anyway, Eric came over bearing gifts of beautiful paintings/collages he made for me and I also got a pound cake (because I don't like birthday cake with sugary icing) and let me plug said cake - it's from a place called Denise's Delicacies in North Philly and I defy anyone to say there's a better pound cake on the planet. They trump Stock's, which is the place everyone goes nuts over but you know me, I never like what the masses like, anyway.

Eric took some pics of the artwork/cake/wine for me to post here and they were supposed to include the gorgeous flowers, too, but they did not, and I am such a reject I tried to take them myself this morning and failed utterly, but I wanted to post the photos anyway so here they are, flaws and all:

Okay, Eric's pic of the cake/wine/artwork isn't flawed, just mine, but I'll try again later. The flowers are truly magnificent, trust me.

Oh, one more thing - mark September 1 on your calendars - Julie, Eric, and Robbie Seahag, a/k/a/ Paper Cat, have a gig at Blockley Pourhouse in Philadelphia. Here's a link to the Facebook Event Page but of course I'll be posting more on the show as it draws closer.

Seems to me I have a lot more to say but I'm drawing a blank right now and have to finish up those reviews and then actually work on my own novel so if I remember what it is I wanted to tell you, I'll be back.

ETA: I'm back already. I knew there was something I left out. It's been so long since I did a regular blog post I'd been keeping a running list. Here's a four part review of Julie and Adrian's recent solo show at World Cafe Live written by Jeff Boule, who has affectionally given me the nickname of birdwoman.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four


Friday, August 06, 2010

Crow by Martin Lennon

"Crow is an album of songs drenched in emotion – lots of pain and misery, sure, but also joy, passion and love. These songs are among the first I've written in over thirty years, and they have the added weight of a couple of decades of living and performance behind them. As a former member of a travelling party/covers band, this is my first album – perhaps not such a big deal, but as a 50 year old man I'm proud to be stepping off 'on the road' alone for the first time, as well as being somewhat surprised that it's taken me this long to decide to do it."

So writes Martin Lennon when talking about his debut release, Crow. And yes, he should be proud.

Sometimes I am lucky enough to stumble on new music which is so unbelievable, I knee before the Gods of the Internet and shout "Thank you!" to my laptop and the heavens.

That's the way I felt about Crow. Quite frankly, if this were twenty years ago and Martin had a traditional record label, he would probably win a Grammy as singer/songwriter of the year. Not that winning a Grammy is an indication of great music -- it never was -- but I say this for the sole reason that Martin's music is so brilliant that it crosses over into many genres. Fans of everyone from Leonard Cohen to Tom Waits to Bob Dylan to Savoy Brown and ZZ Top to J.J. Cale type country western/blues will find something to love on every track of this recording. There are fourteen songs, and not a bad one in the bunch. Because Martin does not tell you in his above mentioned blurb, his primary career was as a music critic and I will spill the beans here for you only because as a writer, I was interested in how he would do with lyrics. Well. Try stark, haunting, and perfect for each particular melody. They are Dylanesque, but perhaps even more like Leonard Cohen...or maybe just uniquely Martin. And he was kind enough to include them on his website.

Let me also add that he has surrounded himself with first class musicians for this endeavor. I was not familiar with any of the players involved, but I intend to check each of them out further, that's for sure. On absolutely brilliant trumpet is Charles Dearness; the bassist is amazing, too, and his name is Andy Gilmour, Sarah Anderson, she of the beautiful voice, does backing vocals, and of course we have Martin on guitar, bass, vocals, percussion and programming.

Here's a track by track review:

Magpie – excellent choice for the first song, it showcases Martin's great guitar work and deep, bluesy voice that sounds more like the Mississipi Delta than his native Scotland. He could seriously duet with Dr. John or Leon Russell. I even got a Stephen Stills vibe but then it hit me that the melody is very reminiscent of Traffic's Pearly Queen if it were performed by Tom Waits. Here's a taste of the lyrics:

"I’m just a big fat bird, with a long black tail
I want to steal your love away
I’m going to grab that diamond from your delicate hands
I’m going to steal your love away"

Feels so good – very bluesy, great harmonies with Sarah Anderson and Charles Dearness on trumpet. Again, the placement of this tune as #2 on the album feels very, very right:

"These blues don’t take this pain away
These blues don’t pay my bills
These blues don’t help me overcome
And they don’t give me thrills"

Crow – Having heard the stripped down version last year on Martin's MySpace, this song is the first I fell in love with. Again, dark lyrics that go with the melody and it's without a doubt one of those songs you love on first listen. It gets under your skin, and Martin probably knows this is his best, strongest song – it’s the title of the CD. Or, maybe he's the Crow.

"Sometimes I feel just like a crow
I want to dig at someone’s words
And feel them roll around my beak
Until I know exactly how they think"

Big Black Cloud – Another dark song with absolutely awesome guitar work.

"You broke my heart, you broke my will
And you left me there for dead
You lied to me, you lied barefaced
With every little thing you said"

It's interesting to me how the lyrics move from hopeless to hopeful over the course of the album. Since Martin mentions they were written over a thirty year time period, you can feel the tone shift as he finds joy in both the decision to finally pursue his musical career and perhaps a true love? You'll see what I mean in a minute.

Blue Eyes – This is pure Leon Redbone without the sometimes annoying inflection and really, vintage Tom Waits. Once again, Charles Dearness on trumpet just blows me away.

"Your blue eyes, as they look at me
Blue eyes make a child of me
Blue eyes look and see my soul
Pretty blue, blue eyes"

Easy Way to Fall – This is Savoy Brown meets ZZ Top – or the way ZZ Top wishes they sounded. Are you hip to Savoy Brown? You should be. For me to give Martin a Savoy Brown comparison is high praise.

"You know I want to live
I never want to die at all
But if I must, I want to find
An easy way to fall
I try to never tell a lie
The few I tell are small
So that if I ever slip, I’ll have
An easy way to fall"

Butterfly Girl – probably the most country western tune but without the hokey stuff and cheesy lyrics. Instead, Martin sings:

"Little green shoes on your tiny feet
And your curls and ribbons and that fairytale dress
You’re a butterfly girl in a hard cruel world
And you can fly"

Fingers in your Hair – this is a love song. Plain and simple. Bare guitar and vocals and heartfelt lyrics that sucks the air out of your lungs.

"I hold your hand against my heart
I hold your hand against my heart
I hold your hand against my beating heart
And your love, your love makes me strong"

I Always Knew
– Quite frankly, this is a classic. I can picture Harry Connick, Jr. singing this. Contrary to what you think, coming from a rocker chick like me, this is not a slam but a high compliment because whether you like him or not, Harry would take this song to #1, it would be the best song he ever covered, but I know I’d always prefer Martin’s version.

"I knew what I should do
What I should do with you

Kiss You – When I heard the first few notes, I got a definite Can’t Find My Way Home (Eric Clapton and Blind Faith) vibe, but it quickly turned into something else – sort of still like that but sung by Tom Waits with haunting guitar and tambourine complimenting…

"Don’t want to make you hide your face
Or dance the rain out of the skies
Don’t want to watch you as you fall
Into somebody else’s lies"

Map of the World – Gorgeous, gorgeous song and so Leonard Cohen it’s ridiculous but Martin's musical delivery is better. This is genius.

"You gave to me, once,
A map of the world
I travelled its lines
and its contours and folds
and the faded-ink place names
and symbols and signs
and all from the depths of my mind

Old Heart – Erm…what was I saying about the other songs on this CD? Maybe this is my favorite? How did this man not grow up in the deep South? This is the blues, baby.

"I’ve got a hard old heart, I’ve got a hard old heart
It’s been broken and beaten up too many times
Filled up with anger and darkness and grime
I don’t want this hard old heart
I don’t want this hard old heart"

Ribbons and Bows – Oh boy, here’s another top hit for Harry Connick, Jr. The horn in this perfect. This is probably the most commercial song on the CD but does that mean I don’t like it? Hell, no! It’s awesome. It's the kind of song that makes me smile and bop around the house.

"All of that misery and all of that pain
What does it matter and what does it mean
We either die young or we live till we’re old
Looking for ribbons and bows made of gold"

Actually, I'm going to reference Savoy Brown again - these lyrics would fit perfectly to Needle and Spoon.

Days to Come – The absolute perfect last song. Gorgeous melody but it’s the uplifting, full of love lyrics, on obvious tribute to his new sweetheart. Or maybe just happy coincidence?

"I will walk through this garden
I will follow you anywhere
I will walk through this garden
All these days to come

I will walk beside you always
And hold my head up high
I will walk beside you always
All these days to come

All these days
These days gone by
They all brought me to here

I will walk this holy path
Beside you hand in hand
I will walk this sacred path
All these days to come

All these days
These days gone by
They all brought me to you"

So Martin Lennon is my official "find" of 2010. And at age fifty, his life is not half over, he’s just at the beginning of Part II and it’s going to be one hell of a grand finale.

You can pick up Crow at the following:


Martin's website (both download and CD)

And have a listen over at Reverb Nation.

In this ridiculous world of American Idol and Justin Bieber and Lady GaG, it's important to support independent musicians. And people like Martin Lennon are a rare and wonderful find.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Urban Barbecue with Dr. Dog and Julie Slick is Homeward Bound

Yep, this is pretty much what you'd expect to see when you think of a barbecue with a slacker band like Dr. Dog: lush manicured lawns, shady trees, tropical plants...

We gathered at a top secret location last Thursday night...I was going to Tweet a foursquare map an hour or so before I left the house but even I can't feed 10,000 people. And clearly, I am kidding about what has to be the hardest working band on the planet right now.

Here's guitarist/vocalist Scott McMicken catching a fresh breath of air, percussionist Dimitri Manos, and the back of bassist/vocalist Toby Leaman's head as they lounge on the cool grassy slope. Toby hopes to squeeze in a pre-dinner jog.

Same shot, but this time I managed to get keyboardist Zach Miller in the picture. He really wanted to go paddle-boating but the water was full of hipsters on jet skis.

Ah, there's Toby, sorta, and a better one of Dimitri. Dimitri is clearly considering asking if anyone wants to pitch some horse shoes.

Drummer Eric Slick, reluctantly being pulled away from a round of golf and into the photograph though he's now thinking he'll hit the clubhouse, cleverly disguised as a jeep, for a non-alcoholic beer.

You may be wondering where guitarist Frank McElroy is. I tried to catch him with my camera, but well, Frank is an enigma. Actually, someone told me he was out back, pretending to be a tennis pro.

I can't disclose the identify of the other people who were there because you know, this is an exclusive country club and to tell you their names would get me in a lot of trouble. For real.

But I can tell you what we ate: Chargriled burgers and hot dogs for the carnivores; for the vegetarians - grilled portabello mushrooms stuffed with fresh steamed spinach infused with roasted garlic and topped with melted cheese on whole wheat organic buns, baked barbecued beans (a mix of white, black, pinto, and kidney) with smoked tofu and seitan, baked from scratch corn bread, homemade guacamole with black tortilla chips...yep, it was pretty freaking awesome.

I really like the guys in Dr. Dog. Laid back and sweet, musically driven with a strong work ethic. My son is in good hands.

You may be wondering where is my daughter, Julie Slick? Why, she's on a plane right now, having just left Tokyo where she wrapped up the last of four shows at the Blue Note with the Adrian Belew Power Trio. In case you haven't heard, filling in for Eric for at least the immediate future is Marco Minnemann. Sob..I haven't seen Julie since July 7 when she left for the Vancouver Island Music Fest. Here's the link to a review of their performance with photos and here's another.

Right after Vancouver, Julie flew to California to jam with Marco and a guitarist you might have heard of, Mike Keneally. They have six songs in the can already, and Julie was kind enough to send me the MP3s. I'll be putting them on eBay shortly. Ha ha, just kidding, but they are mind blowing and the three of them are definitely going to work on a future project tentatively called "Artificial Canadian Bear". Julie cooked for everyone pre-jam, and I managed to get her to reveal details for one of the meals:

"We started with a cheese plate with 5 Year Reserve Gouda; Saint Albrais; Black Pepper, Honey, and Basil encrusted Goat Cheese; Strawberries; and Red Grapes.

Next up were Zucchini and Feta Patties topped with Diced Heirloom Tomatoes and Tzatziki.

Wine Pairing - De Chanceny Rosé Brut.

Entrée - Scallops Provençal, Herbed Basmati Rice, Braised Carrots and Brussel Sprouts and a Green Salad with Shallot Dijon Vinaigrette.

Wine Pairing - Joseph Drouhin Macon Villages Blanc.

Dessert - Key Lime Pie."

She told me she took pics, but she's saving them for her blog. Rats! Now I could easily go into where I know she stores her photos and lift them, but I will be a good Mom and behave.

While on the west coast, she also hung out at the The Baked Potato where she jammed with Marco on a couple of songs and I do have a pic of that, but only because it was sent to me by a guy I met on Facebook.

Looks like fun, huh. I made the mistake of clicking on the Baked Potato's menu and almost swooned. Okay, I did swoon. Potatoes are my absolutely favorite food and that's the only thing they sell - several variations, of course, a lot with meat I don't eat, but still...what a perfect world when you can go to a club and hear Marco Minnemann and Julie Slick while stuffing your face with potatoes and drinking Ketel and club. (my current drink of choice)

So I will let Julie tell you about the Japan trip - I've seen a few photos and it looks like everyone had a blast, which is fantastic news...I love for my family to be happy.

Julie's CD continues to get glowing are a couple which are especially brilliant:

"At just twenty four years of age Philadelphia native Julie Slick's musical resume is an impressive one to say the least. She studied music along with her drummer brother Eric for six years and as a result got to rub shoulders with the likes of Eddie Vedder, Stewart Copeland, Jon Anderson and Adrian Belew to name just a few. In fact it was her meeting with Belew which inevitably led to her and her brother joining the Adrian Belew Power Trio in 2006. Now this talented player and composer is primed to step into the spotlight with the release of her self titled debut album.

Armed with an extraordinary cast of virtuoso players that includes King Crimson's Robert Fripp & Pat Mastelotto, master stick player Michael Bernier and drummer Marco Minnemann among others to help her get her vision across, Julie has put together an incredibly diverse album that touches on elements of progressive rock, jazz fusion and funk, with even a bit of electronica thrown in as well..."

Read the rest right here.

And here's the other one:

"Utilizing the bass in ways beyond the low end, Julie Slick's inventive approach has created a multi-faceted offering of intricately textured tunes, infused with challenging arrangements. Having played with the likes of Adrian Belew, The California Guitar Trio, Stewart Copeland, & Jon Anderson among others, Slick has brought about her chops and diverse mindset when approaching her self-titled album. .."

Read the rest right here.

Hey, there's an awesome book coming out which features, among some pretty heavy hitters, Julie, Eric and Adrian, and it's called Their Love of Music and here's a link to the page which features J, E, & A: Click!

Speaking of books, thank you all so much for participating in the first installment of Celebrity Book Club. The next book up for review will be Ariel Leve's "It Could Be Worse, You Could Be Me" and that will be posted next Monday. This is a laugh out loud series of essays by someone I wish was my best friend in real I read the book, I thought, wait a minute, "it could be worse, you could be me?" I am her! Read the book and if you know me at all, you'll see what I mean. Read it even if you hate me. Ariel is hilarious, and she writes for both the New York Times and The Guardian. she's really not me. I write for Blogger and Facebook har har. Nah, I have a publisher - I even wrote and edited a bunch of books - in fact, one day last week I even made myself an official page over at Amazon. Here - check it out!

But man oh man, I have been incredibly fortunate this year. I've read books that have literally brought me to my knees, starting with Susan Henderson's "Up from the Blue", then Tish Cohen's "The Truth About Delilah Blue". In between the two, I had read Ariel's book, but in the past month, I have just been blown away by Marcy Dermansky's "Bad Marie", which I'll review after Ariel, and then what may be the best short story collection I have EVER read, and I'm actually sitting here shaking as I type this because I am including classic authors like Raymond Carver and contemporary authors like Lorrie Moore when I say that...the name of the book is Slut Lullabies and it was written by Gina Frangello. Since I am also going to review Gina's book after Marcy's, I won't say much more, other than I just finished reading it and a week later, I am still stunned. I'm going to aim for these reviews every couple of weeks, so let me give you the links to buy again so you'll be able to participate in my "club", and trust me, you will thank me later.

It Could be Worse, You Could Be Me by Ariel Leve

Bad Marie by Marcy Dermansky

Slut Lullabies by Gina Frangello

As I've mentioned in a previous post, other books I will review as their publication date approaches are "Up From the Blue" by Sue Henderson and Caroline Leavitt's wonderful "Pictures of You".

So I think that's it for now...oh wait, I don't think I ever got the chance to talk about the XPoNential Festival last Sunday, where Dr. Dog was one of the headliners. Everyone (but a few misguided souls who also didn't notice the Emperor wasn't wearing new clothes and voted for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes) said Dr. Dog was the highlight of the three day festival. Aha! Here's someone who agrees with me in a big way. And look, you can judge for yourself:

How cool are all the people singing along? Hey, let me add that this was one of the best festivals I've ever attended, with the exception of Zappanale in East Germany, but Zappanale was the first time I ever saw Julie and Eric perform together on an international stage...they were only 16 and 17...and I know I've posted this before but I can't help it, I have to do it again so I can look at it all day today like the crazy, obsessive person I am.

So I think that's it for today. Julie will be home tonight but only for a week, then she takes off for South America with Marco and Adrian, and here's the schedule for that:

AUG 06, 2010 - Teatro Nescafe de Las Artes - Santiago, CHILE
AUG 07, 2010 - Samsung Studio - Buenos Aires, Argentina
AUG 08, 2010 - Guitar Clinic - Buenos Aires, Argentina
AUG 08, 2010 - Samsung Studio - Buenos Aires, Argentina
AUG 09, 2010 - La Trastienda Club Montevideo - Montevideo, Uruguay

Oh wait, one more thing - I have a piece up today at the Red Room which is actually from the old Nervous Breakdown site...I am such a dork, when the Nervous Breakdown went to a new website, I never moved my published stuff there and now it's lost...sob....which is why I decided to repost it today at Red Room. So if you didn't catch it when it was up briefly last year, here's today's link.

And now I have to be a good girl and turn off the internet so I can work on my new novel. After reading the above mentioned books, I've really set the bar high for myself right now and I am pouring my soul into this book, which has the title of "Whiplashed". Perfect, huh. Wish me luck!