Category Archives: sarah mac band

Put A Bird On It!!

I was always a Girl Gone Green… even early on.

In April of my 13th year, I used my hard earned money to buy Seventeen Magazine. It had an attractive, clean looking cover with lots of green for Earth Day (April 20th for those of you who don’t recycle and drive Hummers). I felt so cool and grown up reading all about natural exfoliants, using chamomile and lemon juice for natural highlights, and recycling…

…and a whole section on the truth about safe sex (gasp!).

Mama Bear did not feel that this was appropriate reading material for her tweenaged daughter so she took it away (as she did with baby Sarah’s Flashdance soundtrack and then later, teenaged Sarah’s spaghetti strap tank tops and shorty shorts). Extending an olive branch, she replaced my glossy conduit of Satan with a subscription to its much lamer, less worldly, little sister, Teen Magazine.

I think that I read Teen exactly once. So one might say that the consolation prize was a waste of money. Probably true, but the whole experience did serve two purposes:

1)     I met my BFF (we’re celebrating our 20th anniversary this Autumn)

2)     All the girls looking so suave and sophisticated (in Seventeen, not Teen) made me realize that I was totally destined to be a supermodel, for which the first step was to get a makeover and some photos at Glamour Shots to jumpstart my portfolio… obviously!

Sarah-model-6

It’s not a real Glamour Shot, but I still have some key elements. Please note the cool accessories and a prop!

I’m not sure what the hold up was on Mama Bear’s part (probably telling Mister Elwood that we were going to shell out the big bucks for something as frivolous and vain as Glamour Shots). Regardless, she would not permit a trip to Glamour Shots. Much like her offer of a subscription to Teen, she set up a drape on our back porch, bought me a Caruso Molecular Hair Setter  to make fancy makeover hair, and took pictures of me for my supermodel portfolio.

Although I am still quite bitter about the magazine switch-up, I will eternally praise my mother for her wisdom in preventing my modeling debut with Glamour Shots. Had I adorned myself with the bedazzled denim and cowboy hat of all of my peers, I might find myself twenty years later on a website such as this one (Seriously, you need to look at this stuff!).  Instead, all photographic evidence of that phase in my teenagedom are locked up in a cedar chest in a remote location, guarded by expert markswoman Katniss Everdeen and three vicious wiener dogs.

One thing still remains… my desire for a makeover. I mean, I don’t think that I’d be okay about being on What Not To Wear, but the idea of people investing in making you beautiful is a fun idea. Give me some pretty hair and teach me how to do makeup (specifically how to rock the liquid eyeliner).

old logoThere are perks to being a rock star, though. Even if you don’t get a fancy makeover, sometimes PR companies get really excited about your music and your band and then decide to give your brand a makeover! We loved our old bird in tree logo (“Put a bird on it!”). So when they said, “a key marketing tool is visually distinguishing your brand,” I got all defensive about our little bird.  They said, “No, this is cool, we can work with it.” We bit our fingernails and waited until the big reveal, which was met with jubilation and thanksgiving.

Our old bird in a dead tree got <GASP!!> a makeover! And not only that, but the new made over logo won an ADDY award for Taproot Creative because it’s so dang cool.

new logo

Here’s the funny thing, with the exception of the Purple Martins, Goldfinches, and such that Mister Elwood used to bring to the yard with his homemade peanut butter/birdseed treats, I don’t know a whole lot about birds. Since the bird is so prominent in our new logo, without fail, at every show we play, I am asked what type of bird it is. I always get so flustered because:

1)     I have no idea

2)     The guy who created it was an artist and not a bird enthusiast… so there is a really good chance that it’s just something that he made up, pulling together all of the things that he knows about birds to make one that was pleasing to the eye and fit all the rules of logo making

I admitted this to a gentleman at one of our recent shows in Asheville, NC and then two days later received this email.

Sarah,

I did a little research and determined that the bird in your logo is Veery Thrush.  Just for fun: Hylocichla fuscescens.  It summers in deciduous forests and nests on or near the ground.  The Veery’s song is a loud, rolling series of rapid flute like notes, dropping down the scale, 8-14 per minute (kind of like a riff I guess).

We really enjoyed your show in Asheville.

Let it be known henceforth, that the Sarah Mac Band’s mascot is the mighty, Fighting Veery Thrush.

If you’re like me and your Mama Bear never let you go to Glamour Shots and get a makeover… put a bird on it (preferably a Sarah Mac Band Veery Thrush)! That’s just as cool.

NEW SINGLE NOW AVAILABLE!

NEW SINGLE NOW AVAILABLE

Hello!  Today we are excited to announce the release of ‘BAPTISED’ — the first single from our upcoming album!  You can download this song on iTunes or Amazon RIGHT NOW!  If you haven’t already seen it, watch this promo video for the new song.  The full album will be released on Sept 4th and will be available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, our online store, etc, etc, etc.

Charlie’s Pre-Game Ritual…

Sunday, March 13, 2011.

Scarf washing day at the Mac house. Or a celebration of the World Cup in an unnamed developing country... You decide.

I’m doing laundry, cleaning up a bit around the house and packing things into bags for the road. We’re leaving town on Tuesday for a few shows in Central Florida. Here they are in no particular order (except for chronological):

Wednesday, March 16th, 8:00PM

The Plaza Theatre in Orlando, FL ($5)

Hope to see all you guys that we met last week doing Orlando Live. Bring your friends!

Thursday, March 17th, 8:00PM

The Hideaway Café [featured artist at Living Room Live Series] in St. Petersburg, FL

I’ll try to remember to pack something green… although I claim Tennessee as the homeland, I’m still a “Mac.” I’m confident that somewhere down the line, I’ve got the beer drinking on St. Patrick’s Day gene in me.

Friday, March 18th, 10:30PM

Brophy’s Irish Pub in Gainesville, FL

A day late, but we’ll probably still drink some beer here, too.

Saturday, March 19th, 6:30PM

The Historic State Theatre (for a Bob Night) in Eustis, FL ($12 advance/$15 door)

All Bob Dylan, all night.  Also featuring: Grant Peeples, Radio-Free Carmela and the Transmitters, Lars Din Band, and Scott and Michelle Dalziel

As with any taxing activity (such as running 31 miles on your 31st birthday)  there is careful training and preparation to ensure maximum performance. Please watch this video to see Charlie’s pregame ritual that he will be practicing every night this week in order to maintain prime playing capacity for your listening pleasure:

I look pretty much the same, except I have a goatee now.

Four o’clock sounds good. I’ll be there. I look pretty much the same, except I have a goatee now.”

Today I had a much anticipated coffee date with an old friend. By old friend, I mean, “from the way-backs in Sarah Mac history.” This kid moved into my neighborhood the summer before 3rd grade. We rode bikes together and built a fort in the woods. We took my dad’s canoe to the island in the middle of the pond in my backyard and shot bb guns at homemade targets attached to cardboard boxes. We captured baby turtles and trapped them in a “habitat” that we made, only to come back the next day to find them ravaged by raccoons.

There was a strange stage in middle school where his older sister became the ringleader of a group of mean girls who tormented me on the school bus every day. His loyalty was with  my camp, though.  We secretly plotted against her and called her a bitch behind her back (but not to her face because she would have totally beaten us up—FOR REAL).

Sarah Mac and T-Pain: Both proud alumni of James S. Rickards High. He must have paid better attention in the “How to Make Money in the Music Business” class than I did.

My family moved out of the neighborhood during our freshmen year of high school. Even once our paths diverged (because I went sort of Tori Amos hippy-dippy while he was  committed to full-time girl chasing) we still went to “period B, off-campus” lunch together at least once a week where he told me about the new girl in his sights the latest kooky things that he and Jesse Hickey had done to piss our Spanish teacher, Dr. Madera, off. I complained about something that I’m sure seemed important at the time, but really was small and inconsequential in the big scheme of things. Then we destroyed some ridiculously syrupy sweet tea and nuclear hot chicken wings from the grossest, dirtiest chicken joint in town (where they knew our names and our order) and agreed that the stomach upset to follow was definitely worth the immediate gratification of the meal and experience. This was back before I went veg, by the way.

Once we finished school, we went to different colleges. Although I’ve run into his parents around town several times in the past few years, this is the first time I’ve seen him since we graduated a gazillion years ago.

He found my band on iTunes. Then he sent an email to our generic Sarah Mac Band email account: “Ever since you sang Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings at our elementary school graduation, I knew you had it in you.” Side note: We talked about that today as we caught up and are now both completely committed to finding a video of that performance to post here on the blog for you guys—if nothing else, you should see how I rocked the tall 80’s bangs and the dangly, multi-colored horse earrings.

We found that we were both surprised at how our lives currently do not reflect where we had always expected to be when we daydreamed about being grown-ups. He caught me up on the last decade and was excited to fill me in on his rapidly approaching wedding. I told him about the adventures that I have living in someone else’s attic and traveling in a minivan all over creation to play music with Claire and Charlie. After that, we just traded stories from high school and gossiped about all of our friends from back then.

We laughed as we realized that we committed four years to and graduated from a program that kind of screwed us up forever (or in my living grateful perspective, “taught us to be thorough, efficient, well-rounded and intrinsically motivated for both performance and mastery of any given subject matter.”).  Really, now that I think back on it, it’s strange that we spent almost all of our time talking about the things and people from high school, when we have so many more years of shared life and experiences. I guess that when it comes down to it, those teenage years have a pretty significant impact on who you become, eh?

Tomorrow night (Friday, February 18th) we’ll be participating in a benefit for Tallahassee YoungLives.

If you missed the article in our local paper this week, this is what they said:

YoungLives, a faith-based group that partners with the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida, started in Tallahassee four years ago. The goal is to help teenage mothers become better parents and to delay a second pregnancy until high school is completed. Each girl receives one-on-one mentoring. The teens also can attend weekly informal get-togethers with the other girls or a Mommy and Me class, where life skills are taught. Child care and food are provided at both meetings.

The program coordinator, Whitney McLean, is a long-time Sarah Mac Band friend and supporter. She’s also an art therapist and for the past semester, has been facilitating a music therapy project with the teen moms in the program. Tomorrow, four local musicians will be performing songs that the YoungLives teen moms wrote lyrics for. After the showcase of the girls’ songs, there will be a short acoustic set by Royce Lovett and then we’ll take the stage for two sets with a short intermission for Whitney to deliver some information about the program. There’s no cost, but donations will be accepted.

And although I’m a graduate of the James S. Rickards High School International Baccalaureate program, where we learned to write a whole lot with very little effort (and in some cases, little thought as well), I have to stop writing now. It’s 10pm and I’m working really hard to sleep every night this week instead of missing my window and getting caught by the evil insomnia fairy. I’ll look for you guys at the event tomorrow night—when I will most definitely be caught by the evil insomnia-because-of-anxiety fairy as I’m running my first ever 5k race on Saturday morning (Go, Team 31 on 31!!).

And… you need to listen to this album because I just discovered it and have been listening to it for two weeks straight.

Sarah Macology 101

The following is an excerpt from an email that I received today from a friend who is currently employed by an unnamed major university in my hometown.

My boss was explaining to me the convoluted way that new programs are created here.  He said, “for example, if I’m a professor, I could go to a department and say, ‘I want to start a program called…Sarah Macology.  I’ve got 10 or so students interested in it, I want to start a class in it.’”

What the heck?

Kids, we may not sell a whole lot of albums, but we’ve infiltrated academia. And there’s probably something to be said for that. Maybe if the music thing doesn’t work out, I can get a job as an adjunct and teach Sarah Macology 101. At least now that I’m  the big 3-0 and I’m starting to figure out who I am and am getting closer to who I want to be, I might be able to speak with some degree of  authority on the subject, eh?

Can you imagine what a class in Sarah Macology might be like? First of all, it would probably meet from 2AM until 5 in the morning, which against my will, seems to be my prime time for higher level thinking processes.  The majority of the semester would focus on finding amazing, creative, loyal, fun partners that you respect and love and then learning how to keep them. We’d use Claire and Charlie as our case-study.

I have hundreds of live shows recorded that I’ve never listened to because the task is just a bit too daunting and overwhelming to even think about. But maybe as part of the research component of our curriculum, we would do an in-depth analysis of all of those shows. I’m not sure exactly what kind of data we might derive from such sources, but I’m confident that it would be immensely beneficial for anyone who put the time into digging around in it.

Side note: When I was having problems with my vocal cords, I actually concocted a plan to code a bunch of those live shows and look for patterns of vocal abuse so that I could better address and correct them. I actually went to lunch with and pitched my idea to one of my professor friends in hopes that she would get me a bootleg copy of one of her coding programs so that I could do it all at home. She did not take the bait and I still don’t have the resources to conduct my analysis.

Whatever we do, there will be a big paper at the end—because I had to do that during my tenure as a degree seeking student. Since I’m an avid reader, it probably won’t be that bad to go through their papers. And since we don’t listen to the radio in the van when we’re traveling (in order to facilitate better, stronger interpersonal relationships—one of the things that I learned about  in my degree track!), I’ll pass the long car rides reading them out loud to Charlie and Claire to get their feedback, too.

Even better, what if I got to work at Hogwarts and hang with Harry, Ron and Hermoine? As long as I’m fierce and awesome like McGonagall and not like Delores Umbridge.

And then with the extra money coming in, we’ll be able to convert our van so that it can run on bio-diesel. Maybe I could get a wardrobe budget! Maybe we could afford to hire one of those guys who wears all black and brings you a new guitar in between each song (I think that’s a sign right there that you’ve made it).

Actually, now that I think about it, Mr. Elwood used to adjunct back in the day. If I recall correctly, they don’t pay a whole lot of money for those kinds of teaching gigs.  So,  it might not be such a great idea.  Adjuncting in a puny department with only 10 students (like the department of Sarah Macology) might not even give us enough money for gas to a gig in Atlanta, for Pete’s sake!

Mission abort.

Now that I’ve thought it through just a bit more, I’m content just to be a name in someone’s illustration. That in itself was pretty cool. I mean, it definitely made me laugh out loud (and not just ‘LOL’) half in astonishment and half in amusement.

Until next time, kids: Do your homework and always eat a full breakfast on the day of a test.

Sarah Mac

And… go ahead and put this on your calendars for next weekend:

I think I see Autumn… and I like it.

For Liz: “Autumn in Florida. Please forego your fancy beach vacation in November and share a mug of Glühwein with me on my front porch, instead.”

I have a dear friend who lives in Germany. We used to visit each other often, but now that we’re grown up and trying to be responsible adults who don’t trade their grocery money for transcontinental trips we’re reduced to emails, an occasional letter and soon, (although it has yet to come to fruition because right now she’s on a work trip in Toronto) with a newly discovered inexpensive phone plan that only charges 2 cents per minute, phone calls again. In her last email she said, ‘We’re well within the throes of Fall here. Are you guys there yet?” Until this week, I might not have been able to answer her with any sense of assurance, but as of this morning, it’s a confident: “affirmative, Ghost Rider.”

 I awoke later than normal, as I’m recovering from something funky that hit me that last part of the week. The dogs were raring to go outside, so I scavenged around for some semblance of breakfast, settling on a cold slice of some sort of polenta creation from last night’s dinner. Then, armed with black coffee, because no one bothered to replace the milk when we ran out, the four of us (Milo, Ruby, Jasper, and I) headed out into the morning.

I was struck first by the chill in the air—unexpected, and enough to merit a trip back inside for a sweater. Then I noticed the brilliance of the morning. It was as if the sun were a weeping willow, weaving her streaming rays through the tree tops down to the dirt. Even the dogs, whose brains are roughly the size of a walnut, noticed a difference. They bounded, and I mean literally pranced off into the woods—with tails in the air, spring in their step and noses to the ground. Milo stuck close by offering sticks for me to throw. Jasper and Ruby must have disappeared through the wardrobe into an alternate dimension as they were gone for what seemed like forever, returning smelling faintly of wild animal musk and as though they’d been rolling in (or in Ruby’s case, eating) something dead.

 As our morning burned away and afternoon set in, our mellow soundtrack of waking birds and Iron and Wine was replaced by the rumbling of semi-trucks cruising far beyond the posted limit for our road and workers somewhere in the near distance constructing something big. I’m now using my last few hours before our gig tonight in Railroad Square to work out a set list for not only this gig but the next few upcoming ones. We’ll be out tonight at the Star Seas Café, the fourth of four bands that begin at 6:00pm. Our expected stage time is 8:00pm, but with that many acts changing in and out, who knows when it really will begin. The good thing is that if you get there and see that we’re not on yet, there will not only be other bands to keep you entertained but the whole atmosphere at a First Friday celebration at Railroad Square is alive and teeming with goodness for all of your senses—I can imagine that it will be especially so tonight, since there’s a magic in the air that even the weiner dogs can recognize.

 See y’all tonight.

Star Sea’s Café in Railroad Square, Tallahassee

6:00pm -10:0pm

Free show

**This is an outdoors venue without much in the way of seating… if you’re planning on coming and parking it for the entirety of our 1.5 hour set, you might want to bring a camp chair!!

And in other news, Unseen Stories, the group that I went to West Africa with last year has finished their documentary on child trafficking in West Africa. It will premier in November in Tallahassee, followed by a Florida tour where the director will be accompanied by the Beninese project manager. A national tour will kick off in January. If you’d like to host a screening, let me know and I’ll connect you with the right people!

Gloryland Artwork!

A papercut by Maggie Willman.