The New SMB

Dear Reader,

We have trained you to believe that SMB stands for “Sarah Mac Band.” Alas, this is no longer the case. We were alerted today (when we were gifted this massive bottle that was so heavy that our three year old friend couldn’t even carry it and he dropped the bottle and squished his toes) that there is a much more financially successful venture out there carrying the same acronym: Super Miracle Bubbles, which are guaranteed to float higher and last longer. I mean, really… you can’t argue with the fact that “miracle” truly IS way better than “Mac.”

In order to provide for an easy transition (and to stay close to our original space when you line up in ABC order), we are moving each of the letters in our acronym up one letter in the alphabet. In order to remain consistent with our Band Goes Green mentality, we will hereby forever from this point on be known as TNC, The Nature Conservancy.

Dangit! That name’s taken, too?

Okay, nevermind. We’ll get back to you…

Sincerely,

Sarah Mac Band (for now, at least)

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Win, Win. Fail. Win.

The bad news:

Tonight, I was cooking broccoli. But since we (the Sarah Mac Band) had been in a press conference earlier in the day, I left my broccoli cooking on the stove and walked into another room to watch the evening news to see if I looked like a goofball in my interview. Our segment aired at the very end of the newscast. As I was congratulating myself for not being a goofball on TV, I became aware of the acrid, sulfury smell of blackened broccoli wafting into the TV room. UGH! Win on the press conference. Total, utter fail on the broccoli.

The next part is even worse:

Waste not, want not… right? Since I’m a poor, starving artist, I thought that I would try to eat around the blackened parts and maybe cover it up a bit with lemon juice and garlic. Before I got too far into the process, I decided to test it out and see if it was edible. It seemed unwise to use up all of my lemon juice and garlic if the broccoli wasn’t really worth saving. So, I popped a piece in my mouth, straight out of the pan. And then I burned the top of my mouth and made a terrible blister! Win on the saving the broccoli. Total, utter fail on searing a sensitive part of my own body.

The grossest part of the bad news:

Alas, after the fifth attempt, I realized that no matter how I turned it, my phone would not fit into my mouth to capture the destruction of it’s roof.

When I was a child and lost my first tooth, my Grandma Beulah  told me that your new teeth always grow in gold if you don’t stick your tongue in the hole left by the old tooth. Interesting, I always wondered how my elementary school bus driver had gotten her gold teeth… Every time I lost a tooth, I tried in vain to not stick my tongue in the hole, but when things are weird in my mouth, it drives me crazy. So I spent the majority of the evening tonight (when I should have been paying attention in band practice) using my tongue to assess the damage of my blister. Well… that strategy only came into play after I tried in vain to take a picture of the inside of my mouth using my cell phone to see if I could actually see the damage. When that didn’t work, I resorted to my second best option (tongue), which was hard because I’m still haunted by the fact that I accidentally licked all the gold off of my teeth when I was a child. That would have helped with the whole starving artist thing and maybe I never would have been in this situation in the first place!

Then Charlie snapped me back to reality, “Sarah, you need to be singing this part.”

I sang, which was really hard to do considering that I was still messing with my blister. Then all of a sudden, I tasted blood and realized that the skin from my blister was no longer on my blister. Hmmm… it was nowhere to be found. And then it dawned on me, I am no longer vegan. I’m suddenly a meat eater again… and not just any kid of meat eater… a cannibal meat eater! I swallowed my own blister!!

Win on finally getting the lyrics right to our new song. Total utter fail on breaking my 8 month vegan streak (to add to my total, utter fail on the gold teeth front that I’m still trying to recover from) with cannibalism. Hmm… at least, now I have some frame of reference for a song that was very influential for teenaged Sarah.

The good news:

We had a press conference today because we won a contest that will send us to Nashville to the Americana Music Conference in September. I didn’t realize the scope of the contest until today when they announced that 23,000 people voted and the Sarah Mac Band came out on top. We’re over the moon.

Even more awesome is the conference happens one week after the release of our new album from which we released the first single, Baptised on Tuesday. It is available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon now. The full length album will be available on Tuesday, September 4th. There will be quite a bit of touring to support this album, so check our website to see when we’ll be near you.

Here’s a video promo for the Baptised single, from footage recorded this Spring when we were in Ohio making this album.

Total utter fail on accidentally de-veganing by consuming your own flesh. Win, win, win on all of the pieces coming together in Sarah Mac Band land to make us really hopeful about the future!

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.

Revolution. Evolution.

“Dog on the dock” Jasper greets the morning on St. Joe Bay. Photo by Baby Bear.

I’m currently on family vacation in Florida’s Forgotten Coast. Mister Elwood and Mama Bear towed the boat down over the weekend and have been here since, but I had some time sensitive Sarah Mac Band business to take care of in preparation for our upcoming album release. So instead, I drove down yesterday, by myself, listening to a freshly burned copy of the new Sarah Mac Band album (at an ungodly volume because I was driving Mama Bear’s car which unlike mine had a full set of functioning speakers).

Mister Elwood makes a stop at the jetty during the tour de nostalgia of Mexico Beach (where he and Mama Bear met and used to hang out back when they were still young and crazy).

For my first listen, I was just sort of tuned out, concentrating on making sure that I took the right road (there are two beach roads that I always confuse) and not spilling my super large Starbucks all over my lap. By the time I got to my second listen, I knew exactly where I was and was able to concentrate on the beautiful scenery and the songs on our album. Pretty soon into it, I was boohooing like my dog had just died. If anyone else had been on the road that morning and seen me, they probably would HAVE thought that my dog had just died. Not so. Instead, they were happy tears. I was/am just so proud of this body of work and so excited to say, “Hey, we did that!”

Now, I’m out on the porch, doing a little light vacation reading and watching a storm roll in over the bay. I came across a really cool quote in my book. It’s cool because I secretly (or not so secretly) want to go back to school one day for ethnomusicology. It’s also cool because I feel like in a lot of ways it illustrates the Sarah Mac Band’s journey to the very same album that brought me to tears yesterday.

Music is large. It is made by as many different types of people, with as many different backgrounds, as there are listeners. New forms of music are being invented and evolving from earlier forms every day. And each new song is a link in a millennia-long chain of evolutionary enhancements to precious song building—slight alterations in the “genetic structure” of one song lead us to a new one. –Daniel J. Levitin, The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature.

I caught Mister Elwood on his journey to watch the storm roll in from the dock. “Hey Dad, listen to this awesome quote! Isn’t that a cool thing to think about?”

He hesitated for a moment, “Yeah, it’s kind of cool. But it’s too bad that music evolved to where it is today and didn’t just stay with the rock of the sixties and seventies. That was good music and now everything that people are putting out there is just plain old crap.”

Hmmm…. Wait a minute. “Everything except the Sarah Mac Band’s new album, right Dad?”

“Oh yeah, that’s exactly what I meant.”

Here’s another photo by Baby Bear of Mama Bear out fishing on the dock.

Charmed, I’m Sure

I have a friend who is just starting out in the music business. Although I’m not anywhere close to functioning at the level of “professional musician” that I would like to be, I’m a little bit farther along in the journey than she is. She invited me for coffee so that she could “story collect,” her way of compiling the “best-ofs” from others’ journeys to help her shape hers.

I met with her the morning after returning home from two weeks on the road. I got off a plane at 5 in the afternoon the day before. I thought that I would take a little nap and get up around 7ish to explore dinner options (since planes and airports do not have many offerings for gluten-free vegans). But I awoke instead at 5:30 the next morning, still wearing my clothes from the plane, unsure of where I was and what was happening. It was then (at 5:30 in the morning), that I finally changed into my jammies and set my alarm clock for 7:30, when I awoke, showered and took off to meet my friend.

Life used to be life-like, now it’s more like show-biz. I wake up in the night and I don’t know where the bathroom is. And I don’t know what town I’m in or what sky I am under, and I wake up in the darkness and I don’t have the will anymore to wonder—“Dilate” by Ani diFranco

Because the experience felt so stereotypically “rock star,” which makes it even more absurd because I’m not really that rock star in the first place, I shared it with her upon her arrival. This led the conversation to my travels.

In a week’s span, I visited three states that I’d never been to before: Indiana, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. I’m contemplating buying a map and pinning every place that I visit (I’m always impressed when I see those in other people’s homes).

L to R: Patrick Blanchard, Sarah Mac, Shawn Mullins. I’m smiling so big because I had just consumed an entire solo cup of Bourbon Slushy. I still don’t know where I put my high heels from that night. Just kidding (sort of)…

I got to meet and play with Shawn Mullins. We had a wonderful, warm reception by fans who went above and beyond, even taking us on a sightseeing tour in Louisville (which included Churchill Downs and the Louisville Slugger). Then because we were in the area, (in a move that Claire called, ‘the most fun thing that we’ve ever done”) we stopped in Cincinnati to watch the guy who produced our latest album play music with the band that I want to be when I grow up. Sitting there, a little starry-eyed and awestruck, ten feet from my idol, eating a vegan picnic feast with smuggled-in alcohol, coming off of a few days of being treated like rock star royalty, I thought, “Wow, I’m totally living a charmed life.” And this was before I even got to the Newport Folk Festival a few days later.

When I was in the eighth grade, I had journalism class with a girl named Lisa (who was rumored to be Elijah Wood’s childhood pen-pal). Based on the previous two years of our shared middle school experience, I took her to be a mean, nasty girl and stayed away from her. I don’t remember the circumstances surrounding this event, but I remember that she and I were both bent over a layout with rulers in hand when she said with more honesty than I’d ever heard from her before, voice full of exasperation, “Do you not get why I hate you so much? You’re too perfect!” The room got deathly quiet and I was totally humiliated that she publicly announced her hatred for me because Mama Bear always taught me that hate is a very strong word that you should never use on other people.

Proof of a mother’s love: hugging a  funky kid after a Florida soccer match!

It was only later that the righteous indignation set in as I thought, “Wait, you don’t have any idea what you’re talking about!! I’m the editor of the yearbook because I came in on weekends and stayed after school day after day last year as the assistant editor to learn how to do this well. I have [had at the time] a cute, taut little bikini body because I play soccer three days a week and have to go and run in the park with my team for conditioning practice three more days a week. I have good grades because after I spend my evenings playing soccer, I stay up ‘til ungodly late hours finishing all of my homework. For every one minute you see that you perceive as “perfect,” there are five hours of unglamorous, really hard, work behind it.”

Actually, when the righteous indignation set it, eighth grade Sarah probably just thought, “What a bitch” (I know that you’re not supposed to say those types of unkind things, but at thirteen, I wasn’t quite at a place yet where I could respond in love to yucky things that people say). Last week, while watching Over the Rhine, almost as soon as the words, “I’m living a charmed life,” entered my head, the memory of Lisa unearthed itself and I remembered the sting of what I thought had been long forgotten, “I hate you because you’re too perfect.” For a brief moment, I felt guilty for being so pleased with the recent developments in my little Sarah Mac Band world—it all just seemed too perfect.

While I was verbalizing these thought, my story collecting friend interrupted me, “You know, I get your emails and I look at the stuff that you guys post on Facebook and it does seem like it’s always a party in the Sarah Mac Band. But why would you post the boring stuff like, ‘we spent three hours today playing the same section of the same song over and over again because we can’t seem to get it right.’? Of course, nobody wants to hear about that, because that’s not the dream that we have for you or the dream that we want to buy into for you. Enjoy the charmed life when you can because when it’s not like this, remembering this is what will keep you going.” And… in less than half an hour, it’s turned around and the student teaches the master…

Seriously?!? We qualify as a SPECIAL EVENT?!?

That conversation on Wednesday morning stuck with me until Friday afternoon (because I usually ruminate on things for a really long time)  when all the pieces came together. Things in Sarah Mac Band Land are no longer overwhelming and seemingly hopeless. We’re pushing the boundaries of what we have done in the past and getting confident in ourselves and comfortable with new things. We’re really excited about what we do. We’re making strides that I never expected to make. We have a really, really good new album coming out in a month. People want to pay us money to come to their city and play music for them to listen to—not like background music for their local jook joint, but for them to sit down in seats and pay money to be quiet and watch and listen to us play songs that we have written.

Why did you have those dry spells when you never even spoke to each other outside of practice? Prime example shown here…

We are in a good place with a good trajectory. But it’s the direct result of a really long time (embarrassingly long if we compare ourselves to other bands who are a lot farther along than we are) of busting our tails and denying ourselves the things that we thought we wanted. There were long dry spells when all I wanted to do was drop out of the band because it made me absolutely miserable. It was too hard and we didn’t have any fun and sometimes didn’t even talk to each other outside of practice and the only thing that kept me in was my fear of being the jerk that ruined everything for Claire and Charlie. But even though years of suicides and stadiums and sit-ups make you throw up when you’re doing them, they will get you a spot on the varsity team your Freshman year (albeit the least skilled, weakest and probably least qualified team member, you still get a letter for the ugly jacket that you never bought). And years of playing dirty bars to six people and learning how to read each other without even talking to each other and getting better at our instruments and crafting 10 bad songs to get 1 worth playing for an audience yield to a reception akin to the prodigal son’s return banquet even when you’re 1000 miles from home.

This oyster is my world. My oyster’s got a pearl. This ain’t no dress rehearsal, I’m a very lucky girl. I’m on a roll.—“I’m On A Roll” by Over the Rhine

So I’m thankful for the times like these when it’s just so perfect that I can’t even stand it. I won’t be sorry that it’s going so well, because when we inevitably hit a new bump in the road, I’ll need something to carry me through and remind me that the running until you pass out and the staying up all night to finish your homework is worth it.

Thanks for letting us be on your varsity team.

Thank you for honoring and celebrating with us all of our hard work and effort.

Thank you for my little piece of charmed life.

Thanks for having us, Indiana. Rock on!

SMB at Churchill Downs. Somebody give me a Mint Julep!

If I can’t have a Mint Julep, can I at least have a derby hat that looks like a wedding cake?

SMB at the Louisville Slugger. Not kidding, it’s a baseball bat as big as a building.

When Claire said that going to Cincinnati was the most fun thing we’ve ever done, I think that she meant me kissing a pig on the side of the road, not going to see Over the Rhine…

Over the Rhine live in Over the Rhine, Cincinnati.

COCA Continued…

As many of you may have noticed yesterday, the COCA voting totals have changed significantly and we want to explain.

Last week, Sarah wrote a blog addressing our concerns about what appeared to be voting irregularities un this competition. We noticed that even our own numbers were questionable and called for civility in voting. Also a number of you contacted COCA directly expressing concerns about the voting.

Last weekend we were informed by COCA that they would review all the votes and eliminate the votes that their auditors determined to be not legitimate. Yesterday COCA made those adjustments which resulted in the differences that you have noticed and contacted us about. We couldn’t be happier. Not because we are now in the lead, but because COCA has made a commitment to make sure that this is a fair contest. If we are going to ask you guys to help us, we want to make sure that the whole process is legitimate.

Sure, we lost votes but we knew we would. We have been watching this and knew that some of our big vote tally gains were questionable. This is the reason Sarah sent her email last week. We don’t want fans trying to do something improper to help us win. We truly believe that if we all do this the right way that things could work out for the SMB.

And please understand, we don’t think there was any other band involved in the voting irregularities any more than we were. We really believe it was just over zealous fans that want their favorite to win. We understand that things like that happen, but thankfully COCA decided to address this problem and we thank them.

With this new effort by COCA we are now convinced they are committed to making sure this is a fair competition and we want to encourage all you guys to keep voting. You can do this everyday from your computer and smart phone. You can vote on Facebook, too. Please send the link to all your friends and encourage them to vote too. But please don’t try and make voting “bots” or other things to create more votes than you can legitimately do every day. We are confident that you guys will do this the right way.

We are so honored that you guys support us in this and are willing to help. We thank all of you who raised concerns to COCA and fought for a fair contest. Most of all, we thank you for believing in us often more than we do ourselves.

So keep voting and remember; slow and steady wins the race.

VOTE HERE!

SMB

Thoughts on the COCA contest…

At 18, I made a list of 25 goals that I had for my life before I turned 25. One of those goals was to visit Africa.

At 25, I was a regular little world traveler, but I had yet to visit Africa. But I was on my way. I started in a graduate program that had a 6 month long practicum in Durban, South Africa. I was set. Although technically, I would not make the 25 years old deadline, I felt pretty proud of myself that I was heading toward one of those major life goals at a pretty impressive clip.

Suddenly, I hit a snag. As I got more and more immersed in my graduate program (read: past the point of backing out), the Sarah Mac Band began work on our first full-length studio album, Awakening. The deeper we got into the creation process, the more it looked like the timing would completely coincide with my planned study abroad. The more I pushed on the subject, the quieter Charlie and Claire got until finally, the moment came: “Sarah, we need to talk. We’re really sorry, but you can’t go to Africa. In fact, you can’t go anywhere. We’re about to release this album and we need you here. We can’t work to promote this album if you’re on another continent.”

I recognized the wisdom in that. Nonetheless, I was devastated and watched all of my carefully laid plans fall apart. Goodbye life goal of visiting Africa. Goodbye all the time I spent in grad school so that I could go to Africa. Even more so, goodbye to the joy of another life goal of finally making our first full-length studio album because it was eclipsed by the wrenching sadness of not getting to go to Africa which in my head condemned me to a drab life of terrible ordinariness.

That was almost the end of the Sarah Mac Band, friends. My feelings were hurt that my closest friends would so quickly dismiss my dream, and I was deeply grieving the loss of what I perceived to be the one thing that would make my life absolutely perfect (even at 25, I still had a healthy dose of teenage angst). But I still knew that before Africa came around, I had committed to do this Sarah Mac Band thing with Charlie and Claire. They had put in the time and energy and effort and sleep loss and money behind it just like I had. So, thumbing my nose at them and heading off to Africa would be disrespectful and poor form on my part. As much as it was the last thing I wanted to do, I took a deep breath, squared my shoulders, and made myself smile and I signed the papers to do a bland, less than adventurous practicum that I didn’t want to do for people who told me (to my face—not kidding, the words really came out of the lady’s mouth) that they didn’t want me.

The good thing is that it wasn’t all for naught.

The Sarah Mac Band kept kicking and took advantage of Awakening’s momentum to get to the point that ultimately led us to now. Through that practicum that I didn’t want and wasn’t my dream, we met and worked with Dave, who then produced our next album, A Single Revolution. Through the process of Awakening, we met and made friends with the founders of Unseen Stories, a NGO that uses documentary film to bring about awareness and change for global justice issues. Then, in a strange twist of fate, because of my type of degree and experience in the practicum that I didn’t want, the Executive Director invited me to accompany her to Africa to work for Unseen Stories for a month as they toured facilities and worked on a strategic plan to partner with other NGOs to expand their fight against child trafficking.

It’s funny how things work out like that. I made the unglamorous choice to do the right thing and honor the commitment that I’d made to Charlie and Claire, which resulted in me not getting one of my heart’s desires. And then four years later, I got a chance at redemption which yielded new lifelong relationships (some even with  Benin’s hottest pop stars), affected change in very real ways in people’s lives, and because Unseen Stories was in need of someone with my specific skill set, was completely free of charge for me (whereas the study abroad cost more than a year’s worth of graduate tuition).

Left behind, something died, washed to Asia by the pull of the Pacific that night. But it made room for something new and it brought me to you.—“Crossroads,” Sarah Mac Band

We’re now almost through the first week of voting for a contest hosted by the Tallahassee Council on Culture and Arts, for which the prize is an all expenses paid trip to the Americana Music Conference in Nashville this Fall. A ton of Tallahassee bands are in the running for the prize, for which fans can vote online once a day between now and August 17th at midnight when the votes will be tallied and the winner will be announced.

Timing wise, this contest could be a great opportunity for the Sarah Mac Band. This conference, which happens in September, will coincide nicely with the release of our upcoming new album, which we can confidently say is the best work that we’ve ever done. We’ll have the opportunity to rub elbows with industry people and tout our work in an arena with a higher concentration of people of musical influence than anywhere we’ve ever been. We’re the Little Engine That Could, huffing and puffing along without a rest since well before I had to forego Africa to tour in support of Awakening. What a wonderful, encouraging break from the years of hustling this would be!

Prior to this COCA contest, we had sworn off contests that are determined by online voting. We used to participate in such contests with regularity. They really are a great way to gain exposure on a national level. In the last contest that we participated in, we were in a pack of five frontrunners. Suddenly, the other four bands began to take off, gaining thousands of votes per day. It became a fight to the death as our numbers continued to increase at a steady pace consistent with what it had previously been while the other bands spiraled upwards, with the winner having forty thousand votes at the end of the contest. We were a little bit discouraged, but then the contest organizers released a statement saying that they had discovered that the top four bands had cheated, using some kind of fancy computer technology to boost their votes. Because it was implied, but not explicitly outlawed in the original rules, the contest organizers strongly publically reprimanded the band that won, but still gave them the prize.

More than disappointing us that we didn’t win the prize (which was a showcase at some conference, but I don’t even remember now which one), we were frustrated that the impressive efforts of our fans were totally dwarfed by some goofballs who both lacked integrity and had hacker buddies.

Over the years of touring and meeting folks, we’ve grown a pretty impressive email list of supporters. Our last two albums have been completely funded by fan donations, so we’re already pretty secure, fully understanding the loyalty, enthusiasm and fervency of our fan-base. So it wasn’t surprising to us when we quickly pulled ahead of all of the other bands in the contest with a huge margin.  It also wasn’t surprising to us that when other people started to pull ahead that our fans cried, “foul!”

I do agree with our fans that some of the trends in numbers and their rate of accumulation have a familiar ring to them. But, I’m much more hesitant to cry “foul.” Part of that is because I tend to believe in the good in other people. Part of that is that I know the numbers that we have and the tremendous voting capacity of our fans, especially since our fans crisscross the country and the contest is open to everyone, not just Tallahassee residents. Because of that, I’m not willing to automatically discount the voting capacity of someone else’s fan base.

That being said, I recognize that the prize is pretty awesome and without a doubt ignites temptation to play dirty.

Although my graduate school training would say that all signs point to Charlie suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, my every day life experience with him would lead me to say that he doesn’t fall into full blown disorder category, but just demonstrates strong tendencies. Since this contest began, he has been tracking everyone’s votes and the time that it takes for them to gain those votes (to the point that it is very annoying to everyone around him). Right now we’re on the road, and can’t so readily check the votes. But last night before we all went to bed, Charlie checked the numbers from our hotel in Atlanta. This morning, I woke up to an alert on my phone of the shooting in Colorado. Charlie woke up to see that between 1AM last night and 7AM this morning, we had gained 600 votes. This is not in any way impossible given the breadth of our fan base, but it is inconsistent with our prior growth rate.

If this was legitimate voting by our fans, we thank you and really appreciate it. If this was someone who is convinced that we’re playing with people who are fighting dirty and decided to fight fire with fire to get us ahead, please stop. As much as we appreciate the sentiment behind what you’re doing and ultimately trust that your motives are altruistic, we don’t want to win that way.

 If I live into all the things that I have said then I won’t be just another one of those. –“Just Another” Sarah Mac Band

Claire, Charlie, and I have been talking about it extensively this morning and quite a bit last night on the drive up to Atlanta to conclude that this is a place where we have the opportunity to live into everything that we vowed when we were just starting out. We want to be set apart and do all of our business with a high degree of personal and professional integrity (which often is not found in the entertainment industry). Sometimes that means taking a hit and not getting what we think we want. But as I told my mom yesterday, “a victory is invalidated and all of the benefits that it brings are tinged and dirty if I had to resort to sleaze in order to win it.”

In a move that feels eerily similar to choosing not to go to Africa for grad school, we’re willing to let go of the COCA contest if it means that we have to resort to unsavory methods to get there. In spite of what any other contestants may chose to do, we’re making our stand to do it completely on the up and up. If we lose, we lose fair and square and that’s a consequence that we’re willing to take. You can’t win them all.  But inversely, if we win, it’s based completely on the dense network of fans that we have joining together to fight for us to get there.

We are the people and we will stand together, we will voice the thunder of change.—“Dead Revolutionaries,” Sarah Mac Band

I won’t lose sight of the fact that our ultimate goal is to get this new album out there for people to hear. We want the Sarah Mac Band name out there, moving through parties, radio, blogs, email, Facebook, getting people excited and primed for this fall launch. If nothing else, your continued efforts are doing just that. Every day, I get more than one email from supportive fans who are emailing all of their friends, their groups, their families, sending them a link to this contest and recruiting them for the cause. Even if we don’t make it to Nashville in September, people are rising up and spreading the news, adding more and more to our numbers every day.

I’ve said this a million times from the stage and I’ll say it again here from the blog: We can’t be musicians and performers without an audience. You guys are making our dreams possible (bigger dreams than those of an 18 year old who wanted to go to Africa). You guys give us stories to laugh about as we spend what often seem like endless hours in a van on the road. You guys remind me that we have a thousand Proud Papas and Supportive Mamas who want to wipe our tears and loyal Baby Bears who will fight somebody if they disrespect us (well, I’m not sure that there could ever be another Baby Bear!!).

So I say this to you, Sarah Mac Band fans: Don’t be discouraged by the staggering difference between us and our most vicious competitors in the last few days, even as it continues to grow.  Continue to vote loyally and steadily. Continue to spread the word and enlist “newbies” to join our cause. We’ll hope for a favorable outcome on August 17th at midnight, but if we don’t make it to Nashville for this conference, there’s always a chance that all of the pieces will come together and another magical redemptive Africa trip will pop up on our horizon!

Thanks for reading. Thanks for holding us up!

Love,

Sarah Mac