Tag Archives: Rock By the Sea

Anchorage Children’s Home

For the past four years, we have been lucky to be a part of a great music festival, Rock by the Sea. Even cooler than the fact that it’s a fun festival and we’ve become quite fond of the staff, other bands, and the festival attendees (it has a pretty loyal following and they return year after year, bringing new people with them every time), it’s a fundraiser for several Florida charities. Although the roster of charities that we support tends to fluctuate a bit, there are always the staples: The Pediatric Brain Cancer Foundation, Camp Sunshine, and the Down Syndrome Association of Tallahassee.

This year, the festival outgrew its original home of St. George Island and moved west to Panama City Beach I know, right? Because it’s all MTV Spring Break-ish, I haven’t actually been there since a senior field trip to the famed “strip.” I’m kind of okay with that—except that this experience broke my stereotype. And although I’m not sure that I’m ready to give Panama City Beach another shot in my spare time, it was a really fun trip and a nice change for our Rock by the Sea weekend.

One of the really cool parts about moving to Panama City Beach is that one of the new charities added to the roster this year was actually based in Panama City. The Anchorage Children’s Home is just over the bridge in Panama City proper and provides stable group housing for children and teens who have experienced abuse, severe neglect and runaways.

Brian Fechino doesn’t play acoustic guitars– instead, he just brings his electric and his teensy amp that clips onto his belt. It’s actually kind of cool! So cool that we felt the need to take a photo.

The Sarah Mac Band went to Panama City early so that along with Brian Fechino and Jackson Rohm, we could actually go to Anchorage and hang out with the kids, talk to them about what we actually do,  and play a little music for them. Despite the fact that I’m pretty well versed in all types of music and could identify most artists and songs that I hear on the radio, I was not prepared for the barrage of requests for covers of Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert, Gretchen Wilson, and the Pistol Annies… and Carrie Underwood…. And Carrie Underwood… Did I mention Carrie Underwood? So instead, I sang backup harmonies for Jackson as he covered  Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith (I did have to draw the line at Toby Keith—it offends every particle in my body to even say words that Toby Keith has made money off of, in spite of the fact that I  idolize a guy who has written quite a few of his hits) and then later Brian and Charlie jammed to some Sarah Mac Band original songs that I got to sing.

L to R: the back of Sarah Mac’s head, Brian Fechino (yes, he’s totally wearing his sunglasses inside), and Jackson Rohm at the Anchorage Children’s home in Panama City, FL.

We left and went back to the weird world of music festival-ness, but to my joy and surprise, as I was walking around the next night, watching some other bands before our set time, I ran into all of the kids coming in the gates. They got free VIP passes (along with the chaperones, RBtS ain’t no fool to let teenagers run wild at a music festival at an MTV Spring Break-ish club) to attend the festival as well.  It was just kind of neat to see them in their world and then run into them again, seeing us in our world.

Anyway, they sent a thank you letter to Rock By the Sea not too long ago. I thought that it was really cool to know that on some level, what we do (entertaining, which on some level is just a really self-serving profession) makes a difference. So, I wanted to share.

Anchorage Children’s Home Letter

See you on the island…

Baby Claire at the beach in her smoking hot ruffled gingham bikini, circa 1980-ish.

Sunscreen. Check. (You know I’m a stickler for that.. and probably still will be even after someone inevitably discovers that sunscreen causes just as much cancer as it prevents. Red and blistered is just not that flattering of a look for me.)

Book for reading by the waterside. Check. Young adult fiction (of course).

Bathing suit. Hmm… Not sure where it is. Maybe buried somewhere underneath my 24 pairs of shoes? I’ll be okay without one. Besides, if I wear a bathing suit tomorrow, that means that I’ll probably need to shave my legs tonight. In spite of the fact that will probably be up all night with nothing much to do, that still seems like a little too much work.

And so goes my packing for our adventure tomorrow. Headed to St. George Island, Florida for the Rock By The Sea Festival.

Score one for Team Sarah Mac Band! We're totally NOT the last name listed, NOR the smallest font on the bill. Moving on up!

You can read here about the great time we had last year at Rock By The Sea. Here’s a fun little fact for you– the night that I wrote that blog entry, I also wrote the beginnings of the song “Take Me or Leave Me” from the Single Revolution album.

We had just come back from RBTS and I was still reflecting and ruminating on the weekend. As I’ve mentioned before, while other people may experience something and then move on, I usually can’t let it go, and end up sitting with it for quite a while. There was one thing that I just couldn’t wrap my mind around from RBTS– of such a large community of gathered musicians, Claire and I were the only women musicians. It’s always a little bit intimidating, but we’ve gotten used to it. For the most part we’ve accepted it and just laugh at the fact that as a profession, music is totally a boys club where they only talk about things like guitars, gadgets, farts and electronics. They steer clear of really interesting topics like feelings, what all the other girls are wearing and speculation as to who might be doing what with whom later that night based on their current behavior. I’m not complaining though because there are advantages to being the only women in a boys club… For example, you very rarely have to buy your own drinks  and in the RBTS case, a majority of the boys in the boys club were unusually good looking. Wins all around.

Anyway, I came home from RBTS and thought, “I had a great weekend being a part of these guys. But I’m different from them. What is it that’s different?” (Aside from the obvious– don’t make a joke like a twelve year old boy would! We’re all adults, here.) And that’s when I decided to write a song that was decidedly feminine– or at least try to. Thus emerged “Take Me or Leave Me.”

The other thing that I brought home with me from RBTS last year were injuries. Then again, in December, when I went to Atlanta to participate in the CD release party for the RBTS Christmas album, I got hurt again.

This year, our contract required workmen's compensation coverage for any injuries incurred while participating in RBTS or RBTS related events.

The evidence of my proclivity to musical based injuries shown above is one more reason that the bathing suit probably won’t make it to the beach this weekend. If I bruise and bust up my thighs with mad tambourining (yes, it’s a verb), I’m not going to want to show them in public. People would probably call the Department of Children and Family services to report Charlie and Claire. If I get removed from their custody, we’ll have some real problems…

Okay, we’ll see you guys on the island!

Bon anniversaire. Rendez grâce. Venez assister à un concert. Acheter un CD. Joyeux Noël.

Let’s do this in chronological order.

Bon anniversaire.

Yay ! I had a birthday and it was wonderful. We had a small, intimate gathering at the coast with family. The next morning, true to form, Baby Bear made the day and took me on a birthday hot air balloon ride ! It definitely was unexpected and awe-inspiring….  kind of like playing in a band with Claire and Charlie…

I’m including pictures, not of Claire and Charlie, but of the experience so that you can see how wonderful the quiet space just outside of Tallahassee looks at 7 am on a Sunday in November from high above.

Rendez grâce.

Then came Thansgiving. You never really  know what’s going to happen when you bring all of your family together into the same place at the same time. It could be warm and wonderful or a disaster of epic proportions. Having not been home for Thanksgiving the last few years, I was a bit tentative, as I didn’t know what to expect. And then Baby Bear bailed, so I was left to drive to Georgia and present myself to my family without my partner in crime by my side.

And although there were scant vegetarian options at the potluck buffet (which, honestly…  didn’t matter because I don’t really eat at potlucks or buffets) I had a wonderful time. Who knew that being the only young person in a room full of octogenarians could be so eye-opening !!

Side note : Although I didn’t find out until after Thanksgiving, I’m so thankful for all of you who were praying and sending good vibes my way. I went to the doctor this week for a follow up on my vocal nodules and they’re gone ! Not kidding. Completely gone.  I HOPE YOU’RE LISTENING WORLD,  GAME ON !

Venez assister à un concert.

Tomorrow (December 4th), we’ll be in Atlanta, sharing the stage at the Atlanta Room in Smith’s Olde Bar with Sara Crawford, who was named Creative Loafing’s Best Songwriter of 2010.  If you’re in the area, we expect to see you there. There is some confusion apparently as to our stage time—it could be 9 and it could be 11. Nonetheless, the show starts at 9, and we’re one of 3 great acts. You won’t be disappointed.

Smith’s Olde Bar – The Atlanta Room

1578 Piedmont Road Northeast

Atlanta, GA

This is a 21+ venue with an $8 door charge.

Acheter un CD.

Can’t blog when I have 2 new cds on the market without encouraging you to buy them ! Mama Bear and I braved the crowds at 3am on Black Friday and found absolutely nothing. Well… not true,  I bought a travel coffee mug and some new heads for my electric toothbrush and gained a priceless experience. But otherwise, I wasn’t particularly impressed by the whole thing. I might do it again next year though because I’d like to take Baby Bear and hear her snarky comments about all of the people who were desperate enough for 46 inch tvs to trample each other. If you want to do some more dignified Christmas shopping, check out the new Christmas compilation album that we’re a part of. If you’re not into Christmas and need a Hanukkah gift instead, or even just one that you can listen to throughout the year (not knocking people who listen to Christmas music all year round, I know people who do it… they’re just weird), then hit up the Sarah Mac Band online store and pick up the new Single Revolution disc.

Joyeux Noël.

Don’t forget that we have some Sarah Mac Band Christmas shows coming up soon.

We’ll be in Atlanta, December 10th, with many of the Rock by the Sea Artists on the Christmas album. Then its back down to Florida for our Christmas shows in Tallahassee and Tampa. If you didn’t make it last year, then this is your chance to catch up and see what everyone has been talking about for the last year! You can buy advanced tickets for the Tallahassee show here. If you’re in the Tampa area and you’d like to purchase advanced tickets (as the Tampa show could very easily sell out) please visit the Hideaway Café’s website.

And to get you in the mood, I’ll leave you with a few goofy Christmas pics of the Mac Dogs.

Au Revoir!

Jasper gazes wistfully under the tree hoping to spot a Sarah Mac Band cd!

Canceled re-wedding, SMB tv show, and a Christmas album!

My best friend from high school was supposed to have a re-wedding this weekend.

re•wed•ding
–noun
1. the act or ceremony of marrying for a second time; marriage; nuptials.
2. the big party that you have to celebrate your ten year anniversary when your actual wedding was at the courthouse and didn’t include any kind of reception or fancy public ceremony

Although I’m the champion of hooker high heels (that I rarely wear outside of Sarah Mac Band shows), my lifestyle doesn’t really call for any kind of fancy dress. Thus, my meager wardrobe consists mainly of jean, t-shirts and cardigan sweaters. The fantasy shopping for a new re-wedding worthy dress was one of the highlights of my thought life of the past few months. Alas, in a funny little turn of events, the re-wedding is canceled—not because of any glitch in marital bliss, but rather because the bride-to-be is pregnant and doesn’t want to look big and trashy in her wedding dress. Plus, who wants to buy tons of alcohol for all of their friends to enjoy at a party in your own honor when you can’t partake as well? No shame, sister. I’d do the same thing.

Since it was a holiday weekend, and an off-weekend for the SMB, I decided to take advantage of the free time and jaunt over to the West Coast. I am writing this blog from a coffee shop outside of the second largest mall in America, in a suburb of Los Angeles.

Charlie’s wife told me last week that she thinks that I am uniquely designed to live in community. I actually really appreciated that assessment of my personality and makeup. I would like to propose an addition to said assessment: I think that I am also uniquely designed for solo air travel.

I love the time that it provides—you can’t work, you can’t talk to your friends, you can’t text, your only option is to sit and think. Which is what I do. And it’s wonderful.

Yesterday, for the majority of the duration of my cross continental journey (which takes almost as long as a trip to Europe—depending on where exactly you’re going over there), I committed my thought time to the Sarah Mac Band. I wrote in my journal, I schemed and planned, I played with words and song ideas, I thought about where we’ve been in the last few days and where we plan on being in the next few months.

from•the•heart•music•hour

We played last weekend at the Monticello Opera House as part of The Heart Music Hour. It was a marvelous weekend with great bands, great production, and great people. For two nights, we (along with some other fantastic bands) played music for a live audience and a film crew. The concerts will then be cut into a tv show and aired later this month. Find out more by following this link to their website.

rock•by•the•sea•christmas•album

Some of you may remember our connection to Rock by the Sea, an organization that uses music to support pediatric brain cancer research. We play their festival every year and this year recorded a song for their Christmas Compilation album. You can check out our contribution to the album by clicking on this link. We encourage you to buy the album and help support cancer research. If you’re in the area, we’ll be getting together with some of the other bands from the album for a charity concert in Atlanta next month. Keep your eyes on the website for more details as they’re available.

And with that… I’m signing out. Although I have no re-wedding to attend this weekend, I’m outside the second largest mall in America, far too close to an Anthropologie store to not buy a fancy dress. See you guys on the flip side!

-SM

Old Green Stanky and a trip to the beach

I love to play with fabric… textures, colors, patterns.

Kind of like a baby staring at all of the swirling colors on the tv, it’s very easy for me to get caught up in the experience of fabrics. Maybe that’s what I love about the idea of reupholstering furniture. I can take this old dead thing and give it color and texture and pattern, all swirled together to make a new, beautiful, useful piece of art. That’s why a few weeks ago, when Housemate and I were walking home from delivering a fresh, hot, bread pudding to some of our neighbors, we stopped at the dead couch on the side of the road. I checked it out to make sure that it wasn’t too difficult of an undertaking to strip and redo, and then sent her up to the house to ask if it was indeed a cast-off. It is very un-neighborly to steal someone’s couch, especially if it’s only on the side of the road because unbeknownst to them, their prankster teenage kids threw it to the curb to be funny.

Housemate knocked on the door and confirmed that “Old Green Stanky” was indeed unwanted and homeless and then we flexed our independent girl muscles and carried him all the way home. Now as he awaits his makeover, he sits on our back porch, making us look kind of like a frat house. I’m a little bit embarrassed, but I figure that since we have a very tall privacy fence, nobody will know… except now I guess, you. And then one day, when I have $200 extra hanging around to buy fancy fabric, he will get a new skin and a new life… and probably a new home because our house is pretty small and overfilled as it, without a second couch to contend with. Let me know if you need a new old couch 🙂

Regardless of what the future holds for OGS, right now, he serves his purpose well. I use him in the early evenings to sit on the porch and enjoy the day’s end while I write new songs. This afternoon, I was writing with OGS when Housemate’s dad came over to do some odd jobs that we needed some help with.

“Oh Sarah Mac, how did the weekend rock show at the beach treat you?” Note: Please read all of his commentary with a Caribbean accent in your head because that’s how he talks in real life and it makes it that much more charming.

Since I had an invitation to do so, I gave Papa Joe a meticulously detailed rundown of the Sarah Mac Band’s experience this weekend at the Rock By the Sea Festival on St. George Island, FL.

I started by telling him about how great it was to be on the island, staying on our own little beach house, spending my time with my best friends, enjoying each other, enjoying nature, and doing what we’re most passionate about—playing music (although reupholstery runs a close second in my book). Just for the record, we did not go swimming.

Then I told him about how we got to meet and greet our already known fans and also our newly made fans. We got to listen to their stories, trace all the paths that got them here, learn their names and what they’re about. We met a large Tallahassee contingency that we expect to see in the next couple of weeks at our Tallahassee shows. We met a large Tampa contingent too. Based on the momentum that we have right now in Tampa/St. Pete, when you add in these guys, I think that we might actually sell out the Hideaway Café when we play there in June. I’ll be expecting to see all of you. Know that when we play the Hideaway, we have been known to stay late into the night, drinking and hanging out and playing impromptu, acoustic after show jam sessions. I’m not promising anything, but I will let it tease you in hopes that it might sway you if you’re on the cusp. Just go ahead and put it on your calendar!

Charlie Walker invited me up to sing an Otis Redding cover with him. I’m not sure that I actually got the lyrics right, but he was still super gracious. High-five, Charlie II!

Then I moved on to tell him about why I appreciate Rock By the Sea so much. In our brief time of being the Sarah Mac Band, we’ve been lucky enough to add quite a few music festivals to our resume. The thing that distinguished Rock By the Sea from the other ones is that somehow written into the DNA of this festival is an added element of community. As artists, we are able to spend time with other artists and get to know them. At this particular festival we made some new SMBBFFB (Sarah Mac Band Best Friend Forever Band): Charlie Walker (who will forever be Charlie II in my book since we already have our own Charlie), Brian Fechino (from the Pat McGee Band among many others), and Keith Kane (From Vertical Horizon) for whom we developed an awkward propensity for calling “Kevin.” Side Note: Jeannie and Leo (from our other SMBFFB, Sleepin’ Dogz), if you’re reading this, don’t feel threatened. Our hearts are big enough to love all of you without anyone getting the shaft.

Check out Keith and Brian’s new project with percussionist Chardy McEwan

“Well Sarah Mac, that is a wonderful rock star weekend. That sounds dope.” Don’t forget the Caribbean accent.

“Huh? Wait, Papa Joe, where did you learn to talk like that?” Not with the accent, but with the “hip-and-with-it” slang that the kids are using these days.

“Oh, well now Sarah Mac, I keep up with my American Idol. That’s dope, dawg. Your weekend was just simply dope. Now I will take my leave. I hope that the shower works better now ladies. God Bless. And Sarah dear, give my fondest regards to your father. Yes, tell Mister Elwood that I hope that his trip to Hawaii was lovely. Yes, tell him that his old friend Joe said hello.” Then he gets into his car and proceeds with his signature move… which is knocking over our mailbox as he backs out of the driveway.

So, here I sit with OGS, on our pollen coated back porch… by this time, it’s too dark to read the rough lyrics on the notebook. Since I just heard Housemate open a bottle of Malbec in the kitchen, I think that I’ll just call it a night and go inside to try to cadge a glass from her stash. I need to give Mister Elwood a call anyway. He would want to know that his old friend Joe sends his fondest regards.

Love is in the air… at least for the oak trees….

CNN.com had an article this week in their Living section about allergy season. It seems that Knoxville, TN is the worst city for allergies in the US. I’ve heard some grumblings that the good people of Tallahassee might start a letter writing campaign to convince our friends at CNN that their research was obviously flawed, as they overlooked the prime candidate for “Worst City For Allergies.”

“Holy Oak Gamete, Batman! What is all of this powder falling out of these envelopes! Someone call the HazMat Team, I think we have Anthrax. Tallahassee is trying to kill us with their letter writing campaign!”

“No Jim, this powder’s yellow. I think that it may just be the collection of all of the pollen that was suspended in the air when they sealed this envelope. Call the intern to sweep it into the pile in the break room where we’ve put the rest of it. He can’t miss it, it’s six feet tall. And remind him to use his gas mask! Since Claratin went over the counter, it’s no longer covered under our HMO!”

I used to have major allergy problems. Not just during allergy season, but year round, I felt like a Vicodin-addicted celebrity, going from pharmacy to pharmacy, not to be sneaky and get more drugs, but more because I had already depleted the Zyrtek and Tylenol Sinus inventory at the last one. And then without warning, maybe five years ago, it just went away. No more coughing, sneezing, nose bleeds, sinus infections, hiding from the world and duct taping all of the seams in my windows like I was expecting a nuclear fog or something, just breath… in and out… with no wheezing and no problems.

Although, my neighbors suggested this weekend that it might have been because about five years ago, I switched to non-confrontational vegetarianism (which basically means, I don’t eat meat, but I’m not going to wear a lettuce bikini or have carcasses of dead animals delivered to your house to protest the fact that you do). I would like to submit this strange, sudden change in my body as further evidence supporting my theory that there does in fact exist and that I’m in the midst of a strange unnamed somatic shift that I like to call “Puberty II.”

My housemate had a friend over the other day. There was a brief moment when my heart fluttered as this man entered my home.

Tall, check.

Attractive, check.

Straight AND single, check.

Going to be a doctor when he grows up, check accompanied by an exclamation point.

He was charming and wonderful and engaged us in intelligent conversation over red wine until we started talking about my [former] allergies (I’m still not sure how that came up). Before I was able to bring my Puberty II theory to the table, he looked me up and down, thumbed his nose at me and said in a condescending, disgusted tone, “Maybe you should just go outside more.”

“Alright Mister Puka-Shell-Necklace-Man-Versus-Wild, in case you haven’t noticed, I rock the Chaco sandals with the best of them. Unlike some, I just choose to shower and regularly get pedicures. It doesn’t make me less hearty than you are. And if you hadn’t interrupted me and had listened to the rest of my story, you would know that I don’t have allergies anymore, so I don’t need to self immunize by being outside and breathing in a big puff of pollen daily until I’ve built resistance!” Although really, if you’re in a pollen city like Tallahassee, you would know that no matter what you do, you’re breathing in a big puff of pollen daily… probably every time you inhale. So if that actually worked, then we’d all be cured after one allergy season!

Maybe not… I don’t know. The truth is, I almost failed physics in college because I had it with Patrick Ennis and Tyree Jordan. We met every day at the front door to the auditorium and instead of going inside and listening to the lecture, we left to go have lunch together. That ‘D,’ the only one I’ve ever made in my life, killed any chance that I might have had of being a doctor when I grew up. So, instead I went into social science and know absolutely nothing about most medical stuff, even though I have single handedly elevated hypochondrias to an art form.

Walking your weiner dogs in the park counts as being outside, right?

None the less, he did cause me to self-audit my outdoorsiness. I mean, I walk in my neighborhood. And then this weekend after seeing Paddle to Seattle my neighbor and I decided to assume custody my dad’s Pygmy kayak and go camping. If all else fails, I can still claim outdoorsiness because it’s music festival season. I think that almost every gig that we’ve played in the last few weeks has been outside, and we’re up for another one this weekend!

If you want to combine your outdoorsiness with your love for music and alcohol (that does not represent the official stance of the RBTS festival, just the observations and experiences at the music festivals of one individual), then I would encourage you to come to St. George Island, FL and join us this weekend at the Rock by the Sea Festival. If you have bad allergies, this might be a great experiment. I don’t know if they have the right kind of trees at the coast… and if they do, can the pollen carry as far out as St. George Island? We’ll find out. See you there!

Here are some photos of us OUTSIDE in the last couple of weeks!

March 2010: Sarah Mac Band at the Great Atlantic Seafood Festival in Jax Beach, FL.

Hanging at the merch table with pals at the Great Atlantic Seafood Festival.

March 2010: People made Sarah Mac Band graffiti on the cobblestones at the Springtime Tallahassee Festival!

Don’t forget your sunscreen!