Tag Archives: sarah mac band

Redo

Charlie: “if I could do it all over again, I’d rename our band Kaza Bizu.”
Claire: “What? That’s a terrible idea! People can’t even spell Sarah Mac correctly!”
Charlie: “Well, what would you rename us?”
Claire: “I’d call us the Ron Swansons.”

Advertisements

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.

Pep Talk

photo

Bucky, the recording studio dog, takes a break from recording to jump in the lake for a hot second.

I’m tucked away in the backwoods studios for Gatorbone Records, drinking too many cups of coffee, and waiting to lay down my backing vocals for some new Grant Peeples tunes. In my downtime, I’ve been talking shop with Elisabeth Williamson, which I would recommend for anyone who needs a good pep talk about being a musician (or about anything, for that matter).

Sometimes I get super down on the world and feel sorry for myself because it’s tough in the world for a musician. Although the rational side of me knows that everyone has their own type of struggle, I still believe it when the Krazy Kat Lady (that’s what I call the little devil that sits on my shoulder and whispers irrational/mean/untrue things in my ear… yes, “k” instead of “c”) tells me I would be better off had I chosen to be an accountant, chemist, or dog trainer.

This is not one of those times. Although I’m poorer than I’d like to be and less well know professionally, I’m pretty content right now with my place in the world. I’m doing okay.

Charlie sent me an email not too long ago:

Sarah,
Here is my word for you today:
“What is worth doing even if you fail?”
Is it music?

I think it is. I think that this is it.

And since you can’t have an Elisabeth Williamson pep talk, here’s one for you:

Bibliophobia

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. –Franklin D. Roosevelt

Steel Cut Oat Risotto– only looks like vomit. It’s actually really flavorful… in a good way!

Band Goes Green applies to how we eat—plant based. Ideally, more green than anything else. More green than red, that’s for sure.

Charlie’s super hippy sister, Nancie, stopped by our Band Goes Green pre-practice family dinner on Thursday on her drive home from visiting one of her children in Pensacola. Over a delightful steel cut oat risotto and pumpkin torte with ginger cardamom (fake) butter cream, she said, “Yeah, I think it’s awesome that you guys are vegan, but I’ll tell you the truth, I was really disappointed when I realized that the Band Goes Green means you were eating vegan and not that you were going to be Earth First.”

Vegan, GF pumpkin torte with Ginger Cardamom frosting… who ever heard of cardamom?

We had to explain to her, “Duh, Nancie, it’s just a given that we’re Earth First.” I mean, outside of using a hell of a lot of fossil fuels to drive our minivan all over God’s green earth, we’re pretty responsible global citizens. Although we don’t smell like armpits (most of the time) and patchouli, we still vote, carpool when possible, and recycle. In fact, I’m so committed to recycling that I buy recycled toilet paper (not kidding).

There’s really very little that I’m not okay reusing or not having new. In fact, my only real issue is books. I know, it seems weird. Clothes and bedding seem like they would really gross you out to use when someone else already had—you might have their armpits and patchouli on them (among other things). No big deal, just douse it in some Borax and then let the sun bleach all the yuck out. But, books, whew!! I just can’t handle them used.

I don’t like the idea of other people’s hands being on them and rubbing the oil from their palms on the pages. I don’t like the fact that the corners of the pages are sort of smashed down and flaring, so that all kinds of germs can get stuck in the pores of the paper. And when I was a child and used to check books out by the dozen at the rural route Bookmobile that parked every Tuesday at Chaires Elementary School, I checked out a copy of Island of the Blue Dolphins once that had a dried, bloody, bogey (that’s what JK Rowling calls it in Harry Potter, if you haven’t read that… well, you need to read it… but if you haven’t, then you should know that I’m referring to a booger in American English) gluing some of the pages together.

Forget about empirically proven intervention programs.  Scholastic Books keeps kids from growing up and becoming street thugs… I’m living proof.

From thence, I was forever changed from lighthearted, carefree, book borrower to skeptical, careful book buyer each month when my teacher passed out the flyer for the Scholastic Book Club. Just like Baby Bear and I would graffiti the Sears Christmas Catalog with permanent marker every year to show Santa Claus which Barbies we NEEDED to see under our tree, each month, I would circle everything in the Scholastic Book Club flyer that tickled my fancy. My parents believing that they were supporting my literacy and keeping me busy so that I would stay off the streets and away from that one kid in our neighborhood, Ray, who played with firecrackers, bought me almost every book that I circled. Little did they know that they were actually indulging an anxiety, which grew and resulted in an acute fear of libraries.

I love book stores. Sometimes when I walk into a good one, I could almost cry. But, I can’t handle libraries. Ugh, they freak me out, hard core. Too many dirty books that other people have touched. It’s like worse that the jury waiting room for breeding disease… if you had an accurate and reliable way to measure it, there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that you will find evidence to trace every major outbreak of every major epidemic that ever touched this earth somehow to a library. And it makes me feel almost as dirty as one of those killer epidemics to even say that because I LOVE BOOKS!

I feel like this is a safe place. So, I feel like I can confess that to you and not be judged.

And now that I’ve told you that, you have sufficient background to understand how monumental this next bit of news it.

After 16 years of library avoidance (it has been far more than 16 years since the famed bogey/booger incident, but when I was in high school, I was unable to avoid libraries because they were often the site of study halls and meetings for the Math club and Brain Bowl club, both of which I was a member of because Mama Bear and Mister Elwood thought it would keep me off the streets, and away from that one kid in our neighborhood, Ray, who played with firecrackers), yesterday, I suddenly found myself overcome with bravery and resolve to conquer my used book issues and I went to the Leon County Public Library.

Once I got inside, I had to do a little walk around to get my bearings and gather my nerve. And then I went to the circulation desk, filled out a form and got a library card! Seriously.

I know that you’re reading this and sort of laughing at me, thinking that I’m making fun of myself and making this seem like a bigger deal than it really is. But, I’m honestly not. I felt so stupid because I was standing at the desk while the librarian put my information into the computer with my heart pounding, barely able to catch my breath, having to hold onto the edge of the desk because I was so anxious that I thought I would either throw up or pass out. When I got my card, I had to take several breaths before I could get my trembling hands still enough to put the card into the slot in my wallet. And when I turned to walk back out into the main library, I realized that I was so sweaty and gross from the whole five minute experience that I actually smelled like the legit Earth First recycle person that I am (or at least am on my way to being since I’m getting comfortable with the idea of used books)… minus the patchouli.

It sounds kind of funny, but once I had my card, I still couldn’t bring myself to actually go and check out a book. I started for the books section, but when I thought about the yellowed pages with frayed corners and the musty smells of other people’s hand sweat soaked into the pages, I couldn’t do it. Luckily, I had visited a book store earlier in the day and I had a nice, crisp, brand new copy of Karen Russell’s Swamplandia in my bag. I touched it to remind me that books are good and clean and should not produce anxiety. And then I decided to save the task of checking out a library book for another day. One monumental thing was enough for an overly warm Friday in October (or maybe it only seemed so warm because I was so close to loosing my head!!).

But I didn’t feel like I could just walk out the front doors forty-five seconds after getting my library card. It just felt weird, like asking someone to watch your suitcase in the airport and then stealthily disappearing. I thought that maybe the security guard would tackle me on my way out and take my precious Swamplandia to add to their collection or something. In a panic, I spun around looking for something… anything to help me out… and there I saw it, the music section.

“Okay, cds generally have hard plastic, non-porous surfaces. No frayed edges, no residual smells from other people’s hands, less chance of germs. I can look through their cds before I leave to at least prolong this experience a bit and give me a chance to get a little more comfortable with being in the library so that next time, maybe I can step up to checking something out.”

Look what I found in the music section… no joke!

For those of you that don’t know, this is our first ever album, “Countdown to Silence,” released in 2005… I think.

I did not check it out since I already have a copy hanging around somewhere…

Don’t worry folks, I’m working through this. In fact, I have a date with Luke and Drew tomorrow at the library after nap time. Pretty soon, I’ll be a Band Goes Green girl that would make Nancie Vanture superproud—eating vegan in my recycled clothes, riding in a carpool, while I read my library book!

I’ll still never smell like patchouli though… that’s just not my thing.

Nashville, y’all!

I have not blogged yet about Nashville. It’s getting to the point that it’s uncomfortable to even go out into public because I’m asked about it so frequently… at the grocery store, at a block party last night, at church, getting coffee, the public library, when I got my car serviced yesterday…. That does two things: wash me anew with awe and wonder that we had so many people who knew about the contest to send a local Tallahassee band to the Americana Music Festival and Conference and even more so that we had so many people who were so invested and voted for us every day, and then embarrass me that I have yet to report back to everyone who is penning all of their hopes on us to make our city proud.

Here are the reasons that I have been so hesitant to write about our trip to Nashville.

I’m still sort of reeling from it and I have yet to wrap my head around everything. Even this afternoon, I spent a good forty five minutes going through all of the notes that I took in conference sessions, the reminders that I jotted down for later, “Check this person out online and see what their story is,” and the notes that I wrote to help process through what I was experiencing, and I still don’t quite have a grasp on my head and my heart in regards to it all.

The conference was above all, a juggernaut of information.  I felt almost assaulted by what I suddenly became aware of NOT knowing. However, I’m an eager learner, so I put on my Sarah Palin (not a political endorsement, but rather a visual frame of reference) glasses, pulled out my fancy purple pens with flowy ink (that’s the key for me… I’m really particular about my pens… not so much the color, but the degree to which the ink flows and Claire was so sweet to indulge my peculiarity and buy special pens specifically for me to use at this conference) and took forty pages of notes.

I enjoyed college… well, not so much the first time that I went because I was depressed and in a really bad place. But when I went back for graduate school, I loved it. The process of learning, synthesizing and then producing is my area of expertise. I thrive there. I excel far above all of the others in that arena. Because this conference was a bit overwhelming, I had to attack it the only way that I thought I might a chance—academically.

Maybe it was a good awakening for me.  I’m so far removed from the business of music. In spite of my ability to think things through logically, breaking them down into manageable pieces that will ultimately bring me one step closer to accomplishing the objective, I’m much more comfortable in the touchy-feely side of things. I like to hang out with people and hear their stories. I like to shake their hands and look them in the eyes. I like to write songs that hit people in the heart. I leave all of the hard stuff Charlie and Claire. Perhaps, it order for us to all be more equally yoked, it was necessary to introduce me to the burden of the business, too.

So, I came away from our Nashville trip humbled, with the beginnings of a new strategic plan that can only be expressed in the language of spreadsheets and analyses. I’ll spare you that stuff, since it’s boring and hard, and believe me, you only want to deal with it if you are contractually obliged or pinky sworn to do so. Instead, I’ll give you the parts that are less “Hermoine,” the overachieving graduate student in the Sarah Palin glasses with a purple, flowy ink pen and more Sarah Mac the free-spirited, living grateful, introspective writer who consistently laughs at herself and finds joy in the small things.

žIt’sž+Europeanž

Charlie incessantly quotes Seinfeld in the car. It’s kind of funny. It’s kind of annoying. But then he’s from the generation that actually considered Seinfeld funny, so we just know that it goes with the territory. And for every three crappy Seinfeld play-by-plays that we have to endure, we get a really funny story, like maybe a high school or college escapade, or a Richard Prior joke that he tries to pass off as his own…

Like a good conference attendee, Charlie brought a bag to carry all of his materials…. iPad, packed lunch, Moleskin notebook, pen with flowy ink, etc. As he tossed it over his shoulder in the parking lot, Claire said, “Hey dude, why you taking a purse with you?”

Of course, in typical Charlie fashion, he had to say, “It’s not a purse, it’s a carryall. It’s European.”

At the end of that episode though, Jerry has to admit that it is most definitely a purse…

 (A pickpocket runs by, taking Jerry’s carryall, while everyone yells in surprise)

Jerry: Hey! Officer! Someone took my European carryall!

Cop: Your what?

Jerry: The…black, leather…thing with a strap.

Cop: You mean a purse?

Jerry: Yes, a purse. I carry a purse!

From the Seinfeld episode, “The Reverse Peephole,” originally aired 01/15/98

žClaire’sž+Až+Ballerž

As evidenced by the fact that she’s hanging tight with Sara Watkins… or at least got to take a photo with her after her set.

žPraisež+Veganž+Jesusž

We found a wonderful place to eat in Nashville. Of course, we expected that because it’s a big city and most big cities have at least one vegan restaurant. If you’re an avid reader of our Band Goes Green blog, you know though that we often have problems finding places to eat, even in big cities.

On a recommendation from a vegan friend, we went to the Wild Cow… twice. We have magnificent food, good fellowship, and I as I was contemplating breaking vegan fast and having some really fancy black cherry and goat cheese ice cream, Vegan Jesus reminded me of my solemn vows and delivered me from temptation by having me puked on (not kidding). You can read about it here

žWhat+žIs+žCornž+Ponež

Part of our conference fee went towards a ticket to attend the Americana Music Association’s Americana Music Awards show. It’s not as big time as the Grammy’s, but it’s way more big time than the Chaires Elementary School Fall Festival. We were excited, because:

1)      It took place in the Ryman Auditorium

2)      They had like twelve bars in the place and let you drink inside the auditorium

3)      We saw lots of our musical heroes all in one place

There were performances by the Punch Brothers, the Alabama Shakes, Sara Jarosz, Bonnie Raitt, Booker T. Jones, Richard Thompson, Buddy Miller (I love him like I love Ed Harris) and the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Then at the end of the night, there was an all-star jam, where one of my all-time favorites that ever walked the face of the earth (and also Claire’s, as she named one of her cats after her), Emmylou Harris walked out, resplendent in a purple poncho, to sing a tribute to Levon Helm.

The show was televised, so Mama Bear and Mister Elwood watched it on television, in hopes of seeing our faces in crowd shots. Now that Mama Bear is an avid text messager, we compared notes via cellular telephone. She was giving me the play by play from the television as I gave her the real time play by play from Nashville. This was our conversation following the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ performance of their twangy single “Country Girl” from the new album, Leaving Eden.

Funny… autocorrect doesn’t like the word, “pone.”

 

Rockabillyž+Isž+Badassž

Amer·i·ca·na

noun plural \ə-ˌmer-ə-ˈkä-nə, -ˌmər-, -ˌme-rə-, -ˈka-nə\

1 : materials concerning or characteristic of America, its civilization, or its culture; broadly : things typical of America

2 : American culture

3 : a genre of American music having roots in early folk and country music

From the Merriam-Webster Free Online Dictionary

What counts as Americana? I think that you could probably make a case for everything. I learned in academia that anything is possible. If you spin it right in your proposal, you can get a grant from the Underwater Basket Weaving Society of Greater Tuscaloosa for research into the body painting practices of indigenous Australasia and Oceana inhabitants. I kind of feel like the same is true for Americana. Jazz, Blues, old Country, new Country, Bluegrass, Corn Porn, and until I saw Wanda Jackson live in person, I forgot about Rockabilly.

Even at 74, the Queen of Rockabilly can still melt your face off.

žOutž+Ofž+The+žShellž

Excerpt from my journal, Thursday, September 13, 2012:

It’s funny how people tend to glamorize working in music. Even Baby Bear said before I left the other night, “Come home famous!!” Although it’s glamorous in some sense, for example, getting to go to the Americana Music Awards, to which I was miserably underdressed and embarrassed about (think, jeans, t-shirt and flip-flops—Thank God M & D were watching the telecast to report that the shabby looking Sarah Mac Band did not make any type of televised crowd shots!!), it’s more work than not. Of course, it we were Lady Gaga or Beyonce, we might have a more glamorous experience doing this. That would, however, require that I get my eyebrows done more often and get a little better at walking in heels.

So far from this conference, I’ve been much more inundated with the less glamorous, “hard work” part of trying to make it as an independent artist. More of the hustle like M.I.A, get very little sleep, make a lot happen on a small budget, learn to ask for help, keep good records, gamble on spending money that you don’t have in hopes of making money, drive a lot, camp a lot, smell bad a lot, appreciate the kindness of strangers part… Work, work, work.

I keep thinking about the tortoise and the hare. Since we’ve been doing this now for ten years almost, we’re obviously not the hare. At least, not in the temporal view. I guess if you measure in the grand macrocosmic scheme, since the beginning of time, we could be the hare. Perspective, perspective, perspective.

The tortoise seems exhausting. He never really got to stop and take a breath. He just had to plug on, plug, plug on. Kind of like when I ran my first 5K and although I wanted to die, Heidi would not let me stop, “Keep putting one foot in front of the other. You’re allowed to walk, but don’t stop. Keep moving. If you stop moving, I’ll punch you.” More scared of punching than puking and looking ugly to all of the attractive runner men flying by me at the hare’s pace, I didn’t stop…

Heidi’s too busy at home with two babies to punch me. So, I’m just hustling through all of these sessions trying to meet as many people and I can and learn everything that I can and make the most out of this opportunity– intrensic motivation, because I want this so much that sometimes it hurts me.With all of these informational sessions, we’ve had to stop to get food to refuel though… partially because I’m a bit hypoglycemic and I pass out when I’ve been fasting. And part, I think because our brains got scrambled. We walked around a few blocks from our hotel and saw the honkey tonks and Gruen Guitars, even though Daddy is going to be irritated that I went to Nashville for a second time in six months and didn’t go inside his special shop again

Hello, Nashville. There is a huge guitar pick on the side of a building somewhere near Broadway. A kitschy, Grandma’s on a Grand Ole Opry old people’s bus tour, photo op for the tourists before they put their shell back on and returned to the rat race… or fabled T & H race, as it were.

Thež+End+ž

I can’t thank you guys enough for giving us the opportunity to take this trip. COCAMusic Lessons Express, Grant Peeples, the AMA, Extended Stay Hotels, Tallahassee, and all of our fans, you guys did a really spectacular thing and I’m so grateful to have been a part of it. Although I still haven’t wrapped my head around it and won’t have anything to tell you other thank “thank you so much” when you stop me at the coffee shop to congratulate me, I thought that this might give you a little bit of an idea of what came out of your consistent, steady support. Thank you so much for voting for us and spreading the word.

We met a ton of wonderful people, we found a ton of resources created specifically to help independent artists make a career out of music. Heck, one of those resources got us on radio stations all over the world– Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Australasia and Oceana (see how I tied all of that back together, there? I learned how to do that in grad school… Oh, I did it again!!).

But even if none of this pans out. Even if the world ends tomorrow, we had fun and we laughed and we dreamed big dreams, and we proudly waved the Tallahassee banner everywhere we went (Charlie had it pinned to his European carry-all).

I love Luke and Drew… and you!

These are my favorite little people, Luke and Drew.

L to R: Drew and Luke, you don’t see their mom in the photo because we were hiding from her outside of a coffee shop (being careful to avoid the parking lot, of course).

I used to live in the attic above their house (I was a legit attic tenant– not like a creeper or George Bluth). It was a fun and productive era in my life—always covered in stickers and snot, chasing imaginary dragons, reading lots of books, playing lots of hide and seek and memorizing Despicable Me (which only took seven million views, not an exaggeration).  In  fact, seven of the songs from our newest album were birthed in that attic, late in the evening, at less than ideal volumes because I had babies sleeping below me.

As much as I try to be constant in their lives these days, it’s much more difficult when I’m always running from thing to thing, city to city. While I’m off doing my thing, they’re growing up, losing baby fat and suddenly speaking in complete sentences, all the while wearing little mini Toms hipster shoes. So, you can imagine my delight when I was roused from a pre-practice nap recently by a text message containing the following video (you totally should watch it—it’s a whole six seconds long and it showcases how adorable they are).

Although Luke and Drew are quite intimately familiar with “gluten-free,” vegan doesn’t make sense to them. Duh, why in the world wouldn’t you want a hamburger? Yet, in spite of the way that I don’t eat hamburgers, I would have no problem with walking into town with them to hang out at What-a-Burger. It just so happened that  less than an hour before receiving that invitation from them, I had invited Claire over to eat dinner with me before we went to practice. And although Claire is a good friend, and she would totally understand why I would back out and ditch her for the boys, I had sent her out to buy adult beverages to bring to our pre-practice dinner.

I countered with an offer, “Hey guys, since you’ll walk by my house on your way to What-a-Burger, why don’t you stop in and play for a little while?” And they did. And it did good things for my heart, as it always does.

Later that evening, I received the following text message:

“Me: boys, how fun was it to see Sarah Mac???

Luke: it was amazing! A really great evening!”

This was going to be how I blogged to get you  super excited about our album release party and inspired to either come if you’re located nearby or send people that you know if you’re not. Luke is pretty intuitive, if he says that an evening with Sarah Mac is amazing, I’d wager to guess that it most definitely is. So, that was gonna be my sell—tug at your heart strings with cute babies and then suck you in.

Unfortunately, the world just sort of spiraled out of control in the weeks preceding our album release party and I never got to blog my cool video of Luke and Drew to woo you to our album release shows. Luckily, in spite of the fact that I dropped the ball, we had two wonderful, standing room only release shows to usher us into a new era of Sarah Mac Bandness (AND… even though the Tallahassee show was far past bedtime, Luke and Drew’s handlers brought them out for the night, which almost made me cry on stage when I saw two tiny blonde heads way in the back). We had a small army of fans, friends, and family who volunteered their time and skills and helped us pull everything together.

These arrived in the mail the Monday after our Static and Signals release party attended by Luke and Drew.

I can’t even begin to tell you all how thankful we are for all of the help, support and encouragement that we have received on the journey to making this album and even more so, in your response to the final product.  I know that I’ve said this a million times already (not an exaggeration), but when I think about it too long or too hard, it makes my had start swimming, “People are really excited about our dreams.” Thank you so much for helping us get here. Thanks for signing on for the rest of the journey. We’re shooting for a long one. We’re excited to have you along for the ride.

Mama Bear bought me this top specifically for shows because she is a fervent believer that you should always be wearing some “bling” when you’re on stage.

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