Last I wrote we had just come back from a couple of the rainiest days that Jazzfest in New Orleans had ever had – with the schedule still going on and the days not being canceled.
As wet as it was it was a wonderful trip to one of our favorite cities and besides our fun days at Jazzfest we had some great adventures in the city.
Because we have some severe food allergies in the family (gluten, dairy & eggs) Kim does some amazing research when we travel to find great places to eat…..and breakfast is particularly difficult.
She found a gem this trip in the French Market (just past Cafe Du Monde).
Ohmygoodness!!! If you need gluten free, vegan, whatever – not only can they make it – it tastes great – and anyone with food allergies knows – just because someone says their food is gluten free - doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste like sawdust.
The best restaurant for those kinds of dietary needs we’ve ever come across.
In the course of our trip we had blueberry pancakes, crab cakes, gumbo, power shakes and much more that covered all of our allergies.
Roland works the counter (his sister is the chef and inventor of the amazing recipes):
We loved the food so much we went every day we were there – a perfect start to every morning.
The only problem…..Roland and Ethan bonded and this is the best smile Ethan has ever done for a photo…..we can’t ever get him to smile like that at any other time posing for photos. Drives his mom crazy. So I guess we’re going to have to ask Roland to travel with us on vacation from now on so we can get great Ethan photos all the time:
Our first day in the city we wandered through the French Quarter – always a joy and a place of discovery…for instance this mysterious reveler:
Great dancing breaks out on a moment’s notice wherever music is played on the street:
Our favorite sweet treat for the last few trips to New Orleans in the French Quarter is Meltdown – a frozen treat shop that makes treats that also fit our diet restrictions. You can get all kinds of frozen bars including dairy free & vegan that just rock:
My favorite is the Salted Caramel - Kim’s the Lavender Coconut:
Ethan’s is Watermelon:
Which reminds me that one of the great reasons to visit New Orleans……which hasn’t escaped the city promoters…..is the food – all the marvelous, wonderful, unique food. They know it and promote it. This was in the magazine in our hotel room and to my mind is a most perfect descriptive phrase:
The other major stop we made in New Orleans was to their aquarium (last trip we hit the zoo) and it was a great afternoon:
The “coral reef” exhibit was wonderful:
Nothing like a sleeping white alligator to make your day:
“Parakeet Point” was a bit too much like Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”:
Before we knew it we were back home for the beginning of T-Ball season:
And of course back to work.
Barnaby Bright is back from Europe and on tour again.
Even if I didn’t have their schedule I’d know where they are.
All I have to do is check Twitter.
Every show every day shows up.
The tweets just keep getting better and better:
The “Love Song” one fan asked about is “Just The Same”
As I mentioned in my last letter – it hasn’t been recorded yet…..which is driving fans crazy at the merch table when they ask about it – because they can’t buy it.
But they did do it on television in Kansas City a few weeks ago – here’s that version (keep reading on for another astonishing live recording of the song):
Barnaby Bright also got a thank you email the other day.
One of the most heartfelt I’ve ever read.
The big surprise was who it was from.
The marketing director at WNKU in Cincinnati.
Radio folks have artists visiting all the time.
In the station / on the air / and at station events.
It’s not a big deal – it’s fun, it’s music but it’s work.
At Mishara Music we love partnering with music radio because when it works there’s nothing better.
Last week WNKU tried something different that they’d never done before.
They held a fundraising event at a local restaurant with an artist performing for the first time.
Lots of set up / lots of questions – how to do this, do that…
I’m always nervous about artist events.
Especially when I can’t be there….believe me I’ve had some disasters happen.
Late that night after the event I got this email from Becky from Barnaby Bright:
Then the next day – I was cc’d on this thank you to Barnaby Bright:
I can count on the “thumb” of one hand – how many thank you letters like that I’ve seen from someone in Aaron’s position.
So I guess I’m putting across two messages here.
1. They’re not many stations – not many Marketing Directors like WNKU and Aaron Sharpe.
2. When you read the above twitter comments / the thank you letter from Aaron and then watch the video for “Just The Same” by Barnaby Bright – you may start to understand how special Becky and Nathan are.
But there’s more radio stories about Barnaby Bright – that wasn’t the only radio stop on this leg of the tour.
After the Cincinnati show they drove halfway across the country to Charlottesville Virginia and got up early to do an interview with Anne Williams at WNRN – the non-commercial music station that covers a wide swath of the area.
How do you sound at 9am in the morning?
Artists hate morning interviews.
Radio stations love them because morning shows are often their most listened to shows of the day.
Anne Williams has a great morning show and has interviewed hundreds of artists. She always asks a few important questions but lets the artists shine in performance.
I’ve heard lots of radio interviews over the years and I was blown away listening to this one.
Barnaby Bright played three songs at 9am in the morning….”Highway 9″ & “Castle Rock” from “The Longest Day” album and the above mentioned new song - “Just The Same”.
It’s simply the best live recording I’ve ever heard done at a radio station……anytime of the day.
But at 9am in the morning?
C’mon….who are these people that can sing and play like this at that time of the day?
When you listen - keep in mind - there’s only two of them – playing and singing live – no tapes or extra musicians. “Highway 9″ is great and then they just hit it so perfectly on “Castle Rock” and “Just The Same” that I’m amazed….again….at 9am in the morning….how well do you sing in the morning….(outside of the shower that is)?
Here’s the podcast link……video coming soon.
Have you ever noticed that I don’t ever put sales links in these blog posts?
Instead there are lots of links that give away a whole bunch of our songs.
You can get quite a selection of free songs by Barnaby Bright (along with songs by Peter Bradley Adams, Glen Phillips, Chris Ross, Clarensau and a number of other artists) on our 4 Amazon Mishara Music Free Song Samplers @
All for free.
As are the free songs on the Mishara Music website @
The best part about our website free songs – you can download anywhere in the world and there’s no email or registration of any kind required……ever.
Speaking of Chris Ross
Still the best Facebook posts of anyone:
But he’s also a singer songwriter of exceptional ability.
And a most gracious person – who when I remember to make him aware of radio airplay – is always thankful – here’s two recent examples:
Chris does something unique among the artists I know. Within days of writing a “keeper” song he records an acoustic version and posts it on YouTube.
Here’s one of my all time favorites – “Your America” – a lyrical masterpiece:
If you watch and listen you’ll understand why the first comment underneath the video reads this way:
“Mighty fine music, Chris. Mighty fine. I’m off to iTunes, brother”
Don’t forget there are free songs by Chris on our free music links as well.
Then there’s Clarensau.
Tyler from the band is in agreement with me about how best to promote themselves and their music (as we do with all our artists on Mishara):
Give the music away!
Now we’ve taken what we call “The Commitment Songs” from the two Clarensau albums “Until Our Lungs Give” and “This One’s For You”:
And put a free download album up on Noisetrade:
The reason we chose these songs is because the band gets so much response and so many thank you’s from people that appreciate their lyrics and the back and forth vocals from Tyler and Sally.
They write Clarensau about how the songs have meaning in their own lives.
Isn’t that what music is all about?
You can also hear our next release on Mishara Music - “Golden Hour” by Caitlin Canty (free songs coming soon on our Amazon Free song sampler # 5) @
You might think it’s strange that as a company we believe in giving away so many songs.
Our philosophy is rather unique.
“Build The Audience”.
We never look short term at cd sales, song downloads or ticket sales.
We’re passionate about our music and want to share it.
If we build the audience – our finances will work themselves out…..hopefully.
I suspect you’ll never see Mishara Music on Wall St….as our motivation is music instead of money.
So if you hear some music you like from one of our artists…..click on the free song links and download away.
Share the songs and our passion for the music and the artists.
The last time I’d checked our Amazon free song samplers had produced over 800,000 free song downloads.
Can’t wait to get to a million.
Here are our free song links again:
So after New Orleans we hit Mother’s Day the following weekend.
And as we all know – being a mother is all about family and for this Mother’s Day we had a big surprise for Ethan…..but I told him we were taking his mom to a special convention in a hotel in Manchester New Hampshire – a 3 hour drive – that was all about Mother’s Day.
That it was a surprise for her.
He was totally into it.
Excited about surprising his mom for Mother’s Day.
The whole trip Kim kept asking “Where are we going, what’s the surprise?”
Ethan and I kept telling her – “Can’t tell you – have to wait and see”.
Ahhhhh but it wasn’t a surprise for Kim…..it was a surprise for Ethan.
Once we hit the hotel convention center – we said – “Oh Ethan, look….it’s not a surprise for mom….it’s a surprise for you!”
“Brickfair” - a convention of dealers and exhibitors for LEGOS – who knew they had such a thing?
But they sure did:
If you’re 7 years old…..life is all about Legos.
This was the best surprise I’ve ever been a part of.
Ethan raced from table to table looking at characters, displays and the play Lego tables:
In the end Ethan ended up with three Star Wars characters he’s wanted for quite a while – including his very favorite – Yoda:
Couldn’t ask for a more fun Mother’s Day:
I was going to write about my trip to Philadelphia to the Non-Commercial music radio meeting in this letter…..so much great stuff happened there…..but it’ll have to wait until the next post as this post is already about the length of “War And Peace”…..but I’ll leave you with two teasers about it.
1. An interview that includes a story told by someone who ended up sitting between Keith Richards and Mick Jagger and was asked by Keith “Do you really want to be a part of this meat sandwich?”
2. Speaking of meat sandwiches…..because of our family food allergies I rarely eat an item like this but once a year when I hit this annual convention in Philly – I have what I consider to be my favorite sandwich ever (disclaimer – my favorite sandwich that doesn’t contain lobster that is). A classic Philly cheesesteak – and as everyone does – I have my special place that I consider to be the best:
More about the Philly trip next time.
In the meantime the schooners in Camden Harbor are getting ready for a busy summer season:
It’s a time of discovery by the pond near the house – sometimes you even get to sneak out of the house in your pj’s if it’s a lovely lazy weekend day:
We also can’t help but relive our trip to New Orleans.
They definitely do things a bit differently there:
The late night hotel treats are wonderful:
Sadly as Ethan gets older this was probably the last trip where we could pick him up and carry him when he was tired and the crowd was overwhelming:
The iron work everywhere in the French Quarter is so beautiful:
As is the city itself – and note here – this photo and most of the great artistic one’s were / are taken by my wonderful wife Kim who graciously allows me to use them without me ever giving her as much credit as she’s due:
But she didn’t take this one……which was taken nine years ago this week…..on the occasion of our marriage…..imagine putting up with someone like me who does all the stuff described in these letters for nine years – she loves her son and loves her husband and we wholeheartedly love her back:
We’re already wondering if we should / could find a way to head back to Jazzfest next year.
Maybe you can join us for a wonderful meal of fresh boiled seafood – crabs, shrimp and my favorite crawfish:
See you then?
PS I’m always amazed by what they build with Legos…..and this Memorial Day weekend….this construction can help us spend a moment thinking about how many brave people’s lives were changed by just this one event - not to mention all the times in human history where unselfish and honorable men and women sacrificed themselves for the betterment of all humankind:
PPS Lastly…..another Lego surprise…..sooner or later it appears everyone will be “Legoized”.
These Lego figures were a present for Ethan from our family friends Anne (private message to Anne – “You’re It”) and Mel.
I immediately kidnapped them and they’re on a special place on my desk…..I was already passionate about music before they changed my life – but without them – I might never have taken the path in life I did – which brought me to Jazzfest, Mishara Music, our family life in Maine and most of all Ethan and Kim. Thanks guys: