Monday, July 22, 2013

A better brain in 7 minutes or less

Social suicide

I used to bribe myself* to perform at open mics.  Most often at the Cactus Cafe, a great listening room at my alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin.  Billboard Magazine has called it a venue "from which careers can be cut."  No pressure.

Open mics are great practice for getting through those first terrifying moments, which feel like eons, when your body and mind are working against you because public performance is the surest way to social suicide.  All your protective instincts yell, "Get down from there!  What are you doing!?  If you stand out all alone, the bigger animals will eat you!"

The deeper you go, the deeper it gets

I did it anyway, I needed it somehow, and everything has come full circle with this latest album, Dreamy Weather, recorded live... at the Cactus Cafe.

Last week, I played that great room once again (picture below) with The Jayhawks lead singer Gary Louris.  It was a beautiful night of music shared with a wonderful audience in a space dripping with good juju from the thousands of performances that came before.

One great thing about music is that there will always be a higher level to achieve. As the saying goes, "the deeper you go, the deeper it gets."  Those tastes of the deep keep me going.  It feels like the highest honor to share music with you.

Everyone is a musician

Last month at Summerfest in Milwaukee, I was asked in an interview about when I "started being a musician." My answer was that WE ARE ALL MUSICIANS.  It's part of being human.  Sure, different people have different gifts and all 107 billion of us who ever lived are somehow sprinkled with our own unique flavor and style.  What separates people we call "musicians" is the inclination to invest the time and effort in developing that particular gift. 

Music is for everyone.  Luckily, you don't have to go through the harrowing roller coaster ride through the Open Mic jungle to benefit.

A better brain in 7 minutes

Research proves time and again that music is critically important to brain development - for everyone.  It also fosters greater achievement in ALL other areas of study and cognitive fitness.  Consciously listening to music, creating it, studying it...  all lends to better brain function and quality of life for all human beings.

So, no matter who, where, or how old you are, you stand to benefit from heightened musical consciousness on every level.

With that in mind, here is arguably one of the most brain-ordering pieces of music ever written.  Just 7 minutes out of your day.  Now, go be awesome.

* (note from first paragraph) This was actually very effective.  In 1997, I had a black pawn shop guitar and wanted to decorate it with silver star stickers, like a constellation.  So for every performance I gave in front of other people, I would grant myself one star.  After a while, I lost count and the star constellation was complete.  Score one for bribery.


To hear, download, and read reviews of Dreamy Weather: Live at the Cactus Cafe, please visit

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summer of Bliss & upcoming shows

My Midwest festival run through Summerfest and Blissfest made for a really blissful start to the Summer.  No better way to say it!  Playing on the same bills as the Eagles and Taj Mahal was amazing.  The crowds were loving and wonderful.  The weather was perfect.

I've got some really great shows coming up around TEXAS.  Check 'em out and join me in Austin, Houston, and Dallas.  I'll try to make you laugh and cry and daydream and bliss out.  Ah, Summertime!

Thu July 25     The Listening Room at Winflo
A very cool night for "the most dedicated of music lovers and foodies"
Austin, TX  7pm  $50 includes dinner   Buy tix

Thu Aug 22     The Prophet Bar w/David Ramirez
Dallas, TX   7:30pm  $12-15

Fri Aug 23     Stubbs (indoors) w/David Ramirez 
Austin, TX  9pm  $12-14

Sat Aug 24     Fitzgerald's w/David Ramirez
Houston, TX  8pm  $10-14

Fri Sept 6     Stateside at the Paramount Theatre w/Darden Smith
Austin, TX  8pm  $28

Fri Sept 27     Cactus Cafe w/ A is Red
Austin, TX  8:30pm  $15