Furiously Happy – The Theme Song

Some of you may or may not be familiar with Jennifer Lawson (The Bloggess) – if you are, you know that she is one amazing lady with two New York Times Best-Belling books to her credit (Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy) and an amazingly hilarious blog that shares a lot of her struggles with depression and the incredible darkness that we all can fall into when we get captured by it…never letting us forget that depression lies and there is light on its way and that you are worthy of being Furiously Happy.

What does this have to do with music or house shows, you ask?

It’s quite simple, really. Those that make art, take music for example, typically have gone through some pretty tough times. May they be circumstances, events, depression, struggles, anger, being poor, losing love, moving into the more joyous times; finding love, faith, friendship and happiness…even books – all of these things meld together and sometimes, successfully separately, to create art. Some of the best songs in the world, came from utter heartbreak.

My good friend and incredible singer/songwriter and musician Emma Hill, has just come out on the other side of – for lack of a better phrase – a really shitty year. Let me tell you something about this incredible creature – and this may be the typical M.O. for most people that struggle with their own issues – you’d never know that she’s going through anything at all. When she is on tour, she is “on” and ready to perform and that part of her – the dark side – sort of gets pushed down and she has a show to put on and so there’s no time to dwell in the darkness. And she is REALLY successful at it. From her sad times, have come some of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. I admired her music before I actually met her. Then, when I met her, I fell in love with her as a person and we became fast friends. We’ve had long talks and quiet times and lots and lots of fun times. So when she was struggling last year, I decided to send her Jenny’s book, “Furiously Happy”.

Furiously_Happy

If you have not read this book, I highly encourage it. HIGHLY. It’s hilarious and uncomfortable and healing and FABULOUSLY FUNNY!

A few really cool things happened after Emma read this book. 1.) She found someone that makes her Furiously Happy. Her new love, Patrick. 2.) She wrote an incredible song inspired by her new found love and the book that helped her find her way out of the darkness.

At our most recent house show, before the crowd came and it was just our family and her and her musical companion Bryan Daste, she told me she had a surprise for me. She preceded to grab her guitar and her song Furiously Happy stumbled into my life. I was beyond touched and actually started thinking about what this song would mean to Jenny and all the people that have been touched by her writing. I want to share it with you here and hope that you share it with your loved ones and those that mean everything to you and also to those that may be in the darkness, trying to fight their way out.

Music is life. Live it. Love it. Share it with the world.

 

 

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The Sweetest House Show – House Show Junkies

BW Emma Bryan
Emma Hill and Bryan Daste performing in Puyallup, WA

Explaining what a House Show is to someone that hasn’t actually experienced one, is nothing short of difficult to do. If you are a music lover – someone who appreciates and understands what it takes to create something that is personal and then putting it out there for the world to hear and feel and experience, taking into account the hours upon hours that it takes to not only write the lyrics to the songs, but the music that accompanies it – it’s a little easier to fathom. But for someone that may not take that serious approach, it becomes a little more difficult to express how truly incredible these shows are.

Emma Hill and Bryan Daste came into our lives less than 3 short years ago. Since then, we have hosted probably 5 shows with them and attended probably 10+ shows. I use them as an example so much because they were our first brush with House Shows. As I’ve written before in How I Became a House Show Junkie, explaining how Emma came into our lives, during the time that we have come to know Emma and Bryan, we have grown very close with them. True friendships have taken the place of where the crazy fan-family once lived. This tends to come in the form of donning myself the President of the Superfans of Emma Hill Facebook page I created…among other things, like shamelessly plugging everything I can get my hands on – tour dates, rounding up friends and family across the US to get them to a show that might be playing in their area, promoting her music videos, and taking copious amounts of photos and videos on my YouTube channel from the concerts and shamelessly sharing them on all of the social media outlets I can.

It should come as no surprise then, that I write about this most recent show and visit with them here, on this humble blog.

We were lucky enough to spend about 4 days with Emma this time – 3 with Bryan. Emma flew in fresh (she may laugh at the “fresh” part…but I didn’t notice) from Thailand and I took a couple days off work to be able to spend time with her and after a day of much needed rest, Bryan arrived. After not seeing each other for a couple months or more, Bryan and Emma needed to get some rehearsal time under their belts and my house and BACK YARD (you’re welcome neighbors) were filled with music. They think of it as work, I just wanted to clap like a nutjob after each song they finished. Awkward. You know what’s cool? Doing the dishes and singing along with LIVE MUSIC instead of a recorded track or CD or playlist.

We were the first stop on their Spring tour. Friday evening we went to Longhorn BBQ where they performed their first show. The following day was our House Show at my Uncle Jeff’s house, but first they had an appearance at another of my family members’ businesses – they were celebrating being open for 5 years and threw a big wingding and asked them if they’d play. After Emma and Bryan were done there, they zoomed over to my Uncle’s house and got settled and ready for the show. There was probably 45-50 people there.

For the first time EVER, I left my cell phone in my purse. I wanted to just completely take in the show this time. I was not disappointed – I never have been. This show was even better than the last one – I’m pretty sure I feel this way about all of their shows. Emma and Bryan played their first set – over an hour and a half – before taking a break. The goal was to stretch the show a bit in the hopes that by the time the 2nd set came around, my oldest daughter would arrive after her shift was over at work. It aaaaaaaaaallllllllllmost worked. We waited as long as we could, but before Emma and Bryan started to play, my husband came up to me and said we were going to do a little impromptu tribute to Bryan – it’s always about Emma – she’s the songwriter and lead and deservedly so, but there is a subtle loveliness about what Bryan brings to her shows that needed to be addressed – and because they are adored by our friends and family so much, we thought now was the time. (Plus Katie hadn’t gotten there yet…)

There were so many things we wanted to say. Firstly, what an amazing friend he is to Emma – but his musicianship is really first class. He truly enhances what Emma is trying to accomplish. Even the most subtle of notes, or his perfect harmonies, the fact that he has an APP on his PHONE that he uses in one of the songs he plays with Emma…AN APP, y’all. And it’s perfectly incredible. The fact that he gets all of my husbands corny jokes, plays an AMAZING pedal steel, plays an equally incredible Banjo…I mean…and THE DREADLOCKS, you guys! It was a very emotional tribute for me and my husband – but then, my Uncle Jeff got up there…and even now, I’m tearing up. My uncle described how all his life he sang with my Dad as a back up vocalist and musician and how he knows what it’s like to be in the back ground and how much he appreciates what Bryan does and it was really special. Bryan’s voice just simply drifts in and out of songs and it’s almost as if it’s not there at all, but you can tell that if it weren’t there…you could tell and the song would be missing something. And at other times…he’s bold and right where he needs to be echoing Emma.

House Show Bryan Nate Hug
This is my husband and Bryan in a Bro-embrace. We truly believe they should have been brothers.

Something that most people didn’t realize was that after the 2nd set was done, I went up to Bryan and he was truly humbled and little did we know how much he needed to hear what we said that night. He said something to me like, he has been questioning what he’s doing and wondering if it’s the right path…and I just almost completely broke down because, I can’t imagine my world without this guy playing music and I can’t imagine what it must be like to be doing something you love so much, and have it feel like a struggle at times. One thing I’m certain about:

Bryan Daste, you sir, if you ever read this, need to never ever stop. You have a gift that needs to be heard and experienced and as sure as you are about your next breath, I’m sure of this.

As has become tradition, Emma asked Katie to sing Meet Me At The Moon with them as evidenced below:

Emma, Katie and Bryan singing Meet Me At The Moon.
Emma, Katie and Bryan singing Meet Me At The Moon.

The show wrapped up in amazing fashion, with Emma singing Alaska Dear. (that link is previously recorded – because I was not using my phone this show…)

The post show jam is always a HOOT. I have a very musical family and there are usually about 4 guitars, a stand up bass, a mandolin, Bryan on the pedal steel or stand up bass and a family friend named Pat that plays his box like a drum. And then there’s Jerett….my cousin. He’s usually got his Electric Guitar amped and ready to shred.

Where do you live? Do you have a large local music scene? Do you have someone that may be lesser known that you’d like to promote a little bit? Share a link in the comments and let us know what you’re listening to right now!

Music is life. Live it. Love it. Share it with the world.

How I Became a House Show Junkie

Our first introduction to the House Show Concept was made by a lovely lady named Emma Hill. Here’s how this all came to be:

About three years ago, my husband was preparing to go for a run. Before he goes, he generally downloads the most recent TBTL podcast to listen to while he’s out. Typically during the run as he’s listening, they’ll play an indie artist or sometimes, not-so-indie and he’ll think to himself, “When I get home, I’m going to download that song…that was AWESOME!” and most of the time, he forgets because of that runners high or forgetfulness…you know how it goes.

But…three years ago…he actually remembered. From that moment on, Emma’s song Meet Me At The Moon was a part of our regular playlist rotation and we all really loved her sound – all of us being; my older daughter Katie, my younger daughter Alissa and my husband and myself. It wasn’t long before we knew every word and were singing our faces off to this song on road trips in the car and trips to the grocery store.

Right about the time my oldest daughter Katie was about to turn 16, she decided she wanted to take up the Ukelele. She has a lovely signing voice already and she just decided one day that she wanted to be able to pluck along with her singing on a Uke, so we bought her one. She taught herself a few songs and one of the first songs she learned was Emma’s Meet Me At The Moon. The first day she sang it for me, I was pleasantly surprised enough that I grabbed my cell phone and took a shaky video of her playing and singing the song.

Something was gnawing at me in the back of my mind and I decided to just see where it led me. I wanted to somehow get this video to Emma. So, I went online, Google searched “Emma Hill” and found a few things – one of which was a publicist. And BAM – there was an email for this dude. So, I went ahead and sent him an email, introduced ourselves and how we came to find Emma’s music and asked him to view the YouTube video and if he could somehow get it to Emma, we’d be grateful.

Well, he did. And here’s the video. And she commented on it. And we all freaked out a little bit.

It wasn’t long after the YouTube video was posted that I found her on Facebook. I liked her band page and I started scrolling. She shared the video of my Katie singing her song and was truly touched by it enough so that she found us on Facebook and we started talking about how she comes out to the West Coast during the Fall and Spring for house shows and told us she hoped she’d see us at one sometime. One thing led to another and we started talking about hosting our OWN house show with her and found out what her minimum was – and she shared with us that if we invite enough people to just charge $10 at the door and that should cover it when she adds in the sales of her CD’s and T-Shirts, etc that she sells.

We’ve hosted Emma Hill and Bryan Daste several times over the last couple years. We’ve driven down to Portland to surprise them when they launched their new album and have grown to be very good friends. We try to support them whenever we can by helping promote and create a sense of urgency for people to go see them whenever and wherever they are playing.

Here’s the title track to one of Emma’s Albums called, “The Black and Wretched Blue”