News About "Courting My Muse"
I have joined FACEBOOK, because apparently I did not have enough online pages and communities to keep up with. You may find me there as Mary Carolyn Phillips Crowell. I am still selling COURTING MY MUSE through CDBaby.com as well as Amazon. If you live near the Athens, AL area you can purchase it at Pablos on Market in downtown Athens, AL. Several filk dealers sell COURTING MY MUSE at the conventions they attend. And if I am performing at a general science fiction convention I get copies of my CD to one of the dealers there or sell it myself. Feel free to contact me via MYSPACE or FACEBOOK about COURTING MY MUSE if you'd like!
I always have to pause and take stock before writing up a January report because January is all about GAFilk. And how do I do GAFilk justice? It was my first ever filk convention, and therefore the venue I met several of my best friends and found family. Filk allowed me to try my wings as a composer, performer, and writer.
This GAFilk featured Barry and Sally Childs-Helton as Guests of Honor. Both of them are extraordinary musicians and wonderful people. Harry Feld was our toastmaster. And Larry Kirby was our toastmaster and a very funny man. I had a lot of fun checking out his parodies in the GAFilk 2009 Songbook. Speaking of the GAFilk Songbook, I am editor and primary music transcriptionist, and I am already taking submissions for the 2010 GAFilk Songbook. Here is our guidelines page.
Will Shetterly and Emma Bull were invited as Super Secret Guests, but Will was not able to make it. But (SQUEE!), I finally got to meet Emma Bull in person! I loved reading her novel War For the Oaks, and I'll have to check out Bone Dance. Emma gave us a great concert on Saturday and was a lot of fun to play along with during the late night filk circles! She is mentioned here in surrdave's livejournal in more detail.
This year at GAFilk's Saturday night banquet, Play It With Moxie played several numbers by Squirrel Nut Zippers, "Crosstime Bus" by Bill Roper, an assortment of jazz standards, and many other fun things including, yes, the Cantina Band song from Star Wars! Check out our new FACEBOOK Page and become a fan! I got to play my clarinet, "Silver" on a couple of things which was a whole lot of fun. You can check out some of the pictures from the banquet at GAFilk on my flickr page.
December 9th I played for the December meeting of our local Delta Kappa Gamma chapter. We all brought food (I brought my foccacia bread. See I fed others this time!), and talked about what it means to be a teacher, potential budget cuts in education, and Christmas. I have really enjoyed getting to meet other teachers in different disciplines through Delta Kappa Gamma.
Also, on December 13th I played again at the Donnell House -- this time for their Boston Tea Party. Again the food was excellent! I mention this because you can actually reserve the Donnell House for various events and they will give you a list of caterers, photographers (and musicians -- hint hint!) I was in the foyer with the immense Christmas tree this time. Among other numbers, I performed several Vince Guaraldi arrangements I had from A Charlie Brown Christmas. I think I bought my copy back when I taught piano at Andy's Music in Mobile, Alabama.
And right before Christmas, our jazz band, Play It With Moxie rehearsed at my house. We have a myspace page thanks to Teresa (vocals and bass) and now a facebook page thanks to Brian, our drummer. Dave Rood (trumpet, vocals) does most of the arrangements for the horn section and he knocked it out of the park this year on several Squirrel Nut Zippers numbers. George (bass, vocals, tenor sax) has decided that he, Dave, and Andrew (vocals, alto sax) shall be henceforth known as 'The Top-Shelf Horns' as in "Play It With Moxie, featuring the Top-Shelf Horns." I approve. Carly (guitar, vocals), debuted her new song "This Is Me" for us, and it was added to our playlist. (She blew people away with it when we performed in January too!) We didn't have our Jodi Krangle for this rehearsal because it is quite expensive to fly down from Canada to Alabama. We missed her tremendously. Our friend, Amy, got some great pictures of the band rehearsal you can check out here. Thank you so much, Amy!
Everybody starts taking their Christmas shopping and decorating very seriously in November. It's a fun time for me because I get to pull out my collection of Christmas jazz arrangements for the piano. My favorite new one this year was A Thrill of Hope: Carol Settings for Jazz Piano arranged by Matt Hyzer (Hal Leonard Publishers.) While the link I've included is to its Amazon entry, I actually found and bought this gem of a book at Emiron Music in Decatur, Alabama. The arrangments in Hyzer's book are advanced, sophisticated, with several key changes in most songs. They also have a heavy gospel influence. Do go check it out next year if you want a really good juicy challenging (and other adjectives as well) set of Christmas songs to play!
In November I played again at the Donnell House for their Festival of Trees Preview Party Each room of the Donnell House was decorated in a different theme. One was clocks (several different types of clocks displayed,) and I played in the 'camera room' which featured a table-top history of photography and equipment. The food was extraordinarily good! They feed their guests (and their pianists) well. :-) I also played inside Pablo's On Market on November 23rd (It was too cold to play outside.) as part of the Spirit of Athens Holiday Open House. Everyone was cheerful and busily shopping for Christmas, and the latte afterward was delicious!
October was extraordinarily busy! For me it began with FENCON in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Three Weird Sisters were the music guests of honor and we played two concerts – one on Friday night and one on Saturday night. Then we participated in the Saturday night caberet with Bill Sutton (picture by Gerald Burton, fan guest of honor.) We followed the belly dancers. No, we personally didn’t belly dance, but if you want to see the belly dancers you may go here. It was during this caberet that I debuted my song about a certain kind of underwear. It sounds like I'm lisping, but I'm not. Joyeuse13 recorded the performance on a handheld video recorder, and the room was loud! I decided as I was flying home from FENCON that I had better write some more songs, because I do not want this one to be the last song I am ever known for. *grins*
Also, Teresa Powell and I performed on Sunday as our duo, Birds of a Feather. There was some lovely participation from the audience, and we debuted Teresa's song "Home is Where the Heart Is." We also caught a performance by a duo called Ghost of a Rose. Here they are performing "Song of Awen."
Joyeuse13 (pictured here as Jessica Rabbit, photography byNeil Cajuin Dronet) also caught some of our Three Weird Sisters' concert. This is a snippet of Brenda Sutton's song, "These Two" which will be appearing on our album, Third Thyme's The Charm. Anyway, the concom runs an amazing and well-organized convention at FENCON, and I definitely want to return. Next year's musical guest is Carla Ulbrich, a wickedly funny comedienne and excellent musician.
Let us continue with this most eventful October. As of October 16, 2008 I am a member of Art On The Square in Athens, AL. I had a great time playing for their membership drive! They fed me well, and were a delightful bunch to play for. (Have you noticed I always mention the food? Once a starving college student always a starving college student.) The drive was held at Athens Gyro, which is on Market Street beside the railroad tracks in downtown Athens, AL. They have excellent gyros and salads there!
October 19th I was privileged to play in a couple of piano ensembles with the Decatur Music Club in Decatur, AL. It was challenging, a tremendous amount of fun, and quite unlike anything I have ever done. I am used to playing my own solo material on my own time or performing with small ensembles of mixed instruments in which we work mostly from leadsheets. Even band performances do not feel like a piano ensemble, perhaps because there is a conductor. Anyway, it was delightful to participate in and hear the other ensembles. Some very young pianists turned in excellent performances!
Finally, we have OVFF which I consider to be my second "Home filk convention." (GAFilk is my first.) Last year at OVFF, I tied with Seanan McGuire for Best Performer. It was lovely to come to OVFF this year and just relax. Does that mean I had nothing to do? Oh, no. Friday night, for the Pegasus Concert I performed Chris Conway's "Alien Salad Abduction" (Best Comedy Nominee,) Mich Sampson's "The Hunter" (Best Tragedy Song Nominee,) and then Three Weird Sisters performed "Like Their Feet Have Wings" (Best Song Nominee) by our emeritus member, Gwen Knighton. Saturday was fun too because we do our own version of Whose Line Is It Anyway, and I am (you guessed it!) the pianist. I transcribed the "Hoedown" before so we could finish the session with it. Lot's of fun with friends and music!
FENCON is next week. Whee! I cannot believe September is basically over. I will soon be on my way to Texas.
Literary Tastes at the Athens-Limestone Public Library was of course delicious! I (ahem) liberalized a bit on my diet that evening. Several of my favorite restaurants were represented there, and well of course I had to try a little something from each of them. Literary Tastes was such a success that it looks like they are going to make it an annual event! The only bummer for me was that my Peavey amplilfier died on the way to the library. It's fixed now thanks to the excellent folks at EMIRON Music in Decatur, AL. Luckily, Jessica (my keyboard) has her own internal speakers, so I was able to provide plenty of jazz piano ambiance in the background. Thanks to Paula Laurita, Bill Swindell, the Foundation Board and all the librarians and library volunteers for making the event so special! I really appreciated getting to be a part of it.
A little later in the week I played in one of the salons inside the Donnell House. during the Silent Auction. This turned out to be lovely venue, cozy with plenty of velvety sofas for people to rest on while they waited to be seated outside for the dinner. My amp wasn't fixed yet, but I really didn't need it to amplify my voice, because the acoustics were so nice! The dinner afterward was catered by Luvici's and several wonderful volunteers who served me the largest and most beautiful pork chop I've ever encountered. The lemon pie afterward was yummy too. Then we watched a play based on the novel, The Last Witness From a Dirt Road by Bill Hunt. A delightful evening, as I predicted in my August news. Thanks again to Pat Lewis for inviting me to perform!
School starts, and it is once again time to return my thoughts to music making. I took the summer off from performing this year while Simon (my son) and I enjoyed his summer break. But, he's back in school, and I am busily lining up places to perform and piano students to teach! I have joined the Decatur Music Club and look forward to performing as part of their piano ensemble in October.
There are also two wonderful conventions I look forward to attending in October. One is FenCon V in Texas. This will be my first FenCon, and I'll be performing as part of Three Weird Sisters. So, if you're planning to be at FenCon, be sure and say "Hi" to us. The other convention is one I've been attending regularly since I was first introduced to filk music. OVFF is always a great deal of fun, and this year's guests are Tim and Annie Walker from England. I first heard them at GAFilk almost 8 years ago. They are amazing!
Also, in September I will be providing some light jazz and classical music for Literary Tastes at the Public Library in Athens, Alabama where you can enjoy samples of the various specialties of local vendors, and I'll be playing for the Donnell House Silent Auction. There you can enjoy a Dinner on the Lawn at the Donnell House (catered by Luvici's) and a Play at 6:30 pm. These are both delightful ways to spend an evening! I hope to see you there.
The semester at Calhoun Community College is almost over, and I have been very busy. Tonight I accompanied Gerald Lewis on his sophmore recital. Gerald has a wonderful voice and did an excellent job! Friday, April 18th I performed outside at the Dogwood Festival. I began early (4:30pm instead of 5:00pm,) because the weather was looking decidedly ominous. After I felt a couple of raindrops on my skin about two-thirds of the way through my set, I called the game on account of rain. Greg Tucker ran sound for me and made sure I had a monitor so I could hear me. Thanks, Greg! And thanks to Barry Davis, who invited me to play and Guy McClure for mentioning me to him. I would also like to thank my small but enthusiastic audience who braved the scary weather outside to hear me! *grins*
LATE MARCH 2008
I performed at Athens State tonight as part of their Women's History month programming and had a great time! People sang along with the choruses. The performance was held in McCandless Hall, a lovely building behind and to the right of Founder's Hall. I really appreciate people braving the rainy weather we've had today to come. Thank you! And thank you, Guy McClure for recommending me. Also, my thanks go to Dr. Susan Owen for inviting me, promoting the concert, introducing me, and giving me a lovely bouquet of flowers. :-)
EARLY MARCH 2008
I just returned from Consonance, the San Francisco Bay Area Filk Convention! I am a tired toastmistress, but a delighted one. Folks in California are so very nice! I stayed with Seanan McGuire, composer, writer, and singer, and co winner with me for a Best Performer Pegasus, before the convention. (Check out Seanan's work at her website.)
At the convention, I got to hear Dr. James Robinson, Alexander James Adams, Summer and Fall (International Guests) on Friday night. And Judi Miller (Fan Fund Guest) signed the concerts. I love to watch her work! You may watch her here and here. Saturday began with a light breakfast and my yoga workshop. Then I heard wonderful concerts all day from Riverfolk, Carl William Thiel (Interfillk Guest), Kathleen Sloan, Graham and Becca Leathers (Guests of Honor), the J.T. Filkers. My concert was also Saturday evening, and afterwards the Creaseys of Random Factors sold all the CDs I brought with me. Sunday I finally got to hear some of Bob Kanefsky's parodies, and I loved them! His CD, Roundworm is on its way from CDBABY.com. All in all, delightful music and excellent company!
My thanks go to the Consonance convention committee for inviting me out to California. You guys run an awesome convention!
Ah Gafilk. Beloved Gafilk! My home convention -- and the first filk convention I ever attended (back in 2001.) Bill and Brenda Sutton started GAFilk 9 years ago, making this the 10th GAFilk. They have moved to Indiana, and I very much miss them. GAFilk's guests were Jeff & Maya Bohnhoff (Guests of Honor), Brian Richardson (Toastmaster), and Brobdingnagian Bards (Interfilk Guests). Peter Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn, A Fine and Private Place, The Folk of the Air, The Innkeeper's Song, A Dance for Emilia, and Tamsin and other wonderful books, was GAFilk's Super Secret Guest this year.
Play It With Moxie performs for Gafilk's Saturday night banquet every year, and this year was no exception. Check out Play It With Moxie's Myspace page, Teresa created! I wish I could give you more convention highlights, but we held several rehearsals before and during the convention, that I was wiped out after we performed. Debbie Ohi has this to say about Play It With Moxie. And Dave Rood explains what goes into a Play It With Moxie performance.
January 15th, I did a presentation on filk music at the 1st Baptist Church in Hartselle, AL for their Pryme Tymers group. Thanks go to Judy Woodcock, who invited me, and all the Pryme Tymers -- an excellent audience and wonderful cooks. (They invited me to stay for lunch. Yum!)
On December 1st I performed right outside Pablo's On Market for another Christmas Open House. Thank you Carolyn and Hubert Crow for inviting me! I love this place. Located on Market Street in downtown Athens, they have excellent coffee, very nice personnel, beautifully displayed books, and original art.
This month I hosted a housefilk on November 17th! What, you ask, is a house filk? Jan Mallander wrote an excellent description of several aspects of filk, called Filker 101. Click here to read about house filks. Most of the folks who came are from the greater Atlanta area or Tennesse in Cat Faber's case, but Adam Selzer came all the way from Chicago. Make sure and check out his book, How to Get Suspended and Influence People. The day after the housefilk, Teresa Powell and I, performing as Birds of a Feather, played a gig downtown on the courthouse steps as part of the Spirit of Athens Open House for November. Several of our fellow filk musicians stayed to listen. Thanks guys! There are pictures here. Click on the second thumbnail to the left.
And right before Thanksgiving, Karen Middleton, writing for The News Courier (in Athens, AL), featured me in Meet the Neighbors. I do make some fascinating faces when I sing.*grins*
Wootissimo! I won a Pegasus! I tied for Best Performer 2007 with Seanan McGuire. Yay! The Pegasus Awards Banquet is held Saturday night at Ohio Valley Filk Fest in Dublin, Ohio every year. This year's theme was all Dorsai, all the time.
Here is my Pegasus Page!
Additionally, there is a Pegasus nominees concert held on Friday night of the convention. Brenda, Char McKay, and I performed Gwen Knighton's "Like Their Feet Have Wings." LTFHW was nominated for Best Filk Song this year. Go Gwen! I play this song all over the place, because it is just gorgeous And it mentions faery folk and Tennessee.
Also, on this same concert I was invited to play piano on "Emerald Green" by its composers, Vixy and Tony. And "Emerald Green" won Best Song of Home this year. Congratulations to Vixy and Tony! They are currently working on a CD, and I just cannot wait to hear it!
Seanan McGuire asked me to play piano "in a harplike fashion" on "Still Catch the Tide" with her (lead vocals), Vixy (vocals), Tony (guitar), Amy McNally (violin), and Brenda Sutton (percussion). Talis Kimberley wrote "Still Catch the Tide" but lives in the UK and couldn't come to Ohio to perform it. Since Seanan had covered SCTT on her most excellent CD, Stars Fall Home, Erica Neely (Pegasus Concert Organizer extraordinaire and quite a fine musician in her own right!) asked Seanan to perform it, and Seanan invited me along. I do love playing with such a fine bunch of performers!
September 16th I had dinner with north Alabama's MENSA group at the Main Street Cafe in Madison, AL. What a wonderful group! Everyone there made me feel very welcome. After dinner I explained what Filk Music is and then I performed some songs by various filkers living in the Southeast. The folks in MENSA were a delightful and enthusuastic audience, joining in on the choruses. I'd like to thank Cristina Hinkle, Program Director for MENSA, who invited me. Here are pictures from the meeting!
The 29th of September I performed as part of Three Weird Sisters at the Botanical Gardens in Savannah, GA. Unfortunately I had caught a cold that was going around and I lost my voice near the end of the second set. That said, Brenda, Teresa, and I had a wonderful audience. Stephen, our sound man, was just amazing. We were outdoors under a covered porch next to the vendors. Very accomplished belly dancers, led by Scarlett, performed between our sets. And that night we dined at the Casbah. Yum! Thanks go out to Sharon and Christi who took such good care of all of us!
August 2nd through the 5th I visited Collinsville, IL and St. Louis, MO for ARCHON 31 and had a wonderful time! I sold all of the CD's I brought with me, and sold a few more on CDBaby after returning home. I made several new friends while I was there and got to perform with and/ or see some old ones. And I bought many CD's including Tom Smith's comic opera, Last Hero On Earth. Think of it as a musical/radio play. My son listens to it every day if he can help it. :-)
August 9th I performed in the giftshop of the Huntsville Botanical Gardens for their Dinner in the Garden. They have canceled it this week due to heat, but will probably be hosting some more Thursday dinners in September. Clementine's in the HBG is not to be missed!
And then there was Teresa and George Powell's housefilk in Lawrenceville, GA. House filks are a great deal of fun whether you perform or not. We get together and play music, swap songs, and eat until we hurt ourselves (Most people bring a side dish or two.) I'll be hosting a housefilk on November 17th starting at 7pm in Athens, AL. If you think you might like to attend you can go to the GAFiA website and join the mailing list for details.
I've also created two My Space pages: a Personal Page and a Music Page. I'll be putting scratch tracks up at the Music My Space, and some of them will be available for download. In fact I just uploaded "The Opportunity Tango." It is right after "Legolas." (You can't download "Legolas" there, but you can download "The Opportunity Tango.")
Also, more nice things were said at livejournal -- this time by Unclechristo!
Yes, I'm still alive! The semester started at Calhoun Community College, and this is the first update I've done since then. Let's see. August 25th, Karen, John, and Mike were kind enough to help me set up my pavillion at the Crape Myrtle Festival in Ardmore, Tennessee. It was very hot outside, but the festival itself was lovely. I, unfortunately, was so focused on 1) playing a good set and 2) making sure to say nice things about the awesome sound man (Always thank your sound person, folks! Their job is largely thankless and tiring.) that I forgot to mention I have Compact Disks for sale! D'oh! But, I got to talk with the sound man, Doc; and his wife Susan. We exchanged cards, and now I know some more musicians in the Tennessee/North Alabama area! I know some folks to jam with. So, it was absolutely worth doing. And Maalac Steele and Lea did an excellent job making everything run smoothly.
July has been a good month for reviews and articles. I was in the newspaper! Danielle Komis Palmer interviewed me for the Decatur Daily Daily Living section of the paper, and Emily Saunders photographed. You can read it online here.
Debbie Ohi reviewed Courting My Muse in her blog, Blatherings (Ohiblather on livejournal). Debbie, I am glad it has been cheering you up while you've not been feeling well. *Hugs!*
Adam Selzer called me the 'Mad Doctor of Alabama' in a review on Apple itunes. My Dad would be so proud. *grins*
And there is a new review at Amazon by a gentleman named Mike Gibson!
I had a wonderful time at Carolyn Crow's bookstore, Pablo's On Market, on Friday July 20th. I played many wizardly and magical songs but also threw in things like the Peanuts theme and "Why Don't You Do Right?" just for fun. As we neared midnight and lined up to get our copies of HP: Book 7, the kids in line were so sympathetic when I told them it was my first party and unfortunately my last. No more books! "Man, you missed out!" one of them said. And the nine or ten year old next to me told me he knew how I felt. "My parents told me I was too young to stay up for the last Harry Potter release." Hopefully, I'll have pictures soon.
The following Saturday (July 28th) I performed in the Cedar Glade at the Huntsville Botanical Garden in Huntsville, AL. Caroline and the other folks out there are quite nice, and the garden is just beautiful!
Rob Wynne wrote a wonderful review of Courting My Muse in the Feature section of Aphelion Webzine. *does a dizzy happy dance* Go check it out!
And fellow musicians from the wonderful world of livejournal have also had good things to say about Courting My Muse!
If you've had a chance to listen to Courting My Muse let me know what you think!
You can sign the Guest Book at the bottom of my Main Page
OR go to my CDBaby Review page
OR go to Amazon.com and review it there.
Marcon was a lot of fun Memorial Day weekend! Bill Roper and Juanita Coulson both sold copies of Courting My Muse at Marcon. Both of the Three Weirds Sisters CDs: Rite The First Time and Hair of the Frog did really well. (The dealers actually ran out of copies of Rite The First Time.) We're currently working on Third Thyme's The Charm with Greg Robert, the studio wizard! While I attended MARCON I picked up copies of Erica Neely's Hello Stranger and Bill Roper's Falling Toward Orion. Lucky me! I am really enjoying listening to them in the car.
The next convention I'm attending will be ARCHON at the beginning of August.
CDBaby.com has soundclips of Courting My Muse, so you can actually listen to two minutes of each track and get a sense of what you are buying. Spread the word!
I just sent a box of CD's to Kathy Sands as well. She will be attending Mediawest Con on Memorial Day weekend, and her husband will bring some CD's with him to Balticon (also Memorial Day weekend.)
(Look for Kathy's new CD, No Sheep Aloud at the table of a filk dealer near you!)
Courting My Muse is finally released! It is available on Amazon.com now and at CDBaby.com. I have sent CDs to two filk dealers -- Bill Roper of the Secret Empire and Michael Liebmann of Southern Fried Filk. (Bill Roper will be releasing his new CD, Falling Toward Orion at Marcon on Memorial Day weekend!)
I am so excited!
For those who live in the north Alabama area, you may also get my CD at Pablo's On Market. (They have awesome lattes!)
Pablos on Market
216 Market Street
Athens, AL 35611
Also, http://magnusretail.com is about to get a radical new look! More on that soon.