Latest Gig!

Coffee corners 7.21

 

Jessie Barr will play at Coffee Corners Antiques and Coffee House On July 21st, 2018! Come out  to Burton, Ohio and enjoy the soothing atmosphere of this unique shop! With their full coffee bar and an assortment of local wine, complete with many sweet treats or a cheese tray, you are sure to love this  popular venue for local musicians!

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“See Ya Later…”

These are the best words to summarize the last several months of life here for my family in NEO… “See ya later..” It started out with Deklan’s successful graduation from USMC Boot Camp in Parris Island, SC.  I am a Marine Mom now (Oorah!), and, eventually, part of military life is letting your Marine travel practically all over the world. Sometimes- actually, oftentimes- You are not sure when you will see them again.  Goodbyes become such heartache. A veteran military Mom shared with us that you don’t ever say good-bye; you say “See ya later…” Comfort flows from the reminder that “we will be here when you get back,” or “we WILL meet again.” We were counted blessed to have Deklan home with us for Christmas this year- an unexpected pleasure not granted to many military families. We are treasuring each moment…

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In November, we also said “See ya later” to my closest friend’s mother, Jean. I gathered that Jean had lead a full and fulfilled life as I gazed over the large hall filled with her family and their friends at the “Celebration of Life” service they planned for her. What a privilege to witness the joy- as stories about Mama Horning flowed easily from the mouths of her many adult grandchildren… and the pride in the eyes of her 5 children as they talked about the best Mom anyone ever could have had.   I was sad that I had only known her the last two years, but grateful that I’d had the chance to call her “friend-”  this tenderhearted and kind woman- so sweet-spirited yet strong willed.  I know we will meet again beyond the Kingdom Gate, where we will laugh together once again.

Then the heart-wrenching, horror here in early December… My 16 year old  son Duncan lost his best friend to suicide. We KNEW this young man. He spent several New Year’s Eve parties at our house as well as sleepovers, birthday parties… the emptiness is haunting.  In fact it is impossible for me to capture here in a post the impact of this tragedy on our little family. (Which pales in comparison to his own family’s loss, in particular his mother, my friend Jane.) …And my son looks at me with those soft brown eyes and simply asks me “Why?”

I gave him the only answer that fit to me: Mental illness is a serious disease that people too often dismiss as weakness. Without the right treatment and proper medication, it can be lethal. Depression is an evil from the pit of hell! When the world goes dark and hope is lost for the loved one with this illness, there isn’t much anyone can do to help at that point. We need to talk to each other sooner, and keep talking to each other- and not dismiss them. Jane loved her son more than anything and did what she could for that young man. Not everyone with this disease has that…

What is one to do with all of this? It’s difficult to process so much pain and sorrow in the wake of this loss…

I ran across some timely wisdom from one of my favorite authors:

“Art has the power to render sorrow beautiful, make loneliness a shared experience, an transform despair into hope…” – Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness

This is what I want my songwriting to be. This is the ultimate goal. This is where the energy of my sorrow will be transformed. And then maybe, just maybe, someone won’t feel quite so alone or lost… and see the hope that I have… and choose life like I did.

“The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2

“See ya later, Bran… We miss you…”

jtb

Taking life as it comes…

 

I had the great joy of participating as an artist in this year’s Kent Creativity Festival at Kent State University this year. I was delighted when they had accepted my proposal to have a simple, mini songwriting booth, but when the big date arrived I was overcome with anxiety: “What right did I have? What do I even have to offer these participants anyways? This is going to be a disaster!!! What was I thinking?”

Shortly after I’d set up my outdoor “studio,”a young student named Josie stopped by to do an audio-recorded interview about my “art activity.” We had a nice discussion about the connection between art and health, or in my case, the direct connection between my songwriting and my mental health history. The one question that made me think was this: “What would be my measure that this activity was a success today?”

I guessed that I’d measure the successes by the smiles of the people who walked away inspired by the songwriting we did in the 5 minutes we shared that morning.  Or perhaps the twinkle in the eye of a child(or even an adult) who believed for the first time they could DO THIS! If that is my measure, this activity was a splendid success! Parents, kids and grandparents…uncles and aunts….toddlers, teens, college students, and townsfolk all walked away with smiles,  while holding their new little songwriting notebook!!

My thoughts about yesterday’s event lead me back to a favorite Maya Angelou quote:

Maya angelou quote

 

The most important thing about yesterday wasn’t some 4 point presentation for better songwriting, or whether or not I had extensive brochures and handouts, or even the best banner to draw attention to my activity over others. And it wasn’t really about them remembering what I said… it’s about how they felt as they were in the process of creating a song, unique to their story. It was about the sense of pride they took away having accomplished this, and the laughter we shared as we set their creation to rhythm using children’s percussion instruments. It felt fulfilling, and I went home feeling satisfied.  Thank you so much to each and every little group that participated yesterday. I know many left encouraged by the experience, but please truly know, that I was the one inspired… by all of you!

 

On the gig side: We are getting more and more calls from area coffeehouses to play gigs!! Please check back frequently for updates to our Upcoming shows link on the top menu, as well as our Facebook fan page for the latest, most updated news as it comes in:

**********Two gigs on October 14th**************

10/14- Debord Halloween Festival at Lock 3 in Akron (acoustic Stage) at 2pm-3pm

10/14-Cafe O’Play in Stow, Ohio from 5:30-7:30

November 2nd- Morning Owl Coffeehouse in Munroe Falls, Ohio

 

See you out and about! Thank you for supporting us and our music-making!

All in good time…

 

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What a summer! With my oldest headed to Boot Camp in just a few weeks, my music endeavors have been put on hold a bit… FAMILY FIRST 🙂 We are so proud of Deklan and his decision to serve our country in the US Marine Corps. We know he was made to do this and are excited for him to step into his dream right out of high school! What a rare opportunity!

The reality of him leaving is paralyzing  for me though… I imagine that many new songs will flow from the flood of emotions I have about launching my first born into this scary world we live in. He is an amazing young man, I am proud to be his Momma!

Meanwhile, the release of “Mama’s Whispers” has been well received. If you haven’t purchased it yet, it is available on iTunes and CD baby as a digital download, or you can find it on Spotify and iHeart Radio by searching for “Jessie Barr”! Thank you to everyone who has already purchased it; We hope to use the proceeds towards another EP by the end of this year.

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As for upcoming dates: Jason and I will be at the Morning Owl Coffeehouse TOMORROW Thursday August 3rd from 7-9! In September we will be playing a couple of private party gigs, and we hope to be at Art in the Park in Kent on September 9th! (Time to be announced) I will be teaching a clinic at the Kent Creativity Festival on September 30th for simple songwriting ideas and making music, which is a first for me. I am anxious to light the fire of songwriting for others, just as was done for me back in February at Nowhere Farm! More info to come on this…  Kent Creativity Festival

Finally, on October 14th, We make a return to the Debord Halloween Festival in Akron in the early afternoon, followed by a 5:30 gig at Cafe O’play in Stow, Ohio. Both of these kid friendly venues provide a great opportunity for a family fun date! … Check it out! Debord Halloween Festival

Also, if you are on Facebook, please take the time to like my Facebook fan page, Jessie Barr at jtbarrmusic. This has the most up to date information on all of our events and projects.  Click here to like my Fan page!

 

Once again, thank you for supporting me and encouraging me on this journey into the world of songwriting!

JTB

Mother’s Day release of “Mama’s Whispers…”

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Photo Credit: Theresa Livecchi

Made possible by the talents of Samuel Gerren at Off the Grid Recording, “Mama’s Whispers” is set to be released this Sunday, May 14th at

http://store.cdbaby.com/cd/jessiebarr2

Look for it on iTunes, Spotify, and iHeart Radio in the weeks to follow.  I will post updates on my Facebook fan page as it is delivered a number of digital partners worldwide!

Please feel free to email me directly or comment here if you need help securing your digital copy or have any questions about the song itself.  I will be posting the lyrics and album notes here on the website! Just click on “Mama’s Whispers” in the top menu and help me acknowledge all the people who made this acoustic mix come alive!

As always, thanks for your continual support of local musicians!

Take Care and God Bless!

jtb

The Blessing of Friendship…

Right in the middle of planning our church’s first ever Open Mic night, I found myself hospitalized for 5 days with an infection in my right hand!! I was miserable… not just because of the infection, but because I was no where near ready for the event that would happen within a week of my stay. I feared it was just not going to happen…

Then the blessing… I am overwhelmed by the number of friends and church family that rallied to make the event a success! What a blessed night we had with all kinds of music from a number of artists both young and…well… not so young ;)… We hope to do this more regularly, as local & budding musicians need a place like this to share their heart through their music.  So much talent here in Northeast Ohio, and I appreciate the work of artists like Gary Hall and Diana Tyler, whose Open Mic nights inspired me to try it at my own church. Thanks for all you do!

The busy season is upon us: THIS SATURDAY April 15th at 5:30pm, Jason and I will be at Cafe O’play in Stow, Ohio. Enjoy the heart healthy menu choices and coffee bar, while the kids enjoy the separate, glass enclosed play area for the happy hour price of $6.50! The coffeehouse side of Cafe O’play is perfect for a date night, or for a group of music-loving friends to relax and unwind. Hope to see you there!

Then on Easter Sunday at 8:30am, I will be in Silver Lake, Ohio for a gorgeous lakeside service with the Church in Silver Lake. Such a beautiful way to start off the Resurrection celebration! Afterward at 10:30am, I look forward to worshipping with my own church family at the Chapel at Tinker’s Creek in Streetsboro, Ohio, and participating in our annual tradition of the “blooming cross.”

 

May 4th at 7pm I return to the Morning Owl Coffeehouse in Munroe Falls ,Ohio for a solo show! So mark your calendars!

There have been a number of requests for a recording of my latest song “Mama’s Whispers!” The interest is so great that we are considering releasing it as a single!! Look for more news on that in the coming months…

Once again, thank you for the love and support you all give to us! Your prayers and words of encouragement buoy my spirits during these anxious days, waiting for Deklan’s graduation day.

Carry on and take care!

jtb

Time can be cruel…

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Not quite 2 weeks ago I found myself in the heart of Nowhere…

I spent a glorious weekend at Nowhere Else Farm in Southern, Ohio, with Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist (AKA Over the Rhine!) at a workshop with 9 other beautiful souls! Our weekend together was brief, but I’ve never experienced the type of camaraderie and authenticity exchanged through our songs and stories. When speaking of my time there, I find myself wanting to talk about each of the people I met more than what I learned about songwriting! ( I learned a WHOLE LOT!) I was so overwhelmed with gratitude for the experience, I wept for an hour before I left for home. Thank you for making this possible, Linford, Karin, and Jonathan!

Now I am home… the demands of normal life are quite heavy. Time is flying by as we prepare for Deklan’s graduation in May and his subsequent commitment to Parris Island on August 28th with the US Marine Corps.  Somewhere in those next 6 months we also have a family mission trip to Colorado planned and Duncan turns 16!!!

Songwriting will have to wait for a bit… but the fire of inspiration lit in my heart at Nowhere won’t soon fade! I am humbled by how much I have to learn and I now have good direction… and many books to read!

Jason and I will squeeze in a few shows here and there over the next few months; we will be focusing a lot on polishing some of  my originals. Please pick a date and put it on the calendar! As always, thanks for listening!

March 18th Coffee Corners in Burton, Ohio 7pm

April 8th Open Mic night in Streetsboro Ohio  Details TBA

April 15th Cafe O’play in Stow, Ohio 5:30- 7:30 pm

May 4th  Morning Owl Coffee House in Munroe Falls, Ohio 7-9pm

Here’s hoping the music in K&L’s guitars is contagious!

(Picture of my Breedlove with Karin’s Tenor and Linford’s guitar)

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jtb

Joyful Trepidation

As I write this update, I am preparing for a weekend trip that is like a dream come true.  Tomorrow morning I am headed south towards Cincinnati, Ohio to attend a songwriting workshop at Nowhere Farm! This is the home of the phenomenal duo Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler, the heart of Over the Rhine.  Those of you who have been to my shows have heard me talk about my love of their music and the absolute poetry of their lyrics. Now my wonderful husband has made it possible for me to sit at their feet for a few days and soak in their process. (Perfect Christmas gift, honey! I adore you!)

My spirit is overwhelmed with both excitement and anxiety over this trip.  It feels risky to me, but some of the best experiences of my life have started with this same feeling. I look forward to sharing some new projects that grow out of my experience on the farm this weekend.

My next show is coming up March 18th at Coffee Corners in Burton, Ohio. This little coffee shop/antique store continues to be one of my favorite venues, with it’s amazing cheesecake and a good selection of local wines.  Many thanks to owner Sue Wayman for providing a perfect place for local musicians and artists to share their work, and for being instrumental in my growth as a singer/songwriter.

That’s all for now! Hope to see you in March and I’m grateful for your continued support of me on this journey…

 

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