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!

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Beautiful!

 

I am NOT a morning person! I never have been… My kids can tell you that…my husband could tell you …and I’m certain my parents would say that! So here I am in my 40’s and not much has changed in that department…

My kids are not early risers either.  Most mornings provide that one simple challenge: How in the world do I get my teenagers to wake up for school peacefully…cheerfully even? Is it even possible? Maybe if I put myself in their shoes?

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I remember getting up real early for school in the morning. After all, it took some time to sculpt the perfect ’80’s hairdo.  It took time and a few cans of Freeze hairspray… and a curling iron, of course! What I don’t quite remember as well is the aggravation my parents must have experienced getting me out of bed each morning!

Except this one moment: I think I was in Kindergarten… ( a very long time ago now).  My mother woke me up one morning singing “Beautiful” by Carole King.

“You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You’re gonna find, yes, you will
That you’re beautiful as you feel…”

My mother did not always wake me up that way, but I remember that moment like it was yesterday! She has always loved Carole King’s songs. I remember her playing the piano and singing many of the songs from “Tapestry.” That’s how I learned of Carole King…I can’t wait to see the musical about her life at some point in the near future.

So I’ve spent the last few months learning about songwriters like Carole King as I continue to create my own music. I am realizing that I can’t possibly imagine how the songs I write might affect the people who hear them.  Some songs- and arguably the best songs- reach people in ways we couldn’t possibly predict, with an impact that transcends time and goes beyond the message of the writer’s original intent. That’s what makes King’s music special to me. I wonder if she ever imagined a mother singing that song to wake up her 5-year-old daughter for school?

As I spend the next few months focusing on songwriting (and thinking of creative ways to nurture the “early riser” in my teenagers and myself), I hope to share new music with you here on the website and on YouTube. Please visit weekly to see new links and share the exciting journey with me!

This summer I plan to return to the Lunch Dock in Akron for a few shows once they open their patio in May.  I’ll update my calendar when I have those dates.

Once again, thanks for your kind words and for all of the love and support you offer, both here and on Facebook!

See you all soon!

jtb

 

Jessie and the guys, Ken Grove and Jason Burdett, at Cafe O’Play in Stow

Jessie and the Barstools Cafe oplay

Legacy of Love

Today my Grandma Gertie would have been 95 years old! We miss her dearly… her infectious laughter, unconditional love, and incredible faith were a cornerstone in our family.  Five and a half years have passed since she went to her Savior in heaven, and her legacy is no less intact…even her great-grandchildren carry her love and laughter with them.  My picture this month captures a beautiful moment of joy my Grandma, my Father, and my first born son shared more than 16 years ago.  I cherish it, and her memory.  Happy Birthday Grandma Gertie!

Happy Gertie Piicture

This month the guys and I are excited to make our 2016 debut at Cafe O’Play in Stow on Saturday February 20th from 6-8pm!! We will be playing most of our usual, light rock and inspirational favorites mixed in with some of my original music.  With a cozy coffee house atmosphere on one side and a separate, supervised kids play area on the other, this would be a fantastic place for a Family Fun night with the kids or a date night with your loved one! And even better news: Cafe O’play will be offering the Happy hour prices for admission to the play area from 5:30 to close! That’s half off regular price!  And… if you want to bring the kids earlier than 5:30… they will still take $2 off their regular price if you use my special phrase: Love wins!  Just tell that special phrase to the cashier when you pay for the admission and she will give you the discount!!! I hope to see as many of you there as possible! Let’s make this a special night for these small business owners, and fill the place!

That’s all for now! Thanks for supporting our music and for supporting these small business owners with your patronship!

Forever in His grip,

jtb

 

 

Wrapping up another year…

It has been a whirlwind year… Some great moments, and some… not so great… A lot of personal struggles and loss, and some personal victories.

 

I remembered this chorus to a song we sang in choir way back in the 1990’s at Parkway High School:

“For as long as I have music, as long as there’s a song for me to sing… I will find my way, I will see a brighter day. The music in my life will set my spirit free..”

I thank God for the gift of music, and for music educators like Nancy Farrell who taught us so passionately about music.  It’s music that has been the medium for my recovery, and as I continue to battle bouts of depression in my life, I find myself grateful for the support of family and friends with my music.  Whether it’s coming to my shows, words of encouragement on Facebook, or simple acts of kindness and prayers, I am truly blessed by my supporters.

This Sunday Kenny, Jason and I are at Cafe O’Play from 12:00pm to 2:00pm.  This is our last gig of 2015…the last chance for a few months to see us in action!! Then we are taking a few months to reflect and, Lord-willing, write some new songs! 🙂

With everything going on in the world, my heart is overwhelmed with emotion.  I hope to capture some of that as I continue with my songwriting.  For now, my prayers remain with all of  those being affected by the violence across the world.   May our hearts be ruled by mercy as we contemplate our role in the current crises across the globe.

Take care…and God bless!

 

jtbIMG_2325

 

Life is what happens…

“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans…”

That famous line from a Beatles’ song completely captures my  life this summer so far…

I am now the mother of TWO high school boys! I am so proud of them; they are growing into fine young men. As I watch them begin to think about their future plans, I think about where I was at their ages–the thoughts I was thinking.  It was a lifetime ago, and worlds of experience lie between that time and today.  I’m excited for them and their dreams…and scared.  I cherish the time I have with them NOW more than ever, and most of my time is focused on them right now…

On the music front, I continue to squeeze in a little time to write song new songs. It’s such a therapeutic release for some difficult emotions… I look forward sharing new songs at my summer shows…

I’ve added two new shows to my schedule this summer including a new venue.  August 22nd at 6:00pm will be my debut performance at the Cafe O’play In Stow, Ohio.  It is a family friendly venue that has a wonderful play area for kids while adults can enjoy cafe style entertainment and service.  I am excited to be a part of this positive local business and can’t wait to see as many of you as possible!! Bring your kids and let’s pack the place!

My next show will be at Coffee Corners in Burton, Ohio, on July 18th at 7:00pm.  This is where I got started playing in public places and I’m grateful for the chance to play there again… They feature a full coffee bar with pastries, cheesecake, and, of course, local wines.  Schedule a date night with the hubby or have a girls night out!  This charming shop is a rare gem and well worth the drive to Burton.

Well that’s all for now! Keep “fighting the good fight!”

We will see you this summer!!

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jtb

Friday night @The Blue Rock Cafe

blue rock logo

Last Wednesday, when I visited the Open mic night at The Blue Rock Cafe, I was greeted almost immediately with a warm hug from Andrea Morrison.  She and her husband Rob run the place, and they have such a passion for creating this live music venue for artists like me and local bands.  These are good people, small business owners who deserve our patronage.  In a industry where so many companies take advantage of musicians to make their bottom line, the people at this establishment stand out.  I thank them for the opportunity to share my music and applaud their courage.

This Friday March 6th the show starts at 8pm and will go until 11pm.  I am pleased to announce that my good friends Kenny Grove and Jason Burdett will be joining me for this special event! There is a $5 cover charge at the door that goes entirely to the musicians.  The Blue Rock Cafe is located on St. Rt. 91 in Hudson next to Brubakers Pub.  I hope to see you all there!  Come for a few songs and enjoy a beer, or come for all of it and have one of Andrea’s delicious burgers!  Great place for a date night or girls’ night out!!

Thanks!

jtb