Monday, November 21, 2011

Holiday CD Special!

Hey Everyone...

My husband asked me for my Christmas Wish List last night...
That means that some people are together enough to be
buying or planning what they will give to their loved ones.

If you love music, especially if you love MY music I will make this easy.

All 4 of my records are now ON SALE. Like a real sale.
All albums are only $10 each and I will give you FREE Shipping.
I will even tie a bow and sign them to anyone you like...
Also remember if you buy the physical copy, you get a free download
version right away.

And if you prefer downloading, all my records are only $5!

Click here to start filling your stockings....

I have boxes of albums, and my husband would like more garage space....
So, order away.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Big. Big. Getting bigger news!

My big news is growing into larger news by the day.
Yep, I'm gonna have a baby, and we are delighted!
I am due the first week of April, and I think I am finally
breaking through the "feel like I am going to vomit 20x a day" phase.
If you have seen me at a show and wondered 'why the weight gain?'
or 'why is rubberband is holding her jeans together?' now you know.

I will find out boy or girl in the next few weeks, and I feel
excited at the prospect of either. I think it's a girl, but that
probably is based on June's psychic powers.
Yes, you read that right. June is actually the one
who told me I was pregnant before even I knew.
She walked up to me one day, put her hand on
my stomach and said...
J- Mom, you have a baby in your tummy.
Me- Sweetie, there isn't a baby in my tummy.
J- No, there is. (said totally matter of fact, and then she trotted off)

I brushed off this encounter until the same conversation happened
the next day with this variation:
J- Mom, you have a baby in your tummy.
Me- Oh really, is it a baby boy or girl?
J- It's a girl.
Then 20 minutes later one of my dearest friends, Sarah Powers, called me.
She told me that she had the strongest feeling that
I was pregnant. Sarah and I grew up together in Santa Barbara,
and when I found out I was pregnant with June, she found out she
was pregnant with her daughter Allegra. Our girls were born a
week apart and I feel like she has been essential in my journey
through parenthood. So when your best friend since you were 10 years
old/parenting mentor backs up what your three year old
has been telling you for two is time to get a pregnancy
test. Or two.

On that note, I've canceled all my tours from January on that required
traveling far. I am looking to fill some of those dates with house concerts or
holiday house concerts in the states of Utah/Idaho. If you are interested in
having me come sing to you and yours just email me at
and I will guide you through each step.

So, thanks for your support on this journey of being a mom and a musician
and making it work.

sarah + 1

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Wind Rivers

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. ~John Muir, 1913

Every summer for the last nine years my husband James has taken me on
at least one backpacking adventure.

This year we choose to return to one of my favorite places;
the Green River Lakes in the upper Wind River Range in Wyoming.

We came to the Green River Lakes a few years ago, and
I told James that I wanted to return with my family. All my siblings
have real jobs or are in school and I think our last family 'camping' experience
involved a rainbow gathering when we were in grade school, no backpacks,
and a 50 lb canvas tent we only managed to drag to the trailhead. They all
have a love of being outside and hiking however, and I knew that if I could
get them to come, James could outfit them and be a great backcountry guide.
My stud of a brother, John, was on board from the beginning and he brought
his wonderful girlfriend Kelley. My Dad even came last minute despite having
foot surgery a few weeks before.

The leaves were changing to brilliant patches of gold and orange on the mountain side and seemed to be our companions on every step of the hike. The nights were cold but the daytime felt perfect. We fished, we ate good food, we told hilarious stories around a campfire, and my Dad brought his big medium format cameras to capture it all. I don't have those photos yet, but here are a few that we took...

It felt wonderful to get away from our busy lives. To have time to read a chapter in a book or sit under the aspens with a crisp apple for lunch. I loved watching James on this trip, he was in his true element and was always concerned to make everyone comfortable. The sounds of whistling leaves, waves lapping the lake shore, birds singing, and the fire cracking. Like John Muir said, I felt my hike outside was really a walk going in.

James & I at the Trailhead

My Dad, John, Kelley, and me

19 in Lake Trout. woot woot.

Upper Green River Lake, and our campsite

Hike in at lower lake, Square Top Peak is in the middle

Our dog Noodle during a cold morning, I gave her a shirt. ha.

yellow aspens on the drive out

Where is your favorite place to backpack or hike?


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Song School

My daughter started preschool a few weeks ago. Backpack and all. Show and tell. Art projects everyday. The first few classes passed without incident. Then trouble came in the form of a restless 3 year old boy. Said boy pushed her in line and kicked her twice while sitting on the mat. This has led to very turbulent meltdowns on the days when it's time to load up for preschool. Somehow we make it to school and when I pick her up she has had a brilliant day and wants to show me all her works of art. Never-the-less the break down comes again the next time we have to go. Any advice ????

Today on the way to school I pointed out that everyone goes to School. Big kids and little kids. Even mommy goes to school.

My school happens for a brief week in August every year, tucked in by the St. Vrain river in Colorado. I've been attending The Rocky Mountain Song School for 9 years. I pulled into the campground the first year at 2am with my sister and cousin. It was dark, we didn't know where to park, where to camp, or if anyone would want us around. Within a day we were making friends and finding out how hard it sounded to actually make music a successful career. At night there were song circles, and we would stay up late inching our way closer to the inner circle begging the stars for chance to sing a song. Some circles were so big it would take hours to go around one time. We didn't care. We could feel the energy of something wonderful happening and wanted to be part of it.
Every year I go I learn something new about the craft of songwriting and about myself. My friend Christopher Smith (who is a brilliant songwriter) once told me that he never goes into the week with an expectation, because the right thing always shows up. I would have to agree with him. Many songs that have found a home on my records were started or finished at song school including: Noah, Never Close Enough, Mercy Me, & Every Time I Go. The place is swarming with nice people who would drop everything to give you a hug or a moment of their time to hear about your break through in Mary Gauthier's class (note: everyone has a break through moment in Mary's class).
I have sat at the feet of songwriting giants like Darrell Scott, Josh Ritter, Mary Gauthier, and Over The Rhine. And I have stayed up to watch the sunrise sharing songs with dear friends in a circle or silo. In a way, I've grown into being a songwriter by attending this school. I treasure it with all my heart. I love the staff at Planet Bluegrass, I love the priority they give to the development of the artist. Every one is welcome and I always feel like I am coming home.

(Playing the Wildflower in 2010)

I have made some pretty amazing friends over the last decade at song school...They are my biggest treasure of all.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

musical family

I am often asked if I grew up in a musical family.

I found this photo yesterday in an old banana box
full of photos that belonged to my grandma.

I think it you have your answer.

I am in the case. Kate is the big sis by the piano.
I want that piano again.


ps: Did you grow up in a musical family? If so, what was it like? Early piano lessons? Did your mom make you learn a harmony part for a christmas song? Did you have a family band, please tell me you had a family band! Were you encouraged to write songs? Fill me in.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

summer festivals!

This may have been one of the craziest weeks of my life.
The last seven days have included:
(june decorating the uhaul)

-MOVING to Salt Lake City, and all the
packing-cleaning-heavy lifting-and sticker
removal that goes with it. We will be here for
three years for my husband's job.

-DRIVING from:
Boise ---->SLC (unpack truck)
SLC--->Boise (Play Alive After 5)
Boise--->SLC (back to house o boxes)
SLC--->Cedar City (rocking Groovefest)
Cedar City---> SLC (back to house o boxes)

The best part of the week was making music.
I got to play the Alive After 5 summer concert series in
Boise with The Brothers Comotose. Thank you GO*LISTEN*BOISE

(photo by Jess Haskell Norton)
Next was the Utah Arts Fest with the full band. I have wanted to play
the Arts Fest for years and it was so lovely. We had a full crowd,
and playing music with Dylan, Ryan, & Pat always
boosts my happiness level to new heights. Thank you
Arts Fest for having us, and thanks to
Dan Nailen at City Weekly for the including us in your write up!

I saw my friend Paul Jacobsen open for Sheryl Crow
at Red Butte Gardens. He killed and the scenery up there is stunning.

(photo by James McDonald)
And I got to finish my weekend off by playing Groovefest down in Cedar City.
What a cool festival, the feeling there is really welcoming and relaxed. Big Thanks to Tim and Lisa for having me. I loved it!

FREE IN PROVO! An incredible band has been pieced together to faithfully re-create the Beatles "Abbey Road" album. I will be starting the night off.

My inspiration tip this week: Listen to Tift Merritt interview Josh Ritter on The Spark.


Monday, June 6, 2011

30 Years. Let's Play a Game!

(baby sarah with grandma. nice hair grandma.)

Today I turn 30 years old.

In celebration I feel like playing a game.
The game is: 5 truths and 1 lie about my life so far.
( I may or may not love games and gambling.)

Ready? Ok, you guess the lie.

1. I have escaped a forest fire.

2. I once broke two bones in one day. Separately.

3. I hate eggs.

4. I've attended 4 rainbow gatherings. You may or
may not want to know more depending on how
comfortable you feel with nudity, camping, and trade circles.

5. I was the fastest girl in my grade school class.
Even won the 'annual turkey trot.'

6. Had a guinea pig once that ran away.
Came back a month later missing an eye.

Your guess is......

Anyone who leaves the right guess in the comments
gets a free download of any of my albums seen here.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

finding a bit of joy

I had a moment of clarity on Sunday.
The thought came to me that I needed to
Surrender something over
to let something else in.

I am choosing to surrender worry right now.
I am choosing to let a quiet joy enter my heart.

I realized quiet clearly that I spend
a generous amount of time thinking about me
and what I want and what I don't have.
Not that I think I shouldn't be clear on what
I want. But I think that worrying about what I
want is a waste of space and time. Especially
when so much of the life I want is in front of me daily.

Frankly, there are so many other people and events
that deserve a spot of 'generous thinking' in my mind and heart.

Now it is only tuesday...BUT I have eaten good food.
I have been playing the piano and writing a new song.
We had some of our favorite friends over for Sunday dinner.
I have gone on a hike with my daughter and
bowling with my husband.
I have my family.

(family photo attempt while in Kerrville TX)

I have enough and I am enough.
I am happy.


what are a few ways that you practice feeling gratitude and letting go?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy Birthday June!

Three years ago today I endured a long hard labor
ending in a c-section to birth my beautiful daughter
I had crossed the divide from one life to the next.
I no longer was responsible just for myself. I had
created life and my life would never look the same.

I remember feeling fearful about changes that would come with
bringing a baby into the world. And what is interesting
is that most of those fears never saw the surface. And those
things I feared that did show up, paled in comparison
to the bounteous love that was overflowing for the little
peapod named June.

I remember one night on my birthday, June was just
a month and a half old. I had felt left behind all day,
the celebratory dinner was a bust, I was an emotional wreck
from sleeping 2.3 hours a night since she was born. I felt
like all the people and places that I normally found comfort
in were a wash. Instead, I remember turning to June in my arms
for comfort. In fact, she was the only one who could
give it that night. Maybe it was because the love
I had for her was so pure and untainted that
she echoed that in every breath and glance? Or
perhaps her sweet small spirit radiated something
way beyond her 10 pound frame could contain?
Regardless, in my sorrow I found love---a pure love from my child.
It was a great lesson to me. June has continually taught me
truths in the last 3 years. She is my lucky star.
I have often found myself spontaneously laughing
or smiling while watching June live her life.
I will be forever grateful that this sweet girl
calls me "mom."

Happy Birthday June. May all your princess and fairy wishes come true!

ps. I remember my friend Dom a few years ago asked if June had entered the "princess" phase. I replied no, and remember thinking, "I don't think she will go through that"- WRONG.

pss. Me- June, what do you want for your birthday?
life. is. good.


Saturday, April 16, 2011


How is it possible I haven't posted in a MONTH!?

So I've been thinking of late about the concept of "audience" and "fans."
I remember once as a kid watching a Michael Jackson concert on TV.
The screen revealed women crying and basically going into seizures at the
chance to touch his gloved hand.
I've watched the dedication of jamband followers, who literally
drive from concert to concert making each new venue a home.

I've been in crowds of Josh Ritter fans or Swells Season fans who
sing every word and are an integral part of the show.
I've watched a town pick a band to stand behind and every
show becomes the hip scene that you would be drastically
insane to miss.

So my question today....How does that happen?
What separates, in your opinion, music that you find enjoyable
from music that you would tell your friends about, or make sure
you waited in line to see the show?
Is it the songs? Is there something about the live show? Is it because
someone you trust told you, you must check out their tunes? Do your
favorite performers give back to their audiences?

Being around music as much as I am, I still feel at a loss sometimes
of pinpointing what is working and what is not. I know of many talented
musicians who I believe are deserving of a larger fan base, but how does
that connection happen?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Who are your
favorite bands? What about them makes you want to be


PS. HAPPY RECORD STORE DAY! Especially to my own Boise Record Exchange and SLC Slowtrain Records. I was in SLC this weekend for shows and I saw some mighty fine bands play this afternoon. Worthy in my mind of your listening ears :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

12 years old

can we all agree this picture is pure awesomeness?

I just found it and laughed out loud.
a few things to notice...

a. my sweet yamaha guitar passed down from
my mom's high school drama years

b. my sweet tie dye. if you didn't know me in
grade school--I will fill you in. There were many
tie dyes, batiks, fimo bead necklaces, leather
peace sign necklaces, troll earrings,
and the occasional taco bell fanny pack.

c. don't worry, the phone is the size of my head.
dear have come a long way.

d. the sweet previa van. this is also the van in which
i once ran over my brother. it's cool. don't worry, he is fine.

e. I love this photo, because starting very early in my life
I had a love for music and a desire to learn
how to write songs. I think I could learn a few things
from the 12 year old version of myself
about having the right intention and heart about life.


Monday, February 28, 2011

Folk Alliance

Last weekend I was in Memphis for the national Folk Alliance. The conference brings together musicians and music industry folks (radio, festivals, promoters, record companies etc). A few thousand people spend part of a week doing everything related to music. Three floors of the hotel are used as showcases floors, and every room magically transforms into a small listening venue. Musicians run from room to room performing original songs for all to hear. It is a bit insane, and really wonderful as well. It is great to connect with friends and house concert hosts and see musicians you have heard about but not yet witnessed. I left exhausted and yet so full of hope that so many musicians are finding a way to make a living doing what they love.

A few favorite moments:

1. Having the best roomies: Edie Carey & Mai Bloomfield. They both played incredible showcases and we all had a pretty ridiculous time singing together.

2. The Rendezvous: famous ribs. good friends. trolley ride...what more could you want?

3. Cover your friends round at the Market Monkeys room. On the last night after the last showcase, a group of musicians got together with the intent to play songs your friends wrote. It was pretty emotional. To have a friend sing your words and melody, strum your chords all with a new perspective...I could have stayed in that room for days. Friends covered friends like Natalia Zuckerman, Garrison Starr, Matt The Electrician, Edie Carey, Nels Andrews, Robby Hect, Rose Cousins...

4. Darrell Scott, Ron Sexsmith, Mary Gauthier, Eliza Gilkenson...yeah, they played and were so inspiring. Esp when Mary G. pulled out her guitar chord and walked into the audience to play her show due to sound problems. Mary--you are rad.

(mai, edie, justin, and ed on the trolley)

4. Open your ears!
My heart was opened again and again by incredible songwriters. Check them out if you haven't already...
Edie Carey- is such a pro, she is one of my favorite songwriters. She has a beautiful new album out...and you will LOOOVE it
Mai Bloomfield- mai was such a solid performer all weekend I was impressed again and again
Rose Cousins- that voice!!! Rose has collaborated with the best and is a true talent from Canada!
Ed Romanoff- Ed lives in NY, check out the song he wrote with Mary Gauthier called 'Orphan King'
Amy Speace- I heard a new song by amy that was dynamite, the title was something about "our love song" she has a new album coming out this spring, so be on the lookout!
Matt The Electrician- my first memories of Matt are when I saw him in Austin playing a show with the Weepies at Flipnotics. He was so good he is pretty unreal.
Andy Gullahorn- such a great songwriter. the ability to make me laugh and then cry in the same song...don't know how you do that. LOVE his album "Law of Gravity"
Justin Roth- justin has a new album out that he recorded himself...great guitar player and beautiful voice
Ana Egge- I have heard Anna's name for years, but she played a showcases that had me in awe. The Steel Wheels backed her up and I wanted it to last longer...
Storyhill- such good people, good songs, and their harmonies are so dialed in...
Natalia Zukerman & Garrison Starr- so great together. I love when women rock at guitar.
Cary Cooper/ TPR--they have been writing songs a long time and you can tell in the best way....
Amber Rubarth- amber's is another name I have been hearing, her showcase was genuine and beautiful.
Ellis- opening hearts as usual!

The list could go on and on. I missed so many musicians I wanted to catch, maybe next year.
Thank you to Louis and everyone at FA for a great week!


PS: want to join the mailing list? ok. just mosey over to the right side of the page...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

stomp along

When I was touring through Seattle a few weeks ago,
my sis (also a songwriter, who lives in seattle) took me
to her neighborhood open mic at Conor Byrne. She has
been going to this open mic for several years now.

photo by
Eratosthenes Fackenthall
The place was packed that sunday night and I swear she knew everyone
by first name. It really did feel like a neighborhood pub
should feel. This open mic is especially a hot spot because it
is run by a member of The Head & The Heart--a really cool
new band that is taking the music scene by storm. Several
members of the band met at the open mic last year and soon
after formed the band. They were just recently signed by sub-pop records.
I love stories like this. I think I read Josh Ritter met Glen Hansard
at an open mic. Synchronicites like this are rad.

Photo by Eratosthenes Fackenthall

Buy the album here: The Head and the Heart - The Head and the Heart

This band loves to stomp, and clap, and shout and involve the audience.
When they got up to play, the crowd got quiet, everyone pushed in close,
then the whole audience started stomping was great to be
in a room where every member of the audience was invested in what was
going on. They had a few friends who grabbed attention on the stage, one being
a cool cat named Bryan John Appleby.

On another note, I participated in an event called The Song Bomb today.
My friend Tim organizes it each year, and every day of the month a
guest songwriter is assigned a topic and they write a song in a day. Tim then
also writes a song on the same topic that day. Today was my day.
My song is posted here. Having to write a song in a day takes away some
of the preciousness that sometimes comes with the territory. It is about
writing, but also about letting go of expectations and taking fear out
of the equation. I have some dear friends involved as well,
like Chuck E. Costa, Christopher Smith, and Mai Bloomfield.
Tune into all month.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

In it for the Money? part 1

"There are hundreds of dollars to be made playing folk music.."
-Karen Savoca

Over the years of playing music, I've had many conversations
in, out, under, and around the topic of why choose this career?
Most friends I know who are making music for a living
are in a constant dance with debt. It is clear to me, that
anyone who wants to create music and have it be a major part
of their life, did not get lured into the business by
dreams of stock options and fancy cars.
And yet, we live in a society that shows what it
values with the currency of money. I believe that Artists
should be able to work at their skill set and make a living
doing it. So why isn't that a possibility for most in this country?
That being said, there are so many rewarding
aspects to creating music, one of them being the
currency of connection.

I love to perform and therefore touring feeds a part
of why I enjoy this career. But I realized again on
this last Northwest tour, that the gift of being on
the road is the opportunity every night to make a connection.
The connection is not just during the 2 hours on a
stage between performer and audience.
It is the conversations that fill in the gaps
from one show to the next, that is the true gift.

The thoughtful perspective on songwriting
Ryan shares while we make the 5 hour drive to Seattle.
It is the early morning conversation with Brad in
Angeline's coffeehouse about our favorite new artists.
The voices and ideas that fill the hallway in a historic
capitol hill home at 2am with a concert host who has dedicated
seven years of his life to promoting shows for independent songwriters.
The gift of meeting a music loving blogger, marilyn, who beyond
raising organic blueberries decided to start her own
concert series so she could share the live music
experience with her neighbors, other amazing bloggers, and friends.
It is meeting a woman who I felt I've known years instead of
minutes, and knowing somehow that I could trust her instantly.
It is the quiet that fills my car and the big conversations
I have in my head with myself while driving through changing landscapes.


MORE to come soon on my northwest adventures like:

how hip is the seattle hipster music scene on ballard ave?
how amazing are a group of high school students in sisters?
which new songwriters blew me away?
what parking lots are safe to take a nap in your car
when the coca-cola isn't cutting it?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Aaron Copland

Do you know this man?
Do you know his music?

Meet Aaron Copland.
Although I had heard bits and pieces,
it wasn't until collage that
he became one of my favorite composers.

Why? I honestly can't really put it into words.
All I know is that when I hear certain
melodies that he has composed
there is a visceral reaction in my body.
I have on many occasions found myself in
tears because his composition
has found it's way into the
very composition of my body.

So, this last week my piano instructor
gave me the assignment to learn
the music for the
"Coda" of Appalachian Spring.
And although I am so slow,
as the melody cautiously
found a way through my fingers
my vision blurred
and my heart is full because I am
playing music I love.

Listen to what I learning to play here and maybe even treat yourself to
the beauty of Aaron Copland's music:
(it is #17 on the list)

Appalachian Spring: Moderato - Coda - The Copland Collection

Who is your favorite composer??


ps. I'll give you a full update this week on my tour through the Northwest. What a wonderful time it was!

Monday, January 10, 2011


Hi friends.
Welcome to my new blog-- "Shadows of a Song"
ok. same blog, but NEW title (thank you mr. jacobsen)
and new fancy look.
and even my very own BUTTON
to share. wouldn't that look great on your
blog wall? yep, it would.
It feels refreshing to have
a new space in write in.

I didn't want to have my blog called
and 'shadows of a song' is the title
of a song off my new record.
It is actually one of my personal favorites
on the record. Paul Jacobsen had his
hand in several drafts which is probably why
it made my favorites list.

The idea was using a song as the metaphor for love.
The first verse--
"once my love was a band, and you were the kickdrum
jumpstart my heart and we start to run
didn't care we were so young
we tried so hard
to play all the right parts
with our hands full of false starts
till the downbeat dragged us apart"

Each verse is a different relationship
and the singer is chasing
the idea of a perfect song or perfect love
and can only get glimpses of it with each relationship.

the chorus sings
"I hear it, then it's gone
melodies haunt me
shakes it's chains and leads me
on an endless marathon
I lose my breath, chasing
shadows of a song"

I think part of, if not the main purpose we
are on this earth is to learn to love.
We get chances everyday to do this
with our families
and maybe the hardest relationship
to learn to love
is with ourselves.

Let's celebrate my new blog together.
My gift to you for dropping by...

plus, if you download this will get your
heart broken by the harmonies provided by
Dustin Christensen.

Have a lovely week friends.
I am off to the Northwest, come
and join me at a show, or send your friends out.
Shows are selling out fast, so get your tickets soon!