Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Farmer's Daughter

Years back, I wrote a song on a squeaky piano bench in small town Wisconsin. 

I had taken a long look at some 5 pronged fork in the road and decided to settle into the community there. The decision was neither without sacrifice or unimagined blessing. It seemed every time I came to an intersection over those years, eagerly anticipating a new avenue of exploration, I would be convicted to stay straight; straight and narrow and structured and seemingly so small. 

St. Augustine of Hippo was credited to have said, "The world is a book and those who don't travel read only a page." I love St. Augustine, books AND travel. I agree with him here. However, after having finally, at long last, begun to learn the art of 'being at home', I discovered a real problem with WANDERLUST.

Almost any way you spin it, lust is a strong armed master yanking the chain to our collars. It leads us to places whether or not they're the best for us, or the people in our lives. This kind of lust seems harmless enough because it is attached to a lot of other apparent goods but I've come to see anything with power to command me must be brought into self-control. 

Gratefully, during the years I wrestled with a desire to 'go' and felt the need to 'stay', I developed a deeper love. The week I left to travel, finally, I was able to track this song with my friend Joseph Szabo. It was one of the last songs I performed at my Arrividerci house show, among friends who feel like family, because that's what happens when you let your roots grow. 

Here it is: 

The Farmer's Daughter

Tips, tricks and tid-bits for the road

Joseph Szabo tracking at the studio 

Merch Debut @ Arrividerci Party via Kara Fay Gregory

Dillon Nickell Performing @ Arrividerci Party

Tahmi Prado performing @ Arrividerci Party 
Dillon, Tahmi & Yours Truly. 


Just a few notes for the journey <3 



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2016 Highlights

This year was very full!

It would do a disservice to the many people, events, projects, books, ideas and processes from the past 12 months, and also to any potential readers, to try to cram some semblance of an explanation into one long post.

That being said, in light of my upcoming travel-blog intentions, I still think it would be good at least to share some highlights from the past, leading into things ahead. 

Personal Life: 

I've continued working at Herzing University, where I've been employed as an administrative assistant for the better part of the last 5 years. It has been a privilege to have the opportunity to be developed and grow professionally in an organization that is so committed to believing in the potential of their every student. I have worked for and with many colleagues who have taught me the importance of character in leadership, how to implement positive change in both personal and practical process and to approach problem solving with grace. I'm very grateful for my time here, which will be concluding after my last shift, tomorrow at 5:00 pm.

I've resolved to finally finish my bachelor's degree, so I've been a student as well this past year. That will be my primary focus until I'm, at long last, finished with my program in the spring of 2018. 

I spent most the year living on the Anthony Lane block in Racine, where I learned the beauty of microwavable black bean burgers successfully grew my first cucumbers. S/O to RUGN and my wonderful neighbor lady, who watered my plots every now and again.

I accidentally introduced my pet fish to drugs, had my first - and hopefully last - bed bug fiasco and ran the fastest I've ever run in 3 minutes. I wrote a few new songs and forgot one or two mid-performance.

I also went on vacation to Oregon with the fam this summer! My mom is the bomb, which is still something I say, apparently, even though that is so 1995. The ocean is glorious, I'm definitely more of an introvert than I thought I was before vacation and Portland was super hospitable. Thanks, Portland.


This year one of my main musical projects was a monthly gig with my friends in the Southport Sound. We're a big band with 10+ players, playing primarily classics written by composers like George Gershwin, Kurt Weil and Richard Rogers. It's a swell time. We're mostly a party band for hire. The monthly gigs are public rehearsals, free to the public. Look us up if you're ever swinging through Kenosha. If we're not playing, still see another local band at Fusion!

SN: This pictures was taken by Sean Krajacic. 
Shout out to him for being a great local photographer, for supporting local music and being too legit to quit.

One of my favorite personal art projects this year was a show put together to raise funds and awareness for an organization called the A21 Campaign: a reputable non-profit who passionately advocates for those trapped in human trafficking. The event showcased a few sweet local indie bands, a couple of inspiring spoken word poets from Chicago and a short presentation from Annie Olson, Milwaukee's #WalkForFreedom coordinator. Because of the amazing support of the K-Town community and ordinary people willing to pay a couple dollars to fight injustice, we significantly exceeded the goal of $500. The event was featured in local news, and I was told this outlet was what informed several attendees, so let's a take a moment say "Thanks" to the Kenosha News!

SN: For more information on how you can partner with A21 on the fight against human trafficking, 
click here: A21 Campaign 

Another event that I love to be a part of is the 16th Street Studio Tour. While my role is to help provide ambiance and entertainment to those passing in transit from one artist gallery to the next, I also get to peruse before, after and in between sets. I'm always enamored by the unexpected variety and quality of talent in this unassuming town. I am equally refreshed by the amount of art lovers who creak the floorboards of that old building on these open-house days. 

SN: Check out the 16th Street Studio Tumblr Page: 16th Street Studio Tumblr Page

ONE last gig I wanted to share about was at Public Craft Brewing. I performed as the resident act , opening for a duo from Argentina who were on a summer Midwest tour. They made a new fan and I made some rad new friends. The next day they were able to meet up with me at a gig I had at the Root River Festival (which is also something you should totally check out if you're in SE Wisco next September). We went canoeing and ate Jerk Chicken from a truck, which is THE STUFF DREAMS ARE MADE OF. Check them out here: Axtell Duo

That concludes my brief highlight reel schpeel of fun happenings in 2016. I'll look forward to sharing what's up ahead next soon!


Naomi Marie