And this time for real!

I can’t wait for y’all to hear this album which has been coming together for so long. I literally am going to go back to bed and sleep until February 3.

It’s been since Redwood Summer since I put out a more acoustic album, and since never that I’ve done an album that I feel so strong about all the way through.

Listen to three pre-release tracks for yourself…

And thank you.

I’m playing a show this Wednesday, May 21 at Malo in Silver Lake, Los Angeles. It’s really been toooooo long since I’ve played a show and I’m super grateful to Surely Lorraine and Kondo Exurbia for including me.

I’ve been working up new songs because what happens when you don’t play is you forget ALL your lyrics and when you get on stage your brain turns off completely its ability to recall such information and since there likely won’t be a teleprompter it’s better to get it memorized!

I decided I wanted to do a cover because covers are fun for everyone especially when in my case all this material is new and I don’t know what works and what doesn’t. Some songs work live and are kinda lame on an album, and vice versa. So I thought about doing “I’m On Fire” which I’ve always played on the cello but I thought perhaps I’d think of something not done so often (Bruce’s popularity has risen yet again and to my relief his street cred is much higher than I think it used to be… I remember people would ask who my favorite musicians were and I’d say Bruce and they’d think I was joking, which is absurd! Because, well, you know, he’s the best songwriter perhaps ever.)

ANYWAYS so I was letting my mind wander and I was walking down Sunset Blvd. and I happen to live really close to where the show is Wednesday and I realized that the “Elliott Smith wall” is right next door to the venue.

Which is weird and for me kind of eerie and moving because:

• Elliott Smith influenced my life and especially my identity as a songwriter probably more than any other musician. Either/Or changed my life in so many ways. If I had to put it into words (poorly) I would say because he made me realize that beauty and melancholia are not necessarily taboo to all people. People love his music rightly so and it’s sad but not sad at all because it is just aching and oozing with so much life, and feeling FOR life. I’ve never written anything as beautiful as his, but it certainly gave me a context for where my music fit in to the world. And I don’t know if my music is especially sad, I don’t think so and I never set out to make it that way or any way, but people have often told me that in one way or another. So it makes sense, the kinship I felt, musically.

• Elliott Smith kinda really, as silly as it sounds, or naive, is the reason I moved to Portland. Again, I just figured “if music like that is being made there, I need to be there.” And so I moved there, and I walked Elliott Ave. in Ladd’s Addition many many times, often on my way to the Red & Black where I played my favorite shows in that city. And I was enveloped in the rain and the comfort Portland is and it was a beautiful, beautiful time.

• Elliott Smith moved to LA and here I am. And I don’t know where “From a Basement on the Hill” was specifically recorded, but I ended up on a hill in Los Angeles and I never, ever ever would have guessed that. And I’m still making the music I do, for what it’s worth.

• I’m still mad at Elliott Smith for dying. Yeah, I know he “killed himself” which makes me more mad at him… but there’s some doubt and I’ve always felt how if it is true that he stabbed himself in the chest with a kitchen knife there’s so much sadness around that act and everything surrounding his death that truly I can barely listen to his music anymore. Which is a shame. To be clear he wasn’t my hero. But he was a beautiful inspiration.

And so, for what it’s worth I’m going to play an Elliott Smith cover on Wednesday, by his wall, and maybe some closure will come about and maybe I’ll blow it and forget the lyrics! Who knows! It’s unknowable.

It would be nice to see you there, if you are in the neighborhood…

Had a good rehearsal yesterday. Me and Tripp played at Bedrock Studios over in Echo Park. A big room, horror movie posters on the wall, huge amps, and a little time. We haven’t had time to play lately and so it was good.

If you are a musician out there trying to get better, let me tell you, if you can book a gig, any gig, that is the key. Basically you are forced to get your act together, literally, and it will speed up the process of developing your material exponentially.

Also: rehearsal studios = good. Never thought I’d be a fan, but now I kind of am. It’s nice, for one thing, to get away from the house to play. It’s nice to have all the equipment set up and ready to go, and then to walk away from it. And it’s also nice to see and occasionally meet all the other musicians in your peer group coming and going from their rehearsals. You can hear them through the walls and get a feel for where other bands are at.

Opened up the book of songs we’ve been playing. Six or seven tracks off of “Tomorrow Was” that are manageable live and that are propulsive. Good to play those but wow they take a lot of energy. Playing a super fast song for three minutes is one thing. Playing a string of fast six minute songs is different. So we kind of played around with new “material”, improvised is why it’s in quotes, and it was exhilarating.

I feel certain that if we work together on a new album, making material from rehearsals and live shows, that we will be onto something really cohesive and cool.  Recorded part of it too. I’m not sure that it warrants sharing per se, but you know that I’m always down to share stuff that is borderline fit to listen to. I like raw. So I’m ok with it.  So yes, a show Tuesday night near downtown LA at The Airliner. Midnight Door plays at 9ish. Cover is $5. I think it will be a really fun night out, given that there are DJs and other rad bands and live painting. I’m looking forward to it.

This Friday, April 9, I’ll have the honor of again joining Chuck Ragan on a few songs at the House Of Blues in Anaheim as he opens for the legendary, highly influential Bad Religion. Considering how many hours of my life Bad Religion’s music has consumed, I’m really excited to get to play at this show!

First off, I’m thrilled to let you know that I’m opening for AFI on January 28th in Santa Cruz… why thrilled you asked? as opposed to excited? Well, I’ve passed through the excited threshold and into the realm of thrilled because AFI is a band I’ve admired for a long long time, and who, in their music and their unrelenting devotion to creating their own sound, their own way, have become one of my favorite bands ever. So basically I’m opening for some musical idols. Pretty cool.

Next off, life has been changing in big and little ways, mostly big… I now live in Los Angeles… still settling in but indeed, it is done. We’re perched on a little hill and I’m really excited to see how the music fares down here.

Last off, for now, I have a lot to say for and about Nevada City. Though I feel very happy to move forward etc., I feel I owe a great debt to all the amazing musicians and friends I made there, and have a good long rant to write about all that. Will miss the good things there… very much!


Chuck Ragan's new album

I’m super excited to report that I’m gonna get to play a show with someone I’ve admired musically for a long time!

Chuck Ragan is a member of the hugely influential band Hot Water Music. He has released two solo albums recently, which are excellent. A couple months ago we recorded; I played cello on a few tracks on his upcoming album, he sang on a track on my upcoming album.

The show is this Friday, July 10, 2009 at 9pm at the Blue Lamp in Sacramento, CA. Tickets are $12 at the door.

Click here for more details!

Alela Diane - To Be Still 

I’m heading up to Portland this weekend to play a show with Aaron Ross as a member of the Heirs Of Mystery. 

We’re opening for Alela Diane at Holocene on Sunday, February 15.

I’m looking forward to a return to Portland, hoping to see some friends there. Not looking forward to the drive, as the weather is looking questionable, and it will be 12 hours. Sometimes a long drive is what you need though.

Yes, so I would love to see some friends there, at the show, which will be great, or at the Paradox for breakfast the next morning…


I’m looking forward to this awesome show that Huff This! from NYC put together in Nevada City… I’m playing cello with Huff on a few songs. Their music is really haunting and beautiful, passionate and well written. Piano, and drums, and sometimes guitar. 

Black Bear, who also are really so great will also be playing, and there will be an art installation from Matthew Gottschalk… seriously this will be fun, come out!

“Huff This! with Black Bear and Dolli Melaine Huff This will be accompanied by Luke Janela on a few songs, Thad Stoener-guitar/bass, Dolli Melaine-vocals, Pete Newsom-drums and there are gonna be dancers! also Black Bear is going to be in its full six person formation which is totally dope. Matthew Gottschalk is going to be do a crazy string vortex istallation. and Dollie Melaine (back from Vienna) is going to kick off the evening with her dramatic vocals. we will not be selling alcohol.”

I love New York City, having had Oh So Much Experience there (I’ve spent a total of like, two weeks there). But it is super amazing. And I’ve been wanting to play this place Pete’s Candy Store for a long time. Much respect to it, a lot of my musical heroes have passed through there at one time or another.

And so, I’ll be there September 21, a Sunday evening, playing at 10:30. NYC People, come out and be there. Spread the word if you have friends there (it seems like we all do!).

Last minute correction: It’s the Rocklin It’s A Grind… don’t go to Roseville!


Tonight I am playing a gig with Aaron Ross at It’s A Grind in Rocklin, which clearly means that transcendent insanity will arise, and perhaps there will be golden rays of fire leaping from the clouds above that fine city. So if you want to come down to the epicenter, do so, otherwise, if you happen to notice a glow on the horizon, that would be our show.

Directions to It’s A Grind

Aaron Ross

Interesting show tonight, another art opening, this one though, not in a salon but a tattoo parlor.

It actually sounds really awesome to me, and I’m looking forward to it a lot. Cody Coyote will be playing, and I’ll be doing my cello beat mashup madness.

It starts at 6pm in Newcastle, and I’ll do some recording for those who can’t be there…

Nevada City is to be lively tonight, with film fest participants milling about.

And more fun is the show we are putting on downtown, at a new art place called Dragonfly.

Its below Sushi In The Raw and down the street from the Miner’s Foundry and tonight features:

Luke Janela – Instrumentals: Cello, Beats

The Mechanical Kid – Turntables

VJ Bendji – Live Video Production

Dice/Rapaparatus – Beats, Lyrics, Hip Hop

Mariko Amekodommo – Mixed Media

Katherine Unger – Paintings

Twill be a wild and crazy night.

Man last night was great with Mariee shining, the Moore Bros. singing, and Howlin Rain ruling. Seriously it was a fantastic show in the heart of Grass Valley and everyone was having a good time.

And tonight the big weekend culminates with Tahiti Pehrson giving a rare performance, (he is an INCREDIBLE visual artist), Casual Fog being awesomeand Black Bear also being awesome.

It shall definitely be a fun, interesting night.

Hope to see you there.

Mariee Sioux has a fantastic voice and a wonderful, natural songwriting ability. Her music flows like water, and her voice is soothing and honest, in fact gorgeous.

I won’t be playing many songs, and will be far from the highlight of the show, but you should go if you live in the Nevada City area, it will be a great show. Howlin’ Rain and The Moore Brothers also play. I haven’t heard Howlin Rain but The Moore Brothers are fantastic as well. Their harmonies are crisp and golden, and their lyrics are poetic and often staggering.

A few live shows coming up, this one being awesome. St. Joseph’s in Grass Valley is a beautiful old Catholic school featuring a fantastic former church as the room for live music.

I’ll be playing there November 17th with Tahiti Pehrson, Casual Fog, and Black Bear.

This Saturday, at the Miner’s Foundry, I will be participating in an event (playing in fact, at the end, as part of a video presentation) that encourages people to see what they can actually do in their lives to positively affect the environment.

Power Palooza

I won’t lie, this show tomorrow night (KDVS, 11pm-12pm May 24, is making me anxious!

Why you ask? Well let me tell you that they are giving me an hour of air to fill… and people will be listening (maybe), and, and, well, you know… OK, here is one thing. It is easy for me to play to a big room of people, preferably who don’t know me well, but playing to a small room to friends is almost impossible. Its paralyzing, well, in a way, it just feels weird. So that’s why, friends, I am not always giving impromptu concerts.

And this gig is kind of in between… it will be kind of like being alone… except the mic will be on. So its like a big room with strangers, except, its also kind of intimate.

I am looking forward to it. I’m preparing for it by running through the set list and generally sinking into it. My big concept is to have improvisation play a big role in between songs… its something I never get tired of on the cello, and for me, I would love to hear more… intimate music on the radio… a person with a piano, a person with a sax, thinking, and playing, and that is what you hear. No performance basically. Anti-Performance Art.

Its getting dark. Here is what my practice room looks like right now…

Practice Room