Thursday, May 22, 2014

Redding Tune Heads to Chico

A few weeks ago, I entered a song in radio station KZFR's "Celebration of the Song" contest. The song -- 2:20 -- was inspired by a late night trip to the Redding train station at two o'clock in the morning - because that's when the train rolls through town.  The adventure made for a ridiculously long night,  but somewhere in the sleep depravation and the bleary-eyed fog, I DID find a song.

I got a call the other day and was told I am one of three finalists who are invited play at the Sierra Nevada Big Room in Chico on June 4th. The three of finalists also get a spot at the California Worldfest in Grass Valley this summer. The other finalists are Hannah Jane Kile and Dan Casamajor.  Joe Craven will be hosting the evening and entertaining

Excited?  That hardly begins to cover it.

We'll be rehearsing non-stop for the next two weeks and looking forward to this incredible opportunity.  Tickets are available here:  Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Art in the City: A Redding Tradition

Thursday, May 15th, the City of Redding presents a free concert and art show at Redding City Hall. The Summer Art Reception runs from 5-7 and features art from the Grand View Fine Arts Society, quilts created by the Quilter's Sew-Ciety of Redding and art by Patricia Cook. Click here for more information on the artists.

Several North State Songwriters will perform original music in the lobby. 

Still Married's  country folk tunes celebrate the landscape, the characters and the independent spirit of Far Northern California, with songs like "Under the Sundial Bridge" and "The Redding Song."  Singer- songwriter Will Miller will perform indie folk and country music. Duo Matthew Songmaker and Sam Jo bring a unique blend of bluegrass, Americana, and acoustic country. Justin Contreras will perform original acoustic rock tunes.

The public is invited to meet the artists whose work is on display and enjoy complimentary refreshments at Shasta County's largest art gallery.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day Give Away

Hop on over to our website and download a free tune -- From Your Mama's Heart.

Happy Mother's Day to all.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Howdy-Do to a New Duo

Young, talented and bursting with enthusiasm -- two singer-songwriters team up and prove that the whole really IS greater than the sum of its parts. Matthew Songmaker and Sami Jo are the newest duo to hit the Redding music scene.

The two will perform original tunes on May 15th at Redding City Hall as part of the North State Songwriter Showcase that runs from 5 - 7 PM.

Matthew is a 15-year-old multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and a busy performer of gospel, country and blues tunes in the Redding area. Sami Jo is a rising country star who writes songs with a traditional flavor and modern appeal. Matthew and Sami Jo describe their music together as a blend of bluegrass, Americana and acoustic country.  

I asked them about their partnership and their plans.

How did the two of you start making music together?
Matthew: We met at a gig and I invited Sami to meet me at Shasta College and practice a few tunes. Then we started playing care centers and other gigs, too.
How has performing as a duo influenced your songwriting?
Sami Jo: Performing as a duo has influenced me specifically, a lot, because I have been learning so much from Matthew. I am influenced by the way Matthew is able to weave a song together through instrumentals. The instruments alone tell a story to me. 
What are your ambitions as a songwriter?
Matthew: We want to try to write unique songs that touch people's minds and hearts. 
Sami Jo: I think our lyrical songwriting is influenced by the things that we experience in our lives. Writing a song is like writing in a journal, where each page is another day lived. My ambitions as a songwriter are to write songs that people can relate to and understand. We want to write songs that reflect emotion and touch hearts.
Any exciting events on your calendar after the 15th?
Matthew: We have a lot of gigs after the 15th. We always do care centers, but we are also playing Kelly's Pub, French Gulch Hotel and a KKRN benefit.

On May 15th, come to Redding City Hall and check out the new exhibit in Shasta County's largest art gallery. You'll also have a chance to meet the artists, enjoy complimentary refreshments and listen to this dynamic duo - Matthew Songmaker and Sami Jo. You will be impressed, I promise.  
The performance schedule:

Justin Contreras

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mother's Day Popovers

For our family, Mother's Day is all about the Cottonwood Rodeo. But there's no reason it can't be all about Rodeo and Scones, too.

To be honest, the only thing I've ever purchased at Neiman Marcus is food. When my sisters whisk me off to Las Vegas for a Sister's Weekend, we always end up eating a delicious, girly lunch at Neiman Marcus's Mariposa restaurant.

The meal is all about The Popovers - brought to the tables warm and served with strawberry butter. Divine.

I made these for Easter a few weeks ago. We should have served them on pretty Wedgewood Plates with a spot of tea and a flute of champagne. Instead, we ate them standing at the kitchen counter, pulling the steaming pastries apart and dipping them in blueberry butter. Pretty darn good, even without the fine china.

Here's a link to the recipe - they are easy and perfect for a Mother's Day brunch. If you don't have a popover pan, buy one. Buy two. They are THAT good.