singer

These Are a Few of My Favorite...Indies

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 10.53.31 AM I keep finding myself in conversations where people are lamenting the shortage of good music in the world and asking for recommendations. Honestly, there is SO much good music being made. You just have to know where to find it.

At our house, we listen to just about everything in terms of genre, and we find our music by word-of-mouth, Noisetrade, Spotify/Pandora/iTunes Radio, mainstream radio, and great online curators like Under the Radar Radio. We love it all, and our playlists tend to lead or follow our moods and activities.

Okay, and we also disagree. Often.  In fact, my personal favorites happen to be on Toby's "most loathed" list. That's okay. It is what it is.  I can play OTR as loudly as I want when he's not home to avoid the groans, grimaces and "this is the WORST" comments.

So, I'm not going to give you everything, but rather focus a few of my favorites who are a little (or a lot) lesser-known. Because nobody needs me to tell them about "this band called Mumford & Sons."

(Several of the artists I have included need no introduction, either, but just in case they're new to you. Also, I'm leaving off music that I can't in good conscience recommend to your kids.)

Treat yourself & your people to new music during these long winter months & find joy in supporting some under-discovered artists!  

p.s. Some of these albums will be included in a giveaway happening here next week! Drawing 3 names from orders placed in November & shipping music, books & a signed Christmas greeting. 

So, here we go.  Artists - and one of their well-loved songs - as a jumping off place for you.

 

My Most Played Over Past 12 Months:

Sleeping At Last - "In the Embers"

Over the Rhine - "All My Favorite People"

Andrew Belle - "Pieces"

 

Extremely Gifted Singer/Songwriter Friends:

Jessica Campbell - "Time"

Nick Flora - "Lost At Sea"

Sara Groves - "It's Going to be Alright"

Andy Gullahorn - "I Will"

Ellie Holcomb - "Magnolia"

Jenny & Tyler - "Song for You"

Shelly Moore - "Tie That Binds"

Cindy Morgan & Andy Greer - Hymns for Hunger

Eric Peters - "Where Would I Go"

Jill Phillips - "It Will Pass"

Rachel Stevener - "Holding"

Carolina Story - "In the End"

Nicole Witt - New Album Coming!

 

Quiet Music to Play Loudly

Sanders Bohlke - "I'm Gonna Make It"

Future of Forestry - "Pie Jesu"

Kye Kye - "Peace Song"

Milk Carton Kids - "Michigan"

Salt of the Sound - "Where Do I Begin"

Waterdeep - "Not Looking Good"

 

Good Guys w/Big Talent

Colony House - "Glorious"

Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors - "Live Forever"

Josh Ritter -"Bright Smile"

Judah & the Lion - "Rich Kids"

 

The Josh Garrels Category

Josh Garrels - "Farther Along"

 

New Discoveries

Jason Barrows - "Voyagers"

Kaleb Jones - "Hold On Tight" - p.s. I met Kaleb in a coffee shop on Thursday, fell in love with his music & voice, and 4 days later he was singing on my upcoming Covers album.

 

Young Artists I'm Excited to Work With/Watch for These:

Emily Sage Dempsey - "Grow"

Jansen Hogan - Album Coming!

Elle Michelle – "Sleepy Heart"

Jana Gilmore – "Stay With Me Til Morning"

Taylor Leonhardt - "Sunday in the Park"

Jess Ray - "Better"

 

Happy Thanksgiving to you & your loved ones.  These colder months can be hard, which for me means I have to work harder at the practice of gratitude. May your list of gifts be ever-growing.  I'm thankful for YOU.

love,

christa

Imagine the Possibility...

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 “All things are possible for those who believe [in Him].” Mark 9:23 

Were you encouraged to imagine the possibilities? Did they hold a mirror to the brilliance of God in you, take you to the window and project onto the night sky the potential impact your particular Creator-infused you-ness would have on this world? 

 Was the story told to you of your true origin? How you were carried by and delivered by mere mortals--those beautiful, hard-trying, broken individuals you call “Mom” and “Dad” or “birthmother” or “birthfather”— yes, this is how you emerged into time and space. 

 But I mean the first part, the real beginning of your story…how you were conceived, thought of, waaaaay before that, by a radiant, immortal, wholly intact, wholly loving, good and just Being… 

Because if you didn’t hear that True story--or if you did but decided it was just too beautiful to survive adulthood--then you might not know that there are enormous Possibilities. 

That your parents might have failed you in countless ways but could not take away the Possibility or Purpose. 

Or…that life will at times be crushing, and you can lose everything, but not quite everything, because Possibility and Purpose stand.

There is no person, no circumstance, no matter how much power they seem to have, that can undo this crucial fact:

You are here because the Creator imagined you 

 and wrote you into the Great Story.


Long before your arrival date, already, he had prepared a work for you. You may find different names for it (the work) as you travel along. You may change your mind and change schools and change disciplines. 

But Possibility walks beside you and waits for you to see. 

Imagine healing...forgiveness...restoration…gratitude...joy and generosity. Imagine doing the hard thing in order to find a new way. 

Imagine the Possibility of embracing a story that seemed to good to be true but is actually the only story that makes any sense of the chaos here.

House Concerts

House Concerts: More Fun for Everyone!

What do you mean by “house concert”? 

Simply put, a house concert is just that…a concert at your house!  It can be in your living room or in your backyard or any other space that will hold 50 or more people and have enough space for a keyboard plus three guys (smaller percussion set-up, when room is tight).  If you prefer, we can keep it even simpler than that, with keyboard and percussion or keyboard/guitar.  (My own living room is not large, but with some rearranging I can squeeze in about 35 folding chairs and spillover in the kitchen.)

There are endless good excuses to have a house concert: start with major and minor holidays (and don’t forget your own birthday) or a seasonal shin-dig!  Then again, all of your friends would thank you for spicing up a plain old holiday-less month mid-winter!


Before you get scared and think this sounds way too hard/scary/expensive/newfangled/artsy/fillintheblank. . . read on.

 

You say it will be “more fun for everyone."  Why?

 

·         YOU: Enjoy the music from the comfort of your own home…without noisy talkers, smoke, or other distractions. 

·         YOU: Share the music with your friends in a private &comfortable setting.

·         YOU: Throw a great party and feel good about it later.

·       THEY: Enjoy your lovely home and gracious hospitality.

·         THEY: Get acquainted with new music and meet/support  local musicians (who happen to be saving up for a new recording project!)

·         THEY: Have a sweet date night that didn’t cost them a month’s groceries.

·         WE: Get to do what we love (make music) in an intimate setting without disturbances you might encounter in a public venue or elaborate set-up. 

 

How is it done?

 

A house concert can be done in any number of ways and you can plan it as simply or as creatively as suits you.  It might be dessert & coffee, or a full catered dinner, or a potluck.  Let it be known: you do  not have to have a mansion to host us!  The Wells fam recently hosted a house concert for Jessica Campbell & Kelleigh Bannen (see some footage at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnX4fMQH3f8 ).   We actually moved out the large chairs and couch and arranged 35 smaller chairs and stools in rows (had to borrow from the neighbors!). 

 We encourage you to be intentional about your invitations and follow up to confirm intentions to attend.   Consider asking people to contribute financially in advance, reserving their seat, which helps you know there will be enough people to hold the concert, but not too many for your space. When it's time for the concert, everyone can gather round and get comfortable.

My friends have never heard of a "house concert" before.  How can I make them comfortable and encourage a listening environment?  

Through some trial and error, we have found the following things helpful:

1.  Make sure your invitations/Evites emphasize that this is a "House Concert" and explain that it's a private concert featuring guest musicians in an intimate setting, etc.  

2.  Also state on your invitation something to this effect: "To support our guest artists, a minimum donation of $10/person ($30/family) is suggested.  All proceeds will go directly to the musicians.  Merchandise will also be available for purchase."

2.  Invite your guests to come an hour or so prior to the start of the concert--and state that on the invite--ie.  "Doors open 7pm/Concert at 8pm."  This way your guests have time to visit and talk and get their coffee and dessert.  

3.  If possible have the food in a very separate space from the music, so that guests who want to revisit the refreshments can do so without disrupting the listening environment.

4.  At the concert start time, dim the lights in all spaces except for on the musicians.  This really helps to give a concert vibe and people instinctively understand to keep noise levels down when the lights are low.  

5.  Introduce your musicians from the "stage" area, to draw your guests' attention.  

 

How much will it cost me?

If you provide food and beverages (often dessert and coffee--or you can ask guests to bring something), you only need to suggest (on your invitation) that your guests contribute a minimum donation of $10 ($30/family) in lieu of a formal ticket price.  

For contact/booking: toby@christawellsmusic.com


How can I ask my guests to pay for the concert?

If you simply include it on your invitations, everyone will know up front and be prepared.  People are used to paying for performances and usually enjoy contributing to good causes, such as local art!  As suggested above, phrasing might look like this: "A minimum donation of $10/person to support our guest musicians is suggested."  Also, let them know if there will be merchandise available for purchase that night and what forms of payment will be accepted.  

You can set out (at the door or by the drinks) a tasteful "tip jar" with a reminder of the minimum donation.   

 

This sounds like a lot of fun.  What do I do first? 

If you are able and interested in hosting a concert for 50+ people in your home, please contact Toby Wells at toby@christawellsmusic.com and we’ll  find a date that works for all of us.  

*The band is able to perform in your home for 50 or more people.  If you would like to host a smaller gathering, we may be able to accommodate with an acoustic singer/songwriter performance.  

 

 

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