Unexpected Party Playlist

My grandpa turned 80 this week! I have been assigned the rewarding task of assembling a party playlist with all of his favorite songs. For years, if Grandpa hears a song he likes, he writes the title down and I return with a cd of all the tunes. This is a random sampling of some of the songs he has requested over the years for his master playlist.

Sinister Minister by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
I was lucky to see this group perform in Brooklyn, last week! Somehow I didn’t know that Victor Wooten is the bass player?

Mama Told Me Not to Come by Three Dog Night
The cool thing about making these playlists for Grandpa is that I end up with new music in my arsenal. This song has been on my party playlist ever since! Also, I love this seventies getup! These guys are so fun to watch perform.

Lime in the Coconut by Harry Nilsson
He did all of the voices in this recording! You should definitely watch this absurdist Muppet’s version, while you’re at it.

Life’s Been Good by Eagles
This song has such a relaxed feeling and playful lyrics. It is a very casual conversation about the life of fame and riches.

Hot for Teacher by Van Halen
Another song to make you laugh. Van Halen uses a lot of enthusiasm and comedic timing to pull this silly song off.


Related: Pay Attention to these Musicians this Summer
Related: I Was Invited to a Secret Concert

I Was Invited to a Secret Concert

Here’s what happened!

I got a text from my good friend, Sara, who asked if I wanted to go to a secret concert. We didn’t know where it would be or who we were going to hear, and we had to enter a lottery to try and get tickets. Of course I was game!

Sara entered our names for the Sofar concert, and we were selected to attend! Our tickets were $15, and we received an email 24 hours before with the location and rules.


Before the concert we grabbed dinner and went for a walk through the nearby parks. We visited this outdoor performance space with an exceptional turquoise floor.

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We had no idea what to expect at this event! The location was downtown Chicago, and when we arrived they checked for our names on the list and directed us to the correct elevators. We ended up in a beautiful workspace, partway up a building overlooking the Lake Michigan, dotted with sailboats as the sun was setting. We were handed a paper with media details for following the bands that would be playing that night.

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The view from the venue. Photo Credit: @SaratheWeiz

The floor was covered in cushions and pillows, and there were sofas and chairs lining the space. The whole thing felt relaxed and intimate.20170712_193532.jpg


They went over the rules with us again at the venue before the event started. In summary: respect the music. No talking during performances, don’t leave until all the groups have played. This organization, Sofar, started in a flat in London when musicians and their friends were tired of playing over talking at bars. They hosted a small house concert with 10 people, and this organization was born! They now plan similar house concerts for local artists in over 350 cities!

This was the venue packed full of engaged listeners.

The first artist was a singer/songwriter called The Regular. He had an incredible voice, and played this really unique bass drum + tambourine set-up along with his guitar, while singing. It was a contemporary one-man band.


The next artist was a very skilled saxophonist called Beatbox Sax. He combines professional level playing and smooth sound on the instrument with aggressive extended techniques, like slap-tongue and singing into the instrument. His set was very upbeat and engaging.

The last group was Man Wolves. They are very young, but are great players and have apparently acquired quite a following!

Check out Sofar Sounds! See if they are in your city. This was an amazing concert!

Chicago Jazz String Summit


I had the awesome opportunity to attend the Chicago Jazz String Summit on Saturday!

My impressions:

  • Check out the sweet gear for the festival! Digging the violin scroll posing in front of Chicago!
  • I discovered a new favorite sound: cello with a loop pedal, distortion, extended techniques, french singing, all combined also known as Helen Gillet. Her cd, Dusk in Wallonia, was sold at at the event but I plan to order it!
  • I get an early listen to Hearn In Now’s new cd “Not Living in Fear,” and I got to listen to them playing LIVE!

It was a great way to reconnect with music that I love. I hope this event happens again in 2018!


Tuesday Treat!

3. Where I come from, we call this drink the “dirty hippie.” A little caffeine is always a worthwhile pick-me-up.




2. Through rose colored glasses. lavieenrose.jpg




  1. In three days I will be in the Grand Canyon… I just learned about nighttime “day” hikes! I hope this is my view. yavi_aurora4466