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let me reflect for a minute 

Today I listened to a podcast about the positive effects of nostalgia, even nostalgia about unpleasant times, it can us to be grateful for what we have now or to reflect on improvements we could make for the future. It can be useful, it can feel nice, it needs not be reduced to "dwelling in the past".

I was still reeling from a tragically cliche band breakup and the woe of having set my banjo aside for a washboard leaving me feeling at a loss for my musical autonomy. I went to europe, did a lot of dancing but not a lot of singing (short of an underground hip hop open mic run weekly by a couple of New Yorkers). I came home thumbs pressed to find somebody who would identify me as worth making music with until I started listening to a lot of pussy riot and a Noah Walker told me if I wanted to be in a band, all I had to do was book a show and invite whoever I wanted to play... and, well, if it hasn't been a year tomorrow since this Nasti Weather thing really got started. Alongside 'The False Predictions', the name of the band that brews the storm, an often rotating cast of primarily east van performers who I have always admired so much I could hardly believe at first that they wanted to play with me. Each composition of artists turns the songs into different pieces between them and my solo performances and it keeps it alive, keeps it growing.

A lot has happened over the past year, a lot more fancy pant businessing around than I had ever hoped for but this was and is a part of what led to a lot of great shows and inspired new songs. I've been enjoying a nice break from all things planning and performing this past month or so to focus on work and my mental health and it has been good, feeling delightfully human, enjoying just playing for pleasure.

Anyways, to reflect, here's what's happened in a literary nutshell; I'm not looking for anyone to invite me to express myself (so much) anymore, the chickens of that past bandmate that vexed me came home to roost and I realized it meant very little to me... which in of itself was something bigger, I played 3 festivals, I applied for my first grant(and was denied!), I recorded a CD that for the first time in my recording experience I am really excited about, I have worked with my heroes and had hills of fun, I have found myself swelling to fit a role I thought I never wanted (a leader), I have been psychotically depressed to a degree that finally got me to seek dr. help, I am writing songs in ways I used to find inaccessible, I am crafting ways to expand the performances beyond just the music, I am picking my banjo more naturally, I am taking better care of myself, I am so curious and excited to see what we can do with one. more. year.... or so.

What big changes have happened for you in the past year?

Little Stint 

Touring the Island at the beginning of February was an incredible growing experience.

Though I have played many of these venues and with many of the musicians in different musical outfits in the past, I experienced them in a new light as time had changed all present elements. In a way, I felt out on my own as a musician for the first time and yet still felt the warm support of the players, listeners and organizers. All of the insecurities came up; I was teaching my songs to new musicians I look up to daily, playing them for new audiences and hoping for a clear transmission of what I had to say, being able to maintain the required openness and vulnerability while still being able to stay on top of business. In any case it's a beautiful thing when my experiences as a musician line up with what i sing about in my songs. Feeling like I don't know what I'm doing and yet naturally, it happens. Going through all of the self doubt, shining different lights on the shadows to see what they can become.

As I go through these experiences openly can begin to feel annoyingly self centered. Then I remember that, while in a big way, all of this work I do for myself, I hope that as I shine a light on myself for others to see they will respond in kind. This never would have started if it weren't for all the folks that let their masks slip without wincing. It would not continue to happen if this expression was not mirrored back. When you allow yourself to be free, you can encourage the freedom of others. This is something that can be done by performers, just as it can be done by the audience and the folks who hold space for it to unfold.

So, infinite thank yous to all who took part; The Vault Cafe, Ronny Bernard & Friends, Rapture Barbers, Chad Pabianek, Amy Muloin, Colby O'niel with Lotus Eater Films, The Cornerstone Cafe, Vinyl Envy, Matthew Adrade, T-Rav The Transformer,  Hannah Snider, Kate Romain, Mama & The Boys and everyone who came out and shared a broad spectrum of times with us.

To me, this has been the grander landscape we were in together. I hope you felt it too.

Until next time, Van Isl, xoxo.

Vanding Together 

The Friendraiser was a heart-bursting success and certainly the most beautiful night I've experienced in a while. We raised over $1100, enough to get our friend back on the road after a complicated accident. The whole thing was an incredible show of music and community. The air was so thick with friend love and we were breathing deep!

When I was preparing to leave Europe last year, I felt the uncertain sadness of wondering what I was coming home to. I had wandered so much of my life and met so many wonderful people but I seldom knew the love of really knowing someone and of feeling known. I was in a place in my life where I felt I really needed help but there was not many people I felt I knew personally enough to ask. The seemingly obvious finally became obvious to me, that if you want deep and meaningful relationships with people, if you want to feel trust with people, you actually have to stick around and put in the work. You have to see people as well as allow yourself to be seen as they/you are and that includes the things you might not like or think they will like so much. Take us as we come and let us go as it needs to happen. The past year has been a vulnerable, confusing and beautiful process of doing this work.

When this car accident happened and one of my dearest friendships was put under a microscope skewed by dollar signs, I was nervous to reach out for help from our community. When I did end up reaching out, I was absolutely dumbfounded by the number of people who immediately stepped up, ready to help however they could! This sense of gratitude soothed the pains of trying to deal with the accident. What was a really tough situation ended up being something really wonderful, a fruitful labor of love and creativity, proof of the profits of keeping our heads up even when it gets tough.

 

We still have some financials to sort out so if you're feeling flush, please donate here.

 

Special Thanks to:

Connor Brookes, Mary Matheson, Jenna Materi, Kayla Gange, Chance, Logan Thackray, Nathan Turner, Joshua Wood, Ronny Bernard, Rusty Tones, Jen Roberts, Brendan Steele, Max Ley, Kenan Sungar, Dave Taylor, Ashton Sweet, Adam Farnsworth, Chelsea Johnson, Janna Dickinson, Dana Kagis, Justin Chingee, Joe Goldes, Tyler Lanny, Cleo Carpenter, Yasmine Gehrmoul, Odell Brown, Ehm & THE MATADOR, Nancy Lanthier, Hobo Woodworks, Big Rock Brewing, Storm Brewing, Jasmine Lidell, The Wise Hall, Isaiah Gall and everyone who came out!!!