A very special night at The Lost Church with JL Stiles and Jim Bruno. This venue is small and intimate, tucked away on a quiet side street in San Francisco, and hard to believe only a block away from the busy 16th and Mission BART station. These nights feed my very soul: a thoughtful, listening audience and getting to hear songwriters who I would have gladly paid to come see. JL Stiles had an acoustic trio rocking three part harmonies and Jim Bruno played his lyrically lovely originals. (And thanks to Brett Cline for MC-ing and creating such a great space for music and performance.)
Excerpt from review of Hotel Utah show on 2/21/13 by Millard Fabbro
“…Brindl went on. As a last-minute quick sound check, she strummed a couple of chords and moaned into the microphone. No “TESTING 1-2-3,” uh-uh, nope, she moaned–a lingering sort of “oh-ohhh-oh-ohh.” Not a consciously sexy sort of moan, mind you, but simply a fragment of one of her songs (I guess). Wow. She did it twice. Then she sang and played a song–solo, on acoustic guitar. Brindl’s music doesn’t just affect your ears. It ENWRAPS you. That hard bench you’re sitting on starts to feel like a chaise lounge. Saturated by a soothing female voice from which all concussive consonants seem to have been removed, the air becomes vaguely amniotic. Addressed to a man, the words of the song assured him that love was coming his way. (Brindl is not shy about writing songs about intimate relationships, but she does not specialize in heartache; her songs are life-affirming, love-affirming.) Read more →
So-Cal heat wave. Lestat’s is a neat venue: a small room with old theater seats and a marquee with red and black letters. I play all the new songs I have been saving for a real listening room. It feels like exhaling a deep breath.
I play the two new ones I have written on a guitar my friend Simon helped me make. We call it the “B-tar”, it’s 4 strings, tuned to some kind of open B flat tuning right now.) My beloved nephew who is a college student at UCSD is in the audience. I’ve known him since the day he was born. He has just lost his father to a long fight with cancer, strangely enough we both lost our fathers at the age of 24. I play an early song written about this particular kind of loss. I am not sure if it is the heat, the tension in the room, the events of the week, but I feel over whelmed and almost dizzy with the energy, like I may swoon.
Touring forces music out of it’s comfort zone. It tests it’s strength. “There is no such thing beneath the heavens as conditions favorable to art. Art must crash through or perish.” (Sylvia Ashton-Warner) Even in the face of extreme weather, emotional distress, poverty, sleep deprivation, lack of food, a broken heart or tired soul — music prevails. In an instant on stage my feet grow roots, my head is a crown of light from the sky, and the moment envelops me — shot back into my body and out of body all at the same time. I have a sense of the organism that I am; shuttering like a host body to this mystical and delightful process. I do the drive home alone, pushing my little rental to the limit up the 5. San Diego to Marin, 10 hours, 3 bathroom breaks, Led Zeppelin turned up to 11.
Driving south into a wall of heat headed towards San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles. We check into the Motel 6 on the edge of town for one night. Next to the motel is a casino and a gas station mini mart I stop into for postcards and stand in line behind a weathered cowboy, dusty boots and big hat. It’s too hot to be inside and being labor day weekend the motel folks are tailgating in lawn chairs playing cards and drinking.
Sculpterra Winery is down a desolate hot road east of the freeway. It is known for it’s metal work and sculpture gardens. It is above 95 degrees and there is no place to escape the heat except inside with the wine tasters. Steve Key who produces the showcase plays some songs as well as a handful of other singer-songwriters. Rob Kimmel plays a mean 12 string and DJ’s a folk show in the area and we excitedly talk about tenor guitars and alternative tunings like two music nerds. The stage thank god is in the shade. Playing outside among the trees and the grape vines makes me feel like a wood nymph serenading the town folk. People have picnics and bottles of wine and I am thankful for the slightest wind now and then.
My older sister Jocelyn has decided to hitch a ride to San Diego with me as I tour my way down the coast. Labor Day traffic is bad and we barely make it out of the city and over 17 into Santa Cruz by the 6pm show. I magically do sound even though the soundboard is about 15 feet away from me. (I am musician and magician) An old housemate Danielle (from when I lived with my sister when we both went to UCSC) shows up with a gaggle of girls and kids, who all chat, heckle, and drink tea while I play, and graciously buy some cds. My friend Julie surprises me from Marin with her family in tow. The whole place is filled with friendly faces that night and I let their energy remind me of my excitement about the tour (and the musical mission!)
My time at UC Santa Cruz in the 90’s was spent shooting 16mm film, immersed in the world of experimental film, Maya Deren, Tarkovskiy, the poetry of images. Back then my music was a sacred secret; hours in the practice rooms hidden away in the redwoods between Kresege College and Porter College on campus. Mostly piano music with some vocals, few lyrics — ethereal explorations, channeled siren songs from the deepest ocean. I felt no need to market, analyze, or explain it. Few people heard that music besides my mom (she still has boxes of these tapes) and some of the music became film soundtracks. I felt fractionated with the intellectual pursuits and confined by the limitations of working towards a degree that wasn’t music. And even though I worked in film production for a while, I always knew my heart was in music. Film felt like the affair while music was the great love.
We spend the night at Danielle’s house with her German Shepard Kima and her sassy four year old daughter Isabella who loves everything pink and sparkly and girlie. She owns hundreds of my little ponies (While I am sleeping on the couch I wake up during the night with pink plastic ponies poking into me between the seat cushions.) In the morning we drive around to old apartments and houses we used to live in. I get a text from a friend back home asking if the tour is heroic and magical. And the answer is yes.