An inquisitive mind, an open heart, and a beautiful soul
take a walk, discussing what it means to Be.
Their conversation is the music
of Amanda West.
- official music video for "The Summer You Were Born" -
from the new album LIFE HAPPENS
created by Seattle filmmaker, Nick Tobin
to say hello please write to:
What's New Around Here:
- Spring 2015 -
This year there is one main focus for my music ~ to create! Each month of 2015 I am releasing
one new piece of creation, whether it be a song, a video, a radio interview, a blog, etc. To
recieve these, please make sure you join the mailing list (just enter your email in the box above).
If you want the truth (which I strive for), I struggle with perfectionism. I want things, especially myself and my work,
to be perfect. I think motherhood has been one of my best teachers in this realm ~ the art of letting go.
Because when you've had seven hours of sleep in the last three days, and the house is a disaster and work is
calling and there's more on the to-do list than any sane person could imagine trying to accomplish, practicality
must take over. So I'm learning to be more efficient and more forgiving. I'm learing how "good enough"
really is indeed sometimes, good enough! Imgine that.
And I am still unfolding into who I really am. Who am I now. Who have I always been. Recognizing that my
love for music and humans and nature and spirit is really all one thing. Understanding that I actually never
wanted to be a rockstar, and that success looks like many things. Sometimes it looks like
drinking a cup of tea at the kitchen table while your toddler sleeps, listening to the coyotes sing, talking with
your partner about the meaning of life, after a long day giving of your heart to the world and working for
things you believe in. What more could I possibly ask for?
There is one other big thing happening in my musical realm this year ~ the fifth Pacific Northwest Tour! Coming July 2015.
Sign that mailing list, and I'll keep you posted with monthly instalments of love & philosophical life musings.
So, our Europe/UK tour in May was amazing. How could it not be? We met so many wonderful people and
experienced the opening of many musical doors. Highlights were busking on the streets of Freiburg, Germany,
playing to a sold-out crowd with "Mean Mary" & Edwina Hayes in Beverley, UK, and staying with friends in the town of
Basel, Switzerland, where the streets are so safe, no one locks their bicycles!
We could have also called it, "The Playground Tour" thanks to the company of our not-quite-two-year-old son
who proved himself yet again to be an incredible traveler and tour manager (a little more seasoned now after last summer's "Onsie Tour").
Back home here in the Santa Cruz mountains, Womb Song, the prenatal singing circles I have been co-leading, is growing wings in a big way!
We are drawing plans for a return tour to Europe/UK as well as investigating the possibility of a long dreamed of
American Southwest Tour in the Spring. I am itching to get back into the studio to the many songs yet unrecorded,
and as this beautiful challenging life unfolds within and around me, new songs continue to come through.
We are taking this summertime to explore the place where dreams and reality meet, organizing and assessing,
cleaning and clearing. In what direction shall we go next? All roads look good from here.
I've been playing with the big questions recently - Why are we here? What really matters in life?
How do I create a life that is meaningful? How do I weigh the responsibilities I hold? Such questions
do not scare or overwhelm me - I am inspired by them. I love them. I suppose that is why I am the Philosophical Folk Songstress.
With the completion of this year's Valentine Songologues (see SHOWS page),
I was anticipating a stepping-back from so much physical public presence with my music. And this may still happen.
But I am amused to notice how the passion for this path still burns so brightly within me. It is something
I thought I could choose to do, or not do, but I am beginning to wonder if I have less choice in it than I thought.
With an open heart, the force of Life moves through us most profoundly, and is most humbling.
On a less esoteric note, we are working away on our first European Tour. We are putting out our lines, and seeing what bites.
We are also happy to play on street corners and see what happens. We are also wondering what to do with a toddler
on a plane for 10 hours.
Winter. Dark days and long nights. A time for hibernation and gestation, for seeds to rest in the ground.
Being human is hard, and I believe it is our most wonderful challenge to keep our hearts open through all
the changes and seasons of life. Not an easy task, but one made easier with music. This is of course why I give so much of myself to music,
and to sharing it through performing, recording, touring and teaching. I am still learning how to do all this AND be a mama. And a daughter,
and a friend, and a wife, and a sister... Always learning. May the learning never end.
I am feeling great excitement about this new year. In it I see my newest project: Womb Song ~ community singing circles
for pregnant women, uniting many of my passions around women's empowerment. I see continued offerings of private lessons, which are bringing me
great joy and a sense that they must be teaching me as much as I am teaching them. I see a new studio project, and song seeds taking form.
I see some traveling, and some home-making, and the experience of parenting a two year old. I see cups of tea, and walks in the forest,
and a deeper cultivation of compassion, for myself and all beings. May this be so.
And may 2014 bring all of us all the more of whatever we seek.
with Blessings & Light,
Let's be honest. The truth is, there simply isn't time to do everything we'd like to do, at least not
in the timeframe we'd like to do it in. This was the understanding and spirit with which we released "Life Happens."
Yet, somehow I keep forgetting this and my perfectionist tendencies come bubbling up
and in a very un-Buddhist like fashion I resist was IS and I resist what is not.
What is not is a cleverly written blog and photo essay from our Pacific Northwest "Onesie" Tour this June sharing all our
adventures, nor is this website as updated as I would like it to be, our new album up on CDBaby, Bandcamp, iTunes, etc., playing on all the radio stations, sent to all the newspapers for dazzling reviews...
What IS, is this awesome new music video above, and a persistent performance schedule, and an ongoing dedication
to keep going, even if everything happens more slowly than I would like it to. What also is, is our growing baby, who
napped on our back through every gig on the summer tour, and continues to dazzle us in every way.
We do the best we can, love what we can, for everything is temporary and this time will never come again.
Life happens. Yes it does. We make plans, set intentions, and then, life carries us away. Since my release of
"The Way to the Water" five years ago, I have been working on my next full-length album, "The Permission Tree".
During that time I have continued songwriting and already have all the songs and the vision for the next and third full length album,
a work about family, history, and the what bind us together.
But, life happens. Things end and things begin - relationships, jobs, homes, life...
A year ago I gave birth to my first child, and a few days ago I celebrated my first Mother's Day as a mother.
What it takes to bring a human life into the world is mind boggling. It has been more difficult and more work and more
amazing and wonderful than I ever could have imagined. Needless to say, "The Permission Tree" album is still not finished.
However, with compassion for, and forgiveness to, myself for the new album still not being complete, and as an apology
and peace offering for you my dear listeners and friends, we will shortly be releasing a 5 song EP, aptly named, "Life Happens."
With tasters from both forthcoming albums and a bonus song, this recording will be available for the summer shows starting in June!
I am so excited for you to hear what we've been working on. Good things are worth the wait! We have a wonderful line up of summer shows,
including a small tour re-visiting our northwest friends. Hope to see you out there so we can get you some new music.
More coming soon...!
The approach of Earth Day brings opportunity to consider the bigger challenges facing humanity and
all life on earth at this pivitol point in history. When our children's children crawl into our lap
and ask us what part we played in The Change, what will we tell them?
There are so many ways to celebrate Earth Day - take a walk outside, host a viewing of an environmental
film and encourage a discussion, try taking a day without using any electricity, don't get in your car, sing,
reflect on the beautiful interconnectedness of everything...
In other news, our summer tour is taking shape, with a tentative silly name - The Onesie Tour! This is in honor
of our little boy, for this will be his first tour, and he will celebrate his one-year birthday during the tour.
So many firsts in the last year. I am excited we will be returning to visit our Northwest friends...
Also, I am LOVING teaching voice, guitar, songwriting... Why haven't I done this more before? All those things
and more on the SHOWS and CLASSES pages.
It is a good world. Let's do the work required to keep it as such.
with love and respect, ~ Amanda
Springtime wiggles its toes and streches its fingers as the world moves to the halfway point
of the Vernal Equinox. In the land of Amanda West Music life is as usual - juggling recording,
songwriting, touring, performing, booking, teaching, cleaning, balancing, loving, breathing,
cooking, learning, organizing, forgiving, Being. What a gift to be human.
There are new SHOWS and new CLASSES happening, so check out those pages.
May your springtime be filled with heaven in the flowers and eternity in the hours...
Happy New Year to all friends, fans & family!
We have big plans for this year ~
It's gonna be a good one!
peace, love & music,
Amanda, Pete and the Dragon Baby
~ * ~ * HAPPY THANKSGIVING from Amanda West Music! * ~ * ~
I've just returned from England (taking the baby to meet the relatives), and everyone was asking
what Thanksgiving is all about. We told them it is one of the most lovely American holidays because
it is NOT about commercialism, not about stuff. It is the day we come together with family and good
friends to share gratitude and wonderful food. It's awesome.
But then, I return to America and am bombarded with BLACK FRIDAY madness! And I think I must retract
my statement that Thanksgiving is unadulterated by consumerism. I think this has been growing over
the last few years, and I think we should take back our holiday!!!
What if for Thanksgiving and the whole weekend, we BUY NOTHING and DO SOMETHING? If you have a moment,
please check out this site: www.buynothingdosomething.org,
courtesy of the amazing Annie Leonard ("Story of Stuff").
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
About Giving Thanks... something I have been observing/thinking about lately is how every part of life
has beautiful amazing aspects to it, as well as incredibly difficult ones. And, each part of life is
temporary. When you say it out loud, it's so obvious. But I think it is easy to feel that if we only
work and struggle hard enough we will eventually reach a place of Peace and Perfection. But that peace
and perfection is already in every part of life, as is the Pain and Difficulty. The trick is to, as much
as possible, focus on and give thanks for the good parts of ones life, because the challenges will
always be there, and all of it is temporary.
So today I give thanks for my redwood home that keeps me warm and dry, for my health, my amazing family
and wonderful friends who humble and awe me each day, for the incredible abundance of wonderful food
here in California, for everyone working to make the world a better place, for the seasons, for songs,
for the gift of life and so much more...
May your Thanksgiving be full of all the things that matter!
The skies have suddenly turned towards winter this week and I am smiling with
thoughts of pumpkin pie, mists on the mountains and fires in the woodstove.
Coming up next month: VOTE VOTE VOTE! The deadline to register in California is Oct 22nd.
It's not too late to Rock the Vote! I admit I'm not up on all the issues at stake everywhere,
but I know in California there are some radically important decisions to be made regarding
funding education and labeling GMO's, among other things (and um, not to mention a presidential
seat to be filled). Please make it to the polls folks and exercise your rights!
Many thanks again to all who joined us in Pescadero for our second show post-baby.
We arranged to have someone else hold him, but he preffered to join us onstage,
where he proceeded to take a nap.
Oh sweet life!
Grand Success! ~ Had our first show back after a three month baby-leave, and it was wonderful.
Thank you Women in the Redwoods Music Festival 2012! It felt SO good to be back on stage. My heart sang with joy.
Baby kindly slept in a friend's arms all the way through, until the last song when he joined us onstage.
I am feeling excited and hopeful about this whole next part of the journey... looking forward
to the smattering of SHOWS we have seeing us through to the end of the year.
Meanwhile I'm working on my next album, and songwriting for the one after that, cooking up plans for a new website
and scheming over maps & calendars for future shows and tours...
I love my work! :-)
I am looking for role models: indpendent artists who keep their music going through the years
of raising a family. I know many younger musicians without children, and many older ones whose
children have grown, but in that middle space I see a great void...
Five years ago I made a promise to dedicate myself for the next half decade to my music and see
where it took me. At the end of that time I vowed I would release my expectations and re-evaluate
Well folks, that time is up. And it just happened to correspond with me turning 30 and having a baby.
(!!!!) I find myself married to my musical partner/sound engineer/co-producer. And I see that the last five
years have been the most fulfilling I have known. While everything changes, there are some things that
become our bones, our marrow, the building blocks of the cells of our life. And gratefully I realize,
this is music for me. It has become such an integral part of my existence, I cannot imagine and have
no desire for a life without it.
And so I begin an experiment – to be a musician AND a mama, a poet AND a parent, an independent artist
with an income. How to do this: balance career and family, self and other, private and public, raw
and edited, practicality and passion?
I have a hunch it is not a simple answer, but rather that sort of bewildering, beautiful and sometimes
terrifying winding path of humanhood. I cannot promise, nor would I try to predict the timeline & details
of the future ahead, but I know I will keep songwriting and sharing that music, for this is who I am and
this journey is for a lifetime.
I am so grateful to each & every one who has helped me find and become this. May our connection continue to
flourish and deepen in the years ahead.
Shows begin again in September. Come meet the newest member of the family!
a still devoted Songstress,
We are taking a good part of this summer off from touring, for continuing studio work,
as well as attending to some important family matters. We'll miss you out there on the road!
Say hi to the summer celebrations for us. But never fear, we'll be back in
the fall. The music does not end! We've got dates booked and others pending. Wishing you a beautiful,
delicious and abundant summer.
The thing I have been observing recently about being human is this:
Every moment of every day we are constantly faced with making decisions about what is important,
and what is more important. Choices, constant choices. To push? To pause? To step back? To cling?
To let go?
I understand the appeal of a Life Guide in a Book ~
“ Questions? Confusion? Conundrums? Please see Reference Guide, appendix A, page 42”. Aha! ...
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on one's perspective I guess), I have no subscriptions
to any such straight forward prescriptions.
Instead I feel I move along in an imperfect and human way, some days more or less gracefully
than others, on the phone with dear friends, along paths in my local state park, through the
notes of my songs…
Thank god for these things.
And while it is at last Springtime in the world, with things blooming and looking outward again,
in my own life this is still an inward time, as I carry on work in the studio with the Permission
Tree album project, as well as writing new material for the next album.
I continue to reflect upon the Mystery we have all been born into, giving thanks for all the
beginnings, and endings, and beginnings... and every sensation in my humbled & ever-expanding heart.
As a writer and philosopher I am generally much more interested in feelings than in numbers. However,
sometimes, numbers can be fun too. We've just finished up the stats for this past year and I thought I'd share them:
~ AMANDA WEST MUSIC 2011 ~
- 51 shows, in
- 25 cities, including
- 7 faires & festivals, in
- 3 states
- 2 tours
- 1 awesome article/write-up ( www.ownyourhealth.com/), and of course,
- INFINITE GRATITUDE!!!!!
Thanks SO much for making 2011 another amazing musical year for me. Looking forward to all 2012 has to bring
for all of us.
in the year of the water dragon!
For this new year I am completely thrilled to GIVE you something: a new year's gift. I've just released
a new single, called "Habit". It's a perfect new year's song, about
changing our habits for the better. It's probably one of the most fun and poppy songs I've ever written, but still
carries some deeper thoughts within it. It also gives a nod to the incredible wisdom of nature, and I can't wait for
you to hear it!
You can listen and/or download it here: http://amandawest.bandcamp.com/, and for the month of January, it's FREE!
As I said, my new year's gift to you and the world. Please share it with your friends, post it on facebook or twitter,
or however you might like to spread seeds.
May this tune bring lightness to your step and a reminder of the beautiful gift of Today.
with love from the California Redwoods,
your philosophical songstress,
Things are slowing down now... coming inside for the wintertime. Lighting the woodstove, making soup,
snuggling under a down-comforter, reading, singing songs to keep up the spirits...
How do we stay healthy during this season that can be so taxing on the immune system? Rest is good, lots of liquids and... Music!
Music has wonderful healing properties. If you haven't seen it yet, check out the post Roanne Weismann wrote in her health blog:
I was totally honored to be the subject of this interview!
So, if you're feeling under the weather, try putting your feet up and putting on some good music. Good for the soul,
good for the body.
Happy Birthday to the Truth Love & Understanding EP!!!
One year old. My how time flies! If you don't yet have your
copy, this would be a good time to get one. Write to us:
or come to a LIVE SHOW.
They are on a limited run and once they are gone, they're gone.
The record features: Robby and Char Rothschild of Round Mountain on the West African Kora, and accordian, respectively;
extra fun banjo parts by Amanda West and gorgeous piano melodies by Pete Solomon; as well as incredible artwork by Elizabeth Jonasson.
These sweet 3 songs offer a moving journey through passion, longing, finding and knowing, and are a beautiful celebration of Truth, Love and Understanding.
Still finding my way home after a summer of non-stop adventures. Bags yet unpacked with many things
awaiting sorting and digestion. I am feeling very aware of how essential the in-between times are,
to process and feel whole. And, time marches on and life just keeps coming!
So, more shows on the way ~ Cambodian food, Spiritual Living, Flower Gardens, Women in the Redwoods,
picnics on the lawn, the Red Devil Lounge, and more. Check out the SHOWS page, or "like" Amanda West Music
on facebook to hear about them all.
Meanwhile, I look forward to sharing the highlights of my summer with you once I've figured them out
for myself. And I'd love to hear about yours, so write me,
peace, love & music,
your songstress, Amanda
Heading home from a most wonderful time on tour in the Pacific Northwest. Lots of music, lots of nature,
seeing friends old & new. What a beautiful experience of freedom and connection. Next up:
a few weeks off to visit family and then back down to business in the studio working on
the album. For further details & updates on all that (I'd love to share with you!), check
out my facebook or sign the mailing list (at the top of this page).
Thanks so much for wondering, reading, listening, Being. xoxo ~ A
In the redwood mountains of Santa Cruz, CA, beneath grey skies and unsettling downpours of rain,
in June, in JUNE, we await summertime.
Recalling the scientific community's forecasts of climate change, we shudder, and wonder, are the
predictions coming true?
We long for the summertime of our memories; of sweet golden sunlight safely filtered through an
unbroken ozone layer, of clean clear rivers enticing us to dive in, of ripe, sumptuous berries,
unadulterated by chemicals or genetic engineering. We dream of this time of innocence and balance,
when winter was winter, and summer was summer.
So we pack our instruments and our songs, draw a map with our hearts, and head out in search of
such a time, such a place. In search of others who remember. We are in search of summer...
THE TOUR begins this Thursday @ 7:30pm at Don Quixotes International Music Hall in Felton, CA.
We'll then be on the road around the Pacific Northwest until mid July.
I hope you may join us...
Playing shows, booking shows, recording, noticing details, having thoughts, asking questions
and sharing the funny things in our bazaare 21st century world... All this is happening more
and more on facebook.
You bet I still resist technology, and anthropologically wonder about
what the internet is doing to humanity, but this is where so many seem to be these days, so
I'm trying to be there more often as well. See you there?
Shows, recording, more shows, more studio time... Life is in full bloom and music abounds! But sometimes, it's good
to take a step back and observe the bigger picture. I guess I really need a blog, but for now,
here is what I'd like to share with you... my Earth Day experience 2011. Hope you can take a few moments
to read it: www.facebook.com/notes/awakeningthedreamer
Earth day is coming. So is my 3rd annual Central CA Coast Spring Tour. Time to save the world. Time to make a change. Me, I sing songs,
and believe that those words and those melodies can reach through the invisible walls
separating us all and remind us of our true interconnectedness, our Oneness. Earth day
is You day, is Me day, is Us day. Saving our planet means saving ourselves. What do you think?
I've been enjoying the way life comes into focus with time. Been wondering if that "Saturn Returns" business has anything to do with the increasing
clarity and focus I feel in my life...
Been working on booking through the Spring & Summer (with more dates on the way). I am seriously
excited about the return of WOMANSONG, a one day festival in the Big Sur Spirit Garden celebrating women's original voices & songs, benefitting a different
women's organization each time. It's a huge amount of work for me, but the line-up is coming together, and it's going to be amazing!
I've also been working in the studio. I am not rushing it. What Pete & I found in creating "Truth, Love & Understanding"
(the EP released this past September 2010) we are continuing with this album. I have a strong sense this record is going to totally knock your socks off.
It will all be worth the wait, I promise! Like fresh baked bread, like the ripe fruit of summer, like True Love.
Welcome to 2011! Back in the studio and YES it feels good! A great show coming up at the Abbey in Santa Cruz with Round Mountain
and Inga Swearingen.... more to come soon...
It's been a' rain rain raining here in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I couldn't see that awesome lunar ecplise on the night of the solstice
past all the rain drops in the sky. It still seems like a powerful time of year though, whether we can see it or not. Endings and beginnings… some things
dying to leave room for others being born.
I've been looking back over this past year and seeing what it has meant for Amanda West Music: In 2010 we have played 53 shows
in 24 cities in 3 different states, completed 3 tours, recorded 1 new EP, and enjoyed uncountable adventures, smiles, and gratitude.
For all this I thank you from the depths of my Being, for it would not be possible without YOU: the listeners, hosts, attendees,
promoters, DJ's, supporters... You make my musical world go round and round, and that makes me one happy woman!
I am looking forward to the start of the second decade of this millennium. Sounds big, doesn't it?
May it be filled for all of us with clarity, abundance, connection, compassion, joy, and of course, lots of music!
Some other news that may exciting to you: We have decided to sell the new EP, Truth, Love & Understanding via mail order for a limited time only ~ just for
the holidays! So if you can't make it out to a live show, you can still get a copy for the next month and half if you
write a good old fasioned check for $6 and send it our way, we'll send you a CD back in jiffy! (see MUSIC page for details)
And one more thing to share before all the holiday shopping maddness begins... Remember that your money is a very powerful
tool for creating the world that we live in. I will not tell you what to buy or not to buy, but I do beseech you
to make sure you FULLY AWARE of what your money is supporting and encouraging as you exchange it for things for your loved ones.
I highly recommend watching this little movie before you start your shopping: www.storyofstuff.org. It has changed my life. And of course, a good thing to keep
in mind is that CD's, especially ones from independent artists, make the BEST stocking stuffers ;-)
How can it be November already? And yet, so it goes, and here we are. Time for making pies and drinking tea and admiring
the fantastic colors nature has devised with which to paint the autumn leaves.
I am beginning to fill up my calendar again
heading into the winter season and am feeling so excited about my upcoming shows! In just a few weeks I will be opening for one
of my favorite songwriters, Cosy Sheridan. A few weeks after that I will play in the midst of beautiful, creative
and inspiring women at the Goddess Crafts Fair in Sebastapol. Pete Solomon & I
will begin 2011 with a show right here in Santa Cruz, shared with the amazing Swedish Farm Jazz (a genre all her own!) artist Inga Swearingen, and my dear friends,
the Rothschild brothers and their myriad world instruments, composing Round Mountain.
So yes, we are heading into a great season and I am just thrilled. To top it off, I've got some new songs which, when they come, always
make me feel I am doing just the right thing (even though there is never a way to be so sure of anything so grand, in this incredible and humble human form of ours).
Nevertheless, I like it a lot :-)
Checking back into computerland before running out the door again. This time: FARWest (Folk Alliance
Region West www.far-west.org). This will be my second year at this wonderful
place of music, networking, and weaving the threads that lead me down this path I have chosen.
At Amanda West Music headquarters we've been attending to some of those mundane housekeeping items that can
build up so quickly, and everything just flows much better when certain details are in order.
We'll be picking up the bookings again after a short break in those. Balance, it's all about balance.
I've got a few sweet shows coming up, and more to come surely. So as always, make sure to check out the
SHOWS page. And for the moment, those shows are still the only place
you can pick up a copy of the new EP"Truth, Love & Understanding".
Oh, AND I've got the wood stacked, just in time for the first rains.
An artist comrade told me recently that "being a singer-songwriter is the art of being yourself." We were standing
in the lobby of the Freight & Salvage where we just finished playing a show, and I had one of those beautiful tingling moments
in which I KNOW I am on the right path.
Currently I am in the process of rearranging my life, so that I may dedicate even more time and space to music. Walking away from the security
of a regular income in exchange for the chance to answer one's calling is a terrifying and thrilling experience.
Today I emerge from a short but extremely intense period of studio work with Pete Solomon. We have created
a three song EP entitled "Truth, Love & Understanding." We are doing a limited run, and these will be available
only at live shows until they are gone. I am extremely proud of what we have just created and I can't wait for you to hear these new songs!
Meanwhile, in the next couple weeks I will be taking some time away from the computer to honor the calling for reblancing that comes every year
with the autumnal equinox. I will be enjoying some special personal transformations, some of the sweetest in our life journeys...
May your Fall be a golden and delicious time, with music abounding.
Just a little over a week ago I returned from a Northwest adventure... The wild, wacky & wonderful Oregon Country Fair (my first time!),
the pine scented sweetness of California World Fest in Grass Valley, and a couple shows along the way. The Secret Garden
at the Northwest Portland International Hostel & Guesthouse wooed us once again with its wonderfully supportive acoustic music scene
and the homebrewed beer... not that I drink beer actually, but, it's cool anyway. With the sunbeams cooking us up into the 90's and higher -
a good excuse for not wearing much and eating plenty of watermelon - I already feel like I've had a true summertime.
Afternoons now are being spent in the studio working away on a new EP to be released this fall. I am also booking an extensive
West Coast Tour for the release of the EP which will take me down to LA and back up to Seattle again. If you live along the way
and would like to see me, let me know. I would LOVE to see you.
I am also amping up for a bona fide official show at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley!!! This was where I first grew my stage legs
at the open mics when I was in high school. I wrote my college entrance essay about playing those open mics and now, here, at last,
I return a "full-fledged folk songstress", according to their website. Check it out:
www.thefreight.org. The show will be a triple
bill of songwriters on Friday, September 3rd. Bring all your friends! It is SO so exciting :-)
Meanwhile, I have about a kajillion other things I am trying to do which all feel like they need to happen NOW. I wonder, is
there anyone in this day and age who feels they are really on top of everything? Or perhaps organization is just an illusion.
Happy Summer Solstice. The days are indeed big and bright and full. Thanks to all who attempted to
participate in what turned out to be a very confusing voting process for the Lilith Fair talent search... I did
not win, but this is ok. I did play a very fun set at the San Francisco Folk Festival, and another great one
the following evening at Yoshi's in San Francisco where we had an excellent turn out for the Songwriters Unplugged Series.
I am working hard to finish up some personal commitments begun earlier in the year, and cannot wait to jump into the swing
of summer! Looking forward to a great collection of shows that just keep on going through the fall. Pete Solomon
and I are scheduled to record an EP this summer and my second solo album has been moved forward to the fall/winter of 2010.
So goes life sometimes... not always as planned. But the music is flowing, and I just have to make room for it. Good things
are coming, and many are already here.
Always too much to do and not enough time! I need to figure out a way to do away with the day job. Hmmm.
Meanwhile, the latest news is this:
It was 15-year-old Amanda's dream to perform at Lilith Fair and I was SO ecstatic to hear of its return this year.
I was then a little heart broken to find out that the Local Talent Search (which I wasn't quite ready to enter when I was 15)
is being conducted by way of fans voting. This sounds great, but what it ultimately means as far as I can tell, is whatever
independent artist has the biggest mailing list, the most "friends" on facebook, and is most willing to constantly bug their
fans to vote over and over, will win.
As I am posting this just a few days before the voting ends (May 24th) you can tell I wasn't quite ready to hop onto that
band wagon. However, since I did spend all that time applying to the competition in the first place, I figured it was only
fair to let you know about it at some point, and give you a chance, if you felt so inspired, to kick in some votes for me.
Just in case. You know... You never know ;-)
Here's how it works:
If you choose NOT to register with the site, I think you only get to vote once. A random collection of 4 artists will pop
up and you rank them from "best" to "worst". I may or may not be in that collection (but hey, maybe you'll find some new
women singer-songwriters you like!)
If you DO register, you can vote as many times as you like. To increase your chances of getting to vote for me, you can go
to www.ourstage.com/profile/amandawest/fans. There should be a
button on the right side which says "make this band my favorite" and if you click that, I should come up in your voting possibilities.
Either way just follow these steps:
1) Go to http://www.ourstage.com
2) Click on Judge
3) Click on Lilith Fair Channels (on the right side)
4) Choose Lilith Local Talent Search: Los Angeles, San Franciso and San Diego (Yes, unfortunately for me, all those big cities got grouped together)
5) Knock yourself out voting. You can do it every day... The best reason I would suggest, is to find some new awesome women singer-songwriter music :-)
My one song I entered (you only get one) is "In The Morning", as I knew my stripped down production on The Way to the Water couldn't possibly compete with
some of the big budget LA studio work out there, so I decided it best to go for the most intimate & vulnerable sound possible... we'll see how it all works out.
Let me know what you think!
Oh, and don't forget... I've got some fun shows coming up ~ The Nor Cal Women's Symposium, Seattle area, The SF Free Folk Fest, Yoshi's and more... UPCOMING SHOWS
It is Springtime. It is Earthweek. And I am going on tour.
I am calling this the Earth Day Tour because it begins on Earth Day, and I will be unveiling two
new songs specifically exploring the topic of what is happening to us and our planet right now.
I am certain that hope feels better than despair, and my intention is to spread more
awareness, and hope. So please join me, for some music, awakening, and courage building to turn the tides.
Dates are on the SHOWS page. Meanwhile....
THINGS YOU CAN DO TO CELEBRATE EARTH DAY (every day):
* Throw away the idea of throwing things away There is no "away" instead...
* Reduce, reuse, recycle & compost
* Order things "for here" Cutting down on take away meals and coffees reduces wasteful packaging and you might even meet someone sitting in the coffee shop!
* Use it again Before throwing something out, think about whether you or someone else could use it in another way. Be creative…
* Composting can cut your amount of trash in half AND save you money at the garden store as you make your own dirt
* Bring your own bags to the store, or even better, skip the bags... your potatoes and carrots will survive just fine!
* Choosing items with less packaging to helps reduce carbon emissions, and means you don't have so much to carry
* Get your own canteen and reuse it instead of buying bottled water
* Hanging your clothes to dry in the sun will get you outside and save on electricity from your dryer
* Use cold water if you can Washing your clothes in cold water saves electricity and, unless they are really soiled, they'll come out just as clean
* Ask where the fish & meat comes from at restaurants - if it's not organic and safely & kindly harvested don't buy it. Consumers have a lot of power - use it!
* Use a Safe Seafood Watch Pocket Guide and keep it in your wallet (if you don't have one you can download it HERE)
* Eat more vegetarian meals and reduce or eliminate your meat consumption. This will greatly reduce your impact on global warming and will give you an excuse to try new recipes
* Buying local organic produce means less toxins in the environment and less fuel burnt getting them to you, and they're likely to be fresher too. Farmer's Markets are the best! Or become a member of your local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)
* Plant a Garden Growing your own local organic produce is great fun and a much better use of water & soil than a lawn. If you don't have a yard, you can still grow things on your windowsill!
* Let the sun shine in Opening curtains and blinds to capture the warmth of the sun saves on heating. And your cat will love your for it.
* Turing off lights when you’re not in the room saves electricity. Using candles is even more romantic ;-)
* Turn down the thermostat in your heater, turn up the thermostat in your refrigerator (your food will keep just fine)
* Turn off the TV Turning off appliances at the wall socket when they’re not in use saves electricity and stops annoying hums
* Watch how you drive Driving smoothly rather than braking and accelerating suddenly uses less gas… and stops your passengers from getting white knuckles!
* Riding your bike or walking rather than taking your car on short trips reduces your carbon emissions and is great exercise too!
* Take the bus Using public transport instead of taking your car reduces carbon emission, and you don’t have to worry about parking.
* Spend time outside to nourish and strengthen your connection with nature and to help you remember that you are connected to it all
~ ~ ~ and please, continue to add more of your own ideas! ~ ~ ~
Well Hello! And welcome to 2010. I'd love to say I've started the year off on a great foot, and maybe on somewhere
down the line I will realize I have. But at the moment, things feel cloudy and precarious. I lost my
day job in this economic recession (oh no! sorry to break that beautiful illusion that we singer-songwriters
can pay rent via our CD sales...some of us get there eventually.)
So the journey has its bumps in the road. I have faith that new ground and
clarity will reveal themselves soon. Meanwhile I'm taking it a day at a time. Album number two and summer festival
applications are simmering on the back burners and their aromas are quite enticing.
Wishing you all light and ease in the coming months,
I am delighted to tell you that I had an absolutely wonderful time at the FARWest Conference (www.far-west.org).
I found people to be completely genuine, kind, down to earth and unpretentious. It was three days of talented folks
all singing to each other... pretty darn awesome. I'm not yet sure about making the right connections with the movers and shakers of say, the festival circuits,
but I certainly found a group of great new friends, and that is always a good thing.
I've booked a show at the Cayuga Vault here in Santa Cruz for Saturday December 5th. I will be sharing the evening with
a touring world/folk duo called HuDost (www.hudost.com). I think you'll really like them. We're playing a second show
together on Sunday Dec 6th up in Sebastapol at the HopMonk Tavern, so that should be good fun. (more info on the SHOWS page)
I also feel I must remind you that the holiday season is almost upon us and this creates an excellent
opportunity for you to place your money where your values are, (where I'm assuming and hoping they are) and purchase gifts for your loved ones from
independent artists and artisans (like me!). Music is always a great gift, and you may still have a few distant
relatives who do not yet have "The Way to the Water", so... you know... just keep it in mind (wink wink). For purchase links you can go HERE.
Thanks for supporting the Arts!
The first big storm of winter is howling away outside. I have the gutters cleaned, the wood stacked, and I'm ready;
ready to go inside.
Way back in August, WOMANSONG (www.myspace.com/bigsurwomansong) was a grand success.
With a great deal of promotional support from our local press (write-ups in three newspapers!) & DJ's,
we had an excellent turn-out and raised over $500 for the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center. Huge thank-yous to everyone who participated,
listened, and helped make it happen. The Spirit Garden of Big Sur is indeed a magical place and we look forward to returning there in the future.
I have a few local Santa Cruz area shows (harvest celebrations) coming up in the next weeks before I head South for the big FAR West Folk Alliance
Conference in Irvine I have been preparing for. (I'm so excited!) I've got six showcases lined up, and am looking forward
to exploring & expanding connections with other folks in the music world. On the way down I will be stopping in Monterey and San Luis Obispo to sing some songs.
Amongst the chaos of everyday life I have also begun work on my second album. I have a clear vision for exactly what this one is about,
and the artwork and music are evolving alongside each other...very exciting! Nevertheless, I imagine it will most likely be Spring before I can release it...
but I'll keep you posted of course :-)
I made it to Yakima N' Back with a fair number of ups and downs and an ever-evolving
understanding of what this is all about and what I am doing in it. Just signed up for the FAR West
Conference. Made a new list for myself of shows I am allowed to play, and ones I am not ...
Trying to care for my delicate spirits while continuing to stretch my comfort zones...
A few new songs finding their way into the repertoire... A plan to start laying down some piano tracks this
weekend... Life, with all its mortar and earthquakes, never ceases to amaze me.
I just turned 27. I'm not sure if that's getting pretty old, or still quite young. I think it might be both.
Tomorrow Pete and I hit the road for our first joint tour. I am so excited to visit everyone along the way
and to get in some more good traveling this summer. I had a delicious time in Santa Fe. I was surprised at the
number of people I knew there - I managed to get quite a little crowd out to the Aztec Cafe! (Thanks guys!) I also
spent a lot of time in art galleries, soaking up the energies of beautiful creations and returned home very inspired.
I feel my past year and half of mad show playing (i.e. a great abundance of it!) winding down, and I am certainly
feeling a pull towards spending more time DOING my art than promoting it (which unfortunately is not the case at the moment).
So I hope you can enjoy the fruits of my labor in the next couple weeks somewhere along the Pacific Coast, or perhaps I'll
see you in Big Sur in August for Womansong. Don't forget your sunscreen!
Well certainly the most exciting thing for me recently was opening for one of my most favorite bands,
Rebecca Riots, at THE Freight and Salvage in Berkeley - my 15-year-old self's dream come true! The house
was packed (a sold out show) so... yes, that was pretty awesome. And then, there is so much else going on! I am
leaving for New Mexico in a few days, then the "Yakima N' Back" tour in July is just about solidified,
and I've finally got the line-up of performers for Womansong in Big Sur in August. This is a summer full of shows
and I hope to see you soon! If I miss you this summer, it may be a while, for in the Fall I head into
the recording studio again...
As time goes on, it feels like we all have more and more technology, and fewer and fewer true interactions
among ourselves. And they call me a luddite when I say this, but this is how I feel. So I encourage you,
if you have found my website, please peruse, but don't stay too long. Find my next show, and come to it!
I don't want to talk to you on facebook and myspace and through emails, each of us alone in front of our
computer screens; I want to be able to look into your eyes and smell the cup of tea sitting between us. I want
to hear your laugh and have you feel the energy coming from my Being as I sing to you...
Finding myself feeling a bit weary and overwhelmed when it comes to all I expect myself to do...
The lists I write... Trying to pull back and see the bigger picture, realize that sometimes it's ok for the details to
fall through the cracks, so long as the things which really matter in life are being attended to -
staying true to my heart, keeping mortality in mind. Life is too short to be unhappy.
Happy Birthday to "The Way to the Water"! Today is the one year anniversary of the release
of my debut solo album. Can you believe it? Of course, this got me thinking about all the wonderful
folks we've encountered during its first year out in the world. In celebration, and as a huge thank-you
to everyone who has played a part in this baby's life so far, "The Way to the Water" will
only be $10 per CD for the next month. Only catch is, you have to wish it happy birthday :-)
Welcome to 2009! I am grateful that the dust from the holidays seems to have settled
at last. I've had some time for organizing, clearing out, and starting the new year with a
clean slate. Setting my sights on a Spring tour, summer festivals, and... most exciting of all,
formulating visions for a new album! If I have any kind of sanity or consciousness about me,
I can't help but be amazed at this life I lead - pursuing my dreams! What a trip.
Recently my mother shared an article with me about Bhutan's economic system (Bhutan is a little country
near Nepal and India). While here in the U.S. we measure GNP (Gross National Product), since the 1970's
in Bhutan, they have measured GNH (Gross National Happiness). For real! Imagine, looking at businesses
and organizations and jobs and measuring their worth not by how much stuff they create, or how much profit they make,
but by how much they add to the psychological, ecological, spiritual and social health of a nation. Wow.
Now that is radical.
2008 has been a huge year for me. I've set my focus in life to contributing to the GNH and I have to say,
it's a pretty awesome way to spend one's time. In a few more months, my baby, "The Way to the Water", will
be a year old! I am filled with gratitude for all the folks who have helped me and supported me in this past year,
and who continue to do so. Loving thoughts with the Winter Solstice, as the light begins to return to
the world, and many blessings for a full and healthy 2009.
Today we wake to a new world, after joyful celebrations in the streets. I know no single person can be the answer
to all the troubles we face, but he can make much brighter the light of hope that we carry. And the future is looking
So the tour was wonderful. I found challenges in questions of money, goals, intentions ... the same sort
of questions which arise whenever you choose a path and start walking down it with persistance. But Ariel
and I met so many new wonderful people, and I was just completely overwhelmed by the kindness of our
hosts along the way. Art (music, creativity) is such a wonderful thing to pursue because it allows me to
intereact with the best in people all the time! I am very lucky. I return home inspired and excited, ready to book and
play lots more shows, and meet many many more folks :-)
Surprisingly, I also find myself looking forward to the winter months ahead, the season for nesting,
spending time with loved ones, and continuously honoring the cycle of the earth, and of life. Don't forget:
CD's of independant artists make PERFECT holiday gifts! (hint, hint) :-)
Happy wintering! And happy new world.
I'm going on tour!!! Fellow Santa-Cruzian Songstress, Ariel Thiermann and I have been working
for the past few months to put together a tour which will take us down the West Coast of California.
We are approaching it as an experiment, to feel out these towns, meet some new people, discover
some new venues, and continue expanding our musical experiences.
Please join us for the kick-off show on Friday October 10th at the Cayuga Vault in our home town of Santa Cruz.
Also, make sure to check out our tour schedule (see SHOWS page) and send your Southern friends our way!
You can read more about my amazing touring comparion at: www.arielsong.com. See you on the road...
In relation to rising gas prices, global warming, and the health of us all, think about this:
"...the job of our time is to hospice the death of the old unsustainable systems and structures
and to midwife the birth of new sustainable systems and new ways of being."
(Lynne Twist, The Soul of Money)
Whoa. Are you doing your part? Am I?
I was asked to play a friend's party last Saturday. I've just moved to a new house, I'd been out
of town for a week with no time to unpack, I was feeling overwhelmed, and anything
but in a party mood. But when I arrived, settled behind the mic and began to sing, my headache disappeared,
I relaxed. My worries and troubles floated away, outshone by the present moment, what I was doing, and who was
around me. I felt connected, calm, and grounded, like I was doing exactly what I should be doing, the only thing that
makes sense. Over and over again I am reminded how much I love music and love doing this in the world.
I thank you, as a reader, a listener, and/or a fan, for allowing me such pleasure and joy!
Hooray! I think summer is here. And goodness is my summer booked up already! I've got SO many great
shows on the near horizon. Still sellin' those CD's, and writing all those emails...
Looking forward to (and already enjoying) the increased abundance of fresh fruit and veggies
at the farmer's markets... I love living in California. Plans for a SoCal tour this fall are in the works, I'll keep you posted.
Check out the upcoming shows, and come say hello very soon! p.s. don't forget your sunscreen :-)
So I'm beginning to think it's a bit insane what I am attempting to do - be my own booking agent,
manager, publicist, accountant, web designer, producer, writer, editor, and everything else and
in between. Not to mention, trying to maintain something of a personal life, which, since that's
where songwriting inspiration comes from, is something I must continue to nurture as well. Volunteers for marketing
assistance are always welcome, though I realize, most of us are probably in need of marketing assistance.
Because of the capitalist society we live in, this is what we
all do all the time - sell ourselves, in the hopes of bringing in some money in the hopes of creating
comfort that will nurture us, allowing us to BE. I think. Hmmm, isn't life interesting?
Adjusting into the mindset of marketing is a whole new experience in itself... Bleary eyes in front
of a computer screen... Who ever thought being a musician would be so much about the internet!
It is also so much about self awareness, and a constant re-discovery of intentions...
Thank you for staying connected. More thoughts soon to come.
I am a puddle of gratitude with overwhelming thanks for all those who participated in the CD release
concert - those who helped put up fliers, wrote newspaper articles, had me on their radio show, joined me on the stage,
baked cookies, worked the door, showed up in the audience, wrote emails, gave me hugs and smiles, and listened
and believed and supported... you are all amazing. This is not a thing to be done alone.
The show was a grand success with a sold-out house and a lovely evening celebrating the final birth of this baby of mine!
And now, settling down from the flurry of the release, comes the next challenge - how to get all these CD's out of my bedroom and into the world...
So they're really here. At last, in my hands. One year ago I was just beginning my sessions in the studio,
with no idea really what I was getting myself into. It has been a long and incredible
year, and I am so happy to say, I am quite pleased with the outcome! A little overwhelmed. What a journey...
And in ways, this is just the beginning of a much larger experience... I am so grateful to all those
who have helped and supported me along the way (is that so cliched and obvious I don't even need to write it?)
Anyway, I am now completely consumed in trying to make this release party happen, so I hope you all can be there! See you soon...
Running around like mad, trying to do Everything (yes, with a capital E) before my plane takes off for Seattle... get everything aligned and ready
for my RELEASE SHOW! I am so excited! Trying also to not take it all TOO seriously... it's only life afterall, and what's it for
if not for loving and enjoying. As I anxiously wait for my CD's to arrive in the mail, I have a new and wonderful distraction -
a piano! The universe (in the form of a special human) has gifted me a piano. It's old, funky, out-of-tune, but I LOVE it!
A new friend, and who knows... perhaps some new songs ;-)
So I just got another press write-up! This one in the local paper, The Santa Cruz Metro. You can
see the full article on my "press" page. I think I was compared to a crepe and called "mouth watering"...?! Hmmmm.
But well, they say any press is good press, and "flowing prose and intricate melodies" sounds good to me.
P.S. Happy Solstice to all! We made it to the darkest time of year... The light returns from here on out... :-)
Thank you, thank you to all who came out last night for the show at the Cayuga Vault. It was a very special evening
and I am so grateful for all your support. My album is SO so so close! Just a few more pushes and this baby will be out!
AND, I think this website is just about ready to be publicly announced... do let me know if you find any glitches :-)
I have been making it a practise each day to list all I am grateful for, not because it is thanksgiving season, but because
if I sit there thinking about all the wonderful things in my life, I can't help but begin to tingle with joy and contentment.
It's a good way to start the day :-)
This website is in its beginning stages. My first solo studio album, "The Way to the Water", will debue very soon, and I sensed
a need for an online presence other than myspace. So here it is. And like all things, it will change, expand, and evolve.
So keep watching.