20 years of musical love

1 06 2015

i never would have thought i would have seen as many live shows in my lifetime as i’ve seen thus far. i’m pretty sure when i saw dave matthews in 1995 that it was my first live-music experience, and i’m glad it guided me down the path i’m following now. music is still everything to me, and will forever play a huge part in my life. i love festivals, big shows, small shows, planned shows, spontaneous shows, shows down the street and shows i fly across the country for. music is everything. i hope you have found something to so totally encapsulate your life. life has so much in store for us and there are so many things that can go right, and go wrong, and having something (a “constant”, if you will) to continually focus on that brings happiness and peace is so very important. music, y’all!

my dear sweet husband patrick loves music and it’s one of the things that brought us together. we like a lot of the same stuff, and we have a lot of differences. i have always loved dave, as we know, and patrick (who used to enjoy his music back in the day) does not much care for him now. knowing this has made me feel slightly alienated from him in that i can’t share some of the most important music of my life with the most important person in my life. however, just being at that show on saturday night has reminded me that there are still people out there who love this music as much (or more) than i do and that i needn’t feel “weird” or “silly” for hanging onto my heartsongs.

there’s just something about dave’s music, the stuff that doesn’t quite fit in any one genre, the stuff that expresses what i’m feeling at any given time in my life, that has kept me going all these years. i’ll keep going to see dave year after year and keep loving those same sweet songs. grateful to have them in my life.

saturday i had the privilege of seeing dave matthews play live for the 30th time in my 20 years of musical love. here’s what we got to hear! terrific set. i was lucky enough to enjoy it nadia (also an old-school fan) who could really appreciate how great of a set it was. that’s the problem with bringing someone who “just doesn’t get it” (PATRICK). all of a sudden you’re crying when they play your favorite song on the planet and no one else can share that moment with you (remember #41 at centennial park? i cried. they laughed. and then i laughed while crying because it was so, so good!). and it’s all good. i’ve since come to terms with it. and still love every time i hear the opening notes of #41. he needs to learn it and love it.

Set I (Acoustic)
Stay or Leave
The Stone
Funny The Way It Is
The Song That Jane Likes
Snow Outside
When The World Ends
So Damn Lucky
What Would You Say
Belly Belly Nice

Set II
So Much To Say
Anyone Seen the Bridge
Too Much
Black and Blue Bird
Out of My Hands
Don’t Drink the Water
You & Me
Dancing Nancies

Two Step


#25: dave-love

23 05 2012

my heart is bursting. I can’t wipe this grin off my face. I’m definitely still riding my dave-high from last night that will, unfortunately, have to last me for the rest of the year. here’s hopin they do a fall/winter tour that I can be a part of…
tailgating before the show was so much fun. we ate, we drank, we were merry. it was a fabulous, debaucherous time. we didn’t lose anyone, as much as it seemed likely. the setlist was amaze-balls and I am thrilled to pieces to share it with you.

last night was my 25th official dave matthews band show, and I can only hope that number will exponentially increase from here. my favorite song (#41!!!!) made an appearance and totally made my night. I *LOVED* the full band version of the new song ‘Mercy.’ cannot wait for the new album in september.

shout out to all of you wonderful people who were there to celebrate with me: nadia, ryan (on his birthday!!), shaniah, patrick, mark, mo, emily, wayne, jlam, sarvy, lisa, katie, mary. can’t wait for our next dave party!!! love y’all. -j.

Dave Matthews Band
Lakewood Amphitheater

You Might Die Trying
Grace Is Gone
Eh Hee
Seek Up
Save Me
Shake Me Like a Monkey
Don’t Drink the Water
Out Of My Hands
Jimi Thing
You and Me
Funny The Way It Is
Ants Marching

Pantala Naga Pampa

Indie Rock Class of 2010, Where the Eff Are You?

21 02 2012

.::Take Only What You Need::.

since my lovely Eff&Music group has disbanded, for lack of a better word, i will just be continuing my music blogs on my Chasing Jamesly blog when i feel like writing. and here i am! happy tuesday, and happy mardi gras!!! i was lucky enough to be able to go to mobile this past weekend with my parents and go to my first mardi gras parade in years. it was so much fun and much calmer than i imagine new orleans to be at this time of year. i learned that mobile actually has the oldest mardi gras celebration in the country- even though new orleans is most well known for it, someone named joe cain really used to do it up in mobile. good to know. glad i have ties there. it was loads of fun- got a lot of beads, ate some great food, slept a lot. a grand weekend.

i realized, while on the road, that i’ve been in dire need of some new music. i’m sure all of you heard the great news that dave is resuming touring this year AND that they’re back in the studio with an almost-completed album, and it made me realize how fully committed they are to their music, and how it’s never a super long time between hearing from them, whether live or on a new CD. i love that, but i’ve become spoiled. i gained a lot of new favorite bands a couple years ago, in the months before my first coachella, a lot of which were just starting out and riding the high happy waves of indie success. i still love these bands, and listen to their stuff over and over again, but sadly haven’t heard much from them since. i decided to lump them all together and call them the Indie Rock Class of 2010, and i’m here today to ask, what’s up? where the eff are y’all? new albums, new singles even? something. i have a feeling they’re starting to wake up and get back with it- Sleigh Bells just released their sophomore effort Reign of Terror today- but i’m ready for more. it seems i keep having to find new bands to listen to when all i want is more comfort food from my favorites. don’t get me wrong- i love finding new music. fo sho. but i miss my Vampire Weekend, Passion Pit, Phoenix, XX, etc.  i’ve never made an album- i’m sure it takes time, patience, and the gods of songwriting to all come together and cause such perfection, but can i just be a brat and complain for a minute? and throw in some videos of my favorites?? gee thanks.

Passion Pit, where are you? i don’t even need an album. just a tour near me would be nice. i don’t think we ever had as much fun as we did with you at the tabernacle. Phoenix, i know you’re more of an Indie Rock alumni, but you haven’t been back to see us since 2010 either. Local Natives, are you still alive? are you working on new music or did you give up on us? The XX, i heard you were back in the studio. props. can’t wait to see ya. Avetts, i will again acknowledge alumni status for you, but atlanta misses you. why you go all these other places and never come see us, huh? need you, kiddos. and Vampire Weekend, i know you’re out there somewhere. whatcha been up to? anything new and fun for us yet? your albums are so short. they always leave me wanting more. i’m ready to hang out and jump a lot and be preppy again. c’mon.

i guess i’ll just be patient and see what happens. keep listening to new music and mix in a little of the Class of 2010. and of course, stay steady with my good friend dave. he’ll be at lakewood on 5.22.12! can’t wait y’all. here’s a little dave for your fat tuesday.

have a great week, y’all. today i’ll be loading up on sweets as i attempt to give up sweets for Lent (along with meat, as usual). it’s gonna be a bumpy ride, but today sure will be awesome 🙂 til next time. laissez les bons temps rouler!


<3 ode to valentine’s day <3

14 02 2012

it’s come to my attention that i know enough people that hate Valentine’s Day that i feel the need to defend its honor year after year. i have been without a Valentine (in the true sense of the world) for 5 years now, and i can’t say i’m any worse for it. i’ve always been a fan of this chocolate-themed holiday. i can’t remember a february 14th without candy and cards and flowers, and the mere fact that they are gifts from family members and friends does not make me wish that they were, instead, from a boy. some of these presents were better than anything i ever got from a boy. silly boys 🙂

years ago when i was in college, i remember year being inspired to make a CD for one of my best friends full of songs to help celebrate the day. i don’t remember if it was a recent heartbreak or just another year of being single that  i was trying to distract her from… most of the songs seemed to say “oh, you’ll find someone one day” or “love is out there, you just wait.” at the time i made this CD, i was, surprisingly, NOT single for the first time in, well, forever. i didn’t realized that CD was maybe something i was making for myself ten years in the future. not to say that i need reassurance that love will come to me (but thank you, Indigo Girls), but just to give myself a little hug with music. i am sure love will come to me in some form or fashion, and at some point. my impatience likes to believe otherwise, but either way, it’s no good reason to hate 2.14. let’s listen to amy & emily reassure us. all together now! this means you.

love that song!! Valentine’s Day may have been “created” by (or, in the very least, ceremonially adopted by) Hallmark, but in the end, this day should be about love, in general, not just about going to a fancy dinner or buying cards or flowers or candy. (however- i will not stop you, should you wish to take me out to a fancy dinner or buy me cards or flowers or candy!)  love should be celebrated every day. i won’t lie; i don’t say “i love you” nearly enough to the people that actually matter in my life – my sweet family – but i am trying. and maybe this day is a helpful reminder that we should.

the other reason i love Valentine’s Day, besides celebrating the beautiful and fanciful thing called love, is, as i told someone earlier today, the fact that valentine’s is the first beautiful bright shining star of the year. january blows- it’s cold and awful and there are no holidays or anything to celebrate. and then- boom. pink, red, chocolate, hearts, LOVE. and the rest of the year is easy breezy. you’re welcome.

i hope you get to eat lots of chocolate and smell the roses that everyone else is getting today. i’m wearing red and cutting out paper hearts and plan on eating a shitload of chocolate and drinking some very good red wine while listening to amazing music later on today. celebrate yourself, if you don’t have anyone to do it for you. or i’ll dote on you, if you want. i love to dote. just say the word! chocolate for EVERYONE. we win!!

you are all special to me. have a great and love-filled jelly donut of a day!


sleeping and smiling. my life, in a nutshell: 2012

10 02 2012

i can’t believe i let this lapse! oy ve. last we chatted, it was june. and what’s changed? oh, a lot and a little and nothing at all. still the same ol’ silly jamesly. still in love with life and having a blast.

i’ve read some really great books lately, among them being The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. i didn’t know what this book would do for my quote-unquote *happiness* but it seemed an interesting premise… this woman devoted a year to resolutions that would increase her happiness, even though she considered herself a fairly happy individual already… like myself. but, there’s always room for self-improvement, yes?

after reading this book, there two major areas i wanted to work on, and i have: get enough rest, and smile at people more. they’ve both been life-changing SIMPLE acts that i hope choose to stick around in my lovely little life.

i’ve gotten used to sleeping, on average, 6 hours a night for as long as i can remember. it was bound to catch up with me at some point, and i believe in the past year it did. i decided, starting in january, that i would attempt to actually get 8 hours of sleep a night (since studies say 8 is most beneficial, even if you want to stay in bed for 12… tempting…) and see what it could do for me. it’s actually been almost 5 weeks now that i’ve gotten close to this beloved magical 8 hours a night, and let me tell you it has changed my life. i am not a morning person at all, and extra sleep hasn’t changed that – but it has changed the way i view mornings. i am much more awake when i get to work at 7am and can actually withstand small talk and conversation before noon. i only need my one cup of coffee in the morning. i rarely feel exhausted anymore – i thought that was normal, i guess – and i actually know i have a “bedtime” and pay attention to it. amazing! it’s been nice so far because i haven’t had much going on in the evenings since the holidays (my hibernation months, winter), but i can see it getting to a problem when concert season ramps up, and when summer comes along. ah well – f0r now, it’s working wonders 🙂

the smiling thing happened because of the simple truth that, in order to be happy, you should make others happy. when others are happy, you are happy. seems so simple when put that way, yes? i used to look down when i passed people in the hall because most people don’t respond to friendly hellos, even if this is the south, and let’s face it, i don’t hand out my friendly hellos like candy. but *what if* i did… right? i don’t know if it was this book or just the seed of thought in my head, but because i love people so much (i really really do), i laugh a lot on the inside. i decided to push that energy outside of me and smile at everyone i pass. very outside of my comfort zone, but since i started it, it’s become addictive. i’m now that girl that smiles and gives a friendly hello even if you don’t know her. but i also see how people react. some people react like i used to – looking down and smiling shyly. some people do what i’m doing right back at me – and it inspires me. and some people look on in amazement, like – is she talking to me? and that’s what makes me happy. these little smiles, possibly making a difference in people’s lives. i like to think so, anyway. i’ve spent my whole life trying to make other people happy, one because it’s in my nature, and two because i really enjoy it. so why stop?

happy friday, anyone who reads this. have a fabulous weekend. i need to write more often 🙂


empire state of mind. as usual.

29 06 2011

on a tshirt i saw in urban outfitters

new york city, you fabulous place. it was lovely to spend a long weekend with you again. i do so hate leaving your beautiful face to come back home to silly atlanta.

me and madre and nadia had such a fabulous time in NYC. we arrived on thursday morning and spent five lovely days exploring, revisiting, eating, and photographing. we found some new places, ventured out beyond our comfort zones (some of us, that is – my comfort zone stretches far and wide), ate a lot of really good food. I FINALLY GOT TO SEE JERSEY BOYS!!!


that’s been a long time comin… and it was everything i wanted and more. dude did a great job as frankie valli. i got to sing all of my favorite four seasons songs. loved it loved it loved it!! we also saw Billy Elliot, which i knew was gonna be good, but i didn’t think i was gonna love it as much as i did. 🙂 fabulous show times!! i need to start making a list of other shows i need to see, since i’ve pretty much done my broadway bucket list up to this point. no complaints here 🙂

we frequented the chelsea market this year- hadn’t been before, but it was only a few blocks from our fabulous hotel. (we stayed at the new hilton in the fashion district- i picked this place in part because of their rooftop bar, but unfortunately we never quite made it up there. the irony.) the market has a ton of bakeries, restaurants, and shops that were housed in a cute warehouse-type building… we had some fabulous lobster rolls there, i had an excellent soy latte, and we found some really cute cupcakes as well. i will definitely be back there on future trips to the city.

da best.

another great place we discovered was a place i actually went in december to grab a chocolate croissant- the food hall by todd english at the plaza hotel. i don’t know why i didn’t notice the place for what it was back then, but it’s a fabulous open space full of barstools, long tables, and visible food stations… reminded me so much of the market in madrid that i was constantly drawn to during my stay there. we were, likewise, drawn to this restaurant of sorts. what started out as a stop for a drink turned into wine, chicken and ginger dumplings, cod fritters, and a marvelous cheese plate of cheddar, camembert, and drunken goat plus olives, tapenade, quince paste, and fig jam all the while watching miniature lamb gyros, sliders, and burgers being crafted before our very eyes.


we were entranced and enthralled. i tell you what, nadia and i both agreed that it’s super hot when a guy can cook… 😉 the place and the experience was so fabulous we went back the very next day for madre’s birthday lunch (she was quite taken with the place). that day i had perhaps the best wine of the trip- a cotes du rhone (of course)- and more fabulous cheeses, as well as some chorizo from the grill. madre got some fantastic fried oysters, and nadia got the mini gyros. everything was delicious… but nothing moreso than madre’s birthday dessert- chocolate ganache cake that was to die for, chocolate gelato (i was in heaven), and watermelon sorbet. i will definitely be visiting your food hall again, todd english. remember this girl’s face. and stomach. 😉

the plaza food hall by todd english

we went to brooklyn on our last day to visit my dad’s high school… my mom and sister wanted to see his name on the plaque of outstanding students (a guy and girl are chosen each year from the senior class), and of course see the neighborhood where he went to school. while the neighborhood wasn’t super-enticing, it was great to see the school and a little piece of history. it was also nice to get away from the city and see where “real” people live, ya know? it’s so easy to think of the city and the lifestyle there, and easy to forget that most new yorkers live outside of manhattan. i would pick manhattan, though, if i had the choice… and the money.

grover cleveland h.s.

the other notable part of the weekend was the fact that pridefest was going on… coincidental to the occasion, governor cuomo signed the same-sex marriage law into effect on friday, causing a ton of celebration in the city, especially in the village. we got a chance to witness part of the parade on sunday and see all of the characters in the village and walk through the street fest (and get lots of fun free stuff! always a plus in my book). it was so uplifting to be in the city this weekend with all of this stuff going on- it was really nice to see how open most people are to alternative lifestyles and how it’s not such a hush-hush topic as it can be sometimes here at home. it was also really cool to see the empire state building lit up in rainbow colors 😉

empire state building

rainbow cookies at a bakery

as always, our time in the city was too short, but it keeps the desire to come back that way as well. i’ll be back at the end of august for the Dave Matthews Band Caravan (yesssssss!) on Governor’s Island, but i’ll be hangin in the city during the day for sure. can’t wait. speaking of my favorite person… 😉 nadia found me a book about Dave and his 20 years on the road so far and that’s what i read on the plane since i accidentally packed my kindle in my suitcase. whoops. but it’s really nice to read about the history of my favorite. i’m getting really excited.

we took so many great pictures this weekend, y’all.. i’ll have the rest of them on facebook, of course, once i get’em organized. til then, peeps.


sometimes, ya just have to say it like it is

22 06 2011

i miss europe. plain and simple, there is it. i thought me & that other continent would just take a little break from each other last year and that i’d plan a big trip for 2011 that would bring us back together. alas, i feel that it’s not to be this year. i mean, have you seen plane ticket prices to europe lately? what the eff happened, people?! it’s over a thousand to fly anywhere in october (the only time i could go this year) and i just don’t have that kind of money to throw around at the moment. buying a house and all kinda put a damper on that. 😉 perhaps next spring will be better. we shall see…

the past few years have been spent well, travel-wise. i’ve done a lot of trips with friends, trips i didn’t really ever consider to be the type of things i’d take vacation time for. it’s been a tad bit cheaper to stay on this continent, but not completely. i’ve still spent quite a bit. i’ve done NYC countless time (headed back there tomorrow!), seen several awesome music festivals (which has become a priority), tried out colder weather fun (snowboarding was… interesting), been to las vegas more times in one year than i ever thought i’d go total (3…!), and will finally get to see san francisco (and wine country!) in about a month. i suppose i should just start planning way ahead and be able to go back to my beloved paris, et al when i get the chance.

i miss walking the streets and hearing the french language. i miss seeing passing friends kiss on the cheek instead of shake hands. i miss being able to eat dinner at midnight- in a restaurant. i miss the effing euro. i miss fresh french baguettes bought on a whim and eaten while walking down the street. i miss buying a bottle of cheap red wine- that tastes great– at a corner store and then walking across the street to a park and drinking it sitting in the grass. i miss real-deal chocolate eclairs, yo. i miss taking the metro, but i miss walking across paris more. i miss being able to get on a train and be in another country in an hour. i miss the mediterranean way of life. i miss markets, seeing all kinds of animal parts on display, being able to buy the juice of any fruit you can imagine- anyone ever had kiwi juice? it’s awesome. i miss using the parts of my brain that know specks of french, german, spanish. i miss real german pretzels. i miss seeing buildings that are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years old. i miss real european romance- not just between people, mind you, but between people and their country. people and their history. i miss the feeling of escape that europe gives… the feeling that you are not a part of your “real” life while you’re there, just a floating piece of humanity with nowhere to be and everything to enjoy. i miss the sense of freedom europe gives me to use my camera, the feeling that every picture i take is a piece of the moment i get to keep forever, even if it’s not very good. 😉 i miss foreign labels on food and drinks in grocery stores, and i miss buying things i’m not familiar with just to try them out. i miss seeing babies in europe and thinking how amazing it is that kids are born in a particular place at a particular time and their brains just adjust to where they sprout. one kid becomes american, one kid german, one french, one spanish. what if i’d been born in france instead of here in georgia? oh, if only! i wonder if i’d be as fascinated with america as i am now with europe. or if i’d have a certain disdain for this place that europeans seem to be born with. 🙂 either way, i do miss that place dearly. i’ve got to go back at some point. it pulls on my heart strings. i’ll be with you again soon, my love.