Ellen: Here’s My Top Ten Moments of The Folk Alliance

Ok, I’m sure some of you are wondering…who is Ellen and why do I keep addressing my blog entries to her? Well, I just thought it would be interesting to start a dialogue with Ellen DeGeneres about what I do everyday because I’d like to be on her show in 2006. So, after I write down these entries, I print them out, decorate an envelope, and mail them off to Ellen. To date, she’s had three envelopes sent to her offices. (Each envelope is numbered, too…#1, #2, #3, etc.)

I don’t know if she’ll actually ever see them, but my hope is that someone in her production company will start noticing these giant, creatively colored envelopes and read the enclosed…and, then, actually come visit here and see that I have a letter writing campaign started. So, any feedback or help you want to give will be very appreciated by yours truly…and my little dog, Lucky, too!

Ok, I was trying to write in backwards time for the previous Ellen letter, and I had to get back to my mommy world and didn’t have a chance to finish. So, instead of backwards time, we are now in Top Ten List mode; I think it will be more efficient and my fingers won’t cramp so quickly….(writing in backwards time doesn’t really require one to write backwards, but my fingers get stiff nowadays. Probably due to not enough Girl Scout cookie consumption.)


10) Escalators! Getting to ride up and down and wave hello every time you go. And hearing that Dana Cooper was on an elevator, pushed the “L” button for the lobby and said, “I’m going to L!” Ha ha ha.

9) Reading the name tags and saying “OH, you’re…!!!” and finally having faces to names or names to faces.

8) Hanging out in the bar…enough said. As many of you know, I ‘m not a big drinker because I am already high on life, so any liquor just makes me laugh out loud, dance on tables, want to kiss everyone, and then, immediately, fall straight into sleep. (I know, I know…I hear you…you’re saying..”And the difference is…?” Ha ha. Very funny.) But during the Folk Alliance I had one shot of Yeigermiester and one Fuzzy Navel. On two seperate nights. And my friends, Lorrie and Brad, drove me home after the Yeigermiester. See. I’m such a wuss!

7)…sitting in with Phil Parlapiano at his showcase and singing harmony to a room full of people lounging on beds and spellbound in chairs. I love Phil’s voice, I love his energy. He had on his hat and he doesn’t need to grab you or entice you…he just opens his mouth to share his songs and play his keyboard or accordian and there you are… In a very great place, enjoying a musician at his finest.
First time to run into Eric (Lowen) and Dan (Navarro) after years and years…and that was moving for me…I had no idea that Eric has Lou Gehrig’s disease, and so I was feeling all these feelings…and Eric is so classy, so warm and inviting, he lifts you up and makes everything alright and what a kind, kind man he is. And Dan’s got a husky voice with a timbre of bitterness but a heart of gold and the fact that he and Eric have been singing together for what, 20 years?, makes me feel nothing short of awe. The two of them blend like
birds fly…with ease and grace. I kept resting my head on Dan’s arm while singing with Phil (he was playing piano, so couldn’t rest there)…thank you, Phil, for the invitation.

6) The exquisite showcase by Anna Wolfe. Her voice is lilting and takes you to a simpler time, and she looks like a sweet faced angel…tall, with round toed shoes, and interesting lace and cotton clothing that isn’t over the top…she is honest and takes your heart by the hand and leads it into this world of little stories. She doesn’t need anything but her guitar to take you on a real journey into the soul of what a musical experience can be. Stunning. My other top favorite musical experience.

5)… running into Terri Lord (excellent human being and fantastic, groove oriented drummer) in the hotel lobby, who introduced me to Zoe Lewis, a moppy curled bright eyed high energy wonder…and I am so glad I met her! I went to her showcase and it was the best performance I saw at the whole shebang. This woman has energy, enthusiasm, light, curiousity, joy and a head full of words that burst forth in her infectious, upbeat songs. And she can play the guitar. And the piano (she was EXCELLENT on the keyboards). And she plays mean wooden spoons. Wow. All I can say is WOW.

4) making things right with Sarah Elizabeth Campbell (that was the Yeigermiester night…it is the drink of courage and forgiveness. Remember that.) Thank you, Sarah.

3) …my showcase for GoGirl and meeting Madlyn (I don’t think I’m spelling that right…sorry Madelyn…Madeliene…Maddy…Miss M…umm….) My friend, Lorrie Singer, sat in with me and gave her all….and the blessing of Richard Bowden and Michael Rubin just popping on up to sit in…wow! I love being a mom musician. The weird thing was that the artists were told we’d have 30 minutes, but right before I went on stage, the production manager says, “Everyone gets 20 minutes…” So, I go on stage and sing four songs,
but having been told I could do two more, I start into one and finish and then the same production manager glides up to the stage and gives me THE LOOK, and I lean over and whisper, “How much time do I have?” and she says “YOU’RE 2 MINUTES OVER!!!” and I stand up quick and say into the mic, “Well, that’s all! Gotta stop!” And the folks in the audience start saying “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” and “LET HER PLAY!” and I was kinda giddy over that! But, you know, someone else needed to come up…however, I also knew that this was IT…you know what I mean? The whole CARPE DIEM thing?….so I realize that Madylyn/The Very Cool Woman who put on the showcase was sitting right there on the front row, so I ask her…”What should I do?” and she announces, “LET HER PLAY ON!” and I finish out with “Everything’s Red” and everyone’s on their feet and WHOOSH! It is over. Lots of excitement and people handing me business cards and that was fun. I made sure the woman artist after me wasn’t upset…she was cool, we had met years back, and she sounded great….! But she was ticked with the amount of time allotted, too…so she was letting the Alliance know.

2) meeting the elegant and funny Jonathan Edwards and hanging out with my assistant lady Teresa (Davis McLarty gave her that new monikor and it is sticking)…Aside to Jonathan/Teresa..how did we end up in this bar again?!….seeing Val Denn’s joy every floor and reaquainting withTaylor (what a great son! he is cute to boot!), Rod Kennedy (and his classy girlfriend, Linda), Dalis, Danny and Rene Britt, meeting Ellen Stanley and Chris from Redhouse, John Gorka (he has the best impish smile…what is he up to? hmm….), working on Michael Lille’s record twice at Flashpoint…first with Kristin (love you…you crack me up!) and Tom Kimmel and Eugene and Diane French.. and the second time, yesterday morning, with Tom Prasado Rao…which was conveniently located two blocks from the Hilton…seeing Vic and Reba (we have a book club going), seeing Ros and Howard, thanking the Epiphone cats at their booth for my new endorsement (via Gibson), the great time I had with Vivian and John for the radio interview “The Art of Song” on Creativity Radio (out of New Mexico)…meeting the sweet Cheryl and David from Folk-n Great Music Concert Series in Maryland..hanging out in the hallway with Mark Hallman and Kevin Wommack, shooting the s***…laughing with John Kunz and Kathy Marcus about books and broadway and showing everyone my new cd artwork and seeing what they think (it is a beautiful kama sutra illustration by local artist Aletha St. Romain)…hearing Bradley Kopp play great guitar…seeing Bill Oliver….running into old friends and making new ones…Winker, swimming through the throngs of people and always showing up when I needed a familiar, loving face…Seeing Todd at the children’s show….Seeing Joe and Louise….coming home exhausted and my husband and children loving me anyway….Finding parking RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE HOTEL!!!…oh, yea. That’s called valet. Ha ha. Losing my name tag and it didn’t really matter. That made me feel ten feet tall!

1) And the number one moment…..Sitting in with Lowen and Navarro, Phil Paralpiano, Ronnie Cox, Eliza Gilkinson, Wendy Waldman, Karen Mal, Michael Ramos, Joel Rafael, Jimmy La Fave, and a host of others during the Lowen and Navarro showcase. Listening to Eric Lowen sing his a** off was really inspiring, and everyone, arm in arm, singing along…just beautiful. The spirit of love in the room was blending out into the hallway and down the escalators and out onto the streets of Austin and must have flown worldwide: that’s how big it was.

2 Comments on “Ellen: Here’s My Top Ten Moments of The Folk Alliance”

  • Mary Post


    It’s too difficult for me to put all the moments into 10 moments. The entire time I was at the L & N concert I want thanking the Gods that there was music! All the voices – seeing Sara for the 1st time after waiting so long and reading that she FINALLY met my buddy ZOE LEWIS. That makes up for my finally meeting her. Zoe is a wonder woman – yes and with those spoons – “itte bit ‘o loving” – surrounded with so much music – maybe in a a year I can put it into top 10’s but for now I’m concentrating on keeping the list on 2 pages! Peace,

  • John Davis


    Moment number one was simply indescribable. There were so many people on stage you couldn’t count them (I tried). In a moment while everyone was singing one voice stood out above the others. Scanning the stage from left to right, watching the faces to match the source of the voice, all the way to the left side, there was a match. Sara was just singing her heart out! Her voice was dominating a room full of singers! I would never have believed it, one voice in a sea of at least 25 strong voices rising above the others! Amazing!!

    From what I heard from those who were on stage with Sara, the power of her voice in that beautiful moment was indeed a beautiful spectacle!

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