Saturday, September 26, 2009

Live on KCRW, Please Welcome, Petracovich!

(Watch the whole performance of Petracovich performing on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectcic at

A thrill and honor to play on the piano Nina Simone played, in the studio that all our heroes have played songs. To play with a band of great musicians and friends.

We all met the day before, in Simi Valley at our friend Jako's studio to practice up

We crashed in Santa Monica, the Pacific Sands Motel in the family room, 3 double beds lined up in a row, bringing to mind Goldylocks, a good giggle, some last minute cereal, a walk on the pier, and then, tossing and turning...

Alarm, heart race, get dressed, we got to the meeting place ON TIME, it's happening! A beautiful, smoothe piano, an amazingly skilled and knowledgible sound person, Ray, so calm and comfortable, we set up and waited.

The studios are underground, the air is cool, there are rooms and rooms of NPR people, and it's clean and organized, different than the college stations we usually hang out at! Even tea and coffee!

And soon, there were 15 seconds to take-off.

Deep breath, and play.

The interview with Jason Bentley was so grounded, he asked such touching questions and was able to handle the conversation about my son, and the music now. I think he's so good at what he does, and seems to have a warm heart. I really appreciated that.

Play some more, the guys sound SOO great! Max Diez on the drums, Tad Wagner on guitar, Cliff Hayes on bass, we had a blast playing together. I'm so proud and amazed at their skills.

We had a celebration lunch of giddiness afterward, so happy that it was GOOD and done, and went to the pool for a good cool-off swim and slept before the show that night at Silverlake Lounge.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tour Diary: Driving home from LA, 8/11/09

We woke up from the end of the Crepusculo So. Cal tour on the floor of dear Angela's lovely bungalow and headed off for breakfast with another dear friend, J. Michael Walker, an LA artist/painter/photographer/writer, to see his studio and talk. Beautiful work of saints and women as they are: powerful, strong within, beautiful in the older stages.

Here we go on the road, endless straight and sandy flats around us - with some David Sedaris weaving in and out of my half dreams, Max and Ryan's talks about music, so sleepy, hot in the back seat when it's 105 outside... we need gas, and ..HALELUJAH!!! Organs play, streams of light, my pregnant self spots a FOSTERS FREEZE... not only cold, but ice cream, glory be, ice cream!! And a place to sit and eat it. This is a celebration, as you can easily see from these glamorous photos. (normally I'm a Double Rainbow gal, but I5 changes everything.)

A few more hours up the 5 and we turn west on the 580 and start to feel the Bay - the moistness, the cooling. It goes from 105 to 68 in about an hour and a half. We tearfully drop off drummer Max to his lovely home in Berkeley and his amazing wife Ashley, and head into FOG.

Fog that is most welcome after blazing sun.

This is a train in Richmond as we sat in a bit of traffic getting on the Richmond Bridge.

Home, for now.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tour Diary - LA and Hotel Cafe - 8/10/09

I have come to love Los Angeles - the orange and pink houses in echo park, colorful murals in silverlake, food of all ethnicities, art everywhere, bungalows, apartments named something oceany with cursive writing. Even goats and chickens in yards 10 min. from downtown.

It is overcoming the feeling of desperate need to make it here, the glitz and over-acting with guitar, the head shots and sadness. There is a lot of heart as well, there is a lot of everything.

We made it down from Santa Barbara after eating a WONDERFUL healthy meal cooked by my friend Maya, and headed to Hotel Cafe , beautifully rennovated since I was last there, all candles and lovely tables, and a lot more room.

I've played here before and know that, like most clubs in LA, you have to work really hard to get people out. It's so easy to play to an empty room, even after promoting, and it was a Monday night. I geared up for anything - 4 people, 40, we'll have a good time and do our best.

Thank you thank you to all of you who answered our call to spread the word, because we had a FULL ROOM!
Thank you for driving, for telling friends, for making it happen. It felt wonderful.

My sister Grace Peters joined us on harmonium and vocals, and sounded so beautiful. It was so special to have her there singing and adding sweetness and life. A 4 piece with Tad on guitar, Max on drums and me doing my thing, it was a wonderful way to end this leg of the tour. Thanks for making a little dream come true, thanks for being there LA!!!

Adrina Griffin started the show with her CD release. She called me about a week before the show and told me she'd be playing, strange because we were roommates about 11 years ago, playing on the same house piano. Small world.

Alex and Sam played just before us, and I loved their tunes, easy and smooth, well-played, it felt great to be sharing the bill with them.

Angela Correa is one of my favorite songwriters, and she was letting it go with her great band, singing high and low and full of fire. Her new album, Spark, Burn, Fade, is on itunes. (She also let us sleep at her house and fed me tofu so I quench my amazing, endless ability to eat for two.)

So nice to talk to so many people after the show, to meet some that have been listening a long time and just now made it out. To hang out with my sister Grace and be silly, to bask in the glow of a night that went so well. The sound was awesome, the crowd listening, it was a lovely culmination of work and time and driving.

Thank you to the club for being so professional and smooth, for having us down. We had a blast!

Tour Diary: Santa Barbara - Return to Old Home 8/8/09

After a lovely family breakfast in Visalia,we squeezed into the car, crossed the grapevine, ate burritos in a mexican restaurant with yellow walls and red seats, we landed in Santa Barbara, CA, the town where we lived for 12 years before moving to the Bay Area, 7 hours north.
Lovely to be back in the ocean breeze, bouganvillea, mountains against the sea and home of the Miramar Hotel.

Tad Wagner joined us tonight on guitar. He produced the first two albums of Petracovich (blue cotton skin and We Are Wyoming) , and played guitars and various atmospheres on all of them, and added SUCH great flavor to the show. I've always wanted to have him join the live performance and it's FINALLY happened and just as great as I thought. We played at the Mercury Lounge, purple walls, couches for lounging, great vibe and great people. The great college indie station KCSB sponsored the show. THANK YOU KCSB!! (this photo by Chris Mundell)

I had a virtual beer with many old friends, since I can't drink anything these days, but felt giddy on the goodness of seeing smiling eyes.

The SPIRES opened the show, a great trio whose melodies blend shimmers of the Smiths, the Beatles and their own enthusiastic foot-tapping. Their new sound and album are pleasing to ear and heart. They're good people too, I always just like chatting with them, catching up. Plus they let me borrow their cushy drum stool to sit on.

We had a blast playing for a great crowd, thank you all so much for coming out, bringing friends, driving, long distances to be there. We loved playing for you.

Ted Mills wrote a great interview/review with Petracovich for the Santa Barbara News Press. You can read it here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

You Are This Perfect - Story Behind the Song


The Nord Lead sprouted this song - a rhythmic pattern of smooth, round tones. I recorded a couple of passes just lost in its world, in the key of F. Months later, I came back to it, excited to put the headphones on, sit in front of the mic and see what images came.

Set - bus full of students in France, the end of a semester-long trip to Europe, 6am. I look into a quiet pink sunrise and see a plane flying over fields - and then, bloop, bloop, bloop, para-troopers silently pop out of the plane and float down.

This scene came strongly to my mind as I listened to the music, and then it was as though I was one of them - a dad, a plain ol' guy, in a war, jumping out of a plane, there because he had to be, noticing a sunrise, thinking of his family, his child. The world still turning, sun still rising, normally, whatever the humans had cooked up, whatever dangers and sadnesses, the dawn still beautiful, the dew still touching fields, the clouds still beautiful with sunrise. In my mind's eye, this dad was waiting in line, singing in his heart to his boy before he flies.

My husband's grandfather was shot in the air in WWII, his daughter in her mama's belly, never to meet him. I thought of her as I sang this song, of this man, a dear man, fighting in this big war, who'd rather be home. It brought tears as the song came out.

I recorded it in Portland, pregnant, and couldn't get through the vocals without breaking down. John Askew, recording, was so kind and patient, letting me cry, thinking of ways to get through the song, to be in that space and still sing. I stayed where I was, and with a powerful mic, let the notes and words come out in a whisper, in that sadness and love.

A few months later I would be singing it to my boy, my sweet son, Otto. It seemed that all along it was written for him, for us. In the end, it was me, the parent, who would stay and my boy who would be the one moving into the next world. But me falling into land-mines just the same. Otto left us at dawn, and it was peaceful and sacred, just like the song. It is his song now. And I love getting to sing it to him with love and softness, a moment between us, wherever he is now, that tenderness will always be with me.

My baby boy
Drifting on the world I
Think of you as I
Fall into landmines

Baby boy
I think of your soft hair
I'm floating through morning
To touch on the fields

You are this perfect
The morning sun shines on the dew
Of the flowers

It's just a morning
It's just a sunrise
If it is my last one
I would have you close to me.