We had the great pleasure of playing Sounds of Summer to benefit Children's Hospital in August. We also got to open for Chris Isaak at this show! AAAAAAAUUUGGGHH!! And yes, he was AMAZING! Inspiration for days...
Dave and Noah got to play Purple Rain with Jake Owen. They just happened to be backing him when the news of Prince's death sent shockwaves across the globe. The moment, the song, and the genuine emotion behind it threw the video into viral territory, while tv shows and radio disc jockeys shared the video and moment, and took a breath to honor a legendary musician.
It was Dave and Noah backing Jake. I'm not surprised (Rachel writing this). Dave has been present for some of the world's most healing tunes, including backing Justin Timberlake as he sang Hallelujah for the internationally telecasted Hope For Haiti fundraiser. His ambient music has charted multiple times and has brought people to tears, to healing, to peace. Noah has played with more acts than I can count and has the sort of presence that makes music fun and brings it to life with no stress, no fear, and no reserve.
Thinking about these personalities and their impact in my musical life and the lives of others, I'm so proud and so glad to have these guys around. They remind me what music is about. I've talked about how it's hard for me to feel anything when I listen to the radio anymore. But when I play with these guys and when I listen to them play, I feel eveything they are doing and everything they intend to do. It's special. It's music. I wouldn't still be in this if these two weren't by my side.
I'm so grateful that after some time and space I can brag about this moment and these two band members, family members and friends. This includes our drummer, Joel. You three are incredible! Thank you for what you do for music and for those who get to hear you play. I can't wait for our record and for our next moment of giving through musical performance. Denver Day of Rock is tomorrow! And once again, you are using your talents to make the world a better place.
Come watch these guys play with Dearling. If not with Dearling, follow them and go see them play with somebody! You won't regret it. ~ Love, Rachel
NEXT DEARLING SHOW - May 28th, Denver Day of Rock. 2:30pm, Skyline 2 stage.
The other night I played a solo show. I hadn't done a solo show in a long time, and so I decided to venture far beyond just "solo". I literally had a practice run of unfinished songs with an audience staring directly at me.
Call me unprepared, lazy or even unprofessional, but I actually did do this on purpose. The show was to raise money for suicide prevention and, given that I had just heard of a suicide close to the family, I decided it was a good show to practice getting outside of the box. I thought about what suicide really is and what it takes to get there. Is it loneliness, lack of worth, despair? All of the above and a slew of other challenges? Maybe, but whatever it is, I think more real connectedness is a good place to start to help and heal, for those who are strugglig. I thought I should play a show that forced me to be vulnerable. Unpolished, and totally ok with just talking to the crowd like we were sitting in my living room and I wanted to share some tunes. Hoping someday my good friends could learn them and we could sing them together. I'm glad I did it this way. I want to do this all the time. How?
I don't know. But I want to connect more. Not through social media, necessarily. In fact the more I research this social media connectivity, the more I realize it is too impaired, too fanciful, too impersonal and too removed from physical proximity to actually achieve what it promises for the majority of the time we are using it. Yes, we can encourge each other, message each other blessings, etc. But is that what we spend most of our time doing while scrolling through Instagram or Facebook or Snapchat?
Serioiusly, read this and then logout. I mean it. Call a friend, make a coffee date with someone you havent seen in a while. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Take some muffins to your neighbors.
Or go play with your band, like the very off the cuff video posted here. This is just a generally random moment during band practice, but this is what we do. We get together and play songs we write and songs we just like. We talk, we create, we engage. We fail to make up words when we've forgotten Dolly Parton's perfect lyrics. And it's good and real and sometimes exactly what we need.
Engage. Connect. This is the perfect weekend to do something out of your box!
Music has saved me a million times over, but sometimes it feels like the music business is killing me. I could write a diatribe describing the roller coaster ride that being in music has taken me on. Down to hell, up to heaven, and terrifyingly concerned during the in-betweens. Awash in an industry reeking of moral hypocrisy, fareweather friendships, reality tv attention spans, and the almighty dollar trumping the priceless art form that we call music, I have felt a thousand small deaths. I have heard I'm too old, too pretty, too ugly, too edgy, too unique, not unique enough, too country, too pop, too much. I've been at conferences and had people who didn't know me tell me I don't know myself as an artist. I've laughed at the number of rejections and the number of unreturned emails. I've cried for the self-destructive band members, the friends who were just using me, the lost dreams that still wander through my mind while I'm innocently sleeping.
I think people think that doing this for a living is easy and fun and a party and a good time. I'm going o tell you. It is work. Beautiful and demanding and absolutely amazing and absolutely harsh. But any entrepreneur will tell you, it is one of the most challenging self-discoveries to start a business and really try to succeed. Doing this through music could be called therapy. At the same time the word torture comes to mind. Nevertheless, in my life, music is and has always been about love. Something seems to be more true when it is put to song. And I keep coming back to it. And it has never left me. At my most broken, my least successful, my heaviest moments, there is my G-d, my prayers and my piano. I have leaned heavily into the arms of music and have found refuge where G-d reminds me that music, first and foremost, is spiritual, is for healing, is a bridge to connect what cannot be said but what can be understood.
On days where I don't see the path, I will come to this post and try to remember not to complain. Music has given me life and love where only death existed. Even right down to being the path to my husband and my daughter. I see my son heal through music. I watch kids at Children's Hospital laugh and sing when we play. I work with charities and good hearted people who tell us to keep going, that we made a difference. The business is. I cannot change it. Some days it's good, many days it is crushing. What can I do. I'm left with the reasons I came to music and found truth and beauty and a well of good intention. I can only hold music close and try not to let it go as I go around for one more turn on the roller coaster ride that is the music industry.
I remember the first time I heard this song by Alpha Rev. It stopped me. That doesn't happen very often to me anymore. I listen to, practice, and play music everyday. I hear SO many songs. And so many are quite good, but lack that heart tingle, that wave of atmosphere that I used to experience in the 90's. But every great once in a while, I it happens. And, well, it's like love. The whole room changes and you are swept into it.
This weekend, I just thought I'd share a little gem like this one. I hope our music will do that for somebody somewhere. Because that is one of music's greatest gifts. A lifting, pulsing moment when hope and joy and thought intermingle to create an atmosphere where the listener can settle in and imagine and dream and be inspired. Music does this so so well when it is done right. OH, to have every song I hear make me feel something!
Rachie and Dearling
A few months ago we posted our song, Proof of Life. We are working so hard on organizing the rest of our music for our upcoming album, that we kind of let this song pass with a little push here and post there. But truly not enough discussion and nothing of consequence.
I had to come back to it. In the last weeks I'm sure most Americans have heard a litany of opinions on everything from Beyonce's Super Bowl half time performance to the insanity of debating with Donald Trump. The most recent in a flurry of arguing and vile rhetoric, the apparent joy of many liberals over the death of one of our Supreme Court Justices, Antonin Scalia. Such discussion makes me wonder about the "Compassionate Liberal" and the "Pro-Life Republican". Neither side exhibiting in reality what they so carefully phrase in their speeches and talking points.
While this sort of two-faced behavior has pervaded most politics in one form or another, the recent years have made all but the most even-tempered American citizen a sudden and emotional critic. Everyone is involved in the fray. Everyone is ready for the fight.
Are these screeching dialogues proof of life? These social media rants and twitter flurries that leave both parties lacking trust in the moral and intellectual competence of the other? If two opposing sides leave with only insults instead of results, name calling instead of solutions, problem finding instead of problem solving, then no, this is not proof of life. This is death and destruction. Have we destroyed our ability to debate and then debrief with a beer and a laugh at a local pub?
Recent discussions in Dearling have left me to believe that we Americans are actually made for wild and challenging debates of ideas, while keeping our friendship and respect in tact. No, on average, I don't believe we want to live in hatred of our fellow man based on his ideas about the world. While many are incapable of allowing an opposing viewpoint without calling it a nasty name and dismissing it as either, "evil" or "stupid", I have seen great moments of understanding and respect for people with oppositional views. It can be done.
This great challenge we each face, of realizing our own beliefs on a deeper level and learning other's beliefs in order to sharpen and refine our own, is still present. It is still needed. But we must take it up. In this, we can create something better and bigger together. Life can come from such discussions, and character tests. This song, Proof of Life, is about a relationship where you look into it and see proof of life. Building up, not tearing down, refining and restoring, not abandoning. Fearless caretaking with no ego or agenda. Truth and sacrifice and love and learning. This is not just for the relationship with family, but it is for the relationship with the rest of your neighbors and country and world.
The time has come where we as a community have to actually face the underbelly. We have to look in and see what is there. That "something" is an ever changing environment and if we looked now, I fear we would see destruction and choas. As we move forward in 2016, I'm going to believe that we can make that environment a life giving one. That at the end of this year we can look in and find proof of life.
It's 2016. And there's a part of me that is terrified. But this part of me is the smallest it's ever been. Probably due to a whirlwind 6 years in music that make any rollercoaster ride look like a walk on the beach. But still, this year, it's a little different.
For the first time, I walked away from steady work to take extra time to pursue my songwriting career and band. From Colorado. Which is meaningful. We can't move, we have to stay here. And all the industry analysts assure me, I can only become a successful songwriter in Nashville, or LA. I don't have a shot. So I'm jumping off the proverbial cliff. Choosing to believe that a way will be made where one doesn't exist yet.
The old me would have called this crazy, nuts, temporary insanity, a risk to run after the riskiest business in the world, a failed decision. That old bat is still tinkering around in my head, holding onto that fear like a bitter old woman in denial that her life is almost over. But it is.
Not because I know what is going to happen. Not because I have it all figured out. That fear mongerer is breathing her last breath, because I took this step. I'm running after my dream. Not hobbling, not spending my extra time on it, I'm actively pursuing it with all of the energy I can give it. I'm the Optimism Superhero. Optimism lady. Well, three quarters of the time, at least.
The Old Bat says, "But dreams don't pay the bills."
Optimism says, "But maybe they can!"
Old Bat, "But maybe they won't."
Optimism lady, "But maybe they will!"
Bat, "But maybe you're not good enough."
Optimus Mom Hero "But maybe I am!"
Bat, "But maybe, even if you are good enough, nobody will buy your music. People don't buy music anymore."
Optimism Lady, "I will find a way."
Will I find a way? I need to pay the bills, feed my kids, go to the dentist. But I also need to teach my kids a sense of adventure, what it means to take a risk, how to dream and pursue a dream. I think so many people have this discussion with themselves.
We were made to live and walk in hope. So I'm writing this with every intention of stamping out that final flicker of fear.
Optimism lady chose this year to make her big break. Boy, I hope she does it. See you on the other side;)
Your friend Rachel from the family of Dearling.
Hello. The way Adele sings this one word is so crazy to me. I immediately want to listen to the rest of the song, and I want to crawl into a blanket with a hot cup of tea and think about how snow silences in a white blanket of cold and how life is a series of hellos and good byes. This week I'm grateful for this song as I think about what went into writing it.
The song, co-written with Greg Kurstin, plunges you into memory. Despite whatever it means to the writer's themselves, it is beautifully subjective for the listener. Thank you to both Adele and Mr. Kurstin for something truly wonderful.
But you know what really gets me about it? I actually want to buy it. I don't want to play it on repeat through Youtube or Spotify. I want to encourage more, I want to support it, because I want her to record a million more songs in my lifetime. "Please Please Please", I silently scream in my mind, "this music makes sense to me, so do it again!" In an overwhelming sea of music, this is a real gift. To stand out and beyond that, to inspire investment and ownership.
My husband has been doing this faithfully for a while, buying music that he believes in, buying entire albums. Buying the songs he is asked to cover at shows. Buying it. While, if I'm honest, I might be pickier about my purchases, I fully believe in the concept of buying music. Especially with the cost to make it so high. Especially when it is actually music to your ears. Especially when you love an artist. Yeah, the Youtube hits help, and the 1 tenth of a cent from spotify is at least registered. But a purchase is a signal to an artist that somebody out there, somebody wants you to keep going. Buy music, buy it directly from the artist, and spread the love of that artist or song.
Favorite artist this week- Adele.
Today Dave and I represented the work of musicians at a career fair held at a Colorado Junior High School. As kids came up and asked us questions, we were reminded about the passion of the young. Eyes wide, hearts full, potential bursting, many asked us question after question about what we do everyday, how much musicians earn, what is the best and worst part of our work, on and on. While some of the students were just looking to fulfill the requirements of the career fair (welcome junior high school attitude at it's finest!), so many were really truly excited about their futures and the possibility of music in them. I listened and I spoke and I evaluated and I am grateful. Today I was given a wonderful gift. A picture perfect reminder that passion and perseverance are an essential marriage in this business that I love so much.
Every job requires some push through, some self-motivation, some drive. But this one in particular requires a certain level of crazy passion and crazy perseverance. After years of work in crafting and learning to write songs, I'm still looking forward to that moment when my songs are on the radio on a daily basis, when I get to play Red Rocks, when I'll head to an international location to share my heart through music. I still believe I'll get to. Call it crazy, but it's my passion. The fact that I'm still trying is my perseverance. I'm willing, I'm ready. Not afraid to work hard, forfeit vacations, spend all extra money on kids with nothing left over for a haircut, let alone a new car. Some say, "Is that really living?" It is when you love it. I want to show my kids how to pursue a dream and pursue it with dignity. Pursue it properly. Never give up on the ones you love and never give up on the dream.
I'm thankful for these precious kids who are thinking long down the road about a career in music and what that would mean. They do it because music means something to them. I'm so thankful it still means something to me. This weekend, DREAM... Act on your passions with perseverance. And never regret it.
This is a picture of my little guy, Liam. My boy, who is a brave soul and craves adventure in the wilderness. In making friends at school he never differentiates between skin color, class, or lineage. All he really wants to know is, "Will you be my friend, today?" He makes friends faster than any child I've ever seen and loves everyone before he even knows them. Perhaps he idealizes the world, but that childlike view is a priceless reminder of what the human race was meant for. Love. Unity. A desire to lift, never to drag down. An understanding that character is the only testimony as to what sort of human being you are and friendship has more worth than gold.
In my past, when I've written songs, I've wanted to talk about an aspiration to these ideals. I long for the days where music unites people outside of "clubbing" and, for lack of a better phrase, sexual experience. When Chopin is playing in the background my mind literally, "wakes up" and I feel fresh ideas flood me. Subjective as that experience is, I get the sense that others feel the same in the wake of such precious, melodious sound. Music that awakens and inspires can remind us of the human ideal. Real love, strength of character, sacrificial acts, beauty in the simple, these all lie just under the surface of so many songs. And, while the Travis Meadows (one of my favorite modern songwriters) of the world do exist and work and succeed, I sense a lack of desire to vigorously promote songs that carry the ideal of the human race, or even the ideal of music.
No, this is not another diatribe about the horrid state of the music community. It is just a reminder of what music can do when the restrictions are removed and an intention of love is released. I've started to ask myself this question daily. "Is it love?" When I have to make a hard choice, "Is it love?" When I hear a politician speak, "Is it love?" When I hear a song. When such a powerful art form has been degraded to just a few perfunctory experiences without asking any hard questions, or telling stories that inspire to something above. Music, from dark, to light, to pop, to country, to jazz, when it's love, you know it. What am I listening to? "Is it love?"