Welcome to Gaelynn Lea's monthly newsletter! 
Stay in touch with show updates, musical musings, and life happenings.
Hello! This is the fifth edition of my monthly newsletter to keep friends, family & music supporters in the loop about my upcoming shows and life happenings. I hope you are enjoying the incremental increases in sunlight and that you get a chance to celebrate the many forms of love this month ... Thanks for all your support, and keep in touch!
Turns out ReverbNation Is a Real Thing, After All! 
This is a fun newsletter to write because many of you recently joined my mailing list through the music website  ReverbNationBecause I already have pretty active Facebook and Twitter profiles, I had never taken much time to learn about all the other sites out there... I mean, musicians could seriously spend half their lives on social media!

However, after my album  was released I was given advice by several friends to at least make sure I have a basic profile on all the major forums... after all, people can't find your music if you're not there to be found!

So a couple months back I updated my ReverbNation  profile and submitted a track for "crowd review", which analyzes your song's readiness for radio air-play by asking other users to listen to it and give their feedback. I was pleased when my track  received a favorable rating. Then a few weeks later I got an email saying that I had been selected to be a Crowd Picks Featured Artist from January 26th - February 2nd.  I didn't know whether anyone would even know about it, but sure enough on January 26th people started checking out my site and even joining my mailing list! I guess my friends were right, you can't be found if you're not around. 

So if you're one of those ReverbNation fans, welcome to my newsletter - here you'll get a monthly update about recording, shows, and general life happenings!  I am so glad you enjoyed my music, and I truly appreciate your ongoing support! Here is my newest song, which isn't on any albums yet but should be coming out on the next EP by my band with Alan Sparhawk,  The Murder of Crows:

Gaelynn Lea Tiny Desk Contest Entry: Someday We'll Linger in the Sun
Gaelynn Lea 2016 Tiny Desk Contest Entry: Someday We'll Linger in the Sun

Do You Want to Host a House Show? Let's Talk! 
Last month I had the urge to email this producer named Jamie Hill out in California because I read one of his online articles and it resonated with me. Sometimes the music biz seems like a complicated maze at which almost no one succeeds, so I have taken to reaching out to others when I am starting to feel lost or overwhelmed regarding the "next steps". I didn't know what I was expecting in terms of a response, but he actually wrote me back and it turns out that he is a most delightful human being who gave me some great music advice. 

Perhaps one of the biggest revelations came when he suggested I read his wife's book. Jamie is married to the singer/songwriter  Shannon Curtis, who makes her living in music primarily through planning a House Show Tour each summer. 

What is a house show, you might ask? A house show is an invitation-only, donation-based concert that a music supporter hosts in their home or at another private venue... The host selects the guest list (40 people seems to be the magic number), sends out the invitations, and then opens up their living room, garden, deck, or other quiet space for an intimate one-hour concert. There's a lot of freedom with house shows because the host gets to control the ambiance of the evening in a way that is unique to their personal tastes. Some hosts keep it very simple, while others go all out with food, drink, and decorations... No two house shows are the same! At the end of the concert there is a chance for the audience members to make a donation to support the artist - guests get to choose what they'd like to pay after they hear the music.

The house show model often serves both the audience and the musician better than traditional bar shows. First, the vibe is very special at a house show - instead of lots of background noise and distractions, this type of concert lends itself to listening and reflection and allows for genuine interaction between the musician and the audience. Plus the host gets to plan out a fun and memorable evening for their friends! The other advantage is that the artist generally gets paid better and builds community more easily in this environment. Usually they are the only act on the bill, so they are not splitting a cover charge 9 ways. In addition, there is no overhead with this sort of private affair - the artist gets to keep 100% of the donations. It's a unique and magical type of concert and I would love to do more of them in the future.

I have played a few house shows over the years at music-supporter  Rich Narum's home, and they have always been really fun. The last show I played there was especially memorable. I opened for the extraordinary musicians  Jim White and Paul Fonfara. Here's what Jim had to say about the performance afterward:

If hosting a house show sounds like fun to you, please contact me and let's see if we can work something out! House shows are an entertaining and unique way to experience music, and all it takes is a little creative planning.

P.S. I'm booking a Midwest Tour of musical performances and public speaking engagements this summer from July 14th-July 30th... I'd be more than happy to do some house shows too if we can make it work along the route! I'm hoping to travel through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, and potentially Ohio and Iowa. If you live in one of these states and you want to host a house show, drop me a line! 

P.P.S. At the very  end of September I am traveling to Dickinson, North Dakota to speak at a conference... This would be another potential time-frame to play out of town in places like Western Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota , or possibly even Montana . If you have any ideas for me, get in touch! :) 

Valentine's Day: Celebrating the Many Forms of Love
"Love in a Cold Climate" ©Rick Allen, Kenspeckle Letterpress

No February Newsletter would be complete if I didn't wish you and yours a Happy Valentine's Day! Although this can easily be dismissed as The Holiday Invented by Greeting Card Companies (which, come on, it KIND OF IS), it can also be a time to celebrate love in its many forms.  

February is a fitting month to explore the nature of love. Winter allows us the opportunity (should we take it) to get cozy and hopefully slow down enough to truly appreciate that which we cherish in a close-up, contemplative way. We needn't limit our ideas about love to romance. After all, love has many different forms, and they are all important. Whether your experiences of love come from interacting with a life partner, a child, parents, siblings, coworkers, clients, pets, or nature - take some time to think how you can best express your love to the world this month. 

The older I get, the more I am realizing that all too often we are taught to see love as somehow serving us - we want love in our lives because it makes us feel joyful, excited, comforted or peaceful. Of course love often brings forth these positive feelings - they are huge blessings and should never be taken for granted. But perhaps we need to focus more on the true hallmark of love - selfless giving. The version of love depicted in most religious texts is not all roses and chocolates - on the contrary, love is looking beyond ourselves and truly serving another.

It should be made very clear here that I'm by no means an expert servant. Marriage has been a wonderful and beautiful journey so far but it has also exposed a lot of... ahem... growth areas... for me. In a weird way marriage has shown me just how selfish or inflexible or unkind I can be, simply because when you live with someone they see all your bad moments in addition to the good ones. No matter how much you love someone, there are times when you don't choose to act in a loving way. But there is indeed hope, because every day is a new opportunity to learn how to love better.

Wherever you're at in terms of love, there is always room to grow. None of us are perfect, but nor are we hopeless. Each moment is a chance to be mindful and kind... Keep striving to be more loving; sometimes you might just surprise yourself when you act truly out of compassion, serving those around you as peace and joy fill your heart.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Upcoming Performances
I am looking forward to doing lots of fun musical performances this month... Hope to see you out and about sometime soon!
  • February 19: Gaelynn Lea Radio Interview for the "9 O'Clock Meltdown" on-air at 91.3 KUWS, 9pm