Category Archives: Entertainment

20 Feet From Stardom

Last evening, I had the pleasure of seeing the documentary film “20 Feet From Stardom” at the SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival) cinema. It shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the past sixty years. In addition to telling the story of “old-timers” Merry Clayton, Darlene Love, Lisa Fischer, among others, it also shines a light on Judith Hill, …
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CD Release & Party, Saturday, August 4th

I am very pleased to announce that my collaboration with Scott Burnett, titled “A Glass of Summer”, is currently being manufactured. Woo hoo!! Here are the particulars:

  • Check out the groovy cover that Scott Burnett painted. ->>
  • We expect to have it in our hot little hands by August 1st.
  • On Saturday, August 4th, we will have a CD Release Party atMatch Coffee & Wine in Duvall, WA. First set begins at 7:30 PM.
  • This is a limited release. Only 100 are being manufactured. It will first be made available at the release party.
  • After August 4th, we will make a limited quantity of CDs available through my website ( as well as CD Baby. At that time, the album will also be available for download from my site and CD Baby.
  • By mid-to-late August, the album will be available for download via iTunes, Amazon, etc., as well as streaming via Rhapsody.

All to say, if you wish to get your hands on a CD, your best bet is to come to the party at Match Coffee & Wine in Duvall. We will be playing our usual fare of light jazz and pop standards, spontaneous jams, and originals from 7:30 to 10:30. But included in our sets will be all the songs from our new CD.

The place has great atmosphere and the owners, Jolene & Charlie, are nice people. (They seem to like us, so they keep asking us back!) They have great food, wine, beer, and coffee (the latter for those who want to stay up all night). Why not enjoy a panini or cheese plate along with a bordeaux?

Here’s a link with directions to Match Coffee & Wine.

And here is a link to the Event Announcement on Facebook. Feel free to share with your friends.

Video Sampler

And without further adieu, here is a YouTube video I just put up, featuring a sampler of all the songs on the release, about 20 seconds apiece.

Please liberally share the video and the announcement with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, whatever… It’s gonna be a PARTY!!

Hope to see you there! Cheers!!

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Where’s Kelly? episode #19885

Every once in a while, when I haven’t been blogging much lately, I feel compelled to provide an update on my life. This is because I have found out from people that they actually read (and enjoy) my blog posts. Apparently people are interested in my posts about random stuff like my gardening and cooking projects, my attempts at getting a music career going, funny signs and earthy humor. And who doesn’t like a little earthy humor now and then?

So what have I been up to? A lot of catching up. My music partner Scott Burnett and I have been working on a “light jazz” EP titled “A Glass of Summer”. (It’s actually more of an “MP” since it’s about 30 minutes in length.) Our original plans were to have this in the can by early June, but then my 88-year old dad got real sick and Scott went and got a real day job (the nerve of him!). I am happy to say that the project is finally mixed and almost finished being mastered. And now all we need to do is design the graphics and send it off for duplication. Check out the groovy cover art that Scott has been painting. This is the latest picture taken of it, but he is still working on it.

Now that the CD project is winding down and summer has finally come to the Pacific Northwest, I have plenty of house and yard projects to catch up on. Summer here is so beautiful once the sun comes out–and stays out.

By the way, if you live in the Seattle area, Scott and I will be performing at Match Coffee and Wine in Duvall starting at 7:30. Actually, even if you don’t live in the Seattle area, we’ll still be performing there. (tee hee)

Perhaps you are wondering why this particular episode is number 19885. That happens to be the number of days since I was born. It took a while to go through all the calendars and count up the days. Just kidding! Of course, all I  had to do was google “days from birth calculator” and sure enough, there were several sites out there. The one I used can be found at You should try it. Let me know how many days you have been around.


Filed under Art, Entertainment, Music Career

Do You Get My Newsletter?

I have my fingers in so many pies, (is that the correct metaphor?), I wonder if some of my blog readers know about the monthly newsletter I send out. So here is the one I sent out just this morning. I hope you enjoy. And if you’re interested in receiving it on a monthly basis, just sign up on the little box on the right sidebar.

Read on…

July 2012

Dear friends and family, welcome to the
July edition of my newsletter!

  1. Happy Summer!
  2. Gigs Just Around The Corner
  3. A Glass of Summer is Almost Ready
  4. This Month’s Request

Happy Summer!

Well, summer is finally here. I offer my heartfelt sympathies for those of you in the eastern two-thirds of the country experiencing oppressive heat. Here in the Pacific Northwest, always bucking the trend, the rain is finally expected to go away on July 4, which people around here joke as the official start of summer. It’s definitely going to be true this year. We are looking forward catching up on some outdoor projects, such as lot’s of weeding. (Arghh!)

Did you know that I started a vegetable garden this spring? And I am starting to see some peas. I have never done this before and I feel like a proud papa! Yard work is therapeutic for me, and the veggie garden even more so. My 88-year old dad has been having some health issues, so I have been taking a ferry over to Poulsbo every other night to help my parents out. That and working on finishing up the new CD. You can see why a little gardening therapy is in order!

How about you? Please write back about some of your summer projects.

Gigs Right Around the Corner

This Saturday, July 7, Davenport Cellars 3rd Anniversary Party from 1 to 5 PM. Davenport Cellars is a boutique winery located in the Woodinville “Warehouse Wines District”. The owners, Jeff and Sheila Jirka make great wine and they’re great people, so it will be a pleasure to provide some live music for their celebration. Here’s a recent blog post about them from my blog: And here is a link to a map:

Next up, Scott Burnett and I have been asked back to Match Coffee & Wine in Duvall the following Friday July 13 from 7:30 to 10:00. We had great fun last time and had plenty of friends hang out for wine, beer, food, and catching up, so come on out to Du-vall! Here’s a link with directions.

And once again, I will be joining vocalist Hayley Blackwell-Olsby with the Dan Sales Showcase at Grazies Ristorante in Bothell. They have great Italian food and excellent taste in live music, I must say. The date is Saturday, July 21st, the time is 7 PMHere’s a link to the restaurant.

A Glass of Summer Is Almost Ready

Like the nice weather here in the Northwest, the project Scott Burnett and I have been working on is taking longer than we’d like. But hey, life happens. We’re almost there. Four songs have been mixed and three more to go. And check out the CD cover Scott has been painting. It’s still a work in progress, but I think it looks fantastic already. Don’t you? I’ll let you know first thing when we have the new CDs in our hands.

And if you haven’t had a chance to check out the song “Festivale” from the upcoming CD, here is a link below. (Yeah, I feel a little lame for not having a new song posted, but it’s been a hectic month.) Just click on the picture below and you’ll be taken to the Soundcloud site where you can listen to the song.

Click here for Festivale!

The Monthly Ask:
Write Me Back!

So here’s this month’s one thing:
Write me back! That’s it. Let me know what you’re up to, what you have planned for the summer, what your favorite Olympic sport, or whatever. I’d love to hear from you.


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A Boutique Celebration

My musical partner Scott and I are pleased to be providing some music for Davenport Cellars‘ third anniversary open house on Saturday afternoon July 7th.

Davenport Cellars is one of many “boutique” wineries located in the light industrial area of Woodinville, Washington, the town where I live. I always thought that a winery was the place where they grow the grapes and make the wine. But actually, the place where they grow grapes is called a “vineyard”, and I discovered that a vineyard and a winery can be separate companies. Most boutique wineries buy grapes from vineyards in eastern Washington, which is the second largest vineyard region in the country.

Davenport is owned by Jeff and Sheila Jirka, both IT professionals, who while participating in a program at South Seattle Community College, decided to go into the winemaking business as part of their semi-retirement. They established Davenport Cellars in 2006. Most of the winemakers in Woodinville hold day jobs and have transitioned their passion for winemaking from a hobby into a business.

I have had a chance to get to know a few of the winemakers in Woodinville and have been impressed with Jeff and Sheila’s dedication to the process of winemaking. They take no shortcuts and keep the process pure, using the best ingredients and equipment. This is apparent the excellent wines they produce. Jeff and Sheila have continued to refine their process by enrolling in programs U.C. Davis and W.S.U., as well as pilgrimages to France.

Although they make wine from grapes that other people grow, they dream of owning their own vineyard someday when they enter true retirement (is there such a thing?), to quote Jeff, “somewhere in Italy, New Zealand or Australia perhaps”. We wish them all the best!

Here’s a map. Come join us!!

Click above for larger map.

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A few thoughts about the TV series “Smash”, which smartly debuted following this season’s premiere of “The Voice”.  The fictional series is about the development of a Broadway musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe and centers around the lives of the two main contenders for the lead role, Karen and Ivy (played by Katherine McPhee and Megan Hilty); as well as the producer, director, songwriter, playwright, and various significant others. McPhee, if you recall, was the runner up to winner Taylor Hicks on a season of American Idol a few years ago.

Following Glee’s pattern, the musical numbers occur both as part of the working on the show as well as in “daydream” moments. I’m not sure what the actual term for the latter is, but you know what I mean: Ivy is afraid that her boyfriend Derek is cheating on her so starts to break out into a song in the middle of a restaurant.

I watched a few episodes after its debut but got too busy to keep up with it. I was also starting to lose interest when it seemed to be getting too “soapy”. But since we DVR’d it, I started to watch it again and realized that it has turned out to be a good show. They have done a good job developing the characters, and the soapy aspects don’t detract from the overall story arc of putting a music together. The characters have true dimension–even the characters you are initially groomed to hate have some actual depth to them.

If you’re a Comcast subscriber, they still have the entire series On Demand, so check it out.

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Who Is Your Favorite On “The Voice”?

If you have had eyes glued to “The Voice”, you know they’re down to the final four. And you most likely have a favorite picked out.

As for me, I was disappointed that Adam weighted his vote to favor Tony Lucca over Katrina Parker, especially when Katrina would have won if it was completely up to the people’s vote. Disappointed, but not surprised. This is a competition between judges, remember, and perhaps Adam felt that Tony Lucca had a better chance going up against the other finalists. My wife Merrilyn pointed out that Tony knows how to work a stage, while Katrina is rather sedentary.

I was very surprised that Cee Lo picked Juliet Simms over Jamar Rogers. I couldn’t decide between the two, so I didn’t envy Cee Lo. He clearly had the two best in the competition, but I think Jamar could have won. Oh well, the record industry would be foolish not to sign him.

Okay, enough of my opinions. Here’s a poll. Tell me who you want to win:

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My Evening at Levon Helm’s Studio

Several years ago (I’m thinking it was 2008), I had the wonderful privilege of hanging out at Levon Helm’s home studio in Woodstock, NY for what was then a monthly house concert called “The Midnight Ramble”. In those days, one could simply order tickets to the event by making a donation, the suggested amount being $100, and the proceeds were used for Mr. Helm’s medical care and to keep up the mortgage payments on his home and studio. Helm has been battling cancer  for the last 20 years, and he finally lost the battle last week, passing at the age of 71.

photo courtesy of

I don’t recall who out of our longstanding trio of friend couples suggested the trip. Scott Burnett, my musician buddy whom I have written about elsewhere, grew up in Kingston, NY,  about 12 miles southeast from Woodstock, so he was the official trip guide. He and his wife, Hilary, flew with Merrilyn and I to JFK, rented a car and drove upstate. We stayed at the historic Woodstock Inn, which is basically a motel, made historic by Woodstock ’69 and famous musicians who stayed there. The third couple, Lee and Pam Haldorsen, joined us a few days later,  just in time for the concert.

The Midnight Ramble was an organic affair. Along with your ticket, you also bring whatever food and drink you want and some to share, so it was pot luck. There were three sets of artists, and many shared band members along the way. Alexis P. Suter, an impressive soul singer, opened the show with her band, followed by legendary saxophonist David “Fathead” Newman, (who passed away last year).

Finally a somewhat emaciated-looking Helm came out with his mandolin for the first three numbers of his set and then switched to drums afterwards. Helm performed many classic Americana and roots songs, as well as a few of his songs from his years with The Band, although he stayed away from the Band songs that he had been in longstanding dispute with Robbie Robertson over publishing rights. Helm had lost most of the power of his voice from his health issues, but his drumming was still strong and it was a great show nonetheless. A couple years later he released an album called Dirt Farmer and from the quality of his singing on that record as well as subsequent photos it was apparent that he had become stronger in the ensuing years. Here’s a video of him in 2009. Enjoy!


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“I’ve Downloaded Your Song. Now What Do I Do?”

I was over at a friend’s house, and she tells me, “Hey, I really like that song. I have downloaded it, but now what do I do?” It just doesn’t occur to someone like me who has been in the tech business for years that there are probably a lot of people that don’t know what to do with a track after they have downloaded it to their computer.

When you buy tracks on iTunes, the process of downloading the track and getting it into iTunes is one seamless/painless step. For other tracks that you get off the internet, you have to do one more thing to get them into iTunes. Well, here’s a quick “how to”. I am using one of my recent freebies as an example.

Let’s say you went to my Bandcamp page and downloaded my free track “Etude No. 1”
(here’s a link

This is a free track and it’s one way to get people to enroll in my monthly newsletter. Let’s say you’ve entered the email and zipcode and clicked OK. The following email will show up in your inbox.

Clicking the link will take you back to the BandCamp site with a Download link here:

Once you click download, what happens next depends on whether you’re Mac or Windows and what web browser you’re using. I generally use Chrome (both on Mac and Windows), so the file downloaded gets displayed at the bottom of the Chrome window in either case.

This is helpful to see so you know the name of the file that was downloaded. Next step is to start up or switch to iTunes, and from the File menu, select “Add to Library” or use the keyboard shortcut Command+O (on Mac) or Ctrl+O (on Windows). You will get a file picker dialog, like the following on Mac:

Navigate to your Downloads folder. On Mac, it is located under your name.

If you’re on Windows 7, it is located under Favorites:

In either case, click Open and it’s added to iTunes. You can find it easily by just clicking on at Recently Added in the left-hand navigator:

You may wonder why it takes so many steps to download a track from a website. It doesn’t always. But responsible services like Bandcamp use a “double opt in” method to protect your computer from malware threats. You have to confirm via an email that you really do want the track. A little extra work for a lot of piece of mind.

Now, like I said, purchasing a song from iTunes does all of this in one step. But people who offer free tracks don’t put them on iTunes.

Well, there you go. Pretty simple once you know how!

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Is It Okay For Middle-Aged People To Be Totally Into “The Hunger Games”?

I was hanging out with some guy friends last night over cigars and libations and mentioned that my wife and I had seen “The Hunger Games” the day before and how awesome it was and how you should read the book first and you’re going to love it and gush, gush… At which point my friend asked “Isn’t that a teen book?”.

So, I submit the following question: Is it okay for middle-aged people (like me and my wife and several friends we know) to be totally into “The Hunger Games”? To which I reply a resounding “yes!”.

I think young adult fiction is some of the better stuff out there. (With the exception of the Twilight series–oh, poo gag!). The writing needs to be concise and the plot needs to move, which makes for a fairly quick read. And they generally don’t “go there”–you know, get gratuitously sicko weird. I’m noticing lately that more “adult” fiction authors are writing shorter books too. We’re all busy people and don’t have time to get mired in a long book. I’m an avid Dean Koontz fan and his later works are a lot shorter. You simply have to check out his “Odd Thomas” series.

The misconception out there is that teen fiction is not very deep. “The Lord of the Rings” was generally considered to be for younger readers since it didn’t follow the conventions of what was considered adult fiction at the time it was published. Themes such as courage, loyalty, and fighting against oppression permeate the “Hunger Games” trilogy too, and all without elves, orcs, and wizards.

Another good young adult series to check out is Scott Westerfeld’s “Uglies”. Like “Games”, it features a dystopian society that young people get to rebel against. Rage against the machine! There are plenty of cool sci-fi elements and some real bitchin’ hover boards.

By the way, if I didn’t say it before, the movie rocked!! It was very faithful to the book. I wasn’t sure I was going to like Donald Sutherland in the role of President Snow but he was quite convincing. Jennifer Lawrence was perfect in the role of Katniss.

I must say that one drawback of being middle-aged is that I’ve heard enough music to know that the theme song from the movie is totally unoriginal. It reminds me of “Bus Stop” by The Hollies, as well as a few other songs. Now that’s how you know you’re middle aged, if you remember the 60’s, assuming you didn’t partake of too many recreational substances in the 70’s.

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