Thursday, December 16, 2010

Live While You're Alive...EP

We are so very excited to announce the release of our new EP "Live While You're Alive" this month!

After living with these five songs for the last year, and playing them all over the place, we deemed them worthy of recording.

The EP was recorded and produced by Brian Steckler up at his studio in Meadow Vista, CA. His musical insight and years of experience did these songs well and we're thrilled at how the message and intention of each song was captured on these tracks.

You can take a listen to a song or two from the EP by clicking here.

If you want to order the EP and have it shipped to your house, you can find it at our online store by clicking the image below:

Thanks for supporting our music and our mission.

Life is beautiful,
The Music Room

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Our very own mandylion

We brought our friend Kyle Booterbaugh into the studio to track some delicious mandolin parts for our song "I Wanna Know You."
I wrote this song last summer while hanging out in rural villages in East Africa. The song is very chipper, which is quite appropriate since it's about the great lengths that God goes to reach out to us humans. Kyle has been an encouraging supporter of our band and music for a long time now, so it was an honor to have him track his parts on this song.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Recording: Day 1

We are at the "Stickhouse," which is the studio/home of producer, musician, audio engineer and sound arts extraordinaire, Brian Steckler. He has graciously allowed us to record five new songs in his music-making wonderland. His ear and vision for our songs is allowing us to capture the melodies and ideas that have previously remained unexpressed and seemingly, unattainable.

Yesterday, I finished tracking all of the drum parts and had a lesson in the art of "simplification." We've been playing around with the idea of titling the EP "Less is More" because we've been enjoying the more thoughtful, but minimal approaches to music taken by bands like Feist, Mumford and Sons, Alexi Murdoch, The Civil Wars, Gregory Alan Isakov, and others.

We're putting more "folk" in our "folk-rock" style.

Friday, August 20, 2010

We're back in Lincoln doing stuff.

Dear friends,

You haven't heard from us for awhile. We'd like to apologize for that. We're not avoiding you, and we don't have any grudges held against you. Don't take it personally, it's not you, it's us.
We've dropped the ball big time in regards to keeping you informed on this blog. So allow me to inform you.

Aimee, Nick, Ezzy and I have been back in the railroad town of Lincoln, CA now for awhile. Although there have been some mini-trips here and there that took Aimee, Nick and Ezzy to San Diego, and then again to Colorado, none of these travels have been music-related, but have rather been for leisure and other life reasons.

Meanwhile, we haven't entirely neglected The Music Room. We have started recording some new songs that many of you have heard live, but aren't able to have in your possession. We are working right now to make a way for you to have these songs available for your listening pleasure at any moment you may choose.

Due to limited funds, we are still determining how many songs will go onto our next release. Will it be an EP or a full-length album, we've yet to know ourselves. Stay tuned for that.

I will tell you that some of the songs going on the next record are Be Here, Dark Outside, Rubbish, Ezekiel, I Wanna Know You and some others you've probably never heard of.

As far as shows go, we have a show once a month through December book and no more than that. We are really trying to make time for recording and polishing up these songs before we lay them down for historical preservation and mass consumption.

Thanks for checking in on us and caring to know what's up.

Peace and Good,
The Music Room

Photo courtesy of Kyle Booterbaugh

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The city wore us out. We felt like marathon runners after a race. Our feet were blistered, our legs were aching, and we left with the satisfaction of having dominated Manhattan. We gave ourselves an hour buffer of time to spend in traffic on our way out because we knew this was a great possibility. Little did we know that we’d be stuck in traffic, going five miles per hour for almost two and a half hours straight. This wouldn’t have mattered much had we not needed to be somewhere that night, but as a matter of fact we did. There was one last concert scheduled for the “Pounds and Sights” tour and it would be taking place in Ballston Spa, NY, just outside of Albany. Adam had booked this show through the infamous Josh and Jill, so we were pumped to be working with them again.
We were sad that this would be our last show with Adam Cappa, and it also marked the end of our traveling east. The show was the first of its kind to happen in Ballston Spa. We were told that no local churches had invited bands to perform in their sanctuaries before, so we were honored to be one of the first to come in. The church we played in was built in the early 1800’s and boasted one of the largest, wall-mounted pipe organs I’ve ever seen. It was a privilege to have our music fill the room of such a beautiful building.
We drove through the night from the Albany area en route to Richmond, IN. I couldn’t make it the entire 700 or so miles, so we ended up sleeping in a nasty motel outside of Rochester. We trekked the rest of the way to Indiana the next day with a stop at Lake Erie’s shore near Mayville for a fried cod burger from “Jack’s Place”. This area of New York is famous for its grapes, of the Concord variety, which they use to make Welch’s grape fruit juice, as well as some darn good cherry pie.
We celebrated Mexico’s independence as well as our arrival back in Richmond with fireworks in that cornfield near Adam’s church. The state of Indiana allows for fireworks to be sold and detonated any time of the year. Nick and Adam purchased a couple packages full of mortars for less than $20. In the spirit of “cinco de mayo” we made a great display of light and fire in the sky and also had the exciting opportunity of lighting the cornfield on fire with a rogue mortar. One feels incredibly alive when stomping out fire in flip flops.

New York; the city and the state

Before continuing to pack on pounds of food and observing the sights of our “Tour 2.0” we had some business to attend to in Springville, New York. Adam had booked a show there through a woman who he’d worked with before. This particular woman’s name is Jill, her husband’s name is Josh and they are both incredible. They run a camp called “Camp Vick” in the middle of nowhere in upstate western New York. Josh and Jill welcomed us into Springville with hearty slabs of pork steak and good conversation. Aimee and I opened up the concert that night and were followed by Adam Cappa. A message was shared and then Aimee, Adam, and I reunited to close out the night with some worship. Overall it was an encouraging night for us as bands to be so welcomed and blessed by Josh, Jill and their posse. The theme flowing throughout the night challenged people to live Christian lives that reflect an understanding of their being loved by God. Adam brought this theme to the forefront of the night by saying, “we say we love God with our mouths, but then we turn around and do the dumbest things we possibly can. So let’s not just say we love him with our mouths, but lets prove we love Him by the way we live our lives.” We understand that we can only live a life of love once we’ve received and begun to grasp the great love that He first had for us. We were blessed to have been a part of such an encouraging night in Springville. After spending the night in summer camp cabins at “Camp Vick” we shoved off for a long drive to New York City.
We only had one full day available in New York City, so we were eager to get at it. I know that there’s a lot to see there, and we didn’t get to see all of it, but I feel like we put a dent in it at least. Terrorists keep trying to blow the place up, which is really upsetting since it’s such an incredible city. We arrived a day after a car bomb failed to explode in Times Square, so naturally our curiosity led us straight to this advertising Mecca. No terrorist scare could keep tourists from pouring onto this chaotic square. We popped above ground at the Rockefeller subway stop and were streamlined into a sea of people. We didn’t know where to look first. Our eyes went up to the points of the buildings, horizontally to the endless shops and stalls, and then down to our pockets to ensure our wallets were still in place.
Adam Cappa transformed into the likeness of his sheriff father and acted as the enforcer of justice and preserver of all that is good and decent in this world. While we were in the city his head was on a swivel looking out for potential terrorist plots unfolding. He wore a stoic expression across his face throughout our entire first night there. It was amusing for us to see this fun-loving, outgoing person turn into Papa Cappa. We love you Adam.
We didn’t want to waste any time in NY, so after getting off at the Rockefeller station we put our legs to work and booked it all over Manhattan. We walked from Times Square all the way down to the Staten Island Ferry port. We wandered through Soho, the East Village, Little Italy, Chinatown, the Financial District, the World Trade Center site, and eventually ended our determined stroll at Battery Park. From this park we peered out over the Hudson River and were drawn to the faint glow of Miss Liberty’s torch. With our camera’s zoom we had a better look at her, and marveled at all of the history that had taken place under her constant gaze.
After we walked all that we could walk that night we headed back to our hotel in Queens off Jamaica Ave. This neighborhood felt more like Ensenada, or Tijuana than the U.S. We were the minority in this part of New York, and from every street came smells of Dominican, Caribbean, and eastern foods. We took advantage of the delicious offerings of the local food cart serving Halal gyros. There’s nothing more satisfying than a chicken/lamb gyro combo with extra sauce. Delicious.
Day two in NY began in Central Park. My imagination quickly strayed to the pigeon lady from “Home Alone” after seeing a bridge that may very well have been the sight of filming the scene where she saves Kevin from the burglars. I thought about what it might be like to hang out there at night and didn’t feel very good about it. This park put a huge green rectangle on the city’s map, and I was excited to trade in the city’s concrete for a leisurely stroll through some form of nature. Laurieann and I walked the entire length of central park and then popped out only to stumble upon Madison Ave. As we strolled the street our stomachs led us to “Famous Famiglia’s Pizza”. The pizza was awesome, but the entertainment among the employees was even better. We ate our pizza and nervously watched two fellow employees verbally brawl about some disagreement they had over pizza management and protocol. The accuser kept yelling “I’m calling Tony…you son of a b%#$ I’m calling Tony!” Laurieann wanted to stay and watch to see what would happen, but I was nervous that Tony might come packing heat, so we escaped the argument and continued down Madison Ave.
The highlight of my day came when I bumped into Matt Lauer from “Good Morning America”. I did a doubletake, became star struck, stared at him and then continued walking down the sidewalk. I nudged Laurieann and said, “holy crap that’s Matt Lauer!” I had her stand and pose for a picture, which was a cover up for my paparazzi zoom in on the man himself. I feel really lame for being such a pansy and not talking to him, but I’m glad that I at least got a decent picture as evidence that I saw him. Next time I see a celebrity type I’m going to be much more diplomatic, like “Oh hello there, might I commend on your excellence in broadcast journalism. Your dedication to delivering the news day after day has made this world a better place. I am grateful.” At this perhaps he’d let me come in to the studio, or say something like, “hey kid I like your spirit, we need more people like yourself in the industry.” I’d bashfully mumble an “ah shucks” and then carry on. Instead I secretively snapped a shot of him as he was picking his kids up from school. I’m a coward, I know.
There were apparently some other celebrity sightings within our group. Nick and Adam swear they saw Steven Spielberg setting up some camera equipment with his workers in Central Park. They also saw a film crew working on a scene starring Katy Perry in the new “Smurfs” movie. Oh yeah and some “New Balance” running shoe commercial was being filmed as well in Central Park. All in all we had a day full of entertainment and sights. We packed on the pounds later that night in Little Italy with plates of pasta. Plan “BETA” has been working out splendidly.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Obama's House and stuff...

We gathered our gear from Adam’s trailer, which was parked in an old wooden barn near a cornfield. After all that we needed for the journey east had been gathered we eagerly set off west so that we could get our fill of Amish snacks; priorities. Backtracking on this trip was never to be looked down upon if it was for the sake of devouring delicious and unique foods. The Amish had an outpost near Richmond so we thought it fitting to satisfy our curiosity of this hyper-quaint people group while simultaneously eliminating our hunger pangs. Their store was full of cheeses, candies, preservatives, herbal remedies, honey, and other concoctions that would quickly sell among wealthy and health conscious circles in California. The girl behind the deli counter generously served us up samples of her favorite cheeses. And after trying most of them we decided on a variety pack to meet the different demands of our unique sets of taste buds.
Before reaching D.C. we stopped in Pittsburgh, PA. It was on the way to D.C. so we said to ourselves, “hey we’ve never been there, let’s check it out.” Much of our itinerary-related decisions were based on a desire to see places we’ve never seen and the east coast was up for grabs. Pittsburgh offered us “Primanti’s Bros.” sandwiches and a conversation with a homeless man with three different names. Driving through Pennsylvania impressed us once again with its “old school” American beauty. The landscape is still very wide-open, hilly, green (in the spring at least), and has towns that can boast of real nation-shaping history (i.e. Gettysburgh, ever heard of it?).
We drive late into the night most nights until whoever’s driving at the time swerves something fierce enough to scare us passengers. It’s after this jerking motion that we decide to stop for the night and lay our heads to rest. Most nights have involved us cramming five people into one hotel room. We purposely look for the shadiest, most dilapidated excuse for lodging and that way also find a really cheap place to sleep for the night. We aren’t vacationing after all. We’re on a journey.
Our nation’s capital was looking good in spite of our economic situation. The lawns were mowed, the hedge was trimmed, and the White House was in tip-top shape. D.C. was filled with throngs of students absorbing the history of our country into their brains as far as their attention-deficiencies would allow. Most of what I saw were kids being herded from museum to museum bored for the most part at what they were forced to observe. We, however, were not students anymore, and this trip was not a forced academic exercise. We hiked across D.C. from site to museum to monument with a curious fervor eager to understand our country’s origins just a little bit more. Adam and I (Dane) are both huge history channel fans, so we were in heaven. Nick and Aimee are always fascinated by cultures, and Laurieann added to her knowledge of the holocaust at the Holocaust Memorial. The awesome thing about D.C. is that all of the museums are free, so you can absorb history until your brain swells. It’s also a very pedestrian-friendly place so we walked until our legs ached and our feet blistered. We saw the capital building, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, The White House, The FDR Memorial, The Eastern Market, The Museum of Natural History, The Museum of Native Americans, The Museum of Modern Art, The Holocaust Memorial, The Botanical Gardens, etc.
When our feet ached and our heads hurt we took breaks at frozen yogurt stands and went on the hunt for good food. We happened to be downtown by the Verizon Center on the same night that the Capitals (NHL team) were playing a dire playoff game. They lost the game that night and riots broke out in the street. Fortunately we’d left the craziness before being swallowed up in the mayhem caused by these belligerent hockey fans. Our two days there were spent well, and we left feeling satisfied in our ability to take so much in with such little time at our disposal.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

We had a little hiccup in our tour… and by hiccup…I mean a long open-mouthed belch. Our tour leader Steven had been toying with the idea of ending the “Sounds and Lights Tour” early. Meanwhile The Music Room was forced to return home due to a death in the family. The unofficial end of the tour was announced as we packed our bags for an early flight. So we left the RV, Lyrycyst, Adam Cappa, Sarah Rasmussen, Jerome Love, Chelsea Cooper, and our curly-haired Uncle Jesse back in Cincinnati, with non-refundable round trip tickets in hand. Due to the sudden unexpected announcement of the tour’s termination we were unable to organize getting all of our musical equipment and tour family home with us.
We boarded our flight not knowing if we’d return to Cincinnati and so many questions were looming. How would we retrieve our gear? ... How would Jesse get home? ... How would the bus get back to Colorado? ... Despite the logistical unknowns of the cancelled tour we remained focused on spending quality time with family during this time of loss. For 6 days we exchanged the craziness of tour for Auburn’s outdoor beauty, mom’s cooking, and the peace of family.
In the midst of a luxurious 6 days with showers, home-cooked meals, and an excess of square-footage to spread our limbs a plan was brewing. We had tasted the watered down compromise of an incomplete tour, and our tongues were yearning for something bold with a smooth finish. Since Nick had been enlisted to return the RV and, get everyone’s gear home we decided to make good of a sad situation. Remember those non-refundable tickets? Nick, Dane, and Aimee would fly back to Cincy, OH along with our good friend Laurieann Cunningham and retrieve the RV; henceforth plan “BETA” was launched. Our new plan would be less of a plan and more of a completely revamped tour. Sounds and Lights Tour 2.0 more appropriately dubbed “The Pounds and Sights Tour”. This tour would have to involve seeing the East Coast as well as stopping at every promising looking eatery along the way. Another great thing about this new tour is that it would reunite TMR with our friends Adam Cappa and later Sarah Rasmussen.
The RV mother met us at the airport smelling of wastewater tank and old cheese. Somewhere beneath its foul odor we breathed deeply a scent reminiscent of home. Remember that this RV had been our house on wheels just a week before. We hopped on and immediately started scouting out dump stop locations where we could drop the scent and get on our merry way. We jump-roped on the Kentucky and Ohio state line before heading into Indiana to gather up our long, lost brother Adam. Before crossing into the Hoosier state we found an old trailer park to dump the urine, and wastewater of tour’s past. We would venture on with a gas tank full of diesel and a wastewater tank full of air, just as mommy likes.
Daddy Cappa was waiting for us in Richmond, IN with arms wide open, just like our favorite Creed song depicts. He embraced us all and we made a smooth transition from our RV to his cruiser van. This van, which we’ll call Mr. Hughes would take us to a couple more shows in New York state and then on towards sightseeing destinations such as D.C. and the Big Apple… more to come, so sit tight.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


So here was Gotham City, deep dish central, Cubs and Sox, bucket drummers, and Lake Michigan. The wind was blowing, which was no big surprise since this place has been called the windy city for years. Lake Michigan keeps things blustering about with its ocean-like waves hitting up on the shores of Chi-town. Magnificent Mile, Millenium Park, Sears Tower, and Navy Pier were all the spots we’d been told to visit while seeing Chicago, as if these places themselves possessed the very spirit of this famous city. I was mildly interested in these tourist traps but they weren’t exactly at the top of my to-do list. My heart was set on finding a really good coffee shop, and deep-dish pizza that accurately represented the Chicago-style.
We parked the RV outside of town and jumped on the blue line metro at Cumberland and took it all the way into the downtown. I’d seen TV shows with the elevated trains zigzagging through skyscrapers and apartment complexes but now I was a part of this mechanical snake weaving in and out of the urban jungle. From my perspective inside the train it felt as if we were bumping loudly through thin air on some invisible track. All that I could see from my seat was building walls, windows, and the busy streets two to three stories below. Looking forward at the cars ahead didn’t comfort me in the least as it appeared that each turn would throw our leader off the track dragging its caboose down with it. I looked out the window and avoided thinking about derailing as much as I could. None of the other passengers seemed worried, so I took comfort in their apathy.
We spent our first day wandering around in awe of the towering buildings and busy streets. The big reflective bean was our token picture spot, and acts as this for every other tourist coming into Chicago, so we fit right in. What is this reflective bean? Well basically it is a gigantic mirror-like, coffee bean shaped art piece the size of a semi’s carrying container that people from all over the world come to gawk at for the purpose of seeing their own warped reflection in. Phew.
On day two we had a show booked at a bar/club/poo-hole called Silvie’s Lounge. We had hoped that this would be a lively club in the heart of Chicago’s nightlife, but upon our arrival at Silvie’s we were sorely disappointed. The bar was run by an eastern European man with the look of a mobster and warmth like an icicle. Much miscommunication had occurred before our arrival at the “venue” and this miscommunication didn’t help our first impression with the mobster. We (TMR) quickly realized that this venue would not be conducive to folk rock. Unless we could transform our sound into a pole-dancer’s soundtrack fast we would not go over well. Our problem was solved for us when the bar tender threw our bass player out for being under age. We were out of a show for the night, but downtown Chicago was still just a few metro stops down the line. We decided to make good of our time in the city while we had it and parted ways with Lyrycyst, and with our own small posse, headed into the city for a night of panhandling.
Our first performance was held in front of Walgreens on Michigan Ave across the street from Millenium Park. We strummed our guitars and smacked the cajon through the windy cold of Chicago night. Aimee’s voice battled the volumes of noise coming from passing cars, schizophrenic conversations and honking horns. Even so, people passing by took second looks, smiled, nodded and commended our efforts. We moved our musical brigade down a few blocks to the heart of the “Magnificent Mile”, famous for its expensive shops and, more importantly, its people traffic. We hoped to possibly make enough in tip money to cover the cost of a deep-dish pizza.
This time around we strategically positioned ourselves on a corner by the crosswalk where pedestrians would have to wait for the green light to let them walk. They would be forced to wait, so we’d provide the music while they did. We were gaining a lot more attention at this point and people were starting drop the dollar bills in our open guitar case. A few people stayed for multiple songs ignoring the green light that bid them cross. Nick wandered through the gathering crowd and passed out our postcard with information directing them to our website. He even managed to sell a couple of CD’s while doing so. After TMR played a short five-song set we handed the guitar over to our friend and fellow artist Adam Cappa. He immediately started strumming away on some of his original worship tunes, which rung out triumphantly through the shadowy streets. People kept on gathering in; some more out of curiosity from the small crowd than from the actual sound of the music. We were all joyful to have turned a disappointing night into a good one. We were seeing Chicago through the eyes of street performers and Silvie’s Lounge drifted far from our thought.
All was fine and good until a Chicago Police car pulled up to the curb next to our concrete stage. Adam continued playing his song mostly oblivious to what was going down until the officer stepped out of her car and asked for our permit. We quickly ended the song and looked stupidly at one another before looking back at her in time to hear her repeat, “permit”. We confessed that we hadn’t a clue what she was talking about. She then asked to see our driver’s licenses. At this point only Adam, Nick and I (Dane) were open to conviction of any crime. Aimee, Jesse, and our posse slipped away once the cops had arrived. A second officer had pulled up to help process the crimes we were committing. They took our licenses back to their cars and ran them through their computers. At which point I began to fear that past blemishes would pop up on their records. You see this was the third time that a law enforcement officer had asked for my license on this trip. It turns out that “sleep-trespassing” is a real nuisance to Wal Mart parking lots. Anyways we waited on the sidewalk to hear our fate. You could tell that officer number one wanted to see us put in the slammer, but officer number two was more amused by us. In fact he had listened to some of our songs when he patrolled past our concert earlier that night. We begged and pleaded with bad cop number one stating our ignorance of city ordinances and street codes. Being from California helped bolster our claims of ignorance. Adam, being from the great state of Indiana, was also able to play the dumb card since he was unfamiliar with the rules of the street. After a chilly waiting period we were let go, free of a fine, and with our earnings still in hand.
Our posse packed up and headed towards the nearest pizza place. After having gone two blocks we were stopped again by a patrol car. It was officer number two; good cop. We feared that he had re-thought his leniency and wanted to fine us after all. We were quite mistaken. He called Nick, Adam, and I back over to his car and asked for our licenses again. We made small talk about how stupid Californians are and how cold Chicago was, and blah blah blah. Eventually we handed him a CD from TMR and, with a sheepish smile, he accepted. We still don’t know why he asked for our licenses again, or why he circled around the block to catch up with us. We like to think that it was simply because he wanted to get his hands on some of our music. Permit or no permit our night of playing the streets was a success.
We took our earnings down to “Giordano’s” and ordered a couple pies to reward ourselves on a night well spent. The streets of Chicago took care of her children. We’ll probably never play Chicago’s streets again because we’ve definitely been reported in their computers. However, it’s good to know that even while breaking the law we can make a fan out of the law enforcement and wiggle our way out of a fine.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter in Indy.

We hadn’t planned on being in Indianapolis on Easter Sunday. Nor had we anticipated that the city would be burning with Final Four fever. The nearby Butler Bulldogs made it to the big dance so naturally the streets were alive with the sounds of barks and beer glasses clanking. Couple these celebratory cacophonies with the condemning cantor of some Easter day street preachers and you easily had a very entertaining jaunt through downtown. Aimee and I attempted to capitalize on the pedestrian traffic by dragging the cajon and a guitar through the busy streets. We made a few bucks for food, but nothing warranting a deposit. Had we played longer I believe we could have done quite well but we had engagements to attend. Our friend Adam Cappa was relishing his homecoming after having been out of his home state for nearly two months. He called up some of his buddies who’d act as our Indianapolis hook-ups for the day.
We parked our 40-foot RV in the heart of downtown, directly across the street from Conseco Fieldhouse. I’d noticed on a billboard that the Pacers were playing a home game that night and that I’d sure like to go to a game. Little did I know that Adam had a friend on the inside, a seat-coordinator in fact, who would pull some strings, pay back a favor and let us into the game gratis. Not only did we get into the game but we received access into the “Legends Lounge” and watched the game from a VIP section reserved for those willing to fork out $130 for entrance. This lounge served dinner, beer, wine, and dessert all for free. We watched the Pacers destroy the Houston Rockets, which no one in the group really cared about as the chicken tenders really seemed to steal the hearts of our crew. After indulging on the freebies we took off quickly to enjoy another event. In celebration of March madness the city of Indianapolis hosted a free concert featuring LL Cool J and the Goo Goo Dolls. We high-tailed it to the stage and maneuvered our way through the rambunctious crowd to get a better look at these seasoned rockers. We missed LL Cool J’s set much to the dismay of not a single person in our group and excitedly watched the aged Dolls rock the crowd with hit after 90’s hit. I had forgotten how many of their songs I actually knew and I sang myself hoarse on the chorus of “Iris”.
Our day and night in Indianapolis was a HUGE pick-me-up for the morale of our group and so with our reserves of energy and excitement replenished we journeyed through the night en route to Chicago.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Paducah; Art, Rhythm, and Rivers...

Paducah, Kentucky has been the place we’ve been eager to see from the beginning. Not because of anything that someone has told us about it, not because the Travel Channel did a special on it boasting of its local treasures and natural wonders, nope. We’ve been wanting to see this place because it is simply Paducah, Kentucky. What other place on earth makes you stir with excitement, curiosity and wonder at the mere mention of its name? Perhaps Rome does this to you, Paris definitely, London of course and now…Paducah.
After passing through St. Louis, Missouri, crossing over the Mississippi River and putting a crick in our necks after gazing at the arch we headed south through Illinois. As we passed through fields of beheaded cornstalks and windy meadows Adam fought to keep our beloved home-on-wheels in the middle of the road. But what drew us on? What thrust us valiantly forward? It was the mystery of Paducah.
A billboard outside of Cairo, Illinois only heightened our excitement as it read, “Paducah, Art, Rhythm, Rivers”. Now with all sarcasm and joking aside we were now actually kind of curious about this place. Where else does a town advertise itself as being a forerunner in art, rhythm, and rivers? These were distinct claims. And we’d soon find out if this town could walk the walk its ad had talked.
…Dane just fell asleep due to our rigorous tour schedule and his heightened anticipation, so I guess it’s up to me (Nick) to finish the story… We crested the hill that brings all four lanes of this automotive river flowing into Paducah, a land flowing with milk and honey. At this point in the tour we expected something big like the largest statue of Superman in metropolis, or the 30’ rusted dinosaurs in Pawnee, at the least we expected some sort of oversized meat packing plant like in Milan, Missouri. We had heard rumors of a dip-n-dots factory, a Really Big Quilters Association, and that Paducah is Steven Curtis Chapman’s old stomping grounds, so of course we had expectations. Would Steven meet us at the welcome sign, would there be some sort of dip-n-dots factory tour, or would the quilters have draped the local water tower with the largest quilt in the world? Since I was piloting our 45’ mother into the promise land, I had an uncompromised view of Paducah, Kentucky, and, likewise, was the first to be disappointed. No Steven, no quilt, no factory tour. We still had the assurance that this was the land of rhythm and rivers, so even though we would be playing for a room full of High School students (who are typically not into our music) but maybe they would be so musically advanced in the land of rhythm and rivers that they would understand the art or the words…something! We want to be positive so we will just let our sales determine how much Paducah loves us…we sold 2 CD’s, one to the youth pastor (who was rad) and one to a parent. We know it is not at all about sales and we are praying that something supernatural happened but we also say goodbye Paducah, hello Nashville.
I, Dane, will put an official end to this blog. We have a day off finally after having played shows six nights in a row. We played Warrensburg, MO then Ottumwa, IA then Mt. Pleasant, IA, then Milan, MO, then Fairfield, IA and ended our streak in Paducah, KY. Over the last six days we’ve gotten into a rhythm of unpacking, packing, setting up, tearing down, sound checking on outdated systems, rocking a crowd, hanging out with the crowd, signing autographs, and then rushing everything back to the RV to do it again the next day. As hectic as it has been I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Keep us in your prayers,

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tour Life

In addition to the five people making up the musical members of TMR, Lyrycyst, and Adam Cappa there are also five other people on the road with us. One is the wife of Lyrycyst, one is a band manager, one is a baby (literally a two year old), one is a photographer/videographer, and one is a Husband/Chef/Handyman/RV Mechanic/Source of Much Needed Reason; we’ll call him Nick Bellanca. All of these people united create a night of folk rock, hip-hop, and worship. It is a random mixture of musical genres and personalities, but somehow it works. We are all still working out the kinks of loading ten people in and out of an RV day after day, shoving luggage into small spaces, fandangling musical gear into the small undercarriage compartments on the bus and finding places to sleep ten bodies at night. These ridiculous games of “Bag Tetris” have been one of the most challenging aspects of the trip thus far. Oh and then of course there are ten different opinions to weigh, consider, hear out, and acknowledge before any forward progress is made. Let’s just say that we’re a slow-moving crew. In spite of our turtle-like pace we’ve been accomplishing great things.
We’ve had a fair share of sight seeing thanks to the boundless energy and curiosity of Adam Cappa. We’ve captured priceless memories in the form of video and photos thanks to the artistic eye of Jerome Love. We’ve rocked a crowd of 900 crazy kids in the Skydome at Northern Arizona State University thanks to the booking expertise of Steven Cooper. We’ve found one of the greatest cafes in the west at Macy’s CafĂ© in Flagstaff, AZ thanks to the recommendation of National Public Radio. We’ve strolled the strip in Vegas on St. Patrick’s Day thanks to luck of the Irish I’ve got flowing through my veins. And this has all happened within the first week of our tour.
The wide-open road lies before us. Right now we’re driving north out of Flagstaff to gaze upon the most majestic hole in the ground that this planet’s got to offer; The Grand Canyon. From there we head east to land of Dorothy and Toto. We play a show in Kansas and then for the entire month of April play shows five, sometimes six, days a week. April is going to be completely filled with music.
As we move forward keep us in your prayers. We’ve been taking a hefty thrashing in regards to health, comfort, and predictability, but hey that’s what being a musicianary is all about! The further we travel the more I realize that this tour isn’t about our music, or the advancement of any of our individual goals. This tour has become a gauntlet of trials, valleys and mountains, satisfaction and desperation. This tour and its unpredictable nature have forced everyone of us to let go of our selfishness (no room for that in this RV), our pride (no room for that with nine other ego’s to deal with), and our schedule (the road is narrow at times, and sometimes it’s not even paved). We push on like one big turtle on a mission to finish the race set before us. Godspeed this turtle on.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Our New Wheels!

We’ve finally united with the RV that is destined, God-willing, to carry us an estimated 18,000 miles across the States. It has been quite an ordeal in getting it to where we were (Sacramento) from where it has been stored for the last six years (Denver). I don’t have all the nitty gritty annoying details about what went wrong in getting the RV in driving shape in time for tour. There were a number of things that went wrong, were ill-prepared, and unfortunate. I’m treating all of that as a stinky stream of water under the bridge. The positive news is that the RV has finally reached the nine people who have needed it; who just so happened to be waiting for it in Las Vegas at this point in the tour.

A man named Rod Rasmussen (Lyrycyst’s manager’s father) and daughter Sarah (Lyrycyst’s manager) drove a mammoth 45-foot Overland cruising machine from a mechanic’s shop in Colorado out to the craziness of Las Vegas getting pumped for St. Patty’s day. We are incredibly grateful for the willingness of Rod to not only drive the RV to us, but to also take our van we’d been using previously back to Sacramento before flying back to his home in Colorado.

We’ve only been on the road for six days and already this trip has been packed with copious amounts of travel, sightseeing, and music. We’re now heading into unknown territory. From this point on we head east, east and more east. The landscape is slowly becoming more and more unfamiliar. We have a few days of shows in Arizona, and hope to catch a glimpse of the Grand Canyon before we leave this rusty red state. Some highlights thus far are that we experienced mayhem and stupidity of Las Vegas on a holiday associated most often with drunkenness and drunkenness, we waded through the tide-pools at Cabrillo point in San Diego, got a panorama of Los Angeles from the top of the Griffith Observatory, and this morning crossed our beastly mother of transportation across the Hoover Dam.

Some things to keep in your prayers would be our health (we’ve all been sick in TMR with a nasty cough, sinus infection, and other ailments detrimental to singing). Pray for our safety driving this beast (who has no name and remains gender-less, but in my mind is a motherly woman). Pray that we will communicate well with one another, and be patient, respectful, considerate and humble as we’ve got no choice but to be in one another’s company from here on out forever and ever amen. Thanks!

PS: As soon as I posted this blog, much more interesting stuff has occurred. How will I keep up? Please be patient with me as I attempt to document as much as possible about this journey we’re on. -Dane

Monday, March 15, 2010

Southern California

So we've been without our RV now for over a week. In fact none of us on tour have yet even seen this RV, perhaps it doesn't even exist. Perhaps. So instead of jam-packing 10 people, musical equipment, and luggage onto an RV we've been packing into a 15 passenger van. This van has two rows of seats taken out of it to make room for the luggage, so if you do the math you'll realize that we're not exactly comfortable while driving. Everyone has caught a cold of some kind. We've just passed it on to one another, out of love of course. The plan is that we'll soon meet the RV in.... I don't know, but soon hopefully.
Our logistical situation sucks, but all in all we ARE having a great time.
We played a show in Torrance and La Mesa down here in SoCal. Both shows we're very small in size, but great in response to our music. Every show has been really encouraging so far.
Fortunately we've now got a couple days off to chill before we play a show again down in Arizona. Our plan is to get over our sicknesses, and wait for our beloved RV to come rescue us from the laps of one another.
Continue praying for our safety, our health, and our mission to spread hope and love through our music and the relationships it enables us to make.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

TMR's Census 2010

What kind of audience does The Music Room draw? Well, in the spirit of this year’s census, I’ve hunkered down, crunched some numbers, and did a little research to find out who listens to our music. The following information was gathered with permission from the powers that be, and has not been manipulated or skewed in any way to further the private interests of The Music Room Inc.
To simplify your reading of our analysis, we’ve broken it down into four unique categories. We were awed by the diversity among our listeners.
Category 1 represents “What People Do” when they listen to our music.
Category 2 represents “Gender, and Human Developmental Stages” at which people listen to our music.
Category 3 represents a list of “Food People Sometimes Eat” while listening to our music.
Category 4 represents a behind the scenes look at “What People Think About” when listening to our music.
Category I: WPD
Pull Weeds/Till Soil
Plan Weddings
Answer Telephones/Make Plans
Drive Public Transit Vehicles
Earn Degrees (GED and BA’s)
Train in Boot Camp
Clean Teeth
Design Buildings
Plant Gardens
Breed Horses
Collect Unemployment
Category II: G&HDS
Fetuses in-utero (depending on mother)
Baby Boys
Baby Girls
Male Toddlers
Female Toddlers
Adolescent Girls
Adolescent Boys
Grown Men
Grown Women
Old Men
Old Women
Senior Citizen Varieties
Category III: FPSE
Carne Asada Burritos
Peanut Butter-filled Pretzel Squares
Girl Scout Cookies
Mashed Potatoes
Jimmy Dean sausages
Power Bars/Tiger Milk Bars
Pad Se Ewe
Naan Bread
Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies
Category IV: WPTA
Other random female vocalists
We sincerely hope that this census has improved your understanding of the demographic that listens to The Music Room’s music. If you find yourself fitting into one of these categories but have not yet listened to their music, I urge you to check out “Lesser Loves” their debut album on iTunes, or any other major song-downloading site for that matter. This census has helped us know how to better serve you, the fan and audience, whether while you’re eating curry or thinking about eternity. Thank you!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Courage House

The Music Room has had the privilege of working with a non-profit called Courage to Be You. This non-profit works to raise awareness about human-trafficking (sex slavery of young girls) in Northern CA. Little has been done to help these girls that are robbed of innocence and youth when abducted by pimps and sex dealers in the US, let alone in Northern California. So C2BU has produced a compilation album to sell at benefit concerts in the area for the purpose of raising financial support to build a safe house for girls rescued from the hopeless life of sex trafficking. The Music Room was honored to contribute “Cost of Believing” to this compilation, and takes part regularly in local benefit concert performances. Please go check out their cause and see if there is any way you can help defend those who have been unjustly exploited.
Courage To Be You Website

2010 Spring Tour

Never in our most ambitious longings did we think it possible to join a 3-month, 52-city tour across the United States at such a young age in the life of our band. However, thanks to God’s grace and the aligning of innumerable factors outside of our control we have been given this opportunity. Beginning March 7th in Sacramento, CA the official launch of the “Sounds and Lights Tour” will take place and thus will commence our musical journey through our beautiful country.
When Aimee and I formed The Music Room over a year and a half ago we had very small goals, and barely the thought of stumbling upon folk rock glory. We were content to put together songs that had been impressed into our musical consciousness and possibly, if the stars aligned, play these songs for a small and familiar audience (mostly comprised of family and friends). We named ourselves The Music Room because we had a room at our old house with a junky, out-of-tune piano in it in which we’d rehearse. The name is not clever, original, or even that marketable, but it stuck with us, and I just can’t think of any good reason for changing it now. We’ve since moved out of that house and now rehearse in a garage, so the sensible thing to do would be to change our name to The Music Garage, but it doesn’t evoke the same warmth as our current name, are you with me? So The Music Room we remain and under this name we march forth onto a tour that will expose our music, mission and hearts to people and places that we never thought we’d see.
We wish to create and write music that speaks for itself. When words couple themselves with a melody that can break down bias, prejudice, bitterness, and despair I believe that healing of the soul can take place. We don’t want to be preachers, or speakers, or even a trendy band; we want to be musicianaries. What is a musicianary? I thought you might ask that, so I’ve prepared an answer for you.
A musicianary seeks to use his/her giftedness in music to shed light where there is darkness, to bring hope to those who are lost, and uplift the human spirit with a love that flows from the very heart of God. So you see that a musicianary cannot simply be a musician that is Christian, or a musician that is a humanitarian. Oh no, a musicianary is one that has surrendered his/her life to the service of people by way of music for the glory of God and His eternal purposes. Do you hear me? The Music Room is a band that wants to serve. We don’t want to glorify ourselves. Our songs are not geared towards self-glorification, but perhaps instead they ask the listener to self-examine. We want to write songs that force people to look truthfully and soberly at the life they are living. We don’t want to shame people, or discourage people; we want to see people be set free. If our music can lead people to know and recognize a God that sets people free from shame and slavery then we’ve succeeded. You see we’ve gone from not expecting much of ourselves to expecting that God will do much with us if we make ourselves available to His plans.