HOTEL LOBBIES AND DAYS OFF

 Brighton Ski Resort, UT

Brighton Ski Resort, UT

 Arches National Park, UT

Arches National Park, UT

I’m not sure if it has been the altitude or weather changes, but Devin and I have both caught some kind of cold. Thankfully, we have had the past few days off. I’ll keep this post short in the spirit of rest. We played in a hotel lobby on Sunday, which earned us a free room, so that was a score! We also went night-skiing on Monday, cause why not! The sunset was beautiful at the top of the mountain.

And on Tuesday, we went to Arches National Park, hiked around The Devils Garden. The United States is beautiful country of such diversity. Oh! and the last fun fact, we tried couch surfing (app) for the first time. It was a great experience, a stranger, who is now our friend, took us in, gave us tea, a place to sleep, and breakfast. We played two songs the next morning as a thank you. Singing in the morning is not my favorite, but totally worth it. That sums it up. Now, we are on the homestretch.

LOCALS VIEW

(LAS VEGAS)

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I play a lot of towns people have never heard of, including myself. Most of the time, the smaller towns in the “middle of nowhere” are some of my favorite. Big cities can be tough - from finding the right venue, to cutting through the noise. There are days and nights when expectations are drastically shattered. Most of the time, I am shocked in a good way. The person in the back of the room talking magically heard the line of the song buried in the verse that is the anchor of the song itself.

Keeping these experiences in mind, everyone has heard of Las Vegas... some call it Sin City - gambling, neon lights, parties, a Katy Perry song, “The Hangover”, memories and stories for inner circles. You get the idea. All of these may true, but that is not what I think of from my experiences. I love meeting and seeing the local side of a big city. We had the opportunity to do another SOFAR show (you can revisit my last post for a recap), and these shows are basically a direct lifeline to locals who love art. And this town has some of the loveliest locals. We ended up going out with the people who organized and ran the evening. After 10 years of touring and making music, this rarely happens. I mean usually for good reasons. Events take a lot of planning and social energies. But on both of my visits to Vegas, this has been true. Also, I must mention that the artists who performed were amazing! Too many times, art becomes a competition. I have been guilty of this too. Artist compete for the affection of the audience and judge their art and each other off the rooms response, how silly. This was not one of those night. This truly felt like community built on art. I cherish these rare moments where gender, age, race, faith, and political views all vanish. There were stickers available that I snagged that summarize one of my greatest joys in life, “be still and listen.” I hope we all have the opportunity today to hear and be heard.

 

BACK TO LA

(LOS ANGELES)

Finally, some sunshine! Before leaving San Diego, we took a plunge into the ocean. So cold, so worth it. We returned to Los Angeles to play for one of my favorite show networks. Seriously, you should look up SOFAR SOUNDS and see if they host shows in your city. Just a quick pitch, they are a global network that hosts living room shows. The cool twist is that they keep the location a secret until a day before, but they don’t announce the artist until you arrive. So, it’s a perfect situation for people who want to hear new artist in a distraction free environment. I love these shows and try to work a few into each tour. I have done shows through SOFAR in Seattle, Portland, Fargo, Los Angeles, Nashville, Las Vegas; each experience was golden.

We also were able to hang out with some of my friends again that came to the Burbank show! Even more amazing, they did our laundry while we were in San Diego! Talk about a servant’s heart. Sometimes other people’s generosity is convicting, in the best way. I have some of the most giving friends; I wonder if I give enough. Full transiency, it feels easier to be kind and graceful to strangers sometimes. That is my personal confession, but I am sure we all have those family members or friends that we sometimes take for granted, without even realizing. Making a good first impression is easy, but time shows all of our weaknesses and selfish tendencies - to be long-suffering is tough. I am thankful of people who remind me to be generous and kind. I feel like LA has reminded me of that in a lot of ways this time around.

CITY CRUSH

(SAN DIEGO)

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Ever since I can remember, I have always had a crush on San Diego, CA. It’s the one place I have always wanted to live. I still remember the sensation of when I finally reached this city the first time. It was also during the process of moving to Seattle, WA. If I had to describe the feeling, I would say it was like the beginning and ending of the same book.

The first time I passed through, I did not have anywhere to play. So, I found this awesome coffee shop caller Lofty Coffee in Encinitas, right up the street from Moonlight Beach. Then, I decided I would want to live near here if I ever had the possibility. I ended up finding an open mic at some restaurant-bar. It was not the greatest experience or setting, but I gained information and fell in love with the city even more. So, I am always excited to have the chance to revisit.

This day and tour stop was also bitter sweet; because, it was Aleida’s last show with us for this tour. She linked up with her family here to head to a birthday party in Tucson, AZ. She has been great, and we were honored and glad to have her with us this far... of course many more shows to come! But from here on out it is Devin and I.

But I’ll share a little more about our time is San Diego. We revisited the place and coffee shop I mentioned earlier! Also while at the shop, I saw they are carrying products by a company in Seattle that I like called Miir. The coffee and music world, truly is small and well connected! After chatting and having some coffee, we had some time to spare; so, we walked on the beach before heading to the venue. There is something so refreshing about breathing in the salt air and looking out over the ocean. Still not much sun, but still one of my favorite places to exist and feel grateful. Someday, I still plan to invest some time here, and I’d be really interested in hearing how that affects my music. Seattle definitely brought out some unique aspects that I didn’t expect.


It’s always refreshing to play songs and hear how they translate to different people and spaces. The show and venue was lovely, and we felt well received. Family and friends showed up. I highly recommend visiting San Diego when your spirit feels heavy. And goodness! You can still sing the blues.

RAINY CALIFORNIA

(BURBANK)

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Our desire for some sunshine has been denied so far! We played in Burbank, CA last night, and this was the not type of weather to inspire Beach Boys music. However, it was still beautiful and moody! It was funny because we were looking at the faces of some people at coffee shops... it is like we never left Seattle. Seasonal depression set in quick down here.

But I was still very excited to play this show for a few reasons. First, friends that I met briefly in Seattle at my job, working at a coffee cart, were coming to the show. It was one of those serendipitous encounters were you meet someone and you know you connect with them on a personal and spiritual level! We never discussed that when we met, but there was a level of discernment that made it clear. I love it when that happens. AND... they actually showed up! Which, honestly rarely happens. I felt very honored to have them there as guests, such a lovely couple.

The other really cool thing about this show is the other artist involved. They hit me up via facebook because they are playing a show later this year in Seattle. Our discussion opened the topic that they have a really cool space for shows in LA. Living room style shows are PERFECT for the tour set up we currently have. This band was generous enough to set up everything and invite their friends to hear us. And it was amazing, everything we could have hoped for!

Most of you have probably heard my song called Pretty People, and some stories about visiting LA. I will confirm rumors that beautiful people really do live here. That sometimes can create a feeling of necessity to perform, even through the way you look. In the spirit of presenting your best, we decided as a band to brush our teeth before we played. I can also honestly say that these were some of the sweetest people I have ever met! Everyone was really kind, encouraging, and generous. My fondness for LA continues to be redeemed and growing. It’s refreshing to be genuine and admit when you don’t fit in. That process can be hard sometimes, but when you find people you click with the value is even greater. Thank you Burbank for being kind to me and my friends.

FREE SAMPLES

(SAN FRANCISCO)

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Not much sunshine in the state so far. But it is still beautiful; northern California has always been one of my favorite places. The way the hills roll is so peaceful, and clouds not giving rain were hiding in the hills. I hope I can have a place and time to write here one day. We actually discussed the topic of being bummed about rain but not actually feeling bummed. Our spirits have been pretty high and relaxed this whole tour. We got into San Francisco around lunch time and went to the Mission District. There is a super cool park with an amazing and fresh grocery store called Bi-Right. I almost quit the band to apply here, not really. But it was super and we tried a lot of free samples of fruit.

A perfect case scenario would have been to have lunch and practice in the park, but due to the rain we just ate in the car. We also decided to find a coffee shop and get some work emails done and update this blog you are reading (thanks for reading by the way!). Turns out the shop we picked had no wifi or power outlets. I dig this idea, and it keeps their shop productive. So, we enjoyed our coffee and found out one of the baristas is moving to Seattle! We chatted and exchanged info; he also plays music. It is always fun to make those connections in random places.  After coffee, we decided to head over to the venue but found a giant nature park, with like 20 pond/lakes, a Japanese Tea Garden, Science Center, Botanical Garden... all the things! You should totally check out Golden Gate Park if you visit San Francisco. It was also great for us to get out and walk around, since the day before was like a 5 or 6 hour drive.

The time in the park was refreshing after the rain, such a wonderful smell was in the air... even the flowers seemed happy. So, we headed over to the cafe where we were playing and got the work done that I mentioned earlier. The show was really relaxed and fun. I think we all really enjoyed our time in San Francisco; it was much more relaxed than my last visit... almost 4 or 5 years ago. It was that trip that planted the idea of moving to Seattle. But that is another story all together. We are heading Burbank now! Excited to play in a new city and visit some friends I met in Seattle at the coffee cart I work for. I may not make a lot of money, but I make a lot of friends. Hope to see each of you soon!

BE SHARP // MIDDLE C

(LIVE IN LODI)

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Most people know of Lodi because of the famous CCR song. The power of a popular song to implant an idea is interesting. If you would have asked me what I thought of Lodi before visiting, my answers would be very different, naturally. I would assumed Lodi is a place you get stuck in, unwillingly. But now that I have visited and reread the lyrics to the song, I think it is more of a refuge than a pothole.

I have been performing and trying to do music for a while now; so, it’s interesting to read to lyrics to “Lodi” and try to put myself in John Fogerty’s shoes. I can certainly relate on certain levels. And all my visits to Lodi have been wonderful and refreshing. People here are so sweet and the speed of life is refreshing. I have also heard multiple people from here talk about the refreshing quality of moving back from the city hustle.

We played at a school of music called “B Sharp School of Music” and their venue is called “The Middle C.” The pun is there for people that understand some music theory. For my friends that may not know, it is pretty much the same note but a different way of saying it. Of course there could be some separation in the octaves, middle c is a specific note, and a b sharp could be played at various ranges. Anywayssss.
The room sounded awesome acoustically, and we could play with really fun dynamics. It’s always refreshing to play for listening audiences. Oh! And we brewed of some of my coffee blend that we are selling! It was delicious and fruity. Great job Cedar and Spokes! And lastly, it was great to see some of my Seattle friends that moved down here. They all have a glow that results from cheerful hearts. It is always nice to see friends in good places.

FAMILY STYLE

(LIVE IN ASHLAND)

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It’s hard for me to imagine doing something in life that affects so many people that it creates a culture, an era or even a whole town. Ashland, OR carries the weighing and astonishing impact of Shakespeare. I have an appreciation for the people of this town. I have only visited twice, but I can always sense the slow pace appreciation of art and life.

The drive was pretty short; so, we had enough time to get there early enough to hang out and have some tea. When I say tea, I mean serious and delicious tea. Dobrá Tea is a bohemian-style tearoom with some really cool history about “devoteas.” I’ll save you the experience and story for when you visit. The history and craft of tea feels almost timeless, I wonder why it’s not as widely acknowledged in America; maybe we don’t make enough time?

After enjoying our time there, we headed over to the venue that we were playing. No guaranteed pay for this show, but we did get a bar-tab which included food. I am imagining most artists use the generous offer for mostly drinks. We decided to make the most of our tab with a good, hearty meal, and we maxed our tab with some family style eating. This is the best if you are like me, wanting to try everything but also keeping a budget in mind. But we were able to have 2 appetizers, 3 scrumptious entrées, and a lot of free water.

I gotta say I was proud of the work we did in finishing everything, the waiter was also impressed (sidenote - people should always tip, especially when it’s free or discounted). All in all, yesterday was very relaxing. We played after a Celtic group that plays every Sunday night. I’m pretty sure they maxed their tab without food. They were great and added a lovely vibe to the room. We decided to play completely acoustic (no amps or sound system). People were kind and seemingly a little tired, especially given it being 9:30 on the Sunday night after St Patty’s day. Now, we travel further south to the land of sunny weather and pretty people. 

CAB #9

(LIVE IN EUGENE)

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Our time in Portland ended with some quality time and food. I have met so many wonderful and generous people over the years. Traveling as part of your job creates an interesting dichotomy. Sometimes, it is difficult to maintain relationships within the city you live because of the revolving leave and return. But leaving home affords the opportunity to reconnect with friends and family you may otherwise never see. There are even times when I find myself giving updates to my friends about our friends. But, I say all of that to say that is was really lovely to visit and spend time with some friends in Portland. Thank you for the beds, corn-beef hash, and snack bag if you are reading this! 

Last night, we played in Eugene, OR. This was my first time ever visiting this city; so, I didn’t know what to expect. We intended to leave Portland with an extra hour of cushion, which ended up being about 45 minutes… and then 30 minutes after a coffee stop and ratchet strap lock check. I’m not gonna say any names, but we have some extra guitar gear on this trip; so, we had to put some gear on top of the car. The straps were making quite a ruckus, and at some point, we had to pull over before a piece of luggage went flying off the top the vehicle… now, we have 15 minutes before we are supposed to play. We finally get everything secure and safe; now, we are back on the road, and the gaslight comes on. We reach the point where we had 5 miles left in gas.. and 4 miles (THANKFULLY) to the nearest gas station. By the time we fill up, our eta is now 3 minutes before we play. Stress level was at a cool 5/10.  

We let the venue know and everything was super chill. We finally made it to the venue; I’d also like to add that we gained a minute back! We quickly load-in our gear and set up to play. We then noticed that we didn’t have a mic stand… so, we took one of our guitar stands, and tied a microphone to the top with Devin’s shoe lace. Problem solved. 

From here on out, the night went smoothly. The people of Eugene were very lovely and treated us well. We met some amazing people and even found a place to stay! Additionally, our new friends were kind enough to help show us around the city for Saint Patrick’s Day, which included getting to see an Irish band of bagpipes and drum line perform. I love how with that music, you have one note on the bottom that just drones, and everything dances on top. 

Now lastly, I would like to call attention to a lovely cab driver named Marty. Turns out that one of our new friends had taken his cab before; so, they had some funny stories. I also asked this gentleman to tell me “his story.” He told us that he was born and raised in Eugene. He has 3 children, even told us the height and weight of his sons. What I loved most about the CAB #9 ride is that he seemed to really enjoy his life and cared about the people in his cab. Now granted, he has been driving for 3 months. But I just really enjoy meeting people who enjoy life, no matter what it is they do. 

SONGS FOR BETTY

(LIVE IN PORTLAND)

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Yesterday, we began our tour with a show in Portland. If you have ever gone on a road trip, even short family ones, you know that the hardest part of that day is leaving town. There are always countless little things that add up to a extra hour or two, ours being the latter. And for those who may not know, I say “ours” because I have brought two really great friends with me on this tour. 

Aleida Gehrels is a wonderful viola player and human being. She and I met around three years ago, maybe a month or two after I moved to Seattle. She had decided to move to Seattle after ending her time playing music on a cruise ship. We were introduced by a mutual friend who was also playing music on the ship. Thankfully, I had written some songs she likes; so, now you can often see us playing music together! 

My other friend on this trip is Devin Daniel, who is playing guitar and a freshly learned instrument… the banjo. I have to confess that I sorta tricked him into learning the banjo. I told him that he couldn’t bring his electric on tour and had to learn the banjo. Two weeks ago, I told him that I was kidding and he could bring the guitar. We both had a really good laugh and agreed it was the right move; because, we have some banjo on this tour! Devin has become a great friend over the past few years, and I am excited to have him with us. 

Last night, we played our first show of tour in Portland at a venue called CAFE Artichoke. Definitely a name I could picture finding a place in this city. To help you visualize this show, they host a  Friday night showcase, meaning no-one there really knew anyone or heard of any artists performing. There is also no guaranteed pay, just donations. All the artists last night were not from the area, which means it is even a gamble to come and play. I will say that this was a lovely and respectful listening room for artist. The room vibe and audience was a little bit of an older generation. For instance, I didn’t know any of the cover songs that some artist sang and and people knew. And they definitely sounded like some serious throwbacks, if you know what I mean. I often feel a little lost in the middle of knowing popular songs from today and the older “hits.” But it is always fun to see the looks on peoples faces when they hear a song that recalls something for them. A certain joy lights up in their eyes. 

I could tell you a few different stories from last night, but one that sticks out were songs for Betty (not her actual name, I think). We shared the night with a very funny and talented songwriter from New Jersey. His way of communicating with the audience and delivery of singing were very unique and captivating. Soft spoken with moments of power, he did a really nice job of drawing you in. What stuck out the most was the common thread between the songs. Can you imagine writing a whole record about one relationship, releasing it, and touring with those songs for 3-4 years?? Picture yourself reading from your journal to a room of strangers in different cities. He was kind enough to share the story and connection of each song with a former love, named “Betty.” It’s an interesting and necessary process to create and share personal art; especially when it deals with heart break. I love to share some of my personal experiences and stories; but, I also love to dress it up with some tricks that keep some things concealed. I think one of the coolest things about art is the forms and styles of communicating. I remember one time a few years ago, I answered candidly a question about a song; I remember feeling slightly disappointed at their disappointment in my answer. I decided in that moment to not rob people of certain potential meanings a song could share with them. It’s also amazing with people totally connect and understand the meanings exactly. I love music, I love touring, and I love you! Can’t wait to share more songs and stories from this tour! 

Also check songs about “Betty” Here |  www.pentleyholmes.com.

hittin' the stage at ballard's tractor tavern

Photo by Will Foster

Hey Everyone,

It's Devin here.  We are all super-excited/ thrilled/ ecstatic for our upcoming show at Ballard's Tractor Tavern.  It's a venue in Seattle that we've been looking forward to filling to capacity for some time now.  We've been spending a lot of time in the studio lately, polishing up some new material, breathing new life into some classics, we'll be ready for you (and for our new record).  Wait? Oh yeah! If you didn't know we're in the process of recording a new record.  Stay tuned for more updates!

If you haven't already, follow the link below and pickup your tickets!
Tickets: http://goo.gl/iZ3US3