I’m trying to see things as what they really are instead of wallowing in discouragement.  Why is life full of troubles? Every victory I have had was once a hurdle.  That’s why they feel like such accomplishments.  Every lesson I’ve learned came from actions and decision making, not stagnation.  I am where I am because I moved forward.  Depression can take hold of me from time to time when I see no way out or the pointlessness of everything.  It makes me sit in one place.  It makes me wonder where I need to go.  But I will go nowhere if I stay there.  Every surprise solution came when I was trying something new.  I arose from every failure.  My circumstances made me who I am.

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Links to Some Videos

Various people have filmed parts of various shows and I thought I’d make it easy for you to watch some of them by putting them all in one place.  Thanks for watching!  Please share your favorites.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZONgzRqML7w Secrets Providence Monthly

Lower your volume after that one.  ^^^

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QHa8E8-sKk I’m Alive one guitar

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irEzHPqe4OY Candy at Jimmy’s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wI1QSAIJ_o4 Candy at the Met

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bNFIY3rGZo Ruffles with Kiss Me Deadly

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bNFIY3rGZo Flowers CD Release Party

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVz1kDSAt_g Took Away My Phone Jimmy’s Saloon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guc4IAysH4Y Candy Jimmy’s Again (Newport Bridgefest)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZBuPQKEyy4 Girl in the Dark the Bread Lab

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkitWEzLnjA Copper at Dusk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zt_dNHgA6sE TLC Waterfalls at Dusk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOBOs1V_mpk Beauty CD Release Party

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Rs14JkUfO4 I’m Alive with Dave Schneider

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Yellow Roses

Deeply moved by the death of my friend Erica Shea, I wrote a song this week from the perspective of a mother in heaven speaking to her children. Erica found out she had cancer early in the pregnancy of her daughter. She decided against terminating the pregnancy, essentially sacrificing her own life. She passed this week leaving behind the newborn girl, her toddler, husband, friends and family. I have heard several of my friends speak of how their deceased loved ones speak to them from the other side and how it gives them great comfort. This song was inspired by all of them.

Direct link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTQ8nu9Aj5w

If you would like to hear this song professionally recorded, consider donating. It costs about $400 to put out a single.




Thank you for listening.

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Fundraisers 1 of 4

There are four fundraisers happening in my life right now.  The first is to raise money for kids with blood cancer.  My daughter’s class is collecting loose change to raise money, but I made a paypal link so we can raise more.  I will donate the amount of the PayPal fees up to $100.  The fundraiser ends Friday, March 20.  You can get the full details and find the paypal button here: http://tammylaforest.com/fundraisers/

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Shows, Romeo and Nominations

Our hard work has paid off.  The Dust Ruffles have been nominated in both the Motif Magazine Music awards as Breakthrough Act and in the Limelight Magazine Music Awards as New Artist of the Year.  My solo album Copper, released under the name Tammy Laforest, has also received a nomination as Best Americana Album in the Motif Awards.  You can vote in the Motif Awards here.  The polls for the Limelight Awards are closed, but you can purchase tickets for the show here.

Why is this so exciting?  I have been working super hard for years to get acknowledged by Motif Magazine.  To get two places on their poll is a huge deal to me, and I am super happy!!!!!!!  If I win, I will add more exclamation marks.  While the Limelight Awards nominations come from fans, Motif chooses differently.  They explain on their website:

“The list of nominees is out for the 2015 Motif Music Awards, celebrating the best in local music. Nominees are selected mathematically from the suggestions by over 75 local booking agents, labels, radio stations, and over a dozen of our music writers.”

In other news, my band has two upcoming shows.

On March 20 we will be playing A Truth Divide’s CD release show. (Click those words to open the Facebook event page.)

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On March 27 we will be playing another fundraiser at Lang’s Bowlarama- This time to benefit the PEACE LOVE FOUNDATION  and in memory of BRENTON GRAY HENDERSON & TIFFANY RENEE DESISTO.  The event is sponsored by the Mediator Fellowship.

The show will be hosted by Athan Phynix and Katie Lewis : Motif Magazine’s Dare Me Girl  and will feature Athan Phynix : Absurdist ImprovisationalistVulGarrityTHUSMalyssa BellaRosa,  The Dust RufflesAllison GiulianoDon Tassone,  Jordan Sereno & Adam Steele, Joshua Fonseca of Soundscapers Drumming and more. 

To learn more about PEACE LOVE & how they have impacted our community, click here.  To learn more about the artistic work of Brent, click here.

And in OTHER other news, if you haven’t noticed it getting blasted ALL over our social media, The Dust Ruffles have released their first single.  Ever.  In all of history.

Cover 3And because it is our first and we love it very much, we are sharing it with you for free.  We are hoping to eventually place it on a full album of songs.  This full album will be pretty awesome because it won’t have just me writing songs and singing.  There are four singer songwriters in the Dust Ruffles and they will all be songwriting and singing on the album.  We will probably have to do some sort of crowd funding thingy in order to make this happen, but for now there is a button on my website that anyone can feel free to use if they so desire.  You will also find the free download link for Romeo.  Please 1) Download, 2) Listen, 3) Share like the common cold.   http://thedustruffles.com/music/

 

 

 

 

Posted in Copper, The Dust Ruffles | 1 Comment

Radio Play and Upcoming Harvest Bowl

It was exciting to get played on my local FM radio rock station 94HJY last night.  I was given the heads up that it was going to happen and recorded a segment of it for you.

Before my song Took Away My Phone, I included the song Heart on a Shelf by SEXCoffee because we are sister bands.  Bass player Sharlene De Nardo and guitarist Robert Dumont play in both SEXCoffee and the Dust Ruffles.  They have a fun show happening on November 1.  Check out the show poster below.

SexCoffee Nov 1 2014 show poster

Scarpetti was kind enough to talk about the upcoming harvest bowl.  We would love for you to say you are coming to that event here, or even sign up for the bowl-a-thon here.

HarvestBowlfortheHomeless300dpi-01

Enjoy your day!

Tammy Laforest

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Planning a Benefit

I suddenly find myself with lots of free time.  I have decided I would like to use a good amount of it to help someone other than myself.  I am planning some sort of music benefit to educate the public and raise either money or clothing or some combination of the two for a homelessness organization in Providence, RI.  I have been talking to two, but they need more information before they will agree to meet with me.

banner coat3

I feel like this is a commonly misunderstood population, so education is needed.  Also, winter is coming, and it is cold outside.  The shelters only allow people to stay inside until an early morning hour.  One day I was at the International Institute during a coat distribution.  I had NO IDEA before then of the need for warm clothing.  Not only are there many homeless people without warm clothing, but many refuges arriving every month that come without anything at all.  At that time I owned three coats. I have also had the fun experience of frost bite on my feet since then.  I feel very strongly that anyone who spends any amount of time outside in the winter NEEDS warm socks and boots.

I am also aware that people can become homeless for many reasons including misfortune, mental health problems and addiction, usually combined with a lack of a support network.  Because of these things, it is often very challenging to get out of the rut of homelessness.  I hope to have speakers on these topics.

The planning for this project is in the very early stages.  I need to secure a venue before the charities will meet with me to discuss the project.  Then we will set a date., which will likely be in early November.  Hopefully from there we can get a sound engineer and work out if there will be “vendor” tables and speakers.  I have had many, many musicians and bands volunteer in response to a status update I posted (which should load below).  I need to see who can do  the date we settle on.  Once I have that done, I can start contacting the media.  Maybe my blog readers and Facebook followers will share too.  But first…a venue.

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The Dust Ruffles

There are few things more satisfying in my life than hearing songs I wrote played by a full band. The first few times I had this experience I cried. The only musical thing that tops my current love of the band I play in was hearing my song Copper with cello in it. I had long dreamed of that and it came true. The Dust Ruffles eating junk food Last night the Dust Ruffles got to perform on 95.9 WATD radio. For me this was my first time on FM radio, but the others are experienced professionals. They were probably laughing at me inside as I was saying um and giggling. It was a fun time. We were on for a full hour. We appreciate the people who called in while we were live.

We played a few songs off of my album Copper and one that we wrote together. We have nearly an album of new material that we have been working on together. I am looking forward to playing more of the new songs and not focusing so much on “Tammy Laforest” material. Though, it is sure handy to have a band to back you when you are performing your new album. I’m so grateful. We have a few shows in the works. When they are finalized, you will see them posted on Facebook, reverbnation and my events page.

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My life is a giant question mark

I haven’t blogged in a few days because I’ve been wandering aimlessly wondering what I am supposed to do next. Mostly, I’ve been ruling out options. My husband asked me, “What do you like to do the most?” I said, “My original songs.” And he said, “Then find a way to make money doing that.” I think that is easier said than done.

This week I have done hours of research on PA systems. Long story short, I should only play full band shows in venues with a built in sound system. I can’t afford to upgrade mine to the point where it will be valuable for a full band. It is, however, the perfect PA for acoustic shows. I was going to post an entire blog about what I have and what I learned, but I am not going to. So there. So things are still looking good for being a solo acoustic cover act.

As for bands, the good news is that my original band is so great and that they are also down to play cover band gigs. The bad news is their day jobs and other bands. They are so busy. The good news is that cover band gigs pay which might make it all worthwhile for them. Possibly. We are playing a radio show tomorrow night. We are playing semi-acoustic. That should be interesting.

As for playing at venues with original bands, it is kind of hard. The venues take a gamble having new bands like mine play a show. We haven’t been around enough to have a great draw. I’ve been going in an out of this conversation to discuss with headliners whether or not they want to play shows I am helping set up. It is chaos. I’m just dying to play. I’ve done several open mic this week. They are a good temporary release. I sold two CDs. Balance [-$458.84]

In social media world, I am doing pretty well, but that all feels as pointless as playing with a tamagotchi pet. Twitter followers, Klout score, chart position on Reverbnation… maybe all meaningless. But we will see. We will see.

Demographic

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Actions, not words

I’ve been busy doing what I have been talking about doing all of this time, so I haven’t had time to talk about it.  I know you’ve all been dying to hear from me *winks*  so I am here to give you the long awaited update.

It was a musical weekend.  Dave’s gig on Saturday was happy and successful.  He has been in a super good mood as a result.  It was his first gig in front of an audience with his new band, the Providence World Ensemble.  They played well and had an attentive audience.  The joy from this combined with the joy of getting the weekly Mexican restaurant gig has made him smile and write new songs.  Quite frankly, the man has been walking on clouds.  I have enjoyed watching him.

The Providence World Ensemble

The Providence World Ensemble

On Sunday I played Music For Paws, a benefit show for the Bristol Animal Shelter.  It had been planned for Saturday daytime, but was moved to the rain date of Sunday.  Tracy from the band VulGarrity and Davey Moore of Midday Records and Satellites Fall put on the benefit along with Dusk.  There were many great performers at the night show, several great acoustic artists at the block party, awesome vendors and food trucks.  I had the best hot dog I ever tasted from Elwood’s Dog House.

I love performing.  Few things make me happier than watching someone get really excited because I play both Justin Timberlake AND Britney Spears songs.  If they dance around and sing the words, that is even better.  This happened, so I consider my time at Dusk to be a success.  I also met a bunch of musician’s children, which was awesome.  Every show and every connection can eventually lead to something awesome, so it is good to keep that in mind whenever you are playing a charity gig.  There is also a possibility that I sold copies of Copper on iTunes, but I guess I won’t know that until the end of the quarter.

Yesterday, I worked on another sample website in order to promote my simple band web design.  Here it is: DaveSchneiderMusic.com

The goal behind Dave’s website was to make it as clean and simple as possible, while giving the necessary information needed to direct people toward his video and music samples.  I had to do this with only a handful of photos.  He isn’t a blogger, so his website will serve only as a landing page.  His mailing list and Facebook page will be where people will get more information.  His events and music will update automatically when he updates his Reverbnation account.

What am I going to do today to make myself more successful with music?  I have band practice with the Dust Ruffles tonight.  Our Aug 14 show was postponed, but we will be on WATD radio, 95.5 FM, on Tuesday night, so will need to prepare for that.  I am also going to keep organizing my house and organizing my song book until it is all done.

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Competition

Friday Night

Today* I decided it would be fun to take my children busking with me. I had forgotten that performing music in the sun on the side of the road with children is actually a miserable experience. My husband was on a mission to get a gig for himself at a Mexican restaurant that just opened downtown, so we went along for the ride and he dropped us off nearby. It wasn’t my usual busking area, and people didn’t seem too fond of the idea. We got two dollars and one blew away before someone asked us to switch spots and I realized that one of my daughters looked really unhappy and would scare away any audience anyway. So we gave up and waited for my husband. He got the gig.

My first thought was, “Great. Now if I want to play on Saturdays, we have to hire a babysitter.” It was a bitter-sweet thing for me because I feel like I get stuck at home most of the time. I get bored, you know. I like to feel like I am contributing to the world, to my household, doing something other than saving us 15k a year and teaching my kids everything I know. Instead of sinking into my mini-despair, I will just be competitive, get all of the other gigs and hire babysitters [business expense?] on Saturday nights. This just limits my ability to do anything and everything. Now, I can only take gigs that pay more than I pay the babysitter. Once again, my income can’t always happen because I exist to help us not spend the money in the first place. It makes it a major hurdle in reaching my own personal $12k, and it’s barely been a week!

I am happy that Dave (My husband) got the gig. He plays instrumental songs in the style of flamenco or other kinds of Spanish guitar / world music stuff. He is the perfect background music for a restaurant. This gets us closer to our other goal of getting him more gigs and fewer hours at his day job. He deserves this gig as much as the restaurant deserves having him there to be perfect. This isn’t how I envisioned things, but I will make a way for this to work.

I forfeited the one dollar to the children. They bought gum balls. I’m tired today because I was up late at the open mic last night and the children were jumping all over me early in the morning. My gig for Saturday was moved to Sunday because of rain. My band is playing at Fete on August 14 and I have to sell lots of tickets. I printed some more songs that I want to learn. I now have a list of fifty that I think I could do with a few more hours of practice. I organized my song book a bit more and came here to write this blog, which will post on Saturday even though I wrote it on Friday night.

Saturday Morning

I got a good amount of sleep last night. Between the time I wrote the above blog and my night of sleep, I picked up a book called “Successful Women Think Differently” by Valorie Burton, a certified personal & executive coach. It helped me focus more on my goal than on my setbacks. One encouraging point was knowing that I am not alone. She says on page 9, “Or maybe, just maybe, you feel guilty about your desire for higher levels of success. After all, you’re a woman. Society sometimes sends messages that leave you feeling guilty about looking for success beyond family- the implication being that such success means you are somehow neglecting your family or personal life. It is a pressure men generally do not experience to the same degree.”

successful women think differently

 

Acknowledging the feeling and moving forward toward my goal was a great way to end the night. I discussed my feelings with my husband and asked him to be supportive of my decision to “Go to work” at night. I wouldn’t ask him to go to work late because I need help with cleaning the house of dealing with the kids. I would expect that he would give my jobs the same respect. I am feeling positive.

Another thing that was gnawing at me was the feeling of cramming for a test. I was trying to learn too many songs too quickly. I will take it a little slower and learn them well. Having period of focused practice time would be more effective. I do not have a deadline. Dave is going out to play a show with his band tonight. I will use that time to work on my cover act.

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An awfully pretty little BUSINESS EXPENSE

All of my frugal domestic tasks and money discipline cannot make up for the large purchases that I occasionally make in the spirit of improving my performance on stage. In other words, I bought a guitar this week and my husband is planning to purchase “new” used PA speakers. This very quickly puts us in the negative for my goal of $12,000 this year. Why would I do that?

My acoustic guitar is a really great instrument. It is an Eastman AC312 that I chose from when we owned a music store. It does not have electronics, so I use a Seymour Duncan Woody sound hole pick up. This works pretty well in some circumstances but does not work sufficiently when I play with a loud band. I needed to upgrade my equipment. I’m not one to do this quickly. I have been punching my washing machine for months during every load of laundry to get it to keep working. I say, why replace or repair something that can be easily fixed with a punch? Yes, it is a hassle, but it doesn’t really mess up my life. My clothes are clean and I am just a tiny bit inconvenienced. My guitar, on the other hand, can be a major nuisance in anything other than an acoustic setting, so I was forced to upgrade. I opted to buy an entirely new guitar instead of having a pickup installed, and I put it off for as long as possible.

She's an awfully pretty little BUSINESS EXPENSE.

She’s an awfully pretty little BUSINESS EXPENSE.

I am now the proud owner of a Taylor GS Mini-e RW. It plugs in. It sounds good. It feels great. It is even a smaller scale which works fantastically with my tiny hands. It came with a hard gig bag and was purchased from Guitar Center with a 12% off coupon plus RI tax of 7%. [Business Expense $565] I may or may not sell my Eastman. It is always good to have a backup in case of broken strings, but I have an electric I could use.

The PA speakers we are looking at are a really good name brand and are smaller than the ones we have now. We are considering new PA speakers for the same reason one might buy a snowblower one year. The ones we have are incredibly heavy for me. I’m not a super strong girl, so I have a great deal of trouble setting these up. They are great Peavy SP5G speakers and can handle my band. We plan to sell them after we purchase the new ones, but they will work fine in my practice space in the meantime. The new speakers will also be easier to transport. We won’t have to play car Tetris every time we try to go to shows as a family. This expense hasn’t happened yet, so I am not going to count it.

I played a tiny show last night as a feature at an open mic. I made $47 in tips and sold seven CDs. I am going to count CD sales as both an income and an expense. That way, when I restock, I don’t have to count them as a major blow. I will not count the cost of recording. I spent a LOT of money to get the equipment and software to record my own album before giving up and passing my already done work onto a great producer and engineer to complete. All together that cost me about $6000 and I will have to sell 911 CDs to make it back. So I am not going to count that. I will count the $2.77 that each CD costs me to print and will continue to cost me to have printed again. If I ship one CD, it costs me an additional $3.07. I pay 7% retail tax also. So a $10 cd makes me about $6.58 ($10-$0.65 tax and $2.77 cd cost). Last night I sold seven, so my total income for the night was $93.

Current total business expense $565
Current total income $93
Balance -$472 (and a guitar)

Still not a bad start. I have been told that most businesses take two years to make a profit. Since my blog about my skills, I have also gotten some interest in my web design, tons of social media attention and have partially learned and organized eight cover songs. I have fourteen left to go before I can get money maker gigs.

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