A Special Announcement – Music Means Family House Show #6

Hey everybody, I know it’s almost Monday, and that’s really sad.

Fortunately, I have a really special announcement for everyone.

September 24th. 7:30 PM. Location to be announced shortly. BYOB. Suggested Donation ($10+).

A very intimate acoustic evening with Field Report.

I can’t think of a better way to usher in fall, and all of its wonders. They released one of my favorite albums of 2012, and their live show is incredible. Not only that, but this is a rare opportunity to see them in an incredibly intimate, acoustic setting. You can’t miss this one. If you do, you’re honestly crazy.

This one will fill up, so please RSVP on the Facebook event or via e-mail at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com. I can’t wait to see you there.



take note, there’s still a hole in my heart

My favorite thing about Saturday mornings is putting on a record, grabbing a mug or 4 of coffee, and just taking some time to myself to listen to whatever is moving me at the moment. It’s a way to sort of exorcize the stresses of the week, to forget about the trivial stuff, and to really spend some time taking care of all of the thoughts and ideas I haven’t worked through during the week.

This morning, I can’t stop spinning Volcano Choir’s new album, ‘Repave’. I was lucky enough to see them last night, and this record is just as incredible live as it is recorded. If you haven’t picked it up yet, please do yourself a favor and go grab it. It’s a soundtrack for the fall, a means to shake off the last hazy days of summer and embrace the crisp changing of the seasons. Justin Vernon’s voice is still as entrancing as ever, and, similar to Bon Iver’s eponymous album, there is a constant feeling of introspection and calm that this record brings. Here’s “Comrade”:

I’ve been listening to a ton of other stuff lately as well, and I feel bad I haven’t been sharing it here. So I think I’ll just throw a bunch of great stuff out to you to accompany that Volcano Choir album, and hopefully you find something new (or old) you love this weekend!


I recently acquired a copy of Gregory Alan Isakov’s ‘That Sea, The Gambler’ on vinyl, and I fell in love with this song all over again.


It’s no secret that I love Noah Gundersen, and SerialBox just did a great session of his song ‘Cigarettes’:


It’s almost fall. Which means I’ll be listening to the Field Report album from last year a lot. I love this stripped down session from SXSW earlier this year:


Like I needed another reminder that I wanted to be at Doe Bay – here’s a video of Mikey and Matty with the Passenger String Quartet at this year’s Doe Bay:


To make it clear that I’m ready for fall – here’s an old favorite from Lucy Rose:


Enjoy the rest of your weekend y’all. Also, if you haven’t yet – please come over to facebook.com/MusicMeansFamily, click the ‘Like” button, and check out the upcoming house shows. There are going to be some special ones.

Be well.




House Shows! 3 of them!

I promised I would be announcing a couple more house shows – and I’m here to deliver!

So without further ado:

10/3/13 (8:00p) @ 914 – Hip Hatchet w/ TBA

Philippe Bronchtein (Hip Hatchet) is a stunning, raw talent with a voice that knocks me off my feet whenever I hear it. This will be a great way to usher in October, with whiskey in hand and friends surrounding us. Check out this video from Hip Hatchet earlier this year, and then swing by and check out the Facebook event (http://on.fb.me/1a3MBi6). RSVP at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com


10/11/13 (9:00p) @1858 – Courtney Marie Andrews w/ Erin Rae

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. If you’ve stopped by the blog at all this year, you’ll know how fond I am of Courtney’s album that came out earlier this year, and Erin is a phenomenal talent as well. This one will be at a new venue, and we’ll be doing some things a bit different. Bring a blanket, or pillows, or a lawn/folding chair to sit on. Think candlelight, soft October shadows, and what promises to be an unforgettable evening. A video from each of these stunning songwriters below, and the Facebook link for the event (http://on.fb.me/1447Gq9). RSVP at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com


10/12/13 (9:30p) – Bryan John Appleby (solo)

Again, there are very few words for how excited I am about this. Bryan is one of the finest songwriters around, and the opportunity to see him perform solo in an intimate space has me jumping for joy. The space for this one is yet to be announced, but it’ll be great – I promise. I really can’t wait to see you here. Facebook link (http://on.fb.me/1clOhRB). RSVP at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com


I really do hope to see all of you at each of these. I’ll leave you all with a quote from the best thing I read all week:

“That darkened hall, that holy space, where the face next to you no longer matters. That place where the arms on your wristwatch are meaningless. The hurried things of your life are made common and then invisible by the hovering heaven of strings – suddenly the pedestrian things are made unimportant by the music. Here, in these places, the darkened audience all faces forward watching only one thing: the musicians.”

Building Communities – Or Why I Write This Blog

As I mentioned before – I’ll be announcing a few more house shows over the next week. I just want to say I’m incredibly excited about these, and about many more we’ll be scheduling in the future.

At the last show we did, with Small Houses and Ty Maxon – a friend of mine asked me, “So why do you do these shows? It seems exhausting. What makes it worth it?” I didn’t give this person an answer that I was satisfied with in that moment, and I’ve spent a lot of time over the last week or so really thinking about it. After digging through endless reasons in my head, and weighing their importance in my heart – I realized it all comes down to one thing.

It’s about community. It’s about camaraderie. It’s about shared experience.

I’ve seen hundreds of concerts. I have incredible memories of so many of them. But the one thing that almost always eluded me is a sense of really, truly sharing those memories with the people around me. It’s rare that I could sit down with a stranger next to me after seeing a show at Lincoln Hall, or the Vic, and open one more beer jsut to talk about how incredible the concert we just saw really was. It’s rare that I’d get a chance to chat with the musicians, not as fan and artist, but instead as two people who care deeply about art, music, and the human experience.

With these intimate gallery shows, I feel as if I’ve found a way to open hearts, to create spaces where artists can share their lives and their experiences through their music in a setting where everyone listening is just as invested in the artists themselves. And maybe in those quiet moments, when a few people sneak over to pour themselves another glass of whiskey, the artist can tell us something that they’ve never told an audience before. Or maybe they’ll be able to play a song they haven’t been willing to play for anyone, especially strangers.

Most importantly, I feel these shows are becoming a place where strangers can become friends, and where I have a chance to meet young, talented artists who came out to the show not because they’re trying to make a name for themselves, or connections, but because they really care about music and the people who play it.

It really is about community.

I loathe posting without sharing music, as well as my thoughts – so I wanted to finish this sentiment with a couple songs from artists who I’ve had the fortune of meeting, spending time with, and getting to hear their music because of interactions I’ve had with them in person – not over the internet – which sometimes feels like a minor miracle.


I really hope to see all of you at one of our upcoming shows. It would mean the world to me.






will the light be enough to see/will the love be gone…

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of hosting the 2nd Music Means Family House Show, with the talented Small Houses, as well as Chicago local Ty Maxon.

On this particular quiet, August evening, as the last rays of sun disappeared behind the Chicago skyline, we sipped ice-cold beer and watched two wonderful musicians, sweat pouring down their brows, capture the attention of everyone in the beautiful gallery space at 914 N. California.

Small Houses - Music Means Family

Small Houses – Music Means Family

We had the pleasure of hearing a slew of new songs, as well as old favorites from both Small Houses and Ty, and each song was as spellbinding as the last. If you have a chance to catch Ty before he holes up to record his new record, or Jeremy (Small Houses) as he traverses the U.S. and Europe before settling down to record, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t go.

Ty Maxon - Music Means Family

Ty Maxon – Music Means Family

I had the pleasure, with the help of the wonderful Lev Kalmens and Dan Kolen, of getting some exceptional photos and video of this evening. Here’s a bunch (more) of those photos, courtesy of Lev – video will be up soon!

Small Houses - Music Means Family

Small Houses – Music Means Family

I’ll be announcing 3 or 4 more house shows over the next two weeks – and I’m really excited about them. Check back often!

Ty Maxon - Music Means Family

Ty Maxon – Music Means Family

I can’t tell you enough how grateful I am for the opportunity to put on these shows. Everyone who has performed, who has showed up to watch, who have helped out in countless ways. Thank you.

Small Houses - Music Means Family

Small Houses – Music Means Family

And again – to Jeremy and Ty – thank you. There was no better way to spend a late summer evening.

Can’t wait to see everyone at the next house show!



Upcoming Albums – Part Two

Of course, the minute I post a list of albums I’m really, really excited about – I’m reminded of a bunch more albums that are coming out that I’m really, really excited about. So, with no further ado – a couple more (and don’t forget to look at yesterday’s post!):

1. Caroline Smith – Half About Being a Woman

For anyone who follows my blog, I’ve been pretty vocal about my support of Caroline, her incredible musicianship, and her stunning stage presence. I remember sitting in The Hideout earlier this year, eyes closed, beer in hand, and just letting the sublime power of Caroline’s voice wash over me, lost in her incredible storytelling. Jump over to their Kickstarter, donate, get a free download of the new single “Magazine”, and be incredibly happy. This one’s definitely worth it. If you need a brief reminder, just watch this video of the title track, which I’ve posted before:


2. The Avett Brothers – Magpie and the Dandelion

There’s never a bad time to be excited about The Avett Brothers, and the new single from their upcoming album reminds me of some of their earlier albums, which hold an unquestionable place in my heart. It’s rare that I don’t find myself listening to at least one Avett Brothers song a day – so a new album sounds like the perfect thing for fall. Listen to ‘Another is Waiting’ over at NPR. Trust me.


3. Basia Bulat – Tall Tall Shadow

I saw Basia Bulat play at Schuba’s earlier this year, and she really is enchanting. She brings me out of my head, which is always welcome – and her music makes me feel as if I’m sitting in a chair along a river somewhere peaceful. Not a bad thing to have come out in the midst of what will inevitably be a busy fall, eh? Listen to the first single below:


I’m sure I’ll have to amend this even more as time goes on – there are so many albums that I’m beyond excited about this fall.