Tour Diary March 31 to April 1 

We leave early-ish, around 9:30 in the morning, on Friday, which gives us around 11 hours to get to our show in Phoenix at 8. It’s only a 5 and a half hour drive, but I’m giving us time for traffic, to get lost, and it looks like there’s some record stores not too far from where we’re playing that I’m hoping to have time to check out if we do have time.
The extra time budgeted becomes useful almost immediately because we’re a half-hour out and Ron realizes he’s forgotten his boots, so we turn around and go back for them. Otherwise he’d be playing gigs in beat up tennis shoes and that’s just not rock and roll. So we lost an hour right there.
We drive and drive and drive, listening to music, taking pictures of the scenery. We love a good road trip. Not too far outside of Phoenix we hit some ugly traffic that adds a good amount of time to our drive. Plus we have to stop a few times along the way to stretch our legs. We get to Phoenix around 5, which is just a little too late to eat dinner AND go record shopping, so we skip the record stores and meet The Fallen Stars for dinner at a place called 5 &Diner. It’s a super cute old 50s style diner with an excellent patty melt.
Then we head to the venue, Fiddler's Dream Coffeehouse. Bobbo played here not long ago on his trip to SXSW and not only were they nice enough to have him back so soon, but they were kind enough to let us play as well. The audience is small, but wonderfully attentive. There’s a little boy there who’s maybe 6 years old, who is out for his first experience seeing live music tonight. I give him a sticker and honestly feel more than a little happy to be part of his first live music experience. I’m not going to get too emotional or precious about live music, but at the same time I’m not going to downplay how important it is.
FIddler’s Dream is a small room and we play totally unplugged. It’s intimate, like playing in someone’s living room. And I love every minute of it. It’s getting back to my roots as a choir singer. We never used microphones or PAs the way I grew up singing, just listened to each other and blended. We play our set and on the break Bobbo has set up a toaster and people make raisin toast with Irish butter.
Then the Fallen Stars play. They’re just as fantastic as they always are. I’ve honestly run out of ways to say how great the two of them are when they play together. After the show we talk a bit with Nia (who runs Fiddler’s Dream and is such a kind and generous person), we sell a few CDs, and we chat for a bit. Suddenly it’s almost 11:30 and we still have to drive to Tucson, which is an hour and 40 minutes or so away. So we finish packing up and hit the road.
We get to our hotel at somewhere between one and two AM. I’m not sure anymore. Hotel McCoy Tucson is freaking adorable. It’s an old motor lodge that they’ve turned into an art hotel. Each room has artwork from local artists, which is available for commission-free sale. They have bios of the artists in the room as well. The outside walls are covered with murals. The breakfast is an oatmeal bar and pop tarts. There’s a bar with local beer and wine. The whole thing is just too cute for words and I wish we could spend more time there.
But we basically are here to crash. I wake up at 6 am from a stress dream, because my subconscious is a jerk. I can’t get back to sleep so I go grab some breakfast and let Ron sleep in until the “decadent” hour of 8:30. I wish we could both get more sleep but we have to get ready and we want to run our set for the Tucson Folk Festival and check out is at 11 and, and, and... I do feel bad he doesn’t get to sleep more, since he did all the driving yesterday.
We check in at the festival around noon or so. We’re not playing until 2:30, so we have some time to walk around, see some other acts, and meet up with Bobbo and Tracy again, who are playing just before us on the same stage. We see a great mariachi band on the main stage and hear a lot of other beautiful music while walking around.
The weather is absolutely gorgeous, but it’s so dry. I check my weather app and the humidity is 7%. (For the record, that is drier than we keep the room where we freeze-dry things at work). I can’t drink enough water. I’m too much of a delicate flower for this much desert. Tucson and the desert in general has its own beauty, but I could not do it long term.
The staff at the festival are just fantastic. They help us when we’re confused about parking. They are great at managing the stages and getting all the acts on and off quickly. Our sound guys are amazing. We’re not worried about sound at all because every band before us sounds great. We watch the Fallen Stars play, and again, I’m out of ways to say how much they rock it, but they do.
I see Peggy in the audience and give her a wave. I think she thinks I don’t recognize her when she’s waving at me, but I’m mostly just in my own anxieties at this point. There are more people out in front of that stage than I think we’ve ever played for and I’m trying not to get in my head about it but I’m not being very successful. I wanted to tell her hi properly afterwards, but I couldn’t find her.
We get up on stage and after a quick sound check, we’re playing. It takes me about halfway through the first song to relax into it and let go of my anxiety. And I think we do a pretty good job. In a lot of respects it’s the exact opposite of last night’s show—large audience vs small, amplified vs not, a little removed from the audience vs intimacy. But the important things are the same. The staff of both venues are amazing and that the audiences are 100% with us—they’re really listening and we’re so grateful to be playing for them.
Afterward, we sell a CD (as Bobbo would say, making fans the old-fashioned way, one person at a time). We have an early dinner with Bobbo and Tracy and Tracy’s parents (who are just lovely people) and a couple friends of Tracy and Bobbo’s. We eat at a Mexican place with really good shrimp enchiladas and margaritas. Then Ron and I head back home. It’s an almost eight hour drive. Tracy’s parents kindly offer to let us stay on their couch, but I really just want to be in my own bed so we decide to make the haul.
I drive the first bit (because Ron had a margarita and I did not) and we switch after a few hours. It’s a pretty easy drive to be honest; it’s late enough and a Saturday, so we don’t really hit any traffic. We do get a little punchy and silly by the time we hit Riverside; I’m watching hair metal videos and describing the ridiculousness to Ron because I will never not find those kinds of 80s music videos funny, but they’re extra funny at midnight after a long exhausting day.
We get home a little before 2am and literally collapse into bed. But I don’t care how tired I am or that we put 1000 miles on my car in two days. This was a great weekend.

Tour Diary--Friday, March 10, 2023 through Saturday, March 11, 2023 

Tour Diary, Friday 03/10/2023-Saturday 03/11/2023

This weekend was a rollercoaster. We'd been planning this little mini-tour up the coast with our friend Doug Schmude for a while and we were really looking forward to it. The weekend did not go exactly 100% as planned, but really these things never do and in the end we had a great time and played some great shows and that's all that matters.
Doug picks us up around 8:30 on Friday morning. We toss our guitars and luggage and such in the back of his SUV thing and hit the road. It's raining. This will be important later. We luckily don't hit too much traffic and we make really good time, even though it's raining. And raining. And raining. We're not really worried about any of it; we don't have to be at the Lost Chord in Solvang for sound check until 5:00 and it's really only a 3-ish hour drive away.
We stop in Summerland for lunch at one of my favorite places, the Summerland Beach Cafe. It's a kind of quaint old house turned into a restaurant. Jonathan Winters used to hang out there a lot and the food is good. It's pouring, but we find close parking, so it's not that big a deal. We get to Solvang around 2pm and it is still raining (are you sensing a theme?).
Solvang is an adorable little town that was initially founded by Danish folks and most of it's economy is tourism; people coming to enjoy the quaint buildings, bakeries that sell Danish cookies and pastries, and wine tasting. We're staying at the Viking Inn and they're nice enough to let us check in early. The room is small but nice and clean and quaint like the rest of the town. Once we get all five guitars in there though, it does feel a little cozy. 

We go for a walk with our umbrellas and the normally pretty full streets of the tourist areas of Solvang are basically empty. Not a great sign. Ron ends up buying a new hat at the leather shop in town, because sometimes you just need a new hat. The rain is tapering off a little bit. We go back to the hotel and I am going to lie down a bit before sound check, because I have a little headache. 
Doug goes out to get a snack but comes back not three minutes later with bad news. He's gotten email from the venue that with the weather being what it is, they are going to cancel the show. We're heart-broken. All I've ever heard is great things about Lost Chord, so I've been super excited to play there. Doug emails the owner and after a little bit of back and forth, and because the rain is clearing up, he agrees to have the show back on. Soundcheck is a little delayed but other than that we're ready to go.
The room sounds amazing. Chris, the owner, designs sound studios for a living and he's designed Lost Chord specifically for sound and he's done a perfect job. And Ben, the sound guy, is absolutely fantastic at his job as well. Lost Chord has to be one of the best-sounding rooms I've ever played. They also have a nice little green room for us with a kettle and tea, and if you want to make me happy, offer me a cup of tea. (We also managed to get locked into the green room by accident for about five minutes which was fun.) There are some absolutely gorgeous guitars on the wall that I want to play but am simultaneously afraid to touch, so I don't even ask.
We play the first set and it goes pretty well. There's a steady stream of people coming in and out, probably a total crowd of 20 or 25ish people throughout the night. That's not bad for a rainy day in California. Everyone is into the music though. It's definitely a listening room, even though there's a bar and a little bit of talking from the audience. (Fun fact: Dave, the bartender for the night, is also the mayor of the nearby city of Buellton.) Doug and plays dobro with us on Water's Edge, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite things. Water's Edge is probably my favorite song we do and the dobro just adds so much to it.
Doug plays his set next and of course he's just as great as he always is. It's a treat to listen to him. I love how different our songs are but how we both still make sense on the same bill. We play our last set together and Sadie the dog, who is apparently a regular at Lost Chord keeps running up onto stage, which we are told means she likes our music. It is distracting in the best way possible. We play some of Doug's songs and some of our songs all together and we close out the night with "Return of the Grievous Angel."
After we're done packing up and loading out it's almost midnight. We are starving, because we didn't get a chance to eat before playing, aside from some random snacks. And very little is open in Solvang after around 9pm. We get two recommendations--trying a saloon that's open late that might have a late night kitchen or going to the nearby casino food court. The saloon is a bust; the second we walk up we can see it's more of a party/dancing bar than like a pub or something. The kitchen is closed so unless we want a liquid dinner, it's off to the casino, where we eat okay-but-not great pizza, but we don't care because it is hot food. We head back to the hotel and collapse into bed, exhausted, but in the good way that comes from playing a good show.
We wake up late-ish on Saturday morning and eat breakfast at Paula's Pancake House, which has the best Danish pancakes and is Ron's favorite place to eat in Solvang. Then we get on the road to Ventura. The day is a little cloudy, but it's not raining. But there was a mudslide on 101 and part of it is down to one lane, so we follow GPS and go up in the hills through Ojai. It's longer distance-wise, but faster. We stop in Ojai, which is a cool little town with a pretty good art and music scene. We walk around for a bit and stop in to talk to some venues that might be interested in having us play there. It's easier to make these connections in person.
Then I see an email from NAMBA, which is the venue where we're supposed to play Saturday night. They haven't sold many tickets and are thinking of cancelling the show. I laugh because if I don't I will cry, and then I tell Doug and Ron the situation. I call Doc, who booked us and we talk a little bit about what we've done to promote the show--Ron and I had driven to Ventura last week to put up fliers and I'd posted about it on all our social media and our mailing list. They agree to let us continue and we just have to hope for some walkups.
NAMBA is a cool space. It's a non-profit that hosts all kinds of performance arts, from dance to improv to youth theatre to music performances and they even have classes for the community. Ron and I start having major theatre flashbacks because there's an actual "backstage" with curtains blocking the audience and a green room with makeup mirrors and random cue sheets left over from another performance. 
Gavin, who is running our sound and lights is great and like the Lost Chord, NAMBA is a great-sounding space. We end up with about seven people attending, which is not a ton, but I tell Tamara, the director, that we will give them the best show we can. You always play to who is there and give it your all. I'll take a tiny but engaged audience over large but not paying attention any day. She seems happy with that and then says that they do like education as part of the program so if we could talk about our music and influences that would be great.
Doug plays first this time and even though they're quiet, I can tell they're into him. He has someone come up and play Vibraslap for him during "All Along the Watchtower" and the guy is totally a good sport about it. 
We play next and again, it's a quiet house, but a friendly one. Now that I'm not backstage, I can see the smiling faces and the toes tapping. They're treating it more like a theatre performance and that's okay. We get a few laughs when we make some of our jokes and I tell the longer story behind Jenny Lynn about Hans Christian Anderson and his unrequited love and I talk about Gram Parsons. Someone in the audience actually knows the song "Sylvia's Mother" and knows that Shel Silverstein wrote the lyrics. So this audience is definitely our people.
Once again we're starving after we load out. We decide we need a rule that we have got to be better about eating before the shows. We find a pub that is serving food and have Irish pub food, whiskey (me and Ron) and Guinness (Doug). Now that the weekend is over, we can't stop laughing about all the stress, how both shows went from cancelled to uncancelled so quickly and the emotional whiplash. We are so grateful in both cases that we got to perform and we had a great time both times. Doug drives us home, we unload all our stuff from his car, and we get into bed just a little before the clocks spring forward for daylight savings time.

Sorta Touring Diary, Crazy Weekend Edition (02/08/2023-02/12/2023) 

This is a few days after the fact, because this is how long it's taken me to recover from the travel. It was a crazy few days. I'm just gonna take it day by day.

On Wednesday the 8th we play a 30-minute set at the Mamba in Huntington Beach. The place is more crowded than it usually is on a Wednesday night; there are a ton of folks playing pool. It's a good crowd; even though they aren't really there for the music they're enjoying it. If you can't play a listening room, a loud venue where people are digging your music is the next best thing.

But I am exhausted at this show. I had worked an overnight shift the night before and am light on sleep. It can be hard to find the energy to perform when you're underslept, but "finding the energy to perform when you're tired as heck" was kind of the theme of this weekend.

Thursday night the 9th we open Bobbo's CD Release Party at The Harp Inn Irish Pub in Costa Mesa. It's a great night! There are cookies and a great crowd. We play a bunch of our originals and Tracy makes us a visual journal of our setlist, which is the coolest thing ever. I don't know why it tickles me so much, except that I'm not really a visual person, I am a words person, and I am always impressed by people who can express things through visuals.

After we play, The Fallen Stars get up and play most of the songs on Bobbo's CD, "October". They're amazing, as is usual with them. It's an interesting performance too, because Bobbo's new CD is all him and one guitar and an E-Bow so the arrangements are pretty stripped down. This show he had Tracy and Matt with him on bass and drums, so the songs are arranged a little differently--a lot more rock and roll. It's cool to hear that new take on them. (By the way, if you haven't gotten Bobbo's new album "October" you really need to get a copy. It's gorgeous.)

The show ends around ten and we hang around a bit saying hi to everyone. But we have to go soon. We have a show on Friday that is a ways away. We have decided that rather than get up early and drive all day and then try to perform, we're going to drive to my dad's tonight, which is kind of a halfway point, get some sleep, and then drive the rest of the way tomorrow. This fits our natural sleep patterns better--we're both more night owls than early birds. We head home, pack up our PA, and then hit the road, hopped up on some caffeine.

At some point we stop at a truck stop Denny's for pancakes and coffee. Aside from us, the waitress and the cook are the only people there. The waitress is straight out of a 50's diner; an older lady who calls us "sweetheart" and "hon" and keeps our coffee cups full without us even asking. We get to my dad's so late it might as well be called early and get about five hours of sleep before we wake up to eat breakfast and get back on the road.

We drive up and up and up the mountains on I-80 through Donner Pass. The roads are clear, but you can tell it's been snowing a lot recently. The piles of dirty plowed snow on the sides of the road are taller than I am by a lot.

We get Quincy somewhere between three or four pm. We grab an early dinner of fish and chips at a brewery and then go to the Drunk Brush to unload and set up. We love playing this place. The people are so nice, they always have made us feel at home, and they have a really nice room for us to stay upstairs. (It's always the best when they put you up and you don't have to drive home after a long gig that’s far from home).

While we're setting up the PA a woman tells us we need more light and brings some twinkle lights from her car and sets them around us. It does help; the corner we are in is kind of dark.
This is a long gig and we play a lot more covers than normal. It's just that kind of night. There's a lot of regulars; I even recognize some faces from last time we played here and they remember us and it's a nice feeling. The bar is noisy, but again, people are listening and clapping and getting really into. We even get one person line dancing when we play some Dwight Yoakam. (Is it line dancing if it’s only one person? I don’t know, but I know the steps are a line dance, so I guess it counts). Ron gets a tip specifically for his harmonica playing even though his G Harp is on its last legs. We need to buy another one before our next show.

When the show is over and we break down the PA, we both realize we are starving. The bar has given us an amazing bottle of Zinfandel to take up to our room, but we didn’t really eat much of our dinner (the food was good, just nerves) and playing a three-hour show is a lot of work and takes a lot of energy out of you. But it's almost eleven and nothing is open except the Safeway. (My one real problem with small towns is that they do not cater to my late-night lifestyle!) Ron makes a mad dash to the grocery store and comes back with some sandwiches and chips. It’s not the pizza that I am suddenly very much in the mood for, but it is food and it’s good and that’s good enough for me.

When we wake up on Saturday morning, it hasn't snowed in Quincy, but the roads we need to take home are snowed over. They are being plowed but chains are required and driving in chains is miserable. Ron and I are not snow birds. I love the way snow looks, I don’t even mind the cold, but I don’t want to drive in it. We wait it out until noon and while we see the roads getting clearer and chain controls gradually going away according to the CHP, we decide to go a longer way home that won't take us through the pass. It adds an hour to the trip but takes about a year's worth of anxiety off of my life.

We get go to a cute café and split an order of eggs, bacon, and French toast with poppy seeds for breakfast/lunch. The food is fantastic. Then we drive for a few hours and get to my dad's just in time for family dinner with all my brothers and sisters and most of my nieces and nephews. It's noisy and chaotic and fun. But also, I want to sleep. Pretty much the second the last family member leaves, I'm in my pajamas and ready for bed. It's just been a long few days.

Sunday morning we get up and have breakfast with my dad and grandfather and my sister and my three youngest nieces and nephews and then we head out on the road home. It’s a smooth journey, but boy it is lucky for me and Ron that we both like road trips, because even with that we are both about done with being in the car. We make it home and kind of crash once everything is unloaded. 
This is the kind of weekend that makes people go “Why would you do that? It’s crazy.” But I have no regrets. I’d rather make music than do pretty much anything else and if I have to sacrifice some sleep to do it, it’s worth it for me. 

February Update 

It's February, which is a very special month for us Birds. Three years ago this month is when we released our first EP. And even more importantly, thirteen years ago this month is when we first started playing music together. We didn't call ourselves "The Odd Birds" yet, but that's when we were first hatched, as it were. 

We have some shows coming up in the next few weeks that we'd love to see you at. 

Wednesday, February 8th we're at The Mamba in Huntington Beach playing a showcase with some talented folks. We're kicking off the night at 7pm; the music goes until 10 or so. 

Thursday, February 9th we're honored to be opening at for our friend Bobbo Byrnes at The Harp Inn in Costa Mesa as he celebrates the release of his new album, October. It's a school night, so we're starting at 7pm again, with Bobbo going on at 8. 

Friday, February 10th we're back up in Quincy, California at The Drunk Brush Wine Bar. We're going to be playing there from 7 to 10. The Drunk Brush is a great venue, with amazing wine, so if you're up that way come out to see us. 

And Friday, February 17th we're playing at The Den (formerly The Gypsy Den) in Santa Ana from 7:30 - 9:30pm. The Den is actually the first place the two of us ever played together for an audience at their Monday open mic. We're really excited to be coming full circle and getting to be back on that beautiful stage for a full night of music. 

We'd love to see you at any or all of these shows. 

We have some great stuff in the works for 2023, so make sure you're following us on all our social media (FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Youtube) for the latest news about what we're up to.

We Spoke too Soon, We have More Shows! 

It looks like we spoke too soon when we said we were out for the year. Ron's hand is healing much faster than we thought and we have a few shows booked before the end of the year. 

Tuesday November 22, 5:30-8:30pm 
Campus JAX Singer-Songwriter Showcase 
3950 Campus Drive 
Newport Beach, CA 92660 

Saturday December 3, 6-9pm 
Beach Hut Deli Huntington Beach 
19025 Beach Blvd 
Huntington Beach, CA 92648 

Monday December 5, 8:15pm 
On Michaela Compton's Ground Zero Radio Show (KOCI FM Radio, FM 101.5) 

Sunday December 11, 2pm 
Patchwork Show, Ventura 
Downtown Ventura at Main and California 
Ventura, CA 93001 

We'd love to see you at any and all shows and we're working hard at booking shows for the new year. We may even have a tour in the works. 

Hope you have wonderful holidays.

Hand Surgery and KOCI Radio 

If you've been following our Facebook page this year, you might know that Ron had surgery on his right hand earlier this year for his trigger finger. Once he healed, we were having a great time getting to play again, until his left hand started having the same issues on his thumb and two of his other fingers. This was actually a worse problem than his right hand, because Ron's right handed, meaning his left hand is the hand that does all the fretting work. This requires a lot of hand strength and dexterity and his trigger finger was making it almost impossible.

We got to the point where we were planning set lists around what songs he could play with the least amount of pain and we had to face the fact that he needed to get another surgery.

He got it done a few days ago and he has been healing really well, but the recovery time does mean that unfortunately we're probably not going to be doing any more live performances in 2022. We will however be on Michaela Compton's Ground Zero show on KOCI on December 5 at 8:15pm. We'll be talking some music and playing some songs live. So tune in then!

Tour Recap: Quincy California and Modesto 

It's a few days late, but here's our recap of this weekend's trip! 

Friday, May 20 

We plan to leave for my dad’s house in the morning, but first we have to pack the car. I drive a Prius C, which is the tiniest Prius you can have, so it’s a bit of a challenge to fit three guitars, a PA, cables, mic stands, speaker stands, guitar stand, and all the other STUFF you have to bring along to make a show happen.* We’ve done this enough that we’re pretty good at it, but this is the first time we’ve had to bring overnight bags, so there’s another layer of difficulty. But Ron and I love a good puzzle and between his excellent spatial reasoning and my mad Tetris skills, we manage to pack and get on the road only a little later than we planned to. 

I’ve made the drive up Highway 99 approximately 1000 times. We play “Streets of Bakersfield” as we pass Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, we stop at Bravo Farms Cheese Factory to stretch our legs, we talk about songwriting as farmland rolls past us. The benefit of driving during the day is that the silage smell is usually better than at night. 

We get to my dad’s house just in time for dinner. My brothers have brought their kids, so we have a full house, even though the kids only account for half my nieces and nephews. Four small children always somehow manage to seem like twenty. We have kebabs and rice for dinner and ice cream and watermelon for dessert. 

Ron and I want to run a few things before our show tomorrow, so after my brothers take their respective kids home, my dad gets a little bit of a private concert. (Although listening to rehearsal isn’t always super entertaining, what with all the stopping and starting and nitpicking about tempos and running lead breaks three or four times. But he seems to enjoy it). We unload the important things from the car (because the first rule of being a musician is “Don’t leave your gear in the car” and head to bed early-ish, because we know tomorrow is going to be a long day. 

Saturday, May 21 

We wake up and have pancakes with my dad. I introduce him to the show “The Good Place” which is one of my favorite things I’ve watched in the past few years (and something I highly recommend if you haven’t watched it). We load the car and start the drive into Quincy. 

It’s about a four hour drive. Once we start heading into the hills on Highway 70 the drive gets really pretty. We pass through a bunch of small towns, a lot of them founded around the time of the gold rush. Once we get through Butte Valley, I realize we probably should have stopped for lunch there, because it’s almost 2pm, we’re about 2 hours from Quincy, and the map is telling me there isn’t much else on the way. But we don’t want to turn around, so we figure that worst case scenario we’ll eat before the show somewhere in Quincy. 

But after about an hour we pass a tiny cafe called The Rock House on the side of the road. We decide to stop. The sign says “Open 8 to 3 or sometimes later” so we pop our heads in and ask. The owner tells us that yes, today is one of the days they’re open later. They’re having live music tonight. We tell her we’re playing too, up in Quincy. She tells me to let her know when we’re in the area next and exchange information. She tells us a little bit about the cafe and how she and her husband lost their house in the Camp Fire a few years ago. Part of the cafe also burned, but they were lucky and didn’t lose the whole thing. 

We order a pizza because I don’t really want a sandwich and it’s surprisingly good. After the cafe, the road starts following the Feather River. It’s a beautiful drive, but it’s narrow and in a lot of parts there’s a pretty steep drop into the river on the side of the road and not much shoulder. We listen to Paul Kelly and wind our way along the river. We can see evidence of past wildfires up on the hills, but amazingly a lot of the partially charred trees are still alive. 

Quincy is a cute little town with a bigger art scene than you would expect in somewhere so out of the way. We get to The Drunk Brush Wine Bar at a little after 5. Kaline, the bartender, is super helpful as we start to set up. We’re playing outside and the best part about that, aside from the beautiful weather, is that we can pull the car right up to the patio and unload with minimal carrying. (Carrying gear is the worst part of this job). 

The audience is apparently a smaller crowd than usual; there’s a class reunion happening and a kids production of Peter Pan Junior drawing people away. But, as someone smart once told me, you play for the audience you have. And the people there are engaged and seem to like us. It wasn’t our strongest night musically (but not in a “we were bad” way, just in a “I know we’ve played better than this before” way) and people even get up and dance to some of our songs, which is surprising. We even sell a few CDs. 

The worst part of the night is that I forgot to bring bug spray and I get about fifteen new mosquito bites. I can see them landing on me and biting me, but I’m playing guitar so I can’t swat them off. (Mosquitos love me. If we’re ever hanging out after dark and there are mosquitos around, you’re welcome in advance, because they’re going to bite me and leave you alone). 

We talk to a couple of folks who are also in a band and I try to explain what a Nashville guitar is to one of them. I don’t think I do a very good job of it, but she plays it a little bit while we’re on the break (with my permission) and she thinks it sounds cool. 

After we break down, Riccardo, the owner (who is wearing a fantastic Hawaiian shirt), brings us each a glass of wine and he tells us we should definitely come back. We chat and relax and suddenly it’s midnight. We have a four-hour drive back home and definitely did not mean to stay this late. We decide to take the slightly longer road home because it’s less windy and not on the side of a cliff. Country roads are dark and twenty extra minutes is worth the safer drive. We put on some Dan Tyminski and begin the drive back. We’re both starving, so we eat leftover pizza. The car is really starting to look like a touring car, with a pizza box on the dashboard and empty water bottles. I fall asleep in the car by the time we hit Truckee. When we get home it’s about 4:30 in the morning and we collapse into bed.

Playing at The Drunk Brush

Sunday, May 22 

I drag myself out of bed at about 9:30. My Dad has gone to mass, but he’s left us donuts from We Donuts, which is a local shop we’ve been going to ever since I can remember. It’s owned by a Korean couple and it never closes and it has the best donuts. It’s my weekend nostalgia. Ron gets up and we’re running late and we’re tired. We get coffee to wake us up and drive over to the house we’re playing at for Modesto Porchfest. 

Our hosts are Shy and her husband Nathan and their adorable daughter Gemma. They’re super welcoming and helpful. Shy has an adorable yard, with tons of shade, which is great because it’s warm out. We set up and we’re getting some weird PA buzzing noise that we can’t get rid of. And of course we’re running a little late and we’re a little pressed for time. Tech problems never happen when you’re early. We decide to live with it, but then Ron does one last thing to the PA and suddenly the problem is fixed. 

We get a pretty good crowd on the lawn, although to be fair a good number of them are my family (one of my brothers and sisters-in-law, both of my sisters, my youngest sister’s boyfriend, my dad, and various nieces and nephews). A friend from high school also comes out, and we haven’t seen each other in years, so that was really cool. But we also get strangers stopping and listening. We play for an hour and half without taking a break, because time just kind of goes, as it does when you’re having fun. 

We pack up the car and go back to my dad’s house where we have cake for my sister’s birthday. The littlest kids become chocolate monsters and run around in the backyard until naptime. We clean out the car and then we head back home from Modesto. It’s been a long weekend, but a really, really good one. 

Playing at Porchfest

*I am not complaining about my car’s size. We drove a lot this weekend–from our house to Modesto (347 miles), Modesto to Quincy (222 miles), Quincy to Modesto (245 miles–we took the longer way home because it was less winding and less on the side of hill close to a river that would be a watery grave if we misjudged a turn in the dark), and then Modesto to home (347 miles). For those of you playing at home, that’s 1161 miles. Or a third of the way across the United States. I am glad for the excellent gas mileage I get.

Shoutout LA Feature 

Image Description: A nonbinary person with curly brown hair (with some white streaks) playing guitar.I sat down with Shoutout LA to talk about the band and how we are able to persist through all of the times that the world and the music industry are discouraging. If you've ever tried to create, it can be really discouraging when you don't get positive responses and life is full of people who will tell you no or that you're not good enough. And those are voices that can be hard to shake. So I talk about what helps keep me going. This is especially relevant now since the pandemic really hurt live music. A lot of venues have closed or are slow to bring back live music, so it's been an even bigger struggle than before to get heard.

I also talk about some of the best things to do in Southern California, in my opinion anyway, so if you ever come to visit you have some ideas of where to start.

You can check out the article here. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Comment or email us on our contact page.

Happy Holidays! 

We played our last gig of 2021 this weekend. It was up in Silverado Canyon at their annual Christmas in the Canyons event. Before COVID, Ron and I would sometimes spend a Sunday afternoon driving in the canyons of the Santa Ana Mountains. We usually stopped to visit the local nature preserve in Modjeska Canyon (right next to Silverado Canyon) to say hi to the birds and take pictures. Some of our earliest gigs were benefits for that nature preserve, back before we were even technically “The Odd Birds.” Playing in a secluded canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains this weekend felt a little bit like coming full circle, but in a way that let us see how much we’ve grown. 

We’ve come really far from the days when we couldn’t think of a name and were too intimidated to play any original songs. We played more gigs in 2021 than ever before. We released our second album and people actually played our songs on the radio. They actually asked us to come talk about our songs on the radio. We did our first real tour and it was on a whole other continent! 

And best of all we got to meet and connect with so many new people. We were lucky enough to eat cake and trade stickers and share stories and drink the most disgusting shot we’ve ever tasted with you. (Okay, maybe that last one was not so lucky but it’s an experience I won’t forget). 

It’s a cliché and an understatement to say that 2020 was a difficult year. And for a lot of people, us included, 2021 was equally challenging. But we also had a lot of great things happen for us this year and every single one of them was because of you. We want to thank you all so much for your kindness and support and we hope to get to see more of you and share more with you next year. 

Happy Holidays and we hope your 2022 is better than any year you’ve ever had before.

Back in the US 

Hi all,

We are back!  We got back to the US on October 1st.  We had an amazing time in Germany.  If you want to check out our touring stories, you can look at our Facebook page, where I did daily updates.  We even came home with a lovely new odd bird from one of our listeners.

Hands holding a small beige colored carved wooden bird.
We also played our first show back in the US on Sunday.  Here's a recap for you in case you missed it:

October 10, 2021--Show recap 

We're playing today at Gallagher's, which is a new-to-us venue (it's definitely not a new venue; I'm pretty sure it's a Huntington Beach staple). I've never even been there, not even to see a band. When we walk in, I immediately feel trepidation. We are way not cool enough and way too folky for this bar. This bar is dive-y. This is not a snobbery thing. I like going to dive bars to see bands or have a drink, I'm just reticent about actually playing dive bars. We have played dive bars before and we have never gone over that well. There was one in particular--the only bar I've ever been into that was so gross I didn't want to touch anything--where I was pretty sure people were going to start doing that thing where they yell at you to get off the stage. The energy coming from the crowd was that hostile. We had no business playing there (I'm still not sure what the person setting up that show was thinking, to be honest). Not every artist is a fit for every venue. 

But we are here and it's supposed to be an acoustic singer/songwriter thing, so I'm being optimistic. It's a pretty standard format--bands each get a half-hour set, with ten minutes to change over. The first band is scheduled at three and then we are supposed to go on at 3:40. We get there at about a quarter to three and the first band, The Brother Jonathan, is doing their sound check. It's four guys-a lead singer/guitar player, a bassist with a gorgeous stand-up electric bass, an electric guitarist, and a percussionist. They end up starting a little late; there's a lot of them and so I think it took the sound guy a bit to dial them in. And they sound fantastic. Really tight, gorgeous harmonies, and really cool songs. They play a Hoyt Axton song that I haven't heard in ages, and that's right up our alley. This makes me relax a little bit, because even though we don't sound the same as bands, we make sense being on the same bill. And people are into them, so at least on Sunday afternoons, this is a venue where we fit. We talk a bit after their set and they are also very nice people, which is awesome. 

We play next and it feels pretty good. I think touring helped us get a real jump in the quality of our performance. There's things you can only fix in front of an audience--performance things, not musical things. And when you're playing with only a day or two between shows, you're able to focus on and fix those things a lot easier than if you're next show is in two weeks. Anyway, I get thrown a few times during our set by people just kind of being there, which always mucks up my playing, but I'm getting better at not getting distracted and at recovering when things do go a little bit to hell. (Audiences can really distract me--it's a failing of mine. I play a lot better when there's no one to see me--which is a claim that I can make but frustratingly never prove.) I do feel a little bit all over the place tempo and meter-wise and I'm pretty sure drummer sitting at the bar is judging me a little bit (it's okay Mr. Drummer--I'm judging me too!). Overall it's a good set for us. People seem to enjoy it and Ron's leads sound great and we feel really together vocally. 

Bobbo plays the next set. Neither of us was aware that the other was playing this gig until a couple days after we booked it. We've just done a bunch of shows together and now our first show in the US is together. We are shockingly not tired of each other's faces or music. Bobbo of course kills it. He lets me come up and sing harmony on a few songs with him, which is always fun. At one point when I'm up there (I think it was for "Jealous Kind" but I don't actually remember what song), a woman comes up to tip him. She is dancing in a way that is definitely meant to be seductive and she licks the money before tossing it into Bobbo's pile of tips. (This reminds of a story that my dad used to tell me about when he worked in a bank and guy came in to make a deposit and pulled the money out of his underwear. The moral here, as much as there is one, is that cash is filthy, you never know what someone has done to it before it gets into your hands, and hand sanitizer is your friend.) Funnily enough, for all that I say audiences distract me, this dancing woman does not faze me. I can be singing a song I don't even really 100% know and have never really practiced and pretty much nothing will throw me. Put a guitar in my hands and the whole damn song would have been toast, even if I knew it cold. 

We are able to stay for a few songs from the next band, Angelkiss, before we have to go. Their singer has a killer voice and I dig the songs and I want to be able to stick around and hear the rest of their set (and everyone else playing after them), but it's a work night and I worked six days last week and I've started having a bit of a nausea spell, so I need some air. Some days my body just doesn't want to play nice and it really puts a damper on my partying lifestyle (like I said above, I am a decidedly uncool rock star.)