Dear friends in music and more,
I hope spring has revived a sense of wonder and creativity in your life! I know some of you find yourselves in hard times due to illness, family struggles, or other concerns, and my heart is with you. May the blooming flowers comfort and encourage you. Others of you must be enjoying reasons to celebrate—a birth, a graduation, a success, a good day well lived! Many of us are experiencing both hard times and reasons for joy and celebration all at once. Life is complicated like that. No matter what today holds for you, I wish you well and I wish you good music!
“The tulip returns each spring to bloom, reborn anew from winter’s tomb. My heart also opens to the sky, to the sun, to the warmth, the butterfly!” ( a line from my 2018 song, “You Feel So Near”)
When I catch myself waiting impatiently for the tulip to bloom, I remind myself to enjoy the crocus and daffodils already in bloom in my yard. The air smells so alive right now after the long winter in Wisconsin. I love stepping outdoors!
Update on my concerts coming up: Friday, May 10 7:30pm Wild Hog in the Woods (solo concert) from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the “Willy Street” neighbored in Madison, Wis. (wildhoginthewoods.org)
Sunday, May 19, 7:30 pm Peter Mulvey’s Lamplighter series concert with Katie Dahl and Randy Sabien at the Cafe Carpe in Fort Atkinson, Wis. Note: these concerts sometimes sell out. Get your tickets at this link: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4172589
Thursday, July 18 7pm Driftless Books & Music, in Viroqua, Wis., a co-billed concert with the 2019 WAMI Award nominee John Stano
July 31Farm to Table Dinner benefit for the Rock Co., Wis. RECAP program
Aug 10-11Shawano Music Festival in Shawano, Wis. – a wonderful music festival in a lovely part of the state. (More details on when I will be performing as they become available.)
You can always see the latest schedule of my events at kaiafowler.com/shows and on my Facebook page. If you’re on Facebook, please check out my singer-songwriter page. While you’re there, please like and follow me to stay connected. (Search for Kaia Fowler singer-songwriter on Facebook to find my page.)
One Breath album update:
I have been making good progress on my tracks for the album and will soon be bringing in musicians to contribute to the project:
I am excited to announce that Milwaukee-based percussionist Nathan Klein–who displays true artistry in working with singer-songwriters–will be recording with me.
Also, the marvelous Jeff Mason (Rose Among Thorns and Merry Horde member and solo artist) will provide lead and additional guitar color.
Much-loved Madisonian Johnny Widdicombe will be providing stand-up acoustic bass on several of the songs.
The wonderful Tricia Alexander will be blowing blues harmonica for “Ridin’ Along”. (Yes!)
Finally, Joe Jencks, one of the most popular folk artists in the U.S. (and Ireland), will be arranging and recording harmonies for “Take Shelter in Love”.
I am so incredibly thankful to these amazing musicians for their interest in working with me on this project!
I am happy to say that One Breath is shaping up beautifully, and I can’t wait to get it in your hands. If you want to pre-order or donate to support the project, please use my Square site at this link: One Breath album pre-sale and donation campaign site. (It’s a secure site, but you may send a check if you prefer not to use your credit card online. Just include a note about what thank you gift you’ve selected, please!)
THANK YOU to folks who have already pledged or donated! Your support helps me do more with my music! It means so much to me, truly.
And thank you to everyone reading this email! Your listening and attending shows makes it possible for me to keep sharing the songs I write with the world. We have such beautiful musical experiences together! I’m so grateful.
So, “Im coming alive and feelin’ alright” now that the frogs are “singing by the pond.” I hope this email finds you well, too.
Before I get into what’s been going on and what’s happening next, I want to call out 8 great things that happened in my life in 2018. I hope 2018 treated you well, too.
1) In January last year, I was invited to share music along with flautist Keith McGillivray for a Words on Fire poetry reading given by Door County poet Nancy Rafal. What a lovely night with great people! Door County has a wonderful arts community and beautiful scenery even in winter.
2) I attended Song Circle with Tricia Alexander at the Café Carpe most months in 2018. The wonderful Tricia Alexander, practitioner of the performing and healing arts, holds a monthly song circle, and I attend whenever possible because it feels restorative. Everyone is welcome: the space feels sacred and special in an inclusive way. We don’t “perform” songs. We share them from the heart and we can invite others to join in on the song or not. Everyone is in the circle. Those who don’t make music may pass or request. It’s such an uplifting experience. Check out the Café Carpe calendar if you think you’d like to participate. It’s usually the last Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm, but call (920) 563-9391 and ask to be sure.
3) In February 2018, I returned to give a concert at the Rockford Listening Room in Rockford, Illinois. Sharing music in listening rooms is a dream come true for me. I smile to think of where music has taken me. Thank you Rockford folks! I hope to see you again soon.
4) Also in February last year I gave a solo concert at the Café Carpe in Fort Atkinson. This space means so much to me because it helped me get back into performing professionally after taking a break when my sons were young. I resumed performing in 2007 by sharing songs at the open stage at the Café Carpe, resharpening old skills and building up new ones. Audience members and other artists gave me a lot of encouragement that kept me going. In 2008, I secretly set a goal of one day having an actual concert at the Café Carpe–not just appearing on the open stage. In March 2010 that happened for the first time. Since then, a few times a year, I have been grateful to share music in the back room of the historic, community-centered bar-restaurant that locals lovingly call “The Carpe.” Satchel Welch always sets the sound up nicely, and I can relax and enjoy spending the evening with the folks in the room, feeling the songs bringing us together, and knowing the room will help me sound great. I will be back there again this March (exact date not yet set) — nine years after my first professional concert there. Wow! Thank you Bill Camplin and Satchel and Kitty Welch for all you do. Your work brings joy to so many people!
5) In March 2018, I gave a co-billed concert with SistaStrings at The Coffee House in Milwaukee. If you haven’t heard of SistaStrings, please search online for their videos and go see one of their shows. You will be transported by the way they blend violin, cello, and vocals across multiple genres, and their composing and songwriting is outstanding. A bonus of co-billing with them is they sat in on one of my songs and we closed the concert by performing a song together. Special thanks to Peter Mulvey for introducing me to Monique and Chauntee Ross of SistaStrings a few months prior when we shared the stage at the Lamplighter series concert. They have an album coming out this year, so watch for it!
6) In April of last year I shared music at the Rainbow Hospice Memorial Quilt Dedication service, as I have in years past. I had moving conversations with family members there to dedicate quilt squares in memory of their loved ones. This event invites me to open myself to others and draw from my experience of having been with my late husband through his hospice care back in 2013. I am thankful to connect with people who have walked a similar path. The meaningfulness of this service moves me deeply. I hope to be invited again in 2019.
7) In May I co-led a women’s retreat called “With Every Breath: Finding Joy Within Us” with a dear friend and spiritual leader. We combined readings and music and conversation and art to create a shared experience of rejuvenation. I treasure all that I learned that day and the relationships it nurtured.
8) New venues and new musical friends! Ok, so I have way more than eight things in 2018 that I am grateful for, but I want to say how thrilling it was to perform for the Night Market in Viroqua (a production of Driftless Books & Music) and at two Madison, Wis. venues new to me:Crescendo on Monroe St. and BOS Meadery. Also new this past year was setting up co-billed concerts with John Stano. It started in June with the Café Carpe, which was great fun. Then, in September, John helped me out at BOS Meadery because I had an injury that made it hard for me to play the full evening (more on that in a minute). John and I are giving a concert in Milwaukee this month on Saturday the 19th at Linneman’s and we plan to book more co-billed events this coming year. John has a couple new albums out this year, so check out his website, too!
Now for something completely different:
It’s been so long since I last posted that you may have wondered what happened to me. I want to tell you about why I went quiet for several months, but first – I have events to announce (yes!):
This Saturday – Jan 12 at 6:30pm, John Stano and I will be on the radio with “Sessions with Sandy” a weekly live music and interview program on WXRW 104.1 FM Riverwest Radio, Milwaukee. You can listen live online at the River West Radio website.
January 19 at 8pm – concertwith John Stano at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn 1001 E Locust St. Milwaukee, Wis. $8
February 4 at 1pm (lunch at noon) – Guest artist for the program at the Harry J. and Belle Goodman Lechayim Lunchtime Plus event.Open to all. You’re invited to come enjoy food, friends, fun and a concert and talk by Kaia Fowler at Lechayim Lunchtime Plus at Beth Israel Center, 1406 Mound Street, Madison, Wis. You may attend lunch and the program or just come for the concert. Contact Jewish Social Services at (608) 442-4081 no later than 2:00 pm Wednesday Jan. 30 to reserve. (Lunch Menu: Braised balsamic chicken, couscous, market salad, truffled white bean soup, rugelach / vegetarian option: balsamic tofu). If you are 60 years or older, a minimum donation of $4.00 is suggested, but please only pay what is comfortable for you. The cost of the meal is $8.97 for those younger than 60 years old. The program is free!
March -date TBA – one of the first two weekends – 8:30pm at the Café Carpe 18 South Water St. West Fort Atkinson, Wis. $8
So where have I been since summer musings? This fall was rough for several reasons, but one major incident that colored the past four months for me occurred at the beginning of Sept. My dog and I were attacked by a neighbor’s dog while we were out walking. In the process of trying to get away, I fell and got a severe nerve stretch injury and a neck injury. The fall caused me significant disability and pain for months and messed with my ability to play the guitar for some time. (Special thanks to Ken for loaning me a Collings Baby guitar! Because of that loan, I was able to get back to playing within a couple weeks and was able to perform at BOS Meadery in September. I couldn’t have done it otherwise.) My dog Gibson was bit in a couple places and healed quickly, thankfully.
So, I have been occupied with healing for about four months now. Through this experience, I have gained so much understanding of what it means to live with pain and disability. My heart goes out to all who endure that as part of daily life. I wish you comfort and relief. And I wish you strength and wellness. Those are the things I wanted most. My injury feels about 90% healed most days now, and the only effect on my guitar playing is that I have to play seated to keep the weight of the guitar off my shoulder while the nerve finishes healing. This means I can get back to the stage and back to working on my album. I am celebrating!
I am all for experiencing a great 2019 full of hope, joy, healing and rejuvenation. We have much work to do for this beautiful world and for each other. I wish us all the ability to seize opportunities for playfulness and compassion. I encourage us to look for joy and welcome it into our days, even if it is as small as a chickadee perched on a bare winter branch. Happy 2019 everyone! And thank you, as always, for caring about me and my music. May all your good dreams come true!