Holy Guacamole! The New Year is gaining traction and obviously is here to stay. This is definitely good news for me, as my 2015 was a little rough (many adjustments, including recovery from a mofo of a September bicycle accident). So here’s to a big fat warm welcome to 2016!
…and tomorrow I’m excited to be kicking off another retreat in California at WinterSongs West.
Seems I’m teaching more and more as time goes by, and I’m loving it. More on that in the News-in-Brief below and at my Tour Schedule online.
Happy New Year everyone! Let’s get to it…
a. In June: Tom’s 3rd Annual Songwriting Retreat
There are spots available for my 3rd Annual TK Doe Branch Ink Songwriting Retreat (June 5-11) near Marshall, NC (40 minutes north of Asheville).
This is truly a unique opportunity for songwriters: a whole week to work in a relaxed, focused way in a beautiful mountain setting and warm, supportive atmosphere. Reasonable tuition includes first-rate catered meals, and our schedule allows for ample free time to socialize, read, goof off or wander well-marked trails.
For much more, click HERE. Writers at all stages of work and development are welcome, and my personal instruction and attention is available to all.
b. YOU can help fill gaps in Tom’s tour schedule!
After being out of circulation for awhile (as I’ve recovered from a serious accident), I need to flesh out my tour calendar a bit. That is, I have some isolated tour dates that truly need some shows booked to go with them.
“Lonely” dates that are booked now:
–July 26 (Tuesday), the Waymores perform in Washington Island, WI (in Door County, near Green Bay and Appleton).
–September 10 (Saturday), I play a solo show in Santa Barbara, CA and would LOVE to make a long weekend or 10 day trip of it.
Here’s how you can help:
i. Send leads to Shauna Jamison (our agent) by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org
ii. Host a house concert for us. If you can get 25-40 people together in your living room, church or community center, we can have a very fine time of it. Again, contact Shauna by sending an email to email@example.com
c. Tour Ireland with TK
My 2016 Ireland tour is sold out, but we’re taking names and info for those who are interested in traveling to Ireland with me in 2017.
3. TK Poem of the Month
My neck hurts
in this chair
and I am embarrassed
to ask for a pillow.
What’s wrong with me?
My teeth, he says
need $800, $1200, $1500
worth of work,
the bill rising
with each “uh-oh”
like the thing
that dings the bell
at the fair.
And what’s worse than
the second shot
after the first shot
was supposed to work?
Now he’s saying
he’s never seen anyone
still in pain
after this much Novocain.
I can’t feel my ears,
my tooth still hurts,
my kissers resemble
wax candy Halloween lips.
You’ll need to make
for the back one, he says.
That’s all we have time for today.
4. New Year Food for Thought
“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
–Joseph Campbell (1904–1987)
(Thanks to Robin Rucker)
5. Recommended: Cold & flu season remedies that work!
Singers hate colds! Not only do they make us sound awful, but it’s hard enough to keep one’s energy up on the road without aches, chills, a faucet nose or rattling cough.
After much trial and error, I hereby share what works for me.
1) Do the easy sensible stuff: as much as possible, avoid getting run down, eat reasonably and drink plenty of water.
2) Get a neti pot. Ceramic ones are nice, but a plastic one won’t break in your suitcase or on the bathroom floor.
Don’t know what a neti pot is? I didn’t either, until my childhood friend Tommy gave me one several years ago after observing that I tended to regularly have seasonal colds and sinus infections.
A neti pot is a little teapot-looking thing used for rinsing nasal passages and sinuses with lightly salted warm water. It flushes out dust, pollen, spores, bacteria, viruses and whatever other creepy stuff is in there that causes trouble.
NeilMed makes a good one that you can find at most drugstores, at Walmart and supermarket pharmacies… and it comes with a bunch of pre-mixed salt packets.
You can check it out online HERE, then click on NasaFlo.
Note: You can guy the NeilMed NasaFlo neti pot with 50 premixed salt packets at Amazon for $14. Cheap. Should be about the same price everywhere.)
And BTW Walgreens sells its own brand of neti pot with pre-mixed salt packets. It’s $11, including 30 salt packets. Click HERE to check it out.
(I prefer the neti pot to other devices and rinses because it works with gravity; nothing is under pressure.)
Anyway I use it twice a day at the first sign of a cold or hay fever etc. and you’ll save yourself a world of grief. I always have one with me on the road and use it after I fly (b/c recirculating airplane air is germ soup) or have been around someone sneezing or whatever.
I’m telling you, it works! (And while the concept of pouring water in your nose may sound creepy, in practice it’s no big deal. Just make sure you use a pre-mixed salt packet each time or you’ll feel like you jumped off a diving board and got water up your nose.)
3) At first sign of cold, start taking Zicam. I have no idea why it works, but it has helped me nip numerous colds in the bud. Instead of being sick for 2 weeks my cold symptoms will abate in 2 or 3 days. I’ve used the spray, the powder and the lozenges, and they seem to all work about the same.
For more, click HERE. You can buy this stuff just about anywhere: pharmacies, supermarkets etc.
While I can’t guarantee that what works for me will work for you, but I can tell you that a number of fellow touring artists, friends and family numbers have followed my example with excellent results.
6. Great Songs of the Month: Sixties classics, now better than ever
–Click on titles to listen via Spotify
*“Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon”
Writer: Neil Diamond / Artist: Neil Diamond
From the album “Just for You” (Bang Records/1967)
Produced by Jeff Barry & Ellie Greenwich
*Original mono recording
**“Hazy Shade of Winter”
Writer: Paul Simon / Artist: Simon & Garfunkel
From “Bookends” (Columbia Records/1968)
**Link to this recording is to “The Essential Simon & Garfunkel master
Note: The links are for Spotify streaming, but these tracks can be streamed or purchased via iTunes Store, Amazon Music etc.