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Tamara Lewis: News

Tumbleweed Song Contest - August 1, 2010

Hey Everyone~~I've got good news! I am among the finalists for this year's Tumbleweed Song Contest over in Richland, WA.
Each year they announce a song topic and typically the theme is unusual enough that folks don't already have songs written on the topic. Same with me this year, so I wrote a new song about the topic "giving back/paying forward." It's got a bit of a spiritual theme and is called "Pay Back the Sky."

I was just so honored and excited to learn that my song was chosen, along with 9 others. There will be a live performance at the festival over Labor Day Weekend---sort of the folk version of American Idol, but without anyone being mean to you! The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will be announced that evening and then perform on the mainstage later that night.

I would say "wish me luck," (OK, go ahead), but truly and honestly, it really is just an honor to have been chosen as a finalist.
But I will, of course, let you know.


It's Been a Year... - September 29, 2009

Hello visitors~~It's been a year already since my CD Release Concert at Odd Fellows' Hall last September. A very full and rich year at that. After my release I received many stellar reviews that made my jaw drop because the truth is, while you are in the process, you aren't quite sure! And this one was a bit of a risk for me--moving away from the spare and acoustic instrumentation of my first CD and toward a fuller orchestration. So I was heartened to read that reviewers who mentioned that aspect sang the praises of the beauty and proportion of it--meaning, the vocals were always front and center allowing the songs to shine just as my sound engineer, Scott Ross, promised they would.

I have been steadily gigging all year and have been pleased that I have slowly built up stamina and not needing as much recovery afterwards as I used to. (Many of you know about my fatigue condition.) I have become more relaxed on stage (many of you also know about what used to be my debilitating stage fright) and actually enjoy myself now! I might be prouder of that than just about anything else in my life.

Experimenting with lots of venues over the year eventually led me to the decision that it's time to stop playing for tips and CD sales only and to only take paying gigs. This might seem like a no-brainer to the uninitiated, but you'd be surprised JUST how many venues that eliminates! Sad but true that owners want the benefit of having live music at their establishments without any investment in it.

I am thrilled to have developed an on-going gig at my neighborhood Starbucks, that isn't a Starbucks, exactly, but is called On 15th Coffee and Tea (and they serve beer and wine). Some think it's just a ruse, but it's really not as they are independent enough that they can make their own decisions and are not dictated by the corporation. And to that end, they've made me a regular performer as well as the gal who does their special events. I love it! And a side benefit is that it's only 2 blocks from my home. Most months it will be on the 2nd and 4th Fridays--with only occasional exceptions.

If you're still reading, and I hope you are, I just want to add a note of thanks to my loyal supporters as well as new fans. Touching people with my songs is one of the most wonderful things I am able to do in this life and I thank you all for letting me touch yours this last year. And special thanks if you laughed at any of my dog stories.

I'm looking forward to another year of growth and fun and I hope you'll be a part of it.

(and Rico, Chopper and Teddy--go look at the pictures and prepare to squeal with delight...)

CD Release Concert - August 16, 2008

The CD is done! My second born : ) And the date and place for the release concert is set--Saturday, Sept. 20th from 8-10pm. I found a very special hall in Ballard--Odd Fellows Hall. It is beautifully refurbished and easily holds 100 people. I've got the CDs, really cute t-shirts, and wine to sell!

My music video, set to the title track, Living Down River, is now viewable on my myspace page (just google me for URL) and a slightly lower quality version on YouTube. Thanks to Scott Ross of Ethereal Motion Productions for his great eye and creative mind. He was also my sound engineer and is both incredibly talented AND a nice and fun guy. With every fiber of me, I recommend him and Elliott Bay Recording Company.

I am so profoundly grateful to all of the people who made this possible with their donations and fundraising efforts. And the musicians on this thing knocked my socks off. Loren did a great job bringing in top notch players and I am thankful for that. Max Cohen (Dar Williams' guitar player) graces several songs. Murl Allen Sanders, local phenom, makes the piano weep. Bill Boyd, the violin player at 5th Avenue, made Love Song to the Midwest so very beautiful. Pat Donohue (Prairie Home Companion) and Nancy K Dillon (very talented local singer/songwriter) sing such tight harmonies on two songs that the three of us seem like one braid.

I am busy planning the release concert and it feels like planning a wedding.
I anticipate it feeling a bit like Thanksgiving dinner--days preparing then whoosh it's over! But what a grand celebration it will be. My fiddle player Alice Boytz will be there and Chuck Sandru of the Little Brothers Band will be my sound guy and sing harmonies. He's got the gift.
My friend Steve Greenwood will be coming up from Portland to play harmonica. I can't wait to hear it all put together!

Then the real work begins, right? Marketing. I am so proud of this CD that I don't think I'll have much trouble putting my whole heart and soul into the endeavor.
I'm planning regional tours throughout 2009 and am so excited! I've practically vanquished my stage fright so performing is now a complete joy.

I hope as many of you as can will come out on September 20th from 8-10pm at the Odd Fellows Hall and help me celebrate.


Melting Snow Tour - May 5, 2008

And most of the snow WAS melted in Montana other than on the GORGEOUS mountains. The tour was a success in many ways and I'm also quite happy to be home to my own bed, bathtub, and coffeemaker.

My co-pilot Marge and I had as much fun as we usually do which made the LONG drive to MT bearable. I made Marge play "Famous People" (you know, with the 20 questions you have in order to guess?) I couldn't believe it when she didn't guess one of my idols, Patsy Cline! But then again, she forgot to ask if the person was alive or not. She is such a good sport that she also played "Name that tune" with me. Though a weird version since she insists that she can't sing and so I did all the tunes and she did all the guessing and got all but one right. You guessed it, a Patsy Cline song. She and I have to have a serious talk...

Some of the highlights were spotting many deer, stopping at a small cafe in Avon, MT where we had pancakes as big as our heads, and an antique store where I scored and found a coke bottle in mint condition. If you can picture it, you aren't a kid anymore.
Another favorite: seeing Real Cowboys. Forgive me if this is Too Much Information, but I said to Marge "I have to get me one of those."

I wrote a new song in the truck. Marge says "You wrote a song in 50 miles."
Just the lyrics, though. I can't wait to get my hands on my guitar today and write the guitar part.

The gigs were all successful, my favorite one being The Quarry in Helena. Man, the acoustics there were amazing, the crowd attentive, and I was LOOSE given it was my last gig on the tour. We also had the treat of having a hotel room comped upstairs.
So nice for many reasons, not the least of which is it made the schlepping easier.
My LORD touring is a lot of schlepping! And rummaging around in suitcases. Home is Where You Know Where Your Stuff is. You can quote me if you wish.

I hope you are all well. Thanks for reading.

Counseling and Coaching for Musicians - April 22, 2008

One of the things I provide in my therapy practice is a combined approach of both short-term counseling and coaching for artists. The creative process is fraught with blocks. It can occur at the very beginning~deciding what to write about (or draw or paint) to the last stage~ showing your work. 

All of who we are comes to the fore when we create: anxieties about whether or not we are any good, fear of criticism or more often being too critical of ourselves, not prioritizing creativity in our busy lives, to debilitating stage fright.

I help people to identify where they are blocked and to gain insight into what is hindering them so that we can develop a specific plan. Having structure, encouragement and someone to gently hold your feet to the fire is powerfully effective and together we will tailor a plan so that I can provide that for you.

I bring to the process 20 years as a psychotherapist and four years as a professional musician.

My office is conveniently located on Capitol Hill. I work on a sliding scale based upon your income and expenses. After our first session in person, I am willing to do shorter phone sessions if that is what you decide works best for you.

DONE--and our Montana Tour - April 19, 2008

Yippe I'm done with the hard part--the recording. Just like childbirth, you forget how hard it is.

It's been mastered right now and my photo shoot is around the corner thanks to my hairdresser being back from vacation.

Marge and I are definitely going back to Montana this month. She booked me some higher paying gigs this time in Helena and one includes a comped hotel room that accepts dogs! Chopper and Teddy will LOVE it. As will we; Chopper sleep with me and Teddy sleeps with Marge.

Thank you ALL for your continued support in all the ways you have.
I am so grateful to every one of you.

I have put off my CD release concert until September and this really takes the pressure off and makes it more likely that I will be able to get into a fabulous venue.
I hope you can all make it to celebrate with me.


Finish Line is in Sight - March 28, 2008

Well, I've finished recording and the final mixing. The CD is on it's way to the studio where it will be mastered.

In the meantime, I have a photo shoot soon with a very talented fellow named Glenn Allan. In the first shoot we'll focus on getting promo shots (see how I've learned the lingo?) and then next time on the CD cover. I'm not yet full of ideas for the cover, but Glenn is very creative and will likely be able to help out with that.

Marge and I plan to head back to Montana at the end of April--if her knee has healed enough from recent surgery. She's pretty adamant that she wants us to go, but we'll see.

Thank you all for your support through this project. I so appreciate it.

See you soon, I hope~

Snoqualmie Pass - February 3, 2008

We made it back home despite the touch and go of Snoqualmie Pass last night. Thank god for 4 wheel drive! It was good to get away and it was good to get home.

I am so grateful for my friend Marge as my first tour would have been so overwhelming without her help and company—not to mention that otherwise I would have been lucky just to break even.

I loved the Silver Dollar Saloon. A lot of beer has been knocked back in there over the years. It’s been a fixture in Butte since the 30’s and you can feel the history in there. There was an amazing sound system except for the fact that the sound guy/bartender forgot to turn off the snare drums and I was into song #3 before we figured out how to fix it! I was SO rock and roll!

My favorite gig of the tour was the last one—Liquid Planet in Missoula.
(I could definitely live there…) It was a sweet coffee shop with many attentive listeners in the audience~the ideal gig.

I am looking forward to getting back in the studio and getting crackin’ on this CD. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Thanks for reading,

Icicle Tour '08 - January 30, 2008

Hello from Montana!
Teddy, Chopper, Marge and I left Seattle at 9am on Friday and got into Missoula that same night at 6. I can’t imagine doing that drive without a co-pilot. Lordy it's long! We crashed at a Best Western that allowed dogs under 25 pounds (all three of my dogs together don’t weigh that much!). Next day we headed to Butte and stayed a night at the home of Marge's wonderful and most entertaining Mom. She considers sugar one of the essential food groups and rarely eats vegetables. She is 79 and very healthy and it makes me rethink the whole nutrition thing. She tells Marge that if she is ever diagnosed with diabetes to just give Dr. Kevorkian a call.

I had my gig at Montana Tech on Tuesday at lunchtime. Despite that students were eating their lunches, they were remarkably attentive and appreciative. It was really fun making the adjustment to reach and connect with a younger audience.

We are now checked into the politically incorrect War Bonnet Hotel here in Butte. Last night I ended up sitting in on the set of the lounge act downstairs. They were lifelong musicians and two of the sweetest people you’d ever want to meet—Denny and Kristina, married duo, who did all the great cover tunes, including Hank and Patsy standards. When the bartender told them I was a singer/songwriter, they graciously asked me to play a few songs. It was a lot of fun—and now I can add “lounge act” to my resume!

Less fun: 12 degree weather and 5,000 ft. elevation that is making me tired and very short of breath—even when all I’m doing is singing! Suddenly the phrases in my songs seem sooooo long! Actually, the cold isn’t bothering me as much as I was afraid it would. The air is dry and the sun is out and so that makes it a welcomed break from Seattle’s winters. But no matter HOW much water I force myself to drink, I still feel dehydrated—so my voice has an “interesting” crack and growl to it that I just pretend I am doing on purpose.

Tomorrow is the gig I am looking forward to the most—the Silver Dollar Saloon here in Butte. We drove by it and it looks a little like The Tractor Tavern in Ballard only smaller and shall we say “rougher” around the edges.
I wonder what will happen when I sing my lullaby, A Better Day? Actually, my image of “cowboys,” is completely antiquated as I have found both the men and women here incredibly kind and gentle. Men make eye contact and smile and gush over my dogs and the women call me “Hon” and say “Bless your heart.” When I teared up in reaction to all of the kindness, I got to thinking maybe I’ve lived on Capitol Hill too long.

I’ll be writing more after the Silver Dollar show and once we are back in Missoula for my last gig of the tour at Liquid Planet coffeeshop on Friday, February 1st.

I hope you are all well—and that you faired well during the snowfall I heard that you had.

More soon,

Snuck Back In - December 17, 2007

After two weeks of rest, I decided to give it another go before the 31st---just for a few hours---and it paid off. I was able to finish Love Song to the Midwest. It is one of those songs that is deceptively "simple," but actually very hard to sing--much like Silent Night. As a friend of mine once said about that song, "There's nowhere to hide." Same is true with Midwest, so I'm very happy to have it in the can.

Loren was recently sideswiped by a car while in the crosswalk, but thank GOD is relatively OK. He is very sore and tired. So for the first time since I've known him, we might have had about the same amount on energy. Even when he's down for the count, though, his ear is still finely honed and he still cracks the whip.

Studio dogs Teddy and Chopper were with me again, but this time Chopper snuck into the recording booth with me and I didn't notice until after the first take. I looked down and he was lying lovingly at my feet. You decide: this is cute, or this is Separation Anxiety.

(I know what my dog trainer would say.)

Merry Christmas everybody and I'll be back on the 31st--hopefully with another story of success.


Livin' Down River (no "G"--very crucial!) - December 1, 2007

Yesterday morning I was so out of it with exhaustion that I put my contacts in and then my glasses on. But the spirit of Phoenix Rising must have been with me as I was able to finish the title track, Livin' Down River. And Guess what? Pat Donohue has agreed to sing harmony on it when he is out here in January for his concert with the Folklore society. WooHoo!!

After we finished, I was in too much of a stupor to realize I had barely eaten all day and had put the celebratory shot of scotch on an empty stomach. My good sense is just so impressive to me. Marge shuttled me to a restaurant and treated me to a wonderful mexican meal at Cactus in Madison Park for sustenance and a post-game wrap up. Her presence in the studio was of such help that I am at an unusual loss for words as to how to describe it. Guardian Angel Touch Stone.
There, I DID have the words.

Little known facts I have forgotten to mention: "My" sound engineer
(it IS all about me, after all...) is a master of trivia. He knows things like where the sayings "Break a leg" and "In the limelight" originated; he fell for my dog, Teddy, and not only didn't get mad but was actually quite impressed when Chopper put down a little poop on his carpet in mid-run. And perhaps best of all, he kept me laughing when he did things like call me Princess.

I'll be taking a break until later this month when we'll try to get two more songs done. So I'm done blogging (who knew?) for now.

thanks for reading,

Hair - November 29, 2007

We finished Big City Blues just in time for a very important appointment I had last night--a haircut. Anyone who has a very busy hairdresser who is the only one in the whole world who knows how to cut your hair and has been doing so for over 20 years.....well, you know the importance of such a thing.

Plus the first year I went to guitar camp, before I'd ever set foot on a stage, Robin McGillvarey told me I had good "performer's hair." Since then Clare and I have discussed at great length the "Hair is Destiny" theory.

Witness: Neither Clare or I like to camp because you can't bring your blow dryer or curling iron. Those REI girls always have the kind of hair you can put up in a ponytail.
Patrick Dempsey wouldn't even BE McDreamy without that head of hair. Oh my god, I swear that just reminded me that I had a dream about Brad Pitt last night--who also has very nice hair. He was flirting with me in the dream---no doubt because I was having a good hair day.


Very Close... - November 27, 2007

To a meltdown. This is WAY too much like being over 40 and trying on a bikini under fluorescent lights.

I gave it a try--going in after work.
I hit the wall of fatigue within an hour. We soldiered on, still hopeful, but in the end kept very little of the song Big City Blues.

In hindsight I would have been better off going home and resting.
Live and Learn and back at it tomorrow.


Sassy - November 26, 2007

Today my Gal Clare was in the studio with us for a couple of hours taking pictures. She tried to get one of Loren pretending to be stern with me, but he just doesn't have it in him. He looks nice even when he's trying not to.

My lack of stamina continues to be a source of frustration for me and I grew impatient with myself at one point and said the "f-word" into the microphone. Later Scott played it back over and over.

Since I'm dealing with more than just a "cold," it looks like I need to settle into the fact that I'll likely only be able to do one song per day. So for today I got to do my "sassy" song, Cold Coffee, Warm Beer. It has unusual intervals in it, so it's a vocal challenge, but it's done. WHEW!

If I feel up to it, I'm going to head back into the studio after work tomorrow and see if I have a song in me. If not, I'll for sure be back on Wednesday.

Keep warm,

A Better Day - November 25, 2007

And it was just that---a better day today. I rested my viral-infested and burned body all day Saturday and so felt some better going into the studio today. I am still not quite up to snuff, so we are moving slowly, but the good news is that Loren and I are both very happy with what we've got so far. "Better to go slowly and get it right," he says, and I agree.

Yesterday we finished A Better Day, including harmonies, and today we finished Key of Lonely.
Loren's idea on this song was to have the piano accompany me and Lordy Be was he right. Murl Allen Sanders makes the piano cry and takes this song to that place where sorrow and beauty meet. I am so pleased with it.

I feel myself to be in such capable hands with Scott Ross at Elliott Bay Recording Company. He is fast, skilled, has an amazing ear and has something that not every engineer has: good social skills and a sense of humor!

Marge, Teddy, and Chopper were also all in the studio with me today--all providing comic relief.

We'll all be back at it tomorrow with hopes that I'll be feeling well enough to get two songs this time.

Thanks for checking in,

A Shaky Start - November 23, 2007

Dear Readers, I had my first day in the studio doing vocals the Friday after Thanksgiving. I've been sick for six weeks and my worst fear was that I would still be sick when it came time to sing. And indeed, that's what happened. But a miracle occurred: my speaking voice sounded like a frog, but I could sing. Only the occasional
"Oops, start over--too much phlegm." On top of that, two days ago I burned my right thigh very badly with boiling water while using a vaporizer for my congestion. Thank god it was "only" a second degree burn and not third. But it hurt--a lot--and made me SO tired. What a way to start doing final vocals!!

The upside was that it all put me in the right mental space to sing my lullaby for weary grown-ups: A Better Day. You can hear the authentic plea in my voice. Then we had to call it quits so I could come home and nurse my virus and burn.

Tomorrow I"ll rest and then, I"ll be back in the studio on Sunday, Nov. 25th.

I hope you all had viral and burn-free Thanksgivings! Thanks for reading.


SUCCESS and LOTS OF FUN - October 14, 2007

Wow, my fundraiser was so much fun. The very best part for me was drawing names for the raffle prizes. I felt like Santa Claus. And I was THRILLED that two of the top prizes went to two of my favorite people--my friend and business partner, Clare, and my friend and benefactor, Marge. And I SWEAR I didn't cheat!!

Alice played so beautifully and also made the first mistake I've even heard her make. We stopped mid-song and laughed so hard that I couldn't sing the rest of the verse. I think it's those human moments that makes live music more fun than listening to a CD.

My producer, friend, and all around great guy, Loren, came and said a few words about the process. I love the way he explains things. His enthusiasm is infectious. During moments of doubt or fear all I have to do is call him and it's like a shot of espresso and encouragement.

Oh, and I raised a good chunk of change too. Thanks so much to everyone who donated prizes, bought tickets, and came out for the evening.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Fundraising Concert - September 23, 2007

The highlight of my summer was definitely performing with Pat Donohue. He is so gracious and irrationally humble and made my songs so much better than they have ever been.

Now my attention has turned to raising the funds I need to record and manufacture my second CD.

I've made a lot of progress and am ready to get into the studio in November, but I'll need to raise $2,000 more for post-recording expenses. Eeek!

To that end, I am holding a fundraising concert on Oct. 13th at my favorite venue--Egan's Ballard Jam House. There will be a raffle with wonderful original works of art as prizes. I picked up the watercolor by Laurel Egan yesterday (no relation to the venue!) and it is nothing short of STUNNING. And she framed it on TOP of it!

I am so excited to start collaborating, musically, with my producer Loren Weisman. I did my first CD without the benefit of a producer and man oh man, this is SO much easier and more fun!
We are very musically compatible and I am entrusting him to create a fuller sound with this CD--while refraining from "over-producing,"---- the folk musicians curse word!!!

Thanks so much for checking in~~

CD #2 on it's way - August 5, 2007

Gosh, this is exciting! I am busy raising funds with the hopes of going into the studio in November.
I've got 14 new songs just waiting to be recorded. A couple of them are my all-time favorites : )

This time I'll have the luxury of a producer--Loren Weisman of Protectomatic Music and Entertainment. He's taking care of all the details that I had to handle myself on CD #1--leaving me to focus on the music. YEAH!

But first, I have to raise about $5,000. Eeek! Does that sound like a lot to you? It does to me, but I've already raised $8,000 so I'm past the half way mark.

If you'd like to help out, there is now a way for you to donate online. Go under the section "Buy" and press the "Make a Donation" button. Remember that even very small donations add up and that each and every one will be SO appreciated.

You can also purchase raffle tickets online for my fundraiser on October 13th. See the details regarding that evening under the calendar section.

And PINCH ME, but I'll be performing with Pat Donohue on August 25th at Egan's from 7-9.
As I write this, it is still three weeks away and I'm already very excited!! WooHoo!!

I hope to see you at one of these events. Thanks for reading.


Back to KBCS! - June 17, 2007

I'll have my second interview at KBCS on Tuesday, June 19th at 12:30 during "Lunch with Folks," with DJ Richard Gillman.

BUT this time I am going to gather up my nerve and play live. Eeek.
God knows why I do these things to myself!!

I've decided to play two of my newest songs. Then Richard will pick a song off of my CD.

Richard is one of my favorite DJs at KBCS, so I'm really looking forward to talking with him.

KBCS is located at 91.3 on FM radio. If you don't receive a strong enough radio signal, you can listen through your computer.
Just google KBCS and it will take you to their website where you will see a "listen live" button.

Developing Artist - May 20, 2007

I am so proud and excited to report that I am have been taken on by Loren Weisman's firm as a developing artist. He will produce my next CD, help with fundraising, promoting, and marketing, and assist me in taking my music career to the next level.

He is quite the smart fellow--and has been in the music business his entire adult life. I am learning so much from him.

In our first initial conversation, one of the first things that he asked me was how old I am and I thought "oh great, here we go!"
But when I told him he said "oh good." I about fell over.

Anyway, he liked my first CD and believes in me and is working hard on my behalf. And I feel like I won the lottery.

I survived my CD Release Concert! - December 2, 2006

WHEW! It finally happened--and it was certainly one of the highlights of my life. I had day dreams of it back when I was four and then got very waylaid by matters of (sometimes brutal) adult life. To heck with that!

Thanks to Hugo House, a wonderful venue, my pre-gig helper Clare and my debriefer, Curt. Thanks to Paul Elliott and Brendan Kellogg on violin and cello and to my sound guy, Doug Hayman.

It was SO cool to play with Paul and Brendan.
I occasionally found myself smiling during very serious songs because I was loving what they were doing
so much. No wonder everyone wants to be in a band!

Thanks to everyone who attended.
Your time and attention meant the world to me. And thanks for clapping too!

Hope to see you again soon,

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