Welcome to Boss Ladies, the review column written by members for members! To usher in our first review of 2020, Lizzie Wann gives us her take on 20 Years Here, the latest release from Cathryn Beeks.
Full disclosure: I love Cathryn Beeks. I’ve been friends with Beeks almost as long as she was in San Diego. We’ve both since moved (me in May, she in September) to be with family, but San Diego will always have a piece of our hearts and will always be considered a home away from home.
The latest musical offering from Beeks is not only a testament to her undeniable force in the San Diego music scene but is also replete with wonderful songs, podcasts, special shows, compilations, stories, photos, recipes, and much more. Because the project itself is separated into two parts, I’ll follow suit.
20 Years Here
This collection of 7 songs is Beeks's self-proclaimed “goodbye note” to San Diego. And it’s lovely. These songs represent Beeks completely, firmly planting her amongst the great songwriters and musicians in town. Included with each song is the story behind the song as well as their lyrics. She really pours herself into her songs, using them to express all she’s feeling.
To kick off the album, she revisits an old tune, “Begin Again,” that she wrote in 2001 with then-bandmate, Clint Welch. It was originally written about leaving Cleveland to move to San Diego, so it’s a perfect way to bookend this time with a fresh recording. The song ponders the power we have within ourselves to start over.
Next up is “Burning Star” with exceptionally lush production and vocal layering. The first verse examines her newfound depression with the resilient answer of, “You’ll never break me.” The second verse pays tribute to the relationship of her friends Carina Wheatley and Jeffrey Joe Morin, and the third verse anthropomorphizes “life” as a woman who is full of joy and who also destroys. Again, the hopeful and perseverant refrain of “You’ll never break me” closes the song.
“Daylight,” track 3, is a heavy rocker that pays tribute to music itself, as well as performing and songwriting. Beeks's voice sounds as awesome with rock guitar as it does with ukulele or acoustic guitar. Her style and range suits many genres.
Track 4, “Framed,” uses the metaphor of a stick thrown into a river as dreams and wishes that may or may not manifest or surface. I just love it. Backed by the amazing Back to the Garden on this tune, it’s a standout.
“Hey Desert” is the song she wrote when she and her husband, Jon Edwards, decided to move back to the high desert to be with her parents. Each verse lovingly speaks to the important people in her life – her mother, father, and husband, and finally speaks to the desert itself. This song is especially poignant now, as she lost her father in December. You can tell she means every word she sings, which is sometimes difficult to capture, but in the masterful hands of Jeff Berkley, it’s a guarantee.
Track 6, “Small Town,” is a clever social commentary about how friends and family sometimes end up on different sides and how sometimes the clash proves too much to overcome. It’s a plaintive and effective song that begs people to please evolve because “we’ve got problems to solve.”
The final song, “20 Years Here,” is a delightful autobiographical song that recaps her time in San Diego from meeting her husband, to the parties they hosted at their house(s). But in the 2nd verse she turns the song, as she does with nearly every project she’s ever created, produced, or otherwise been a part of, to the musicians she’s met, promoted, and loved. She sings:
this city is beautiful
but it's all about you, you know
All of your music, I ain’t gonna lose it
taking you all along, I’m gonna share your songs
20 years here I know most of the words to your songs
20 years here and I love to sing along
(I loved the callback to her song, “You Know,” from her album Desert Music!) The song finishes with letting it go and acknowledging the love that fills her up. It’s a beautiful ending to a wonderful collection of personal, meaningful, and well-penned songs from the one and only Cathyrn Beeks.
Beeks chose to release 20 Years Here on a USB drive. She says, “Since there was plenty of room I included every song I’ve ever recorded plus a bunch of other stuff, too. It’s a “time capsule” of my life in San Diego. So many memories are stuffed on this stick, a few decades of a life I am proud of and grateful for.”
This ‘bonus stuff,’ dear readers, is gold!
Like with the songs on 20 Years Here, Beeks took the time to write forwards for each file that details each step of her musical journey. You get all three The Ordeal albums: Desert Music, Mood Swing, and Life, Love, the End. You also get albums from other projects (8ball RACK, The Ghandi Method, and Garbo). There’s an album she made with Josquin Des Pres for potential TV and film placements. Plus there’s a file of “Random Songs” with covers, one-off recordings, and more. But that’s not all.
There’s a Listen Local Memories file, and even if this file was the only other thing on this USB, it would be worth your hard-earned cash. Hell, even just the forward to this file is worthy of San Diego’s musical archives as she gives an overview of the 16 years she put in to Listen Local San Diego. But the items in the file are equally spectacular: Celebrating Our Sisters calendar and compilation, Find Your Voice compilation, Listen Local podcasts (from 2005 – a woman ahead of her time!), Gillian Welch tribute show, Listen Local Cooks cookbooks and compilations (2006 & 2011), 4 episodes of Listen Local Lounge at Berkley Sound, and 4 episodes of Production Interruption.
Finally, there are 5 written stories by Beeks and a file of band photos. She also provides a list of links to videos, more podcasts, other special audio shows, and Facebook groups.
Of the entire collection, Beeks says, “Once I started compiling it all I realized all of the cool stuff I'd accomplished over the last two decades and how much amazing music had been and was being made in San Diego. I am so proud to have had a hand in helping to share that music.”
The legacy Cathryn Beeks created in San Diego is one we should honor and cherish. And the best way to do that is to own it. Be sure to get your hands on this amazing time capsule as well as her new songs. You won’t regret it.
Lady Brain members are busy this month - please add these dates to your calendar and go out to support these creative folks who are working hard to bring excellent art and music to the San Diego community!
Wednesday, September 4 - Julia Sage and The Bad Hombres at The Holding Company
Local band showcase. Come on out and party with us! Julia Sage and The Bad Hombres starting at 9 pm sharp. More info
Thursday, September 12 - Golden Howl at Til Two with The Strawberry Moons and The Powerballs
Friday, September 13 - Chris Avetta & Golden Howl at Moose Lodge in Oceanside
Saturday, September 14 - Kinship Cafe Singer-Songwriter Showcase at Eve Encinitas
This showcase at Eve Encinitas will feature short sets from six acts, each of which includes at least one woman, and four of which feature Lady Brain members: The Banduvloons, Dixie Maxwell and Lee Coulter, Mayzie Jean, and The Spiritual Motels (plus The Shift and Dulaney and Company). 7-10:30pm, $10, all ages. More info
Sunday, September 15 - Lift Me Up 2019
The Banduvloons and friends are hosting their 3rd annual community benefit show: Lift Me Up! This event seeks to bring together a community of artists and musicians who are working together to combat white supremacy and an inequitable capitalist society. Two local POC artists are chosen to be the beneficiaries of this event, and all money collected will go directly in their pockets. Expect dope live music, comedy, dance, vendors, food, drinks and a family friendly environment! 2-6pm | $5-$10 sliding scale entry free. More info
Saturday, September 21 - The Bold Vocal Launch Party / Adams Avenue Street Fair Pre-Party
Come celebrate with Carissa Schroeder as she officially launches her vocal coaching business,The Bold Vocal. Event highlights include a raffle for free voice lessons and other goodies, website unveiling, live demonstrations on mindfulness, mic technique, and stage presence, performances by students ranging from six years in age all the way to professionals — including Joshua Taylor, Amanda DaRosa and Nick Crook. Enjoy complimentary wine, beer, light bites and dessert, and start your street fair partying early! Event runs from 12pm-3pm at Jayne’s Gastropub. Free and open to the public. More info
Saturday, September 21 - Calamity at Artwalk Carlsbad
Don't miss the gals from Calamity playing originals during Artwalk Carlsbad from 3:15 to 4pm. No cover, all ages. More info
Sunday, September 22 - Tori Roze and the Hot Mess at Coronado Music Festival
This inaugural three day music festival kicks off on Friday September 20, with Tori Roze and the Hote Mess headlining on Sunday, September 22. The family-friendly weekend features local and regional musical talent of all genres and visual art. This marks the first event for Coronado Music and Arts Foundation(CMAF), a nonprofit, whose mission is to provide cultural music and art experiences for at risk and homeless individuals including youth and special needs adults through a variety of settings in Coronado and San Diego. More info
Thursday, September 26 - Lady Brain Presents Community Gathering In Celebration of Life
Lady Brain Presents is back with a special art/music/spoken word showcase centering around the topics of death, dying, and existence. Join us at a private Ocean Beach residence around 6:30pm for sunset, social hour, and art viewing. Performances will kick off around 7:30pm. $10 Suggested Donation, proceeds will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. More info
Saturday, September 28 - Lindsay White (Full Band) at Frogstop House Concerts
Join Lindsay White at the intimate Frogstop House Concert series. This is Lindsay's first full band show since returning from her 2019 summer tour, and likely her last full band show of the year. Limited seating, don't miss it! More info
Lady Brain members are out and about in full force this summer - make sure to catch them at one of these upcoming shows/events!
Friday, August 2 - Jessica Lerner with Full Band at Kensington Club
Jessica Lerner and her band will share the bill with Jehlad and The Rogue Pilots. $5 Cover. More info.
Friday, August 2nd - Julia Sage and The Bad Hombres at The Black Cat Bar
Sonic Attack at Black Cat Bar: Don’t miss this lineup featuring Tormenta Rey, Lana Rebel and Michael Mayfield, Julia Sage and the Bad Hombres, Gary Hankins, and from Robert's Western World in Nashville TN, special guest DJ Brendan Malone! $5 cover. More info.
Saturday, August 3 - Astra Kelly at Helix Brewing Co. La Mesa
Delicious brews, Kokopelli's food truck and a beautiful patio! Family owned and family friendly. Astra Kelly plays solo/acoustic from 6:30-9p. No Cover.
Wednesday, August 14 - Tori Roze & The Hot Mess at The Casbah
Tori Roze & The Hot Mess plays the Casbah with The Routine and fellow Lady Brain band The Anodynes. Show starts @ 9pm w/The Anodynes on first, followed by Tori Roze & The Hot Mess second. Come thirsty and ready to get soulful! $8/21+. More info.
Wednesday, August 14 - Bonfire Jam Circle at The Heritage Ranch in Encinitas
Hosted by Cathryn Beeks of Listen Local Radio. Bring a chair, your beverage of choice and an appetizer to share. Songwriters rotate clockwise and everyone plays on everyone's songs. 7pm to 11pm small donation appreciated. More info.
Friday, August 16 — Lady Brain Presents Showcase at Art on 3rd
The next installment of the Lady Brain Presents series will be a showcase in a Chula Vista artist-owned gallery. The event will feature short musical sets from Chris Avetta (with Jules Stewart), Marie Haddad, Dixie Maxwell (with Paige Miller), Carissa Schroeder, and The Spiritual Motels (Amy Day, Omar Musisko), as well as video from Mary Bee, and visual art from Chris Avetta, Julia Sage, and other Lady Brain artists. All ages, $10 suggested donation. The event will run from 7pm - 10:30pm. More info.
Thursday, August 29 — Lindsay White at The Pointe Westfield UTC
Join Lindsay White for outdoor happy hour at Westfield UTC featuring cover songs by some of her favorite artists including Fleetwood Mac, Aretha Franklin, Amy Winehouse, and more. No cover. 5-7pm. More info.
We know, we know, we say it every month, but July's meet-up was SO GOOD! Maybe it was because we were riding the wave of a successful inaugural Lady Brain Fest. Maybe it was the full house, the artsy space, or the nachos. It was definitely the inspiring and collaborative presentations from our host Astra Kelly, Carissa Schroeder, and Sandi King - all Lady Brain members, talented creatives, and compassionate entrepreneurs.
Carissa kicked things off with a chill mindful vocal meditation/warm up. It was exactly what we needed on a Monday night to center and connect with ourselves and each other.
Next, Sandi talked about her new venture, Backseat Booking. No matter the tour route or style of music, Sandi is a wealth of information when it comes to touring. She can help indie artists book entire tours, or give them the tools they need to successfully plan their own routes.
Astra of soulsong.life rounded out the evening with a songwriting workshop demo that resulted in some pretty special goosebump moments - once we found the right melody (thanks, Jessica Lerner) and hook, magic energy was swirling all around the room. Looking forward to next month's meetup!
Thanks to SoundDiego for reminding folks about Lady Brain Fest today! Read the feature here! Online ticket sales have closed, but tix will still be available at the door for cash purchase!
Thank you to Rosemary Bystrak for including a shout-out to Lady Brain Fest on the San Diego: Dialed In blog. We appreciate the support!
Thanks to Seth Combs and San Diego CityBeat for this great feature on Lady Brain Fest in their list of cool things to do this week. They also selected us as PLAN A on their “If I Were You" column! You can read the full article here and purchase your pre-sale tickets here. (Online sales end Saturday at 3pm)
Thanks to Pacific San Diego for this great writeup on the Lady Brain Collective and our upcoming Lady Brain Fest! Great quotes from Lindsay White, Becca Jay, Corina Rose, Astra Kelly, Marie Haddad, and Karina Frost. Read the full article here, and don't forget to purchase your Lady Brain Fest tickets!
Thanks to Tim Pyles, Rowley, and the 91X Loudspeaker team for inviting Cathryn Beeks and Lindsay White to come on the air and chat about the upcoming Lady Brain Fest. Tim also spun tracks by festival performers Tori Roze, Gaby Aparicio, White, and Marie Haddad. Lady Brain Fest is less than a week away - you can purchase pre-sale tickets for $12 online or $15 at the door!
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