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.
A new year and a new decade are just around the corner, and Lady Brain Collective members are already working hard to bring you fun live events throughout San Diego. Mark your calendars and go support womxn creators in your community!
Thursday, January 9 - Plunderbund at Amplified Backstage Beer Lounge in Pacific Beach
Join Lady Brain Collective member Lisa Brackmann and her Plunderbund bandmates for free live music and the freshest craft beer inches away from the Pacific Ocean! 7-9pm. More info
Friday, January 10 - Naiomi Sounds Co-Hosts Open Mic at Bad Ass Coffee in Rancho Penasquitos
A few Lady Brain Collective members will be heading out to the Bad Ass Coffee open mic, which is held every other Friday and co-hosted by member Naiomi Sounds. Sign-ups at 6pm, event runs from 6:30-8:30pm. More info
Saturday, January 11 - Lizzie Wann at Meraki Cafe in University Heights
Start the year off with some poetry! Enjoy social time with fellow poets starting at 5:30pm. Lizzie Wann's feature starts at 6pm followed by an open mic. The reading will be held inside, but wear layers, as it might prove chilly nevertheless. No Cover. More info
Sunday, January 12 - Lindsay White at Women's March San Diego Wine Mixer in Private La Jolla Residence
Lindsay White is back for a performance at the third annual Women's March Wine Mixer. All proceeds from this fundraising event go toward the 2020 Women's March on January 18. More info
Thursday, January 16 - Marie Haddad at Belly Up in Solana Beach
Marie Haddad will play a solo set opening for Midge Ure (Ultravox) during his acoustic duo tour stop at Belly Up. 7pm, $25. More info
Saturday, January 18 - Women's March San Diego at Waterfront Park San Diego
Be on the lookout for several Lady Brain Collective members, including Veronica May and Julia Sage, performing at the 4th Annual Women's March San Diego. Come early for the music and march with us! Music starts at 10am, march begins at noon. More info
Thursday, Jan. 23 - Astra Kelly at The Riviera Supper Club in La Mesa
DIY steakhouse, crafty cocktails, loungy hang, and live music? Yes, please! Astra Kelly plays two sets of her originals and unique artist tributes, featuring Tony Econom on drums, from 8-10:30pm. No Cover. More info
Thursday, January 23 - Golden Howl at Music Box in Little Italy
Golden Howl hits the Music Box stage with a stellar line up of local bands: Aviator Stash, MDRN HSTRY, The Frets, and Coral Bells. Doors at 6:30pm, 21+. Claim as many free tickets as you want via email, or DM on social media.
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We had such a wonderful day at yesterday's community gathering! Special thanks to the Lipson family for hosting us at their beautiful home, to all our featured performers, guest artist Amanda Pulis, and to Susan Lipson for facilitating a wonderful creative writing exercise for all attendees. We work hard to build safe spaces for our members and the community to create, connect, express, and be vulnerable with each other. Mission accomplished!
The theme of this month's gathering was A Way With Words - each performer was asked to share not only their work, but also the inspiration and stories that inspired each piece. We heard about several topics ranging from mental health to grief to aging and more. The common denominator was that each artist combined creativity and resilience to process, heal, and help others. What a beautiful way to cope and connect!
Community gatherings are special because we get to showcase our members' work to the community and because we ask guests to tap into their own creativity. It was wonderful to see so many attendees not only participate in our writing exercise, but also jump up on the mic to share their newly written pieces.
Don't miss out on the next community gathering! We hope you'll join us for next month's holiday party and clothing drive on 12/8 at The Holding Company in Ocean Beach. Want to know more about our showcases? Be sure to sign up for email updates, plus you can also always find showcase info on our homepage. Lastly, if you believe in our cause, please consider becoming a Lady Brain Lover or sponsor so we can continue bringing these awesome events to San Diego!
Welcome to this month's Brain Candy - here are our picks for the greatest gigs/events happening around town this month!
Saturday, November 2 - Tori Roze at Vanguard Culture's “Future" Themed Event
An avant-garde “Future" themed costume-filled evening of world class spoken word, live music, dance performances, visual art, wine, craft cocktails, and delicious edible treats! This quarterly Spoken Word Series is themed around moments in the history of art, fashion, science, music, pop culture, and more. Partnered with presentations and performances by the FLEET Science Center, UCSD Neuropathy Research, CityFX special effects makeup, Veteran Couture, Chef Daniela de la Puente, Psychic Artist Crystal Daigle, photographer Josue Castro, and renowned spoken word artist Gill Sotu - this night promises to be thoroughly engaging and inspiring. The event is 7-10pm @ IDEA1 (899 Park Blvd 92101, use F St. entrance). Tickets are $25 for industry professionals (show your business card at the door) and $40 general admission - friends get a 25% off discount with code TORI. Avant-garde “Future" themed costumes encouraged (steam punk, etc.). More info
Sunday, November 3 - Gratitude: A soulsong.life Transformative Songwriting Workshop with Astra Kelly at Gypsy Magic in Talmadge
Experience growth, healing and connection through music by tapping into the creative source. As a group, we will explore the theme of gratitude in depth and write a song together that reflects our shared experiences. No musical experience required. 2-5p, $75. Advance registration required. More info/Register
Sunday, November 17 - Lady Brain Presents: A Way With Words Interactive Storytelling Showcase
Join members of the Lady Brain Collective for an interactive storytelling showcase featuring poetry, prose, music, and art. After the showcase, author/poet Susan Lipson will facilitate an optional creative writing exercise for all attendees. Light lunch will be provided. Space is limited - please register online to reserve your seat. More info
Friday, November 22 - Julia Sage and The Bad Hombres at Bar Pink
Start your weekend party early! Have a nice drink while listening to some SouthAmericana™. Julia Sage and The Bad Hombres hit the Bar Pink stage at 7pm! More info
Saturday, November 23 - The Spiritual Motels Album Launch Party at The Merrow, with Lindsay White and the Becca Jay Band
Bring all your friends and experience a Lady Brain-tastic extravaganza of an evening with the launch of the debut album from The Spiritual Motels, a band which deeply values and actively supports the life of the Lady Brain Collective (and includes LB member Amy Day). The evening will include full band performances by Lindsay White (with Jules Stewart) and the Becca Jay Band (which includes Mikayla Beaulieu and Paige Miller), and both Jules and Becca will be sitting in on various songs in The Spiritual Motels' set. And there will be a singalong for all! You can also find the album everywhere that same day, or pre-order it on iTunes beginning Nov. 8. The show begins at 9pm. Tickets $7 adv/ $10 door, 21+. More info
We're excited to announce our next community gathering! On November 17, we invite you to join us for a storytelling showcase featuring lyrics, poetry, and prose from several members of the Lady Brain Collective, including Lizzie Wann, Lillian Lefranc, Becca Jay, Lisa Brackmann, Abby Dorsey, Mary Hamer, Bonnie Nicholls, Lindsay White, and Susan Lipson. Our exhibiting artist will be new Lady Brain member Amanda Lea - her work is unreal! In addition to the showcase, we will be offering an (optional) creative writing activity for all attendees, facilitated by our host Susan Lipson. The event will take place at a private residence in Poway, and seating is limited, so make sure to RSVP as soon as possible to reserve your space!
Happy fall, friends! We hope you're enjoying this sweet spot between summer and holiday craziness. If you find some time to get out into the world and enjoy live art/music, please consider adding one of the below events to your calendar!
Saturday, October 5 - Lizzie Wann at BookBar in Denver, CO
Support Lady Brain member Lizzie Wann in Colorado (or pass this invite along your Denver friends)! Enjoy an afternoon of wine and poetry with Happy Hour mingling starting at 4:30pm followed by a reading at 5:30pm. Co-featured with Jared Smith. No Cover. More info
Wednesday, October 9 - Rebekkah Darling, Karyn Ann, and Julia Sage at Lestat's in San Diego
Join us at the legendary Lestat’s West for Listening Room Night, featuring original songwriting from local Lady Brain Collective members Rebekkah Darling and SDMA-nominated Julia Sage, along with nationally touring artist Karyn Ann from Portland, OR. More info
Saturday, October 19 - Rockshop: Note To Self at Cinematic Arts & Sound in Oceanside
Rock n'Roll Camp for Girls SD proudly presents our first ever day-long workshop! Over the course of 1 day, participants will write original lyrics, collaborate with professional musicians, and explore themes of self-expression and identity. Open to girls 12-17 years old. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info
Saturday, October 19 - Calamity plays the Borrego Springs Desert Fest
Join the Calamity gals in the desert 5-7pm no cover, lots of fun for the entire family! More info
Saturday, October 19 - Rock The March Benefit Concert in El Cajon
Women's March San Diego presents an evening of music with several Lady Brain Members on the lineup, including premier activist band The Resizters who are releasing their new CD Upload Democracy (filled with all the resistance music you love), and special guests Veronica May, Lisa Sanders and Lindsay White, Best Singer Songwriter 2018 San Diego Music Awards! More info
Friday, October 25th - Julia Sage and The Bad Hombres at Grand Ole BBQ Flinn Springs
Start your weekend right by enjoying some delicious food and drinks and listening to the crooning of Julia Sage and The Bad Hombres' serenading you and your family from 5pm to 8pm on an early Friday evening. No cover. All ages venue. More info
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)
July is a HUGE month for Lady Brain members (scroll down to find out why). Here's a rundown of some fun member events happening throughout Southern California!
Saturday, July 6 - Lindsay White at SheFest in North Park
Start your Pride partying early with this woman-centered event! Lindsay White will play a full band set at 12:30pm, but the full event runs rom 11am-6pm. No Cover. More info
Sunday, July 7 - Lady Brain Fest at Heritage Ranch in Encinitas
Twenty female-fronted acts on two stages. You don't want to miss this Lady Brain/Listen Local Radio production of the year! 12-7pm. $10-12 Presale, $15 Door. More info
Monday, July 8 - Julia Sage at Bar Pink in North Park
Julia Sage will be playing solo and sharing the bill with Wes Hawkins and Blake Dean! 9:30pm. Free.
Wednesday, July 10 - Lizzie Wann at The Ugly Mug in Orange, CA
This is also an open mic, so bring your own work to read too! 8pm. $3 Cover. More info
Friday, July 12 - Tori Roze and The Hot Mess, Chloe Lou & The Liddells, Ginger Cowgirl at Winston's OB
ALL Lady Brain bands on this bill! 9:30pm, $8 Cover. More info
Saturday, July 13 - Calamity at The San Dieguito Heritage Museum
31st Annual Deep Pit BBQ, using the same cooking method as the Olivenhain Colony did back in the 1890's. The Encinitas even features nonstop Americana music from 2pm to 7pm on 2 stages, as well as a Kid's Zone, vendors, silent auction, exhibits and more! $10 general admission, kids 12 and under get in free. $15 BBQ dinners available at 4pm. More info
Saturday, July 13 - Golden Howl and Cardinal Moon at The Holding Company in Ocean Beach
Another all Lady Brain-fronted lineup! This is Golden Howl's first show back in action since January's EP release/band baby birth. The Holding Company is re-opening after major reconstruction - and it's dooooooope! It's pride weekend - parade, party, nap, beach for rad tunes. 8pm, No Cover
All Abby Dorsey Alexis Tia Allegra Duchaine Alyssa Douglas Amanda Lea Amy Day Anna Zinova Art Around Adams Astra Kelly Barbara Rutherford Bar Pink Becca Jay Belly Up Bonnie Nicholls Boss Ladies Brain Candy Busy Buckley Calamity Cardinal Moon Carissa Schroeder Catherine Barnes Cathryn Beeks Chloe Lou Chloe Lou And The Liddells Chris Avetta Cici Artemisia Claudia Russel Community Gathering Corina Rose Danielle Angeloni Dawn Mitschele Dixie Maxwell Donna Larsen Emma Byrd Gaby Aparicio Ginger Cowgirl GoFundMe Golden Howl Gretchen DeVault Heather Marie Jacqueline Silva Jean Mann Jessica Lerner Jill Badonsky Jules Stewart Julia Sage Julie Albright Karen Lindenberg Karina Frost Karina Frost Moreno Karyn Ann KC Deichler Kinnie Dye Lady Brain Fest Lady Brain Film Fest Lady Brain Presents Laura Jane Willcock Lauren Leigh Lillian Lefranc Lindsay White Lisa Brackmann Lisa Sanders Live Music Lizabeth Yandel Lizzie Wann Lori Addis Marcia Claire Mariah Priddy Marie Haddad Marlo Smith Mary Bee Mary Hamer Mayzie Jean MC Flow Melanie Medina Meraki Cafe Michele Palmer Miki Vale Naiomi New Music New Video Nisha Catron Paige Miller Patric Petrie Podunk Nowhere Press Queen Be Queen Mab Rachel Riba Ramona Ault Rebekkah Darling Ren Daversa Ren Diversa Reviews Rika Rai Rika-Rai Roni Lee Rosa's Cantina Rosy Dawn San Diego Music Awards Sandi King Shannon Oshea Sharisse Coulter Soulsong.life Stacey Barnett Steph Johnson Support Susan Lipson Sycamore Den Sydney Prather Talking The Talk The Banduvloons The Bold Vocal The Holding Company The Resizters The Riviera Supper Club The Spiritual Motels Tori Roze Trish Naval Unison Colthurst Veronica May Voxy Whitney Shay Women's March San Diego Workshops
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