Posted by: markwardmusic | October 2, 2010

P-town. Duckville. Bend?

Hello Friends……

Recently, a good friend of mine (Shannon) pointed out that my blogs are riddled with typos, misspelled words and grammatical oversights…. Well, I’m a folk singer not a novelist (yet)- So deal with it.  But if anyone wants to volunteer to be my proof reading, let me know!

Anyway,  Last weekend I had the pleasure to partake in a little mini tour through Oregon.  More specifically, Portland, Eugene and Bend.  I have always thought of Oregon as a beautiful state, but I had no idea how diverse and majestic the Oregon terrain truly was. Here is a picture of 300,000 year old lava fields located off of Highway 242 from Eugene to Bend.

This spot is located on the crest of the Cascades and one can view Mt. Hood, Mt. Washington, the Sisters mountains and a couple of other mountains from an old observation point built by the forest service in the early part of the 20th century.  Also, as a side note, Highway 242 was the scariest highway I have ever driven on.  It seemed that the lanes were not actually wide enough for cars, there were blind corners at every…turn, and oncoming traffic loved to be in my lane, or maybe I loved to be in theirs.

I’m guessing you actually could give a crap about beautiful mountain ranges and breathtaking views, so I will move on.

I was lucky enough to play all three shows of my mini tour with my friend  Tyler Fortier from Eugene.  If you get a chance you should take a listen to his music, it is fantastic with a capital TIC!  The first show we played was in Portland at a bar named The Buffalo Gap.  It was a fun, energetic show with a solid crowd.  There were so many old friends in attendance that I hadn’t seen in  a long while.  It was great to catch up with so many people!  My good friend Shannon (the one who also commented on my writing skills) was kind enough to snap a few pictures of the show for me.  I realized while I was looking at the pictures she took what her attention was truly focused on during the show:

Let me tell you a little something about Shannon…That girl is POISON.

There I am, kick drum and all.

After Portland we headed to Tyler’s home town of Eugene to play at a bar named Luckey’s.  There was a little confusion about who was actually performing that evening because the booker overbooked the venue, but it was sorted out and the show went off without a hitch.  Except for the fact that I performed my sensitive/solo/singer/songwriter shtick after a pop/punk/teeny bopper/loud rock band…. So needless to say, not the smoothest of transitions.  After the Eugene show we headed to Bend to play at the Portello Wine Cafe.  apparently, Bend plans all their major events for one weekend and it just so happened to be the weekend that I was performing there.  Oktoberfest, Fall Fest and a music festival were all occurring at the same time, in the same city, on the same night I playing at a  little wine cafe.  It was OK though, there was still a smattering of folks at the show and I still sold some CDs and made some new friends (and Tyler’s Grandfather was buying me glass after glass of delicious white wine).  So it was a good time.

I love touring through Oregon and I try to do it as much as I can.  I think I will be back for a couple dates in November.  Stay tuned and thank you for reading!!

Ward out!

Posted by: markwardmusic | August 13, 2010

A secret show in Seattle and a Market that is also a Rocket

Oh hello, I didn’t see you there….

About a week ago or so I had the great opportunity to be part of the first “Seattle Secret Show.”  I opened for my friends from LA Jim Bianco and Chris Pierce.  The show, which is an extension of the successful Seattle living Room Show series was put on by Carrie and Kristen Watt, who are both music lovers and they thoroughly enjoy providing great, intimate spaces for shows.

This show was no exception.  There was about 80 – 100 people cramed into a very unique loft space located in downtown Seattle.  Everyone in attendence was so nice and attentive.  The majority of the people in attendance were music and concert lovers and the feeling within the room was a friendly one.  Which made for a great night.

Jim and Chris are both experianced and engaging entertainers and had the crowd wrapped around their fingers.  It was a great show to be a part of.  Here is a very awkward looking, family portrait style picture of Jim, Chris, the Watt sisters and myself taken after the show:

I guess I was the only one who got the “look at the camera taking the picture” memo.

I encourage anyone in the Seattle area to attend one of these shows in the future:

seattlelivingroomshows.com

On Tuesday, I performed at one of Spokane’s favorite summer venues, The Rocket Market.  This is the third time this summer that I have performed at the Rocket Market.  Once again, a great show!  There was about 100 people there and everyone was in a great mood!  There is a good chance that the overall “good moodiness” may have been caused by the free beer tasting that happened to be occurring at the same time as my performance, but I like to think I was the cause of everyone’s cheeriness.

Anyway, the show included young children dancing, old women laughing and everyone being happy…ing.  Great night!

Here is a schedule of some upcoming shows for the rest of August and September:

August 21st – Vin Du Lac Winery – Lake Chelan – 5pm

August 27th – Madelienes – Spokane – 6pm

Sep 11th  – Rocket Market- Spokane – 7pm

Sep 23rd – The Buffalo Gap – Portland – 8pm…ish

Sep 24th – Luckey’s – Eugene- 9pm

Sep 25th – Portello Wine Bar – Bend – 7pm

Hope to see you at a show!

Ward out

Posted by: markwardmusic | July 30, 2010

Wrap it up!

After 20 days and 3600 miles I finally returned home on Saturday, July 24th.

The night before that I performed at a place named 5th St. Cornucopia in Eugene, OR.  This was my first show I have ever played in Eugene, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Fortunately, I have a cousin and a few friends who live there and they were able to supply a healthy amount of people. The crowd was a fun and rambunctious, but they were also very attentive and kind.  It was a very fun show!

The days leading up to that show were filled with sight-seeing and touristic tendencies such as riding a trolley in San Francisco and going to the pier in Santa Monica.  When I was booking this tour, my girlfriend and I had decided it would be fun if she flew down and met me in San Diego and then we would drive back home together and visit some cool places.  So we did… and it was a good time!  See…

Tour wrap up:

This was my first real tour that I did all by myself, playing my songs and selling my CDs.  I was a little apprehensive and unsure of how it all would turn out.  Final verdict:  It was great!  Traveling by myself for most of the time was at times peaceful and at times lonely, but the people who I met along the way made me feel like I had friends I never knew of, in towns such as Santa Cruz, Sacramento and Ashland.

Granted the way I scheduled the tour was a little different, in that, many of my closest friends from Spokane were down in San Diego for a wedding, so I kind of cheated when comes to the whole ‘lonesome traveling troubadour traversing the California coast with nothing but a guitar and a voice’ thing.

Overall, every show was better than expected…..Granted, i had very low expectations.  I was encouraged to continue writing and performing with every show.  I am new at this touring thing, so I am not yet tainted by the ‘road’.  I hope I never become that way, but if I do, I guess that means my career is going well, right?

There were a few times during some of the longer drives that I thought about what it is that I am doing: I drive somewhere I have never been before and then I stand in front of strangers and sing songs that I wrote and then they clap for me. I talk to them if they want to talk, they might buy a CD or just say ‘good job and thank you for coming to my town.’  How lucky am I?  Very.

Ward out

Posted by: markwardmusic | July 19, 2010

This Place is Sooooo Cal

It’s been about a week since my last post…lazy, so lazy.

Last weekend I played at an adorable little tea shop named Asana tea house  in Santa Cruz.  As you can tell they were excited to have me perform there:

oopsie.

Anyway, I performed in front of a small, but attentive crowd.  Everyone who was in attendance was very nice and I was able to sell a few CD’s.  Also, for the second show in a row, a stranger drew a picture of me!  I guess there is just something about me that makes people want to doodle a portrait on a scrap piece of paper (maybe I should take up nude modeling for the Community College…….again).

For some reason, I thought it would be fun to stay at a KOA in Santa Cruz….it was not.  The weather was less than desired and I was less than content, so I got the hell out of there.

I took a short detour to visit the famed Hearst Mansion.  For those of you who don’t know, William Randolph Hearst was a newspaper tycoon from the early 1900′s and built a really, really, REALLY big house on the central coast of California.  It was pretty cool.

On Wednesday, I played in Sherman Oaks California, which is in the LA area.  It was my first show in “LA” and I was a little intimidated.  I approached the venue apprehensively and with caution, but as the night continued, I relaxed a little.  Luckily, a few friends from high school showed up and I was able to chat with someone.

I performed last, my set started about 10:30pm.  There was still people milling about drinking and chating, laughing and loving.  After my first song I was shocked at the cheers that I received.  The crowd of 30 or so people were great!  I even received demands for an encore.  Crazy!  Several people came up and talked with me after I was finished and they were so nice.

For the last few days, I have been staying down in San Diego for a friend’s wedding and for a little vacation.  It has been a blast! I also picked up a travel mate, my lovely girlfriend Bobbi has joined me.  It should be a fun trip back home.  I will keep you updated.

Ward-> out

Posted by: markwardmusic | July 10, 2010

That’s some hot Shakespeare

I learned a couple of things on Wednesday:  1)  It gets really hot in Ashland, Ore….like 104 degrees hot, 2) Ashland loves their Shakespeare.

As I arrived in Ashland for my show at the Tease restaurant on Weds evening I was greeted with all things Shakespeare and a rising thermometer.  If you were not aware Ashland, Oregon hosts an annual Shakespeare festival…which runs ten months out of the year!  There is Hamlet in the park, Romeo and Juliet in the theater, Macbeth in the streets, Midsummer Night’s Dream in the bathroom….you get the picture.

Inevitably, my show was up against a rendition of Hamlet in the park.  I think Hamlet won.

The place I performed was this deliciously classy little restaurant name Tease.  The restaurant had a nice atmosphere with low-lights, a rope curtain in the middle of the room, a large front window which allowed for some great pedestrian watching and a male bartender sporting a sweet salt and pepper pony tail.

I am not sure if Ashland actually has any locals, the people I met were all retirees from California with the exception of a Bikram Yoga instructor from Huntington beach.  She was touring a bunch of different studios up and down the west coast.  It also seemed that Ashland had a healthy hippie population.  There were several hemp stores and organic food places.  All in all, Ashland reminded me of Sandpoint, Idaho (except there was way more Shakespeare, but I think you can say that about any place compared to Ashland).

After the show, I  hung out with the owners of the restaurant for a little bit and then heading south to Yreka, CA, which was where I was staying Weds and Thurs nights.  Yreka is a small town with a rough edge to it.  You can tell by the empty storefronts and haggard faces that the economic troubles have hit this town hard.  Many of the trades that helped maintain Yreka for a long time are now non existent.  A trip to the local Wal-Mart is am experience within itself that is beyond description.

Finally, on Friday I performed at this little mom and pop bookstore in Sacramento, CA.  The bookstore’s name is Borders (OK, so it is not exactly mom and pop).  I will be honest, my expectations for this show were not to hopeful.  But I was pleasantly surprised by the interest I received from a crowd who were immersed in their books and laptops.  The crowd was very welcoming and I was able to sell several CDs and made some new friends….

Next stop——Santa Cruz!!

Posted by: markwardmusic | July 7, 2010

My amazing solo travel thingy- Portland

I awoke early on Monday and attempted to fit as much stuff as I could into my 2001 two-door Toyota Solara….I mean…touring van. After numerous trial and error-pack and unpack attempts, the beast was ready to put the rubber to the row-add.

I began my drive to Portland, OR, which is my first stop on my 20 day excursion. I decided that is not safe to travel alone so I employed a tour manager…..

His name is Wolverine and he’ll kick your ass and then feed you yummy candy.  He is my protection and he keep track of the money.

The photo above was taken at a lovely little beach by the Hood River that I stopped at to stretch.

Anyway, I arrived in P-town around 6pm and stopped at my cousin house for some BBQ.  My 6yr old cousin Caleb is a BIG fan.  My CD was a hit at his kindergarten show and tell!!  I guess I found my target market, i’m going to give Raffy a run for his money (if you don’t know who Raffy is, then you are either much younger than me or had a sad lonely childhood).

I played at a cool little spot named The Press Club, it’s your basic cafe/magazine shop/cocktail lounge/breakfast joint/pub kind of place.  My friends Shannon and Will were nice enough to help me set up the show and it turned out to be a great night!  There was roughly about 25 people there which made the place look packed!  There were friends, family and strangers all in attendence.  Everyone was so attentive, kind and appreaceitive.  I cound’nt have asked for a better crowd for the first show of the tour.  I sold quite a few CDs and even signed a couple autographs! Here are a couple hot shots from the show:

and then….

Tuesday, I had a day off in Portland…So whats a boy to do?  GO SHOPPING!! I did a little shopping and a little bit of a happy hour at a lovely Mexican restaurant on 21st st. with my friend Shannon.

After two margaritas, I got lost in a giant park, so I decided to find a cozy little spot by a tree and read for awhile.  The weather was amazing in Portland, it was about 85 degrees with a slight breeze and it felt great!  I returned to my cousin’s house in the evening for some delicious BBQ and smores over a fire pit!  Also, my little cousin Caleb showed me an awesome magic trick, it consisted of him putting bark chips in his underwear and then pulling them and saying “IT’S A MAGIC TRICK!”- Best trick ever, I can’t wait to try it when I get home.

Today, I am driving to my next stop, which is Ashland, OR.  All I know about Ashland is that they hold a pretty awesome Shakespere festival…. So I brought a cloak and skull.

Ward out.

Next Stop- Ashland!

Posted by: markwardmusic | June 21, 2010

BeGin!, The Ballard Mine and The Rocket Market

I had an eventful and fun week.  Not only was I able to perform a few shows at some fantastic venues, I also graduated from college!  SO THAT’S EXCITING!  It took a little bit longer than I originally planned, but hey, a degree is a degree!

Anyway back to the shows….

On Friday June 11th, I was able to perform for a function named BeGin at the Musuem of Arts and Culture in Spokane, WA.  It is truly a great event that the MAC puts on every month.  I highly encourage anyone who enjoys art, music, nice people, and alcohal to attend.  I was even lucky enough to select the special drink of the evening (I chose a Gin and Tonic).  Big thanks to Luke and Ginger for asking me to perform!  Here are a couple pics from the evening:

This past weekend (June 18th and 19th) I had a couple of  fun little shows in Ballard and Spokane.

In Ballard, I performed at this great music collective, DIY type space named the Ballard Mine.  The venue is located in the basement of a warehouse and has a kind of “feels like you are performing in your buddy’s bedroom” thing going on (if your buddy had a really nice sound system.) There was around twenty to twenty-five people there and they were about the most attentive crowd I have played in front of in long while….It was kind of intimidating, but everyone was very nice.  I played with a fantastic duo from Olympia named Jordan O’ Jordan and a great band who came all the way from Columbus, Ohio named The Bird and the Flower.  Check them out!

On Saturday, I played outside in glorious weather at the Rocket Market in Spokane.  I have played there about a gizallion times over the years and it’s one of my favorite spots to play.  There is nothing like singing songs outside while 100 people enjoy beer and wine!  Simply my favorite thing to do!

That’s all for now.

Mark

Posted by: markwardmusic | June 8, 2010

Welcome! CDs! Shows!

Hello Everyone!
Welcome to my new blog!  This is the place to go if you want to stay updated on my musical exploits.

I just recently released a new album named “Though the Dark” and its now availble on itunes!  The CD release on May 14th was a blast!  Thanks to everyone who came and showed their support.  This post is going to be short and to the point (the point being COME TO A SHOW!!)

Here are my upcoming shows: (it’s going to be a busy summer!)

Jun 10 2010 7:30P
Isabella’s Spokane, Washington
Jun 11 2010 6:00P
BeGIn @ the MAC Spokane, WA
Jun 17 2010 7:30P
Isabella’s Spokane, Washington
Jun 18 2010 9:00P
The Ballard Mine Seattle, WA
Jun 19 2010 8:00P
Rocket Market Spokane, Washington, US
Jun 24 2010 7:30P
Isabella’s Spokane, Washington
Jun 25 2010 7:30P
Madeleine’s Spokane, WA
Jul 1 2010 8:00P
Downtown Crossing Sandpoint, ID
Jul 1 2010 8:00P
Downtown Crossing Sandpoint, ID
Jul 3 2010 8:00P
Rocket Market Spokane, Washington, US
Jul 5 2010 8:30P
The Press Club Portland, Oregon
Jul 7 2010 8:00P
Tease Ashland, Oregon, US
Jul 9 2010 7:30P
Borders Sacramento, CA
Jul 10 2010 8:00P
Asana Tea House w/ Tom Tooey Trio Santa Cruz, California
Jul 14 2010 10:00P
Acoustic Cordiale Sherman Oaks, California, US
Jul 15 2010 10:30P
Private Event San Diego, CA
Jul 23 2010 6:00A
5th St. Cornucopia Eugene, Oregon
Jul 30 2010 8:00P
Left Bank Wine Bar Spokane, Washington
Jul 31 2010 7:00P
Vin Du Lac Winery Lake Chelan, Washington, US

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