I've been using the word "support" so much lately.  Once I launched the Kickstarter campaign I had to start asking folks for their support.  It's big and scary to set a goal, make it public, and ask for help.  Everyone is watching and there are so many stigmas about asking for help, especially when you're asking for money.  

The whole process has opened up more than a few conversations about support.  I am honored that some of you have trusted me in asking for my support in return.  So many people are worried about their jobs, houses, finances, families, and relationships.  No one is alone on this journey.

Really, we all need support.  We all need each other.  

I want you to know that I'm open to giving and receiving support.  If you are financially able to back my new album (and really there is no amount too small) I invite you to at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/meganbee/like-a-canyon-a-new-album-by-megan-bee

If you have any words of encouragement I am definitely open to those too!

And if you need some feedback, some encouragement, or someone to listen, I'm here.  If I can't help maybe I know someone who can.

Meanwhile, here are 3 places I have been finding inspiration lately...

1.) Wow!  As of this moment there are 62 people who have boldly backed my new album.  That's amazing!  I am so blessed to have people in my life that believe in my music and are willing and able to put money behind it.  It takes a community.  Thanks for being here.  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/meganbee/like-a-canyon-a-new-album-by-megan-bee 

2.) I've been reading Carole King's memoir "Natural Woman."  I'm enchanted.  Her amazing catalog of songs is immense.  Even bigger is her courage in telling her story.  She puts it out there.  Reading this has been so encouraging.  Thanks Carole. 

3.) Some of you know that I teach environmental education in the spring and the fall.  This week wraps up an amazing spring season.  The kids, teachers, staff, birds, trees, and landscape have been a constant inspiration of how connected we all are.  I'll leave you with some photos from Camp Oty' Okwa...

geology in sandstone caves

love is in the air... er, I mean in the water (green frogs)

tree frog eyes

and some sandstone abstracts...

Peace, Love, Music, and Support.

-Megan

For the past few months I've been writing, working on guitars, and resting up a bit.  I've been recovering from a case of tendinitis in my wrists since November.  I've sought advice from massage therapists, osteopaths, and patient house plants.

I've been learning about healing from this ZZ plant that was living at Blue Eagle Music.  After some over-watering and root disturbance that left it bare back in November I took it home to recoup.  For over two months nothing happened and then...

...there was just this little sign of hope.  There was some life left down under the soil after all.  Watching it grow a little everyday has been a great inspiration.  Just look at that little shoot now!  

That's kind of how I've been feeling lately.  Sometimes life is like a light switch flipping on, and sometimes it's just like a dimmer switch slowly getting brighter.  Just keep moving forward.

So I scheduled some days in Peachfork Studio, looked some vocal mics in the eye, and sang them some new songs. 

I asked some members of the Mountain Stage band to come play with me.  Mountain Stage is a live weekly radio show out of West Virginia that I love.  It never hurts to ask.  I ended up hiring Ammed, Ryan, and Steve  (drums, guitar, and bass) to come play on a few songs.  What fun!!  I can't wait for ya'll to hear what we've been working on.  These guys are stellar musicians and wonderful people.

I have a few more days in the studio over the next few weeks.  It's all coming together step by step.  

In other news, I recently had a phone call with my friend Piano Dan (who you might know from previous blogs or stories at shows).  He asked if I was going to come out to California for the annual President's Day softball game.  I wasn't sure.  Then he said, "Life's too short not to do some of the big important things."

So I flew to Las Vegas and caught a ride on a road that isn't really a road...

 

...to a place where you can see for miles...

... just in time for the most scenic softball game ever.  This annual tradition is part family reunion, part music festival, part sporting event, and part wilderness camping trip.  

The Misfits won this year, but the Skins dominated in the cheerleader department with their Village People...

A friend was asking me how my trip was.  I told her it was life distilled to it's pure elements -

Music

Friends

and Being Outside.

 

Music. (joe stevens showed up!)

 

 Friends (this was a really windy day.  we're all ducking away in the van)

 

and Being Outside. (this canyon... wow)

It rained for two days in a row out there, a rarity for the Death Valley region.  There was snow on the passes and mud in the valley.  When we drove out we found this "lake" where there is usually a dried salt bed in the Panamint Valley.  Sometimes there is water in the desert!

 

So don't forget to reconnect with whatever raw elements make your life what is.

And if there's an obstacle in your way...

... keep moving forward.

Wishing you all healing, patience, creativity, and love.

-Megan

 

 

Happy December everyone!  I'm nesting in Ohio for most of the winter.  I've done so much traveling this year that staying in one spot feels like a great new adventure. 

There's a new album in the works, and for now I offer up this single. "That's Enough"...

(photo credit to Amy Bihn.  she took this while we were on a walk.  these are the tracks near my childhood home)

Last year my songwriters circle challenged me to write a holiday song.  I was thinking about how sometimes I feel like I live on the edge, and somehow I always have enough.  What if my karma is that I'll always have enough?  Never an excess and never nothing.  Just enough? 

Enough is great!  Enough is satisfying.  How do we know when we have had enough?  How do we let ourselves know that we are enough?  And in this holiday season when we buy, eat, drink, spend, and try to please in excess?

So that phrase was ringing in my head.  I hope you enjoy the song.  You can find a free download at meganbeemusic.bandcamp.com.  Just click "buy now" and enter zero OR any price if you're feeling moved in this season of giving.  Please share it with anyone you think might enjoy it. 

If that's not enough, don't worry, there's more!  Last Saturday I sat in as the musical guest on the local WOUB AM show "Roots and Branches."  You can hear the entire conversation and music here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARAxQgIrn8A

November brought a regional tour of coffee shops, breweries, taverns, and house shows with my brother from another mother, Josiah Whitley.  It was quite a trip.  We were both so excited and then oh so challenged by seasonal colds, sinuses, and epic hoarse voices.  Crowds were seduced by my sexy raspy voice for a night, but then I had to rest for a while.  It's scary when your voice is struggling.  We had to cancel one show at the end of the tour.  I promise myself I'll take better care of my voice.

picture by summer bair

We still did have so much fun despite the struggle.  How could you not have fun when this is your view!?!  I took this picture at a great house concert in Dayton.

If you still haven't had enough, then let me tell you about my past week in Virginia.  I went to work with a kid's music program called Kid Pan Alley.  It's a non-profit that goes into schools and writes songs with classrooms.  Kid's learn about valuing everyone's ideas through the songwriting process.  The class goes from blank page to performing their song within just a few class periods.  It's pretty amazing.  We worked with 3rd grade classrooms in Warrenton, VA.  I learned so much and I'm excited to continue working with kids music in my home town.  You can check out their program at http://www.kidpanalley.org/.

Enough yet?

Well how about these puppets!?

What an honor to get to carry this beautiful puppet in the Honey for the Heart parade this year!  It was a great time to be back in Athens.  These community art spectacles are just another reason I love this town.

Ok.  That's enough. Until next time, thanks so much for reading the blog.

I hope your holidays are simple and beautiful.

-Megan Bee

After many miles, I am happy to report that I have played some great shows, driven some long hours, seen some beautiful places, and safely landed back in Ohio...

Check out my schedule of upcoming Ohio shows HERE.  About a month ago I was in the bay area where the land meets the sea...

I use to work on a farm in Sonoma County and it was a great time of year to swing by.  Having a cooler full of fresh veggies in the van was the best.  There were 28 different crops in harvest...

I also stopped by my friend's flower farm, B-Side Farm...

Having some flowers to spruce up the van was also lovely...

Besides going to the coast to visit farms and play concerts, I was there to officiate my friends' wedding.  I was so honored that they had asked me to be part of this day.  I use to work with Justin at Camp Oty' Okwa in Ohio.  We spent many days leading kids on adventurous hikes together.  Now he's off on his next big adventure with his wonderful wife Emily...

The San Francisco area is bustling and busy.  I'm not a city person, but I go to see the people I love.  I got to visit with my cousin's family, my sister, and other friends.  My friend Steve has this great condo where you can see the city from a safe distance.  You can drink coffee, listen to the coast guard radio, and watch the boats come in and out of the bay...

Then I left the city life behind and headed west.  I stopped at one of my favorite hot springs on the Kern River.  A far cry from the hurried city...

Then through Death Valley.  A far cry from the ocean...

Where wild horses roam...

Now I'm back in Ohio and vacuuming the desert, dried flower petals, and fallen road snack crumbs out of my van.  It was another great trip.  Thanks to everyone who hosted me, fed me, booked me, laughed, shared stories, encouraged me, and connected.  Life is sweet.  I am thankful...

 

 

 

 

Beautiful places, spontaneous events, and lovely people...  I spent the last few weeks touring through the rest of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and now California.  People at my shows have been so generous in sharing their own stories of travel, love for their hometowns, challenges they're facing, and secret camping spots.  It's a great exchange of music, stories, and connection.

Between gigs I've been to some great spots.  I had a free day on my way to Pagosa Springs, CO  and several friends recommended the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  It's the biggest sand dune on the continent...

with elk in the grasslands...

and an amazing sunset.

In the morning I followed those serpentine ridges up and up...

... to find more and more sand.

I had a free Sunday night just into New Mexico.  I decided to go see a friend of a friend perform at Wines of San Juan.   I had never met them, and I didn't know anyone there.  It was another case of driving alone down a nowhere country road with no cell service to a place I'd never been.  Luckily, that recipe has always ended well for me.  The winery was set way back, the band was playing in a gazebo, and there were peacocks roaming around.  I made a friend in the parking lot who invited me to join them, then I met the band, and then I met these other touring musicians, Ordinary Elephant.  If you like my music I think you'll love them!  They are a nomadic duo.  They invited me to camp with them at the winery that night and we shared songs until the wee hours.

That's my van and their RV nestled in at the winery.

Folks call New Mexico "The Land of Enchantment".  It really is quite an enchanting place.  I got to my gig in Santa Fe early enough to visit the Georgia O'Keeffe museum.  Amazing.  Her art and her story grabbed me.  She really had a way of seeing the world...

Georgia O'Keeffe : Pedernal

 

Land of Enchantment...

...with lots of free public land for primitive camping.

When I got to Tucson I stayed with some of my favorite hippie friends.  Their rigs are parked for the moment, but these folks know the road well... and in style...

I made some stops to see family, friends, and then Joshua Tree Saloon.  That whole region is rich with character.  Got to jam with my buddy Dave (aka DER)...

Then I made my way up Hwy 395 to complete a life goal of mine and visit the Ancient Bristle Cone Pine Forest.  I picked up my friend Piano Dan and we drove up the mountain where the pines grow at over 10,000 foot elevation clinging to dolomite cliffs through wind, snow, and rain. 

They thrive on the harshness.  The ones that grow in sheltered areas grow fast and their soft wood is susceptible to insects.  But, the ones who grow on the rugged exposed edges grow slow.  Their wood gets hard and gnarly.  They live for thousands of years.  The oldest known one is about 4,800 years old.

There are so many lessons to be learned from these ancient trees.  Sometimes living a sheltered life seems safe and easy, but the real old wise ones are living on the edge and enduring the elements.  I want to cling to the dolomite and live forever.

Here's a little video clip from a morning of camping and caravanning with Piano Dan (Dan also enjoys clinging to the edges of the world)...

I had a lovely show at Mountain Rambler Brewing in Bishop, CA then drove down to The Ranch in Lancaster, CA.  I caught a couple days of blissful jamming with new and old friends.  Now I'm blowing the dust off, changing my oil, and getting ready to head up to the San Fransisco area.

photo credit Don McClinton

Thanks for reading and browsing the photos!  See you out there on the exposed edges and in the elements...

-Megan

 photo credit Don McClinton

 

What a journey!  Here I am in Fort Collins, Colorado after a cross-country drive, a week at Rocky Mountain Song School, and a string of shows.  The trip has been full of lessons learned...

First of all I had my first blow out on the highway!  I had just crossed into Colorado near Sterling on a 95 degree day.  I had been feeling a little rumble in my van and was checking the tires along the way.  Then all of a sudden, like popping a birthday balloon - pow! - there was black stuff flying off in my rear-view mirror...

It was a good chance to practice my roadside skills.  I could think of worse places to blow a tire.  The town was only a few miles up and after I got the spare on it was nice to sit in an air-conditioned tire store and cool off for a while.

Then it was on to Fort Collins and welcomed in to my friend's Terry and Skip's beautiful space.  I'm so lucky to have such loving friends with open arms and amazing backyards!

I played there, down in Denver, and then headed off to song school...

This was my 3rd year attending song school which is an intense week of studying all things songwriting.  Besides amazing classes, it is a chance to connect with other writers around the country in a beautiful place.

Here I am performing for the nightly open mic with Ingrid Elizabeth and JJ Jones. 

Among the teachers this year was Grammy-winning singer, Kathy Mattea.  What an honor to get to hang out and hear her stories.  She said one of the first times she fell in love with singing was at Girl Scout Camp.  She helped remind us all of the simple power of singing music together.  As a past camp counselor I loved hearing this story.

Just like any summer camp, I left with this mix of feelings.  I was sad to leave behind my new and old friends, but so inspired to move forward into this world.

Colorado is beautiful.  My friend Terry and I took a trip up Poudre Canyon this weekend.  This is where the mountains and plains collide, two huge forces constantly pushing up against each other.  I was thinking that the mountains were the big force, but she reminded me what a dynamic energy the vast plains are.  Plain open space is as powerful as a mountain range... think about that!  And this isn't an event that happened in history.  The pushing, eroding, and colliding are all happening right now.

Mishawaka up Poudre Canyon

Just yesterday I took a hike with my artist friend John.  I originally met John on the road in Slab City, we've traveled together to Saline, and he is also the artist behind my last CD and t-shirt.  We went up to Horsetooth Reservoir and took a hike on one of the windiest days. I could feel the mountains and plains colliding...

And if you haven't seen John's housetruck here it is...

Now my van is almost packed up.  I'm headed south through New Mexico and on to Arizona with two new back tires and a heart full of inspiration. 

Don't forget to check your tires out there!  And don't forget to notice what forces of nature are happening right now around you...

Until next time - Peace, Love, and Music.

-Megan

Brew on Broadway. Photo Credit Patrick Cross

 

 

This month I wanted to share a few projects from my recent Songwriting Workshops for kids.  These workshops are a haphazard dive into the creative process.  I meet with 8-15 kids, we come to some consensus of what to write about, we do creative writing exercises, and ultimately write a song.  We share ideas, cross out words, move them, work on rhythm, feeling, melody, and record our creation.  All of this happens in 2-3 hours depending on the workshop format.

If you have a group you'd like me to come work with give me a holler!  Libraries, camps, school groups, etc...

Athens Public Library wrote a great silly song with lesson...

Nelsonville Public Library wrote about their library...

Science Camp at Camp Oty' Okwa got eerie with this Sci-Fi look at their favorite hiking place...

 

This week I'm working with Athens Rock Camp for Girls.  The campers have a week to learn an instrument, write a song, and perform with their band this coming weekend.  Some of them have never played before.  We'll see what magic happens!

Then I have one more local songwriting workshop at Chauncey Public Library 3PM July 26 & 27  .

I hope you are getting creative in whatever way moves you.

Cheers. Megan

 

 

 

Southern Ohio is vibrating with 17-year cicadas.  I couldn't be more delighted.  I've always enjoyed their drone, buzz, and siren-like eeeeerrr.  They are everywhere.  Here's a little story of one...

For the past few weeks I was teaching environmental education up at Camp Oty' Okwa.  My co-worker, Shep, and I were sitting on a log when we saw something coming out of the ground.  This little wingless pupa was crawling around looking for something to climb up.  It tried climbing a log we set out for it, but fell down during a few tries.  At one point we stopped paying attention and noticed again only as it was climbing Shep's leg...

We relocated it back to the grass where it went up a dandelion to shed it's shell.  A couple hours after sunset it was finally pulling itself out.

Then one big sit up...

Then it sat drying it's wings for another hour or so...

By then I went to bed.  I checked in the morning and all that was left was the empty shell.  I imagine our little friend is one of these guys...

Their music is so powerful and energetic.  It was a great addition to this years Nelsonville Music Festival last weekend.  This year the annual fest went all out to honor the critters.  I got to be part of a community balloon art project where we made these...

Now I can add balloon twisting to my eclectic resume of random skills.  We had the designer leading a small group of ignorant volunteers, and we managed to work together and whip up about 150 of these guys during the first full day of the festival.

We were making them in a building separate from the main area so most people didn't know what was coming until a parade swarmed the festival. 

It was a great way to start this busy month of music gatherings.  I played lots of music and spontaneous silly songs in the campground with old and new friends.  I was in the front row Saturday night to watch Gillian Welch perform, a goal of mine for years.  She was great!

Here's where I'll be performing this month...

June 11th @ 2Pm-dark
Appalachia Rising Festival - Solid Ground Farm

(I'm performing at 6PM)
music - food - obstacle courses - community

Friday June 17th @ 8PM
City Nights Live! - Covington, KY on TBNK 21/821
(filming starts 8:30PM)
come out for an intimate live studio show!
it will air live on TV and later stream from Youtube...
please come if you're around -
I need someone to cheer when they flash the "applause" sign!

June 20-21 @ 2PM-3PM
Songwriting Workshop of Kids! - Athens Public Library
excited to write with some local kids!


June 22 @ 7PM & June 24 @ 6PM
Summer Solstice Festival - Wisteria
celebration - dancing - music - family - all week long!

June 25 @ 1:45PM
Boogie on the Bricks - Athens, OH
free community street fest! I'll bee on the acoustic stage.

and later that day...

June 25 @ 6PM
Opening for Irene Kelley at Henderson Hall - Williamstown, WV
woohoo!

June 27-28 @ 5:30PM - 6:30PM
Songwriting Workshop of Kids! - Nelsonville Public Library
excited to write with some more local kids!


So break out of your little cicada shell and come see me!
In between all of those gigs I'll be working at Blue Eagle Music. Stop by sometime!

-Megan Bee



 

songwriter night in lubbock, tx

I'm back in Ohio after a smooth roll eastward across the southern part of the country... through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas... then up through Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, and into "OH-IO!" 

I met some lovely people out there, swapped CDs with lots of other talented songwriters, and played to some appreciative audiences.  Thanks to all of the folks who hosted me on my eastward tour: Timbo at the Ranch, Bead Louise & Stephan in Pioneertown, Uncle Jim & Aunt Jean in Phoenix, the O'Briens in Hobbs, Sean O'Connell in La Porte, and Gervais Wright in Houston...

gervais, me, & michelle at visionary heights in houston

Between my generous hosts, my favorite public lands, and some new spots I discovered on www.freecampsites.net, I didn't have to pay for lodging once.  For those of you wondering how a musician can afford to travel... well it helps to live in a van and not spend much!

Now I'm back in Ohio just in time for the spring bird migration.  I spent this week visiting my family in Ottawa county (self-proclaimed warbler capitol of the world!).  Now I'm headed to spend some time teaching outdoors at Camp Oty' Okwa.

This coming weekend I have a run of shows with singer-songwriter Josiah Whitley!

Port City Pub - Portsmouth, OH
Thurs. May 5th at 7PM
 
Spirited Goat Coffeehouse - Yellow Springs, OH
Fri. May 6th at 7PM
 
The Listing Loon - Cincinnati, OH
Sat. May 7th at 9PM
 

Please bring your 10 closest friends and c'mon out!

And don't forget to get outside and see who's flying around your neighborhood these days!

Enjoy!

red-headed woodpecker at oak openings metropark

 

 

 

The last month was full of desert adventure...

Zabriskie Point

I headed out to Death Valley with my friend and fellow vagabond, Piano Dan.  He tunes pianos for a living and often travels with an upright in the back of his pickup so he can serenade folks in the most unlikely places.  We took my van and unfortunately had no room for the piano.  Although we did find a few along the way.

Piano in a bus.  Keeler, CA

Me and the piano man.

Darwin, CA

As you can see, we stayed in all of the highest-end one-star hotels we could find.  I got to see some new places in Death Valley I'd never been to before and then headed out to my favorite hot springs.


  

I love the vastness of the open desert.  Nine years ago I rolled down into this valley with two friends on a road trip.  When they left, I threw my belongings in a backpack and stayed for a month.  I fell in love with this place and with people playing music around the campfire at night.  Soon after I picked up my first guitar.  I continue to play around campfires and shady spots out here in this big place.

Looking out my backdoor.

Most nights were mild enough to sleep with the back hatch and side doors open.  There was one night there were 50mph gusts and I kept the hatches battened.  After a week of playing music, soaking, hiking, and reconnecting with some wonderful friends, we caravanned out with our friend Steve.

Fossil Falls

Then I said good-bye to my friends and rolled on down to Slab City for the prom!  Every Saturday you can find live music at sundown on The Range, but once a year they hold "Prom under the Stars."  Folks dress up from formal to normal to outrageous costumes.  There is a picture booth, and they even crown a king and queen.  For me this was my last evening to spend time with my Slab family before it gets too hot.

 

 Last night at The Range for a while. photo credit lynne bright

Then on Easter Sunday, in long standing Slab City tradition, we all loaded up for the annual Egg Shoot Out. There is a backdrop with 3 raw festively decorated eggs.  Everyone gets 3 shots with a pellet gun.  When an egg gets hit it makes a little yolky explosion met by cheers from the crowd.  If you get any eggs you move to the next round and the firing line gets progressively further away from the target.  I made it all the way to the final round, shot 3 eggs with my 3 shots, and won this year's event!  I think folks were surprised that a peace-loving gal like me won it.  My dad taught me how to shoot when I was just a kid and it's finally paying off.  Ha! What a hoot!

photo credit lynne bright

 Then it was up to Pioneertown to play at Pappy and Harriet's, one of my favorite desert venues.  Pioneertown was originally founded as a Roy Roger's movie set.  Now it's a little mecca of great music.

jamming with leslie, lucky, and lance

Then I caught a ride back to the hot springs.  I left my van parked at The Ranch and just took a few things.  I slept on a cot out under the stars for 4 nights.  We took a great hike up Yellow Canyon one day to search for petroglyphs. 

crossing the valley

up in the canyon looking back down

petroglyphs

It was a lovely trip with lots of good folks, some fine camp food, music around the fire, and some nice water to soak in...

One final soak, and then it's back on the road.  I played the open mic at Joshua Tree Saloon last night.  Now I'm headed east and reckon I'll keep headed that way to play in Las Cruces, NM on Saturday and in Houston, TX next week. 

Thank you to all of the fine desert folks who hosted me, hiked with me, gave me a ride, rode with me, played music with me, fed me, and danced with me.  Thanks for listening to my songs, buying cds, and encouraging me.  As for me, I'm headed east!  See you next time...

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