folk music

A Feminine Antidote to Creative Fear by Annabeth McNamara

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This weekend I had the honor of hosting a flock of singer-songwriters in my home for a humble beginnings of a biannual womyn's music festival. It felt like all the power of a women's circle, amplified. Literally.

We began the event with a discussion of our creative lives, the pros and cons, the struggle and the reward. As I sat and listened, realizations sort of seaped into the sponge of my consciousness. I realized I'm not alone in the creative struggle. That it's a beautiful and worthwhile struggle. That having a muse, a cross to bear such as this, is also a gift that not everyone has.

More importantly, my sense of competitiveness and judgment and catty-ness, which seems like some kind of twisted instinct, melted away into sheer appreciation for these glowing, luminous, very human women sharing their songs and their hidden minds with us in intimate, quiet coziness of a full living room.

As a highly sensitive woman in the music industry, I feel my spirit calling in a new way of creating and sharing and making a living that cares for self, community, and planet. This evening of music, food, and art was the perfect first step into manifesting this vision.

It's just a simple part of feminine psychology and biology that we are stronger together. As I witnessed each woman sing her songs, I realized we all had distinct genres and niches we were filling. The hierarchy of who was best that I had in my mind was leveled by an awe for the distinctive beauty we each had to offer. 

This realization can be taken from the stage and applied to any field of achievement. When we work together and make space for each other, we become a cohesive quilt of many different patterns, that can comfort and warm the whole world.

The end of the night was an especially victorious moment, when one of the performers took a great risk and sang a song a capella. She was used to performing with a big digital sound or with other musicians, but in our presence, she felt strong enough to sing with her bare voice ringing out through the silence. 

By the end of the song, our crew of fine singers were humming backing chords. It was a spontaneous, improvised moment that we'll treasure.

What a beautiful metaphor of the courage we can access through witnessing each other supportively. I've heard it often how women's biggest stumbling block in the professional realm is their fear to take risk. I see this as an obvious outcome of being the weaker sex in the often vicious and tenuous lifestyle our ancestors surely endured. 

Yet I believe we witnessed our antidote at the end of the night. The cure for the resistant anxiety many of us feel, is realizing we're stronger together. If you're struggling to make strides forward in your life as a woman, perhaps all you're missing is this HUGE key-- female community.

Just a theory, my sweets! Give it a whirl and let me know how it goes?

Me and my bestie. Girl power!

Me and my bestie. Girl power!


I've been recently reading The Feminist Utopia Project.  It's amazing what a little intellectual stimulation can do for one's world view!

I'm reading the chapters like doses of cultural vitamins, educating myself to bolster my emotional immune system in our current political climate...

Nothing like a sexist tyrant to inspire the next wave of feminism! :)

We intentionally made the Ladyfolk Fest to not restricted biological women. Because femininity comes in different shapes and sizes!

I'm learning this first-hand, as I'm currently in love with someone who doesn't fit into the gender binary.  While identifying as a girly woman certainly works for me, I see how the patriarchal system hurts him daily.  It's like there's a roadblock between who he is and who he feels he's allowed to be every day.

Feminism means getting outside of your experience and empathizing with others less fortunate, and fighting for their rights. Because when we protect each other, we ensure protection for ourselves and our loved ones and the next generation...

Another thought to note, is that in my world of gigging and music touring, I've found many creative folks who live as question marks to this societal norm of boy versus girl.  Maybe it's because creativity and self-expression forces us to get in touch with our ambiguous, multi-faceted nature.

I'm so happy to present my sister's very own first novel, now available for pre-order on Amazon. It's a young adult historical fiction about two actual female pirates that sailed the ocean between England and North Carolina. This book presents a new narrative of gender and equality on the open sea... So proud of my big sis!

Season of Love by Annabeth McNamara



Dogs, cats, babies, friends, friends' dogs, lovers, down comforters.  

At this point in the cold season, those of us who have survived are those who have succumbed to cuddles.

One can even somewhat snuggle, from a safe distance, with a space heater or wood stove. 

On rare occasion, even the sun makes itself fair game. 

I'm tickled to announce I'll be serenading folks at a public cuddle puddle in just one week.

First, a plug for live music-going.
Part of why I've started making a habit of going out to live music, despite the warring forces of gravity and inertia, is because I NEVER REGRET IT. 

So instead of "Here are a few of my favorite things," sung by blonde Mary Poppins, I present you with, "Here are a few things I never regret:"

-Walking. Anywhere. Anytime. It reliably massages my brain. In the winter, walking the miles between places brings me an inner warmth that few fires can match.

-Eating a salad, or greens in general. Chlorophyl = happiness high. For staying hydrated and warm, I've gotten in the habit of putting seaweed and herbs and greens and whatever else in a bowl with miso and submerging it all in just-boiled water. My very own aquarium. For dinner.

-Meditating. Even 10 minutes can work wonders in taking me from a ten back to zero.

-Reaching out to a friend when I'm distraught. The gals I've got on my speed-dial work like a charm.

-Recording musical ideas on my laptop late at night. It gives me a funny buzz I can't quite recreate other ways, even if it effs with my sleep cycle.

-And yes, going out to hear live music. It's the warmth, the friendship-fortifying conversation, the kooky decor that often shakes me out of my darker doubts.

It's a little thing called community that can restore my faith in humanity.

In these settings, romance is a gazillion times more likely than if I'd stayed at home hum-drumming and ho-humming.

This brings me to my next show.

Image custom-painted for the event by Chicho Lorenzo.

Image custom-painted for the event by Chicho Lorenzo.

Free Love: Valentine's Day Love-In at IX

For those of us in the city of Charlottesville, this is our chance to share the love. I created an evening for us like a hand-crafted Valentine-- thoughtfully, with lots of frills. 

Spend Valentine's evening submerged in art sharing sweet morsels and crafting valentines with the people you like to love.

Wherever you are on the planet reading this, I hope you'll go out despite the cold to experience the ambient ardor of this holiday of love. 

To me, this day is an invitation to celebrate love of all kinds- how do we show it, how do we live it, how to we BE the Love that we ARE as much as possible ???

I have another radio show this week to start things off. And for my Virginia friends, here are some more opportunities to catch my songs.


Upcoming Shows in VA
2/10 LIVE ON THE RADIO - WCNR/106.1 The Corner - 8pm EST
2/14 Charlottesville, VA @ IX Art Park, 7-11:30pm, $5 donation
2/21 Staunton, VA @ Redbeard Brewing Co.
         w/ Sarah Lynna & the Misfit Toys, 7-10pm
2/28 Harrisonburg, VA @ The Golden Pony w/ Jeremaiah Tall

3/10 Richmond, VA @ Crossroads RVA (unconfirmed)
4/16 Charlottesville, VA @ The Ante Room - World Voice Day

-Oh, and one last never-regret: wearing earplugs at said live music events. It's a pacifier for my mind. A soft sweater for my senses.

I'm not getting paid to do so, but I recommend Sweetwater's earplugs for bringing things to a safe decibel while keeping sounds rather clear. They make both folk- and rock-level options.

I feel like a total nerd when I wear them.

Which is why I'd like to start a trend so I can hang with the cool kids again.

Something I learn as I grow older is that if I do manage to stick around on this planet for another batch of decades, it's important that I not damage myself irreparably in some stupid way.

The end.

p.s. The wintry portrait at the top of this blog was snapped by my dear friend Renee Byrd. She is a multi-faceted whirlwind of creativity, whether it's writing or photography or playing back-up in my band.

She is currently planning to make me a fairy-unicorn rainbow raw cake for my birthday which will debut on her blog. Hashtag what true friends are made of.

WAIT. So tell me in the comments below, what are some things YOU never regret ? I love hearing from you always. xxxoo