How Music Saved My Life by Annabeth McNamara


I recently had someone scoff at the idea that I may have ever been through really dark times. 
I am wanting to be vulnerable and share that I have spent a good part of my life struggling with suicidal thoughts. 

I know for a fact I'm not alone, as I hear there is a veritable epidemic of "deaths of despair" going on these days...

A big part of my journey has been learning how to stay balanced and grounded as waves of dark emotions crash over me, seeping up under me through the night and waking me with an icy splash in the face, drawing me unwilling back to harsh life and its million tiny pressure, responsibilities, and miseries. 

Over the years, I have learned to become a hunter, with my golden arrow of focus pointed at things that will lift me up out of these dredges and into a brighter shine.

As a result of my predisposition for darkness, I've become obsessed with positive psychology: the psychology of happiness.

Yes, there is a science to it. Yes, anyone can learn how to raise their emotional set-point.

Flow state is one petal on the flower of happiness. That is, getting lost in an activity...

Music has been a lifeline for me-- it's always been there no matter what. It's a touch-stone I can always reach for, as easy as reaching out to a warm wooden instrument and seeking the harmonies latent in its strings. Music is this magical key to my life-- I can sing and suddenly I'm present, filled with oxygen and resonant frequencies that please my bones. I can sing with others and suddenly we're connecting in a rapturous state of transcendence. I can sing and suddenly I'm plunged into a watery world of wavelengths where I can shut my eyes and dive beneath the waves and forget my troubles, erase my troubles, or express my frustrations and swim past them.

In this bubble of harmony, the harsh pain of 3-dimensional life eases into a wondrous doubt-- that perhaps this "real world" we attribute so much gravity isn't actually as real as the subtle sonic gossamer we're cocooning ourselves in. That it's merely the flimsy, shiny sheen that hides beneath it a huge and vastly deep current that is the Source of Life, where we go when we die, and can't music be heavenly? Don't you just sometimes die a tiny death and rise up on a sunlit cloud of feeling when you hear a beautiful strand of music come to take you home? 

The fact that sharing my heart-songs has become a big part of my career never ceases to amaze me. And now I've gone another step along the path to share my knowledge, to press the golden keys and hand them out to the beautiful young people who have come to knock on the door to music, so they can learn to speak and write and dance and live and breathe this medium as well...

Yes, I've been through dark times. But you wouldn't know it, because I have built a house of song around myself where I can sleep sweetly while I'm awake.

So. If you haven't gone to my kickstarter page to hear me talk about why I'm making my next album, you've got 44 hours to donate and add fuel to my creative fire: 


Sharing the link is also a great help!
Thanks so much to everyone who's donated so far. You really see me and honor my gifts. It's an amazing realization.


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