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Lisa Mandelstein: News

PineHeavenFarm House Concert - January 25, 2010

HUGE THANKS to all who came out to the PineHeavenFarm concert! We had a full house and a full evening of songs. And some great potluck!

What a blessing to get to sing with the amazing Kelly Takunda Orphan and Jeannie Mckenzie. It was so great to hear the songs with all the overlapping parts and harmonies I can only imagine on my own! Two standouts for me were "Yom Kippur Song" (write my name in the book of light) and "Grace Peeks In" (over and over and over, over and over and over, day turns to night, night back to sun and clover ----- over, Grace and learning, keep me turning)

Kelly's percussion was so tasteful and tasty. And Jeannie's fiddling was hot!

We had so much fun we're hoping there will be another opportunity to collaborate soon. If you would like to host a house concert in your own home - get in touch - we would love to share the music with your friends and neighbors. House concerts are the newest happening way to hear music.

Happy New Year! - January 7, 2010

Happy New Year to all my music friends and supporters and encouragers, near and far - I hope the new year is treating you well - In this long month - after the holidayhoopla - things settle back down with some space for rethinking 'the way it is' and looking to new horizons - both interior and in the world.

I've been missing playing music outside of my school music teaching, and my songs have been getting quite lonely (a bit grouchy if truth be told), shut up in their binders and boxes by my grandma's piano.

So - we (the songs and me) are happy to announce an evening of music in the East Bay at the end of this month. I hope you will come over for an evening of tunes (new and old), on Saturday the 23rd, at Jeannie's and Frankie's PineHeavenFarm in Oakland. It's a cozy spot with room for about 40 people. We encourage you to RSVP ASAP to reserve a place. All the details are at the end of this note.

Whether or not you can make it on the 23rd, I wish you an easeful year. I'm planning to 1. Ride my bike as much as I can; 2. Clear out and simplify, and simplify some more; 3. Get much more specific about what I want (and don't want); 4. Figure out a better balance between my love of teaching and my love of singing and 'songing' and 5. Remember to breathe in to all the joy waiting in each moment. Good luck with your intentions - may they knock gently but insistently.

Much Love and Music, LisaM

Report Back-No Place Like Home Tour - June 17, 2008

LISA MANDELSTEIN MUSIC - The Report Back So Far - Summer '08

* * * * * * * * * * *
The "No Place Like Home" Tour started off in my current town with a show in San Francisco over at Bazaar Cafe. I played a good fat set with many of the old favorites from "Hide and Seek," and then Karmen Buttler, accompanied by her Dad, played a foot stomping mesmerizing mix, all to a cozy crowd.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Next I clicked my red shoes 3 X's, landed in Kansas (well, KCI) and the magic started happening!

Climax Festival 25 Year Reunion Concert 5/28/08
Jackpot Music Hall in downtown Lawrence, KS
When I arrived on Friday for the fabulous pre-concert jam night at Dick and Cheryl Powers, old friends with smirks on their faces kept asking "are you the FAMOUS Lisa Mandelstein ?" People I didn't even know kept asking me to tell ALL about my adventures with the Grateful Dead and going on about how they always loved my music. Hmmm, It was all a bit confusing, since I was mostly a shy jug and flute playing back up singer back then. Then I saw the amazing article the Lawrence Journal World had printed that day about the Reunion event!

Here's the link - http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/may/23/grass_roots_reunion/
There are some fun pictures - and except for the line where my story about performing (clapping and back up vocals) with Hamza El Din at the 10 year anniversary tribute concert for Jerry Garcia held at Berkeley's Greek Theater morphed into "contributed live backing vocals to The Grateful Dead " the rest of the article is pretty spot-on and a fun read!

What a treat to see so many old friends and make new friends among these amazing musicians. Whoever knew we would all still be playing music 25 years later? People were perched in every nook and cranny of the yard and house, either trying to work something out for the following night's show or just jamming. A spontaneous a capella sing-along in the kitchen started with Deborah Pine of Lila, old timey tunes took over the back yard, Julie Hume was laying down some powerhouse bass while Marianne Carter ran around adding gorgeous fiddle licks and harmonies. While most folks went home at a reasonable hour, a few of us die-hards retreated to Dick's 'man cave' - a room lined with antique and novelty beer cans and bottles - where we shot stories back and forth til late in the night.

DAY OF SHOW: We wrestled a Clavinova out of the university radio station and over to the Jackpot. Folks started gathering and soon there was music everywhere, behind, out front, in the bathrooms, and even - yes - on stage! 19 acts, fire juggling and more and it all managed to stay fairly on time. I played a solo set (Post Mortem, G-Ma's Piano, End of the Story and Amber Locket) and then Dick Powers, Mark Lumpey Julie Hume and I came on a bit later for a mostly political set (Dick's "Gonzo Economics," Julie's "Adios, Auf Wedershein," my punk reggae style "Blow up the World" and Dick and Marks' "Sensitive Guys." It was a hoot! I played kazoo, egg shaker, threw in a few harmonies! It was a Queskin style jug band jubilee!

For the whole evening run down, head on over to the Climax site: http://www.climaxfestival.com/
It was such a great time, great music, great folks! Thanks to all my old friends who came out to say hello - Kay and family from KC, Karen A., Mark Parker, Anne Underwood . . . .

And HUGE thanks to Doug and Bayliss who envisioned the whole event and made it happen!

* * * * * * * * * * *
The next day I headed out with my dear friend Boog - ex-mayor of Lawrence if I may brag for a moment - through the famous Flint Hills and on down to Wichita. It was a boiling hot day, we had the windows down, green rolling by and the sky - so beautiful!

Linda and Barney's House Concert, Wichita, KS
Sunday May 25th, 6pm potluck&social/7pm concert
Linda and Barney are such generous people. They had just hosted Storyhiil the week before and still offered to have a concert for me. It was a delight to play for their friends and get to hang out. The concert was a real social event. I probably spent almost as much time telling stories as playing and it was a good time. In the living room was a wonderful old upright - just perfect for the blues tunes and "Grandma's Piano." Perched on top was a 3D copper replica of the famous vaudeville era auditorium in downtown Wichita. The best part of their house was the front porch - wide and deep with a swing and a couch and a clay fire chimney. After everyone went home we sat out there late with rain and lightening dancing around - we were dry and cozy with just a hint of cooling breeze. Linda and Barney played songs and we talked, talked, talked. I hope to get back that way soon and so appreciate everyone who joined my music list that night and took a CD home. In the morning, after some killer pancakes, it was a cooler ride back.

Thanks Boog, for the ride and the company and everything.

* * * * * * * * * * *
Well, there were a few hoped for shows that didn't materialize this time through but I got to spend the unexpected free time catching up with folks. Here are a few more highlights!

Driving around lost through the corn fields of eastern Kansas in the middle of the night on my way back from visiting Bongo Barry and the family, thunder and lightening shaking the sky - at one point the directions were - as long as you stay on the pavement you're going the right way - if it's gravel you'll know you made a wrong turn (hmmm).

Playing songs on Doug DuBois' new Martin guitar.
WATCHING the video of Rick Krause Family and Friends (sweet, sweet, sweet harmonies and fiddle playing) from the Jackpot event.

Driving around with Jim Brothers (Alferd Packard Band washboard player, nationally known sculptor and all 'round hellraiser) to see a few of his monuments (awe-inspiring).

Gooseberry pie - introduced to me by Andrea who also kindly retrieved me from the airport
Big Butt Beer - entirely too delicious, even for a Juicy Lucy Gal!

Cruising Kansas City with the Ottinger clan, eating drinking and laughing our way through an evening (home grown mint makes the best mojitos!)

Lazy mornings drinking coffee with the Powers, made from their amazing coffee machine! Thanks Dick and Cheryl for taking me in, and putting up with me when I locked myself out at midnight - at least it was summer hours!
* * * * * * * * * * *
Two more planes and I landed in Austin, turning back into plain old "Aunt Lisa" come to celebrate my niece's graduation before she heads off to NYU in the fall. There was big hair (hey, it's Texas!), tubing on Lake Austin, a lot of eating (hey, it's Texas!), a shady hammock and a bunch of rowdy friendly dogs, some fine margaritas (hey, it's Texas!), and playing music around the pond.

Now I'm back in San Francisco, thinking about how to get some songs recorded this summer.
Thinking about how much I love touring and wondering how all the traveling troubadours will make it with gas prices so high. And, there's this show coming up on the 30th:
Lisa Mandelstein/Dan Weir
Mon 6/30 7-10 PM at On The Corner
359 Divisadero St (between Oak St & Page St)
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 522-1101 www.sfcorner.com
7:00 Lisa Mandelstein - www.LisaMandelstein.com 8:00 Dan Weir - check his music at www.myspace.com/weirsongs

I'll keep you posted if there are any further developments!

Happy Summer Everyone! Much Love, LisaM

* * * * * * * * * * *

No Place LIke Home Tour - May 4, 2008

Happy Spring everyone! After a long and good spell of "school, school, school" I am pleased as paint that there's a tour brewing. I'm hitting all the "home" spots, starting right here in San Francisco at Bazaar Cafe on Friday, May 16th. Next I'm headed back to Kansas for a few shows around Memorial Day weekend. And finally, a visit back to my childhood Texas soil. Please pass the news on to the folks you know in any of the following locales. Hope to see you!

Meanwhile, here's wishing you blue skies, healthy rivers, ice cold beer and limber legs, LisaM

* * * * * * * * * * *
Lisa Mandelstein / Karmen Buttler
Bazaar Cafe * Friday, May 16th
7-9:30 PM * let's set the tipjar overflowing!
5927 California St. (btwn 21st & 22nd Ave.), San Francisco, CA (www.bazaarcafe.com)

7 PM * Lisa Mandelstein (www.LisaMandelstein.com)
Bazaar Cafe is my songwriting home spot these days. I open the night right at 7 and then might play a closer set about 8:45, 9:00 p.m. or so. I'll be visiting some of the old favorites from my album as I get ready for Kansas.
7:45 PM * Karmen Buttler (www.karmenbuttler.com)
Check this girl out - phenomenal songs, her dad sits in on lead, together they cook up the sweetest grooviest acoustic meltdown. Come now and you can say you saw her 'back when.'

And speaking of 'back when' -
next I head out for Lawrence, Kansas - liberal oasis of the Midwest

* * * * * * * * * * *
Climax Festival 25 Year Reunion Concert
Saturday, May 24, 7:00pm $5 (21+) $7 (under 21)
Jackpot Music Hall in downtown Lawrence, KS
943 Massachusetts St. // www.climaxfestival.com
You just gotta go to the climaxfestival.com site - just for a minute - it captures perfectly the folksy friendly music making that took place my last few years there. Loads of stories are already posted - I've got my own - still to be written up - but I'll just say - these were my first songwriting baby steps and what a grand time it was. Now we're gathering to celebrate. There's a preshow event Friday the 23rd. The Saturday night show will feature 14+ bands - all detailed on the site. My old picture is up on that site - so folks will have a chance of remembering who the heck I am - I can hardly wait!

the next day I drive out to -

Linda and Barney's House Concert, Wichita, KS
Sunday May 25th, 6pm potluck&social/7pm concert
$15 suggested donation. moneyback guarantee!
for directions: www.barneybyardpromotions.com or call 316-689-8967

House concerts are one of my favorite ways to share music. I am so grateful to Linda and Barney - Linda was also on the Climax recordings the first couple years. When she heard I was making the trek she offered to host a concert! They've hosted Stacy Earle & Mark Stuart and a number of other mainstays on the folk circuit. I'm delighted to play their series. And, I am delighted to be coming back to Wichita; yes, this is the 'dry' town where I first inhaled, drank more than four beers in one go, and stayed up til 5 a.m. listening to the original Weather Report members jamming after hours at a jazz conference. Ah - high school band trips! I played tenor sax and can still hum a few bars of The Count Basie band's "Corner Pocket."


* * * * * * * * * * *
I'm still working on a few other possibilities for the Lawrence/Kansas City area so stay tuned; and if you know anyone in those parts with a piano and a want to host an evening of music, it might not be too late to squeeze something in the week after Memorial Day. As far as any Texas shows -they're TBA - so stay tuned.

new perspective - January 17, 2008

Hey Hey! Since the last post I've been gathering perspective (thanks for all your emails) and sharpening the chops for the show coming up this Sunday! I promised details and here they are. Also, the words for "Juicy Lucy Girl" - for that someone who pointed out that "you haven't recorded it so how could I listen to it." Come to the show - it's a live kinda thing. Bring your umbrella - be home by nine - see you there! LisaM

Lisa Mandelstein and Alex Walsh
Bazaar Cafe * Sunday, January 27th
6-8:30 PM * let's set the tipjar overflowing!
5927 California St. (btwn 21st & 22nd Ave.), San Francisco, CA (www.bazaarcafe.com)

6 PM * Lisa Mandelstein (www.LisaMandelstein.com)
Jeannie McKenzie will be back with her energetic fiddling and fine vocals, and I've got a few new tunes to trot out!
I start right at 6 so get there early - the opening song is sounding great!

7 PM * Alex Walsh (www.alexwalsh.com)
Sitting in with Alex - the nimble Captain Noodle (Steven Andrew Kacsmar) on lead guitar, and the Original Space Cowboy (Shawn Shaffer) on harmonica.

8 PM Round Robin Free For All
Alex and I trade songs to top off the night!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Juicy Lucy Girl

I got big legs and they get me around
I got a big smile when I'm not feelin' down
My arms are wide open if you want to come in
But you take me or leave me 'cause I'll never be thin

Juicy Lucy Girl
I'm a big wide wonderful whirl
Come in my pantry, keep me company
You'll be down on your knees for that secret recipe

I got a big bottom and you better treat it right
“cause I got a big mouth and I ain't afraid to bite
My arms are wide open, you know what I mean
But you take me or leave me 'cause I'll never be lean

Juicy Lucy Girl . . . .

Macaroni and cheese, pass the butter please
I'll take you out of the zone
If you like your sweet potato and your juicy tomato
Well you can follow me home

I got big legs and they get me around
I got a big smile when I'm not feelin' down
My arms are wide open and you know what else is too
If you like your Lucy juicy and you now just what to do

Juicy Lucy Girl . . . .

REPORT out FROM THE SONGWRITING LIFE 2007 - January 8, 2008

"There are years that ask questions and years that answer" - Zora Neale Hurston

I've been hugging that quote tighter than a life preserver this year's end. Talking to a friend the other day, I was lamenting what to write in my annual "happy new year" posting - it's been a bumpy, introspective time with much I'm still wondering and wandering through.

My friend jumped the sadsacksighing with a crackling holler. "Lisa," she yelled through the phone, "you are an ARTIST. Your job is to FEEL, to feel deeply and remind us ALL to feel - your songs DO that and you are doing that. Tell your people that you LEARNED how to sit very STILL; that you wrote some new and beautiful songs, that you fell in love and then had to let it go, are still letting it go. You're doing what you're SUPPOSED TO BE doing and everyone on your list knows and loves you!" So - take it from my friend Malia - I guess things are still okay!

A quick rundown of 2007 - the good, the bad, the ugly - for all you rubberneckers!

The GOOD!
+ some great shows, one a real jammer in April with Alex Walsh and Dianne Nola; and the shimmering night last October shared with Sonya Hunter and Eric Pearson; plus Jeannie McKenzie and the Burke's 'choir' filling out my sets.
+ playing music for my brother Sam and Angie's wedding down in Austin, with great sound thanks to my niece's cool black guitar and the amplifier help from Noel Hampton and Andre Moran (thanks Jacqui!)
+ three new songs I'm really proud of (and will play at the 1/27 show, hint, hint)

THE BAD #1CDBaby's call to send back my CD's 'cause they thought maybe I had closed shop. Hmmph.
THE GOOD! So many of you buying CD's that a month later, CDBaby requested another batch!

THE BAD #2 Ex-students of mine went to iTunes and wrote extremely ugly 'reviews' (remember when we used to TP our teachers' houses? Well this was like that but on the internet, forever apparently); iTunes won't remove them, which I guess we should be happy about - you know that free speech thing and all - but man, I don't get paid enough as a teacher for all this . . . .
SILVER LINING! it turns out any PR is good PR - the flurry of kids writing mean things about me on iTunes led to some downloads and a (very small) check in the mail (ah, the price of 'fame') + the "Juicy Lucy Gal" is back on the set list (read the reviews, listen to the song, you'll understand what I'm talking about)
REMEDY? If you will go to the reviews section for my CD, "Hide and Seek" at iTunes (click the small picture of my CD, it will come up again but larger, then scroll down to reviews) you can:
a) request the bad reviews be removed ('make a comment about this review'),
b) mark the review unhelpful (a toggle at the bottom of each review) which moves it lower in the order shown,
c) write a real review of your own to counter the kid ones. . . (& download a copy of the CD if you don't already have it! Actually don't download it - go to my website instead - it's cheaper and just better for us all)

I know in the bigger picture, none of this is that bad, but believe me, I'm sparing you a lot of other stuff that went south this year. All I can say is I'm glad last year is over and I hope for a better 2008!

Here's wishing you a year of laughter, perspective and finding new energy to follow continuing dreams! I still am so glad to be able to share this music that has been given to me; grateful to everyone who came to a show, bought CDs for friends and called or wrote to say how much the songs mean to you. If this music can make a difference, lift spirits, encourage any of us to keep going; I will be thankful.

. . . . the newest song:

Dig your feet into the sand
Let the water wash you
Turn your face into the wind
Don't let heartache stop you

Walk the circle to the end
Diving down and rising
Trace the spiral out and in
Through the dust and shining

Don't ask why Just say try
- Refuse to just survive
Find your way, day by day
Through sunshine, through gray
Don't ask why ------ look for the sky

Twist the key and lift the bar
Let the door fall open
Test the hallway through the dark
'Til all is spoken

Don't ask why Just say try . . .


Hope to see some of you bay area locals on the 27th.
Meanwhile, Pray for peace and a Democrat in the White House.
Much Love, LisaM

Wow! - November 10, 2006

Wow! The day before I headed down to Santa Ana my mailbox was jammed with good wishes! My heart is still overflowing with all your love and encouragement! I printed out every note and am making a good luck chain to hang in my songwriting room. May inspiration keep flowing.

The news: Well, I didn't win, but it was a lot of fun!
As I gain distance from the inevitable disappointment of not hearing my name called I'm back to appreciating how amazing it was to even be in the finals.
Janis Ian won 3rd place, Rachel Sage was the winner in my category. When I went to introduce myself the guy who ran the whole awards process - from listening to 350, 000 entries to organizing an amazing evening of music to announcing the whole thing and presenting every award - he remembered my category, my song by its title and commented how much he liked it! Wow!
And, Monday night when I was back at home, in the jammies, watching the CMA Awards I spotted another JPF singer-songwriter who had ended up in the top 5 playing guitar onstage while Faith Hill sang the song this fellow finalist had written. All this to say - I feel very proud to have been in such talented company.

Now for all you detail-lovers - All the FUN!
It started the week before, dealing with too much excitement by running around trying to fit back in the dress I bought. There are hilarious stories - you'll have to catch them at the next show - let's just say my song "Juicy Lucy Gal" will be coming back on the set list (I can hear some of you cheering)!

Saturday morning I flew down with my good friend LynnEl. We got to our room, stepped out on the balcony to check out the pool, and two women poolside drinking champagne invited us down! Soon we were swapping stories with Francie Dillon - nominated (and winning 3rd place!) for children's storytelling album, just in from Sacramento with her friend! The whole place was filled with musicians running around. What excitement!

About 4PM we all head over to the Galaxy Music Theatre - it's kind of a cross between Great American Music Hall and Bimbo's (for you SF folks) - big arcing tiers of tables with old fashioned lamps, dark and velvety, carved wood, a big stage, grand piano, ahhhhhhh!

And what a night - amazing music beyond what I dreamed, hybrids of world/folk sounds with original lyrics, modern twists, many languages, bagpipes, rap stylings from the Netherlands, gospel choirs, avant garde opera and my absolute favorite to dance to - "The Hoohaw Conspiracy." More champagne, good food and more champagne. A country song by Melody Guy that made us all cry. An English broadside that made us all laugh. Five and a half hours, 81 awards and it all ran on time. At the end all the nominees took the stage to sing a final song en masse. And then the after party started . . . Congratulations to fellow San Franciscan Ericka Luckett who won Album of the Year!

I was lucky enough to sit with Larry Wines who is a LA folk scene writer and radio personality. He gave me the scoop on many local nominees and introduced me to some great folks! Larry now has a copy of my CD so email him requesting "Grandma's Piano" or "Tipjar" for his Americana show "Tied to the Tracks" at KCSN 88.5 FM (worldwide at www.kcsn.org) every Saturday morning from 6-10AM.

One more shout out to Christopher K (www.christopherk.net) for arranging and producing Post Mortem! Gotta get out to his new spot in the redwoods of West Marin, Seven Generations Studios.

For all the winners check http://www.jpfolks.com/home.html
And now it's back to regular life; school teachering, writing songs, the local shows! Hope to catch up with you soon! Thanks one more time for all your encouragement! Love, LisaM

Just Plain Folks Nomination! - September 11, 2006

POST MORTEM gets the NOMINATION -
JUST PLAIN FOLKS MUSIC AWARDS -
"THE GRASSROOTS GRAMMIES!" - the largest and most diverse music awards of any kind in the world

Well, just when I was thinking about maybe settling in on the teaching end of this music thing for awhile, in came an email I almost didn't open. It was the Just Plain Folks (JPF) monthly eLetter. Since I hadn't been out and about much since last January's standing-room-only love-fest up at Larkspur Cafe Theatre, all JPF's enthusiasm was just getting on my nerves. But . . . I decided to glance at the headers: "Hmmmm, song finalists announced - I wonder if I know anyone on the list." I'm idly scrolling through 81 categories, right past Female S/S. I'm way down in the 'm's when I realize - hey that was singer-songwriter. As I scroll back up I see my Songschool friend and Kerrville Folk Festival winner Cary Cooper's name. Wow, I'm so happy for her, I'm thinking. Then I see SF's own Erika Luckett - she's a damn fine guitarist, and there's - Janis Ian? - wow - that's some company. Lisa Mandelstein, I read . . . do a double take - and yes - there I am - right there in the middle. I start crying and laughing and then shaking my head. Every time I'm almost gonna close shop the universe sends a sign (ask me about winning my Martin guitar).

Post Mortem is 1 of 19 songs chosen from over 1000 entries to be a finalist in the 2006 JPF Female Singer/Songwriter category. Check it out! JPF is a grassroots organization for artists, songwriters and such, focused on networking, education, and inspiration. Their directive to the judges was "Does It Move You?" All the music was blind screened and passed 6 rounds of judging to get to the finals! WOW! I'm moved!


a. See all the nominations at http://www.jpfolks.com/home.html Click the button for "Song Nominees 2006" and scroll all the way down to the Female S/S category (if you think it looks like they nominated a lot of folks - less than 1 in 1000 songs got a nomination in any category!)

b. HELP POST MORTEM WIN!
They need judges in 3 categories:
Industry Professionals, Artist/Songwriter Peers and Music Fans
Here's the link: http://www.justplainfolks.org/ubb/Forum61/HTML/000097.html
c. Come to The awards show - Saturday, November 4th in Santa Ana, CA.
Ticket info and schedule: http://www.jpfolks.com/MusicAwards/2006/Reservation.html Check out Singer Magazine's article on last year's show: http://www.jpfolks.com/AwardsArticle.pdf Email me if you do want to go! Let's caravan!

The sabbatical's over! - September 4, 2006

2005 to 2006! From the fullness of last summer, to the dizzy rush of the following fall and the blossoming possibility intimated even in the depths of winter I suddenly came to stillness this past spring; "on sabbatical" fellow musician Nick Blechman commented as we shared stories from the music road recently.
*
The news - the sabbatical is going well -
Recovering the body - muscle, bone and breath
Gaining energy and strength,
Walking and carrying and finding new truths.
Throwing wide the windows of my music
To the heat and sun and breeze
Scrubbing down the glass and sorting through papers
Washing my heart with breath, and listening -
For birds, waterways,
Any news of peace in this fragile world. (8/06/06)

Larkspur Cafe Theatre - What a Night! - February 14, 2006

Dear Friends, I'm finally coming down from clouds of happiness to say - I am so grateful to all of you who came out to the Larkspur Cafe Theatre Show on January 27th; grateful to Erma and Daniel at the theatre for taking a chance on me, grateful to the Marin IJ for picking me as the "Best Bet!" for a Friday night of music.

And - What an amazing night you helped create!

The show - a sold-out standing-room-only crowd of supporters, dreamers, encouragers - friends, new and old! Your beaming, singing selves shimmering in the candle light beneath a starry sky was this songwriter's dream come true. The great sound, the lights, the grand piano - I always thought that was how it could be! Let's make this a yearly tradition!

HUGE Thanks to the band - Jeannie McKenzie with her spirited fiddling and singing; Daniel Fabricant's rich bass lines and Michael Arrow's "right there" drumming - man, you all sounded great! What a pleasure to play together! And * Thanks to the special guests * Tom Meshishnek on banjo, piano and guitar; Kelly Takunda Orphan (check her website for more inspiring original music) who lent her amazing voice and spirit on "Hide and Seek."

The journey continues - during this break I will be "stoking the fire" - hopefully recording some of those new songs from the second set - and back to playing shows come summer. Please keep your eye out for the occasional emails. Look for pictures of the show (taken by the fabulous Tom Erikson) at the website soon. And stay in touch - share the music with your friends.

My heart is full, full
Full as the fat moon of second chance
Singing on a bay of golden clouds

May music feed all our hearts! See you soon, LisaM

Larkspur Cafe Theatre Show - Tickets on Sale Now! - January 4, 2006

Friday, January 27th, 2006
Larkspur Cafe Theatre
Lisa Live in Larkspur! - door 7PM/ show 8 PM
500 Magnolia Avenue
Larkspur CA
415-924-6107
Price: $15/adv. tkt's encouraged

Lisa is joined by Marin favorite Michael Arrow on percussion, the dynamic fiddler Jeannie McKenzie and the always-in-demand bassist Daniel Fabricant for an intimate, spirited evening of original music in Larkspur's "Premier Listening Room."

A gorgeous grand piano, cozy cabaret-style table seating, amazing wine and food make this an evening to attend with friends of all ages. Show the Larkspur Cafe Theatre folks they were right to chance booking Lisa for a solo night. Get your tickets early, invite your friends and spread the word!

Lisa's last show til summer so please do come!

Happy Holidays! - December 15, 2005

Here's to a very happy holiday season, free of stress and filled with friends and the nonmaterial gifts of time, health, friendship, laughter and music. Wishing us all Peace, Lisa M

Lisa M and Forest Sun in Vallejo! - December 4, 2005

It was a cozy fun afternoon in a real treat of a spot, “The Listen and Be Heard Cafe.” Tony, the owner has a real knack for creating a space where you just want to stay and stay, he knows how to run sound and also makes the most divine coffee drinks. Huge thanks to Hadi Reinhertz who envisioned the day, invited a great crowd of friends and even cooked for everyone (he makes a mean tureen of chili)! I spoke about Tookie Williams (may all beings find peace) before playing “Someone Else’s Crime,” Deborah Thomson added harmonies on “Thankful!” and then Forest Sun played his set. You gotta hear this guy - amazing lyrics, funky guitar picking and a brilliant presence. What a great afternoon! I hope to share a bill with Forest again soon!

The PUMPKIN Tour Review - November 25, 2005

Night One: "Eclectic Music and More" presents James Keelaghan
What a heartfelt night! The Ashland center looks like the inside of an ark with bent wooden beams. James Keelaghan is an intelligent, thoughtful writer on subjects that matter; with songs covered by Dar Williams, Lucy Kaplansky, and Richard Shindell to name just a few. After hearing "Grandma's Piano" in my opening set, he played "Kiri's Piano" (hissong about Japanese internment in WWII). James is wickedly smart and funny. Afterwards, he treated Jeannie and me to our first (and perhaps only) "Spotted Dick" at the English pub on Ashland's main square. His parting encouragement - "You're really good - keep going" reverberated over the next helter-skelter days-days filled with backtracking, huge gasoline bills, tiny tip jars, forgotten items and unusual circumstances.

I hope to share a show with him again soon.

Day Two: Canyonville Pumpkin and Music Celebration
Well, it was a gorgeous day - crescent golden leaves raining to the ground as gentle breezes waltzed the sunny skies. A lot of folks from last summer's house concert showed up to cheer and sing along from the bleachers. Since our set was during the contests we band folks didn't get to enter the seed-spitting competition or the pie-eating one either (I know Jeannie and Yari were very disappointed about that). We performed under a sturdy, cement outdoor stage shaped like a log cabin while judges paraded by, grading the carved pumpkins lining the stage’s edge. Afterwards we were treated to real German potato salad and sauerkraut. And, how often can someone brag that they opened for a show called "Scoop on Poop?" (Hopefully only once.) It was grand fun in a real ‘hometown’ sort of way. Huge thanks to Patti for inviting us up. I was so glad to see folks again and hope to be back!

Night Two: Chasing after some left-behind gear we ended up back in Ashland where we stumbled across amazing music at a masquerade party and then Dagoba Chocolates Holiday party with delicious chocolates piled high (both due to Yari's amazing networking talents)! Another night under the roof of the kind and generous Skip and Ellen and then off to Eugene.

Night Three: "Potluck Sunday" Eugene House Concert
Amidst stone Buddhas, sparkling crystals, painted angels and glimmering candlelight we played a great night of music. I got scared when almost everyone got up to leave right at the start til I realized they were headed for the dining room to dance. It was quite a scene - the most dancing ever at a LisaM show - also the first known instance of a bootleg recording (I'm still waiting for my copy, hint, hint). After the music it was into Petra’s backyard hot tub. After one mighty early breakfast we headed home. But I'll be back in Eugene this summer.

Many thanks to Yari and Jeannie for making this first band tour all it was. We ate lots of dark chocolate, held deep conversations on everything from digestion to therapy secrets, took turns reading aloud, rolled the windows up and down then up then down then up and . . . . . sang through a whole set while traversing a verrrrry winding mountain road without anyone getting sick; and all agreed that Shari’s is NOT the place to stop for salad on any future road trips.

Singing at the Jerry Garcia Tribute Concert - Greek Theater - September 24, 2005

Yes - that was me "stage right" in the long white robe, singing and clapping while Mickey Hart and Hamza El Din played tars centerstage at the Greek Theater to begin the culminating tribute band's set at the "Comes a Time" Tribute to Jerry Garcia at the Greek Theater. It was a thrill and honor to look out from the stage and think back to the Grateful Dead's 20th Anniversary shows to which I somehow found tickets when I first came to the bay as a starry-eyed Kansas Girl!

Now - at the 10th anniversary of Jerry Garcia's death - a group of us sang, clapped and drummed to Hamza's song "Nagrishad" as members of The Dead began playing one at a time. Once they were all in, the audience lights were cut and a huge cheer went up from the sold-out stadium. Bruce Hornsby and Trey Anastasio were just two of the guest artists playing with The Dead. Every song went straight to the heart. I've been asked to write an article for "The Sound" about the night. So stay tuned for more!

Fabulous Bazaar Cafe Show - August 27, 2005

It all started last June when Alex Walsh and Tom Meshishnek came over and packed my whole car for the NW tour because my back was out. Afterwards we stayed up late swapping songs and decided we had to do a show together before the summer was through.

What an evening it turned out to be! I started at 7 and then Alex Walsh played a solid set including many songs I'd never heard before. To end the night Tom Meshishnek joined us as we swapped songs we had worked up together. It was a tasty night with a great crowd. In fact - it was so much fun we're doing it again on October 7th so mark your calendars now!

CDBaby's August Contest - August 9, 2005

Every August CDBaby.com has a contest to see who can sell the most CD's on their site.The top 100 sellers get a song placed on a special compilation CD that goes out to 5000 CdBaby folks! I've made a promise to myself - when half my 1000 Hide and Seek CD's are sold - that's when I can start on the next one. So - All of you who've been asking about the next CD - here's how you can help!

I bet your Grandma (or mom or aunt or piano student or niece) would love to hear "Grandma's Piano" so - now's a chance to just get them a CD of their own! Or - for your yoga teacher, meditation friend, stressed coworker . . . "Breathe In, Breathe Out" is sure to be appreciated. Want to console a friend who's just gone through a hard breakup? "Post Mortem" or "Hide and Seek" might be just the song they need. Someone taking a big 'next step' in their life - "Don't Be Afraid" and "Spirograph" could be helpful! If you like the CD, please think about sharing it by purchasing copies for your friends. That's the way I can keep recording and get the new songs out to you. And to make it easier - the special discounted price of $12 will be in effect through the end of the month when you go to http://www.cdbaby.com/mandelstein

Back from the Northwest! - August 8, 2005

The NW TOUR 2005 Review!

The Beanery - Lisa Alice and Kenny showed up to help with the gear and stayed to share a few songs before heading back to San Francisco - it was cool to meet up with some SF music associates on the road and hear some beautiful guitar playing! I went on to play a full show in the bright bright sunshine of an Ashland afternoon. Next morning I picked sugar snap peas with Ellen after staying up late talk talk talking away with this newfound friend!

Breitenbush Hot Springs- on the way to Breitenbush I ate a lot of those sweet peas, breathed in the mountain air and started the 'thankful' song which debuted the next evening. Imagine a beautiful wood-lined room with windows opening onto trees and mountains, sky and river, pillows everywhere, great sound and a starry night coming on - we were loose as noodles - a sweet sweet show - with a late night meteorite sighting for those who soaked late. Ahhhhh! So many new friends - the three beauties at the middle pool who talked of art, the Oregon coasters, the Breitenbush music crew and everyone else - I so appreciate you, remember you and hope to meet again!

Siren's-Thanks to all who clomped my stuff up and down all those stairs! I dressed the stage with suitcases and stray clothes - it looked like a fifties hotel room. We had an uproarious night of fun - with the splash of The Sound just out the back deck. Grandma's Piano did it's usual magic! My picture was featured on the back of the PT Leader arts section! To all you folks who joined the mailing list-I'll see you next summer for sure! Gotta get my yearly allotment of crabcakes and Port Townsend skylines.

The Bitter End-they smoke in Portland! In the bar! Boy I'm one spoiled Californian (with one sore throat the next day)! But they also have great beer and cheerful happy crowds. It was a fun night. To the mysterious Espresso Gardens man who listened so intently - next time stay and have a beer! The morning after, I went to the Chinese Tea Gardens. Travel tip: you must go to this place if you are ever in Portland. The tea, the stone patterned walks, the reflections of ornate carved wood walls and curving slate roofs in large still pools. I can hardly wait to go back. Beautiful. Peaceful.

Matrix Coffeehouse-it was great to be back in Chehalis with her roiling buzzing crowd of teens hanging about the doors. After my set the open mike scene was loose and sprawling with some wild poetry and a great song-guy to end the night, even if he did briefly consider taking the flower off my guitar (which he was borrowing) in the strumming machismo of youth! Thanks to whomever put a Band-Aid on my car - it stayed like a blessing of protection for the rest of the trip!

Victor's Coffeehouse-the day before the show my laptop was stolen from an Internet cafe in Seattle (okay I walked away and left it but it was gone when I came right back to get it). The amazing thing is - I actually got it back - someone heard someone else trying to sell it while at work and told their manager they didn't want to work with thieves so then the manager went and got the computer and then called me back in San Francisco (from the signs I'd put up everywhere) - boy was I thankful (and amazed). My longtime but just reconnected friends Christopher and Becky got the thing back to me safe and sound. The Victor's show was very lively - it is the hot spot in Redmond on a Friday night. Hooray for the roadies-Teri and Dara and friend - and all you who hopped on the mailing list. We had a good sing-along on Post Mortem.

Days Creek House Concert-this last stop was an amazing magical evening. A potluck kicked things off and then we all trooped down to the basement (a room with a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows looking out to a meadow ringed with pines). I got to play on one of the best grand pianos I''ve ever met. The generosity of this group of folks from all walks of life just bowled me over and the kindness of Elona who opened her home and made it all possible.

Now I'm home - catching up on things, preparing to (finally!) send the CD out for radio and press review, focusing on healing the back and slowly shifting gears back to teaching mode. This fall I'll be focusing on fewer local shows, more forays cross-country, so when you do see a show in your area I hope you'll come out for it and bring some friends. I'll keep you posted hopefully once a month on developments and ways you can help spread the sound. Let me know if you'd like me to come and play. See you around, see you around.

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