DAY 49 – Mandi invited me up to a little place in North Hollywood to hear some great acoustic acts tonight. Thinking it was another bar with an open mic or something, I showed up with a fairly “ho hum” attitude, ready to stand around and drink a beer, nodding along graciously while other people played their music.
I could not have been more impressed with what I heard, and what I saw tonight.
First of all, walking into Kulak’s is like stepping onto a TV set. (Not the kind on your coffee table, but the kind where they film it. Dig?) There are no tables, just couches, and beanbags, pillowrests and even a couch-bed just off the stage. They film every act with six-camera professional studio quality; to watch the monitors, you’d think you’re in the audience of VH1 Storytellers.
No bar. No food. Just good music. It was amazing.
(Or to use my new catch phrase, swiggity sweet!)
For all the L.A. wannabes, you can perform here while your family back at home in the midwest watches you from the comfort of their computer screen. How awesome is that!!
You think I’m making this up? Check it out for yourself here.
If the venue was cool, the acts were cooler. The night started off with a hypnotic set from a group called the Wild Blooms (from Austin, TX y’all). I’ve never heard anyone combine acoustic guitar with techno beats, heavy synthesizers, flute, piano, and accordian all in one, but somehow they made it sound awesome. Check ’em out. They’re hot.
Next up was a great acoustic singer/songwriter with very jazzy chops and some great hooks named James Hurley. He stopped in to play Kulak’s before heading to Europe for a 5-week tour in the UK. He’s got a great sound and he plays a Larrivée guitar, which if you know anything about guitars you know Larivées sound a little bit like Heaven.
Kacey jones, a veteran songwriter and producer from Nashville, and long-time friend of Mandi’s, finished the night with some of the funniest stories I’ve ever heard a folk singer tell in-between songs. You could definitely tell she’s a master at what she does. Kacey’s also got a new video called “San Francisco Mabel Joy” on CMT. Not too shabby huh?
Let’s see, what else, what else?? My brain is spinning right now…
Ahh, final story…
Halfway through the show, an older man walks in with his wife, whom I didn’t recognize. Mandi did. He’s turned out to be the Mr. John Braheny, author of one of the foremost books available today for songwriters called The Craft and Business of Songwriting. It’s a must-read if you’re ever thinking about taking a journey of your own…
Anyway, I got to meet John and his lovely wife JoAnn. They seem like such lovable, down-to-earth people. I’m starting to notice something about the music business — it’s not really all that big and scary. Just a community of people who all seem to know each other. It’s just a matter of finding someone who’s willing to introduce you around.
It’s all about making new friends. Everyday.
Here’s the link to John’s fantastic book. I highly recommend it.
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