Music things are happening!

Sunday, May 29
BayCon, San Mateo

I’m singing a handful of bluegrass songs with Mike Lieberman on guitar and mandolin at 4:00 on the music stage.

For you con folk: I’ll also be on the “Facing the Darkness” panel at 1:00, under my pen name, Skye Allen. The panel is moderated by Maria Nieto; Bret Sweet is also a panelist. The description is:  “The space to deal with hard subjects (ex. human trafficking, abuse, injustice, war) using fiction/science/dark humor.” The con organizers included a trigger warning: ***This panel may not be suitable for children or sensitive persons. Strong triggers may be present. Please exercise your judgement in attending. There may be moments that are intense and graphic.*** Come chat with us about our books and the difficult topics that matter to us if it feels right.

Saturday, June 4
Sophie’s Cuppa Tea, Oakland, 10 a.m. to noon

Russ Pollock and I will sing Celtic and Americana songs and duets, with Russ on more than one kind of guitar! Possible mandolin bonus if we’re lucky. No cover.

Thursday, June 9
Black Pug Café Open Mic, Alameda, 7-9:30 p.m.

I’m the 2nd Thursday host of this Alameda open mic at the venue we used to know as the High Street Station Café. We on the local scene are doing all we can to make sure this friendly and supportive open mic keeps thriving under new management. No cover, food and drink for sale, and bonus, they have a piano.

And one sad music thing. We lost Guy Clark this week. This is him with one of my favorite singers, Karen Matheson, showing us how to manage the distance between that far country and this one.

X-posting from my other site,, since this touches on music.


Lately I had the supreme good luck to have a poem accepted in the brand-new publication Atmospheric River. It’ll be published with my real name, Skye Alexander (Skye Allen is my fiction pen name). The editors needed an artist statement. I’d never written one of those before.

I found this handy post, “The Artist Statement and Why They Mostly Suck,” at the Bmore Art blog. These instructions were vastly helpful:

“The essentials of the artist statement are as following:

1. An explanation of the materials and media – What tools do you use? Be as specific as you can.
2. An explanation of the subject matter and concepts explored – What are you communicating? Again, be specific – What sets your work apart from other work?
3. How these two aspects reinforce or contradict one another – What does your work DO?

Additional, optional aspects:
4. A short and specific personal narrative – no longer than 2 sentences
5. Historical context – explaining one or two influences on the work and placing it into an art historical continuum
6. NOTHING ELSE – save your feelings for your diary

Other suggestions:
1. Do a studio visit with a colleague, artist, or critic and have them answer questions 1-5 for you and take notes. Let someone more objective than you put your visual work into words.
2. Read artist statements by artists who do work similar to yours. If they did a good job, write something similar.”

The poem that will be in Atmospheric River is a sonnet, strict syllable and line count and everything, and it’s about taking voice lessons with Laurie Lewis at the Freight and Salvage. Here’s the artist statement I eventually came up with:

“This is one of a group of sonnets I wrote on slow days at a past job, all centered on the theme of limitation. I was taking singing lessons from a well-known bluegrass musician at the time — the singer in the poem — and exploring a classical poetry form helped me reconcile the need to sing with the strict traditions of an unfamiliar genre and with that day-job despair so many artists have in common.”

Me and Graham and the gifted young Abby will be at High Street Station soon…

Graham Skye Abby April 23

I’ll be at Sophie’s Cuppa Tea with Russ Pollock on Saturday, March 19 from 10:00 a.m. to 12. Our thing is traditional songs from the British Isles and North America, plus favorites and hidden treasures in the Americana vein by songwriters like Townes Van Zandt, Buddy & Julie Miller and Rodney Crowell. Sophie’s serves Chinese tea and organic baked treats.

Sophies window

Musicians, poets, all y’all. The High Street Station Cafe Open Mic is this Thursday. Get up there and be heard by a supportive audience of people who know what it’s like to suffer for your art. With your new host the 2nd Thursday of the month: me.

Open Mic 7-9:30pm — signup at 7
2-3 songs each depending on time

Thursday, March 10
High Street Station Cafe
1303 High Street, Alameda
$5 cover suggested (this is one of the best open mics in the East Bay — let’s keep it going.)

Hope to see you there.

The Fireside Lounge has an open mic every Wednesday night and I’m going to be the feature on 2/24. That’s this week! Signup is at 7:30, the music starts at 8.


My talented friend Steve Luntz plays every Saturday morning from 10-12 at Sophie’s Cuppa Tea and this week he is lovely enough to let me try out a few songs! I’ll be there on Sat 2/20.


Russ Pollock and me at the Octopus last Friday.


Me and Russ have a show next week at the Octopus! With Wilson Wong & the Dudes, one of my most favorite bands to sing along to from my seat. And MJ Lee., who has a lovely lovely voice.

2-5-16 flyer

This year marks the I-don’t-know-how-many-th that I will have the good fortune to sing with the Old St. Mary’s Cathedral Choir for Christmas Eve carols and Midnight Mass. In the darkest hours of winter it doesn’t get better than singing old songs with old friends.

And I have some happy things to look forward to in the new year! On Feb 5 Russ Pollock and I will be back at the Octopus Literary Salon doing traditional songs and sharing the stage with Wilson Wong and the Dudes. Then on Feb 24 I’ll be the feature at the Fireside Lounge open mic.

In the meantime, my obsession with this version of The Wexford Carol will only get more acute.


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