Dec 18

Album updates

The CD Release party was a great success!! We packed the venue (The Horse Radish in Carlton, OR), and had so much fun. I was truly impressed and grateful to my awesome backing band (Tim Connell/mandolin, Joe Aloia/bass, and Theresa Riccardi/drums)… we had not rehearsed all together prior to the show, but everyone is a total pro, and I can honestly say we rocked the house!

I’ve spent the last week getting the Kickstarter rewards out to backers around the country. It’s been fun to send these little packages of love to places as far as Vermont, and to make home deliveries to friends as close as McMinnville, Oregon! Nearly all are out the door, so if you don’t receive a package and were expecting one, drop me an email (music at valblaha dot com) as I’m missing addresses still for a handful of backers.

The official release date is 1/5/15, so starting then, the CD will be available for sale via my website (look for an update to the Store page coming soon). If you happen to be in McMinnville, Oregon, you can currently buy a CD at The Velvet Monkey tea shop (a wonderful place which is downstairs from my teaching studio). Starting in January, the cd will be for sale at several venues in Oregon, including MIR Music in Hillsboro, and Valley Emporium in Carlton.

The digital album is currently available for digital presale at Amazon and iTunes.

And, you can now stream 5 songs at Folk Alley!

I’m going to be starting a recurring blog post feature where I talk a little about the inspiration for some of my songs (both on the new album, and other ones!), so check back soon for that. Also, I’ll be adding new gig dates soon…stay tuned!

xo, Val

Dec 01

CD Release party… countdown: 6 days!!

Wow, time is just flying by!! I’ve been busying practicing, organizing, and gathering merch (mugs! bags! maybe even t-shirts!) for the big event. Also, the CDs arrived last week. It was super exciting to see the tangible result of a year of hard work!

A lot of people have RSVP’d via the Facebook event page, and I’m really looking forward to seeing a full house. One exciting bit of news… my good friend Joe Aloia is going to play bass in my band! Joe was on the album, along with Theresa Riccardi (drums) and Tim Connell (mandolin), so I’m pretty excited to be able to put this band together for the evening. (Sadly, Tim Ellis and Tony Furtado have other commitments and couldn’t make it.)

We’ll be doing some door prizes, and of course we’ll have the new cd (along with my first one) available for sale. (Hint: they make great holiday gifts!)

Looking forward to seeing everyone…


Nov 19

CD Release Party!

My CD Release party will be on Saturday December 6th from 7-10pm at the Horse Radish in Carlton, and all are welcome!

Some details… The first hour or so will be three 15-20 minute sets by my musical guests. Then I’ll play from ~8:15 to 10pm, with Tim Connell, Theresa Riccardi, and possibly another musical guest (TBA!) If you are on Facebook, you can check out the CD Release event page, as that is where I’ll be posting updates leading up to 12/6.

Awaken Jane is a new group, founded by Emily Jones and Jamie Corff, who recently asked me to join them on bass, mandolin, and harmony vocals. Two Spirit Jazz (Suzanne Callaway on vocals/guitar and Theresa Riccardi on drums) have been performing around the Portland area at wineries, restaurants and private parties for several years, and they will be playing a few vocal jazz covers and originals. And I’m very pleased that Tim Connell will also be performing a solo set. Tim has played with Rio Con Brio, Stumptown Swing, Mando Planet and Alexandra Coutinho, and is a virtuosic mandolin player.

There is no cover for this event, but there is a $5 minimum purchase per person. Check out The Horse Radish for more details and to see their menu.

Carlton is having some Christmas-related activities going on that day and into the early evening (including their tree lighting). If you are planning to attend the CD Release, you may be interested in finding out more (in case you’d like to attend, or so that you can plan to get to Carlton a bit early to find parking!) You can check out the new Facebook page Christmas in Carlton for more details.

The CD release party will be the only place to get my CDs until the official release date (1/5/15), so if you are looking for some musical holiday gifts, this will be your chance! I’ll also have mugs, bags and t-shirts (photos coming soon…)

I hope to see you there!


Oct 15

October update!

I’ve been busy getting my new album (Water, Ashes & Wood) ready to send off to CDBaby for manufacturing, and I’ve also been playing some really fun shows!

Last week I performed in Carlton with Big Love, a folk/rock band with 4 women and all original music. I’m on keyboard and mandolin in this band, and I can modestly say, we rocked the house!

I’m quite honored to be part of a new group (all women also!) called Awaken Jane, and will be playing with them in Dayton, OR at the end of October.

This week I’m heading to Oakland, CA for the FAR-West Conference. I’ll be playing 5 showcases, and meeting lots of new people… definitely looking forward to it! I’ll also get to see some friends and family in the Bay Area which is a great bonus.

Kickstarter backers will get to download my new album within the next day from Bandcamp. The album will be available on line at a variety of sites, and at shows starting in December. In the meantime, stay tuned as I’ll be releasing the first single in November, and will also start Itunes presales then.


Aug 05

Update: life, Pickathon, recording, and other such things

This past July has to go on record as being one of my busiest ever! Between family vacation in early July, a couple of nights in Willamina for the Wildwood Music Festival (just as part of the audience, although I’d love to play there!), several days in the recording studio, and Pickathon music festival this past weekend (I’ve attended and volunteered 15 out of 16 years!), it feels like life has been non-stop. Because in between all of that, I’ve taught students, balanced checkbooks, played with my son, went grocery shopping, packed and unpacked (3 times), and have done all the other little things that make up a life. I’m exhausted, but also quite exhilarated…

So, the recording project! It is moving along quite excellently. Tim Ellis did the rhythm guitar work a couple of weeks back, and he was truly amazing. So much so that I’ve asked him to come back at the end of this week to add some lead guitar work). Joe Aloia and Theresa Riccardi came in to do the bass and drum parts a week ago, and their contributions were huge. This week all the solo work will be done. Tim Connell (mandolin) and Sharon Donaldson (violin) will be recording in addition to Tim Ellis, myself on piano, and a special guest artist who shall remain a surprise for a few more days. Let’s just say, he’s an awesome banjo and slide guitar player. Then we’ll have more edits, and I’ll do my final vocals around August 20-21. It’s great to see these 11 songs take shape, and I’m really looking forward to all the lead instrument parts to come this week!

That’s the news from here… I’ll post pics and updates at the end of the week.

PS – In between everything else, I am playing a handful of shows this month. Tomorrow (Tues Aug 5) from 6-7:30, I’ll be at the Walters Cultural Arts Center in downtown Hillsboro. And on Saturday Aug. 16, I’ll be back at the One Horse Tavern in Gaston.

Jul 02

Sharing my Kickstarter update from June 11th…

Oh my goodness, this has been a crazy few weeks. Actually a crazy few months! We started working on the Kickstarter project back in January, and then went live with it in May. And I’ve been working on the songs even longer! So it’s hard to believe that we are finally here, ready to move forward with the creative side of this musical project.

Backer count: 85 wonderful humans!

I am so impressed and awed and grateful for the response and the pledges. All those pledges! And those who upped their pledges! And the sharing… so many people shared the link, and I know that made a difference. I’m also grateful for the folks who couldn’t utilize the Kickstarter platform to make a pledge, but went out of their way to send a direct contribution. Each and every one of you made a big difference, and I thank you for that.

In the final few minutes of the campaign, I sat down and wrote out all the backer’s names. Not because I needed to, but just because I wanted to sort of viscerally feel the weight of this community. And to reflect for some moments on each of you. I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness and gratitude lately, and I really think that projects like this (crowdfunded projects) are a great way to spread kindness in the world, and kindness certainly seems to be something we need more of. I know that I will go forward as a kinder and more grateful person after the past month.

The super fun work starts now!! I get to revisit and arrange all the songs for the album and get rough audio files and sheet music to the other musicians so they can prepare for their time in the studio (scheduled for dates throughout late July and mid August).

The journey is going to get very exciting! Thank you to you all for helping make it happen.

love and peace,


Jun 09

Last 3 days of Val’s campaign!

We are down to the wire… the campaign ends this coming Wednesday! We are 63% funded, so those pledges need to keep rolling in! Please check out the campaign at… pledge what you can (every little bit really does help!), and share it with friends.


Jun 05

new band: Big Love!!!

I’m super excited to be part of a new band called Big Love. The band includes Jori McGinnis (guitar, banjo), Suzanne Callaway (guitar), Sharon Donaldson (violin, cello), and Theresa Riccardi (drums). I’m playing keyboard, bass, mandolin and guitar, and Jori, Suzanne and I take turns on lead and harmony vocals. I think this group is something special… we are playing mostly original tunes, and we were very well-received (ok, we rocked the house!) at our first gig this past Tuesday as part of Hillsboro’s First Tuesday Artwalk.

We have another 4 shows coming up… I’ll be posting them within a week or so on my calendar page, so check back here soon!

May 21

Kickstarter Day 10 – Update

My campaign for my new album is at 17% funded, thanks to 22 awesomely generous backers! We still have 21 days, and $6224 to go to reach goal, so please pledge and share the link!

May 12

Val’s campaign is live!!!

Ok, here I go! I started my Kickstarter campaign today! The goal is to fund recording (and maybe promotion, if we exceed the goal!) for my second album. I’m ready to go… I have 10+ original songs, a fantastic Portland recording studio lined up, and several amazing musicians who have agreed to be on the album… what I need is some additional funding to help make it happen!

So please check out my Kickstarter page (and the special musical guest in the video!) and pledge at a level that interests you. I’m offering all kinds of rewards: digital downloads, signed cds, music lessons, t-shirts (or coffee cups!) with an original design, house concerts, etc. But I need your help – I’m hoping you’ll be part of my community supported music project!

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