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,

Val

Jun 09

Last 3 days of Val’s Kickstarter.com 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 http://kck.st/1snp0wl… pledge what you can (every little bit really does help!), and share it with friends.

Thanks!!!

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 Kickstarter.com 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! http://kck.st/1snp0wl

May 12

Val’s Kickstarter.com 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!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1035491986/community-supported-music-val-blahas-second-album

May 07

Stay tuned: Kickstarter campaign on the way!!!

Newsflash: my Kickstarter.com campaign is going to start in a couple of days. I’ve been working on getting the pieces together for the past couple of months, and the last thing needed is the final edit of the video. Very excited to get this rolling! I’m seeking funds to be used to record my next solo album. Already have the songs, studio and musicians lined up, and there are some pretty sweet rewards for folks who participate in the campaign.

Feb 05

Show announcements!

Here are some new dates:

Friday March 7 – McMinnville – Cornerstone Coffee Roasters (solo, but maybe with a special guest)
Saturday April 12 – Carlton – The Horse Radish (solo, and with Top Hands)
Saturday April 19 – Gaston – The One Horse Tavern (solo)

Coming soon: more announcements about farmers’ market and winery dates!

Jan 27

Teaching schedule is full!!

I’ve had several new students start up lessons recently, which has been wonderful! As of today, my schedule is officially full. If you are interested in getting on my wait list for McMinnville or Hillsboro, please contact me. Thanks!

Jan 15

Jan. 31st/Feb. 1st – shows!

In just a little over 2 weeks, I’ll be playing shows in both Carlton and Hillsboro! First, on Friday Jan. 31st from 7-10pm at The Horse Radish in Carlton, and then on Saturday Feb. 1st at Earth Oven Pizza in Hillsboro.

I’ll be opening up both shows solo (or perhaps with a special guest… details to come once confirmed!), and then Top Hands will play for 2 hours. I’ve working on several new original songs and covers, so I’m looking forward to playing those, plus some older favorites!

Hope to see some friendly and familiar faces at these shows!

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