Happy Holidays And quick year-end wrap up before the world ends on 12/22!

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Towards the end of her life, my momma used to say that life for her had become a series of Fridays.  I’m beginning to know what she meant.  With the exception of a couple bad concerts I sat through this year that seemed to drag on and on (Yes I AM jaded, I live in Nashville and the bar gets set pretty high here!) it seems like this year has just sped by.  Not as fast as 2011, which with the release of “Let The Storm Roll In” seemed to careen by taking the corners on two tires, but pretty darn fast all the same.

It was a year of heavy touring, overwhelming audience response that left me very humbled indeed, and a lot of fresh writing.   As 2012 began, I was down to Georgia, out to California and up to Idaho, where speaking of careening, I was pretty excited to try snowmobiling for the first time.  Apparently my need to (therapy words here) “feel more alive in a crisis” has not abated with age.

Springtime dates took me up to the Midwest, where I had performances in Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois.  The end of the tour found me in Chicago, where I was invited up to the Obama National Headquarters office.   After going through tremendous security (and he wasn’t even in town!) I was escorted up to the top floor to witness the campaign in full swing.  It was quite impressive!  No matter what political party you belong to, you have to be in awe of this incredible experiment we call democracy.  For one party to turn over the reins to another with no guns and no warfare every 4-8 years is something akin to a miracle when you compare us to the way governments change hands the Middle East and Africa.

During the summer I zigzagged across the country like I was a political candidate myself.  In May I was up to Maryland where I was honored to be a showcase artist for the NERFA (Northeast Regional Folk Alliance) mini conference, then it was back out to California.  Then I was back up to the northeast where I was again chosen a showcase artist for the Boston one day NERFA conference. I was home at the end of June, and then back up to the Northeast in July and August for dates in the Adirondacks, on Cape Cod, and points in between.

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I did have a little time at home in June, and did a house concert at my own house!  It was really fun, and since a friend of mine brought his gourmet group along, it was mighty tasty too!  If you ever want to host me at your house, just gather up your friends and have them bring whatever they’re drinking, and a dish to share.  You provide the chairs, dishware, and cutlery and we’ve got a party!   I videotaped the show, and one of the songs “Coyote” came out really well.  I had a great time putting it together, complete with film of the actual animals, in iMovie.  Click here to see the new “Coyote” video.

In September I did a little tour that swung down through Alabama and into Texas, with a stop in Mississippi on the way.  I stopped in MS to see an old friend by the name of J.C.  Yep, the J.C. in my song.  I had not seen him since I was in high school, and I was both nervous and excited.  I wasn’t sure I would even remember him, but when he came around the corner from his den to the kitchen and I saw that big smile, I was a kid all over again.  It was wonderful.   To read all about my visit with J.C. and see some great photos of our reunion click on “Finding J.C.” at the top left hand corner of this page.

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The fall took me back out to California AGAIN, and back up to New York AGAIN, and then at the end of November I rode Buckbeak down to the Florida Panhandle for my last road date of the year.  In December I’m staying HOME!  December 14th numerous songwriter friends will join me as we put on a concert of original Christmas songs that will be a benefit for “You Have The Power”, a victim’s advocacy nonprofit.  On the other side of that coin, I’m also doing a little guitar picking and carol singing for a party my church throws every year for the children of prisoners.

2013 dates are coming in, with trips down to Texas in January, June, and November.  A trip to California in February, travel up to the Northeast in March, July, September, and November, and a Midwest tour through Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico in April.  If you might be interested in hosting me in a house concert when I am in your area, just send me an email at claudianygaard @ gmail.com (take out the spaces before and after the “at” sign.)

Somehow this year, I’m also going to have to get going on a new CD! I was so encouraged by the reviews and airplay to “Let The Storm Roll In” (which makes an excellent stocking stuffer by the way, click here to buy!) I am excited to get started.  Of course between booking myself, handling publicity, radio promotion, writing, and touring, I stay pretty busy.  It’s been hard to sit down and really focus on what songs I want to put forth on the next project, and the artistic direction that those songs will dictate.   Hopefully I’ll be able to start getting organized after the holidays.

Well, I guess I better wrap this up.  I’ve got a lot to do before the world ends in a couple weeks.  But before I do, I’d like to show my appreciation for your friendship and support, by giving you a Christmas present.  Here is a free download of a song called “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.  I didn’t write it, but I’m quite proud of the way I sang it with my old duet partner Jimmy Maddox.  Please feel free to forward it on to your friends.  I’m hoping they will like my music too.

I’d love to hear back from you, so please like my facebook page, or if you are on twitter I hope you will follow me.  (See widgits to the left)  I wish you the happiest of holidays, and I hope that 2013 is your best year ever (assuming the Mayans were wrong).

Love & Peace,

Claudia”

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