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Spring 2013 Newsletter

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Well last December I boldly claimed I would write on this blog MONTHLY.   So far I have failed miserably!  However, if I change to writing quarterly I’m right on time!  Anyway, here is a recap of the last three months…

The biggest news starting out the new year, was the completion of a new video of my song Coyote.  It really came out well, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you can check it out on my videos page.  I’m really delighted with how it turned out.

Coyote Title

In January I headed down to Texas where I played the Open Door Coffeehouse.  It’s held in the Trinity United Methodist Church in Arlington (Dallas area),  and it’s a great concert series that has been going on for over 15 years now.  I also had  a fun gig at Benini sculpture ranch. It’s a way cool gallery outside of Johnson City, with sculptures not only inside the gallery, but all over the property.  It literally looks like they are growing sculptures there. On my way to the ranch, in the middle of the road, was this beautiful mare and her buddy the burrow.  We had a short conversation during which I suggested another place to stand might add to her longevity.

Horsing Aroundsm

In February I was in Southern California where I did a show at the “Coffee Gallery Backstage” in Altadena. It’s a WONDERFUL listening room, and I was thrilled to have a reporter there from the extremely hip Americana magazine “No Depression”.  He said he loved my songs and that he was going to do a story on me so hopefully I’ll be posting that soon. Next I performed for Fireside Concerts in Newbury Park, with the “Mighty Echos” doo wop group.  I’ve never had so many people sign up to be on my mailing list after a show before.  I felt like a prom queen!  I finshed up the trip with a show for the San Diego Folk Heritage Society at a vintage performance spot called Templar’s Hall in San Diego.  It’s such a great old building, all wood inside and with great acoustics, nestled in Poway Park which also houses the Poway Midland Railway.  Funky and fun, and I saw a lot of friends I’ve not seen in about ten years.  CityImage

Later in February, back in Nashville, I had the chance to perform at the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree.  It is the second oldest radio show in history!  I was so thrilled to be on that stage where so many famous country stars had stood.cropped-texasttheatre.jpg

In early March I was up in Massachussetts, where I had a chance to play a well known house concert called “Fox Run” with Martyn Joseph from Wales who is a hauntingly beautiful guitar player.  The next night, Sunday 3/3 I was down on Cape Cod playing Brick Hill House Concerts. I’ve been performing on Cape Cod since my very first gig, but I had never played there in the winter before so I was curious to see what it would be like to be on the cape “off season”.  With the tourists gone it really reminded me of the way it was when I first went there in my twenties.  I had a GREAT night, with friends at the show who were at that very first gig, many decades ago! My host Dinah put on a great Lasagna pot luck too, and the evening was capped off when another old friend, Kami Lyle, (this one from Nashville but now living up there) sat in on a few songs playing her trumpet.

Norska Yentas

Also at the show, was  Deb Ennis and Bob Weiser, DJ at WOMR.  weiserandme

The next night I was up in Provincetown to do a live show on WOMR with Dinah who also is a DJ at the station.


 Later in March I headed up to Ohio and Pittsburgh to perform.  I thought I was clever to not book anything up in the “Lake Effects Snow” area until late in March, figuring it would be warming up by then.  Boy was I in for a surprise.  It was snowing most of the time I was up there, and I was pretty happy I had new tires and new windshield wipers!  I played the Winchester Music Hall in Cleveland, which is a wonderful performance space, and also had a great time at Sonnets in Wadsworth near Akron thanks to my friend Kathy Johnson promoting my show a lot.  In Pittsburg I did a house concert in a great old “Four Square” home built in 1908.  I felt like Jo in “Little Women” every time I came down the elaborate staircase to see the window seat.

I’m now getting ready to swing up towards the heartland, with gigs in Nebraska, Kansas, & New Mexico.  Check out my tourschedule to see the details.

Stay healthy and happy till I see you next!



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.


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.

 JC final4web

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 @ (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,


Welcome to my new blog! Plus a new video, and a tour up to the northeast!

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Happy Fourth of july!

I’ve been trying for several years now to send out a monthly newsletter, and I’ve failed miserably.  I’ve even failed to send it out quarterly, which was my new year’s resolution.  I’m now up to a semi-annual newsletter, with a monthly blog, which I’m bound and determined to keep up with!  Of course I don’t know when during a particular month I am going to write it, so unfortunately, neither will you.  I hope you will click on the “Follow Blog” link to the left so you can have it delivered via email to your inbox when I do.

Since I’m new to blogging, I have no idea if these posts will be long or short, pithy or mundane, sarcastic or sentimental.  My guess is they will sometimes be all of the above.  But what I hope for here, is a conversation with you.  I’ve enjoyed talking to people on facebook, but so many of my friends aren’t on facebook, and a lot of people who have never even heard one of my songs are “friending me”  just to try to gain popularity.  It has left me thinking, “what if I was talking to people who really know me and/or my music?  What if I could stay in touch with the wonderful people I meet out on the road, and here on the internet too, who aren’t on facebook?  So that’s what I’m hoping will happen here. Besides, this way I won’t be forced to send emails to poor unsuspecting fans who just want to know when I’m performing in town, and really don’t care if I’ve just fallen in love with a rock star, gotten arrested for stalking him, and finally convinced him to marry me.  Or not.

a new video – Happy Birthday America!

I’ve been REALLY busy for the last year  since my CD “Let The Storm Roll In” came out.  But I’ve had an idea for a video of my song “Big Country” for that long, and this year I was determined to get it done in time for the Fourth of July.  So here it is! It’s not a performance video, it’s more like a little mini movie with graphics from Ellis Island, national landmarks, and some footage taken during a blizzard in North Dakota – (about 90 miles from Grenora where my momma was born).   It even has a shot of my great grandparents Ole & Ingeborg in it! I  hope you will take a look at it, and please feel free to forward it on to your friends as a Fourth of July present.

Click on the photo to see the video.  It will be the one on the top left.


A NORTHEAST TOUR, and playing house concerts

 I’m back on the road in mid July.  I’m heading up north to perform in the big apple, the Adirondacks, Cape Cod, and outside of Boston.  July 22nd and 30th I’ll be doing some radio shows you may be able to listen to online, without having to come with me!  Click on the shows button in the navigation bar above to go to my website tour schedule.  It will list the venues where I’m performing, and also the times and links to the radio stations. While you’re there, take a look at my Autumn dates too.  I’ll be down in the southeast and back out to the west coast.  Maybe down to Texas.  If you see a hole in my schedule, and you would like to try to host a house concert for your freinds that night, just send me an email.  Have you ever been to a house concert? I play a lot of them all over the country, and last month my downstairs rental apartment was vacant so I decided I should take advantage of the extra space and host my own. And yes, I was the artist.  It was a smashing success.  About 27 people came, and several were members of a gourmet group so the potluck was superb!  We also had lovely weather, and a stunning sunset.  (I live on the Cumberland River) I am told the concert wasn’t bad either.   If you think you might be interested in having me do a concert at your house for your friends some time just let me know.  I LOVE the intimacy of playing house concerts.  It’s not a lot of hassle.  Just send invites out to your friends and tell them it’s pot luck and BYOB.  Then round up some chairs, paper plates, cups, and cutlery.  Oh, and put a basket on the table with a “$15 suggested donation for the artist” sign.

Happy house concert guests…


what I’ve been up to So Far This year…

I back-posted my January newsletter (see Archives) but not having sent out a newsletter since then, I should mention these highlights of the last six months…

In January I was back down in Savannah, GA, to play some venues I’ve played before (always nice to be invited BACK!) and to hang out a little with some friends that I have loved for over a decade. Then it was up to Boise, ID where I played a little music, saw family I have sorely missed, and discovered I can drive a snowmobile as badly as I do my SUV.  I also discovered that age has not made me any more prudent when it comes to adventure.  I apparently have never found a conditioner that can tame that wild hair.  I was also down in Southern California where I made some new friends, saw old friends that have on many occasions been my anchor in this world, and played some great gigs. (Again a couple I have played before!) Then it was up to Northern CA where I saw more family, more old friends, and played even more fun gigs!

Spring shows included a run up to Iowa to play a new venue (thanks Nancy!), Nebraska where I’ve had some wonderful radio support (thanks Debbie), Minnesota where I not only saw family I haven’t seen in a decade, but got to eat some of my fave Norwegian food: Lefse (kind of a thin potato pancake) and Rollepulsa.  Rollepulsa is a spiced meat that has been marinated – originally reindeer, but now usually beef, pork, or veal.  Yep that’s right, my tribe eats Rudolph, Dasher, Dancer, Comet, etc… Then it was down to Chicago, where my song “Big Country” got me an invite to tour Obama’s National Campaign Headquarters.  In May I went back out to Northern CA and did it all again.

In early May and June I was honored to be chosen for the official showcase for BOTH the Boston and Washington DC Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conferences!  It was  wonderful to get to meet a couple of the WUMB DJs who had my CD in serious rotation last summer.

Boston: Looking down at my guitar like it’s my baby…which of course it is!

Well that’s about it for this post.  Before you leave this page, I hope you will click on the link to your left that says “Follow blog via email”, or join me on Facebook or Twitter.  If you haven’t been to my website before (or for a while), please also check out my news page and see the wonderful response I had to my latest CD.  And if you haven’t seen the “Miss Kitty” video with its great Gunsmoke footage,  do check it out on my video page.

Thanks for visiting.  Happy fourth and try not to set yourself on fire.


Claudia’s 2011 End of the year newsletter

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Dear friends,

What can I say about 2011 except it may have been the best year of my life!

After YEARS of working on my new CD, I finally finished it in late 2010, and began mixing. I mixed it with several different engineers (and spent WAY too much money on it as a result), and just didn’t hear what I was listening for. I had just about decided that it wasn’t going to be possible to get what I wanted when I discovered Dan Frizsell at Legends Studio here in Nashville. He volunteered to mix one song “Miss Kitty” and said if I didn’t like it I didn’t have to pay him. It was GREAT, and I took another giant leap of faith and we started mixing the whole thing. It took us about a month, mixing a few songs, going back and tweaking them, and repeating the process, until I finally felt it was the best it could be. Dan tells me no one is ever “finished” with a recording project, you decide to abandon it at some point. (Usually when you run out of money!) It sounds like a joke but it really is true. When you are working on it, you are constantly learning new things, and by the time you finish it, you have learned so much that if you were just starting the recording at that point, you would end up with a completely different project! I learned alot, not just about recording and production, but about singing and writing too.

I had had a lot of strong, positive response from the song about my dad – “His Left Side”, so I wanted the CD in the hands of the DJs by Fathers day. That meant it had to be mailed by June 1st, and THAT meant the printing and manufacturing had to be done by May 10th, and THAT meant the artwork had to be done by April 15th, and so on. Unless I do a Christmas album, I hope I never put myself under a time deadline like this again! Since I did all the artwork for the CD and the onesheet myself, I was working as hard and fast as I could for months, and six days after I got it in the mail I was on a plane to Seattle where I started the tour!

“Let The Storm Roll In” was in the mail to DJ’s three days before James Arness passed away, and when it hit the radio stations they jumped right on “Miss Kitty”, a song I wrote about Marshall Dillon of Gunsmoke being so stingy with the smooches. The CD shot up to #1 on the Roots Country Chart, #8 on the Folk DJ Chart, and # 26 on the Roots Music Americana Chart.  I had of course hoped it would be well received, but it far exceeded my expectations, and even my hopes! It was so exciting!  The press loved it too.   It got incredible reviews, (check out the reviews tab above) including 5 stars from an important roots music magazine in the UK called “Maverick”.

By July, eleven of the twelve songs had gotten airplay.  I wish you could have been there when my record promoter called to tell me that the twelfth song had just been made song of the week at a station in New Zealand, and that EVERY song had now been played on the radio! There was dancing in the kitchen! I was just floating for days. For years, I’ve been blessed with wonderful audiences who have loved my writing.  (Thank you by the way!)  But even though I believed in the songs myself, I was never sure if people were responding to the songs, or to their delivery.  (I am nothing if not a ham.) It was so validating when that piece of cold hard plastic traveled across the country and overseas, and the songs jumped out at the critics and DJs to such favorable response.

It was also validating for me as a producer.   When I selected the musicians and arranged the album, I pretty much just followed my instincts.   I put tuba on a country song (not something you hear a lot of) and chose cello for “His Left Side” (the song about my dad’s stroke).  I knew it worked when it ripped my heart right out of my chest, but I didn’t know if it would have the same effect on anyone else.  I really went out on a limb with “Big Country”, which is about different nationalities immigrating to America, and I used native instruments as I introduced each nationality: pennywhistle for the Irish, Hardanger fiddle for the Scandinavians, and Tex-Mex accordion for the Mexicans. When I was recording “Big Country”, I was nervous that it might be too much of a hodge-podge of sounds, but the song ended up being the one that went to #8 on the Folk DJ chart, and it has just been added to the in-flight play list on Lufthansa Airlines!

Once the CD was done, I was delighted to get out of the studio and back on the road. I covered a lot of ground in 2011.   In late spring I toured around Georgia and made a run down to Texas.  In May I was off to the DC area to play the Susquehanna Music Festival.  In June the tour started in Seattle, where I first heard the recording on the radio (KBCS) while visiting my friends Andy & Barbara in Suquamish, WA.  From there it was up to beautiful Vancouver BC and then down to Northern California to play in San Francisco and Santa Cruz.  I was delighted to be on the radio at one of my long-time favorite stations “KPIG” in Santa Cruz, with the legendary Sleepy John.  I hope to have a podcast for you to download off my website from that show soon.  I also went down to the Los Angeles area, where I did a taping on the syndicated radio show “Folkscene” hosted by Roz Larman, with my pal Freebo sitting in on bass.  That was followed by a brief trip home before heading up to the Northeast.   I had a great time performing near my old stomping grounds on Cape Cod, and doing a show on WOMR, plus fun gigs with my friend JoAnne Lurgio in RI, and a great visit and show up in the Adirondacks in NY where I had never been before.  Late summer found me back in TN and KY, and up to MI to perform at the lovely Trinity House Theatre in Livonia.  Then in the fall it was back out to the west coast, home for 3 days before heading up to Chicago, then back up to New York, after which I had ONE night at home followed by a couple dates in Tennessee and back down to Texas.   It all starts again in two weeks when I head down to GA to play in Savannah and Atlanta, followed by a trip out west again, LA, Idaho, and Northern CA.  Maybe you are reading this and thinking, “How can she keep doing this”.  Well here is the deal.  When you love something as much as I love singing and writing it’s really fun.  When you start getting really good at it, it’s even MORE fun!  The traveling is a grind, but the performing is a joy.

I really appreciate your taking the time to come visit my website. Do click on the video tab above, and take a look at the GREAT video of “Miss Kitty” before you leave.  A woman in the UK has done a fabulous job of editing film clips from Gunsmoke to the song.  And of course I hope you will have a listen to track samples from the new CD! You will see a song called “J.C” on the CD.  It is a true story written about a real man.  A real man, who I just found after not having seen him since I was a kid!  I had googled him unsuccessfully twice before, when I wrote the song, and again when I won the Kerrville Folk Festival Song Competition with it.  Last summer, my sister Marsha googled him and found him!  He is in Sumrall, MS and I’m hoping to get down there to see him again this spring.

One of my new year’s resolutions is to send out an email newsletter at least quarterly.   I also plan to have a lot of free downloads from live shows and new videos and pod casts on my website this year, so make sure to join the email list (top right above the photo) if you haven’t already.  If you only want to get my annual letter and hear from me when I’m going to be in your area, send me an email with “lite” typed in the subject line. Please also included your zip code so I know when to send it!

Also, you can stay in touch by following me on Twitter or friending me on Facebook, or both! Click on these links or on the logos in the naviagation bar above. (You can unsubscribe at any time.) Have you discovered Twitter yet? Via twitter you’ll get a two or three line blast to your twitter account on your computer, or via a text message to your phone, You will be able to “travel” with me, as I record my rather left of center, pithy impressions of the world as I’m moving through it. You’ll also be able to play “where’s Waldo” with me and know where I am, if I’m about to sit in somewhere at the last minute, and (most important to me), you can text me back! It would be great to get a message when I’m traveling through a town that you are familiar with about where to eat and what to see!

Well I guess that’s about it for now.  If I don’t wrap this up it will be a Valentines Day blog.  I will leave you with this thought.  I heard recently that if you have a roof over your head, heat, electricity, hot & cold running water, and indoor plumbing, you live better than 70% of the people on this planet.  There has been a lot of trouble in the world this year, but we are still so blessed.   Let us all find it within ourselves to be grateful for what we have, and a willingness to extend our help to others so that they can share in our abundance.  Let us believe we can make a difference, so that we can take the action to do so.  Here is to a year with less violence, war, greed, and hate.  Here’s to a year where in sharing love and hope, we discover we are lifted up as well.

Here is to 2012!