I used to be terrified that I was MISSING OUT.

That wherever I happened to be was not where the cool shit was happening. Because of the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), I would stay up late every night, go to every party to which I had an invite, drink copious amounts of whiskey, and be in a state of frenzy most of the time. Especially during something like SXSW… which is going down like the Titanic in the ever-growing town in which I live. Last year, while 3 months pregnant with our second son, I played 15-ish shows during SXSW. In the car on the way to the final show of the week, I burst into tears from exhaustion. Yes, I’m aware I was playing music and not working in the fields, but it was a ton of energy output nonetheless. I went to other people’s shows and could barely hold the weight of my own body, let alone a growing fetus and an electric guitar. I had the FOMO really badly. I was a pinball. I didn’t really have any fun. It was like a FOMO vaccine. No matter how cool the party, if you feel like a piece of garbage a train ran over, the party sucks.

This year, I turned down every gig offered to me. It felt great. The words “No thank you” tasted like the sweetest chocolate cake. This morning I went to the park with my kiddos. We went to the grocery store. The best part is, I am not worried about what I am missing. I have enough on my plate that there isn’t room for the FOMO. After a day of parenting, I am not hungry for anyone’s drama. I don’t need to catch an Uber, go down to the heart of beast, see 10 mediocre bands in 10 shitty bars, and have a Los Angelean socialite throw up on me. I can get thrown up on at home, without a platinum badge, thank you very much.

Maybe it’s because I’m 3 years into my thirties. Maybe it’s because my clothes still don’t fit my post partum body. Maybe it’s because the baby is still exclusively breast-fed and the shows are LOUD. Maybe it’s because I’m finally happy with who I am, where I am.

Whatever the reason, I dub this year NO MO FOMO.

You Can Have It All, Just Not All At The Same Time

I am walking home from my dear friend’s house at 10pm with my sleeping second son strapped to my chest. It is February 2nd, the eve of my 33rd birthday. I am returning from a song salon, a gathering where songwriters help other songwriters songwrite.

I feel like a waning moon, half lit up and half dark. When we had our first boy I put a lot of energy into preserving my career. I played shows with my baby on my back, I leaned over the car seat to nurse my baby at 60 mph, we all co-slept in strange motel beds. It was a romantic adventure for a while. A few months after Emmett turned one, he was walking and talking and opining. Just try to strap him down for a 5 hour drive and then be a civilized human at a house concert…. just try and strap him down! We would go out on the road as a family, I would end up playing the show solo and still we would all become weary. I had to set down the idea that I could Have It All exactly the way I wanted it and pick up motherhood. I am lit up by my sons as a mother and unlit as a performing songwriter. Just because that side of me is dark at the moment, doesn’t mean it has ceased to exist. It’s just as present, but isn’t illuminated by the sun.

My days fly by without having much to show, just two little people, hopefully sleeping, and gratefully still alive. I was terrified of putting down my career because I always assumed that once you put something down, you walk on, unable to pick it back up again thanks to the ineffable forward march of time. Now I can see my songwriting career as a beautiful boulder i used to push up a hill. I stopped pushing it, and now I can sit in it’s shade, having a picnic with my family.

A very wise woman once told me “You can have it all, just not all at the same time”. I find this statement to be a deep breath. It gives me allowance to stand exactly where I am without the pressure to add more on my shoulders. I don’t have to be a full moon all the time! What would the tides look like that way?

I turn 33 on February 3rd under a full moon in a town that I love, married to a man who supports me no matter what crazy scheme I have hatched, with two healthy and darling boys. What an incredible blessing. Sometimes, I even get to sit down with songwriters and songwrite.

On spotify, Taylor Swift and making a living as an independent musician in the digital age

I recently opened a royalty statement from BMI that flew into my email inbox. These emails are typically fun to open, even if the payment is only double digits. This time, the number $507.37 popped up and I shouted to my husband “Babe! We got $500 in royalties this quarter!” Obviously this is not a lottery win, but notably more than usual. I read the statement closely: $7.33 for one track with 71,911 spins on Pandora. Wow. That’s a lot of spins for an instrumental track from my first record that I wrote in 2002 while watching a Simpson’s episode. I was 20 and living in Portland renting the house my best friend grew up in. The song is called Evergreen House, Second Floor, named after a sign we found and placed on the front porch. I scrolled further down. The most-played track on Spotify had 493 plays, which garnered me a whopping $0.30. And then I found it: $446.18 for ONE song played on BBC radio. Thanks United Kingdom!  A figurative ocean could fit between those numbers. Why such a discrepancy?

The 20th century was the only time in the history of music where some musicians got very well paid for their work. Those days are over. I am not an economist. One might say a folksinger is opposite of an economist, but I have a reasonable grasp on supply & demand economics. Recorded music’s supply is far greater than the demand. Maybe this decline in payout is an easier pill to swallow for a musician of my generation who never had the opportunity to be paid well for their intellectual property?

Taylor Swift has pulled her entire catalog from Spotify, explaining that “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.” I agree with her sentiment that music has great value. In fact, music defines our lives. It is with us in our most dark and most euphoric moments. However, amazing recorded music is far from rare. As the only artist in 2014 to reach platinum, the lovely Ms. Swift has very little to lose from the lack of exposure that Spotify offers to someone like me. You can die from exposure. I wonder if iTunes offered her some sort bonus for this act of streaming treason? I doubt that this move by Taylor and her people has a lot to do with altruism or championing the struggling artist.

I would stand to lose quite a few new ears if I were to remove my songs from streaming services, and sharing music is my mission. There are new types of streaming services out there, like the Standing O Project who are offering a subscription streaming service where artists get 50% of the small monthly fee. Patreon offers fans the ability to subscribe to one particular artist and receive exclusive content. Another factor in all this mess is the amount of free content on the internet vying for our brainspace. Youtube has way more musical content than Spotify or Pandora, and I don’t hear anyone challenging them to pay up to the Performing Rights Organizations.

Yes, I very deeply wish that 71,991 plays on Pandora would pay my mortgage, as opposed to pay for 2 cups of coffee with a modest tip. However, my hope is that somebody heard that song and it defined the fuzzy borders of their life for just a moment, and made it more beautiful. That’s a pretty good consolation prize, just one that makes it clear that my husband and I need to look for jobs if we intend to keep our house and our two kiddos well fed. I most certainly wonder if I am devaluing music as a whole by keeping my songs on free streaming services, but at this point in the arc of music history I don’t feel like I have a choice. Rumi says “Why do you stay in jail when the door is wide open?” At this point the door is blocked by an avalanche of easily sharable mp3s. Until I can figure out how to get more songs on BBC radio, I am stuck here, broke and choosing every day anew to do the coolest job in the world, even when the pay sucks.

Fam at home

I am attempting to write my first blog post in almost a year with a sleeping 4 week old Benny in my lap, and a 3 year old Emmett on the couch nearby, sick and watching Dumbo. I have spent almost all of this year gestating our second son, writing very little, singing occasionally, and mostly contemplating the idea of going on the road with two little people.

I found touring with one dude under 12 months old sublimely easy and fun. In his first year, Emmett was the perfect road buddy, and then once opinions, mobility and toddlerhood became our reality, the road seemed impossible. And unfair. I couldn’t ask him to sit in his car seat for 5 hours a day and then arrive at a strange location anymore. So, i figured it was time to have another baby! As the younger child i feel siblings are crucial, if my parents had thought otherwise, i may not have been born. When i first knew i was pregnant in January, Andrew (the lucky one) was at the Grammy’s… I was so much more annoyed than i had the right to be, i knew something was off. So i did a few shows this year, announcing i was pregnant on the early side so that people didn’t think i had just been eating too many burritos…

Benny was born on October 8th into the bathtub of our 1972 suburban ranch house in South Austin. He is a little dreamboat, looks like his brother, nurses like a champ, and has cemented my inability to go on the road for a while. I am fine with that, in fact i knew it was the reality of the choices i have made. It is sad that one has to choose between babies and career, and like many women before me, babies have won out at this point. It’s not like there’s a folk office in town i can go to when the baby is old enough, THE ROAD is  like white people dreads; they’re not for everyone and your parents shouldn’t force them on you.

So for a while, to appease my nostalgia, i am going to post a weekly memory from my 9 years as a traveling folk saleswoman. I am fully aware that my attempts to deliver songs to the masses, one person and one coffeehouse at a time, were not in vain, and shall continue to be a worthwhile pursuit. I believe in Songs and i always will. However, raising these two sweet boys to be kind and conscientious young men is the pursuit that has won out.

At least, until they have the mental prowess to choose THE ROAD. Then, watch out.



Holiday Blessings

May you be blessed with exactly the kind of chocolate you like.

May you be blessed with a not-so-vicious fight with your sibling that reminds you of your childhood and how much you appreciate who they are and who you’ve become; how deep your love is.

May you be blessed with just enough health that you can achieve all the things you desire this holiday season and have a great excuse to get out of the activities you do not wish to attend.

May you be blessed with one gift that makes you wonder, even if for just a split second, if Santa might possibly exist.

May you be blessed with a profound, show-stopping gratitude for the true abundance in which you live. May you be blessed with someone with whom to share this abundance, or if not, the bravery to share it with strangers.

May you be blessed with a magical parking spot, a bit of blue sky through the clouds, a nip of Jack Daniels for your coffee, a sack of your favorite roasted nuts, your favorite movie on netflix, and the perfect piece of pie, be it vegan, gluten-free, or neither of those things.

May your children be blessed with the holiday spirit so that they experience no melt-downs, no squabbling fits, no food throwing and joy sparkling from their eyes like snowflakes glinting off your neighbor’s garish light display.

May you be blessed with a beautiful holiday that feeds the fire in your heart.



First days without baby

I am sitting in a parking lot in Ayer, MA. Maple, elderberry, nettle, and more are putting on their splendid autumn show. I love the leaves in the northeast. Emmett is with papa in California, this is the longest and farthest I have ever been from my baby. It is day 3 and there will be 12 days in all. It is quiet. I am sleeping well. I miss my little cyclone but I am very much enjoying this blessed stillness. The best part is, I don’t even feel guilty about enjoying this respite. Yes, I will admit to watching videos of Emmett for about a half hour last night, but I think this is good for everybody involved.

Concerning the Raina & Rebecca October Tour-nado:

As to where Rebecca Loebe and i are playing between Oct 16th-26th and things that have happened in these places on tours past:

*Oct 16th: Boston, MA at Club Passim. One time at a gig in Boston Becca ended up dancing drunk on the bar. I don’t think we are allowed back at Toad.

*Oct 17th: Folk In the Chapel in Norwich, CT. One time in CT at Steve & Jen’s house I dropped my tuner right off my headstock straight into a glass of water. Then Becca and i got in the hot tub and broke it. it was a cold tub. I also rode Jen’s horse the next and i broke that too, the horse turned out to be lame. Sorry Roland!

*Oct 18th: Fox Run House Concert near Boston. see Oct 16th for cute Boston anecdote.

*Oct 19th: Courthouse Concert, Merrick, NY (that’s Long Island). One time Becca and i played on Long Island, someone threw $100 in the tip jar and we ran to the ocean the next morning. it was beautiful. Thanks Mike Stein!

*Oct 20th: Slippers & Socks, Syracuse, NY (email: One time in Upstate we played at Bard College and laughed so hard we couldn’t stop in the middle of the show. And we made the gig really pay by taking all sorts of food from the cafeteria! It turns out that the Quality Inn in Kingston, NY is not appropriately named.

*Oct 21st: Rockwood Music Hall, NYC. We were in NYC the night before Halloween in 2010. We both got super drunk and walked around in the rain til 3am. Becca was dressed up as Octomom. She had uncontrollable hiccups. We got to Dina’s house and Becca fell down on the couch and went to sleep. Mike Meadows has video proof.

*Oct 22nd: Focus Concerts, Rockville, MD. Yet another instance where we were playing a bar in MD with the most delicious food ever, but the audience is only concerned with hooking up (lots of white baseball hats, short dresses and fake tans). We started laughing about 2 hours into our 3 hour set and laughed through the next hour. Could not stop. Tears flowed. The duck was incredible.

*Oct 23rd: Dapogny House Concert, Falls Church, VA (email: One time in Virginia in West Virginia, i almost died in a snowstorm with Aj Roach. Becca was on tour with Robby Hecht. We met up a lot and played shows as a foursome. Becca and i missed eachother, even though we love those boys. We had less of our usual thrift store shopping and sushi.

*Oct 24th: Hamlin House Concert, Washington DC (email: One time in DC Becca and i went to the Washington Monument. That thing is funny enough. There is video…

*Oct 25th: Godfrey Daniels, Bethlehem, PA. We once played a college booking conference in the middle of PA. The packet of information they gave us was covered in swirly 1960’s era graphics and it said “Peace Love & Programming”. FAIL. We Also spend a lot of time in my sister’s apartment eating her delicious foods and watching her giant TV.

*Oct 26th: Private Concert, Hopewell, NJ. One time in New Jersey Becca and i spent almost all our hard-earned tour money on yarn and needles. I knitted some hats. Becca knitted some socks. We felt very productive.

That is all i can remember at the moment, but we sure are excited to come up to the Northeast and play songs together for YOU. All dates and info are at & Hopefully you can join us for one of these shows, they will inevitably include harmonies, embarrassing stories, and tons of laughter.
xo, rr


I sat and bounced and lounged on a trampoline for about an hour and a half with Emmett and his lovely friends today. They chased in circles, tumbled, tripped, wrestled, belly laughed and no one shed a tear. That’s a win in my book. Happy 2nd birthday Willy!





Just another day

What an incredible thing. My open letter to three beautiful musicians has been shared over 200 times on the Facebook. When I was composing that letter (in the shower with a toddler, trying to get us both as clean as possible and make sure nobody drowns) I had no idea it would be seen by so many eyes. I am humbled by the support.
Today Emmett and I went and had coffee at our favorite shop. We played in the dirt and drank a cappuccino, he and I respectively. We watched Sesame Street. We played in the backyard and watered the plants. We ate casserole. We read Yertle The Turtle and now here I am, appreciating the first moment of solitude. Andrew is in New York until Monday playing with our dear friend Carrie Elkin. I’ve been really hoping to write a song this weekend, but my hands have been too full with groceries, dishes, vacuuming, dog, and whatnot. When I was touring full time I had fantasies about how wonderful it might be to have a home and a baby and sit still. It’s, of course, not the Sally Homemaker dream that I worked over in my brain. But nothing is. Reality doesn’t run like a movie script. It’s dirtier, more annoying, and slower. It’s got more moments of joyous motes of light than I had ever imagined. It’s got less sleep, more sickness and too many cookies. It’s got yelling and laughter.
I am so grateful for where the days have taken me. For the two sides of the globe I get to be, mother and musician.

a little perspective

The grownups over here at the Rose-Press house are under the weather today. Emmett is a wind-up toy spinning about the house. or maybe he’s a pinball in a shabby chic pinball machine. he’s howling with the police sirens and barking with the neighborhood dogs. I’d love for someone to bring me some ginger ale, give me a neck rub while i feel a little sorry for myself and put on a pouty face…

And i got turned on to a blog today by a woman named Lisa who has stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. That’s not just a little sick. She has 3 kids and an illness that won’t just go away with a few days of couch time. I immediately run over to Emmett and kiss him until he grunts and pushes my face away. My energy level rises knowing that this minor inconvenience of an illness will vanish within a few days. This woman Lisa doesn’t have that luxury. My heart breaks for a mama who doesn’t get to watch her kids become adults. And going through a very intimate thing out in public. It’s very good for all of us. Thank you Lisa for including us in your journey. It certainly helped me today to read your beautiful perspective.

i think i’ll go kiss my kid some more and be thankful for every second that i get to watch him figure out the world.

Bug&mom by schmidt

photo by the amazing Danny Schmidt in November 2012.