As we are now smack dab into 2012 with that brand new year smell, I find myself wanting to reflect on a few moments I enjoyed last year. I hope you'll indulge me. There is a lot that I am grateful for. I loved playing music with my friends and family (especially for a good cause) for really amazing audiences. Here are some top 2011 highlights:
Earth Day Sacramento (more like Spring/Summer) - This was an amazing and colorful day full of great vibes and a sense of world community. It was nice being asked to headline this very important event as it felt really good supporting our mother earth. The BBQ smells were amazing, people were chillaxin, dancing and the weather was perfect. A brightly colored mural provided the majestic and surrealistic backdrop for the day's music. Check out more images of this day by Alexa Hatley.Longtime friend, singer-songwriter, Brooke Aved aka Napa's own "songbird" flew back to the nest for a highly anticipated CD pre-release party for her new album 'Great Escape' (find on iTunes) at Downtown Joe's. After having worked tirelessly in Austin, TX for the last 4 years, she unveiled her new work via a spectacular multimedia extravaganza. I played the role of the "DJ" as well as served as a sound-tech and additional entertainment. We were joined by drummer David Parker playing the role of "bassist", singer-songwriter Jef Madnik lent his talents as did my drummer, Ram Hatley playing congas. It was a great turnout and a lot of fun!
4th of July - I joined my good friends, Audio Farm for a grand display of independence in Downtown Napa. There were thousands of people there! Also playing were Hall One and Ralph Woodson closed the show. My friends and I all got snugly/cozy next to the river at the Veteran's Park and we enjoyed magnificent fireworks. A great day! Thanks City of Napa.
Napa City Nights -TASB (The Amber Snider Band - Aaron Snider - lead guitar, Dave Youdell - Bass, Ram Hatley - drums) had the esteemed honor (and pleasure) of once again playing at one of our most beloved concerts of the year, Napa City Nights. We were greeted by many enthusiastic and friendly faces as we delivered a new line up of fresh-original songs as well as a live CD of the previous year's Napa City Nights Live 2010 (iTunes $9.90). Also performing that super-fabulous day were Sean Garvey and Lansdale Station. And even with elements of danger (the stage lighting almost fell on a crew member), this event felt like a big hug to me :)
Mother's Day Show with The Pine Dogz - It was a very special Mother's Day this year when my parents duo and my band joined forces in Suisun at the Mother's Day Artisan Fair. Here is the article written by The Daily Republic. We later did a reprise when they invited me to sit in with them for their "Old World Christmas" Suisun, Holiday show.
Vacaville's First Country Music Festival at The Elmira Cabin - Because our genre of music varies: Folk/Rock/Blues/Country aka "Ambericana" We were invited by our new friends the Jesse Woodside Band (amazing original country music and really nice fellas, too) invited us to take part in this monumental (and hopefully reoccurring) event in the most perfect backyard vacation spot. Just in the outskirts of Vacaville, away from the hub bub of outlet stores and highway traffic, past the rows of corn and right next to the old timey railroad tracks, lies a hidden little magic town called Elmira. In this large open field setting is a cabin that is reminiscent of an old gold mining saloon but with modern day amenities like pool tables, televisions, two bars, indoor and outdoor stages and dance floors (I was the first musician to spill a beer on the newly built backyard stage!), a fire pit, free peanuts that you can throw right on the floor (but just remember someone has to clean them up) and catered BBQ (for the festival). The bar owner/manager is a young, hip character named Travis Schecter who has transformed this backwoods venue into a hotspot. Gussied up in our finest country duds outside under a canopy of trees, we felt right at home. Also performing that day were Taryn Cross (from Washington) & 48 Straight.Yee haw!
Solano County Fair - Thanks to my good friends at Ozcat Radio (Ozcat Radio 89.5 FM KZCT ~ Streaming Vallejo's Independent Music to the Known World) I was once again invited to play music at my childhood family fair. I have so many fond memories of going there as a little girl with my family and watching musicians play on the very stage I played on! To some people, that may not be a big deal. But for me, it makes me feel so grateful for the life that I have, small prayers that have been answered and that I get to live my dream. It always seemed that the musicians on stage were having the most fun out of any of the adults I saw and I knew from a young age that I wanted to do that as well someday (although painfully shy as a child... just ask my mom, I use to hide behind her leg all the time). The experience was very full circle for me. This year, I played what was known as the "International Stage" and also performing there that day were gospel music dance troupes and Hawaiin performers. Afterwards, my sister Heather and I rode the rides and checked out the animals at the petting zoo. We had a blast!
Downtown Joe's - The band and I played a couple shows this year at Downtown Joe's (there's no place like home) and each time, it felt really great. We have a history at this venue. I personally have been playing there for ten years now (I know....where does the time go?) and took up residence there weekly along with my band from 2007-2009. Longtime friends father and son photographers Dana Lyon (from Studio II (two) Gallery - Napa) & Jeremy Lyon came out and took some pictures (thank you). We got to hang out with tons of cool peeps and made some more great memories. Thank you Joe's!
KVYN interview with DJ CJ - You can see video here
Carneros della Notte Winery - Harvest/Birthday Party. This year, we again celebrated Carneros della Notte Winery's founder Dave Harmon's birthday and annual night time grape picking party. Talk about the epitome of cool. Playing music in a gorgeous Napa Valley vineyard under the stars while our audience is stomping grapes? Unforgettable. Great people, great wine, great food. I drank a glass of Flava Flav's wine (yes he has his own wine and it is meant to be crunk). We brought the RV and camped out for the night next to his 1985 Ferrari and helicopter. I pooped out before the campfire sing-a-long (sounded good folks). Watch this video to find out more information on Dave and his annual Harvest Party.
Freemark Abbey - Harvest parties in Napa Valley are plentiful and we were lucky to play at one of the most historic wineries of the last century. (Rustic flashback music starts now) The story began in 1886, when winemaker Josephine Tychson established the original winery
along Route 29 in St. Helena where Freemark Abbey still stands. It was the first female run winery in California and you read more about this here. Back to the 2011 Harvest party... Freemark Abbey provided a fine-dining, yet warm and friendly atmosphere for their wineclub members. They REALLY want people to have a good time (that's why they hired us, right? :) Everything was top notch from the oysters, Cajun BBQ (the best this side of the Mississippi), amazing desserts to wines that some people call "a religious experience". There was a grape crushing contest where teams of people jumped inside large vats of grapes, got their feet wet and had a good ole time. This is a must see winery when you visit the Napa Valley. You can also hit up Silverado Brewing Company for food on your tasting tour as it is right next door. Speaking of...
The Silverado Brewing Company - we played a Memorial Day Kick off Party there this year as well. Some old friends were there. The food is always good....
Also, while wearing my solo artist hat, I ventured into Sonoma for “Songwriters In Sonoma” brought to you by MusicNomad.com and Sonoma Valley Music Store) held at Meadowcroft Winery tasting room in Sonoma, CA where we three lucky songwriters played to an audience of true music lovers (I can always tell because you could hear a pin drop in there). I was honored to share the stage with Jim Corbett, who has performed throughout the North Bay for years and has even created a music program for children, while entertaining students at various schools throughout Sonoma County. Also playing was as Sonoma native, Mike Lounibos, who performed songs, "that will leave you breathless, and then heal you." As a musical story teller and a country balladeer, Lounibos writes songs that draw deep from the well of human emotion (ok so I grabbed that last part from their websites but let me tell you in my own words, these are very talented, approachable and genuinely nice guys). I was very happy to meet some new friends in Sonoma and am very encouraged to see all the hard work that they pour into promoting original music as well as their communities through music. FYI - Meadowcroft winery has great selections of wine as well as a friendly staff (this would be another great stop for you on your wine country tasting tour - I hope you are writing all this down :)
Train & Maroon 5 show - Though I didn't perform, another really memorable 2011 moment was when my friend Sammy and I took a road trip to see a Train & Maroon 5 show (she was invited to take pictures by Train). See a few of my cheesy totally unprofessional pictures from that amazing concert here.
Farmers Market Tour 2011 - This year, I have had a wonderful time playing solo at many farmers markets in and around the Bay Area: San Francisco, Martinez, Walnut Creek, Brentwood, Jack London Square (Oakland), Alameda, to name a few. I plan on doing more in 2012 and branching into new territories. Please check my website for more details.
A few more words on the subject... Farmers' markets are great community gathering places — places where neighbors can get great products, stroll, chat with one another, pick up some fresh fruits and vegetables, and feel connected to their community. Many communities use farmers' markets as the centerpiece of larger community gatherings that may also incorporate music, children's activities, or arts and crafts.
Farmers' Markets are an essential part of California's agricultural economy. Farmers' Markets provide outlets for California's small family farms to sell the fruits of their harvest. Many of the farms selling in farmers' markets do not sell through any other outlets. These farms are the employers and economic generators of their rural Northern and Central California communities.
Farmers' Markets are also good for the environment. They support locally-grown products, rather than those grown overseas and transported to the Bay Area via ship, road or rail. Small California farmers have also been at the forefront of the organic movement, protecting soil and water quality through the restricted use of chemical agents.When you shop a Certified Farmers' Market, you know the fresh products you're buying are all California Grown, and sold to you by the very farmers that planted, nurtured and harvested the crops!
To find out where your local Farmer's Markets are, visit http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/ and search your area. They even take food stamps (oh SNAP)!
To request that I play at your farmer's market or that I or The Amber Snider Band play any other venue or event, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much for being interested in my happenings and please let me know what's new in your world as well.
Best wishes in the New Year,