In Search of… House Concert Hosts!

The Search for 2017 Summer House Concert Tour Hosts is On!

This year we are making house concerts a big part of how we relate to our community of listeners (you)! House concerts are an archetype of what is right about music: all ages, community-driven, foster intimate connections and make a live music experience available to everyone.

So today we are announcing – our search for hosts for our 2017 Summer House Concert tour is now open!

We are looking for hosts of donations-based house concerts. If you are interested to learn more of what goes into being a host, or already know you’d like to host us – please email us today at amber@shinyshinyblack.com – and either Amber or our house concert coordinator Jacqueline Garver will send you more information and the application.

We’d like to let you know a date for your house concert as soon as possible and to that end, our search for this round of hosts will end in three weeks on April 25, so please email us as soon as you can!

We are trying to make this available to anyone who would like to host by making it a donation-based concert, but we can work out other arrangements as well. Don’t be shy based on where you are located or if you have any questions. We are taking applications from everyone, and we’d love to accommodate as many people as possible.  Thanks for your consideration and help – we’d love to see how far we can make this go and work with as many friends and listeners as we can!

We are excited to bring this aspect of our music making front and center to share with you and your friends at your home or community space.

Cheers,

Nate & Amber
SHINY SHINY BLACK

PS. New video alert!  Produced by UpState South Bend.

“When You Get That Look” – Wild Edges https://www.facebook.com/UpStateSouthBend/videos/1470198059671574/

Posted in Generalities, Touring

Why Art Matters

This talk was first shared when Nate recently spoke at the local Kiwanis meeting here in Goshen, Ind. on December 8, 2016. We were encouraged by the audience response that morning, including a former school administrator standing and apologizing for the way that artists are treated in the broader culture. Wow! We are sharing here as well and welcome your thoughts! 

Speaking at a conference, May 2017

Speaking at a conference, May 2017

“I am going to start out by telling you that I will read this – because I have learned from creating many, many things, and embarrassing myself on stage more times than I care to count, that I am not especially good at improvising.

So…Why does art matter? More specifically, why does art matter to you? Why does it matter enough to me, that at age 40, with very little financial success, to continue to make it the cornerstone of my career? The answer is not easy to articulate, but it is, in fact all around us. The car you drive, the clothes you wear, the spoon and bowl and the sink and the cell phone in your pocket all came from someone’s imagination. Art tends to fall into one of those categories that you might go study if you are of means – it seems like a nice idea, but for most of us, it’s simply not very practical. I mean, we’ve all heard the glowing reviews:

  • The arts improve academic achievement –enhancing test scores, attitudes, social skills, critical and creative thinking.
  • People who experience sustained involvement in the arts are overwhelmingly more likely as adults to found successful companies, publish important articles, and patent new inventions.
  • Arts participation – in school or in the workplace – strengthens creativity, it’s the fuel that drives innovation.
  • U.S. employers rate creativity and innovation among the top skills that they look for, which will only increase in importance in the coming years, ranking it among the top challenges facing CEOs.
  • Art makes you smarter.
Playing at "Wild Edges" EP Release Concert, Sept 2016

Playing at “Wild Edges” EP Release Concert, Sept 2016

If that is the case, why, does it seem, as a culture we are so determined to rule it out as a pursuit? I meet adults every week, who practically worship my creative skills. I tell them (and I completely believe this is true) that they are fully capable of doing what I am doing. Usually, and sadly, they tell me (almost) without fail –”Oh, I’m not creative.”

Sometimes I want to shake them and tell them, “YES YOU ARE!!!”

EVERYONE IS CREATIVE. EVERYONE IS AN ARTIST! Art is something intrinsic to the human experience. We’ve all built a fort, or made up a play and then cajoled our familial victims into participating. We’ve all made a snow-man, a poorly shaped play-doh animal, or a stick drawing of our family. I would even suggest that making something out of nothing is our most common shared human experience aside from the most rudimentary functions of human existence. It’s almost as if we are born artists, and then slowly convince ourselves to give it up.

We start comparing ourselves to others. We become self-aware. We begin to see others as “better” at certain creative efforts, and so we unwittingly cede them, especially when we begin to hear the voices that tell us that other things are more important. We forget far too quickly that the reason we started to create in the first place was we were discovering what it was to be alive, and that we had to tell everyone else what we had seen – IT WAS FANTASTIC! It wasn’t because we were trying to be more creative, or execute more perfectly – we were simply trying to share the joy of being alive!

Here is where we find the crux of it all.

To create is to share your experience. Sharing your experience allows others to show empathy.

Sharing.

Empathy.

Two of the finest things any human being can ever aspire to. To give. To care. So if you can still find that place inside of you that can dream, dream again. If you can use a pencil, or a crayon, or an iPad, or a lathe to create something, and then give it to someone else – if you can create order where there is chaos, do it! Yes, it might be hard. Yes, some people aren’t going to get it. Remember Icharus? That crazy fool dreamed a dream of flying. And he tried, and he failed! But what everyone forgets, is that thousands of years before the Wright Brothers got their glorified kite off the ground at Kitty Hawk…

Icharus flew.”

Posted in Art, Motivation, observations, thoughts about music

On the road to TX, TN, VA, DC, OH!

SSB Sign at the Well smallWe are hitting the road! What’s your favorite part of traveling? For us, the road represents new experiences and possibilities, getting to encounter the friends we haven’t met yet, and the old friends we don’t get to see as often as we would like.

Officially, this trip was born when we were asked to be guest artists as part of the Dandelion Seed Company contingent at the Growth Resourcing Group (GRG) annual leadership conference outside of Dallas, TX.  When we realized that our friend’s wedding was the next weekend in Washington, DC, we decided to turn it into one big ole trip across the U.S.A.

Roadmap for CharlotteThis time, we are bringing the girls along and it’s our first bigger road trip (by ‘bigger’ we mean 2 weeks long) with both Charlotte (4) and Violet (1) as our traveling companions. Bringing the kids is a triumph and an intense balancing act.

These two weeks in our home away from home will be a mix of music and marketing work, building community with leaders from all over the globe at the GRG conference, road time, a friend’s wedding, sharing a few tunes, crashing at the homes of friends and a smattering of odd hotel rooms to make up the difference. We are looking forward to spending a few days in Nashville on our way east. If you know places we should check out, eat, meet people or say hello to along the way, just give us a shout out. We will be catching open mics where we can as well. We’d love to meet you or your friends out on the road.

Where we’ll be:

Tues Apr 19 – evening in transit (night driving works wonders for sleeping babies)
Wed Apr 20 – Springfield, MO
Th – Su Apr 21-24 – Growth Resourcing Group Annual Gathering – Wylie, TX
Sun Apr 24 – BASK: a vertical-focused night of music, art and light – Wylie, TX
Mon Apr 25 – Dallas, TX
Tues Apr 26 – House Concert w/Jonathan Reuel & Jason Ropp – Dallas, TX
Wed Apr 27 – Nashville, TN
Thu Apr 28 – Nashville, TN
Fri Apr 29 – in transit TN & VA
Sat Apr 30 – Arlington, VA/Washington DC
Sun May 1 – Arlington, VA/Sandusky, OH
Mon May 2 – Goshen, IN

Full details: HERE

Meanwhile, we are putting the finishing touches on our next studio project – a six song EP, which we can’t wait to tell you more about!

Posted in Uncategorized

Recording Music at the “Wild Edges”

We’ve been working on the next iteration of songs from the SSB music machine – and will be revealing several surprises soon!  

Nate & I have been recording at the wild edges — wild edges of our time, our hearts, our energy. Being a band + freelancing + being married + being parents of two is an incredible and chaotic reality. Incredibly beautiful, heartrendingly chaotic. We get to choose being artists, being parents and being lovers over and over again as we work out the negotiation of priorities in everyday life. We suspect this is not so different from the choices you make every day as well.

Kids w Keyboard 2

So we record at the wild edges, the secret late night quiet moments (and not so quiet moments). We carve out a day or two on our own to make sure the really good stuff gets laid down on these tracks. 🙂

We asked Mr. Mike Kyle to show up and add his piece to a few of the songs, so now Gone, Fallin’ Off the Wagon and Home are graced with amazingly righteous and rolling piano and organ tracks.

On this record we are enjoying simply doing what makes sense, what fits the groove, what adds the right amount of grit, etc. It requires a lot of patience with the process, but we are simply trusting in doing the best we can with where we are now, and look forward to doing more as we grow. Recording is simultaneously terrifying and freeing – we are doing it, we are doing it, we are doing it!! 

Amber & Nate 1

Keep your ears open, these new songs will be ready soon! We’ve been in the studio yesterday and today, so we hope you are enjoying a few of the behind the scenes moments trickling through your newsfeed

Posted in Art, Motivation, observations, thoughts about music

Nate & Amber on “The Art of Asking”

theartofasking_image_grande_9958499e-bd00-4cb9-9cc6-816341440ade_1024x1024It’s an amazing thing when we find people who can help guide us; shine light on the road ahead by sharing their own stories and learnings.  One recent treasure we uncovered was Amanda Palmer’s book, The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help. To introduce you, Amanda is an independent artist who started her career as one-half of the quirky Boston based duo, The Dresden Dolls, which was an out and out DIY effort, gained a cult following, eventually signed with Roadrunner (Warner) and then left the label. Amanda launched a solo career around the same time and went on to achieve the highest grossing music Kickstarter campaign as of 2012.

She gave a widely popular TED talk on the same title “The Art of Asking,” which eventually led to her sharing on this topic more deeply by writing the book.  Amanda’s story leads you through the ups and downs of discovering who you are as a person, of offering what you have to give (music) (community) and getting comfortable enough to allow others to help in that process, in fact, allowing others to help is what even makes the process possible!

Nate & I recently shared on our takeaways from reading the book at a Dandelion Seed Company Thunder Talk.  These are monthly online calls where folks can gather to hear new ideas and discuss them together. The goal is to move us towards creative, relational and spiritual growth.  We are excited to share the recording of that evening with you here.  Listen in!

 

Posted in Art, Stories, thoughts about music Tagged with: , , ,