I bought a book and three songs popped out

I bought Bruce Iglauer’s memoir about Alligator Records from the window of Books, Inc. of Palo Alto, near the Stanford football stadium.
I noticed in the index a section about Gaye Adegbalola, a founder of Saffire – the Uppity Blues Women, whose work I admired. She’s a retired school teacher, an activist, mother, scientist and all-around force of nature in Fredericksburg, Virginia, near our nation’s capital.
I rang Gaye out of the blue(s), and then sent this letter:

Ms. Gaye:
Nice speaking with you.
I’m offering you $XXX (xxxx dollars) to make a recorded performance for my internet initiative (that I call Lions With Wings). I’m a concert promoter (sometimes also artist management) but due to the Covid pandemic I started an internet project for performers arrangers and writers where people perform in their home studio or collaborate electronically and send me the result as a sound file. If Ms Queen can find a tape recorder function on your smart phone, I think that would suffice. I’m posting all the outcomes on Bandcamp as a free stream. And in many cases I will later offer you a performance in my series at Mitchell Park Center here in Palo Alto. (It actually got started because some artists I had already paid their deposit for cancelled spring 2020 shows and the recordings are a “make good”).
The $xxxx would be $500 now and the balance on demand. If you keep track of your time, I think of it as $xx/ hour for 46 hours. That is, I am offering to underwrite 46 hours towards preparing, creating, researching rehearsing and or performing something I can post to the internet. (You can also farm out or assign any of those hours at same rate to collaborators or parts or crafts or consultants). I would say that I am anticipating that people turn in some thing between one song — five minutes —but it took them that long to figure out— or maybe like an EP 30 minutes five songs. It ideally would be something that was initiated or got started specifically for this project.
If you deliver by June 30, 2021 that would be fine. Hopefully by then we could also realistically figure out when live shows resume — in some ways this “label” project is like research towards a live show.
Mark Weiss
Earthwise Productions
PO Box 60786
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(my phone)
Lions With Wings

I have specific ideas I could suggest based on things that you said or did in the four or five videos you posted on your social media page. But really whatever you wanna do is fine.
I’d be honored.

One-hundred-seventy-one email messages later, plus some texts and a few phone conversations, and these three tracks arrived:
1) “Keep the Faith”

2) “John Lewis”

3) “Tell Mamala”

Lickety-split, we hope to post them to my Bandcamp account for download. Look for Gaye popping eyes and raising spirits on the West Coast soon enough, lord willing and the creek don’t rise.

Mark Weiss
Earthwise of Palo Alto
Plastic Alto blog
Lions with Wings label


I like her line about Kamala Harris – -who was elected Vice President of the U.S. during our correspondence: sassy, classy stank eye. Doesn’t really go here but I met Kamala at Jim Newton’s book party in Menlo Park. Good luck to Maya Wiley my classmate running for mayor of NYC. EQUALITY DIVERSITY TRANSPARENCY HONESTY LEGITIMACY BRAVERY (She’s speaking)..


Updated three weeks later: good news, a label is negotiating with Gaye to distribute these songs as an EP; bad news, they asked Lions With Wings and Plastic Alto to take down the free streaming until the ink dries on that deal. Go, Gaye!!

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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