Mid-Holiday Season Update in Two Movements OR An Exercise in Parentheticals

 Hey Everybody! I started an update and it looked like this….

“Hello from snowy Ohio! I’m sitting in a Starbucks, watching the snow fall in a stripmall. Earlier today I was at Sidewinder Coffee in Northside (http://sidewindercoffee.com/new/) which would be a much cooler place to update from. They are an independent shop with locally roasted coffees and a pet rabbit in their back garden. It’s down the street from Shake it Records (http://www.shakeitrecords.com), which is the best place. And Melt (http://www.meltcincy.com/main/), which is the OTHER best place. I met up with my friend Sarah, who is one of my lifelong heroes, and she made me laugh and put up with my griping about things that have been miffing me for one reason or another lately.

But I’m not updating from there. I’m updating from a Starbucks. (None of these establishments sponsor me.)(But they all should.)(Hi! I’m an independent artist who sometimes gets hungry and/or wants a record and stops in Cincinnati and loves your establishments. Wanna give me a sandwich or sell my albums?)(I’m adding Sitwell’s, which is in Clifton, not in Northside, to that list)(Cause they’re great)(http://sitwellscoffeehouse.com/) (I’m not linking Starbucks because I’m pretty sure there is one in your living room.)

ANYWAY. A while back I was invited to play a songwriters’ series in Woodbury, CT, and agreed. It sounded pretty cool, from the in-the-round format, and the guy I knew who was involved with it. I went up there this past Saturday. I could not have anticipated how fun and warm and wonderful it was going to be. Not to mention how INSANELY CUTE the town of Woodbury is. Adorable. And it snowed and everything. ”

Wasn’t that a nice start to an update? But then so much stuff happened and I got distracted. I’ll have to tell you about it here:

So now I’m back home. Before that night in Starbucks, I had an amazing night playing in Columbus, OH at a little place called Wild Goose Creative, where my former bandmate Johnny Barton had set up a show so we could be reunited and have the best time. And we did. Have the best time.

His new band, Obstinate Orange, is great for dancing to… and people DANCED. Thanks Columbus, and friends from all around there for hanging out. Especially thanks to the opening band, who played their first EVER set that night. They were a group of local teenagers, and we went to town on a pre-show game of Boggle. Keep playing, Saints and Strangers, both music and Boggle. (Hey Boggle, wanna get in on this sponsorship thing?)

After that night in a Starbucks (after which I visited my brother and his dog totally ate my dinner. Jerk.)(The dog, not my brother)(although my brothers also used to steal my dinner)(but not in a mean way, they were just brothers)(disclaimer:my brothers and my brother’s dogs are great) and after Thanksgiving, and after an amazing MidWest Release Party for Troubled Night, I finally hopped on a Greyhound back in Columbus.

At my layover in Cleveland, a guy got real excited to see my guitar case, and struck up a conversation that started about guitars and ended up being about how he’d been on the road laying tile for a month and a half. He and the crew had just been paid the night before we met and had gone out partying, but their hotel room had been broken into and all their cash stolen.

I kept waiting to see if he was going to ask for money (sorry, nice tile-laying-guy, I’m a cynic) but he just continued to tell me a story that sounded like a real life version of “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”. I even mentioned that and he laughed and said yeah and tried to remember John Candy’s name.  “Yeah! That guy was in Uncle Buck! Remember Uncle Buck?” he asked and laughed.

So I hope he got home safe. And that his guitars weren’t stolen like he thought they’d be (I guess I’m not the only cynic, huh.).

I arrived back in New York at 9 the next morning and left again Friday to play in Alexandria, VA. Which is a story of its own. Suffice it to say it was an amazing weekend which I will update you about after I’ve started some laundry. I mean, this has been a pretty long update.

I hope everyone is cozy. I am amazed by this wonderful sparkly world we live in, even when it’s drab and grey and cold and wet like today. Here’s to you. And blankets. And Emma, wherever she may be.

xo

News and Nose

Heyhey – don’t forget get to check out the shows page! New shows are being added every week!

Also. You guys… THIS:

“Jo Kroger possesses a subtler brand of charisma not nlike a singer-songwriter such as Beth Orton or even Joni Mitchell. There’s a vulnerability in the performance that exposes the strength of Kroger’s truth, a quiet confidence that acts as a magnet drawing you in for a closer listen. The best performers don’t have to shout or scream to get their message across; it’s the words left unsung and the spaces between that say the most. With Troubled Night, Jo Kroger leaves the door wide open and invites us to walk through it, sit down and stay for a spell.”

Holy Shit. I opened up my inbox this week to THAT. It’s an excerpt from the first review of “Troubled Night.” You can read that whole review here: http://www.indie-music.com/ee/index.php/blog/comments/review_jo_kroger_troubled_night

Thanks to everyone at indie-music.com, especially Heidi Drockelman for your kind words and open ears!

THE VERY SAME DAY…. ANOTHER review appeared in my inbox:

“Kroger has created a perfect listening album that can be duplicated easily in any type of atmosphere, from a tiny coffee shop to even large venues. Any fans of well-written, passionate folk songs should do themselves a favor and giveTroubled Night a listen.”

Kerriann Curtis and Wordkrapht? You’re making me blush.
Here’s THAT review: http://wordkrapht.com/main/2013/11/11/jo-kroger-troubled-night/

You can follow those publications on twitter at @WORDKRAPHT and @indie_musiccom

About two weeks ago I got the stomach flu, and this week I’m battling respiratory DEATH, but I’ll tell you, nothing soothes my stuffy nose quite like good reviews.

Back to the tea………….. :)

Post Marathon Monday

This weekend was the ING New York Marathon and the whole city was abuzz (and the traffic was a-stop) on Sunday, including the show that night! Congratulations to the four runners we saw at LIC Bar post-race. Caitlin Mahoney, Warren Malone, and I had a blast celebrating with you.

Even when we’re not booking as a collective, Caitlin and I often end up on the same bill together like last night, and I couldn’t be happier about it. We have too much fun. In fact, I don’t think I’ve made an official announcement that Caitlin and I will be touring together late January, early February in Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, and England. We’re settling dates now, so if you want us to come to your town, and have a place we can play and stay, please contact us!

Thanks!

Happy Halloween!

Hey! You want to know what’s been going on? Let me tell you. We’ve been working on Visby Stone in the Studio, and finished retracking acoustic guitars this week. Dalton also added the lead as well as some other colors I can’t wait to share with you. If you haven’t heard this song, there’s a rough demo at https://soundcloud.com/jpeggysue/visby-stone . It’s been one of my favorites to play live this year. Check it out!

The Bangs Collective can be seen several times this coming autumn and have a big holiday show planned for you. Keep your eyes peeled so we can eat cookies and wear sweaters together!

Also, not long ago I appeared on a demo from Dalton Deschain’s upcoming EP, The Collateral Vignettes and will be appearing on the finished product. If you like your songs a little more rock and duet than my usual fare, check out the demo of this song about a girl with the most earnest of intentions who falls for the worst guy possible: https://soundcloud.com/daltondeschain/catherines-mistake-demo

I also had the incredible opportunity to reunite with ArtReach, Inc., recently, and take part in a remarkable songwriting workshop with Mary McBride at the helm. ArtReach does incredible work up in Norwich, CT and across the states for Mental Health awareness, stigma busting, artistic creativity, and healing. Please check them out and consider donating if you’re looking for a place to send your holiday good will. http://artreachheals.org/

Finally Big Thanks to WCNI in New London, CT for the radio play! I think you’re great, too!

xo

Lost in My Mind Cover

To promote Caitlin Mahoney’s “West for a While” EP release this Friday, She, Kat Quinn, and I shot this cover we do sometimes. This is the only place I plan to make a public apology to Chris Thile for my mandolin playing. You are welcome to give me lessons though. Thile? You listening?? Mmm???

March

HEY

This Saturday, March 7, 2013 at 10pm (followed by my lovely friend Caitlin Mahoney): The Path Cafe on Christopher and Hudson, NY, NY
This coming Tuesday, March 12 at 11pm: Pete’s Candy Store (Lindsay Dragan playing before me. That girl is Crazy good)
Saturday March 30, 4pm at Pete’s Candy Store followed by Benjamin Scheuer and Rue

 

The Telemetry Floor

I’m a songwriter.

So I think, “I should probably Post about song-y stuff: Where I’m playing and when, progress on the new EP, youtube clips, music I like…”

And I do.

But, presumably, you are here because you like the way I frame my experiences. And this is what I’m experiencing these days: My dad, after already having a heart attack and a stroke a few years back, has recently been diagnosed with colon cancer. Nasty, aggressive, mean, selfish colon cancer. And I’m sad and angry and scared and socially awkward and fine and not fine.

I’m also posting about it for a few reasons.

1. To remind you to take care of yourself. Even if you’re going through a shitty time and don’t FEEL like caring for yourself and don’t FEEL like anyone else cares, they do. It will mean a lot to them if you take care of yourself. And on a day when you’re feeling better, it’ll mean a lot to you, too.

2. Because I feel guilty. That’s right. I feel guilty. I was talking to someone who said that all she knew about my relationship with my dad was what she’d heard in my songs, and that didn’t seem great. And suddenly I feel guilty and then I’m all INDIGNANT at myself, like, “Screw you, Insecurity, I can write WHATEVER I WANT!” but I still find myself second guessing whether or not I should include this track or that track, or play certain songs live during this time when I’m scared about my father’s health. So here I am.

I could talk for hours about what I’ve written in most songs and why, but I’m not quiiite enough of a narcissist to think that that’s why you’re here. I AM, however, enough of one to bring this up so please know that a) I love him, b) family relationships = weird and difficult

c) lyrics have many meanings, and that’s what I find fascinating, fun, and maddening about what we do. As I’ve said before, people can be married for decades and still not really know what their spouse is talking about sometimes, so I seriously doubt any two people hear the same thing in the same lyrics, yeah?

Anyway, it’s Colon Cancer month, so talk to your family about health history. Get a colonoscopy if you’re at that time of life. If you’re not…. go hug someone. and cut down on your red meat or something. I’m only saying it because I love you.

xo
-J

GET BACK TO WORK!

Hey my people.

Have I told you lately that I love you?

I got sick a lot this fall. It was the worst. Now I’m playing music again. I mean, sometimes I played when I was sick. But I’m less sick. So here come the shows.

I’m going to recommend you keep your eye on the facebook or reverbnation pages just to keep up, but for now, some upcoming dates:

Sunday, December 16th, LIC Bar (backed up by Kat Quinn and Caitlin Mahoney) 7pm
Monday, December 17th, backing up Kat Quinn at Rockwood Music Hall, 7pm
Tuesday, December 18th, The West Cafe (Wburg, Bk, across from Barcade) 8pm
Thursday, December 27th – little cameo at Mike Short’s comedic movie viewing, holiday edition: “Down in Front Presents: A Traditional Christmas.” The PIT theatre, 11pm
Friday, December 28th – The Path Cafe, 9pm
Saturday, January 12th, Pete’s Candy Store with Rue and The Gantry, 4pm
Friday, January 18th, Zinc Bar with Jon Christopher 7pm

Keep your eyes open. There are at least two more big fancy-pants shows coming up.

Okay, I’m about to give you a ton of music. Here’s the deal with all of this music. Full disclosure. It’s all friends. I like these people. I get no money for promoting them, but I am pretty sure you will like something. If you don’t, y’know, I’m not too worried about it. But, for instance, Jasper Lewis’s “High Strung Poets” is just about my favorite song for early fall. I know it’s late fall now, but it’s always good to stock up for later. He also sounds like an old-timey folk-genius. That’s not everyone’s thing, but if you like old-timey folk geniuses…
High Strung Poets

The Gantry makes my train rides all rock and roll and bouncy. I haven’t loved dancing to a band live this much since … well, let’s just say I REALLY like dancing to their music. Kevin writes the best rock/pop hooks around and the boys harmonize like the grandbabies of the Traveling Wilburys. Again, if you’re looking for through-composed concept thrash-metal, remixed by Bjork, this is not for you. But if you always wished that Weezer and The Band would mate…
Years and Years by The Gantry

The Sky Captains of Industry makes me feel like I accidentally stumbled into a car while my friends were hotboxing and one guy was watching reruns of “Happy Days” while two guys, dressed as Trey Parker and Matt Stone (I guess it’s Halloween) discuss the future. That sentence is definitely the ultimate test of who reads this biz.
Rocket City by the Sky Captains of Industry

And finally, Matt Sucich. I listened to Matt Sucich’s album “Jubilation and Jealousy” a LOT two summers ago when I was on the road between California, NY, Connecticut, and Seattle. I’m pretty sure now that he’s come out with another album, “Layers” I’m going to need a new proper road trip.
Layers by Matt Sucich

As a rule, I don’t post on days when my writing comes out sounding like eighteen convoluted inside-jokes, but the reality is I’m just amusing myself. I got puked on today, so I feel like being a little silly.

Come to a show, and I promise I will either be MORE coherent, or we will both be drinking.

xo
J

 

Hurricane Season

Nothing like inclement weather to bring people together. There’s a lot of dancing happening at our place as we prepare to be locked in for a few days. Wish you were here, cooking, chatting and dancing, too. Stay safe, East Coast.

xo
J

Autumn in NYC

“Come, little leaf,” said the wind one day.
“Come over to the meadow with me and play
Put on your dresses of red and gold,
for summer is gone, and the days grow cold…” 

It is definitely autumn, friends. My feet are cold and my face is pink and there are apples everywhere. It’s great. Often times I take early autumn slow, show-wise, while I fend off the busyness everywhere else in my life, but this year has been jam packed with Living Room, Rockwood, Path Cafe, The American Folk Art Museum, Caffe Vivaldi, LIC Bar, and cameos on albums and sets. So much for taking it easy! :) It’s the best.

Also the best? Kat Quinn and Caitlin Mahoney. If you don’t know these girls, they are AMAZING musicians. And it just so happens that they came and sang a few harmonies with me at this last Caffe Vivaldi show. I am so honored and excited. I realize I was remiss in not getting footage of it for you, but my phone is a dinosaur… time for a new one, I guess. Any favorite phone arguments you want to pose to me? In any case, next time we’re around a living room practicing, I promise to grab some footage for you. In the mean time, here’s a clip of “June” from the Folk Art Museum show.

All right, off to keep up with laundry, pack for a wedding, and listen to Mumford and Sons’ “Babel”.

xo
J