Friday, March 23, 2012

This has been a busy month! I made a trip back to Nashville, which I felt was long overdue! It had been close to a year since I had been in Nashville, and it really felt great to be back. The end of a year of being in Virginia is drawing to a close, and I made this trip to help me determine how I'll move forward at the end of April when my lease here is up. I won't lie - it was definitely different being back in Nashville with a baby, and it was much more difficult to schedule and get things done, but it was SO good to be back... I loved getting to take Jaxen and have him meet many of my Nashville friends, many of them who also have babies! I did also get to go downtown one night (first babysitting experience outside of Nana and Pops! auuugh!!! ;) and see my friends and pop my head in many of the clubs that I used to play in and frequent. It was a great experience and I'm so grateful to my friend Alicia for keeping Jaxen for me while I had a few hours to catch up. Although my show schedule has been a little slow since Jaxen was born, I do have tonight's show and a show on April 6 as well at JJ's Grille. Tonight's show is at McCook's Lakeside Grill from 8 - 11pm and I will be joined for a set by The Liaisons, fellow musician friends who are former Richmond residents who have moved out to L.A. They will be performing some songs from their new EP and I think you'll greatly enjoy them! I'm excited! :) Hope to see you there!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends, and that you’re enjoying the holiday season! Here in Virginia it has been a little bit strange – as I was Christmas shopping last week in flip-flips and short sleeves… I’m glad it’s beginning to cool down a little, because while I love the warmer weather, it just doesn’t seem like Christmas until you at least need to wear a jacket outside!

I’m not playing too many shows right now, so I really enjoy the ones I do have! Tomorrow – Friday, December 9 – I will be at JJ’s Grille in the West End starting at 8pm and playing until 11pm. JJ’s is near the intersection of Staples Mill and Hungary Road in the CrossRidge Shopping Center with Martin’s and is very close to the Staples Mill / Rt 33 exit off I-295. I may even throw in a Christmas song or two… : )

*Christmas special* - CDs (usually $10 or $12) will be 2 for $10, and t-shirts (usually $15) will be 2 for $20, so be sure to stock up for Christmas gifts!

Motherhood has definitely changed my focus around music so while I’m not performing, I’m starting to concentrate a little more on writing new songs and finishing the probably 25 – 30 songs I have started but not finished! I always said that when I became a mother that the focus would shift from traveling and performing to writing. While I didn’t exactly anticipate this timing, I am definitely enjoying motherhood! My sweet Jaxen began last week (at 14 weeks) sleeping at least 8 hours at night, so I’m enjoying it even more! J He has been a joy and for the few shows I have done, I love looking out and seeing him in the audience. With the help of friend, super-fan, and pseudo-aunt Angela, Jaxen put his first tip in mommy’s jar at my last show. In addition to a $5 bill, he also put a piece of bread in the tip jar during Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” – right at the line that says “and they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar”… which has been on ongoing joke with some of my Virginia fans, which results in me counting tips and cleaning out bread crumbs at the end of the night… ; )

Well I hope to see you all tomorrow night at JJ’s – and next Friday night (December 16) at Brunetti’s in Mechanicsville.

Happy Holidays, and all my best!!

Kari

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

original music by Kari Smith "The Bottle Must Be Bigger"



This is one of the most difficult songs I have ever written or recorded. One of the reasons that music means to much to me is that it is such an effective outlet for my emotions, and one of my biggest goals is that my music reaches people wherever they are, happy or sad, thriving or struggling. This is not a happy song. It's not about hope and smiles and happy endings. It's about hopelessness and despair and frustration. It's about facing a loved one's addiction and feeling completely powerless. And if there is ONE person who can listen to it and say "wow... I guess I'm not alone..." it would mean the world to me.
Words and music by Kari Smith.
© 2011 Vanillity Music LLC

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Back in Nashville - over 8 weeks and over 5,000 miles later!

It is an amazing feeling to finally be back home! After over 8 weeks and over 5,000 miles, I have stayed in and played in 8 states and had an amazing time along the way! I was blessed to be able to spend Thanksgiving in Texas with my sister Sharen and her family, Christmas in Virginia with the rest of my family, and New Year’s with many amazing fans–turned–friends!

One of the events I am most proud of from this tour is the success of the Rebecca Sauvager Fundraiser Benefit. Rebecca has been a fan following my music for the past 2 years, and when I found out at my December 18 show that she was in Stage 4 of cancer, I wanted to do something to help out. I reached out to you, and you quickly proved that you are the most amazing fans, friends, family, and venues that I could ever ask for! Between personal contributions and the help of the sponsors listed below, we raised $1,100 for Rebecca to help with her extensive medical bills! With very little time to plan and pull this event together, I felt very successful in our efforts, and Rebecca and her family were so very blessed by all of you reached out. Thank you SO VERY MUCH – I am literally getting choked up again thinking about how proud I am to be affiliated with such wonderful people. Please keep Rebecca in your prayers, and you can still donate through PayPal. Donations may be made to email address helprebeccasauvager@gmail.com or by pasting this secure link in your browser: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=X327TVEPB3AUA. Pictures from the event can be viewed at (Pictures from the benefit can be viewed at http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=16994489&l=b1e63a846c&id=668610353).


The trip was the longest I’ve taken so far in my music career, and would not have been feasible - or bearable! :) - without my new trusty travel trailer… and man, did it get a workout! Thanks to friends Doug and Jenn, who allowed me to be their neighbor for the 3-week Virginia leg of my trip! It was another learning experience as the exciting “first icicle!!” turned into the paranoia of freezing tanks, frozen water lines, salt encrusted metal parts, copious amount of propane for heating, etc. My first order of business back in Tennessee was to stop at the dealership and have new tank heaters put onto my tanks to avoid this fear in the future! I’m also looking forward to (NOT!) the next big expense of adding a generator to my rig to avoid problems when I’m not plugged in to electricity. I guess I decided that 40 foot of rig wasn’t enough, so I’d add a few feet of generator mount on the back… ;) Shout-out to Family Campers in Lebanon, TN though – they have been SOOOO wonderful in helping me through this process and step in my career of being on the road extensively!

After a week and half of "rest" (catching up on 8 weeks of life - and mail - here in Nashville! ;) I will be back on the road heading to Georgia, where I’ll be playing in Milledgeville, Gray, and Eatonton for a week and a half of shows. In the beginning of March, I’ll be back in Tunica, MS, for more gigs with Nervous Presley, and will head back to Virginia after that.

Thank you so much for following me on this adventure I'm on! Sometimes it feels like I'm on a roller coaster, and sometimes it feels like I’ve hit every roller coaster in the theme park! But despite the challenges, I am still so, so very blessed to be able to do what I love and am passionate about – and feel doubly blessed when I can use these talents God gave me to help someone else out. Thank you so much for being a part of that!

My best to you all…
Kari

Saturday, December 18, 2010

3,000 miles in... Georgia is behind me, Virginia is in front of me!


Over 3,000 miles into this tour! I’m in week 5 now, and loving every minute of it. I really should take out stock in a gasoline company for real though… ; )

Besides almost zero access to internet and cell phone, my week in Georgia was wonderful! We had so much fun at the Bone Island Grill at Crooked Creek Marina, and at the Milledgeville Mellow Mushroom! Their pizza is soooooo good and they have Woodchuck on tap, which really makes me smile…. ; ) It was so good to see all the Georgia folks again, and I can’t wait until I’m back in February! I’ll be playing at the Marina and the Mellow again, but also adding Jackson’s on Sinclair (formerly Choby’s), and Shooters in Gray, so it’ll be a good long week and a half trip! Can’t wait…

I’ve been in VA for less than 48 hours and it has already been wonderful!!! I was sooo scared of the trip up here, but had no problems on I-77, I-85, or I-95. The only time I hit any trouble at all was on I-295 and the secondary roads, and even they were passable. I feel very grateful because I was pretty nervous about my first trek through ice and snow with this truck and trailer. The snow, ice, and freezing temperatures definitely make for constant monitoring of lines and tanks for freezing, but so far so good… The trailer stays plenty warm, but I am going through some propane for sure! I saw my first icicle on my “house” yesterday and had to take a picture (bottom pic - it doesn't show up well, but it's there! :) Sierra loved playing in the snow too – despite her almost 8 years, her Greyhound / Husky traits show themselves when she tears around the yard in circles! She makes me smile…

I spent the first night in Virginia parked in front of my parents’ house – which is always nice, because they come in and I give them all my little “fix-it” projects. Mama always ends up sewing things, helping me with my laundry, etc. and Daddy always ends up with a screw driver, a little 3-in-1 oil, or something similar! Their neighbors came over for dinner, and we played cards and I played some tunes for them all. Now I’m set up in my “yard” for the rest of my trip with my dear friends Doug and Jenn. It was hilarious when I woke up today and let my Sierra out – Jenn opened her window and I opened my door and we had a chat without stepping foot outside! :) It’s nice to be neighbors with such great people!

Last night was my first Virginia gig at Lakeside Sports Grill, and it was wonderful!! Thank you SO much to Wynn, Kenny, Linda Grace, Barbara, Kathy, Margaret, Ray, Linda, Phil, Angela and Brian, Leisa, Andrew, Brian and Loretta, and all the other folks who came out whose names I can’t remember right now! We had so much fun and for some strange reason, I decided to play for 4 hours and 15 minutes without ever stopping or taking a break! Now I could use a 4+ hour back and hand massage… : ) And uh… I guess that means I must have been a little dehydrated! ; ) If you haven’t been out there yet, you definitely should. They are re-opened under new ownership (Chris and Rebekah), and the food, service, and staff are wonderful!

Tonight’s gig is at Marty’s Grill in Mechanicsville, and this is another first-time venue for me. I’m hoping there’s a great turnout, despite the lingering snow!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My first gig with Nervous Presley and Walking in Memphis!


I've been doing the solo thing for quite a long time, so my keys gig with Nervous Presley this past week was a pretty new experience for me.

Nervous Presley is a band out of Nashville that plays mostly 80s rock. Think lots of Toto, some AC/DC, Fleetwood Mac, even throw in some Michael Jackson. If you know me well, you'll know that that's almost all pretty new music for me! It was absolutely wonderful though. I've known all the guys from Nashville for several years (Danny Archer on guitar and vocals, Link Detten on guitar and vocals, RK Brown on bass and vocals, and Bobo on drums and vocals. We met Manda - another vocalist - there in Tunica which is where she lives, and she was awesome to hang out with and be on stage with!

We played for 5 nights (Tuesday - Saturday) at the Gold Strike in Tunica, MS, and it was a great time. I played almost all keys, and guitar on maybe 6 or 7 tunes. We all traded vocals and everybody in the whole bands takes turns singing leads. They're an amazing band and an amazing group of people! We had SO much fun, and I don't think I've laughed that much this year!! Starting up again in March, this will become a regular gig (we're already booked for March, April, and May) so I'm pretty excited!! It was pretty interesting, but since I am on the road for 7 weeks, I had my travel trailer with me - but nowhere to really park it since casinos down there don't have RV facilities. It was a daily race from my trailer to my room on the casino and back again. Of course I had to sleep in my trailer every night even though I had a king-sized bed in my room - I couldn't leave my little Sierra to sleep alone!! ;)

Tunica is very close to Memphis, and while I was in Tunica, I went to the Hollywood Cafe. If you've every heard the song "Walking in Memphis" by March Cohn ("put on my blue suede shoes and I boarded the plane..."), then you've probably heard the line in the last verse that says "Muriel plays piano every Friday at the Hollywood". That's the Hollywood I went to, and after some cajoling, I got up and played Muriel's actual piano! I thought they'd be sick of hearing "Walking in Memphis", but I played it anyway, and they loved it! All the staff came out of the kitchen and watched, and long story short... they are booking me for every Friday that I'm back in Tunica! It was a great compliment and just a wonderful experience...

This coming week I will be in Georgia for 3 nights (Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday) at Crooked Creek Marina's Bone Island Grill on Lake Sinclair and for 1 night (Thursday) at Mellow Mushroom in Milledgeville, GA. I hope to see all of the wonderful Georgia folks out!

After this week of shows, I'll be headed to Virginia, where I have shows lined up all the way through the New Year! I'm very excited to see all the Virginia folks again, and look forward to the holidays!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

KOA Kamping... ;)

Well, I’ve passed the 1200 mile mark on this trip, and it’s been great so far! Last night I played a show in Zachary, Louisiana, which is right outside Baton Rouge. I had a great time after the show hanging with the folks that got me booked, and it was a great time! They gave me a history lesson in the world of all things Cajun – including food! I ate my weight’s worth of Couvillion (pronounced “coo-vee-yah”) and they sent more with me! It’s like a red sauce with garlic, onion, green peppers, and shrimp – all served over rice. They also introduced me to Boudin (pronounced “boo-dah”) and I now have some of that in my freezer too! : ) Yummy… I’m in love with Cajun food…

Tonight I’m at the KOA – my first time staying in one! Although it costs a lot more (about $36 a night), it is nice to have unlimited access to water, sewer, and even cable! It’s also nice to have a pull-through spot – I don’t have to back up! Even though I’ve gotten used to it, that’s quite a bonus! Up until now, I’ve stayed at people’s houses, a Wal-Mart parking lot, a Cracker Barrel parking lot, and a state park. It’s been quite a variety of experiences!

From here, I’ll head to Tunica, Mississippi, where I’ll be playing 5 nights at the Gold Strike Casino with a band called Nervous Presley. I’ll be playing keys and acoustic guitar and singing. Most of their music is 80s rock, and they are AMAZING! This is my first time playing with this band, and I’m so looking forward to the experience! It’s definitely different than anything I’ve done before, but I’m really looking forward to it!

Monday, November 22, 2010

So far so good!!


The trip has been great so far! I got to stay with dear friends in Little Rock. It was great to visit, and also had help mounting a TV in my camper! It’s nice to have some noise to keep my company late at night… Since Friday, I’ve been with my cousin Aaron and his wife Dawn in Atlanta, TX. We have had an amazing visit, just talking, visiting, and getting to see some other family members. Aaron and Dawn have a beautiful park-like farm complete with horses, dogs, chickens, and amazingly beautiful gardens. This picture was taking while giving a little "private concert" ;) to Aaron, Dawn, and some of Dawn's family. It’s been a very relaxing, enjoyable time.

Tomorrow I will hit the road for 6 – 7 hours on the way to Spring, TX, where I’ll spend the week – and Thanksgiving – with my sister and her family. After that, I’ll head to Tunica, and the “work” part of the journey will begin in full-force! I’m definitely enjoying the time off – especially since I’ve been fighting a nasty cough for a little over a week now! Can’t wait for that to be gone!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The beginning of a 7-week tour...

November 20, 2010

Being on the road makes me want to blog more – it makes me want to share everything that I see and every new experience with all of you… it makes me want to write more songs… I drove 270 miles yesterday and about 150 today – and I never turned on the radio or any other music. The silence and the wheels rolling under me get the wheels rolling in my head… Last night was spent in Little Rock, AR, and tonight I am in Atlanta, TX. On Monday, I’ll head to Spring, TX for a week for Thanksgiving. The following Monday I’ll head to Tunica, MS for a week of band gigs with Nervous Presley – an AMAZING band from Nashville. After that, I’ll head to South Georgia for a week of gigs, then head to Virginia for Christmas, New Years, and shows in Richmond and the surrounding area. By the time I head back to Nashville, I will have been on the road for 7 weeks – my longest trip so far!!

I am LOVING life on the road in my travel trailer, and I feel more convinced every day that everyone should have to live in a trailer for a month or two. Like maybe after high school or something… sounds ridiculous, but here goes my soapbox moment. We are SUCH a wasteful people, and the convenience of everything we have access to leads many of us to take for granted the availability of what we have. Living in a 25 x 8 space (well, more with my slide-out… ;) has been such an amazing lesson of all the many things that I can comfortably live without. And the recognition that there are soooo many people all over the world who live in a smaller space than this, without the microwave, stove, oven, heater, air conditioner, refrigerator, freezer, shower, TV – and on and on and on – is a little humbling. In the 1800 square foot home that I owned, I frequently felt like I didn’t have enough space. After you live in this small of a space for a month and realize that there was so much that you can really live without, you realize the excess of what you have.

I didn’t realize the lesson I was going to learn about wastefulness – and it didn’t start out that way. When you don’t know when and where you’ll be able to connect to water or fill your water tank again, you use much less water. You turn the water off while brushing your teeth. You turn the water off while your scrubbing the dishes and turn it back on just long enough to quickly rinse them. You take quick showers because besides using up all your water, you don’t know when you’ll have a spot to dump you gray (sink and shower) water again. You use half the toilet paper because you can’t clog the RV septic system. You don’t turn all the lights on because you don’t want to run the battery down. You don’t buy more food than you can eat, because it wouldn’t fit in the refrigerator anyway. You drive slower and more conservatively because you don’t want to use any more fuel than necessary. You don’t wash clothes that aren’t dirty because you don’t know when you’ll get to do laundry again. You multi-task. In so many ways, you are mindful of your consumption of every resource. I’ve always been big on recycling, reusing things, “freecycling” and not throwing away anything that still has use, etc. but this just takes that “green” way of thinking to another level.

Every lesson has its place – and no doubt there will be times when I want to be on a solid foundation with a bigger bathtub ;) but the ongoing reminder of the REAL “necessities” is so good for me.

I have so much to be thankful for!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I'm a turtle!


Carrying my home on my back (the truck and travel trailer) has been easier for me to adapt to than I would have expected! I just finished my first long trip in it (3 weeks on the road in Virginia) and I loved every minute of it... Having the comforts of home are amazing - especially since I'm used to lugging suitcases and various can't-live-without things from place to place, intruding on friends and family for a bed, and sleeping in different beds (including cheap, nasty hotel beds) every night! Oooh... that didn't sound right... but you know what I mean!! :)

The best benefit of this thus far though has maybe been having my angel baby Sierra with me. She is the cuddliest, most lovable, most loyal 4-legged travel companion I could ever, ever ask for! It took a little bit to get used to the trailer - getting up in it, how it wobbles when the stabilizer jacks aren't down, the heat vents in the floor, the narrow aisle when the slide-out is in, etc. But I can honestly say she has really adjusted to all of that very well! She still follows me from room to room though - even though it's only a 25-ft long camper!! I love her... She is 7 years old now, and now that she is getting older, I am SO glad that I'm able to have her with me wherever I go.

I had my first "trailer party" in the camper on this trip - it was SO much fun! A bunch of my fans turned friends came over and we hung out, had drinks and snacks, and I even played a few songs on the guitar and sang... (never a night off!) but I loved it... And now I know that 4 people - and a dog - can sit on my couch at once! I think there were 6 people in here that night - and that was pretty tight - but we were comfortable and had a blast!

Tonight I'm "boondocking" in a WalMart parking lot - this means that you just pull in somewhere and park, without plugging into electricity or water. I still have water in my fresh water tanks, so I'm able to wash dishes, my hands, cook - or even take a shower if I wanted! My water is heated by propane - and my trailer as well for that matter. Tonight it is in the 40s, but it is TOASTY in here! I just finished cooking and eating lobster and shrimp ravioli with white sauce - it was excellent! So nice to go in and buy groceries and then come out and cook dinner - in the parking lot! There are 6 other various RVs and trailers out here with me - we're like our own little camping ground!

I've done a horrible job lately of posting blogs, but I'm going to really try hard to start doing this more often, especially now that I'm actually living on the road! My address - and my belongings - are still in Nashville, but this is definitely a new experience for me, and I'm really enjoying it!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Georgia on my mind! and my new home...

Georgia is on my mind! I pulled in very early yesterday morning and played the Wednesday night show last night. I still have Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to go, so if you’re around south Georgia, you should come out! Thursday’s show will be on the patio from 6 – 10pm, and Friday and Saturday shows will be inside from 8:30pm – 12:30am.

If you are my friend on Facebook, chances are that you already know that I have once again moved – this time into a 2007 Toyota Tundra, pulling a 25 foot travel trailer! Amazingly enough, monthly payments on a truck, travel trailer, and insurance are less than HALF of what I was paying for rent before! Gas – that’s a different story… ; ) But this move is one that I’ve been contemplating for a very long time, and I’m so glad that I finally had the motivation necessary to move forward with buying it! The story behind my motivation is a long one, but I’d like to share at least part of it with you.

I played a gig on Saturday, September 4 at the cigar bar (Music City Cigars & Lounge) in Nashville on Broadway. This has become sort of my “home” gig. Around midnight, a man came in and sat down to listen. Through the next couple of hours, my interaction with him revealed that he was from UK. I told him about my friend Gary (who was English), and how Gary had passed away 3 years ago on September 10. After I shared that story with him, he shared that he was a funeral director in England. A year ago, he did a funeral for a man who was not only his age, but literally born on the same day as he was. The man had been killed instantly in a car crash. Burying a man his exact age shook him up to the point that it really hit him that his time could be over at any point – we never know. Right then, he decided to take a year off his job to do what he’d always wanted to do. He has been traveling the world and has been in 11 different countries in the last 10 months. This year has been a very difficult year for me personally, and as I shared some of my story, he encouraged me to “live like I were dying”. Although I have always been extremely conservative financially, I decided that although after 6 years of no car payments had been wonderful, it was time. I bought the truck Friday, and the trailer Monday. It is quite a financial undertaking, but not nearly as much so as the house I had been renting for the last 2 ½ years, and I will still be able to try to work through the medical debt that I accrued earlier this year.

Making a decision this big is TERRIFYING for me! But I know that it was the right one. The venue I’m playing now is a marina with campground hookups, so it couldn’t be more convenient. I was able to come let my Sierra (my dog) out on my break! Having her as a constant traveling companion is a HUGE benefit for me and her, and I love having her with me all the time. It was so nice to be able to set up my gear before the show tonight, then run over to the trailer to take a quick shower before performing! In addition to that, I have my own space, my own freedom, something that belongs to me – and NOT a SUITCASE on board!! The plan now is to live in this at least all the time I am on the road and to maintain a rented room in Nashville for the interim until I figure out a different long-term plan.

I will be back in Nashville next week. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I have a CT scan scheduled next week to explore some cysts on my kidneys. I’d really rather NOT accrue any more significant medical debt, so your prayers are appreciated!

The end of this month, I will be back in Virginia. I am VERY excited to be playing the Newport News Fall Folklife Festival on October 3, just 2 days after my birthday, so hopefully I’ll be older and wiser for the performance… ; ) I also have shows scheduled at several other venues – see the calendar below for details.

I had the extreme pleasure to see 2 concerts at the Bridgestone arena in Nashville in the last month – the first was Ray Lamontagne and David Gray (any of my show-going fans probably know I’m a HUUUGE fan of Ray!) and the second was last weekend to see George Strait and Reba McEntire. Both concerts were amazing, and really inspired me! I have begun to write again, and am hoping to have some new material ready by the end of the month when I come to Virginia.

I plan to begin blogging a lot more often, so be sure to check that out – it’s at www.karismithmusic.blogspot.com if you’d like to read or follow it. I also have a borrowed video camera, so I’m hoping to get some new songs recorded to check out on YouTube! To see what videos I have posted already, check out www.youtube.com/musickari and add my channel. If you’re not following me on Twitter, the link is www.twitter.com/karismithmusic.

Thanks AS ALWAYS for your continued support!

My best –

Kari

Friday, June 25, 2010

update on Kari / hero citation

Life has been a little crazy lately and I know that some of you have heard a few rumors and are wondering what’s going on!

2010 has been a very tough year for Kari. But Kari is strong, and Kari will keep moving forward. And Kari is now finished speaking in the third person. : ) I had some unexpected medical situations earlier this year that resulted in many thousands of dollars of debt, and I need another surgery as soon as possible to remove my diseased gall bladder and gall stones (sexy, huh? ;). Being without insurance, any medical visit can be expensive and a major procedure can be financially crippling. Therefore, I’m having to move out of the house I’ve lived in here in Nashville for the last 3 years. Although I love it and really don’t want to leave, I just cannot afford the rent with the current and potential medical debt that’s piled up. I spoke to my landlord regarding the situation, and although he agreed to let me out of my lease, he also gave me a 3-week deadline to vacate the property so that he can market it for a new tenant. That was a week ago - the last week has been a blur of packing, organizing, throwing out, selling on ebay and Craigslist, and trying to figure out where I’m going to go. I’m fortunate to have a friend that will put me up until I can find another place that I can afford.

This, along with many other difficult challenges, fortunately, has not caused me to waver from my path and following my dreams. For as long as I can reasonably manage, I will continue to do what I love and what I feel I am called to do – to create and play music. The amount of work, challenges, and difficulties that come along with doing what I love are sometimes enough to make me question my own sanity. But just when I start to get to that point, something happens to give me that little “tap on the shoulder” that says that I’m doing the right thing and should press on.

The “tap on the shoulder” this last trip was one that I won’t forget for a really, really long time. The first few days of my trip to VA included a trip to Deltaville, where the lodging for my 4-day run of gigs didn’t turn out quite as expected. That bad luck was quickly turned around by an amazing group of people that I already love dearly! Between Wynn, Kenny, Tom, Blair, Doreen, and Bill – they gave me a place to stay with some of the most amazing hospitality I have ever experienced, helped carry, break down, and load my equipment, fed me meals like I was family, gave me a ride when my car battery died and moved the heaven and freakin earth to make sure my car was fixed and where I needed it to be when I needed it, came to every show and cheered me on, and did this all and more for a total stranger – even though some of them had heard me sing before, none had ever met me before this visit. The second weekend I was there, I had one of the most intense days I have ever experienced as a performing musician with three back to back performances. The hero citation that weekend goes to Jenn & Doug Andrews, and Brian and Angela Smith. The first show of the day was the Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial, which I was so incredibly honored to be included in – and a show which was booked for me by Jenn. After the show, which Jenn came to and supported me during, Jenn realized how little time I had between shows and how difficult it would be to make everything happen in time. She offered me her car and drove mine – with all my equipment and PA – and took it to the venue where I was performing that night while I went to my second gig of the day. She, Doug, Brian, and Angela set up all the equipment for me while I was performing at the Relay for Life event in New Kent. When I drove back, streaked in sweat and dirt from the outdoor show, Jenn and Angela met me at Angela’s house near the venue so that I could shower and clean up. (You’ve never seen a female shower that fast, trust me… ; ) Jenn even drove me back to the venue so I could finish getting ready while she drove! When I arrived at the venue, they were like my support team – fetching things from my car, making me eat (I run out of time or forget to, a lot!), making last minute adjustments, taking pictures during the gig – it was absolutely amazing. Angela and Jenn manned the merchandise and sold CDs for me at the gig. After the gig, Doug noticed my tail light was out and replaced it for me. I drove back to Nashville with an absolute glow – I was literally basking in the love that was just lavished on me the whole trip.

I know that’s a lot of story, and not ONE of those people did any of that for any kind of recognition – in fact I hope they don’t mind me sharing! But I share it partially as an acknowledgement to myself and all of you that in spite of the difficulty we sometimes go through, there is so much good in people, and so much love to be given and received. I also share it because I don’t think that you have any idea how much of a positive impact it has on me when you support the journey I’m on – whether it’s a little email response to my updates, coming to a show, helping carry equipment, buying a CD or t-shirt, putting a tip in the jar, giving me an idea for a gig venue, turning someone else on to my music, putting me up while I’m in town, I could go on and on about the way people have helped me and how VERY, VERY BLESSED I AM by those of you who choose to take part in this journey I’m on.

I have been keeping busy – and trying to supplement my income by doing some work with other artists as well as my own shows. The week I returned to Nashville after the VA trip was CMA Fan Fest week (formerly Fan Fair) and I performed 8 days in a row – performing 2 shows in one day 3 of those days, and long rehearsals 2 of those days in addition to shows. I was privileged to play keys for MJ2 – the double twin group out of Vegas that cut my song “My Sisters” on their upcoming record. They were SO much fun and I really enjoyed getting to work with them. Check out their YouTube video of one of our studio rehearsals at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZUiD-4wGlQ". Next week, I will be in Destin, FL again playing keys with amazing singer / guitar slinger Eric Heatherly, whom you may remember from the early 2000s when he released a few singles, including his hit remake of “Flowers on the Wall”. After that trip, I’ll have a week back in Nashville before my trip to Eatonton, GA to see another group of amazing folks down at the Crooked Creek’s Bone Island Grill.

Life during the next month or so promises to be a little chaotic, but I’ll be glad to see the VA crew once more when I come back the last weekend in July for another week and a half.

Can’t wait to see you then!

All my best –

Kari

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Set list - 3/26/10 - Starlite Lounge in Tullahoma, TN

In the past, I have had some people request that I post set lists from gigs, so I thought that I would do just that!

Here's the set list from last night's gig - a Friday night at the Starlite Lounge in Tullahoma, TN:

Set 1
Up On Cripple Creek - The Band
Give Me One Reason - Tracy Chapman
All I Wanna Do - Sugarland
Break Down Here - Julie Roberts
Picture to Burn - Taylor Swift
Bubbly - Colbie Caillat
Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash
Luckenbach Texas - Waylon Jennings
Let 'Er Rip - Dixie Chicks
Silver Wings - Merle Haggard
Pour Me - Trick Pony
I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
Black Horse & A Cherry Tree - KT Tunstall
Gypsy of Love - Kari Smith
Ain't No Sunshine - Bill Withers

Set 2
I Don't Want to Be - Gavin DeGraw
The Joker - Steve Miller Band
Drift Away - Dobie Gray
Old Time Rock & Roll - Bob Seger
She Talks to Angels - The Black Crowes
Son of a Preacher Man - Aretha Franklin
Wagon Wheel - Old Crow Medicine
Proud Mary - CCR
Realize - Colbie Caillat
Gunpowder and Lead - Miranda Lambert
You Never Even Called Me - David Allen Coe
Me and Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin

Set 3
Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Chicken Fried - Zac Brown Band
Pride and Joy - Stevie Ray Vaughn
Blister in the Sun - Violent Femmes
Killing Me Softly - The Fugees
Freebird - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Kerosene - Miranda Lambert
Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
Umbrella - Rihanna
Nothin' Better to Do - LeAnn Rimes
Whisper - Kari Smith
Poker Face - Lady Gaga

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Layers

A few nights ago, I was reading through one of my journals and found the entry I have typed out below. When this was written, I had been living in Nashville for 5 months.

January 15, 2007
3:34am
I realized tonight that I am finally in a place in my life where I can realize things about myself. It’s this process of peeling layers back until I can figure out what’s really going on. Peel back the layers of stability, comfort, and complacency. That’s where it gets tough – pulling back the layers of expectations, approval, criticism. Even then, more layers come up, many that I didn’t even know were there.

I frequently have people ask me how I've "made it" in Nashville, "made it" as a musician, or they've just made general comments or compliments about my persistence in this career, and I thought I'd share this with all of you.

After working at Capital One for 5 years, I was obviously devastated when I was laid off in 2005. I was offered the option to stay with the company in a different job and still have pay, benefits, and overall stability, but it was too late for that. The immediate blow of sitting in that room and being told that I no longer had a job overwhelmed my need for stability and sent my mind into territory it had never seen before. In trying to figure out what I would need to survive, I unexpectedly began to discover what I didn’t need. These were the layers I began to peel back.

Although stability is something I thrive on, I had to have it taken away to truly find myself. Being unemployed and suddenly having the career world “as my oyster” made me realize I could do whatever I wanted – not just what paid the most and had the best benefits. It’s healthy to have a routine, but I realized then that changing it makes you grow – especially when you the changes were out of your control! Losing the financial stability was also hard, but it was amazing to learn how much I could live without! I learned to be more resourceful when I lost that bi-weekly direct deposit - working for myself meant I was directly and solely responsible for any level of success or failure. There was no hourly rate, no salary, no limits to what I could do other than my own energy, ability, drive, and determination.

The layers of comfort and complacency were hard to pull back! I sold my beloved big diesel truck and bought a smaller car. I went from owning a nice house in the suburbs to renting a room in an apartment in downtown Nashville in close proximity to constant sirens. I went from having a steady paycheck and benefits to making 4 figures and living without health insurance. I moved 600 miles away from where almost all my family and friends were to a city where I knew absolutely no one. I left a boyfriend, my dog, and everything else that didn’t fit in a 5x8 trailer (the other two 15-foot UHaul trucks didn't come until much later!) and had no idea what my new circumstances would be. It was terrifying. I was tripped up by the unexpected – extensive injuries and losses from a car accident 2 months later, a housing market that kept me from selling my house, learning that seeing only the good in people can be dangerous. I never lived out of my car or went hungry, but it was SO important to stretch myself mentally and emotionally – not because I had no other options, but because it let me discover myself in a different way. I had to get rid of the tangible “stuff” that I was accustomed to having and learn who I was and how to be happy based solely on those intangible things we all can have regardless of how much we make – self-worth, personal relationships, beliefs, goals, hopes, and dreams.

I have always had high expectations of myself and that can definitely be a good thing, but I had to take a closer look at my expectations of myself to see if they were realistic, attainable, and healthy. Even more, it was important to figure out which expectations were my own, and which had been imposed on me by others, whether deliberately or subconsciously. At the end of the day, I am personally responsible for my happiness and success, so I had to discern and eliminate any expectations that weren’t my own.

The approval and criticism layers were elusive, because it’s easy to ignore your need for approval or fear of criticism until you make the move that draws them out. Peeling back those layers was so hard for me because I am a people-pleaser, often to a fault. There are plenty of critics of my chosen career, especially since I have the education and experience to do what they see as “so much more”. Some skeptics have changed their criticism to approval, and although proving my ability to succeed is satisfying, I had to learn that I don’t need the approval any more than I needed the criticism. Criticism hurts and approval is rewarding when they come from someone whose opinion matters, but it’s your response – even if it means not responding - that matters.

I’ve found other “layers” along the way, and I’m sure there are many more, but underneath them all is KARI – who I am, and what makes me happy, healthy, and fulfilled. Learning to understand, appreciate, and nurture who I am at that profound level drives my success in this business – or in any other.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

KariSmithMusic update

The last 6 months have brought so many opportunities - I hardly know where to begin… Unbelievably, next month marks the 3rd anniversary of my moving to Nashville! Although I tend to be hard on myself, it’s actually rewarding to look back at some of the things I’ve accomplished over the last year. In 2009, I have already played twice as many dates as I played in all of 2008! August will only add to that number – my busiest month yet!

When I moved to Nashville, I was encouraged by some – and discouraged by others – that it takes a LONG time to get a start in this town! I’ve heard Nashville called “the 10-year town” because of how long it can take to make significant progress here. Without patience and tenacity, it’s so easy to become discouraged or quit! It’s hard to understand why it takes so long, given the opportunities here in Nashville, but you are surrounded by other musicians who are trying to make it, and it’s a hard town to make money in, partially because of the competition! A lot of musicians end up traveling and playing shows in other towns, especially their home town, as I’ve done. Despite the difficulty, I – like most other musicians – stay because of the amazing opportunities for musicians here. I am surrounded by other musicians and writers that understand and share my way of life and my passion. There are so many opportunities to meet and interact with musicians and writers on various levels of success – from the beginner to those who have achieved international success. There are a number of resources to support and further my career. And there is ALWAYS somewhere to go to hear good live music!

"GYPSY OF LOVE" AVAILABLE ON ITUNES!
I have been anxiously awaiting the digital distribution of my latest album – “Gypsy of Love” – and it is here! It is now also available at CD Baby! Both of my previous albums, “Kari” and “go with you” are also available on iTunes and CD Baby.
On iTunes, search “Kari Smith Gypsy of Love” or paste the following link into your browser:
http://www.apple.com/search/ipoditunes/?q=Kari+Smith+Gypsy+of+Love
“Gypsy of Love” and my previous 2 albums are also available at all live shows and at:
Plan 9: http://www.plan9music.com (and in Williamsburg, VA and Richmond, VA stores)
CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/artist/karismith
Rhapsody: http://mp3.rhapsody.com/kari-smith/gypsy-of-love
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-of-Love/dp/B002H130RK/ref=sr_f3_1?ie=UTF8&s=dmusic&qid=1248319753&sr=103-1
Lala: http://www.lala.com/#album/2810527642644390478


UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY - 8/20 at GAP!
When I saw the “free submission” email from SonicBids, host of my EPK (electronic press kit), about performing at a live acoustic event hosted by GAP, I submitted my press kit – not because I thought I’d be selected, but because it seemed like an interesting idea and the submission was free! Receiving the “SELECTED” message today was really exciting for me – not just because I get free jeans (although I like that part too… ;) but because it’s such a unique opportunity – being part of the largest simultaneous live acoustic music event ever! On August 20, 2009, every GAP store in the U.S. and Canada will host an exclusive, live acoustic music night to celebrate Gap’s 40 years of heritage in jeans and music. This event is open to the public, so come on out! Event will be held at the GAP store in Patrick Henry Mall in Newport News, VA.

NEW SUMMER MERCHANDISE!
If you haven’t seen the summer merchandise, it's here and available for sale at all live shows! The first round of merch was so successful that it’s back – with more colors and styles for ladies and men! We are working to get merch available online, and hope to see that soon!

I NEED YOUR HELP!
http://testdrive.taylorguitars.com/BandProfile.aspx?c=8656&p=325#Vote
A relationship with Taylor Guitars and Elixir Strings would be an amazing opportunity for me, so please take a moment and vote for me at the above link - I would so greatly appreciate it! You can vote once a day through August 31. THANK YOU!

LOVE MY SPONSORS!
I truly appreciate the contributions of my sponsors, especially Mary Kay Director Marti Hall, who so generously provides all of my makeup and cosmetics! The products she provides make traveling SO much easier, and they give me options for my “stage look”, which is slightly different from the everyday look. :) Check out her website and please consider using her for your Mary Kay needs – and tell her I sent you! Distance is not an issue – I live FAARR away from her, but still have products in my mailbox just days after I drop her an email… THANK YOU Marti!
http://www.marykay.com/martihall/default.aspx

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

details for the show tonight

Just wanted to let you all know a few things about the show tonight... if you're planning on coming to the Bull & Bear, I'll be playing from 7 - 10pm. The dress code is business casual, so no jeans, t-shirts, hats, etc. but you do NOT need to wear a suit or tie. Polo and button-up shirts for guys are fine. PARKING - there is free parking after 5:45pm in the parking deck under the James Center Building on Canal Street. FOOD - the food is WONDERFUL and the kitchen is open until 10pm.

Thank you SO MUCH to the MANY people who came out to Market Cafe last night for the show. It was great to see familiar faces, and some I hadn't seen in quite a while!! It was a bit eventful, being in 100 degree heat and in the direct sunlight... I made it through 3 and a half (yes - a half) songs before having to exit the stage to avoid an on-stage fainting spell... After drinking several bottles of water, having my sister fan me and put ice cubes all over my (somehow blistered) arms, and my 2-year old niece feeding my ice cubes (pretty hilarious itself! : ), I finally was able to go back on stage. I got through another half of a song before looking up to see that same sister down on the ground... Not a good feeling when you're on stage! Thanks to everyone who has shown concern - she did go in to be checked out and was diagnosed with the same low blood pressure problem that I have, and she is fine. You all were so supportive, and I appreciate it so much!!

Hope to see you tonight!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

update and new schedule

What a week! Monday through Wednesday nights were spent in Lula, Mississippi playing shows at a casino, Thursday I was heading back to Nashville to spend one night in my own bed, Friday night was spent packing for my trip to Virginia and driving through the night to get here, and I just got off a stage in New Kent, VA after playing a very successful Relay for Life event for the American Cancer Society… So in answer to the many questions I’ve heard lately like “where are you?”, “what have you been doing?”, and “why haven’t we heard anything from you?” – that may be your answer! The last few months have been very, very busy – I have been playing more regularly in Nashville now, and I have also been on the road quite a bit. But I am so glad to be back in my home state of Virginia!



MERCHANDISE / T-SHIRTS

The first run of t-shirts are almost all gone! There are a few Ladies’ long-sleeved tees and Men’s white short-sleeved tees left, but I have a whole new inventory! There are new Ladies’ tank tops and tees, and I got feedback from the guys that you preferred darker shirts – so I have new Men’s tees in Black, Navy, and Gray. If you’re interested in purchasing a t-shirt, they are available for sale at all shows, or email me if you’d like to order one to be shipped to you. I also am now able to accept Visa / Mastercard.



SCHEDULE

I apologize for the delay in sharing my schedule for my trip, but here it is! Besides the show tonight, I will also be playing every night Tuesday through Sunday of next week! I have some new venues this time – including the Bull & Bear Club downtown, and Bar Louie in the Short Pump area, so I hope you’ll come out and help me make a good showing!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The show will go on!

CD RELEASE Party for "Gypsy of Love"!

Date: Friday, March 20, 2009
Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: The Camel
Street: 1621 W Broad Street
City/Town: Richmond, VA
Phone: 804-353-4901
Email: info@thecamel.org
Website: www.thecamel.org

Thank you so much for your patience with this! Because of my original venue closing, the show has been moved to The Camel, a great Richmond music venue. The show will be a bit earlier than I intended, but the show will go on - which is the important part! : )

The Camel is on West Broad near the intersection of Broad and Boulevard. There is street parking or you may park in the Lowe's parking lot across the street. They have GREAT food, a full bar and is a non-smoking venue. Doors open at 7pm and the music will start around 7:30. The show will be over by 9pm. There will be a $5 cover at the door.

Thanks so much, as always, for your support!