WELCOME

Greetings! I'm Cygne, a songwriter-guitarist based in Santa Cruz, California (looks intimidating, but it's pronounced seen). I just completed a fifteen-country tour in support of my latest album, Let It Breathe. (Enter your email to the right and I'll send you an acoustic version!) Right now I'm taking a pause to write-reflect-record-reeeelax and I'm documenting my discoveries-uncoveries-recoveries here as well as on Instagram. If you feel moved to, please say hello!

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NEWS

Take Me Home: Hollywood, CA 


January 20, 2008 As I approached Los Angeles my lazy Sunday desert drive became a video arcade of wide lanes, fast cars, and bright lights. I had no smartphone, no wifi, no GPS, but I did have a Motel 6 directory and I called every location. The whole town was booked. Not knowing where to turn I continued up 101, high on hope, and I waited for my sign. "Magical things happen in LA," I thought. "Tom Petty lives here." 

Most of you know Tom Petty was/is/forever will be my hero. More than a hero, his voice has been that of a rock-and-roll-surrogate-angel-father guiding me through adolescence (and it's all adolescence). I don't know if his music saved my life but something close to it. It gave me life. I was only five-years-old when I first heard Full Moon Fever but dreams are timeless and in those songs I heard my own. A fuse ignited, coiling all the way from that small Vermont town to the City of Angels.... 
 
Vermont Avenue - there was my sign. I exited and followed Vermont Avenue to a fluorescent Travelodge, the office windows fogged-up and ominous under the full moon. They had a room, but for an outrageous $85/night - more than I'd made on tour so far, and a lot less than I'd lost. I hesitated and turned to leave. Where could I go? Beside my foot a familiar face stared up from the current LA Weekly cover story, "A Sound Map of Tom Petty's Los Angeles.” 

I tucked the paper under my arm, handed over my credit card, and filled in the plate information. On the way upstairs I spooked a mouse and bolted myself inside as a roach skittered into the bathroom. Flipping open Tom’s map, the only map I had of Los Angeles, I scanned record labels, studios, venues... and then, "Travelodge: Petty lived at the Travelodge with his wife while recording the first album. His daughter was born just after they moved to L.A., and while living at the hotel they put her in a drawer as a crib. 1401 N. Vermont Ave."  

Workin' on a mystery 
Goin' wherever it leads  
Runnin' down a dream 

Thank you, Tom. 

* Would you like to help me write my next album and travel-inspired book? Please join us on Patreon. Thank you! *

Take Me Home: Tucumcari, NM 


January 19, 2008 From Kansas City I drove to Tucumcari, NM, where I "slept" in my car before driving to Los Angeles. Quotations because the desert wind was so strong, cold, and scary I sat up every twenty minutes to put on the flashlight and/or heat. 

Not a day goes by when I don't think about how fortunate I am for these wheels, my privilege, and the generosity of those who have sheltered my body and spirit. What about those who aren't so fortunate? We can't change the desert wind but we can change a lot of other things. . 
P.S. For those of you who remember Laura Meyer's Semi-Roadmade this is where I made rice noodle soup with hot water and Bragg's.

* Would you like to help me write my next album and travel-inspired book? Please consider joining us on Patreon. Thank you! *

Take Me Home: Overland Park, KS 


January 18, 2008 I was touring cross-country for the first time, ecstatic and terrified. Iowa was an endless hunger of hard snow and bible radio. In Omaha I made $20, listened to a guy cover "Red, Red Wine," and camped out at a Motel 6 until a blizzard threatened to keep me there forever. My Kansas City show was so empty you could hear the snow tinkling outside but the bartender turned me on to Serge Gainsbourg so overall it was a success. 

Not knowing anyone west of the Mississippi and quickly realizing #tourlife #aintcheap I called my high school boyfriend's younger brother's best friend's mother in Overland Park, KS. I feared she might kick me out when she realized I was the Bad Influence who introduced her son to Goddard and encouraged him to follow his heart but we made peace over spaghetti (RIP gluten). I slept deeply and awoke gratefully with a cat curled at my feet, Ananda (pictured, also RIP due to Let It Breathe but a nice guy in Atlanta has her now) by my side, and a $50 bill tucked under the snow-covered driver's door handle. 

Thank you so much for making this work possible. If I'd had known how wacky and windy this road would become I never would have set out on it and I'm so glad I did. 

As I work on the next projects I'm taking a hiatus from touring. I already miss it and yet I'm very tired (in bed with a hot water bottle feels more appropriate than onstage right now) and I'm also very excited for New Stuff that requires time, attention, and energy.  

In the meantime I'm going to post photos from the journey thus far. There are tens of thousands. As some of you know I've been taking pictures of every place I sleep for ten years so I'm thinking that's a good place to start... as a daily reminder of gratitude, and of how acts of kindness carry and transform our lives.

* Would you like to help me write my next album and travel-inspired book? Please consider joining us on Patreon. Thank you! *

Happy New Year! 

Happy New Year!!! Here's an excerpt from the first week of the 52 Originals Project :D

With the support of patrons & fans in 2017 I covered a new song each week while performing 158 concerts in a dozen countries. Suffice to say it's been an inspiring year and I'm ready to get writing!!

In 2018 I'll write and upload a new song every week. If you're interested in gaining exclusive access to new songs, stories, and images please check out Patreon! I'd love to hear your comments, suggestions, and requests as the second year of this project evolves. 

**

I'm sitting here in my mom's sunroom watching the sunrise through the snowy frozen naked branches. We're excited to fill the bird feeders this afternoon - we haven't lately because a bear's been roaming the neighborhood but now he's sleeping so we can feed the little songbirds. 

Speaking of which - three cygnes have been coasting across the street! It has been SO COLD I don't know how their little feathered bellies take it. They're not out there today because this weekend's subzero temperatures finally froze the lake solid - some ice fishermen are out there this morning. Crazy how quickly things change. Though often too slowly for us to detect. 

So here's to changing at the speed of life! My mom's birthday is today so the first song of the 52 Originals Project is for her. She thinks I'm crazy to be taking on this project for various reasons - my life is in flux (always), my anxiety is high (especially), and I tend to be obsessive compulsive about songwriting. But we've been at this for a while now, and I want to keep practicing letting go and creating regularly (versus sporadically) and hopefully inspiring you to do the same. We have 52 covers and a lot of mileage behind us, so we've built a little foundation for trust, don't you think? 

Thank you so much for supporting this project and my songwriting/creative process. After a year of learning other people's songs I feel so much stored up creative juju. I imagine I'll share a combination of brand new ideas as well as songs sprouted from ideas I've been holding for a while. Please feel free to comment with song/thematic requests and I'll do my best to honor them. I've never really shared works-in-progress/unfinished songs with anyone other than my sister or Steve (producer) but I heard that Paul McCartney once said a song isn't finished until you hear it on the radio. So to hell with perfectionism, here's to the present. And maybe one day the radio? 

I wish you the happiest of years and good luck with your resolutions, plans, and aspirations for 2018. 

Love,
Cygne

Happy Solstice  


Here is a Hafiz poem (translated by Daniel Ladinsky) to encourage your light on the longest night:

It Felt Love 

How 
Did the rose 
Ever open its heart 

And give this world 
All its 
Beauty? 

It felt the encouragement of light 
Against its 
Being, 

Otherwise, 
We all remain 

Too 

Frightened.

*

Have a very happy everything and I wish you all the sun's light in 2018. <3

 

Recipe for happiness 

Just a little note to say happy December. :)

Soon we'll begin winter's slow ascent so enjoy these last weeks of free-fallin'.

It's easy to get swept away in the excitement of the season... and that's the natural current, so why not roll with it?  

Just remember to allow space for rest. That way you can enjoy the festivities.

Restivities?I like the sound of that.

Also - when things get busy our favorite activities are often the first to get squeezed out. Make sure to allow time and energy for what you love every day. That's the secret to having not just a happy holiday but a happy life. 
Patience. Love. Generosity. Laughter. Understanding. Kindness. Hope. We have all the ingredients. No need to go to the mall. 

But if you want a couple stocking stuffers... ;)

Happy Descent!
Cygne

fall sale ~ patreon ~ instagram ~ facebook

 

bee-ing 

completely forgot about this one: 

had a nice long weekend of bee-ing, and now i'm bee-ing re-minded that bee-ing is more effective than doo-ing!

as the holly-daze rev up re-member to wind down <3

Giving thanks and the gift of listening 

This is an excerpt from my mailing list. If you'd like to receive personal updates please sign up above (you'll receive a free album download!)

Dear friends, 

This is my first off-the-road newsletter. Like any off-roading adventure I don't know what's ahead, but I'm excited. I'm also intimidated by the empty horizon, much like I used to panic before the blank canvas in art class. Where to begin? What do I have to say? Do I have anything to say?? Why am I talking?!

WAIT - that's an acronym I learned in Al-Anon. Why AI Talking? I love that, though I rarely remember. If you're not familiar Al-Anon is a sister program to Alcoholics Anonymous for anyone who's life has been affected by someone else's drinking or substance abuse. Attendees are invited to take turns sharing their experiences without being interrupted, advised, or questioned. Everyone else simply listens. Which isn't so simple.  

When I lived in Venice I went to Al-Anon meetings every Tuesday night after work. At first I dreaded adding another hour of fluorescent lighting to my day - never mind having to face icky feelings with a roomful of strangers (without the chords!) - but I soon witnessed the healing power of listening. It is an act of love often overlooked in our busy, noisy lives. Onstage I've learned to not take it for granted. When you listen, the music comes to life. It is released, we are connected. Love. Gratitude. Awe.

However a 12-step meeting is not a concert. There is no stage, no fancy lighting, no applause. There's only the truth, and the truth can hurt. Yet they also say it can set us free. In surprising ways. At first I thought the meetings were so lame, and what an idiot I was, with my penchant for addicts, and there were so many better things I could be doing with my time, but I was destined to be with these losers forever. 

YIKES. Fortunately I wasn't alone with my thoughts - I was with a group of people and their (similar) thoughts. And the beauty of uninterrupted sharing is that the person speaking has the healing experience of being seen and heard, and the person receiving has the healing opportunity of seeing and hearing. We see ourselves in each other's wounds. By witnessing each other's honesty and bravery we begin to identify our own. Through loving others we learn to love ourselves. Alchemy. Compassion. Grace. 

In the coming days and weeks many of us will have opportunities to see and hear people we haven't seen or heard in a long time. In can be painful. It can be joyful. It can be everything in between. The Holidays are an extra busy, noisy time and it's easy to overlook or misunderstand. We're confronted not by who is sitting in front of us, but by who we have missed during long lapses of growth and evolution. Who are these people?! Seeing someone we once thought we knew better than ourselves (do we ever know these selves?) we're shocked to discover a stranger at her place-setting. We feel strange. And we have two options - close or open? judge or listen? protect or learn?

What if we approach our family members as we would approach people we don't know? After all, do we really know them? Have we lived in their brains all these years, or might they have legitimate thoughts, feelings, and perspectives we're not aware of? What if we approach our own thoughts and feelings as we would approach people we don't know? Might we be a little kinder, gentler, more present with a stranger? Might we meet a new friend?

Just some thoughts passing through my brain as I practice listening... there's so much to hear. So much to be grateful for. So much to wonder about. So much to love. So much I've missed. 

Thank you for listening, for sharing, and for showing up to the table. Remember you're never alone. :) 

If you need something to listen to all CDs (and t-shirts) are on sale through The Holidays. I love to gift-wrap so please specify if you'd like me to. I promise not to use glitter this time.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cygne

All roads lead to another...  

Sweet friends, 

Thank you for responding to my last newsletter. Not only was I touched by your words, I was amazed to discover who’s out there - childhood friends, customers from past jobs, fans who suffered through my first open mic performances, my high school boyfriend - I had no idea you were reading these! I feel naked... but also warm, so it's okay. :) 

It’s sooo much easier to flash a room full of strangers and flee to the next town. That I can do, every night. But writing this email has been hard because I’m stepping down from those bright lights and into the darkness… and I’ve decided to cancel the New Mexico and Texas tour dates. I’m sorry. I know a lot of you were looking forward to the shows and I was, too. But as I mentioned in the last post I’ve been swerving for a long time and I gotta pull over. 

I finally made the decision a couple weeks ago when I was stopped on I-5 in pouring rain, one truck behind a jackknifed tractor trailer. (Don't freak - I took the above photo when my car was in park.) A few seconds sooner I would’ve been caught in the wreck, but honestly, that didn’t even faze me. I was just so tired and my back hurt so much. I felt trapped and cold and hungry and angry, missing my concert, needing to pee, wanting to cry, and thinking fuck this!

It’s not an uncommon scenario - travel as much as I do and this could be a weekly or daily occurrence. But night after night I sing (admittedly, preach) about following your heart, living your truth, peace and love and... I’d be a hypocrite if I carried on like this. My life has been so out of balance for so long I feel like I’m walking perpendicular to the rest of the world. Like, on air. 

AND I feel really good and peaceful and settled and happy! Isn’t that strange?? That we can house all these feelings at once?! As I was tearing my hair out trying to write this email Pete (boyfriend) said, “Finish - not perfect. It’s impossible to fit all your feelings into one newsletter.” He’s right, and that’s what I love about music (and him) - it is possible to fit all my feelings into one song. 

This song by Jen Cloher perfectly captures how I feel right now: 

Fear is like a forest
The dark of the unknown
Love is like a promise
That you'll never be alone

Touch is like a tourist
You know when you are home
It's not that I'm a purist
It's just I'd rather be alone

Books waiting to be written
Lovers waiting to be loved
Songs here, underneath my fingers
Waiting to be sung

Nothing will be written
And not one lover will I love
No song will I be singing
If it's will I'm running on

But I know that it works
'Cause I've seen that it's true
If you just let it go
It will come back to you

It'll come back in spades
It'll come back in pairs
It'll come back in waves
It'll come back 'cause it cares
Come back 'cause it cares 

Only love gets us through the long haul. And even love needs to be tended to, otherwise music and life and all its beautiful colors shrivel up. So it's time to refill the soul. And honestly, my bank account. 

A couple weeks ago I calculated how much money I’d make if I did this tour, versus how much I’d have if I stayed home. The difference is about $50. Yes, $50, for six weeks of back-aching, soul-whittling, gas-guzzling work - versus staying home. Again, nothing has really changed - it’s never been about the money - I've driven to Texas to sing for free more than once (Forgive me, Mama Earth). But then it’s never not been about the money. Was it Einstein who said, "insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?" Because I'm pretty sure he knew a thing or two. And I've felt insane. My main motivation to push through this tour was to see friends along the way - but what kind of friend can I be when I'm forever exhausted, stressed, arriving late, leaving early, never able to reciprocate, always on the verge of a meltdown? What kind of an artist am I when I need to sell something - whether an album or beer - in order to share my art?? If it's between being a good person and a Great Artist which will I choose? Is it a choice? Can the two coexist?? 

Lots of skeletons rattling the brain right now. Pretty soon the pumpkins will give way to you know what, so I'm savoring this opportunity to be quiet. To reflect on what's past and what's important. 

And music is really important to me. I love singing for you. So I'll continue to sing around Santa Cruz and the Bay Area while I'm on "hiatus." I'm also 43 songs into the 52 Covers Project and gearing up for the 52 Originals Project in 2018! So excited to dig into writing. For now here are the final shows of ~ life on the road ~

Wednesday, Nov. 1 Wine & Song, Pasadena, CA
Thursday, Nov. 2 The Boathouse Collective, Costa Mesa, CA 
Sunday, Nov. 5 Orange County Center for Spiritual Renewal, Fountain Valley, CA
Sunday, Nov. 12 Center for Spiritual Living, Redwood City, CA

Merry Samhain and Happy Halloween, 

Cygne