Hi Music Lover,
Springtime has already come and gone in Gainesville, Florida but we are still experiencing some Springtime magic due to the migration of birds northward. This week both a Rose Breasted Grosbeak and a Scarlet Tanager have visited my feeder and taken my breath away with their beauty and magnificent coloring. We even have a family of five catbirds flying through.  Baby downy woodpeckers are feeding right now outside my window – what could be better than  that?

    COMING UP

The GAMBLE ROGERS FESTIVAL is coming up in May. I am super excited to be a part of this wonderful festival held in the Colonial Quarter of St. Augustine, May 4-6.  Please come out and catch some great music. My son Sam will be joining me on the Mulberry Stage on Saturday at 4 PM.  We’ve worked out some lovely arrangements we’d love for you to hear.

GAMBLE ROGERS FESTIVAL
SAM & ELAINE MAHON: 4 PM SATURDAY MAY 5
MULBERRY STAGE, COLONIAL QUARTER ST. AUGUSTINE

 

THIS YEAR SO FAR

In February, Sam Mahon I had the wonderful opportunity to perform with cellist Hannah Alkire of Acoustic Eidolon at Sandhill Stage. What a wonderful experience.  Hannah played cello on both albums RISE and REACH FOR THE STARS, so it was especially nice to render songs live the way they were envisioned during the recording process.

In March, Sam and I performed a couple of sets together at the Will McLean Festival. Violinist Kayla Williams joined up for one of the sets. With a great ear for melody and nuance, Kayla elevated all the songs she played on, even though she had never heard them before. That is quite remarkable since many of my songs take surprising turns, but she stayed right with us.   Watch for Kayla when she plays with one of my favorite trios, The New 76ers.  The Will McLean Festival was both Sam and Kayla’s first festival, and I expect you’ll hear a lot more music from each of them in the coming years.  Finally, Sam & I performed “Sweet Florida” together on Magnolia stage as finalists for the Will McClean Florida Songwriting Contes. The song won 5th place.

ABOUT “SWEET FLORIDA”

Growing up in Gainesville, Florida during the sixties I had the wonderful opportunity to visit many of the springs in the area with our neighbors who were some of the first cave divers in Florida.  The drive to the springs was sometimes an adventure in itself. We’d drive down obscure dirt roads into lowland swamp areas where, in wet weather, mud and deep puddles rendered them almost impassable.  We were rewarded for our efforts by the sight of these shimmering blue pools of crystal clear water hidden deep in the forest. At that time, the water flowed from the aquifer with such force that the surface of the springs literally appeared to boil.  The beautiful blue of these spring boils was offset by white sand and glistening green eelgrass and water lettuce.  The drop off into the water was usually steep,  so we would dive straight through the weeds into the deep cold water. Down we’d swim to peer with wonder into the cave entrances from which the water rushed. Fish would surround us and nibble at our toes. Turtles would swim by.  We’d actively search for and find sharks teeth, bone fragments, and shells in the sand, all evidence of Florida’s long history both above and below the waves.

Years later, when canoeing down Florida’s spring-fed rivers such as the Suwannee, Santa Fe and Ichetucknee, I was heartbroken to discover that the springs had grown cloudy, the eelgrass had been coated with slime, and exotic aquatic plants like hydrilla and hyacinth had clogged the river and spring runs.  The beautiful natural banks of the springs had become eroded and parts of the spring runs denuded due to overuse and lack of management.  Some springs even stopped flowing and others evidenced greatly reduced flow rates.  Even so, these springs and rivers were still beautiful to behold, even if just shadows of their former selves.The springs are the jewels of Florida, but their current condition is alarming. Florida’s freshwater aquifer feeds these springs, and their condition is a bellwether warning us that North Florida’s magnificent renewable resource is being adversely impacted because of over-pumping by agricultural and mining interests, municipalities, and residents.  It is time for Floridians to step up and become stewards of the aquifer, the source of our drinking water.  According to the first Blue Water Audit conducted by the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute, the demand for water from the aquifer has increased to an estimated one billion gallons of water per day in North Central Florida.  Not only have overall average spring flows declined a whopping 32 percent, but also, the average groundwater nitrate-nitrogen concentration is 2,900 percent higher than natural background concentrations. This higher nutrient load leads to algae blooms (as anyone who has owned an aquarium can attest), and is responsible for the burgeoning growth of invasive aquatic species. These exotics crowd out and eventually decimate the native aquatic plant species that support Florida wildlife dependent on the springs ecosystem.

“Sweet Florida”,  is a plea to Floridians to protect our lifeblood, the water of the aquifer, and in doing so protect and restore the springs and spring fed rivers which are  Florida’s jewels and national treasures. You can do your part by educating yourself, reducing your own water footprint, and by voting for representatives that support legislation for sound water practices. Visit The Florida Springs Institute (www.floridaspringsinstitute.org) online to learn more.

Listen to “Sweet Florida”  from my website (click on the player for Sweet Florida – third from the bottom)

 

RADIO

I was asked to record a 10 minute radio spot on songwriting for a radio show aired on March 22nd:
This was the first time I’ve ever pre-recorded a radio spot, and it was challenging and fun. I hope that you’ll take some time to listen to my musings on the creative process.

 

WOMEN OF SUBSTANCE PODCASTS

Mother’s Day is coming up and I am excited to announce that the #1 New & Noteworthy and Award Winning Women of Substance Music Podcast will be featuring two of my song(s) from REACH FOR THE STARS in a Celebrating Motherhood series for Mother’s Day running  May 7 – 11, 2018.

Show #792 released on Thursday May 10, 2018 “Afterglow”

Show #793 released on Friday May 11, 2018 “When My Mother Sings”

“When My Mother Sings” is a cowrite with my dear friends Lisa Aschmann and the late, great Penny Nichols.  We set out to write a song to celebrate Mother Earth and we ended up with a layered ode to motherhood. It is on my album REACH FOR THE STARS.You can link to the Podcast on iTunes where you can subscribe to have the episode delivered right to your computer or mobile device when it is released:

Subscribe on iTunes. Click subscribe under Women of Substance logo.
Or, you can Subscribe on YouTube,  or Subscribe on Spotify.   The show also airs on most Podcast apps including Stitcher, TuneIn, Overcast, PocketCast, etc.  Check it out!
Other songs featured on WOS podcasts in 2018:
Show #747 “She’s in Love” from SEAMLESS on Feb 7, 2018
Show #751 “One By One” from RISE on Feb 13, 2018
Show #758 “Sweet Thing” from SEAMLESS on Feb 28, 2018

  

WHAT’S NEXT

 

I am currently planning the next season at Sandhill Stage and will soon be posting the upcoming shows.  Also, Sam will be graduating with his degree in Biochemistry in May.  We are looking forward to being able to spend a bit more time playing music and maybe writing and recording together.

Sam is the frontman for the power trio, Xenogenesis, and he is looking forward to working up more original material for them to play.  I am a big fan, and not just because I’m his mom!  He is a fantastic singer and song-writer and it gives me great pleasure when I find his songs looping around in my head.  I feel so lucky to have this time playing my music with him, but also celebrate him flying ahead on his own musical journey as well.Until my next newsletter, please get out and enjoy this beautiful weather while it lasts, and if you go to Gamblefest, we’d love to have you swing by Mulberry Stage at 4 PM on Saturday to hear the special sound we have together!  There’s a bunch of fantastic artists on the bill for the festival and I guarantee that you’ll have a great time if you go!

Thank you so much for reading, and for your continued support.  If you haven’t already,

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