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Oct 13th
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Amee Chapman & The Velvet Tumbleweeds

music lylbRaising a family, working multiple jobs and making music isn't an easy lifestyle—some days it has Amee Chapman feeling worn down. But expressing that struggle in her music helps her pull everything back to center. On the title track of her new album, Grace is Hell to Keep, which she recorded with her band, The Velvet Tumbleweeds, Chapman conveys some of those feelings through a slow ballad about a musician who tries to present a positive, manicured appearance, but actually feels torn to pieces. “It tells the story of how you can push through something and try to be polished all the time, but it's just not possible,” she says.

The song is about how hard it is to make it as a musician, and Chapman says it reflects her own experiences. “I'm pretty lighthearted around people,” she says, “but when I'm singing, that's really when my true self comes out.” Chapman and her life partner, Nichole Robbins, who co-writes her lyrics, have lived together in some exotic circumstances—aboard a boat in Moss Landing, immersed in the music culture of Austin, Texas, and on a 200-acre goat ranch in Northern California. Their songs tell stories about those places and their relationship. “They're kind of like snapshots in time of Nichole's and my life, our outlook, and how we felt about each other,” she says. She describes her brand of Americana/folk as “Sagebrush Soul.” “Everyone can call it Americana or country, but I think I just wanted to define my love for country music, soul and pop and all of it,” she says. Chapman grew up listening to the music of Willie Nelson, The Beatles, Motown and Aretha Franklin, and on Grace is Hell to Keep, a lot of those sounds come together, she says. “It's a take on a rustic soul record—sort of what you get when you meld Americana with soul.”

INFO: 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $15/door. 427-2227.

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Mercury Direct in Libra, Columbus Day, Libra New Moon

Mercury completes its retrograde Friday, poised stationary direct Friday evening at zero degrees Libra. Mercury begins its journey through Libra once again, completing its retrograde shadow Oct. 12. Things should be a bit less complicated by then. Daily life works better, plans move forward, large purchases can be made, and communication eases. Everything on hold during the retrograde is slowly released. Since we eliminated all thoughts and ideas no longer needed (the purpose of Mercury’s retrograde) during the retrograde, we can now gather new information—until the next retrograde occurs on Jan. 5, 2016 (1.3 degrees Aquarius), retrograding back to 15 degrees Capricorn on Jan. 25. It’s good to know beforehand when Mercury will retrograde next—Jan. 5, the day before Epiphany. On Monday is Columbus Day, when the sailor from Genoa arrived in the new lands (Americas), Oct. 12, 1492. This discovery by Columbus was the first encounter of Europeans with Native Americans. Other names for this day are “Discovery Day, Day of the Americas, Cultural Diversity Day, Indigenous People’s Day, and Dia de la Raza.” Italian communities especially celebrate this day. Oct. 12 is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Monday is also the (19 degrees) Libra new moon festival. Libra’s keynote while building the personality is, “Let choice be made.” Libra is the sign of making life choices. Often under great tension of opposing forces seeking harmony and balance. There is a battle between our lower (personality) and higher selves (soul). We are tested and called to cultivate right judgment and love. When we align with the will-to-good, right choice, then right judgment and love/wisdom come forth. Our tasks in Libra. 


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