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: Santa Cruz, CA 

January 22, 2008 From L.A. I twisted north through the Grapevine, narrowly missing the fourth snowstorm of the week. When I arrived at the house of my mom's friend I couldn't see the ocean but I could smell it, I could feel it, and I could hear it. Maybe first impressions really are everything. 

Santa Cruz is the one place I've returned to more times than I've left. Ten years later I'm in the same friend's house, though now she's my friend and we're in a different house down the street. Like that first night I will fall asleep listening to the waves, inhaling a mixture of gratitude, awe, and anxiety. "I love it here SO MUCH! Nancy is so freaking good to me. Gosh those seals are cute. I hope there isn't an earthquake. What would happen in a tsunami? Could I ever afford to live here?" 
 
I come from a different shore, where we're raised to worry. But I've learned to trust the tide and by the time I exhale the waves will have worked their magic and I'll be drifting off to sleep....  
 
Thank you, Nancy. Good night, all.

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

Take Me Home: Ojai, CA 


January 21, 2011 Flash forward a few years - I was still runnin' down a dream though runnin' out of stream when @beatricewoodcenter invited me to spend a month in Ojai as songwriter-in-residence. (More on Beato and Happy Valley to come - sign-up link in profile). 
 
From NYC I landed in the golden hills of Happy Valley twirling like Julie Andrews. On this particular day, halfway through the residency, I'd ridden that ecstatic arrival through the rough wake that follows any abrupt stop. Alone in a house of spirits nighttime noises took getting used to. Quail flew into darkened glass doors and my thoughts - no longer wrung out by long drives and loud concerts - were a cyclone. Ravenous, dreaming wildly, writing profusely, I spent the previous night cocooned in my sleeping bag, a matryoshka doll, a nest within a nest within a nest. 
 
In the daylight I emailed hundred venues for a European tour, mailed posters for a US tour, and then broke the monotony (satisfying in its own way) to bask in the pink moment, when sunset illuminates Topatopa Mountains. Weaving through the amber fields as they took on the underwater hues of early evening I paused under my favorite story-telling tree. "Do more things that are irrelevant." I walked up to the Ojai Foundation and swung on a swing until the cool air beckoned coyote's first call. 
 
The rest of the night passed blissfully doing what I love best - putting words with music. 
 
Thank you, Beato, Kevin, Sheryl, & Maryann. 
 
The Center survived the wildfire however there is considerable damage to the property. Please visit their page and consider becoming a member or making a purchase to support the fantastic work they're doing for peace, love, and art.

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

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