Merry Christmas!

09/10/2013

I know, I know…It’s only September. I used to work at a Michael’s craft store and I was always amazed when the boxes (and boxes and boxes) of Christmas decorations would arrive the first week of October…three weeks before Halloween. It just felt wrong. But I have a very good reason for bringing up Christmas in September. For several years my husband Jason has been dreaming and planning on recording a Christmas album. If you’ve been a blog reader for a while you probably remember when he released a lullabies album in February 2012 called Acoustic Lullabies. He’s had the idea for a Christmas album well before that but put it on hold to create a CD of beautiful guitar music dedicated to our daughter Ali, and the sales of that album helped fund her private adoption. Well, he’s finally finished with the long-awaited Christmas album. I’m so excited about it! It’s really wonderful. I’ve seriously had to resist the urge to set up the Christmas tree because overhearing some of the recording process and then listening to the almost-finished product has really brought on the Christmas spirit at our house. In September. Jason’s not just any average guitar player—he’s been obsessed with the six-stringed instrument for 20 years. He is trained and seasoned in classical, jazz, rock, country, finger-style guitar and you’ll hear all those influences on this album. I’m a big fan.

So anyway… producing an album is an investment. There is an initial expense and then money is gradually recouped through sales. His lullabies album was successful and worth the risk but we despise debt. We decided to try something different this time. Jason set up a Kickstarter campaign to fund the initial expense for mixing and duplication (recording is already complete) through pledges for pre-orders of the album. At the base level a $15 pledge results in Christmas Classics shipped to you when it releases in October. Higher pledges have various rewards like autographed or gift wrapped CDs and bulk discounts. If he doesn’t reach his goal (which covers the cost of mixing and a minimum initial order of 1000 CDs), he doesn’t get any money and the pledges are all voided. It’s an all or none situation. Would you consider pledging money to pre-order this CD? I guarantee you’ll love it. You’ll love it so much that you’ll want to give copies to your kids’ teachers and soccer coaches, your best friend, your hard-to-buy-for-music-loving brother, your chiropractor, your insurance agent, etc.

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On Jason’s Kickstarter page, you can also watch the silly video we made to promote the project, and hear one of the songs. It was late at night and we may have thought it was a little funnier than it actually is…but all is redeemed by Ali’s incredible sweetness at the end.

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Merry Christmas!

Thanks for your consideration.


Treading Water

01/17/2013

Let me tell you about this awesome guitarist I’ve been listening to lately. Maybe you’ve heard of him? His name is Jason Ahlbrandt. Of course you’ve heard of him! He’s my best friend.

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You should hear that guitar resonate through our open home with the vaulted ceilings! It fills every pocket and corner of the house. About a year ago Jason released an instrumental album called Acoustic Lullabies. (It’s available on iTunes and lots of other online retailers, or on his website if you want a physical CD with lovely album art by yours truly…go get you one!)

Now that we’re in our new house, Jason has been spending a lot of time in his studio and I hear rumors of a second instrumental album in the works. In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying these videos he’s been putting on YouTube. His newest one is an original called “Treading Water.” Please enjoy:

There are a few more goodies here on Jason’s YouTube page.


Freight Train

07/04/2012

Happy Independence Day! I LOVELOVELOVE fireworks so this is one of my favorite holidays. I’m optimistic that we can keep Precious up late enough and that she’ll be entertained and not terrified by all the colorful explosions.

Here’s a little musical morsel to celebrate the 4th of July. My handsome husband Jason Ahlbrandt playing “Freight Train” (Tommy Emmanuel’s arrangement):


Acoustic Lullabies

02/21/2012

The CDs have finally arrived! Jason’s brand new instrumental guitar album, Acoustic Lullabies, was released last week. But, since he was on the road, he had them shipped to Arkansas. Now that he’s back I finally have a physical copy in my possession! Actually, we have hundreds of them. Which brings me to…

Acoustic Lullabies is on sale now at JasonAhlbrandt.com!

We’re selling physical CDs for just $10 with free shipping. That’s the same price as a digital download on iTunes or CD Baby. Amazon appears to be selling it for a dollar less…$8.99. Gotta love Amazon! But I know you want to see the lovely package design in person, right?

Those are Precious’ chubby little hands (and drops of drool if you look closely…) on her daddy’s guitar. There is a picture of her watching Jason play on the back and some more photos and a sweet album dedication to her on the inside of the CD package. You’ll have to buy it to see for yourself. 😉


House and Home Update

02/20/2012

• This week movers are coming to clear out our old house. Everything that we don’t antipate we’ll need in the next 6 months is going into storage. We sold our big IKEA living room sofa sectional so we’ll be couch hunting in the next couple of months. We also sold our IKEA MALM bed frame. We’ll also be searching for new furniture for our master bedroom, preferably vintage but we’ll see what we can find. We have a lot of hunting to do this year at estate sales, thrift stores, yard sales—and I’m really looking forward to it!

• Our architect is finishing up our house plans so we can start getting bids from contractors. We’re getting antsy, excited! We close on our old house on March 1. Once we close we’ll be completely debt-free! For a few days, at least. Until we open our construction loan. Haha… but it still feels freeing. We have just a tiny bit of debt right now besides our mortgage and with the little money we’ll make off our home sale, we’ll get rid of the last (less than $3000) we owe on our school loans. The rest of the profit will go straight back towards the new home.

• We don’t know the construction timeline yet because we haven’t settled on a contractor yet. That will depend on who can give us the best price and is someone we can trust and want to work with. I’m not really looking forward to the contractor selection process… Pray it’s an obvious choice and we find the right guy (or lady, I suppose.)

• Precious just turned 7 months old. She got her two bottom teeth and has been trying lots of new foods. (Pictured eating broccoli for the first time above—she loved it!) I’ll give a more thorough update once I edit her monthly photos. She is a beam of sunshine on these gray winter days. We’re still waiting to hear from our attorney on the court date for the adoption finalization. I’m eager to know because I want to plan a big adoption day party!

• Jason just wrapped up a busy two months of travel and he’ll be home a bit more now. Travel=work=pay so these past two months have been great. But I’m also happy that the longer stretches are done for a little while. The awesome thing about his job as a traveling musician is that he gets to spend a ton of time at home when he’s off. He calculated it once, just to prove it to himself, and even with the number of days per year he’s traveling, he gets to spend more time at home with Precious than he would if he worked a 9-5 job. We feel like it’s the best of both worlds. He gets to make a living doing what he loves and he gets to spend a lot of time at home with us.

• Jason’s Acoustic Lullabies album is finally OUT! I am über proud of him. It’s selling well on the road and we’ll have it up online for sale soon. More about that coming soon.

And lots of pictures of Precious, just because…