Ms. Cacie

BlurryDressPeople who don’t know me: I’m incredibly near-sighted.

I’ll use this to some poetic metaphor magic at some point, I’m sure, but I mean I really can’t see more than a few inches in front of my face before things start getting blurry, and if we’re talking more than a couple of feet, color is pretty much all I have as an indicator.

At a few minutes after 8 this morning, I, VERY AGAINST MY WILL, awoke with a searing hangover. As my wonderful husband got up to get us both some ibuprofen, I picked up my poor head to survey my surroundings.

(For readers who may be viewing this in an email or something where the photographs are removed, imagine you’re seeing a very blurry photo of my closet and to the barely-left-of-center is a sliver of VERY BRIGHT CORAL.)

To you, this means nothing. To me, this is… like seeing a birthday cake with the candles already lit and it’s your name elegantly written on top and everyone you love is gathering in the next room to bring it to you.

That is how Ms. Cacie makes me feel.

IMG_0333I have this beautiful dress that I bought on vacation. It’s halfway between bubblegum pink and florescent orange, where those two colors turn into coral. Coral (or peach, if you must) is unusual, but not unheard-of. Coral is exciting. Coral makes my tongue taste of sweet lychees dusted with sour salt, a perfectly yummy candy cut with just enough acid to make me want another while I’m still chewing the first.

That dress is Ms. Cacie.

The day after I came home from my first vacation in many years, I went right back out the door for a children’s music gig that I had booked while waiting in line at Disney World. This small, outdoor art fest had had a last-minute performer cancelation, and the woman in charge of booking the entertainment had put the desperation plea out: In Search Of Children’s Performers For Art-Themed Venue.

My friend Jen Parde said, hey, I know this woman.

I donned the new dress and instantly felt her – Ms. Cacie, this amazing woman who makes a new three-year-old friend while waiting for a train, who makes eye contact with the 4-year-old who was completely overwhelmed by sensory overload only a year ago and now sings loudly and proudly along with all the songs, who is super happy to give out hugs or high-fives and super happy even if touching at all is not your jam.

I love Ms. Cacie. Yesterday, I bought her a flower crown to go with her dress. Ms. Cacie deserves to be happy.IMG_0577

I talk about her in the third person because Ms. Cacie is not me. She is who I aspire to be, she is a smiling stranger, she is a bright coral dress and a crown of flowers and she floats in on guitar strings and floats out on a blown kiss. I invented her, but I am not her.

I write songs about Sad Experiences and stay up late drinking in celebration or mortification or boredom. Ms. Cacie is a variation of perfection, and on mornings like this one, where I can’t see more than a few inches into the future but have perfect hindsight of every transgression I’ve ever made, she hangs in my closet, a blurry flash of coral, and gives my heart a hug and tells me that I get to try again today.

Thank you, Ms. Cacie. I love you.


Little Tiny Songs

Many artists are left with scraps. For musicians, these are perfectly serviceable lyrics or melodies that haven’t yet or never will find their way into a complete song. Some of us have half-complete thoughts abandoned in notebooks or the backs of envelopes or napkins or in the “notes” file on our phones or computers – I have all of these things, I’m a thought-hoarder – and sometimes we pilfer these resources, but mostly they sit unused.

Little Tiny Songs

I’ve decided to make something of these scraps. I’m going to write and record video of as many of these Little Tiny Songs as I possibly can, and I’m going to post them for free to all my Patreon supporters. One of the things I like least about recording my weekly videos is the amount of time and stress I expend readying my hair, makeup, clothes, lighting, camera angles, and THEN getting the perfect take. For “Little Tiny Songs,” I might do that, I might not. I might just try to find as close as I can to a spare moment, prop up the camera, make sure I’m in the frame, and record it. I’m aiming for an intimate experience, the visual equivalent of opening someone’s sketchbook while they’re in the other room making a cup of tea.

Once I have enough of them, I’ll record them all on my iPhone, compile them, and make the Little Tiny Album available for free to all Patreon supporters. Anyone else will be able to purchase it for $5 on Bandcamp. It could take me a few months, maybe a couple of years. It will be done when it’s done.

If you would like to join me on this project and get exclusive access to my Little Tiny Songs as they come out, please support me on Patreon. I will continue to post one polished video per week, so if you decide to support me for $1, that’s about $4 a month to support my polished videos AND have unlimited free access to Little Tiny Songs.


“Unravelled” – now available online

I’m planning to make my new album available for digital download on Amazon and iTunes, but for now, you can buy it on Bandcamp: visit to purchase the whole record or individual songs.

Another way to get a digital download of my album is to support me on Patreon! Patreon is a service that allows to support artists by contributing to them for each piece of content they publish. In my case, it’s my music videos that I post weekly on YouTube. As a patron, you can select a dollar amount for each video I post, and you can also choose a maximum monthly budget, in case I have an uncharacteristically productive month and post, like, 20 videos. I also post exclusive free content for Patreon subscribers, which right now includes a digital download of my album and 12 videos of my band performing live at our album release show on January 18th, 2015.

I’ve been working really hard at a number of creative endeavors, but for the past few weeks, my focus has been primarily on getting this album into the world and growing my audience by posting new videos at Thank you to everyone who has helped me. <3


“Unravelled” Official Release Party

At LONG LAST: my second album, “Unravelled,” is here! My band and I worked so hard to create this amazing record and waited so long for all the pieces to be finished – the artwork, the mastering, the printing – and it’s finally done.

album release flyer

We’ve decided to do the official release party at Teavolve Cafe & Lounge in Baltimore, MD on Sunday, January 18th, which also happens to be my birthday. We will perform all the songs from the album in order plus a selection of more recent original material and *maybe* a couple of our favorite cover son

Plus, if enough people ask for it, I will have Ms. Cacie (my children’s music alter-ego) perform a short set before the band starts. The event runs from 7 – 9pm, so if anyone wants to bring their kids out, they’ll be able to see Ms. Cacie and parents will be able to get a copy of “Unrave

lled” and everyone will be able to go home and go to bed at a reasonable hour on a school night.

Please come see us. This project has been years and years in the making and I’m so proud of the record I could really cry if I hadn’t already listened to it hundreds of times. You know, for quality control.


I speak thruths

I’ve been struggling with my overall view of humanity lately, oscillating hard between “people are generally good” and “people are generally terrible.” My selected career path involves a lot of personal interaction with strangers and I see a fair number of these strangers, maybe not at their worst, but certainly far from their best.

I see a lot of strangers drunk. I see them while they’d rather be watching the game, while they’d rather be talking to their friends, while they’d rather I play something more upbeat, something they can sing along to. While they’re drunk. It’s ok. They’re here because they wanted to drink. I’m here to play music for them.

“You have a beautiful voice.”

I graciously accept their compliments. I get that, for them, I’m the entertainment equivalent of woman wearing opera gloves and a slinky dress, parting her lips suggestively behind a ribbon-style microphone. I’m… not that woman, but I don’t mind playing her, for them. They’re why I’m getting paid to do what I love. If they are willing to take 10 seconds of their attention away from the television screen or their equally loud friend or the bottom of their glass to pay me a compliment, I return their kindness with my genuine gratitude.

Besides, if I’m playing that woman, I can get away with hours of sad songs they’ve never heard before. If I work hard enough to “win” them, I’d have to learn a catalog of popular hits across various decades in order to hit each demographic’s nostalgic sweet spot. Experience tells me they aren’t there to pay attention, but they’re overjoyed when they hear a familiar melody and can sing along for a refrain or two before going back to forgetting to remember that I’m there. After all, it’s not about me.

So I oscillate between hating the whole room because one guy said a sexist joke we’ve all heard approximately three thousand times, loving them because the tall woman sitting behind the pillar and facing away from me must have liked what she heard because she just dropped four whole dollars into my tip jar, hating them because this guy just bought me an overpriced rose from a street vendor and has now made me uncomfortable by telling me exactly how overpriced it was ($7, cash only), loving them because they actually stopped what they were doing and clapped for that Tom Waits cover.

I think I’ve settled on the idea that most people are generally good people and that ALL people have particularly bad moments. A bad moment doesn’t make a bad person. A really bad moment might, and maybe that relationship is irreparably damaged, but there are a lot of other people in the world and you have a chance to be a good person to them. Labeling someone a “Bad person” is generally about individual perception, and just because I slapped that label on someone doesn’t mean everyone will, nor does it mean that person deserves it in most circumstances.

The problem comes when that Person Who Has Done the Bad Thing is now The Person Who Reminds Me that the World is a Bad Place. It’s a trap that’s easy to spring, and difficult to escape. I can handle myself, I’m an adult, I’m not a delicate flower in need of protection. Except maybe tonight is the night that this one guy who is genuinely good in his heart just got off a 12-hour shift and proceeded to have a lot too much to drink and he mistakes my charm for an invitation, which I haven’t given.

Maybe tonight I do need a couple of friends to come to the bar with me, if only to remind me that it’s ok to resort to training wheels when you’ve been riding just fine for 15 years. I’ll be ok soon. Just don’t give up, ok?


Ask Ms. Cacie

This has been the busiest couple of months I’ve had in years. Last week I created a new Facebook Page specifically for Ms. Cacie, my children’s music project, and within a couple of days I reached almost 300 Likes! I’ve been guest-hosting two open mics for Rob Hinkal of ilyAIMY while he’s on tour, playing shows almost every weekend, and working weekends at the Maryland Renaissance Festival.

Here’s what I have planned for the next month, once Faire and open mic season is over:

This November, I’m planning to release my full band album, Unraveled, which has been recorded for a couple of years now and is finally just about ready to go to the printer. Once that’s released, I’ll start promoting a Kickstarter for my children’s music album, full of charming songs about consent, ableism, non-binary gender, anxiety, robots, dinosaurs, and more! Until then, I need all the support I can get to build my fan base to make this Kickstarter as successful as possible. Please Like me on Facebook, subscribe to my Ms. Cacie YouTube page, and spread the word!

My newest project is “Ask Ms. Cacie” – I’m accepting submissions of questions from anyone and everyone about anything and everything. Do you or your child have a question for me? You can send me an email at, send me a message on Facebook, record a video and send me the link, write a note and take a picture of it and send it to me – anything you want. I’ll be answering questions in video form on Thursdays. Keep an eye out and send me your questions!

As for today, I don’t get a lot of time to myself just now, and I’m taking this afternoon to relax and knit a hat for a friend and let the ideas brew for new songs. Much love!


“unemployed” isn’t what I thought it would be

I joke around a lot about being “unemployed,” but for someone who doesn’t have a regular full-time job, I work more these days than I ever have in my life. It’s been months since I composed a proper blog post, so here’s what I’ve been doing.

For the past several months, I’ve kept up with my weekly editions of Video Thursday, doing a combination of cover songs, both familiar and new to me, original children’s songs, and the occasional original non-children’s song. I’ve written 10 songs so far this year, 7 of them for children, which is about 9 more songs than I tend to write in any given year. It’s strange to be suddenly prolific. It’s stranger still to suddenly feel like I actually have something to say and to actually make a point of saying it. I digress.

Over the summer, I performed my first legitimate Children’s Music gig. Working with children is about finding a balance of keeping them interested and engaged (boy do they bore easily) while working in educational bits without them necessarily noticing. Teaching kids about Big Ideas like consent, ableism, and even little attempts to widen their vocabulary is the verbal equivalent of sneaking vegetables into their food. I had played my song “Wheelchairs are for Wheelies” in a couple of my classes with the 4 – 8-year-olds and they just sort of glazed over. The next time, I brought in a photo of my dad, who is paraplegic, and in the photo he was reading a book to my 1.5-year-old daughter, who they know and recognize because she attends the same school they do. After they all had a chance to see the photo, I asked them “what did you notice about that picture?”

“Your dad can’t walk.”
“That’s right! My dad can’t walk. He uses a wheelchair to get around.”
“Why can’t he walk?”
“Because he had an accident and broke his back.”
“How long has he been in a wheelchair?”
“A long time. He had his accident when he was 17 and he’s been using a wheelchair my whole life.”

Rather than guide the conversation myself, I gave them an opportunity to ask me questions. I wanted to encourage them to use their curiosity to get information. I knew they would be curious and it didn’t hurt matters that the photo I showed them included something familiar to them (my cute kid) along with the new data that I wanted them to explore for themselves through questions and answers.

After that, “Wheelchairs are for Wheelies” went over much better. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop them from loudly requesting that I sing “Let it Go” from the Disney movie, Frozen, much to the poor teacher’s chagrin.

Aside from the children’s music, I’ve been playing more and more shows in the Baltimore and DC areas. My friend Rob runs the open mics at Teavolve Cafe & Lounge in Baltimore and at the Board & Brew in College Park, MD, and while he’s on tour this Fall with his band ilyAIMY, I’ll be subbing for him by picking up hosting duties. I was temporarily concerned that this busy summer would give way to a suddenly very slow Autumn, but it looks like I can relax a bit on that front and save my anxieties for the Winter.

Maybe I’ll take this Winter to spend some time really developing my new songs in both categories and work toward the children’s album that’s already almost halfway written.

Oh, and by the way, I sent all the relevant information to my friend who does graphic design, so my long-awaited new album, “Unraveled” is currently in the final stages and not actually waiting on me at the moment. I’m hoping for a late fall release. We’ll see.


The District Sleeps Alone Tonight

I was at a loss for what to record for Video Thursday this week. I’ve been working on a new original song on my tenor guitar, but I can’t get the lyrics to work out, and I don’t have any new covers in my repertoire, so I asked for requests. “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” has been one of my favorite songs for about 10 years, and since my friend Josh asked for it, here it is:


“The Temptation of Adam”

A few weeks ago, my friend Sarah sent me a video of Josh Ritter performing his song, “The Temptation of Adam” as a not-very-subtle request for a future cover. I loved the song immediately, I mean, it’s a peri-apocalyptic, 5-minutes-to-midnight love song. I spent a couple of weeks trying to learn a new fingerpicking style so I could match the way he does it in the original and I almost completely gave up on it when I realized: all my other covers are arranged in the way I would have arranged them if I had written them myself and I already know HOW to fingerpick, I just don’t know how to fingerpick “the right way” or at least the way the original artist does.

Additionally, the lyrics to this song make it sound like the only reason the object of the singer’s affection ever cared for him at all is because he was the only person around. The idea of love by elimination occurring across previously-assumed sexual identities made this song even more attractive to me: it’s nearly the end of the world, we’re two women who could die at any moment, I’m in love with you… move past what you thought about yourself and let love be what it is. Right?

Anyway, here’s my cover of “The Temptation of Adam” by Josh Ritter.


“Reason to Breathe” – Video Thursday

I wrote this song when I was 19, and it’s evolved so much in the last 11 years that it seemed a good time to post what it’s become. I think this is the first song I wrote that I felt really confident about, both musically and lyrically. If you like it, you can find it on my debut album, Dialtones, which is available on iTunes and Amazon. Enjoy!