The J. John O'Hara Charitable Fund Supports Team Rubicon

team rubicon o'hara charitable fund
We are happy to announce our support for Team Rubicon with a sustaining grant. Please view the video below to see how this wonderful organization is making a difference around the world. Team Rubicon's primary mission is providing disaster relief to those affected by natural disasters, be they domestic or international. By pairing the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders, medical professionals, and technology solutions, Team Rubicon aims to provide the greatest service and impact possible. Through continued service, Team Rubicon seeks to provide our nation's veterans with three things they lose after leaving the military: a purpose, gained through disaster relief; community, built by serving with others; and identity, from recognizing the impact one individual can make. Coupled with leadership development and consistent training and engagement opportunities, Team Rubicon helps veterans transition from military to civilian life.




James Lee Baker's "Two Cageless Birds" awarded the
John O'Hara Singer-Songwriter Performance Grant



James Lee Baker Cageless Birds John O'Hara grant charitable          


 
Two Cageless Birds
Written & performed by James Lee Baker
From his 2018 release 'The Canadian River'
Recipient - $1K John O'Hara Singer-Songwriter Performance Grant
jamesleebaker.com
The John O'Hara Singer-Songwriter Performance Grant is awarded to Texas singer-songwriter James Lee Baker, for his outstanding song, 'Two Cageless Birds'. The J. John O'Hara Charitable Fund awards Mr. Baker this $1,000.00 unrestricted cash grant to encourage his future songwriting endeavors, and in support of his live concert performances. Two Cageless Birds was culled from Baker's self-released 2018 EP 'The Canadian River'. This song also appeared on his 2017 full-length 'Home Again'. 

Two Cageless Birds is a wonderful love song; a timeless homage to Baker's wife, Maria, and universally appealing with its lovely melody and chorus. The first few measures of Baker's tenor vocals let us know what's to come: clearly resonate, articulate, and compelling enough to listen further. Deft fingerpicking, violin, and female backing vocals by Stasia Estep come together in this would-be classic, were it not for Baker's obscurity. The upbeat tempo and major key rings true to any good folk song, and begs us hum along. The simplest lyrics can move us to joy, and call us to ponder cupid's ways. Here's an example of superb, if subdued, male/female unison singing. Harmonies aren't always necessary, are they? Well done, and congratulations, James. Best of luck with your future songwriting.



JAMES LEE BAKER PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE: 
Saturday, May 26 Kerrville Folk Festival Kerrville, Texas 
Wednesday, July 11 Woody Gutherie Folk Festival Okema, Oklahoma 
Thursday, July 19 Camp Ned Songwriting Retreat Nederland, Colorado 
Saturday, August 25 Tumbleweed Music Festival Garden City, Kansas 
Friday, August 31 New England Songwriters Retreat The Guest House, Chester, CT 
Wednesday, September 26 Southwest Regional Folk Alliance Austin, Texas
james lee baker john o'hara grant performance charitable fund
James Lee Baker is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. His songs are crafted from exposure to many genres of music throughout the course of his life. Raised in a musical family, he began some form of music education at an early age, attending music camps in the summer and competing in vocal competitions throughout middle and high school.

A classically trained musician, Baker fuses influences from pop singer-songwriters like David Mead and contemporary folk artists like Ellis Paul and Slaid Cleaves. He embraces open tunings to create an unconventional but welcoming sound and timbre to his playing. Trained briefly by Richard Gilewitz, a renowned fingerstyle guitar player, James Lee’s fingerstyle guitar playing is rich and melodic, pulling listeners into memorable motifs and atmospheres.

A self-proclaimed audiophile and music aficionado, Baker indulges in influences from many genres like Classic Rock, Folk, Bluegrass, IDM, Ambient, Chillwave, and more. His primary influences as a songwriter are folk artists like Ellis Paul, John Gorka, Patty Griffin, and Slaid Cleaves, contemporary artists like Jakob Dylan, David Mead, David Gray, Matt Wertz, Dave Barnes, and Matt Nathanson.
In 2017, Baker released a Texas-inspired full-length project called Home Again. Harnessing his experience in technology, Baker recruited talented studio session musicians using the new platform Fiverr.com, accessing performers from Los Angeles, Canada, The United Kingdom, and Denver. Home Again is a Country-flavored Americana album, rich with instrumentation like dobro, lap steel, fiddle, and harmonica. James has played at several prominent venues including the Whiskey A Go Go in Los Angeles, The Fox Theater in Boulder, and Swallow Hill and The Walnut Room in Denver.

Amber Ikeman's "Winter Song" awarded the
John O'Hara Singer-Songwriter Performance Grant

Rise Amber Ikeman John O'Hara grant          

 
WINTER SONG
Written & performed by Amber Ikeman
From her 2018 release 'Rise'
Recipient - $1K John O'Hara Singer-Songwriter Performance Grant
amberikeman.com
The inaugural John O'Hara Singer-Songwriter Performance Grant is awarded to Amber Ikeman, for her outstanding song, 'Winter Song'. The J. John O'Hara Charitable Fund awards Ms. Ikeman this $1,000.00 unrestricted cash grant to encourage her future songwriting endeavors, and in support of her live concert performances. Winter Song was culled from Amber's second full-length recording, "Rise", self-released in early 2018. 

This year the winter in many U.S. locations was horrible. Let's celebrate its passing with Amber's simple, understated homage to the earth's most enduring season. What a lovely, sparing, haunting, and eerie lullaby of winter, death, and rebirth.  Winter Songs airy arrangement triggers a sense of intimacy, and surely desolation, the lyrics are straightforward and accessible to all, easily pulling the listener in for the pure enjoyment of the soundscape. This arrangement is a stellar example of how the low-key electric guitar (effects) can beautifully (and boldly) set the stage for the narrative, but never overtake the arrangement, or take away from the vocals. Fingerpicking an acoustic guitar wouldn't offer the same effect. Amber's solid, lyrical vocals are in command throughout; her soft and pristine voice reigns atop the other instruments like a fiddler's bow to the strings below. Congratulations, Amber on this wonderful songwriting achievement.


Amber Ikeman
PHOTO: Aaron Howard
Amber Ikeman’s music carries audiences across the open spaces of the American West and into the depths of their souls. Her Folk/Americana songs tell stories of self-discovery, resilience, and wildness, with powerfully clear vocals and raw, confessional lyrics.

Inspired by her solo journey from her Florida hometown to live and work in Yellowstone National Park, her debut album, "Free," was named one of Southwest Montana’s top local albums of 2015. Amber’s engaging performances earned the 2017 Vic Heyman Songwriting Award. She is touring nationally with her second album, “Rise.” Amber Ikeman's spirited, earthy folk music carries audiences across the open spaces of the American West and into the depths of their souls. With soaring vocals ranging from a husky chest voice to a bell-clear soprano, her powerful and intimate songs tell stories of self-discovery, resilience, and wildness.

Perhaps this is because Amber always had a wandering spirit. She was born in Ontario, Canada and moved to Sarasota, Florida at age 10, where she would often sit in math class writing poetry and lyrics. Raised on Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, and Cat Stevens, Amber also loved intense romantic music like Puccini’s operas. After getting a B.A. in classical voice, Amber took a job as a nonprofit professional in her hometown, Sarasota, FL. On the surface, it seemed that she had a comfortable life, yet deep down she felt bored, unfulfilled, depressed, and trapped by expectations. When she turned 25, Amber quit her job, sold everything that didn’t fit in her car, and drove across the country for the first time – by herself – to work as a dishwasher in Yellowstone National Park. It was the first stop on a 30,000-mile solo cross-country quest to find herself, the inspiration for her debut album, “Free.” “Free” was named one of Southwest Montana’s top local albums of 2015. Amber’s engaging performances earned the 2017 Vic Heyman Songwriting Award. She is touring nationally with her second album, “Rise.”

Ana Silvera's Winter Psalm - An Artist's Dream of Beauty

March 29th, 2018

I wanted to share this great song from U.K. singer-songwriter Ana Silvera. Winter Psalm is a wonderful, intimate, and poignant song Ana wrote for her late mother. The recording had me in a trance from the first listen: a bittersweet musical homage to life that's nothing short of superb songwriting. With lines like "Three walls can't keep a roof from caving, but three's a tipi, three's a layer cake", we know at once this is well crafted prose worthy of any setting. I'm enchanted with Ms. Silvera's gorgeous and supple singing, with a soft clarity that adds space to the ethereal glow of the lyrics (and the not-so-story-like narrative). 



LYRICS TO WINTER PSALM .....  ARTIST WEBSITE


J. John O'Hara Charitable Fund supports SongwritingWith:Soldiers

john o'hara supports songwriting with soldiers


SongwritingWith:Soldiers is a program developed by Austin songwriter Darden Smith. The idea is unique because it brings veterans, active duty soldiers, and professional songwriters together to collaborate on songwriting. We know that music is universal, and like time, can help heal those invisible wounds that leave the battlefield. The J. John O'Hara Charitable Fund is proud to financially support this wonderful program. More information about the veterans and songwriters here.