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Measuring Success at the Fest 

My performance went well. I was in-the-round with two other Philadelphia Folk Festival Campfire Contest winners, Bunny Barnes and Jerry Korobow. We were an eclectic bunch, with Bunny playing beautiful guitar instrumentals, and Jerry playing bluesy folk favorites. It was truly a "Kaleidoscope Folk" song circle. Kaleidoscope Folk is a made-up genre that I know will catch on one of these days!

It was not without some calculated risks and stresses: my husband, Rich DeAngelis, was recruited by me a few weeks before to play percussion, which he did happily and did well even though we've never played together. Also, my guitar's nut needed to be replaced just days before, which led to using my Martin, which led to a last-minute decision to put a pick-up in my Martin D15, thanks to Brian Huff - so grateful!

Lisa Jeanette at the Philadelphia Folk Festival August 19, 2022How do you measure success at the Philadelphia Folk Festival?

Hopefully, not by how many CDs you sell since I only sold one!

Hopefully not by how many people heard you, because although the Culture Tent was full, and mostly with people I already knew, I really don't know how many people ventured on the livestream to listen in. 

Hopefully success isn't measured by compliments, although it's tempting for a musician to bask in that glow. I got great feedback from friends and some strangers, and trust me, that feels great!

I've thought about this a bunch, and the only way to measure success for me is to ask myself if 10-year-old Lisa Jeanette would have been proud of me. She's the one that had dreams of being a musician. She's the one that was confident in her musical abilities, unafraid and undeterred by well-meaning naysayers. 

Somewhere along the way I became more afraid, easily discouraged and I felt less special. But 10-year-old me? She was fierce and ready to take on the world.

10-year-old me loved this weekend, had a fun time and lavished in the healing warm rays of the smiling banjo. Success feels good.

Photo credit: David C. Perry



My beautiful mess  

“Is this the messiest house you’ve ever been in?”, I said, as the home remodelers roamed through the rooms that are normally cordoned off to non-residents. “Oh no”, they said, “your house is so inspiring!”  

Taking this with a grain of salt, as I realized that these were in essence sales people – not that there’s anything wrong with that - and every compliment was suspect, I still had to smile. I could sort of see what they were seeing,  

What I see: all my house's faults; the dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, straightening, organizing, decision-making – all the things I’ve left undone.  

What they saw: my music room adorned with its cornucopia of instruments and lots of lyric sheets scattered about, Rich’s photography on the walls, the books lining the room we call the library, the crafts in mid-creation, my poster of Freda, Maya, Amelia and RBG and other things I still don’t see.  

Grain of salt notwithstanding, I began to feel less ashamed of my imperfect house with its imperfect inhabitants. For a small moment, I saw my beautiful mess and those things that are left undone were less seen as faults and more seen as lower priority tasks.    

Don’t get me wrong – I like a tidy house as much as the next person that struggles to keep a tidy house. But you know what I like more? A newly written song. A creative endeavor. A jigsaw puzzle. A well-planned delicious dinner. A thought-provoking conversation. Laughter.  

I will always strive to balance my ADHD creative brain and its impulses with my desire to live in a beautifully clean and tidy house. But for today, I feel that it’s not only okay, but necessary that my creative spirit gets to be alpha dog. Maybe most days. Maybe most of the time.

Topsy Turvy Jellyfish Tattoo 

Rich and I were discussing Einstein’s theory of relativity today because that’s the sort of conversations we have when I already have a headache. I have my own theories of the relativity of time, and how when drama happens, a day can seem like a week. I know this doesn’t have anything to do with Einstein’s theory – or does it? Do time and space slow down when you are in the grip of occurrences that bring you sorrow, or “gravity” if you will? Does the gravity of a situation glue your feet to the ground in a way that makes you gain the weightiness of it, making it harder and taking longer to carry across the day? 

I lost people that were close to me these past few weeks, and it’s brought space and time together that has me sifting through childhood memories, the decades that followed and a future without loved ones that were a foundational force for good in my life. That’s for another blog. 

Amidst all of the unexpected grieving, I had scheduled my first tattoo with @chiahtattoos at Stay True Tattoo. Here it is… 

Why a jellyfish? Aside from the obvious reason, i.e. Jellyfish on the Moon, I wanted to get a tattoo on my forearm so that when I play guitar, it looks up at me and it reminds me that I can do big things. Putting out an album, promoting it, working hard to get DJs to play it – especially when you are doing it yourself, takes a lot of a certain thing that comes naturally to people that don’t have ADHD. That thing is “executive function”.

ADHD is something I have to manage, and it is manageable for the most part – I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t. But oftentimes, it is difficult. It makes life seem more troublesome than it is, and has me feeling, well . . . topsy turvy, as the song says. Wait, what? Still haven’t listened to the song? Click here for links!

So it is bright and colorful, and reminds me that so is life, filled with its unknowns, its ups and downs, its ability to make me feel topsy turvy more often than most. I look down to it when I play guitar, and it reminds me I can do big things. Just wait and see.

#Tattoo #jellyfishonthemoon #jellyfish #NASA #singersongwriter #songwriter #jellyfishtattoo

This is my bed now 

I'm going to warn you, I'm very random right now. But I should mention my livestream on Wednesday, January 26th at 7:30 pm ET right here: Lisa Jeanette Every Wednesday But One

My singer-songwriter friend, Brian Theoret, posts pics of his dog with the hashtag #thisismybednow because, Porter . . . at least I think that’s his name, likes to make his bed from whatever he decides at the moment might make a nice bed. 

That phrase “this is my bed now” came to mind this morning as I had a bad night health-wise, not knowing if I had a reaction to my meds (likely) from eating some of the wrong things (even more likely) or maybe I had COVID (less likely). Like most, I live in fear that the dreaded disease isn’t glomming onto me and I try to keep it at bay for as much and as long as possible. 

Still queasy, exhausted and sleep deprived, I took time off from work today to recover. Looking around me at all the things left undone, processing once again this constant feeling of being in some limbo state for an indefinite amount of time but knowing full well that this isn’t limbo. This is life. 

I love the imagery from Dandapani, Hindu priest and former monk, who says that the mind and awareness are two different things and that the mind doesn’t wander, awareness does. He imagines awareness as an orb of light that illuminates the part of your mind you send it to. 

My orb of awareness tends to want to disengage with whatever takes me the furthest at the time, whether it is binge-watching Succession on HBO, pretending I’m an interior designer playing Redecor on my phone or eating comfort food. This often keeps me from living my best life, i.e. writing songs.

I must interject that Wordle is probably one of the healthiest diversions as it is not an app, it only lets you play one game, and then it doesn’t let you play again for 12 hours or so. You cannot binge on it. It is a one and done 3 to 10 minutes of distraction available to you twice a day. Finito.

Speaking of distraction, I have spent quite a bit of time and resources of late to better understand focus, which is where Dandapani's course Unwavering Focus is helping. I am practicing focus every day - I really have to at this point. Quarantine life has exacerbated my ADHD/ADD, and it is a priority to understand it and battle the effects. The podcast "Hacking Your ADHD" is something I've been listening to a bit as well.

For now I’ve concluded, as my song Portrait says, that “this is the frame I belong to”. Or as Porter thinks, this is my bed now. It might not be my choice of bedding, but it’s what I’ve got available. 

We all have our struggles. I wonder if you have also found ways to cope over these past two years, and how you are dealing with it. Let me know in the comments and share any tips you have found. 

In the meantime, please enjoy my hippie nutcracker - yes, it's still Christmas at Casa DeAngelis!


#hippie #hippienutcracker #wordle #ADD #ADHD #Dandapani #Focus #Succession #Covid #BrianTheoret #Portrait #Songwriter #SingerSongwriter

Cover you, cover me 

Every year our local songwriting group to which I belong, the Philadelphia Area Songwriters Alliance (PASA) has a holiday “Cover Me Party” where area songwriters are invited to participate in a concert where they cover their fellow local songwriters. Every songwriter covers another in the group, and everyone gets covered. This is accomplished by a herculean effort from the PASA leaders, who ensure everyone gets the gift of hearing one of their songs performed by another songwriter. 

This is hands down my favorite holiday event of the year. Not only do I get to hear one of my songs performed by someone else, I get to hear lots of other peoples’ songs unwrapped just like a precious gift should be, sometimes in a very tender fragile wrapping one would give a blown glass ornament, sometimes in a big red bow one would put on a new sports car. It is really a spectacle for the ears! 

I covered my dear friend Nancy Huebner’s song, “What Music Means”, and covering Nancy Huebner is no small feat. Her songs are indescribable and are events of their own making that you just need to experience personally. You can check out her music here: 

I want a do-over, and it looks like I will get my chance since PASA is letting us re-record our songs. I will share that when it’s ready, but also will play “What Music Means” at next Wednesday’s livestream.  I was covered by Two of a Kind, i.e. Jenny and David Heitler-Klevans, who did a better version of “Never Been To War” than I do, and Rusty & Jan who covered “Portrait” which was sung so beautifully by Jan Alba, and by the inimitable Heidi Wolfson, lead singer of Cubizm, who gave a passionate and searing version of “You Don’t Look My Way”. I felt like I was being honored at The Kennedy Center – it was intense! 

I am so fortunate and proud to be part of such a supportive community of artists in Philadelphia. Each member I’ve connected with has truly taught me the meaning of being in this sort of community. As a self-subscribed misfit, I somehow fit here. 

Here’s some highlights from 2020: 

Here’s me covering the wonderful Heidi Wolfson’s song “Harvey” in 2020.

And here’s Neal Philips covering my “Like You’ve Never Gone” in 2020 – I was completely crushed.

If I had  more of them to share, since each one of them is a gem, I would, but this is the best I could find. Check out PASA’s YouTube, PASASongwriters, to hear others. 

I hope you receive wonderful gifts and heartfelt joys this season. I sure have.