February 2009
leicester, norwich, london

On the way down to Leicester, I had to stop one more time. There were baby lambs EVERYWHERE. As if, overnight, every mama had delivered. I climbed a hill to get a closer shot, and sure enough on the way back down, a big farmer in worn wellies came after me with a shovel. I assured him I was a vegetarian and just wanted a cute picture for my website and got back in my car. Did I really look like a lamb wrangler?



Leicester was a hoot. There's no real backstage, so I just hung out with my champion Kim Heath at the bar.


Knitting always comes in handy when you're killing time.


It was nice to see so many familiar faces! My favorite fan there, Graham sat with his ear practically ON the right hand stack of speakers all night. And I think I saw a tear when I sang "Je N'peux pas te plaire" as he remembered a long ago couple of nights in Paris. He couldn't remember her name...

Norwich, well, I got to do a radio show with the SHERRIFF!!


Need I say more? I had the most fabulous time hanging out at the BBC with David, Kevin and Mr. Roy Waller himself. We covered pretty much everything in our interview; the mature cheese and wine night in town, bad American drivers, the history of folk music, his huge golden necklace that comes with the gig but has to stay in a vault somewhere. (it's worth 19,000 pounds I'm told.) If you get a chance to tune in, check him out.
The concert at Norwich was really lovely.

The arts center took such good care of us, and the audience was super supportive. I've been trying to get the normally reserved, polite brits to get a little rowdy. Finally, they've started yelling out the songs they want to hear! Otherwise, people would come up to me afterwards to buy a CD and say, "oooh, I wish you would have done "West Point." Well, how was I to KNOW?
Yesterday My princess pal, Nolwenn Leroy came to London to demo the two little songs we wrote in French a couple weeks back.



We had a ball. Avril and Andy manned the studio – they have a great little production set up right near Parson's Green.


I think we might be on to something. Nolwenn had a cold and insisted she didn't like how she sounded. The rest of us were swooning because that little bit of congestion made her sound even more poignant.

Bush Hall in London tonight. Come on down, and don't be shy. I've got chocolate and bickies, and some new skeins of organic british WOOL!


Birmingham rocked, The Brewery Arts was a revelation, thanks to the incredibly talented and resourceful crew, Sam, Jeff, and David.

jb, dave, sam (fabulous sound engineer) jeff


The Sage at Gateshead, just gorgeous.

sage from the stage


And even little Jim came back stage to say hello.

Jim, not quite convinced!


It still amazes me as I chip away at the world outside the US, that people will show up on good faith, and then they're usually thrilled they did. I still have so many 7th grade moments, even after all these years on the road, performing in every incarnation of myself. To explain: no matter what I do or where I am, I will always be nervous before a show. I want everything to be perfect; I want to be engaging; I want to sing my heart out. Most nights there will be transcendent moments where I'm almost floating above my body. It feels like some current that I have no control over is running down and through me.

But there are also, often, moments out of time, when I will look out over the audience and see, (like last night) a couple of guys who intimidate me for some reason. I start imagining that maybe they got dragged to the gig by their girlfriend, maybe they're sitting with their arms crossed like they want me to prove myself to them. But then, like magic, at some point during the evening, one of them, the intimidating hunks, will ask for "West Point." WEST POINT! The delicate, musing, lilting, feminine. I will never cease to be touched, surprised and grateful for the moments like this.  Seventh grade is indeed over. And I'm returned to my confident adult self.

I'm enchanted by so many things in the UK. But the countryside is just gorgeous, lush, lonely.


steps built in to the endless walls. who stacked all these stones?


Driving across from Kendal to Gateshead and then back today, it was all I could do not to just pull off and take the tiny roads to nowhere for a few days. Of course the sheep are hysterical to me.




Some seem to like the attention, others turn and run. Two actually turned right around and pooped right at me.


then they whispered their sheep secrets.


At one point I was on a teeny road and there was no where to turn around; I had fleeting images of me stuck there on the blustery moors, stuck in the mud, no one to hear me except the sheep. Then I came across this herd, the gate to their little paddock was open, and they started following me. Oh no! I thought, shit, the farmer is probably going to come after me with a blunt instrument if his sheep suddenly started traipsing about the A66.



Stopped at a graveyard in a tiny town called Ravenstonedale.


Now I'm back in Kendal, trying to figure out whether I've got time to go to the Lake Region and walk around a bit. It's not too cold, and it only rains intermittently.


the original red bull with a charming underbite


On to Leicester tomorrow. I finally figured out how to find a good coffee here. You go to Costa (not too shabby) ask for 4 shots, and some whole milk steamed on the side. It's the only way not to get a milky frigging latte. But these are the small battles! I think I'm winning the big ones.

Oh Susannah

Finally got internet after a few days stranded. What did we ever do before?

I spent a lovely day off in BATH with my friend Susannah Conway. She's a photographer, writer, blogger. And she's doing a really cool on-line photography/writing course. This session is full, but check it out for her next run in May.


polaroid photo, Susannah Conway


me and Susannah


Of course we found the coolest Lingerie shop in Bath. And got great advice from the lingerie expert, Bridget. Her shop is called THE DRESSING ROOM. Very naughty.


JB and Bridget


Then we checked out the charity shops. What a great outfit, and all for a good cause!

Bristol was a triumphant return visit. St. Bon's is a funny living room like gig. Hot and sweaty, the way I like it. And people almost in your lap. It was great to be back and fill it up. The opening band was AWESOME. Called PHANTOM LIMB. Beautiful Yolanda filled the house with her soulful Power house voice. And she was dressed like Dorothy in gingham pinafore and red patent leather ruby slippers. The harmonies with her guitarist and upright bass player were sublime. They did an old Hank Williams song about being ready for the Angel of Death. Oh my. Chills and tears. I'm just pissed I didn't get a picture.


I did, however,  get to meet my biggest Bristol fan, Martin (Sassi the wedding dress genius's husband, and his friend Steve)

Martin, JB, Steve


Yesterday morning before we left STOWEY BOTTOM, we traipsed around the gorgeous muddy fields. There are all these signs  "Please keep dogs on leads, Sheep are in Lamb."  All I could think about was making another sweater!!





little brook


Kim, my fearless promoter, Deb and me


So far the only knitting store I've found was in Putney near where I stay. It's called STASH. Although next time, I'm planning to go to I KNIT LONDON."  It sounds like a hoot, two guys started it, and they have a full bar in the place!! So you can go hang out and do some tipsy knitting. They got tired of cycling across London to find and sell yarn, and then still having to go home and knit alone. Everyone knows it's way more fun to knit in drunken company. Knitting and bitching.

Last night was Birmingham. A tiny little room at a complex called the GLEE CLUB. Well, I loved it. The audience was a bit sassier than Bristol, well, maybe I was a bit sassier myself – I'm always a bit nervous the first gig back after a long time home. So I'd gotten the jitters out.
Onward, drove North into the Lake District today. BEAUTIFUL. Just gearing up for the gig tonight in KENDAL. On the lookout for local wool!!! Come on down, and bring the bickies and chocolate.


finally Bob

It was so good to see Bob Harris again, in fine form I might add, arms open wide.

I got there around 11:30 and got to hang out and listen to the gorgeous mix of things he'd picked for the evening. The highlights? Something new from MICHACHU & SHAPES called "curly teeth." And a new song from Rachel Yamagata called "Over and Over."

His producer Pam wore her ruby slippers in honor of Valentine's day.


pam's ruby slipper

And she and Gabby and George couldn't have been lovelier.

pam, george and gabby


Today I decided to go to my favorite little haunt in Notting Hill. It's called Negozio Classica. They have the best cappuccino in London, fabulous Italian wines, yummy things to eat and a very low key vibe.

Everyone who works there is super cool. I gave them a record and I got a little taste of dessert wine. Fair trade don't you know! They seemed to like THE WORKS as they were already playing it as I left.

Joanna, Giulia, Samantha




Enrico was too shy for the photo...


I just love this place.


I also met a famous British wedding dress designer at the little place I stay when I'm here. Her name is Sassi Holford.

 me and Sassi


Just in case any of you are in the market. Her work is exquisite. She was in London for the shows, and her daughter was on hand to model the little bridesmaid dresses. All in the family.
I love staying in London, I just never know who I might meet.

It is, of course raining again. We had a few hours this morning unencumbered. So I have decided to take the rest of the day to work on some new ideas.

Thanks to Bob Harris and team for championing good music over here.

pip pip, cheerio I'm going to make some tea.



friday the 13th, oh my

Oh gosh. So much build up. I was finally going to see Bob Harris again at BBC 2. He has been so supportive of my music over the years. Then he had some kind of mishap on the way to the studio Tuesday.


I was heartbroken, and so was my friend Elizabeth, the goddess who started the SQUAM ART WORKSHOPS. (Have you signed up yet?) She listens to him religiously in her studio in Sandwich, New Hampshire. In fact, I even forged a Valentine to Bob from Elizabeth, and had to hand it off to the engineer. (got her town wrong. damn)

 Oh, may the Valentine reach him anyway, may the fixing of the teeth be a success.


We taped four songs anyway. Produced by Mark Simpson, and engineered by Nick, whose last name escaped me. Many thanks.

Mark, Nick, JB


London is of course cold, damp, brutal on the bones. I'm obsessed with these trees I keep seeing that look like they've had their fingers cut off.

Poor fingerless buggers.

After the BBC taping, we had a little celebration with my UK team, Phil Knox-Roberts, and Kim Heath. Antonio from the little restaurant we found called Sergio's took such good care of us.

There was lots of love in the room.

Phil P-K and Kim Heath


JB and ??


Then Paris, I went with my little dictionnaire poche in hand and worked on a couple songs en francais with the ever glowing Nolwenn Leroy.

I'm very excited about our ideas. And I even got a home cooked gorgeous meal with Nolwenn's mother and sister. Bisous and mille mercis!


Then right back to London this morning for  a little more promotion...

Funny thing there's this pub right near where I stay called the h‘eight bells.'

(the small cosy pub with a big personality, no less)


and I've just been listening to a sprite named Amy Seeley who I learned about from Denise Andrade (Photographer extraordinaire.) Her new record is called "Eight Belles." It's like entering a magic kingdom. Check it OUT! Oh, and BUY it when you fall in love with her voice!

Ooh, and this just in. I will see Bob Harris! All is not lost. Tomorrow at midnight here in London. We'll meet again! I just may need to make ANOTHER Valentine.

I won't get to see Dollhouse here. But I'm taping it at home for when I get back. Have some wine for me and toast Mr. Whedon and Ms Dushku.



dollhouses, rain, bob harris

bridge near Chalk Farm. kinda how I feel. koala in headlights.


DOLLHOUSE is almost upon us. In fact Friday the 13th is the premier. Fox took the bootleg of the video of the theme song down from YOUTUBE. ;( 


We'll keep you posted as to where and when it shows up next. I guess it's only right that they control how they roll the show out. I would feel the same about a new record!
That being said ;) I hope the show kicks BUTT. I LOVED the original little tease. I loved the pilot. It was so sexy and ridiculously far fetched. Addictive. Go Eliza and Joss. I'm rooting for you!! For us all.


steady on


Well Joss's idea for the theme was Jonatha Brooke singing "Careful What You Wish For" meets Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies! So of course I called Eric Bazilian and we rocked it up. 

is mercury out of retrograde yet?

The full length version is called "What You Don't Know" -- weird --
 I wrote a little pretentious, overwrought song in college called "What You Don't Know Won't Hurt You." It was influenced by that flinty Suzanne Vega sound. The second line was, "Don't touch the stove it's hot." (cringe)

Writing this from London. They were warning of more ‘severe weather' here today. HA. It's raining. Apparently they've just recovered from last week's snow. We got a little review in the London Sunday Times yesterday, so that didn't suck. Except they spelled my name JOHNATHA. Come on now people! What will it take, although i suppose it's better than JONATHAN.

I'm taping the Bob Harris show tomorrow, to be broadcast on the 14th. More soon. Go DOLLHOUSE.

p.s. the official WORKS release in the UK is next week. Trumpets please.


Hallelujah, I finished the damn coat. And thank you all for weighing in on the buttons. Purple TOTALLY rocked it up.


When I first put it on, I panicked and hated it. It seemed misshapen and ill-proportioned. So I wore it over to my knitting store for some opinions. Well, it was a hit.

All it needed was a little steam to make things fall flatter, and voila. My ladies saved me. In fact I think a couple of my knitting pals may now make the same coat. Now, to head off the knitting postpartum, I have to figure out what to knit next before I leave for the UK!!

In the meantime, I thought I'd share some of the other things that were happening at the big knitting table:

 Yummy blanket


Needlepoint stool cover (we make special exceptions for some needlepointers!)


Skating sweater


Wavy scarf


It's always such great escape to go to Annie and Co. when other projects are stuck or overwhelming. I've been thinking a lot about why I've found this particular new obsession. Besides the calming meditative loveliness,  it's because it's so immediate. You SEE results, and just as importantly, mistakes are absolutely fixable. And as heart wrenching as it is, if you really hate it when you're done, you can rip it out and make something else. So much else in my particular world involves waiting and seeing. Or working your butt off and feeling/seeing very few tangible results. (This is why I will never give up touring. I LOVE the immediacy of the response.)

This same phenomenon may be why I also love doing laundry, I love cleaning, I love making toast. Even ironing. These are such simple things, but it's so gratifying to do them well. To see that sparkly bathtub, that perfect crisp shirt, to put on those cozy clean pajamas fresh out of the dryer.


And what tastes better then buttery yummy toast with a little cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top? (In your new COAT!!)