Tuesday, December 22, 2015

This week's Missoula Independent features an article by Erika Fredrickson about my recent trip to Vegas, my upcoming CD, and the upcoming show:  http://missoulanews.bigskypress.com/missoula/reenter-sandman/Content?oid=2595028.
Photo by Claudia Ponce

Monday, December 07, 2015

A big HOWDY from Las Vegas.  The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is happening this week and white folks in black hats abound.  I'm one of 'em. I've been eating yogurt and fruit to keep things affordable.

I'm in town for three reasons.  1) To visit my lovely girlfriend, Claudia.  2) To deeply focus on work.  3) To audition for America's Got Talent: Season 11.

So far, so good!  Claudia is always fun to be with and she has been helping me focus on my work projects.

My radiant guide, Claudia, and her halo.
As for the AGT audition, it happened yesterday in the ritzy LINQ hotel.  I don't know when I'll learn if I was selected or rejected, but I'm fairly certain the latter.  Upon arrival, hundreds of us were herded through labyrinthine halls and, eventually, stockaded into holding rooms.  The room I was in reminded me of a flourescent Star Wars Cantina filled with sticky-sweet odors and strange visions: drunken ukelele men, small blonde girls in tights and makeup, a fish-swallowing juggler, unhappy beefcake twins, Panamanian break-dancers, a Rodney Dangerfield impersonator, multitudes of a cappella singers, and a rapping cowboy.

The "cowboy" was called up first.  Disoriented and nervous, I grabbed my guitar, stood in front of the solo judge and, without taking a breath, lurched into "Both of Us" by B.o.B. and Taylor Swift.  In hindsight, my first mistake was singing another person's song.  Anybody who's seen me perform knows I don't do cover-songs unless they're cowboy ballads.  My fatal blow was forgetting to capo my guitar.  Singing in G instead of D--the key I'd practiced it in and the only key I could pull off for that song--turned my croon into a croak.  Disoriented, I forgot the words.  I paused . . . resumed . . . stumbled . . . ad libbed and then ended with some sloppy finger-picking shenanigans.  The judge looked small and uncomfortable.  "A merciful death," I breathed to myself.

While exiting through the LINQ casino on the main-floor, President Obama addressed the nation in a rare prime-time speech from the Oval Office regarding the mass-shooting in San Bernadino.  Football-watchers groaned at the untimely interruption.  I re-joined Claudia on the street, and we left in search of Persian food.  It felt like another chapter in my eternal, glorious/ignominious American road trip.  

I'll let you know if I somehow passed the audition but, if I were a gambling man, I'd say my odds are one-in-a-million.

Addendum: Turns out I am a gambling man.  The Downtown Grand Hotel where I stayed last night gives its guests a one-time $10 voucher to use at the tables. Lady Luck was with me and an hour later I possessed $300 and quit.  

Thursday, November 19, 2015

On Sunday, Nov. 22, at 11am, I'm leading a rap songwriting workshop at The Roxy Theater's annual children's festival HOOTENANNY.  I heard that 20 very enthusiastic children have already signed up.  Should be groovy, baby.

Tickets for all the other Hoots HERE (movies, bands, improv and animation workshops, ninja training, etc.).

I love my theater.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Sandman's Somber, Sweet & Surreal Annual Report:

I've been a single dad for over a year now.  Hana and I separated sixteen months ago and divorced on February 4th of this year.  Lack of romance won't keep us from being friends, though, and our beautiful tow-headed daughter will always be a reminder of our connection.

See any similarities 'tween this pic and the banner above?
On the job front, I went from Coordinator of Missoula's historic Roxy Theater in 2013 to Roxy Night Manager in 2014, and finally, so I could parent more easily, to theater janitor this year.  I find it comforting and meditative to sweep, vacuum, mop, scrub and restock this little art-house triplex that I helped to reboot three years ago.  Less hours now, but more time for Stevie and personal rejuvenation.

Musically speaking, my wellspring of creativity is flowing:  I'm writing songs steadily . . . working on three full-length CDs . . . in the early stages of penning a travelogue . . . and, surreally, America's Got Talent wants me on their 11th season (I have to pass the auditions first).

AGT's kind and helpful associate producer, Alden Harbi, wrote this in a longer email last month:
"I am so happy I came across your YouTube page!  After watching you in the zone, I am HOOKED!  I very rarely see such a beautiful fusion of originality, talent, and passion!"  
American dream or night terror?
I'll let you know what happens with that.

Financially, I'm barely getting by.  Each month I earn just enough to cover rent and pay for Stevie's Waldorf schooling and other general bills, and to buy food.  In October I spent all my meager savings so I could begin creating a children's album--GIDDYUP!  I then sold my Bose p.a. system so I could complete production on my new 22-song joint AMERICAN ROAD TRIP.  I'd like to start recording my third new record--HARD LESSONS--this winter.  Without a healthy infusion of money, these three apples will positively wither on the branch.

The time is ripe to launch a crowdfund campaign.  I've never done one--just supported friends' projects.  My goal is to kick it off December 1st and end on New Year's Eve.  Now the fun part to figure out: REWARDS.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I used to blog daily.  Now I don't, 'cause that's what happens when you have a child.  Stevie has become my daily song.
I promised a picture of her over a year ago, so here she is, this summer, on a slide, staticized.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Many thanks to Aaron Jennings and Justin Phillips for getting my website--which mysteriously disappeared from the face of Earth last May--back up and running!  I'm relieved.  Some of the song links are missing, but hopefully all glitches will get fixed and improved upon soon.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Back from the mini-tour.  Back in Missoula.  Per usual, I had a rockin' good time!

Thanks Jennie and Robert at Finney Farm!  Hermina Jean and I LOVED the opening acts, the big breakfast, the long overdue conversation and the travel package (home-made jams, dried fruits, canned vegetables, seeds, etc.).  See ya very soon, I hope.

Thanks Karl Blau for hosting us at your new venue, The Anacortes Music Channel.  A pleasure, as always, to be in your company, and 'twas heartwarming to see your whole family at the show!  I wish you ferry-loads of backers on your current Kickstarter project: The Soul of Country.

Thanks to Bret Lunsford and Denise Crowe for the Anacortes room and board.

And to Jacob and Christine who hosted the Port Townsend house concert!  You created the prototype of a perfect musical evening:  a potluck, campfire, jumbo audience of friendly people, and cozy camper to camp in.  You've become instant friends and I hope we stay in touch.

Last, but not least, thank you Hermina Jean for being such a fun and funny tour companion.  Let's do it again!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Washington Mini-Tour!

I leave tomorrow morning for a three-day tour in Washington, and Hermina Jean will be joining me!  I'm psyched for my friends in Concrete, Anacortes and Port Townsend to hear her hauntingly beautiful songs.

May 12, 7pm - Concrete, WA, @ Finney Farm
May 13, 7pm - Anacortes, WA, @ Anacortes Music Channel
May 14 - Port Townsend, WA, @ Jacob Freese's (393 North Jacob Miller Rd Port Townsend WA)

If you're in the area, please come see a show!  I'll have a new stack of "Sandman" pillow cases for sale.

Also, here's a new video--made last night--for my song (Gillian Welch's tune) about Ohio's prodigal son--Mr. LeBron James!  I couldn't have done it without Marshall Granger's video skills and cousin Ben Herak's great ideas.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Height Zone World Ep. 37 - Sandman the Rappin' Cowboy

Hey y'all.  I made some new friends from the hip-hop world last week when this group of inspirational fellas passed through Missoula on their Rap Round Robin Tour.

1. Dan Keech AKA  Height - Baltimore
2. Eze Jackson - Baltimore
3. Blaksmith (Brent Smith) & Mister (Bryan Lackner) who compose the group Passalacqua - Detroit

After the show we went to The Ox for burgers and then to The Roxy for a midnight viewing of 12 O' Clock Boys.  After the movie Height interviewed me which resulted in the podcast you'll find below.  His website features fantastic videos, songs and past podcasts.  Dude is a gifted musician, great interviewer and all-around mensch.

Friday, March 06, 2015

February 2015 Tour is complete!  

Wrap-up below.

      Terri Sadler's porch in OKC, 2/14  

  • Incredibly low fuel-prices throughout the country
  • Engine kept running strong in spite of a blown head gasket
  • Watching Super Bowl in Longmont, CO, with cousins
  • Radio conversation with Jimmy "America's Songwriter" Webb on The Radio8Ball Show minutes before my first show in Denver
  • Re-visiting awesome friends in Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, etc.
  • New friends! (Alabama, Tennessee, New Mexico, etc.)
  • Amanda Williams' 4-day Hillbilly Culture Songwriter Retreat in Monteagle, TN
  • Rapping with Rev. Camo Davi in Nashville
  • A Valentine's Day show gift from Terri Sadler, in OKC, of a carved heart with my daughter Stevie's named burned into it crafted by Camp Bosworth
  • Two "new" used pair of acquired quality footwear: Adidas sneakers and Redwing boots (thanks Rebeca!)
  • Swimming across the Rio Grande to kiss a rock on Mexico's shore while a pair of Mexican vaqueros swam their horses across to our side--a sublime moment without borders
  • Las Vegas, NV, mystery vacation: Oscars, Persian food, Latin radio, chihuahuas!
  • Soaking in desert hot springs in Texas, Nevada and Oregon
  • Mystical sauna experience in Vanessa Renwick's Dirt Bird 
  • No wrecks, illnesses, injuries, cancelled shows, lost or stolen items
  • Photo Credit: Jamie Harmon / Amurica
  • Reunion with Stevie in Missoula
  • Top-earning show and bottom-earning show were both in Oklahoma: OKC ($820) & Tulsa ($47)
  • I picked up only one hitch-hiker--this fellow: http://chrisroad.com
  • "Rumi" (my 2003 Subaru) surpassed 222,222 miles during drive home
  • Divorce official, Feb. 4th.
  • The only inclement weather I encountered during the whole tour occurred while leaving Montana on January 31st and returning to Montana on March 2nd (both traffic-stopping blizzards)
  • My pillow case sales equaled my fuel costs . . . wow
  • Rumi quit running three days after tour ended
  • 6,650 miles driven
  • 15 shows in 15 towns
  • Average fuel price: $2.15 per gallon
  • $2,800 earned from door
  • $1,700 earned from merch (CDs, DVDs, pillow cases, zines)
  • Average income per show: $300
  • One-hundred-fifteen pillow cases sold at $5 each


EVERYONE who came out to see a show; everyone who took photos and videos to share on Facebook and Instagram; everyone who spread the word about the shows and brought friends, everyone who fed me, housed me, encouraged me; everyone who bought merchandise.  The Roxy Theater for hiring me back upon return.  Jack Metcalf for facilitating a last-minute pillow case silk-screen work party on the day before I departed.  Hana and my parents, Mary and Rob, for taking loving care of Stevie while I was gone.

I'd especially like to thank everyone who created shows for me at their houses, friends' houses, personal venues, or friends' venues.  Your generosity and enthusiasm made setting up this tour incredibly easy and it kept my time and finances solvent.  Not much could be more valuable to a nomadic troubadour like me than that.  You totally rock!  I love you!

Xo, Chris

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My next four shows:

Feb. 19 - Lubbock, TX.  Click HERE for show details!

Feb. 20 - Albuquerque, NM.  Click HERE for show details!

Feb. 21 - Las Vegas, NV.  Click HERE for show details!

Feb. 26 - Portland, OR.  Click HERE for show details!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I am a highwayman . . .

Tour is under way and goin' swell.  Denver and Grassy, Alabama, packed 'em in.  Tulsa only had about 8 or 9 in attendance, but I had fun.  I'm in Nashville now staying with my long-time brother Mr. Camo "The Human Beatbox" Davi.  I'm hoping he'll add vocal percussion to some of my raps at tomorrow's private show in East Nashville tomorrow night.  (Email me at rappincowboy@gmail.com if you want to attend.)

This last weekend was spent in Monteagle, TN, at Amanda Williams' brilliant songwriter retreat.  I've known Amanda since she was a spunky teenager.  It's very inspiring to me that she's now a burgeoning Nashville hit-maker and songwriting teacher.  Garth Brooks just co-wrote a sly, sexy song with her for his latest album (which has already gone platinum), MAN AGAINST MACHINE called "She's Tired of Boys."

Speaking of hit songwriters, I had the good fortune to speak with "America's Songwriter," Jimmy Webb, on the radio last week.  I'd called during Andras Jones' Radio8Ball show to ask Mr. Webb a question which was--in typical Radio8Ball fashion--answered by a random selection of one of Webb's compositions.  As fate would have it, the chosen track was Giles O'Dell's rendering of "Highway Man" which I feature on  my 2006 indie rap record  RETURN TO THE BLACK HOLE OF OUTERSPACE.  I sing Waylon Jennings' part, Giles sings Kris Kristofferson's part, Andras sings Willie Nelson's part, and Calvin Johnson sings Johnny Cash's part.  Webb spoke of the genesis of "Highway Man" and, after that, Andras, Jimmy and I tried to tease out the answer to my question, which was: "If 2014 was the year of the break-up, what will 2015 be?"

You may hear the complete podcast here--it's a very good listen: http://www.radio8ball.com/2017/09/20/jimmy-webb-with-chris-sandman-sand/  (What you won't hear in this clip, however, is some edited-out yip yap at the end where he says:  "Hey man, I'm gonna catch up with you . . . I'm gonna follow you." I hope he does.)

I had lunch with another noteworthy songwriter today--Jonny Fritz.  Tomorrow he joins Nikki Lane for a northern midwest tour.

As for me, it's "westward ho" on Friday the 13th when I drive to Memphis for a performance at Amurica, then Valentine's Day in Oklahoma City, Dallas the day after that, and on and on until I reach the coast . . .

Friday, January 30, 2015

Thanks to Jack Metcalf & serendipity I silk-screened 100 fresh pillowcases yesterday!

Now I am officially ready for my tour which starts tomorrow morning . . .
First stop:  Denver, CO.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Here's how my February tour is lining up:
Feb. 2 - Denver, CO - Groundhog Party! 7pm
Feb. 3 - Tulsa, OK - Shadrienne's, 7pm
Feb. 4 - Grassy, AL - Driskell House, 7pm
Feb. 5-8 - Monteagle, TN (songwriter's retreat)
Feb. 9-12 - Nashville, TN (potential recording)
Feb. 13 - Memphis, TN - Amurica, 8pm, $10
Feb. 14 - Oklahoma City, OK - Sadler's Saddles, $10, 7pm
Feb. 15 - Dallas, TX - Semrad Central, $10-$20, 7pm
Feb. 17 - Marfa, TX - Buck'n'Camp's Camp, $10, 8pm
Feb. 19 - Lubbock, TX - The Hedgehouse, $10, 8pm
Feb. 20 - Albuquerque, NM - Baker-Dowd Crowd, $10, 7:30pm
Feb. 21 - Las Vegas, NV - Harley's House, $10, 8pm
Feb. 26 - Portland, OR - Doverlaff Tiki Lounge, $15, 6:30pm
Mar. 1 - Olympia, WA - TBA
FYI, I tend to post more music-related stuff on my Rappin' Cowboy Music Facebook page than I do here.  Please check it out!

Email me at rappincowboy@gmail.com with questions.

Saturday, January 03, 2015