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Zach Fountain (rushmore beekeepers) at Couch by Couchwest 2015

For this year’s Couch By Couchwest music festival – in its fifth year! – I moved some instruments into the living room to record an electrified, drum-looped version of “your pretty black bow.” Carrie, the wearer of the pretty black bow, staged the couch very nicely. Unlike last year, Kyla doesn’t make an appearance (in this video, anyway).

Watch rushmore beekeepers play “your pretty black bow” at CXCW 2015, and spend the rest of your week couch-surfing (or working, or doing whatever you need to) with some good tunes from musicians all over the world.

On October 25 I played a show at Cherrywood Coffeehouse, a delightful spot that features (in addition to great coffee, of course) food, beer and a neighborly, welcoming atmosphere. I’m playing there again on November 15 and already looking forward to it.

rushmore beekeepers - live music at Cherrywood Coffeehouse in Austin, TX

The stage at Cherrywood Coffeehouse is outside on the patio (also dog-friendly; if only my dogs were more social), and though the weather wasn’t as fall-like as I would’ve hoped it was still nice, and got nicer and cooler into the evening.

Although it may have been a little risky for my first show at the venue, I decided to try some new tricks; not magic tricks, sadly, but performing with a loop pedal for the first time. I practiced the heck out of five songs: “lost in the lack of a moment,” “the alien,” “a good impression,” “where our smiles belong,” and “more of the world,” eager to get the loops right and anxious about doing something that involved so much coordination. I don’t get nervous about playing shows, but I do tend to forget my words (part of the rushmore beekeepers charm, right?) and/or goof up a little here and there. So, yeah, the idea of playing with a drum beat and other instruments got me into practice mode. This is also the biggest change to my live set-up in a long time, so I’ve been feeling the pressure.

Carrie took a couple videos with her phone (one clip and one full song, including a false start and some funny faces), and I think overall the loop experiment was a success. I’m excited to try it with more instruments, more songs and some electric guitar. After all, my Danelectro Hodad is back and ready to rock.

As a solo and mostly acoustic musician I’ve never been very comfortable with a strictly folk/singer-songwriter label, so I’m excited to bring some of my electric and more developed material back into my live sets. Having to pack, set-up and tear down the equipment for a full band? Well, that’s something I’ll have to get used to.

P.S.: Those birds you hear are not in the band. The rushmore beekeepers band, anyway.

rushmore beekeepers - Zach Fountain at Whip In, Austin, TX

Photo Credit: Amy Zamarripa

Showtime! I’m playing two shows in Austin this July. I’ll be at Whip In on Tuesday, July 22 and at Fair Bean Coffee on Saturday, July 26. The talented Amy Zamarripa is hosting a great line-up at both shows, and I can personally vouch for the food, drinks, and atmosphere at both venues. Find out more and map it out on the rushmore beekeepers shows page.

Also, here are some things I’m doing that will surely help me write more songs:

  • Read more. I’m currently reading The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory by Jesse Walker. An interesting read, although I’m not sure if it will inspire any songs, or if those songs will get me added to any New World Order/Illuminati watch lists.
  • Play more electric guitar. I finally got my Danelectro Hodad fixed and I’m ready to make some noise. (The last time I recorded with that guitar was on today is boring.)
  • Write more, even if I end up not using the material. I feel like I’ve slacked a lot when it comes to writing as an exercise.

Zach and Kyla take a break from rehearsing. Dakota is camera shy.

2014 was the year I finally managed to record a video for Couch by Couchwest, a kind of stay-at-home music festival. Musicians record songs on couches or in other non-stage settings for people who don’t want to (or can’t afford to) go to South by Southwest. Kyla helped me out on this song – or at least part of it, until signing out with her dog collar tambourine solo. (Her musical talents can also be heard on the Live From Las Vegas version of “The Sun is Out (Boom Cat)” by The Yellow Dress.)

Watch rushmore beekeepers play “some deeper meaning” live at CXCW 2014

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