All posts by anthonyb

Bear in the Bay this January

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I am super excited to announce …

3 Performances this Week – all in the Bay Area!

And I couldn’t be more excited with some of the artists that I get to share the stage with.

First ….

It Starts Tomorrow Night!! January 18th at No Name Bar

I am performing with the Migrant Pickers at the No Name Bar, one of the coolest local fixtures in Sausalito that is continually supporting live musicians. The show will have a through provoking lyrical lineup of singer/songwriters including Jonathan Westfall, the Migrant Pickers and me.

Show starts at 8ish and goes until whenever. I go on at about 10ish or so.
No Name Bar is a really cool little bar … gotto check it out!! Oh and be careful not to smoke joints on the back porch … I got in trouble for that once. But Bear Blend is fine.

No Name Bar, 757 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

Next Sunday at Hotel Utah with Room of Voices

I am so excited to grace the stage of Hotel Utah, another historic music fixture in San Francisco, with one of my favorite new bands that are just smoking hot. You have to come check out the soundscapes and dance structures of Room of Voices, an indie electro-pop duo featuring Mingo Lewis and Karissa Ssapien. Mingo Lewis os only one of the greatest drummers and percussionists that I have ever heard. Here’s a snipit of his bio …

In a career spanning more than 45 years (so far!), percussionist Mingo Lewis has played with some of music’s greatest names, including Chick Corea (and Return to Forever), Al DiMeola, Santana, and the Tubes. He has performed live and/or recorded with hundreds of musicians such as Third World, Miles Davis, Todd Rundgren, and Billy Joel. He has recorded over 100 records, many of which were Grammy winners. Read More Here

Join the Facebook Event – January 25th at 8pm

Hotel Utah 500 4th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

Wednesday January 28th at Farley’s

Next Wednesday, I will be playing at Farley’s Coffee in San Francisco with a the Matt Bacnis Band touring outfit from Seattle with a new style of indie country pop. Check out one of their YouTube Video Here …

I’ve never played at Farley’s before but it looks like a super cool venue. And this show starts early – at 6:30. Come on out and enjoy some well crafted local music in a cool San Francisco Cafe … sounds a little like a multi-cultural, eye-opening experience for anyone wandering the city on a Wednesday Evening. It will definitely be a moment to remember.

Thank you all so much for supporting live music! Carry on into the musical night!

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The Famous Hermit

There’s nothing like the smell of the ocean air sitting on the porch on Navy Rd with my guitar singing to the wind and the paddle boarders floating by. They wave eagerly because they think that I must be a big name musician to be sitting there writing songs with a view like that. Its all about perception. We can always look bigger than we really are.

It was really easy to look big when I was being broadcast on a the megatronic stage-side screen in front of thousands of cheering music lovers. They didn’t know me before that, but once they saw me on that screen, they believed. But even after all these years and hundreds of performances, truth be told, I still feel like the same lonely kid hitchhiking through Europe with a guitar on my back. Everyone always welcomes me with open arms, so it feels like I belong to everyone and but really I belong to no one. I am like a famous hermit. I am most comfortable either surrounded by large groups of wide eyes and open hearts or meditating alone on a stone in the redwoods. Those are my two jams.

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We live in a time of giant movements of energy, artists with viral videos, people making huge money and then loosing everything in a heartbeat. But I still remember what it feels like to live in a Tipi on a dirt floor. I still remember what it feels like to lay out in the psychedelic grass and stare at the dancing stars. I can hear the voice of my own heart, thanks to all my wisdom teachers and spirit mentors. And while I enjoy my moments of blissful solitude, I crave the big stage and the lights and the tears and the laughter and the music. I want to hear my voice amplified to thousands. I want to hear the delicate strumming of the guitar elevated to all your ears so that you feel it echo in your soul. I want to connect with you all and have the best night of all of our lives. So, right now, I am just starting to perform again after a long break. And, although in my past I have performed with bands and crews, I am gearing up to hit the road this time as a solo artist. This time I will be relying on the orchestra of angels to be my backup band. And I just want everyone to know, that I am more on fire than I ever have been.

Oh and call me right away, because I am ready to come to your town and share that moment with you now. And this too shall pass.

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Music is Fifty Percent Listening

angel_musicMany of you know me as a musician. Some of you know that I am an entrepreneur and creative director. Some of you know that I am a workaholic and very passionate about what I am doing. But barely anyone knows what the world is like inside of my mind and my heart. No matter how acutely we listen to the intricacies of each others words and thoughts, there is so much that we do not know about each other. It is easy to make us stories and sing songs, but often the hardest part about connecting with the world is listening. Learning to truly listen to every subtle vibration.

I studied Thomas Merton and St. Anthony and I learned the secrets of the silence. I sat in silent circles listening and waiting for god to breathe through us. One of my most profound musical influences was a man named Max who lived in Mount Shasta. He taught me how to play the gongs and the prayer bowls, how to use them to “communicate with the angels”. He said that the angels love music because it makes them feel almost as if they are alive, as if they have skin and bones and breath and sensation like us.

He told me, that when I am channeling music, I am creating a conduit to the angels so that they can come and listen to what real human emotions sound like. He said that through my music they will understand love and pain, triumph and defeat, struggle and resolution. “But,” he said, and this was the most crucial part, “you must never fill the whole conduit with your sounds. Only fill half of it and leave the other half empty. In the 50% of silence, listen for the angels and you will hear them singing back to you.” When he told me that, it was like an LSD epiphany that tickled my DNA and reminded me of what I already knew.

Music is about fifty percent listening.

I spent years cultivating the stillness to listen to even the most subtle frequencies. Sometimes, I sing one song and then just wait and listen. When I am quiet enough, I can hear the angels singing all the time. In my heart, I am always holding space for the angels, I am listening to the earth and the birds. The earth is always singing. The challenge is to be quiet enough so that we can really listen to each other as if we were each other’s angels.

If I Could Learn to Fly

bear-ontheroad-16If I could learn to fly
Would I be the one who realizes?
If I could start again
Would I still be your friend?
If I could be free
Would I fulfill all my dreams?
If I could run away
Would I miss my old ways?

All the puzzle pieces are right here in my hands
My higher purpose is trying to hunt me down
This mirage of senses is something I don’t understand
Choirs of voices are conducting the invisible plan

And its calling me out
Knocking on my door
She’s is calling me out
Come play with me once more

If I could be with her
Would I play out the same old story?
If I could have it all
Would I waste it all away again?
If I could win the prize
Would I be the one who recognizes it?
If I could be loved
Would I truly receive it?

And all the puzzle pieces are mixed up in my hands
All natures powers are pulling me all directions
My emotions are are frying circuits in my brain
I want to understand why
Need to understand why
Will never understand why why why why

And its calling me out
Even if I don’t know what to say
Oh yes she’s calling me out
Time to go outside and play ….

IF I could learn to fly
Oh I want to be the one who realizes.

Indie Artist of the Month – Music Zeitgeist

singing-bear-guitar_artisticEven as we listened through dozens upon dozens of entries and comers for February 2011′s top indie act, we couldn’t resist Singing Bear’s confident but sultry, groovy but ethereal eclectic song catalog. Not having a clue who this enigmatic but prolific talent was, we asked him about the name and the music and here is what returned:

MusicZeitgeist.com: Who is Singing Bear?
My name is Anthony Singing Bear…that is part Native American but mostly just regular American. My mom named me Singing Bear long before I was a singer. I began writing songs in 1999 when I was hitchhiking through Europe on an adventure of my own crafting. Actually, to be honest, I ran out of money when I was in Belgium and just started playing the blues on the streets of Antwerpen with my case out one day and actually made like 120 Euros or something like that (it was in Belgian currency at that time).

So I started to do this everyday for a while and saved up some money. I was doing pretty well in fact, and the fun part of the whole experience was that because nobody understood english all that well, I was able to sit there and make up lyrics on the spot all day, and it did not have to make sense at all. Thus began my exploration of improvisational songwriting.

I wrote so many songs in the past ten years that I have really lost count – well over 100. Many of them I have even recorded but just don’t play anymore. I am really an artist of the moment, I like to create music as it comes to me without trying to recreate it the same every time, that is what CDs are for. I am going for a live performance that is always new and fresh and surprises everyone. To this day, My band and I will often make up at least one or two songs on the spot at any one of our live shows.

My band includes myself, Anthony Singing Bear on acoustic guitar, lead vocals, keys, harmonica, percussion and more, Kevin Njikam on electric guitar and keys, Travis Porter de Leon on drums, Jared May on bass, and Sandra Chocolate Bear (my wife) on backup vocals. Throughout the years, we have co-created with many other great players as well and of course have played in any number of arrangements which is why my EPK says two to five members of the band. The longest member of my band is Kevin. We met in San Francisco in 2006 and have been playing together ever since.

MZ: Talk about the kind of music do you play
Really its like, “Well what kind of music do you like, because I can probably play it.” Mostly we wind up classified under pop singer/songwriter because many of our songs tend to have catchy lyrical hooks. But when it comes to a live performance, anything is game from world beat to reggae to jazz to jam. Mostly we just put it all under the jam heading. But one thing that sets us apart from other so called “jam bands” is that we actually improvise lyrics and whole new songs in the moment. We move from ballads to funk, reggae to latin, and folk to straight rock. We love it all, anything that makes our hearts sing and our bodies shake.

MZ: Where?
We are currently based out of the Bay Area. Most of the band lives in Berkeley but I live in Marin county, just north of the city out in the hills. I love being close to the city, but the country is really where I feel most at home. We have been playing all over California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado mostly with a few annual trips to Hawaii. I am originally from Ohio, but moved to San Francisco in 2005.

Almost immediately I was swept in to the new counterculture of health consciousness and spiritual transformation that is emerging now. It is mostly based on cultivating a sort of spiritual elation through the use of meditation, highly nutritious organic foods and psychedelic plants. Many songs erupted out of me through this experience that have since become new mantras for this sub-culture. But with this latest release “Gold” we are suddenly poised to launch into a wider audience and are excited to see everyone else’s reaction to our vibe.

MZ: What motivates your output?
To be honest, I was actually living in a Tipi on an organic farm in the middle of Meigs County Ohio when I was struck with the calling to share my music with the world. After returning home from my 6 month European Gypsy Vacation, I moved into a Tipi on the family farm and went into a sort of seclusion for about 6 months. During that time I was very introverted and pretty much worked on the farm, meditated, and wrote songs.

One morning I woke up at dawn and went out bare-footed into the snow. I stood there staring off into the woods when suddenly a deer sprang up on me and came very close to me. It seemed to look me in the eye as if it wanted to tell me something. Honestly, I cannot explain what happened at that moment, but after that I became sort of obsessed with the notion that I was supposed to go out and play music.

Ever since then I have been on a mission to play to as many ears and hearts as I can – so that is what motivates me, I guess. Partly I think sometimes that I am singing for the wild beasts that don’t have as much of a voice in our human dominated world.

MZ: When will you know your work is done?
Until the end of time. Music never ends. Taken from the song “EarthSong” – “I didn’t write this song, oh no, I’m just singing along. It’s the same old song and it’s always been sung forever on and on. Long before there was man there was music, all over the land the birds were singing, the waves were crashing, the wind was howling and the earth was beating on her drum. There’s always been music, always been music, there will always be music forever on and on. There will always be music, we will always be singing earth’s sweet song, you can’t help but sing along…”

Read on MusicZeitgeist.com

Singing Bear “Gold” – by Heather Miller-Rodriguez

gold_cover_final-300x300Bay Area artist Singing Bear may have grown up in Ohio, but with his conscious style, it comes as no surprise that he has found his audience in California, dense with New Age spirituality. His unabashedly awakened lyrics may prove too far out for some, but given a chance, Singing Bear’s superb musicianship and sensual vocals just may win over new fans and lead to new awakenings. For those already in a similar mindset, his new album Gold is a perfect mix of dance tracks and folk pop.

The title track of Gold quietly shimmers in with pads, acoustic guitar and Singing Bear’s hypnotic voice. Drums and harmony kick in on the line “lift me up” in a wonderful moment of prosody and the song turns danceable. The lyrics advocate reaching for dreams, not allowing anyone to get in the way of his and then promising not to get in anyone else’s way either.

“Believe” keeps the dance vibe going with a funky New Age rap about saying yes, and a soaring melodic chorus about believing and accepting the blessings of day-to-day life. The instrumental solo rocks out with wah-wah electric guitar. “Relax Intuit” begins with a scorching blues harmonica and chronicles the struggles of a seeker’s path, first breaking out of the programmed ideas of the system, and then frustrated with whether or not he is “meditating right”. As Singing Bear continues to find his way, the more he looks, the more he embraces the mystery. The song encourages him to relax, use heart and intuition to guide him through life, because spirit always knows what is for the highest good.

An atmospheric rock intro opens “Again”, which speaks to the hard times of today and the fear of what might come, but asks why be afraid of what we don’t know? The only constant is that everything is going to change again and again. Singing Bear declares he would rather sing out of tune than not sing at all, rather die trying than live a lie and asks us to go deeper into our own hearts. Slowing things down even further, “Beautiful Life” starts with sparse acoustic guitar and pads. Drums, vocal doubling, and harmony on chorus fill out the song to dreamy rock. As the lyrics “It’s a beautiful life, such a beautiful life” repeat, we believe, because Singing Bear acknowledges that doesn’t mean everything is perfect. We all run ourselves in circles and fall down from time to time, but we have each other to remind us to rise up again with gratitude.

The rolling, shuffling, rhythm of “Walking and Dancing” picks up the pace with an infectious dance beat, a head-bobbing bass line and a hot electric guitar solo. Keeping things hot, the sensuous reggae of “Reach Back” with a thick bass line and tight drums, speaks to how we all grow on the same tree, are fruits on the same vine. If we reach back to the moment of creation we all started from the same seed. Smoking horns on the solo section turn the heat up a notch further.

Before burning us up completely, Singing Bear cools it down with “H2O”. The song opens with an American Indian Elder offering a prayer of thanks to water for how it sustains and nourishes all life on the planet. Very atmospheric, watery synth builds below Singing Bear’s almost chant-like continuation of the theme before breaking into a funky love song to the ocean. Following up with the slow, mellow rock of “Earth Song”, Singing Bear claims he didn’t write the song but rather just joined in with what the planet has been singing since the beginning. He elaborates to say we’re all singing Earth’s song whether we know it or not, and because of this there will always be music. Bluesy organ adds an extra layer of soul to the already soulful vocals.

Perhaps wisely, the well crafted track listing of Gold saves the most “out there” songs of the bunch for the end, because by this time you are already a Singing Bear fan, prepared for whatever ride he takes you on. “Molecular Transport” starts out with a red-hot wailing harmonica. A seventies style ska flavored guitar vamps behind a lyrical ride through parallel universes and third eye openings. “Mind Sex”, encouraging mental foreplay, is a super funky throwback to Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”. An extremely deep voice both harmonizes and adds sexy commentary throughout, while an ethereal synth line floats over the low funk bass, giving further emphasis to the merging of spirituality and sensuality.

With a tight band that effortlessly moves through a variety of dance genres and a clear, confidant, and mesmerizing voice, Singing Bear is sure to continue building a devoted fan base. Having the musical chops to hold his own playing next to someone like Jason Mraz, some may misguidedly counsel Singing Bear to mold his lyrics into something more commercial, but in an age over-stuffed with commerciality, what the world needs is more Singing Bears.

Review by Heather Miller-Rodriguez
Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)

Music Monday – by Aldon Hynes

bear-ontheroad-22Looking in my Sonicbids inbox I found a new submission from Singing Bear. I get all kinds of submissions and I like to encourage people to listen to greater diversity in music. So, I clicked on the link, expecting to find music videos by Little Bear or something like that. Little Bear was a favorite cartoon of my daughters when they were young and I imagined someone taking that sort of spirit into folk music, the sort of performers we love to listen to at the family stage at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.
Well, Singing Bear doesn’t get his name as part of a cute marketing idea. Singing Bear, part Native American, was named Anthony Singing Bear by his mother. He doesn’t sing the sort of songs that you would expect to find on Nick Jr. However, he brings a special spirit to his music that we need more of, both in the music scene as well as in the children’s television scene.

All of the music on his electronic press kit was enjoyable and a pleasant addition to my eclectic mix of music. Many of the lyrics were laden with important messages, but nothing jumped out at me so I thought it might be hard to write a good review of his music.
Then I checked his YouTube channel. He’s got fifteen videos up, more than many performers I review. What is more fun is that besides the standard poorly framed videos of performances at one venue or another, or even well shot videos from recording studios, he has people’s music videos. Supported has wonderful images of rock formations, sunsets, campfires, and road trips.

About The Mountain he writes:

This was recorded, both music and film, and edited in one day out in Bodega Bay. This is where I live, and the beautiful Goddess in the film is the one and only Chocolate Face, my adored Wife and Mother of little Baby Bear (coming soon . . . ) We are so blessed in this life and always reaching towards each other always coming a little bit closer to knowing who we are.

Read the Rest on Orient Lodge.

Jump in & Let it go

This was not an easy life choice. Nine years ago I was living in a tipi in Ohio without electricity or running water. I lived through the winter in that beautiful and peaceful space far removed from any town with flashing lights and industry. One morning, I woke up and went outside into the snow naked like a wild animal, peeing on a tree, when I looked up and I realized this deer was staring at me. It was like the deer wanted to say something to me, but I just looked back puzzled. Then, after staring me down for some time, it finally walked away very peacefully into the oak trees as if finally giving up on me. Later that day as I was meditating, I could not get that beautiful deer’s eyes out of my mind. I kept seeing her looking at me so deeply, through my soul, and me looking back stupidly as if I has spent years in her country but still did not know her language. Then it dawned on me. The deer was trying to say something to me.

I meditated on that one for several weeks before I finally got it. One morning, it happened again that I went outside naked to pee in the snow and I realized that my time had come. There was a deeper longing in me that would never be satisfied if I simply lived in a tipi in the middle of nowhere without expressing my findings with the world. From the city to a wild organic farm I had ventured, and now it was time to share my findings with the world. That was 2001 when I first starting playing music in the small town of Athens, Ohio. Since then I have dedicated my life to sharing the messages and wisdom of nature through music. That is why I say these songs are not my own. They are truly written by the bears and the deer and the turtles. My name was given to me by my mother long before I had found this pursuit in me. So after 4 years of expressing myself in a small town Athens – I went to the big city of San Francisco and took on my name – Singing Bear. Since 2005, the inception of this myspace page, I have been “Singing Bear”.

kinopoisk.ruLast week I got to hang out with Jason Mraz, an amazing musician and beautiful person. He really honored me and my music. But it was something that he said to me that inspired me the most. He said, “What does it truly mean to be a success? When I packed up my car 10 years ago and decided t enter fully into music, from then on I was a success.” Well he is certainly doing fucking amazing right now. But he’s right! For the past year and a half I have decided to do nothing but music, and now it has already grown so much in such a short time, that I already feel successful. I wrote this song yesterday to remind me to jump right in, don’t hold back, live your story, and you will be successful!

Thanks Jason! Thanks also to Eric Saperston the creator of the movie “The Journey” a definite must see! What inspiration! This song is a reminder for you and all of us – thank you!