Throwing a CD Release Party for WLAA in Hilo

Kahuina Gallery.jpg

Today I decided to have a CD release party for What Living’s All About while I am here on the Big Island. I called artist Tomas Belsky, whose Kahuina Gallery in downtown Hilo is a favorite bohemian haunt, the scene of poetry readings, left wing political gatherings, and small dances and concerts. I got to know Tomas when I was organizing for Kucinich in 2004; he hosted our meetups at the gallery. Tomas was more than gracious in offering the space for my event on Friday, September 1, at 8 PM, right after the poetry reading.

Next I called Peter Serafin, now the editor of the Hawaii Island Journal, which is the alternative paper in these parts. I met him through Sachiho Kudomi, the leader of Amana, when she and the band came here to the Big Island to do a tour I set up for them. Peter has worked many years as a journalist in Japan, and generously provided me with a list of media contacts in Tokyo. He bent the rules at the Journal to get my event into the calendar even though I called a couple of days after the deadline. He also requested a copy of the CD for a review.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald’s calendar has a more leniant deadline since it’s a daily instead of a bi-monthly paper. I listed the event in their calendar through their online robot. They don’t review CDs.

I have emailed all of my friends on the Big Island for whom I have current email addresses. I’ve posted to my blog. Next I will design and print a flyer and post it on bulletin boards.

I contacted a couple of local radio stations for airplay. KAPA Radio has already featured my second CD, Living in Hawaii Style, in its rotation in 2002 and 2003. I don’t know that they play jazz and blues. The other station, KHBC, certainly does; they are so eclectic that I will bring all three of my CDs when I stop in to meet Brad (who has a great radio voice) on Monday.

All that being done, it’s all about rehearsing, gathering up my sound equipment and making sure it all works well, and making sure there are enough chairs. I love performing, and this will be very casual, with lots of friends and not too much pomp and circumstance.

Follow up: It’s the next day after the show.  Kahuina Gallery is not a large room, but it was ‘way overflowing with friends and fans for my show.  I was ecstatic to be performing for them, and they cheered me roundly and bought CDs.  I’m hoping to post a bit of the video on my Sonic Bids page.


buy What’s Living All About

America The Blues

America The Blues
Lyrics and liner notes by Alicia Bay Laurel
from her new CD What Living’s All About

Podcast of America the Blues 

(Hear the first two minutes of this song on CD Baby)

This is a song about speaking truth to power—not only to despots, but to our own collective power. The operative lyric here is VOTE. If everyone who could vote actually did vote, we could elect representatives who would work with us to reverse the vast environmental, public health, diplomatic, and human rights problems we earth-dwellers face, and make this a sustainable, joyful world for all who live in it, now and in the future. To vote well, we need truthful media (for example or Also, we vote daily with our money; we need to support businesses that further sustainability and social justice, and boycott the rest. We need elections with state-financed candidates and hand-countable paper audits. Thank you.

Katharine Lee Bates wrote the lyrics to American the Beautiful on July 4, 1893; the melody comes from the hymn Materna, composed by Samuel A. Ward in 1882. Ms. Bates, a professor of English literature at Wellesley College, prolific poet and author, and ardent feminist, lived openly as a lesbian with her lifelong partner, Katharine Coman, Dean and professor of economics at Wellesley.

Curiously, the lyrics to America the Blues also revealed themselves on July 4th, while I was registering voters for the 2004 presidential election.

Arranged by Alicia Bay Laurel and Ron Grant, Singing and Speaking Vocal, Rhythm Guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel, Speaking Vocals: Jody Ashworth and Jessica Williams, Vocal Harmonies: Alicia Bay Laurel, Ron Grant and Jody Ashworth, Electric Guitar: Nels Cline, Electronic Symphony Orchestra: Ron Grant, Upright Bass: John B.Williams, Drums: Enzo Tedesco

America, the beautiful,
You’re thorny as a rose:
Radiation, global warming
Poisoned food from GMOs.
Your poor die sick and hungry,
And your wealthy live tax-free,
While they murder ancient forests
The soil and the sea.

America, America,
Greed sheds disgrace on thee.
Vote corporations out of power;
Revive democracy
For future generations
And human decency.

America, don’t blow it
All to smithereens.
You don’t need nukes; you don’t need slaves,
And you don’t need gasoline.
What you do need is compassion,
And respect for human rights,
Permaculture, sustainable systems,
Mediation instead of fights.

America, don’t wave that flag
To con us with your jive.
If the multi-nationals have their way
Even rich folks won’t survive.
We’re all family here on this planet,
So lay down that smoking gun,
And start sharing with your neighbors;
There’s enough for everyone.

I pledge allegiance to the earth
In the myriad stars of the universe
And to all the beings who upon her stand
One family, indivisible,
With liberty and justice for all.

America, America,
Greed sheds disgrace on thee.
Vote corporations out of power,
Revive democracy
For future generations
And human decency.

Don’t wave that flag at me;
Try human decency.

Reviews of What Living's All About


TOP 12 DIY PICKS by Mare Wakefield, Indie Music Editor

What Living’s All About—a title that’s appropriate for a woman who has lived her life with such gusto. A Bohemian artist, Alicia Bay Laurel lived on a houseboat off Sausalito and a commune in Sonoma before spending 25 years on Maui. In addition to her music, she’s worked as a cook, collage artist, yoga instructor, wedding planner, underwater photographer and she’s the author of a New York Times bestseller, the whimsical Living on the Earth, first published in 1971.

The rich tapestry of her life translates to her music. In the Billie Holiday-esque “Floozy Tune,” Laurel plays the role of the Sunday School teacher turned barfly. In “America the Blues” she dishes out scathing political commentary to the tune of “America the Beautiful” (“America, America, greed sheds disgrace on thee / You don’t need nukes, you don’t need slaves, you don’t need gasoline”). She has fun with the smart “Aquarian Age Liberated Woman Blues” (“Seaweed for breakfast is good for you”) and the gospel-imbued “Doctor Sun and Nurse Water.” Laurel’s jazzy Earth-mother sound will seduce and inspire.

Review by John Stevenson of Ejazz News in London, June 2006

Dear Alicia,

Just a quick note from London. I have reviewed your last CD at It is excellent. As I wrote in the review, by far one of the best for 2006.

I get close to 200 CDs a week sent to me, but yours stood out because of its transparently high level of musicianship and sincerity – qualities which are very rarely found combined these days.

Kind Regards,

John Stevenson

Alicia Bay Laurel: What Living’s All About, Jazz Blues & Other Moist Situations (IWS)

With a provocative title like this one, Ms. Laurel will certainly catch the attention of any reviewer! This is most certainly one of the most audacious, heartfelt and honest discs I’ve put in my CD player for the year. Alicia (who sounds like the artistic love child of Joan Baez and Tom Waits) brings a folk-singer’s sensibility to bear on jazz and pulls no punches: On America The Blues, she declaims: America, the beautiful/you’re thorny as a rose:/Radiation, global warming/Poisoned food from GMOs./ She also sings a delightful version of Eden Ahbez’s Nature Boy. The accompaniment from guitarist Nels Cline, bass player John B. Williams and pianist Rick Olson is divine.

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Tom Hyslop
Blues Bites: Reviews in Brief

Alicia Bay Laurel conveys life’s sudden shifts and jarring juxtapositions on What Living’s All About (Indigo With Stars 003). Sandwiched between the opener, “Floozy Tune,” and “Aquarian Age Liberated Woman Blues,” two formally classic blues that could have come from Ma Rainey if not for the namechecks (belly dancing, astral projection, The I. Ching, bee pollen candy and natty dread), comes “America the Blues,” with strident references to economic inequality, environmental rapine, corporate greed, and political corruption. Laurel moves from girlish singing on the Twenties-style songs to this doomy incantation, the arrangement taking full advantage of the jaw-dropping talent of avant-guitarist Nels Cline (best known as Wilco’s secret weapon). With cuts such as “Doctor Sun and Nurse Water” (a gospel-drenched number with oddly matched lyrics), and the Fever tribute of the title track, Living will strike some as too California in its outlook. But lovely touches abound, such as the stately, quietly anthemic “Love, Understanding and Peace,” and Doug Webb’s beautiful alto work on “Zero Gravity.”


FEMINIST REVIEW, Friday, June 1, 2007
Alicia Bay Laurel – What Living’s All About

All would-be writers who have studied how to write know the rule: "show me don’t tell me." Visual artists find this advice easy to do and musicians are, perhaps, the same way. When the creative instrument does not rely solely on words, showing is not too difficult.

Alicia Bay Laurel wrote Living on the Earth, a cult classic and the first paperback on the New York Times Bestseller List (spring 1971), which has sold over 350,000 copies. She has also written five other books. Laurel is a talented, trained musician. She grew up playing classical piano, switched to guitar in her teens and learned open tunings from legendary guitarist John Fahey, a family member. On this latest album, What Living’s All About, she works with some of the best musicians in the field, including avant garde guitar hero Nels Cline.

Alicia Bay Laurel tries to show and tell by weaving feelings, melody and an occasional diatribe word. She celebrates the Earth (nature) and embraces her sensuality. She also loudly laments the destruction of the environment, as in her song “America the Blues,” where the listing of our environmental sins drags a bit. At the same time, the song is strangely effective. The entwining hypnotic music ended with a smashing guitar rift, followed by a spine tingling sound of whale songs and a Native American Chant. This is an excellent protest song. Alicia Bay Laurel and Al Gore should be friends.

“Zero Gravity” is a haunting song about a city at night, reminiscent of Ground Zero in New York City where the Twin Towers used to be. Laurel talks about sex in this CD and does it with class, sometimes with gentle humor, like “Floozy Tune.” However, you won’t know what she’s talking about unless you listen closely. This blend of jazz, blues and gospel is a powerful feminist statement. It’s fantastic!

Review by Patricia Ethelwyn Lang


"Floozy Tune" Wins Song Contest
7/9/2007 4:38:10 PM
“Floozy Tune”
Status: Selected
Congratulations, you have been selected as a Top 20 Finalist in the Jazz Category of the 11th Annual Unisong International Song contest. Results are at

This year featured the highest overall quality of songs, lyrics, and writers ever submitted by far, with the most diverse and varied entries from a multitude of countries representing every continent on Earth except Antarctica (and songwriting penguins out there).

The judging therefore was extremely competitive and to be singled out anywhere in the top 15% of all songs submitted was no easy feat.


Review of What Living’s All About by psychedelic folk radio DJ, Gerald Van Waes. His show, Psyche Van Het Folk, is on Radio Centraal, Antwerp, Belgium.

Like one of my favourite heartfelt singer-songwriter singers (Heather McLeod with ‘Funny Thing’, 1997), also Alicia went to more towards (slightly standard) jazz territories, but as a former hippie, it is clear this is not done as a compromise to please/tease a public. Her interpretations (-most songs are self penned-) are with great feelings, and a certain light happiness beyond each other idea or emotion. She describes the style mix well on the cover as "jazz, blues and other moist situations". With additionally a a bit of New Orleans influence on "Floozy Tune", and a bit of gospel on "Doctor Sun and Nurse Water" (about what the environment of Hawaii did to her), she wrote inspired something between jazz and jazz-blues and something else soulful. I like the idea on "America the blues" saying "America, don’t wave that flag to con us with your jive…".."we’re all family on this planet".. (Just imagine how America is built upon so many nationalities and bought talents from everywhere, unfortunately mostly still chosen from what are seen as the trustworthy countries and areas (so practically still excluding preferably the French, Spanish, and several Arab-speaking countries and native Indians for economic concurrence, racist, nowadays partly religious, and a few other reasons).. Potentionally I realize America still has all opportunities and a certain openness to experiment for those who succeed to start to participate in the system. This track, like a few tunes elsewhere has some, for me, rather amusing freaky electric avant-garde guitar by Nels Cline (Wilco,..). Alicia, for having experienced a certain earthbound process, matured, she still has the happiest aspects of the hippie; this sum must having benefited the soul and music of the singer, who on her recent photograph on the back cover still looks 25 or so, so I guess the message of this lies somewhere as a benefit hidden in the music. Rather brilliant as an interpretation I think is "Nature Boy" (originally by Nat King Cole, but also covered by Grace Slick), in an emotionally calm contrapoint-driven moody jazz style, with the help of John B. Williams on upright bass and Enzo Tedesco on other instruments. A really fine and enjoyable album.

Review by legendary guitarist Nels Cline on his website:

Alicia is a self-proclaimed “hippie chick” who I met through (drummer) Joe Gallivan. She had a hit book back in the 60s called [stay tuned for title – forgot it], which she says “was in practically every hippie commune outhouse in the west” (no doubt right next to “Be Here Now”!). This is, I believe, self-released, and is quite an odd but strangely entertaining, original, and disarming recording. It has a some amazing L.A.-based session/jazz players like (saxophonist) Doug Webb, who reaches beyond his Coltrane-esque tenor to turn in some beautiful post-Desmond alto, brilliant drummer Kendall Kay, and bassist John B. Williams, whom many may remember as the Fender player on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson for many years. There is a choir on here! The songs are sort of 1920s-30s era swing, acoustic swing blues, and… Well anyway, when someone like Alicia asks me to do tons of Hendrix-inspired shrieking and psych looping (“America The Blues”) or fuzzed out adversarial commentary (“It’s Not Fair”), I figure that when the disc comes out that the stuff will, as it usually is, be buried or cut out altogether. I was amazed when I heard this that Alicia REALLY WANTED these sounds and that THEY ARE REALLY LOUD! I don’t know what people who know my music will think of this, but there is something so wry and self-deprecatingly amusing about Alicia’s hippie anthems, protest songs, and tales of failed romance that I find myself grinning. Hmmmm….Oh yes, I also play slide, lap steel, and acoustic guitar on this. I’m on 4 or 5 tracks.


Review by Platinum-selling singer/songwriter Joe Dolce

I think this is a very creative record with a lot of wonderful ideas and performances and some pretty extraordinary playing, and endearing vocals all over the place. I like it a lot!! I liked all the songs much better on the second listen. A keeper. Good work.

The album is eclectic, diverse musical styles. Therefore, I can relate to it! What holds it altogether is Alicia’s musical ‘personae’ – the complex character she is creating, through her voice and ideas. As you get to know this character more and more, as the songs and ideas progress, you trust her more and it allows you to enter more easily into whatever type of musical style is coming next. (Also this trust is a reason to want to go back and listen again.) Also the IDEAS are clear. The lead vocals are strong with a lot of presence. The musicians are all brilliant and the soloing is tasteful and creative – no cliches or stumbling around musically anywhere to be found.

Re: "Nature Boy." I believe that if you can take the listener to a unique Hilltop, and give them a view that they will never forget, even ONCE in a recording or performance, that is enough. One brilliant moment builds a bridge of trust between you and them that will allow them to be more open to whatever you do from then on, even if they don’t relate or understand it. (You may never be able to take them to that High Point again but it doesn’t matter – it’s like great sex or great playing- you may not be able to LIVE with that person, but you will NEVER forget that encounter.) This track took me to that Hill. I feel different now about the whole recording.

Re: "I Could Write a Book." This track is the track where I first gasped: genius! What an amazing idea. A track like this makes me have to listen to the whole CD over again to see if I missed anything the first time around on those opening tracks. A totally inspir
ed idea that works. No one else has ever done something like this with a standard. Perfect. I played this one for Lin. She liked it a lot, too. (She didn’t think her publisher would like it though! ha ha!)
Joe Dolce
Melbourne, Australia


Raves for What Living’s All About

I love you !!!!!!!
You are a wonderful ray of light in my life.
Your music, messages, visuals & CD are extraordinary.
Bravo – really a fabulous job on the disc.
I had something like a religious experience upon hearing it for the first time.
A most expertly guided journey.
I later played America The Blues on my program,
on a show w/ ‘The Dark Blues’ as the theme …I think it is on its way to being a timeless classic…. (unfortunately ?!!)… killer though — love so many things about it… fave maybe the background vocals.

Yours on all planets,

Charles Blass
Audio Gumbo
89.9 FM WKCR
New York City

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I’m a blues/roots programmer and dj for WPFW, 89.3 FM, a 50,000-watt
non-commercial station in Washington, D.C. and I report to the Living
Blues Radio Chart.

I read a good review of What’s Living All About in Blues Revue magazine
a while back; can you send a promo copy for possible airplay?

Thanks and let me know if you need anything else,

Elliott Gross
The Don’t Forget the Blues Hour

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I think this is a very creative record with a lot of wonderful ideas and performances and some pretty extraordinary playing, and endearing vocals all over the place. I like it a lot!! I liked all the songs much better on the second listen. A keeper. Good work.

The album is eclectic, diverse musical styles. Therefore, I can relate to it! What holds it altogether is Alicia’s musical ‘personae’ – the complex character she is creating, through her voice and ideas. As you get to know this character more and more, as the songs and ideas progress, you trust her more and it allows you to enter more easily into whatever type of musical style is coming next. (Also this trust is a reason to want to go back and listen again.) Also the IDEAS are clear. The lead vocals are strong with a lot of presence. The musicians are all brilliant and the soloing is tasteful and creative – no cliches or stumbling around musically anywhere to be found.

Re: “Nature Boy.” I believe that if you can take the listener to a unique Hilltop, and give them a view that they will never forget, even ONCE in a recording or performance, that is enough. One brilliant moment builds a bridge of trust between you and them that will allow them to be more open to whatever you do from then on, even if they don’t relate or understand it. (You may never be able to take them to that High Point again but it doesn’t matter – it’s like great sex or great playing- you may not be able to LIVE with that person, but you will NEVER forget that encounter.) This track took me to that Hill. I feel different now about the whole recording.

Re: “I Could Write a Book.” This track is the track where I first gasped: genius! What an amazing idea. A track like this makes me have to listen to the whole CD over again to see if I missed anything the first time around on those opening tracks. A totally inspired idea that works. No one else has ever done something like this with a standard. Perfect. I played this one for Lin. She liked it a lot, too. (She didn’t think her publisher would like it though! ha ha!)
Joe Dolce
Platinum-selling Singer-Songwriter
Melbourne, Australia

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Dear Alicia:
Thanks so much for your lovely message. I listened to “America the Blues” with great enjoyment. But I must say I was really taken with your rendition of  “Floozy Tune.”
I’m sorry to say I never read your book, but one of these days maybe I will.
Best wishes,

Howard Zinn
Historian, activist, social critic
Newton, Massachusetts

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It’s a charming CD.  It doesn’t sound like anything else that’s out there.  It says important things in an unassuming way.  It’s also very personal.  I really like it.
Nels Cline
Avant Garde/Jazz/Rock Guitarist of reknown
Los Angeles, California

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I wanted to touch base with you on what we’re playing from your new CD.
We have been playing the following tracks on a regular basis in our new music rotation:
Floozy Tune
America The Blues
Best Of The Rest Of You
Dr. Sun & Nurse Water
It’s a great disc and we are getting a nice response to it.

Andy Olson
Radio Host
Radio Free Phoenix

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I love your CD.  There are several songs we will soon add to the rotation.  But I had to start playing Floozy Tune right way.  It is SO funny!

Brad Freeman
Radio Host
KHBC Radio
Hilo, Hawaii

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I wanted to drop you a line to say I loved  “What Living’s All About.” My favorite tunes: “Aquarian Age Liberated Woman Blues,” “Doctor Sun & Nurse Water,” and I really resonated with “Sometimes it Takes a Long Time.”

Shana Ting Lipton
Travel and Culture Writer
Los Angeles, California

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Hi Alicia,

I don’t listen to KBHC that much, so I was tickled when heard
something from your CD on KBHC:  Floozy Tune.  This was last Saturday,
10:30 a.m.  Brad was substituting for Mynah Bird, the regular morning
DJ.  It was a trip and a treat!

Linda Kane
Honomu, Hawaii

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I found it last night, Alicia! And was able to listen to several cuts. Really enjoyed it! And so thank you for sending that!

Listened to (and read the lyrics of) America the Blues and really
liked that one as well. I love the song and, of course, everything about it is dead on; obviously it has a *very* strong political statement.

It would, of course, be perfect for The BRAD SHOW and I look forward to playing it at the next available opportunity!

Brad Friedman
The Brad Blog

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Feedback from Jackie Ryan, one of the greatest living jazz vocalists, IMHO:

I heard your CD!! WOW!!! FANTASTIC JOB, ALICIA!! GREAT TUNES!! WOWOWOWOWOW!!!  I can tell you put a lot into it. You did an EXCELLENT and very professional job. You should try selling some tunes to some big names!!!

Jackie recently sang in New York City:

Monday, August 28, 2006, 2 Sets: 7:30 & 9:30pm
Jazz At Lincoln Center: Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola
With Cyrus Chestnut: piano, Ray Drummond: bass, Carl Allen: drums, Eric Alexander: Sax, Jeremy Pelt: Trumpet, Romero Lubambo: guitar
Doors open at 6pm for the 7:30pm set

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I’ve been enjoying it and am always amazed when listening to it at how well done the whole CD is! Felicitations! The musical journey goes through some solid jazz (some fabulous players!), blues, swing, gospel, and folk – that’s a lot to cover in one CD! How on earth (or otherwise) did you categorize the album for online sales? Your voice sounds great – sultry at times, silky at times, and gutsy at times! The lyrics are very creative, inventive and out-of-the-box – a far cry from the usual bill of fare for songs you hear these days. It’s an art to make thoughtful, intelligent, clever and funny songs, and I would say all of these tunes are just that type of art. I hope you’re continuing to write songs like these!

Steve Grimes
Grimes Guitars
Maui, Hawaii

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Love your CD!  Thank you for being you!

Ruthie Ristich
Jazz Vocalist
Boston, Massachusetts

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Sassy, sexy, sophisticated and smart!

Sophia Songhealer
New Age Singing Goddess
Carmel Valley, California

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Howdy Alicia!  I hope this finds you happy, healthy and happy!
-L-O-V-E your NEW CD, “What Living’s All About”!!!
“Floozy Tune” is one of my favorites!  I can’t wait to share your tunes on the air.

Take Care- – – Miss Holley King
Radio Host
KBSZ-AM Saturdays 8 AM to 12 Noon
Radio Free Phoenix Sundays at 2 PM

Show No.21 – Sunday, June 25th, 2006 – “Bad To The Bone” – includes:
(the funny) – Alicia Bay Laurel – Floozy Tune

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Playlist for radioshow in 3 weeks from now :

Radioshow Psyche Van Het Folk
1st week of August : 2006-8-05  (8PM-10 PM),
on Radio Centraal, Antwerp Belgium 106,7 FM :

New acoustic releases, often with serious minimalist ideas..

Alicia Bay Laurel : What’s Living’s All About  Tr.8, “Nature Boy” 8 min -115

My favourite track of this new album of former hippie living in Hawaii. Jazz is a new inspiration. This Nat King Cole /Grace Slick interpretation is really well done.

3 releases reviewed : 

from Gerald Van Waes, Radio Host

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They are playing Dr. Sun and Nurse Water right NOW!
on Radio Free Phoenix.
I think it is Liz Boyle DJ-ing right now…
Cool huh!
Hope you are having a good day!

Miss Holley King
DJ Radio Free Phoenix

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It’s a terrific piece of artistry, and deserves to shine at its brightest! We’ve been enjoying Alicia’s new CD a whole lot. [re: Nels Cline] Wotta guitarist! Whoo-ee!

Ramon Sender Barayon
Electronic Music Pioneer and Author
San Francisco, California

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Soul sister beautiful Alicia


I got your wonderful new CD. Also CD cover art.

It is so great!! You reach higher place in mountain of music!

The message is so straight.  It came into my heart.

Music are so sophisticated. Your vocal is growing up.

So wonderful!!

We are enjoy it.

Always I can feel connected your spirit.

Goddess blessing you!

Sachiho Kudomi
Naha City

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Got Alicia’s new CD & really do think it’s the best ever. I dearly love jazz & blues anyway & Alicia’s voice is perfect for “Floozy Tune” – the first old timey song. Another of my favorites is “Best of the Rest of You”. I’m tempted to quote lyrics, which are all excellent. Anyway, far as I know, Alicia wrote all the songs except the classic “I Could Write a Book” in which she gives a little talk about the vicissitudes of the publishing business – a subject wherein she knows whereof she speaks. Youse guys are missing out if you don’t check this out. Alicia’s one of our own & she’s done us proud IMO.
Pam Hanna
Freelance writer, editor and critic
(writing on to our commune alumni Yahoo group Mostpost)
Thoreau, New Mexico

[Alicia notes: there are TWO jazz standards on WLAA, “I Could Write a Book” and “Nature Boy.”  The spoken words on “I Could Write a Book” are from literary agent Michael Larsen‘s book How To Write a Book Proposal, Third Edition (Writers Digest Books, 2003) and used with permission.] 

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i just got my sample of your disc….i must say, it looks AND sounds
very good! congrats on an excellent release! we do so many titles,
that it’s rare that i actually LIKE one. but, yours is certainly an
exception….totally going to get it on my iPod.

please don’t hesitate to contact me, if/when you have another need for CD or DVD manufacturing. same with your friends: send them directly to me and have them drop your name. i’ll certainly take care of them!
Joe Vent
AtoZ Media-Midwest
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

[Alicia notes: A to Z Media did a wonderful job manufacturing my CD and both Joe Vent (sales) and Sandra Gray (production) were a pleasure to do business with.  Very reasonable prices, too.]

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Dear Alicia:

The CD certainly arrived.  I waited until family left, as I like to listen to a new album with undivided attention (NOT as background music!).  I sat with the liner notes, read your commentaries and the lyrics.  I LOVE the album.  You are the most incredibly creative woman!

Floozy Tune is great fun.  I like traditional jazz and blues a lot, but tend to get lost in the current stuff.  Your sensibility pleases my ears! 
I’m recommending your web site to like-minded colleagues and friends.
Barbara Neighbors Deal, Ph.D.,
Literary Associates
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Dear Alicia:

It seems new CD is different arrange from ever work.
I enjoy many sound, may be your friends.
I love illustration of jacket too !

Koki Aso
Freelance Journalist
Kamakura, Japan

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The Hippie Museuem’s most cherished Fairy Godmother Alicia Bay Laurel, artist, musician, and author of “Living on the Earth”, the more than famous Hippie “bible” of back to the land living, has just released a new cd, “What Living’s All About”. The description on the cover reads “Jazz, blues and other moist situations”… Read what Alicia has to say about it, and follow links to purchase it on her site, as well as listen to clips on

Sudeaux at

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I’m sorry to late to mail. I went to Tokyo and Kanazawa. The day I back from Kanazawa, your CD came to my home. Thank you!!

When I listen your CD, [my teenaged daughter] Seina came home and she said,
“It’s cool! I love this CD!”

We are surprised that this CD has very different world from your 1st and 2nd CD.

I’d like to sell this CD also. Please ask GATS production to inform me when he releases your CD in Japan.

Thank you!!

with love,
Yoko Nema
Owner, Tata Bazaar
Naha City

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You are so friggin’ talented it makes me weep…
Thanks so much for sending me your new CD. I am enjoying it thoroughly!
Aloha nui loa, Barb
Barbara J. Fahs, M.A.
Hi`iaka’s Healing Herb Garden, LLC
Author of Super Simple Guide for Creating Hawaiian Gardens
Kea’au, Hawaii

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I listened this morning to all of the tracks and it’s great music.  I enjoyed Alicia’s voice and the arrangements—it was well worth the listen!
Connie Higginson-Murry
Midnight Blues Radio Show

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I was struck by the uniqueness of the sound and some of the melodies and voiceplay grabbed my attention!
Don Strachan
Author, Watsu Therapist and Tantra Teacher
Middletown, California

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I have listened to you music and I am stunned and delighted!!! I LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT! YES!!!!!! Man….. the jazzy bo ho beat sultry powerful oh yes.
Thank you , Alicia, for Being You!

…….Love, Char ~*
Webmistress of Hippie Museum
Santa Cruz, California

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Dear Alicia,

I just listened to your CD: “What Living’s All About”. Oh, every one of the
songs was really good. I especially liked the “doctor sun and nurse water”
which is, like the song you recited to me, a poem and a prayer at the same
time. I love the “nature boy” also. “it’s not fair” is funny and sad…
“america the blues”, so strong. The music, voice, the content of the songs
are all so good.

Through these 32 years, both of us have seen pleasure and pain, beauty and
sadness of life which, I think, made us closer.  I had such a deep feeling
of solace being with you.

Good night for now.

Kenichi Iyanaga
Saitama, Japan

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You did good, mama.
What a beautiful baby. I listened to her at CDbaby and bought it right away. Hilarious and absolutely GORGEOUS.
A Hearty Congratulations To You.
Thanks for sharing.
Emily Capehart
Permaculture Teacher
Pilot Point, Texas

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Vintage Alicia. Alicia at her best.
Milo Clark
Pahoa, Hawaii

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Lily Bastug performing Floozy Tune with her boyfriend Richard 2018

New Year card from Lily Bastug, of Santa Barbara, California

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The CD is eclectically superb! On to the 3rd listening…
Joel Goldfarb
Jazz Pianist
Makawao, Hawaii

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Your CD is a delight. I know good things will come of it.
Delia Moon
Santa Barbara, California

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I listened to all of the songs… GREAT, GREAT, GREAT!  You must be so proud because it really is awesome.

Thank you so much for bringing your spirit to the music world.  I will cherish this CD.

You never cease to amaze me. 🙂

Hope you have a beautiful day… you are a beautiful and blessed woman.

Peace, Love & Understanding 🙂


Redneck Riviera, Florida

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Aloha fairy godmother. I heard your latest album the other day with my mom. High props to you for creating a jazzy piece with a political message. Keep rockin!

My man and I are off the end of this week to Northern Cali for High Sierra Music festival to vend LalaSun. It should be fun.

Kisses to you.



Clothing designer/manufacturer
Honokaa, Hawaii
Live free & enjoy! Its the way to be.

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I listened to all of the songs and really enjoyed them.  I’m going to continue listening to your CD many more times.  Your songs show sensitivity, depth, and breadth of life experience.
Jerome Franklin MD
Los Angeles, California

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We got the CD…

Its so cool…
i love the cover design…
it sounds great!
you sound great!
you must be so proud and happy…
what a great accomplishment…
a completion af a trilogy…
WOW!!!  You go girl!!!

Lihau Daly
Hollywood, California

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Hi Alicia

I received What Livings All About last week (what a fast delivery!).  I love it!  And you signed the cover – thank you.  Your voice is so expressive.  It sounds better than ever.  The other musicians are great too.  Alan and I are enjoying it.

Lani Harriman
Cupertino, California

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Dear Alicia,
Congratulations on your new CD! My favorites are Floozy Tune, The Best of the Rest of You, and Dr. Sun And Nurse Water. I play them over and over. Your songs are a great de-stresser for me and and I love having my lifelong friend singing to me. It doesn’t get any better! Congratulations on your musical legacy to the world. Your hard work, planning, and determination has come to fruition! I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Huntington Beach, California

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Hi Dear Alicia,

Wonderful album! We listened as we drove to and from Tahoe this week.
There is such a great range of music and the styling is perfect.
Thank you!!
The protest song is great.
The literary statment at the end is a hoot and will be appreciated by every writer I know.

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Dearest Alicia,

Yes!  I got your wonderful CD.  It’s great to hear you with such an amazing back-up.  I especially loved the sax player.

Good luck with all your adventures.


Leslie Doolin
Topanga Art Tile

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I love your CD. You have such a pure voice and a great selection of tunes. Good for you.

Much love,
Stella Resnick, Ph.D
Los Angeles, California


All About "What Living’s All About"


buy What’s Living All About


Chosen by the indie editor of Performing Songwriter Magazine as one of the 12 Top DIY Picks in the May 2007 issue, praised as one of the best CDs he heard in 2006 by the editor of eJazz news in London, and hailed as “fantastic!” in the June 2007 issue of Feminist Review in New York city, What Living’s All About, Alicia’s CD debut as jazz diva and record producer, has a lot of people excited.  The opening cut, “Floozy Tune,” has placed in two international songwriting contests, Unisong International Songwriting Contest in 2007 and Indie International Songwriting Contest in 2008.

So what’s on the CD?

Alicia sings twelve catchy jazz, blues, and gospel tunes, ten of them original, including her in-your-face protest song, America the Blues, featuring avant garde guitar hero Nels Cline. Gorgeously (self) produced, with three ensembles of top notch professional players in an LA studio, What Living’s All About emanates sex, spirituality, cynicism, humor, hip repartee, and occasional righteous rage.  You can listen to all of the tunes on the WLAA page at CD Baby.

Other members of the cast include jazz upright bass legend John B. Williams (Nancy Wilson, Manhattan Transfer, Arsenio Hall Show Band, Tonight Show Big Band) and his red hot R & B vocalist wife Jessica Williams, who forms the gospel choir along with her daughter Vetia Richardson, and her friend Irene Cathaway (with whom she sings backup for Connie Stevens), gospel keyboardist Reverend Harold Pittman (Minister of Music at the Greater Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in South Central Los Angeles), woodwind wizard Doug Webb (who totally smokes on a different instrument on each of four songs), three fabulous top flight drummers: David Anderson, Kendall Kay, and Enzo Tedesco, fluid and cool jazz pianist Rick Olson, two rock-solid, multi-talented bassists: Kevin O’Neal and Chris Conner, versatile actor/vocalist Jody Ashworth, and soulful Liberian gospel singer Francis Nyaforh.

The tunes:

Floozy Tune: A 1920’s trad jazz tune about a girl who runs off with the band. Will make you Charleston, even if you don’t know how.

America the Blues: A love song to America, rallying voters to save her from corporate greedheads. Turn up your speakers.

Aquarian Age Liberated Woman Blues: The ultimate free-love hippie girl song complete with countercultural references.

Zero Gravity: Atmospheric jazz ode to night life in LA.

Doctor Sun and Nurse Water: Gospel blues waltz about the life-giving properties of sunlight and water.

What Living’s All About: Sex. Mid-century modern jazz in the style of “Fever.”

Sometimes It Takes a Long Time: A blues waltz that starts folk, ends gospel, and is uplifting enough be sung at a wedding.

Nature Boy: A spacy, improvised version, for voice, upright bass and percussion. Showcases the great John B. Williams.

Best of the Rest of You: Kick ass blues about the social mores of New Age bobos.

I Could Write a Book: Stylish rendition with classic jazz quartet and shocking revelations read from literary agent Michael Larsen’s book How To Write a Book Proposal.

It’s Not Fair: Jazzy blues bitch slap to an unfaithful lover and former creative collaborator. Great guitar solo by Nels Cline.

Love, Understanding and Peace: Gospel love ballad that reflects upon Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 13, which Alicia wishes that some Christians would take a little more seriously.

For those familiar with Alicia’s first two CDs, this one may come as a surprise. It has a much lower glycemic index and is not recommended for children. Alicia widens her range as an actress, and addresses sticky issues personal and public. She also collaborates as musician and producer with some of the most gifted players in Hollywood.  All three of Alicia’s CD covers are about women in ecstatic union with nature; this one is a moonlit, wet, surreal image with soft edges.

Listen to and/or buy the CD at CD Baby

Buy the CD directly from Alicia, and have her sign it to you (or whoever) in silver ink!

Reviews of What Living’s All About

Listener comments about What Living’s All About

Taxi A&R critiques of What Living’s All About


CD Cover Digital Layout

On Thursday night, April 6, 2006, I met with James Lee, the graphic designer who helped me with the digital layout of my second CD, Living in Hawaii Style, in the spring of 2001. James works expertly with Quark Express, Photoshop and Illustrator, plus he knows how to repair computers. He’s been working the graveyard shift at Wilcopy on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles for many years, but that will end soon. By the end of this year he’ll have graduated a college course in video game design, and I will have to find a new digital layout expert for my next printed project.

I had already painted the cover art and had it scanned, created the lettering on Duralar (translucent graphic overlay film) with a fine point Sharpie marker, gotten the back cover black and white head shot of me scanned into a tif file, composed, and editted the liner notes, obtained a bar code from the staff at CD Baby, and decided that the back cover of the booklet would be a close-up of the center of the cover painting. I had researched at length online the various companies doing CD duplication and had chosen one that offered me a good price and was highly recommended on the CD Baby artists’ website. I had downloaded the templates for the booklet, traycard and disc from the website of the manufacturer, A to Z Media.

James scanned the lettering overlays, converted them from black to white, and placed them as a layer over the scan of my cover painting, and added bleed borders (extensions of the existing colors at the edges, so that when the cover is trimmed, there will be no white edges if the trim is off by a fraction of an inch.)

For the back cover, we began with a background of a scan of a color wash I’d painted with acrylics. Over that James placed the scan of my head shot, which he changed from black and white to indigo and white. He added the lettering overlay of the song titles, also changed to white, and, below that, the bar code and UPC number. He also selected a star from the front cover and I chose where to clone it five times on the back tray card. Then we created the lettering for the two spines in Comic Sans font (which has a handlettered look) in white.

Inside the booklet are ten black and white pages in (very small) 7 point Times New Roman lettering; we had to go small to squeeze in all of the lyrics, acknowledgements and stories that I wrote for the liner notes. We worked for quite a while moving words around so that none of the lyrics require turning a page. It’s a very simple layout, but very legible.

Last, we made the layout for the disk. It, too, is indigo (scanned from a painted acrylic wash) with silver stars and white lettering. For the disk, the ink colors are chosen specifically from the Pantone ink chip book.

James then created a high quality print of the cover art, to size, and cut them out for me, so that I could put them in a CD jewel case and see how the finished product will look. A complete mock up goes with the digital layout on CD to the manufacturer.

I left Wilcopy with three CDs and three mock ups: one set to send to A to Z Media in New York, one set to send to EM Records in Osaka, Japan, and one set to keep as a safety backup.

work in progress

I’m currently working on my third self-produced CD of original songs, and my first truly ensemble recording.

My first recording, Music From Living on the Earth, was solo vocal and guitar, all original songs, all of the folk persuasion, though some had bluesy/jazzy aspects, and one was an Indian raga. I recorded it just before doing a national tour in 2000 to promote the 30th anniversary edition of my book Living on the Earth. The songs express the same world view as the writing and illustrations in the book; they were composed around the same time I wrote it. Having learned open-tuned guitar in my teens directly from John Fahey, who was a family member, I finger-picked in a variety of tunings on the recording. I made all the artwork, liner notes and graphic design myself—printed brown on tan with soy inks on recycled paper. The CD was released in Japan in September 2005 by EM Records.

My second CD, Living in Hawaii Style, (2001) expanded my musical scope with contributions from two master Hawaiian musicians, chanter/spiritualist Lei’ohu Ryder, and jazz guitarist/vocalist Sam Ahia. I wrote half of the songs and either licensed or selected public domain songs for the rest. I sang and I played Hawaiian style open-tuned guitar (pidgeon term: slack key), ukulele, and standard-tuned guitar, and covered turn-of-the-century guitar solos, Hawaiian swing tunes from the 30’s, and Hawaiian environmental laments from more recent times. Again, I created the art, liner notes and graphic design, this time in bright island colors. This CD was also released in Japan in September 2005 by EM Records.

This third CD, What Living’s All About, contains ten original blues and jazz songs plus two jazz standards. For this recording I hired a jazz quartet (Rick Olson, piano, Chris Conner, upright bass, Kendall Kay, drums, Doug Webb, saxophones and clarinet) for four songs; gospel pianist Rev. Harold Pittman and gospel singers Jessie Williams, Irene Cathaway and Vetia Richardson, plus Kevin O’Neal on electric bass and David Anderson on drums for three songs; avant-garde jazz guitarist Nels Cline to play lead to my rhythm guitar, with upright bassist John B. Williams and drummer Enzo Tedesco on four songs; John B. and Enzo (on percussion only) improvise with me on one song, plus actor Jody Ashworth reads on two of the songs. I sing, read and play rhythm guitar. Scott Fraser is doing most of the recording, mixing and mastering; Ron Grant is co-producing, and Rick Asher Keefer, who recorded and co-produced my first two CDs, recorded the basic sketches of the songs with me. I am working on the art, design and liner notes right now, and they will be in dark cool colors with a wet, shimmering nighttime look. 

This CD is a quantum leap from the first two projects, and I could never have started it if I had not done the first two.

You can hear Music From Living On The Earth and Living In Hawaii Style at CDBaby.