The Best Kind of Friend is the One Who Inspires You.

I have some really cool friends doing really cool things, y’all. So in the interest of spreading the good, I thought you all might like some fun, some entertainment, and some links where you can be reassured that there are good people doing good work in the world.

Here we go.

First up, Andy Palmer and the ‘We Are Brown’ Project to combat police brutality.

Andy’s compiled an album of songs by Colorado musicians reflecting on race relations and police violence. He’s organized an indiegogo campaign, and the proceeds of the campaign and the album will go to two non-profits – the Denver Justice Project and Youth On Record. Listen to “I Am Brown” here:

And contribute to the project HERE. Go do it!

Next, there’s Sheila Perkins. She’s Art Heffron’s brilliant, big-hearted niece and she’s graduating college! Her first big adventure post-school: a position as a Global Health Research Assistant with a non-profit in Nicaragua. She’ll be working closely with their Nutrition program, Community Doula program, Youth Empowerment program, and Water and Basic Sanitation program, but mainly, she’ll be working to create a Maternal Public Health Intervention to provide health education, risk-reduction and family planning services. She’s raising $$ to help with living expenses and you can help her out HERE.

And now… it’s time for a bit of fun. I can’t wait to watch this video go viral. My extremely talented friends Kevin Larkin and Sarah Megyesy have released a new song and dance into the world that I’m pretty sure you’ll want to learn and dance along with. Better than Gangnam Style, this is…. drumroll, please…. GET YETI!!!!

I have one more video for you. Megan Burtt has had an incredible year, playing with the Colorado Symphony, releasing her album “The Bargain”, hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, playing at Red Rocks, and releasing this fun and epic video for “Fast As I Go”:

And last but definitely not least, here’s an album you should go buy. It’s a testament to the sad state of the music business that everyone in the world doesn’t already know about Anna Tivel, who is an incredible lyricist, a moving storyteller, and a singer whose raw, gritty voice captures perfectly the images it relates in her songs. She just released a new one, and I’ve been draining my bank account buying car parts so I haven’t been able to snatch it up yet. But you should. Right HERE.

That’s all the good stuff I’ve got for you today – I hope it makes your day a little better. :)

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A Little Fiona Apple

I love Fiona Apple’s song “Hot Knife”. I love the layers and the way it builds to the point where you can barely understand the lyrics of the newest layer. It felt like the perfect song to build a-cappella with a loop pedal. So that’s what I did. And then Art Heffron and TJ Romero teamed up to shoot all this artistic footage and it became this video that I’m really thrilled to share. Enjoy! And if you’d like to be the first to have access to new videos like this one, consider pledging $1 a month over at Patreon.

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The Literary Elephant in the Room

Photo by Art Heffron

Photo by Art Heffron

At the end of last year, I wrote an essay about the journey of the last few years and where I found myself on the road to choosing happiness. I was pretty proud of it. I thought maybe it was worth being published somewhere. I even thought maybe there was a little hard-earned wisdom in it that might help a few folks out there busy hard-earning their own wisdom. So I submitted it to several online magazines and journals, and Elephant Journal accepted it for publication. You can now read it here:

You Cannot just “Get Happy”—or Can You? One Musician’s Journey.

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Daytrotter Session Released!

Our Daytrotter session was released at daytrotter.com this morning, just in time for my 30th birthday. I’m thrilled – it sounds great thanks to the brilliant engineering of Mike Gentry and the beats, bass and backups of Henri Benard, Andrew Bates and Art Heffron. Artwork by Johnnie Cluney.

LISTEN HERE.

Lara Ruggles Daytrotter Artwork

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How to be Human?

Saturday night we went to a 7-Eleven to pee. As we were walking up, a man held the door for the woman who was with him. She was wearing a hijab. As she started to walk into the door, she saw Art and I coming and ducked back out with her head down, saying “I’m sorry,” and shrinking back behind the man. I said, “No, please go ahead,” but she didn’t move, so we walked in and I thanked the man for holding the door.

And then it all hit at once. All the dangerous rhetoric intensifying in this last month and the way it is impacting the lives of real, good people. The psychology of feeling like a second-class citizen and the implications of being a little less safe if you look not white. I was holding in tears until we left the gas station, and then I couldn’t hold them in anymore.

This is not the country I want to live in. This is not ok. We are not ok as long as this is happening to any of us. It is the absolute worst of humanity to treat any person as less than because of any one thing that makes “us” see a “them”, and the absolute worst of humanity to stand by or condone that treatment. Yet it is happening everywhere, all the time.

What do we have to do to end it? To unite completely in the conviction that it is never, ever ok to condemn or hate a group of people for ANYTHING that is an unchangeable part of who they are?

I am including this image of a painting by Ben Griffith because this is what it should look like to be a part of humanity. Taking pride in ALL of our differences. Every race, every gender identity, every religion, every sexuality, feeling equal and equally safe in the world. Walking into the coffee shop as strangers and walking out as friends. It’s so, so possible for this to be reality. For anything else to be a rare exception. And it’s so, so past time.

I don’t know what to do, but I do know that making a post about it is not enough. So I’m asking myself what else can be done. I want to do everything I can. Join me?

original gay pride 2

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Daytrotter Photo Blog

Last week we had a magical trip to Rock Island, IL and back for our Daytrotter Session and a Moeller Mondays set at Rozz-Tox with Laney Jones and the Spirits.

Henri and Andrew flew to Denver from Phoenix and met Art and I for a beautiful Denver house concert to kick off the trip. And then we loaded up the subi (234,000 miles and kicking) and the craigslisted rooftop cargo box I scored for $40, and headed off to middle America.

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We stayed with generous hosts we met through couchsurfing.com who made us dutch pancakes, bought us $5 Tuesday James Bond movie tickets, and offered us a tasting of the finest balsamic vinegars.

We rolled into Rock Island on a Monday night in time for load-in and sound check, and played the best Monday night set ever to a full house. Rozz-Tox has great beer and awesome food (like a side dish of pickled daikon and carrot) and the coolest upstairs library green room. We opened up for Laney Jones & the Spirits, who were so much fun to hear and see and just as much fun to hang with.

This Photo: Scott Dye

This Photo: Scott Dye

And we got all excited when Moeller Mondays tweeted this about us:

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Here’s some more photos from the show, all Art Heffron’s of course:

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The next morning we woke up to a lesson on how to roll the best dutch pancakes we’d ever tasted and then headed off to Daytrotter’s new studio in Davenport, IA to record our session. Mike was such a pro and made us feel right at home, and the session was all fun – I almost forgot how much I love being in the recording studio. When Art wasn’t singing backups, he captured these:

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At the end of our session, it was time for the next band to load in. Only the next band just happened to be…The Avett Brothers! So after meeting a couple super-nice members of the crew and their adorable little girl, the only thing left to do before getting to Omaha in time for the James Bond movie was to traipse around Davenport and take a couple of silly band photos for posterity, courtesy of Henri’s iPhone self-timer.

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So grateful to Moeller Mondays, Rozz-Tox, Daytrotter, Laney Jones & the Spirits, and our amazing couchsurfing and house concert hosts Michelle, Daphne and Nick for such a highlight of the year.

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Cynics & Saints Denver Album Release Show

THIS FRIDAY! THE NIGHT I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR FOR THREE AND A HALF YEARS!

album release poster 9.10

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Moon in my Heart Official Music Video

This Tuesday, The Huffington Post premiered the official music video for Moon in my Heart, directed by Sarah Megyesy, with animation by Evan McCandless.

Thanks to the amazing crew of extras we worked with on the video for your talent and time – we couldn’t have had nearly as much fun without you!

Watch the video:

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Cynics & Saints out 10.02!

Cynics & Saints album art

“The Dove” premieres at PopMatters

“Ruggles combines Americana and lavish 1970s Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter fare with the confidence of a master.” – PopMatters

Immersive Records is very pleased to announce Lara Ruggles Cynics & Saints will be released on October 2nd, 2015. PopMatters has an exclusive premiere of album standout “The Dove” up now at:

http://www.popmatters.com/post/196897-lara-ruggles-the-dove-audio-premiere/

PRE-ORDER CYNICS & SAINTS:

http://lararuggles.bandcamp.com/album/cynics-saints

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New Favorite: The Still Tide, Half Empty Rooms

I thought y’all should know about this EP. I’ve had it on repeat in my car for every little road trip I’ve been on lately, and it’s worth every repeat listen. Favorite tracks: “Field of Bells” and “Summer”.

Bassist Anna Morsett, who’s been a key player in These United States and Ark Life, picks up an electric guitar and sings lead vocals for her own project The Still Tide, and the laid-back rock grooves support lyrics as sharp as the scissors she sings about in “Summer”, the third track on this four-song gem. The feeling Anna’s voice creates is sort of like drinking hot coffee on a cold winter morning – a welcome friend that soothes aches and mends holes. My only criticism of this EP is that it left me wanting a little bit more of her vocals in the mix and a lot more of these subtle heavy hitters of songs.

Buy them here.

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