Friday, March 21, 2014

PART 1: 3 Reasons to Come to the Monkey House, Sat Mar 29, 7 PM

ONE: I will be playing with two Bay Area songwriting luminaries, Monica Pasqual (of Blame Sally) and True Magrit. But don't take my word for it...

True Margrit: “…a piano-pop sound that would make Ben Folds jealous and blush with delight.”
-— J-sin,

Monica Pasqual: "Like Joni Mitchell and Rickie Lee Jones, SanFrancisco's own Monica Pasqual proves that strong songwriting and stirring singing will take command of just about any stylistic setting."
—  Derk Richardson, San Francisco Bay Guardian

TWO: I've been in the recording studio! On Saturday, I will bring FREE CDs that include my latest song, the Garden at San Quentin, featuring the fabulous harmonies of Ari Fellows-Mannion.

THREE: This will be my last BAY AREA show for at least awhile! More on that in PART 2...

Sat Mar 29, 7 PM
Cara Wick, True Margrit, Monica Pasqual
@ Monkey House
1638 University Avenue, Berkeley, CA

Much love,

Monday, January 20, 2014

I can learn a lot by doing nothing

Happy New Year! I'm not sure where you were when 2014 rolled around, in fact, I'm not entirely sure where I was. You see, between Dec 27-Jan 8, I was on a 10-day silent meditation retreat. Truth be told, I was most likely asleep when the 2014 hour struck, but I'm pretty sure it took me a day or two to realize I wasn't in 2013 anymore.

You may be surprised to hear that I found sitting on my arse for ten hours-a-day for ten days incredibly productive. By sitting still for so long, I was eventually able to recognize that most of my thoughts are very un-productive.

For one thing, my mind tends to waver between reminiscing/regretting the past and hoping/fearing the future. Despite the fact that the past is gone and the future isn't here.

Why does my mind find it so difficult to be present? Unfortunately, I don't have a clue. But at least I'm becoming more aware of its irrational tendencies, and this gives me permission to ignore my (especially negative) thoughts--just like I ignore FoxNews.

The beautiful thing is, I'm finding that the more I meditate, the less ignoring I have to do. Because when I don't pay attention to the negative thoughts, they start to lose their power. Like when I ignore my cats when they demand dinner at 11 AM. Eventually the meowing gets weaker and weaker and before I know it, they are sitting on their arses "meditating" themselves (see pic).

Dashiel and Isadora
This is all to say, I have a gig coming up at my favorite cafe in Berkeley, Caffe Trieste. My meditating is paying off because in terms of songwriting I've been very productive! :)

I've got three new tunes that I will be premiering on Saturday, including my new favorite about a garden at the San Quentin prison.

I have the honor of sharing the bill with Paul Griffiths (Elvis Costello meets Harry Connick Jr.) and Ari Fellows-Mannion of the band Lorretta Lynch (I call her style Lucinda Williams meets Iris Dement).

Please come! A delicious peanut butter cookie and cappuccino awaits.

peanut butter cookie and cap from Caffe Trieste, Berkeley

Paul Griffiths, Cara Wick and Ari Fellows-Mannion
Sat Jan 25, 8 PM
@ Caffe Trieste
2500 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, CA


Monday, November 11, 2013

On music and money

At my last gig with Paul G., a fundraiser for LEAP
I received a portrait. Best payment ever?
Working as finance person and a songwriter sometimes I feel stretched thin. I'll admit that there are days when I wonder if I should just give up the music part since it will never sustain me in a financial sense, and focus on the finance part since I need it to sustain me in a financial sense.

Thus, I was intrigued by a recent article in the New York Times (forwarded to me by Julie Kinloch, thank you Julie!) entitled "Is Music the Key to [Business] Success?" When the author answered yes, my musical frown turned upside down. Maybe I don't need to choose after all. They are sustaining each other.

"The phenomenon extends beyond the math-music association," the author Joanne Lipman, explains. "Music opens up the pathways to creative thinking, and sharpens other qualities: Collaboration. The ability to listen. A way of thinking that weaves together disparate ideas. The power to focus on the present and the future simultaneously."

And in the Buddhist sense in which wealth is defined by the happiness it crwates, I'm a bonafide baller. Asisukha, the happiness of ownership. Anavajjasukha, the happiness derived from right livelihood. Ananasukha, the happiness derived from not being in debt, and Bhogasukha the happiness of sharing one's wealth.

I'm sharing the wealth this coming Saturday, November 16 and Friday November 22 in San Francisco and Berkeley respectively. On Saturday, I'm sharing it with Paul Griffiths and my songwriting teacher Jim Bruno at the venerable Bazaar Cafe.

Just in time for Thanksgiving, on Friday November 22, I'll be in Berkeley at the Monkey House with Paul G. and the Scofflaws and Andrew Blair and Doug Keen.

Do you have thoughts on making art and making money?  Comment at

Also, I have a facebook page ( I would love it if you "liked" me there.

Lastly, I'd like to plug the amazing Mary Gauthier, from Nashville, who will be making a rare appearance at the Freight and Salvage on Wednesday, Nov 13, 8 PM. Ms. Gauthier is an amazing talent, a performer with so much heart it hurts. You will leave the evening comforted and inspired, a musical night to remember!

I hope that you are all enjoying the darkness and change of the Fall season. And I hope to see you soon!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Thurs Oct 24 @ Caffe Trieste, Berkeley, 7 PM

There are so many great "unknown" songwriters in this world. That was the big takeaway from my last gig at Down Home Music. I'm so glad that I now know two of them: Mark Comstock (in the hat to the left) and Charles Kratz (in the hat to the right). You can hear Mark Comstock on youtube here, a voice like no other. Check him out!

The other thing I learned - time to spice up my outfit!

I'll get a chance this Thurs, Oct 24. I'll be sharing the stage with two more great talents, Bob Hillman and Wendy Beckerman. We'll be alternating sets at Caffe Trieste in Berkeley, 2500 San Pablo Ave/Dwight from 7-9 PM.

Come hungry, and leave happy! In addition to great music, Caffe Trieste has amazing food.

I hope to see you soon!


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Three things I learned at my last gig

I had so much fun opening for Paul Griffiths at Caffe Trieste. I also took away three important things:

1) My voice has gotten a lot better since I started taking voice lessons with Kathy Kennedy. It may sound strange coming from a singer-songwriter, but before my weekly sessions with Kathy, I think I subconsciously tried to avoid singing my songs. I concentrated on the lyrics, and the guitar, but never thought of myself as a singer, so I would just kinda limp along with my voice, hoping that it was good enough. Kathy has given me tools and techniques to use my voice as the instrument it is. This past gig with Paul showed me that my work with Kathy is paying off--my performance is stronger, I've got more confidence on stage, and I'm better at communicating my songs. I can feel myself making progress. Yeah! 

 2) I've also been trying to improve my between-song banter. At this gig, however, I think I went a little overboard. I learned that if folks are not listening, it's best to just shut up and play. 

 3) The vegetarian lasagna at Caffe Trieste is amazing. (As is the coffee and peanut butter cookies, but I knew that already). 

I have a couple of gigs coming up where I can (hopefully!) continue to make progress. The first is Sat Oct 12 at 2 PM at Down Home Music in El Cerrito, CA. This is my first time playing at Down Home Music, a wonderful and exceedingly rare CD store on San Pablo Ave, run by music lovers. Any music you buy there has been carefully curated, and you're sure to love it. Since it's my first time, I'd like to make a good impression. So, if you've been meaning to come to a show, I hope you can try to be there for this one! 

I have the great pleasure of sharing the bill with Charles Robert Kratz and Mark Comstock, Down Home Music veterans.

Additionally, I've got a gig at Caffe Trieste in Berkeley, Thu Oct 24 at 7 PM. This time I'll be sharing the bill with two amazing songwriters and performers: Bob Hillman and Wendy Beckerman. These artists have been major influences on me. NPR Host Susan Stamberg once said "I've never heard of this Mr. Bob Hillman, but that song about War and Peace is enough to make you want to pick up War & Peace and start reading it." Performing Songwriter magazine called Wendy Beckerman "a brave adventurer," and Borders Books & Music said "Beckerman breathes new life into the singer/songwriter genre." It will surely be a Thursday to remember! 

 I hope to see you soon! Love, Cara

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sep 20, 2013 Caffe Trieste with Paul Griffiths!

As some of you may have seen on Facebook, I got married this summer, August 30 to be exact. Why August 30? Well, I guess we wanted to get-er-done. The Supreme Court forevermore struck down Prop 8 in June, and we were anxious to exercise our brand new rights!

In hindsight, it may not have been the most convenient day. The Bay Bridge happened to be closed that weekend, and we had to take BART to San Francisco City Hall. But despite the river of pee we walked through to exit the station, public transport had its benefits. First, we got lots of unexpected congratulations, and second, it cost $5 each (roundtrip).

For those who haven't been on the new Bay Bridge, this Friday might just give you the excuse you were looking for! I'm opening for Paul Griffiths and the Scofflaws at Berkeley's Caffe Trieste. This cafe is not only a wonderful spot for music, it has great food and yummy, European-style espresso! Check out the Facebook invite here.

Paul Griffiths is a great songwriter who songwriting legend Jim Bruno says "speaks to the listener with sincerity and wit." Ask Paul, and he might call his music "Briti-Cana~Americana." I call it "Elvis Costello meets Bob Dylan." He is backed-up by a set of incomparable musicians, humbly known as the Scofflaws. Listen for yourself here.

I had the great pleasure of spending a week in Asheville, North Carolina this summer, at the Swannanoa Gathering, a week of contemporary folk and guitar instruction. It was quite simply, awesome. At the end, I got the nerve to perform in front of my uber-talented co-campers, and they recorded it! For those of you unable to make it Friday, or just looking for three minutes of fun, you can view my performance of my new song "Love Just Does" here.

One more thing, if you like to plan ahead, I have another performance on the afternoon of Saturday October 12, 2 PM, just down the road at Down Home Music on San Pablo Ave in El Cerrito, CA. This will be a full set, and possibly my biggest gig the year.
I would LOVE to see you there!

It'll feel like Friday night in Italy! Caffe Trieste has great espresso, salad, peanut butter cookies--and everything tastes better with original, Bay Area-inspired music.

Check out the incomparable Paul Griffiths!

Friday Sep 20, 7 PM
Caffe Trieste
2500 San Pablo Ave
Berkeley, CA
Tel: (415) 510 548 5198

LIVE from Swannanoa Aug 2013

Cara accompanies Paul Griffiths on his song "The Living Death"