Posts Tagged ‘Amanda Duncan’

Ladykiller. You’re welcome.

June 30, 2011

Dear Diary,

Do you have any brothers or sisters? I don’t think I’ve ever asked you that. I mean, you seem like an only child buuut it could just be one of those things. You know, where you have a friend and you just assume that they have no family.

Could be like that.

Well I have one brother. His name is Matt and he is just about one of the most talented people you will ever meet. And he’s not talented in a freakish, weirdo sort of way. Like one of those kids who plays Bach cantatas at 4 years old.

Emily Bear. Crazy good at the piano...and crazy small.

He’s just naturally, casually, one of the best musicians I know. He is so versatile and at the same time, dead on his mark ALL the time. We (my parents and I) didn’t know that he had these skills when he was a kid. Sure, he took guitar lessons and listened to The Fugees on loop in his room.

Some sweet jams on this record right here.

But it wasn’t until maybe 2009 that we even knew he could sing! :::cough, cough::: LIKE AN ANGEL!

Oh. What else does he do? Well, mostly he plays the guitar. Now, I know what you’re thinking because you said it last week at pinochle. “Everyone plays the guitar and sings…” But you don’t understand. Matt isn’t just your dime store, regulation guy with a guitar. He’s just the most…he’s…AGH… Di, here. I can’t put it into words. Check it out for yourself.

Ladykiller – The Willow <~~~~ That’s just one of my favorite songs.

But you can also just go to their Reverbnation page and listen to a bunch of them. The whole album isn’t out yet but you’ll get a nice idea.

He also writes and/or co-writes all of the music and has an inSANE ear for harmony. And rhythm! I relate to him on the ear portion of his skills but I also went to school for music which helped me connect a lot of the dots while he definitely did not. He’s 100% authentic. He’s like a feral musician, aside from some guitar technique in middle school.

So he has been playing with his band Ladykiller for maybe the past 2 years. They even recorded a record with Amanda Duncan engineering.

Amanda Duncan and her "baby guitar"

And I had the honor of providing some piano stylings and technical editing to the project.

Di, when I tell you it’s good, I’m not really driving the point home. This album is so ridiculously incredible. It runs the gamut of tastes, spans the crevasse of opinion, unites Head Bangers Ball with Jeff Buckley. As far as lineup, Justin Gallo lends his guitar work and vocals to the pot and Jon Cabrera provides a third voice, along with some of the most melodic basslines you’ll ever hear. All together, they blend into one diesel piece of machinery made of 3-part harmony and rock.

Now Di, I don’t want to hear about your uncle’s polka-style Bon Jovi tribute band. This is NOT the same. If you’re even BRINGING THAT UP TO ME as part of the conversation, you’re not getting the point. These guys are incredible. And (little piece of trivia) Justin played guitar on much of my current record and Jon has been playing bass in my live band for the past 5 months. You gotta keep a tight knit crew, Di. A TIGHT KNIT CREW, I say.

Well, that’s all. I basically just wanted to inform you of the life- altering music you’ve been missing. You’ve been wasting your days on Take That.

Said I waaant you baaack for goood.

Oh, shake it off, Di. I didn’t mean anything by it. Take That was amazing too…a real game changer…

One love,


Miss Lulu and the Teaspoon Shortage

June 13, 2011

Well Hello Diary!

And how are we today?

Excellent? I figured so.

I’ve come to tell you a bit about what’s been going on in my life.

So, as you know, I just released my album, Diary. Yes. It’s been nothing short of heaven. I worked and held onto it for such a long time that it began to feel like a pregnancy. A giant, public, musical pregnancy. But just as the last trimester goes so quickly, so did the coming of the album.

I had some photos taken and was, through a long and unnecessary chain of events, left with just a couple of usable shots.

No, I don’t want to get into it, Di. It’s not worth the verbiage. Just know that while the shots that we had were cool, they were extremely limited in quantity and versatility and we were forced to make some tough choices on the artwork. Also, I felt that they did not ultimately represent what the music inside the package sounded like. [Sidebar: Additionally, there were no less than 7.5 typos inside the original print, including proper names]

I’m sure you can sympathize with that, Di. It’s kind of like the time that your mom forced you to wear that denim jumpsuit to your junior prom. Even though it was totally rockin’, it just didn’t represent the Diary we all know and love. The Di on the INside.

So the print that currently exists of “The Green Year” (that’s the name of the album) will be a limited edition. There are only 1,000 copies in existence so if you are reading this and own one of them, consider yourself one of the chosen few. I decided that it was necessary to regroup and redesign.

Enter Lucia Holm.

This young lady came to my attention via Nicole Lipman of Hey Cole Presents, and then again via Amanda Duncan. We had all been researching photographers and they showed me some of Lucia’s work. Needless to say, I was immediately sold. Her vision, use of color, composition, storytelling. It was all there in stunning photographical glory! I won’t post her images here but I will send you to her flickr.

So a couple of weeks ago,  she took some photos of ME. Firstly, she and sometime assistant/ talented friend Dave Cruse built a GREEN ROOM for me to inhabit.  So there’s that. Diary, I bet you WISH you had a green room. You WISH. Thanks to Dave and Amanda Duncan for lugging some heavy furniture around in 90 degree heat!

We shot in the Jersey Shore Arts Center in Ocean Grove, right near Asbury Park, NJ. This was one of the most comfortable, attentive shoots I’ve ever been a part of. She let me look through the shots here and there and WOWIE! I thought to myself that if the raw photos looked this good, my brain would explode like a balloon full of soda by the time I saw the edits!

Picture THAT one, Di!

Anyway, I could go on for days. Just do yourself a favor and check out Lucia’s work. Hire her for every important event in your life from now until you die.

…Ok. I know. That’s a little dramatic. But truly, support small business artists. Especially the ones that are doing such undeniably amazing work.

You’ll just have to wait until the big reveal to see the finished photos, Di. No peeking. Look for it later this summer.

Ok. I have to go play the Charlie Brown theme song on piano now.

With a fart noise from the mouth,


The 3rd Apparently Annual Winter Break Show

December 30, 2009

My Diary. Hello. How are we today?

It’s that time of year again. That’s right! It’s…


This has been the 3rd year in a row. And I meant to thank you again, Di, for all your help. I know the audience didn’t get to see you because you’re a real behind-the-scenes worker. But you really wowed me with all that heavy lifting! We didn’t have to move a single table thanks to you! To be honest, if we weren’t such friends, I might be intimidated by your imposing physique.

Diary in a bikini...moving her face really fast.

So I do hope you’ll be there this year as well. If not to help, then just to hang out. We had a blast last year and while we’ve changed locations this time around, we are ready for MAXIMUM FUN.

It’s going to be me (JB)

Amanda Duncan, Chris Ayer, and Ladykiller (aka acoustic trio Matt Burns {my bro}, Justin Gallo, and Jon Cabrera).

Saturday January 2


New Point Comfort Fire House

192 Carr Avenue
Keansburg, NJ 07734

All ages

$8 advance/ $10 door (you can email me directly at for advanced tickets)

Kids 10 and under get in free

And as always, your cover also gets you unlimited home-baked goods and beverages (while supplies last). Also, Di, it’s a real family environment. We arrange it cafe-style, with tables and chairs and pretty decorations.

You know, you’re a true friend, Diary. Even if you can’t make it, I hope you have a great winter break. I know classes have been hard for you. Hopefully you won’t FLUNK out of EVERYTHING again this semester.



Kickin’ it in Nashville for NACA

February 24, 2009


I have missed you so much. I’ve been everywhere under the sun. I can’t say that I spent too much time in each place but I at least passed through.

I drove to Nasvhille, TN, Di! Yeah. I was there for the National NACA Convention.

What is that? I’ve told you so many times. But it goes in one ear and out the other. NACA stands for National Association for Campus Activities. Basically it’s a trade show of entertainment where college students are the consumers and the product we are selling is…ourselves. I know that sounds creepy when you say it like that, Di. 

But sometimes you have to see it to understand it. A description only takes you so far. For instance, Captain Planet:

A group of 5 children who really care about the environment, wear matching rings, nickname themselves after all the elements (and invent a fifth element called “heart”…) and when they all get together, they conjure up a blue man. 


Captain Planet and the "Planeteers."

Captain Planet and the "Planeteers."



It’s all about perspective, Di.

So I got to meet all these cool kids. (Hello, Alesha, Brittany, Kevin, Troy, JD, Ian, and Stephanie!) They listened to my jams on an ipod, they saw vids of my music on a laptop, we gave away tons of free stuff, and some of them decided to book me at their school. Amanda Duncan and Anthony Fiumano were there too. We all went under the booking company Hey Cole Presents. Look! Here’s a pic of our booth!


Our Booth.

Our Booth.



In our travels, we knew we’d be passing through certain areas, namely the fried chicken capital of the world, aka, the south. We also passed by a tattoo joint called Icon. Now I had no agenda besides NACA during our trip, but Cole from Hey Cole Presents decided she wanted a tattoo. I took some extensive video which I may edit down to show you but until then, here are a couple of choice pics of the event.


Tattoo City: Population: Cole

Tattoo City: Population: Cole

Meet the Mayor of Tattoo Town: Cole Tattooman.


Likewise, Amanda Duncan learned of one of the best friend chicken places in the country. It’s called the Loveless Cafe. It used to be a motel but years ago, it was converted into the cafe as it now stands. There is one thing about this place that we knew we wanted to see and that was the Biscuit Lady, Carol Fay. 

(watch for her at around 2:08)

Unfortunately, Carol Fay had gone home for the day by the time we made it there, but we still had some great food served by our lovely waitress Melody. She even hooked us up with some biscuits to take on the road!

I had a great time, Di. BUT we also ate at a place called Huddle House.


Huddle House (better lit than ours)

Huddle House (better lit than ours)



Most people from the south, I’d imagine, would probably tell you not to go there, but we were just a bunch of northerners in a Jeep so we had no way of knowing the HORROR of Huddle House. Take this warning as seriously as possible. DO NOT GO TO HUDDLE HOUSE. Unless you’re ordering a pancake and a glass of water. Everything else is a no go.

Ok, Miss Diary. I guess I’ll be on my way now. It took me a couple of days to recover from the sleepless nights of travel but I’ll be doing some more travel next week! when I go to Washington D.C. for a rally for the Music First Coalition and then to East Stroudsburg, PA to showcase at anOTHER NACA event called the Mid-Atlantic Festival. Until tomorrow, Di!

With kisses that accidentally miss the cheek and go right to the mouth,