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Plunge for Landon

I come from a pretty amazing little town. The kind of place where the people will come together to help a neighbor in need. (In need of a hand, a shoulder or a cup of sugar).

I’ve seen a number of facebook posts of my friends and family taking “The Plunge for Landon” the last week or 2. You see, Landon’s just a little guy with big challenges but he’s got a loving family and a community of support (support from around the world actually).

So, I finally got my “Challenge” last week. I’ll take the plunge for Landon tomorrow and share it accordingly. My “Challengers”, Rick and Debbie Riley of Overton, NE will happily donate to the cause. I may then “Challenge” you to a quick, cold dip!

We’ll pick a couple of teams up to the challenge and donate on their behalf. What a great circle of giving!

Special thanks to Joshua Wright of Tarkio, MO for getting those waves rolling and to everyone who has taken the plunge to-date or yet-to-plunge.

“Plunge for Landon” on Facebook

You could probably donate without getting wet too but come on!!!

Hey, I’m proud of you Tarkio, MO and Atchison County MO for demonstrating that compassion mixed with action makes the world a beautiful place (even when wet).

Thank you to Landon and his family for reminding us.

Hoodoo @ The Voodoo ’14 – Soca Jukebox, Maria the Mexican & Under The Influence

Kick-off to Summer Party 2014 with Three of Kansas City’s Hottest Bands – SOCA JUKEBOX, MARIA THE MEXICAN & The Return of UNDER THE INFLUENCE!

This is a “Don’t Miss It” event. Superior Sound and Lighting, Special Guests and a Must-See Encore Jam.

Come Celebrate the Summer with family, friends and your favorite musical acts.

General Admission – Doors open at 7

“Let’s Get Together and Feel Alright!”

facebook event


Middle of the Map Festival with Maria the Mexican

Some 120 bands from all over the nation flock to KC this weekend forthe annual Middle of the Map Festival. You’ll find Maria the Mexican down for a set at Westport Saloon (in the historic Westport district) at 3pm Saturday, April 5.

MidCoast Takeover – Maria The Mexican at SXSW


Hey, we did it! The local paper stated “Joetown Invades Austin” very accurately as no fewer than 6 of our hometown acts made the trek to invading austin

I got to actually see and hear some bands. It’s difficult when you’re playing yourself to get out and be supportive and check out other acts so that was a real treat.MtM family

Big THANK YOU to Maria The Mexican, it’s collection of great players, family, friends, crew and to my entertaining traveling compadres. Thanks also to the Midwest Music Foundation and everyone at MidCoast Takeover, Shangri-La Austin TX for including us and providing a respectable setting for new music.

more photos at…
Facebook Photo Album


News Press Live Article

Rural Pearl IMA nominated for Moon Colored Jade Album Art

mtm_sketch1Music Resource Group and their distinguished judging panelists has just announced… “it is our pleasure to congratulate Angie Pickman on being nominated in the Album Art Category for Maria the Mexican – Moon Colored Jade in The 13th Annual Independent Music Awards.”mtm_cover

Angie is the uniquely talented cut-paper artist working as “Rural Pearl”. Her pieces have been featured nationally in posters, magazines, galleries and in a few other album covers.
Maria The Mexican was extremely fortunate to get Angie to design the cover for our first album, “Moon Colored Jade”.
Congratulations, Angie! “It’s just an honor to be nominated” but good luck and you’re the best in our book (and on our album cover).

For more info on Angie and her amazing work…


Maria The Mexican at MidCoast Takeover

“My bags are packed and I’m ready to go” as John Denver put it. No jet planes for this one, just a “minivan full of rock” as Soca Jukebox would put it filled with the baddest players I personally know.

Maria the Mexican heads for the MidCoast Takeover (an unofficial showcase sponsored by the Midwest Music Foundation during the SXSW media conference in Austin, TX) featuring the up and coming acts from around KC. Really proud to say many of my students and friends were chosen for their original sounds as well!Screen shot 2014-03-08 at 3.34.52 PM for a complete listing.

MtM will be performing at the Shangi-La on 6th Thurs. around 430 and then Friday around 230 for the Songwriter’s Showcase.

The Festival used to be more about “breaking” those up-and-coming bands to the industry via showcases. As the conference has grown, already well-known acts seem to garner those slots once reserved for freshmen (you can see Coldplay, Imagine Dragons and Sound Garden thanks to the good people at Itunes). For sure, a majority of the media industry shows up to hang, party, see and be seen but the priorities of “discovering” new acts seem to have shifted. The whole music industry has shifted.

Regardless, I’ve wanted to participate in this event for a while (it’s been on my list of career “to-do’s” for more than a few seasons) and I’m really looking forward to seeing the other bands and meeting up with the homies in Texas (make sure to say “howdy”). Congrats to everyone that was chosen to come along this year and “We’ll see you there”!
Screen shot 2014-03-10 at 12.13.20 PM
On a side note, I found this which just seemed crazy but it’s for real. Flying Taser Drones launched and demonstrated at SXSW this year. Everyone… don’t… move…

Web Guru, Author, Family – Andrew Riley

Sometimes I get books in the mail. I like books, I like the library and I like to look for them but it’s really fun when they come to the door in a box or padded envelope. (Checks are also fun to find there if you want to send me a little surprise.)
Photo on 2014-03-07 at 09.11
After a long day in the city, I was very excited to get home and find a bound, first edition of the “The First Life of Tanan” from Andrew Riley in the new arrivals. Super fun to open it, hold it in hand and see Andrew’s personal note there.

What makes it a little extra special is well… Andrew’s my go-to web guru from Keen Meanie Design (responsible for everything at this dotcom and some of our others), he’s a Riley (responsible for corrupting AND encouraging me from my youngest days (( we grew up together, literally across College Street from each other in our little MO town))) and he was the first person to show me that “books are cool”. Thank you for all of the above, Andrew!
Screen shot 2014-03-07 at 9.58.31 AM

And now he’s an Author too. This is not a review. (hey, I just got it last night and I’m a slow reader.) This is a celebration of inspiration, creativity, ambition and quite frankly, just doing it. As I paraphrase the great Oliver Wendell Holmes… “(a great regret) that most folks go to the grave with their music (or book) still inside of them”. Paraphrase I said.

Thank you, Andrew for exploring what you love, making it tangible and sharing it with us. Grateful to be a part of your team. Peace from those Riley’s to “prose” Riley’s.

Purchase a copy of Andrew Riley’s “The First Life of Tanan” here…

Welcome Liam Johnston, Heir to the Soca Jukebox Fortune

1653479_10152198325660395_1449724910_n1016732_10152198248135395_2117846896_nAnnouncing a new arrival in the expanding family of Soca Jukebox…

Liam Johnston was born this morning in Kansas City to the proud parents of Clay and Amanda Johnston. Liam will be welcomed home and explained the general routines by older siblings, Wyatt and Ava Johnston (4 yrs).

Congratulations to the whole family. We share in your excitement and can’t wait to get that next generation in our arms (drum sticks in hand and ready to wail!) Welcome to the world, Liam!

Soca Jukebox, Stick It!

When you’re in the middle of an all out Drum War, you know the Sticks are flying. Now you can “Stick It” yourself with a Soca Jukebox… uh.. Sticker!


Happy Anniversary to a dear friend. We’ve had one heck of a ride together. I got my first guitar on January 27, 1985. Yep, I remember the date.

She was a Black Electric Lotus Les Paul Copy with a Peavey amp and I had no idea what to do with her at first. So I just kind of stared and held it. I was excited to introduce her to my friends. Your first electric guitar has got to be one of the most incredible things ever. Part mustang, part rattlesnake, part rocketship, all art with potential to pacify or instigate.

We fumbled, wrestled, fought, and in the end she taught me a thing or two. She’s still teaching me things.

Playing the guitar is one of the great joys in my life. It’s all art but you can choose to work in oils, clay, music or words (even profanity – like the dad from A Christmas Story!). It’s music really but the act of playing an instrument is a peculiar craft.
Thanks to my family for finally saying “OK. Let’s go get it so you’ll shut up. I expect to hear a song or two out of that thing.”
Everyone should play at least a little. A beginner can play one note and it’s mesmerizing to them. One little wire vibrating. Send that through a wah wah pedal and a speaker and welcome to heaven.