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A Troubadour’s Travails

'It seems that I am in the midst of a wicked streak of bad luck this week," blogs San Diego-based singer/songwriter Laura K at myspace.com. "It all started Sunday afternoon, during an otherwise enjoyable visit with my dad. While we went hiking up Cowles Mountain, some bastard smashed the window of [my father's] rental car to steal my bag. Contents included my cell phone, digital camera, favorite T-shirt, keys, and all the necessary information to steal my identity...As my week has been turned into a huge pain in the ass while putting all the pieces back, I realize what a slave to convenience I have become. Can I honestly complain about a lost cell phone while headlines on thousands of hurricane victims scream at me every day?"

Laura K frequently plays at Twiggs, the Tiki, and Blind Melon's (where she hosts an open mike on Mondays).

YOUR FAVORITE GUITAR AND ITS HISTORY?

"My Alvarez RD20 is one of the first guitars I ever picked up, and she's been my loyal companion ever since. I bought it at Blue Eagle Music in Athens, Ohio, this tiny guitar shop in my college town, with familiar folks who have played guitar since long before I was born. If I went back years down the road, they'd probably still remember what kind of strings I use."

TRICKIEST PROBLEM PLAYING LIVE?

"Every venue, every stage, and every sound guy are so different. Getting all the elements in place can be a challenge, especially when playing somewhere for the first time. It's all about getting a feel for your surroundings and audience, whether it's five people or five hundred."

BEST/WORST GIG?

"My first gig actually happened to be my worst. I had been playing guitar for only six months, and I had organized a huge benefit concert and couldn't pass up the opportunity to make my debut. It was in a crowded, smoky bar with horrible acoustics. I could barely hear myself -- not that I even knew what I should sound like anyway. I was so nervous; there were times I literally thought about walking off the stage. I kept going back for more. My favorite gigs are the ones that keep me in touch with why I play in the first place, and they aren't necessarily the biggest. I love playing benefit concerts, art shows, and local gigs like the Ocean Beach Farmers Market."

BRUSH WITH THE FAMOUS?

"I once saw Tony Danza at the Los Angeles airport. After a week in L.A. for the first time, I was a little bummed about not seeing any stars. But 'the Boss' came through. I've also run into Cory from Boy Meets World and David Schwimmer at a little bar in Hollywood."

WHERE DO YOU SEE CONTEMPORARY MUSIC GOING?

"Musical ideas are recycled and combined but constantly evolving -- in the same way that a collage is a work of art. It's easy for people to be skeptical about the direction of music today or feel like it's all been done. But there's always a way to do it better, or at least, to do it your own way.

TOP FIVE CDs?

1. Patty Griffin, Living with Ghosts. "This is one of the most beautiful albums ever made. Though I've heard it a thousand times, it still has the power to make me cry on my way to the grocery store."

2. Joni Mitchell, Hits. "Joni has a way of making me nostalgic for times and places I've never been but wish I could visit."

3. The Indigo Girls, Retrospective. "Makes me want to take a road trip, fall in love, travel around the world, and come back home again...all in one listen."

4. Bright Eyes, Lifted. "A friendly reminder that life is beautiful."

5. Bob Marley, Legend. "I simply can't listen to this CD and not feel good."

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'It seems that I am in the midst of a wicked streak of bad luck this week," blogs San Diego-based singer/songwriter Laura K at myspace.com. "It all started Sunday afternoon, during an otherwise enjoyable visit with my dad. While we went hiking up Cowles Mountain, some bastard smashed the window of [my father's] rental car to steal my bag. Contents included my cell phone, digital camera, favorite T-shirt, keys, and all the necessary information to steal my identity...As my week has been turned into a huge pain in the ass while putting all the pieces back, I realize what a slave to convenience I have become. Can I honestly complain about a lost cell phone while headlines on thousands of hurricane victims scream at me every day?"

Laura K frequently plays at Twiggs, the Tiki, and Blind Melon's (where she hosts an open mike on Mondays).

YOUR FAVORITE GUITAR AND ITS HISTORY?

"My Alvarez RD20 is one of the first guitars I ever picked up, and she's been my loyal companion ever since. I bought it at Blue Eagle Music in Athens, Ohio, this tiny guitar shop in my college town, with familiar folks who have played guitar since long before I was born. If I went back years down the road, they'd probably still remember what kind of strings I use."

TRICKIEST PROBLEM PLAYING LIVE?

"Every venue, every stage, and every sound guy are so different. Getting all the elements in place can be a challenge, especially when playing somewhere for the first time. It's all about getting a feel for your surroundings and audience, whether it's five people or five hundred."

BEST/WORST GIG?

"My first gig actually happened to be my worst. I had been playing guitar for only six months, and I had organized a huge benefit concert and couldn't pass up the opportunity to make my debut. It was in a crowded, smoky bar with horrible acoustics. I could barely hear myself -- not that I even knew what I should sound like anyway. I was so nervous; there were times I literally thought about walking off the stage. I kept going back for more. My favorite gigs are the ones that keep me in touch with why I play in the first place, and they aren't necessarily the biggest. I love playing benefit concerts, art shows, and local gigs like the Ocean Beach Farmers Market."

BRUSH WITH THE FAMOUS?

"I once saw Tony Danza at the Los Angeles airport. After a week in L.A. for the first time, I was a little bummed about not seeing any stars. But 'the Boss' came through. I've also run into Cory from Boy Meets World and David Schwimmer at a little bar in Hollywood."

WHERE DO YOU SEE CONTEMPORARY MUSIC GOING?

"Musical ideas are recycled and combined but constantly evolving -- in the same way that a collage is a work of art. It's easy for people to be skeptical about the direction of music today or feel like it's all been done. But there's always a way to do it better, or at least, to do it your own way.

TOP FIVE CDs?

1. Patty Griffin, Living with Ghosts. "This is one of the most beautiful albums ever made. Though I've heard it a thousand times, it still has the power to make me cry on my way to the grocery store."

2. Joni Mitchell, Hits. "Joni has a way of making me nostalgic for times and places I've never been but wish I could visit."

3. The Indigo Girls, Retrospective. "Makes me want to take a road trip, fall in love, travel around the world, and come back home again...all in one listen."

4. Bright Eyes, Lifted. "A friendly reminder that life is beautiful."

5. Bob Marley, Legend. "I simply can't listen to this CD and not feel good."

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