Conversations in the grey
Episode 32: The Aquadolls - We ARE the band...How to maintain balance, purpose, respect, and success
Meet the Aqua Dolls
The band is composed of a power trio
Melissa / vocals & guitar
Keilah / vocals & bass
Jackie/ vocals & drums
And... their amazing manager Jaysea Devoe who is always behind the scenes taking care of business! This was Jaysea's 3rd time on the podcast. In her 1st episode, a teenager's guide to balance, we discussed how valuable her foundation, light, and tools would be as she navigates through life and things become more challenging. It has been a gift to follow her growth and evolution into her new role and how her foundation and light were so important in her journey!!
These young women are TALENTED, caring, smart, pro-active FIERCE FEMALES, and they ROCK !!
Historically and unfortunately women have always faced unique challenges in the music industry. The Aqua Dolls eagerly joined me for some powerful conversation about how to maintain balance, respect and sanity in hopes of helping anyone being mistreated in the industry for being their true selves!
The energy of music is undeniably healing on SO many levels.
Whether you're performing your own music, singing along, dancing, moshing, belting out songs in the car …it all feels SO GOOD!
HUGE BONUS and honor - It was an incredible treat to have them perform 2 songs acoustic & live on the show!!!
Shout out to Bram and Arden Rock Records for always providing a quality studio experience ...https://www.ardenrockrecords.com
Check out all things AquadollsI promise you will be entertained !:
The Aquadolls were founded in January 2012 by Melissa Brooks, the lead singer and songwriter for the band in La Mirada, California. Melissa began recording bedroom demos of her songs and eventually released We Are Free in early 2013, and then debuted her album Stoked on You in December 2014.
After a brief break from releases, the stars aligned in July 2018 and the new era of The Aquadolls commenced with Jacqueline Proctor on drums and Keilah Nina on bass . The band grew as a powerful threesome leading up to the release of The Aquadolls highly anticipated second album, The Dream and the Deception, recorded and self-produced by Brooks and self-released October 28, 2018 on Aqua Babe Records.
Following their sophomore album, they have self-released the single Suck on This in summer 2019, followed by their viral cover of Lash's Take Me Away in October 2020. In July 2021, The Aquadolls signed to indie label Enci Records and released their latest single Disappearing Girl.
Having opened for artists like Pennywise, Kate Nash, Vivian Girls, and X, playing festivals with Weezer, Rancid, Cat Power, and FIDLAR, touring with White Reaper, as well as headlining North American tours and playing local California shows, The Aquadolls are in-your-face and good vibes all at once with energetic performances that leave you anticipating the next show. The Aquadolls pack a punch with tongue-in cheek lyrics, hard-hitting licks, and soothing vocal harmonies that will guarantee a head bang from anyone listening.
Episode 31: Mindful Foundations - Cultivating Mindfulness as Part of Your Daily Routine with John Abate, MBSR Certified Instructor
John Abate is a returning guest from Episode 13. In Episode 13 John discussed how he integrated his mindfulness based stress reduction practice as a large part of his recovery from a horrible hit and run incident on his bicycle. He not only recovered but got back up stronger than ever and went on to win and crush cycling events. He also became committed to providing hope and support to other accident survivors.
This year John took his mindfulness practice next level and became a MBSR certified instructor. In this conversation we discuss his journey to be more connected to the earth and to teach Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
We both agreed that this is a crucial time to spread awareness of the benefits of mindfulness.
Being able to use our mindfulness tools as we emerge and sift through the dust and debris of 2020 will be more important than ever on so many levels!
Thank you @johnjabate for shining your bright light, sharing your warm grounding energy, the amazing conversation and the generosity of your time.
👉Follow -> @mindfulfoundations101 to learn more and visit mindful foundations.org for more details about MBSR and an 8 week course with John.
Chris Zabriskie - Everybody's Got Problems That Aren't Mine
CC BY 4.0
Episode 30: A Songwriter With Soldiers: Behind The Music with Will Kimbrough: Songwriter, Singer, Producer, and Instrumentalist
Welcome to Grey Matters Now Episode 30! My last episode with Mary Judd, the director of SongwritingWith:Soldiers (SW:S), left such an huge impact on me that I have not been able to stop thinking about it really felt like I needed to know more - more about the ripple affects, collective and community healing and collaborations.
I became really interested in the perspectives of the songwriters and what the experience and process is like for them. I have had numerous conversations with my friend Will Kimbrough, who is a musician and part of the SongwritingWith:Soldiers team after returning from retreats. Our conversations are SO interesting and are kind of like de-briefs of his fresh experience. I soon realized this program has such a profound affect on the songwriters and that they also leave with new tools to take out into the world and that they too experience healing.
I decided there is so much to this, and since the songwriter experience is not publicly discussed much, I wanted to do a whole episode about it.
This episode is kind of like the B side of a record. It is not the single, the hit or the name of the album but it is part of the same album.…the same story.
The B-side (or "flip-side") is a secondary recording that typically receives less attention, although some B-sides have been as successful as their A-sides.
I asked Will how he would like me to introduce him re: his bio. and many projects Instead of listing his accolades, awards, albums, productions or famous people he has worked with, Will simply said "I have had a long and eclectic career, from punk rock bars to bluegrass festivals. Everything has always revolved around the song. I’m a songwriter."
Will Kimbrough has spent a lifetime writing songs and performing them, and along the way becoming a respected recording artist, producer and musician. Will has made MANY records - solo and collaborative. His latest album is I Like It Down Here and his next release is Spring Break, a solo acoustic record in the tradition of Folkways and Vanguard folk records.
Will's songs have been recorded by Jimmy Buffett, Little Feat, Todd Snider, Jack Ingram, Gretchen Peters and many many others. His production credits include Buffett, Doug Seegers, Todd Snider, Radney Foster and Steve Poltz.
Will is a prolific writer and recording artist, a member of Willie Sugarcapps, DADDY and Emmylou Harris' Red Dirt Boys. NPR's Sound Opinions co-host Jim DeRogatis just named Shemekia Copeland's Uncivil War Best Album of 2020 - www.soundopinions.org/show/785
Jim says - "Uncivil War is both angry and empathetic, and that is a rare combination". He does a lot of work for SongwritingWith:Soldiers and has resumed a few, COVID-safe SW:S retreats and recently worked with combat veterans in Northern Virginia and Southern Arizona.
SW:S is also partnered with the Warrior PATHH Program Will explains, "I have worked with Combat Veterans and other First Responders dealing with the affects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) quite a bit since the program resumed this past Summer. Most gratifying and deep work."
To learn more about Will and be in the loop with all sorts of cool stuff he is doing, visit:
Please check out Will's Patreon - if you're a fan of Will's music, you will love it!
Episode 29: SongwritingWith:Soldiers / Behind The Scenes with Mary Judd, Co-Founder/Program Director of SongwritingWith:Soldiers
For years I have been a huge fan of the organization SongwritingWith:Soldiers / SW:S and the depth, power and beauty of what they produce. SongwritingWith:Soldiers holds weekend retreats across the U.S. for veterans from all conflicts. Since 2012, we have connected with hundreds of veterans and military families, creating a safe and inspiring environment to share their experiences and write songs with professional songwriters. These songs have been recorded and streamed across the internet, reaching and connecting more veterans and raising civilian awareness of the challenges the military community faces. So… you can only imagine how BEYOND thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to have a conversation with the program director and co-founder Mary Judd. She is a brilliant and down to earth woman, visionary, and trailblazer.
Mary is a master at creating collaborative programs that inspire connections and highlight individual and community strengths. When witnessing Darden Smith write a song with a veteran, she was compelled to put her skills to work in creating the SongwritingWith:Soldiers program.
With vast experience in Positive Psychology, educational programming and organizational communications, Mary helps SW:S create the most effective and meaningful experiences for everyone involved. Her creative reach is reflected in her client list which includes New York State Department of Economic Development (I LOVE NY); MentorCoach training programs; VIA Institute on Character; Indian Ladder Farms: The Mayerson Academy, The HAPPY Movie; Discovery Retreats, and more. She has studied Positive Psychology with leading researchers from around the world, is an international workshop presenter on the subject and was a discussion facilitator at a United Nations meeting on Happiness and Well-Being. She serves on the editorial board for the India Journal of Positive Psychology and PsyInsight magazine. Mary co-founded The Barn School, an award-winning sustainable agriculture camp that raises funds for family farms and Heifer International®. She earned coaching certifications from Dr. Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania, MentorCoach and others. She has a B.S. in Organizational Communications from the University of Texas at Austin and teaching certifications in Speech, English and Spanish.
Mary joined me from her home in New York and, as you can imagine, is incredibly busy. I am super grateful for her generosity of time to discuss this treasure of a program that she has poured her heart and soul into. I want to whole world to know about the power and beauty of this program and that post traumatic healing does exist
Make sure you listen to the song at the end of this episode to get a full understanding of the results of this program. It is one of Mary’s favorite’s. The song Strumming hand was written by Maia Sharp and Veteran John Cameron at a performed by Maia Sharp.
If you are inspired by this story, want to learn more about or support SW/S please visit
Episode 28: Hiking My Feelings/Healing Happens One Step at a Time with Sydney Williams - author and director of Hiking My Feelings/ wilderness wellness, education, & advocacy
When former collegiate athlete and competitive skydiver, Sydney Williams, unexpectedly found herself on the receiving end of a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis, while grappling with unresolved trauma from a decades-old sexual assault, she set out on a mission: turn her pain into power. Two hikes across Catalina Island and 80 miles later, she founded Hiking My Feelings to help others tap into the mind-body connection and healing power of nature that helped kick her self-limiting beliefs and disease into remission.
Having more than 12 years of marketing experience with Fortune 500 companies and emerging brands, Sydney serves up her “truth juice” style of storytelling to break wide open tough conversations with practical, powerful content and experiences. Over the years, she’s been featured on the SXSW stage, as well as in Health Magazine, Diabetic Living Magazine, San Diego Union-Tribune, Psychology Today, US News & World Report, and numerous other publications. Today, she is the author of Hiking My Feelings: Stepping into the Healing Power of Nature, an instructor at the Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park, and travels across the country empowering others to summit their personal mountains on their way to becoming Well Beings.
Episode 27: Exploring Responsibly Wherever Life Takes Her with Gabaccia Moreno - environmental, human rights & diversity advocate
Gabaccia Moreno is a first-generation Mexican-American multi-disciplinary creator, consultant, and passionate outdoor advocate #exploringresponsibly wherever life takes her. She holds a B.A. in Theater and Anthropology from SUNY College at Buffalo and an M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University.
Growing up in Veracruz, Mexico to a family of hunters and ranchers gave her an appreciation for the land and its wildlife at an early age, one that prevails today. Her works, whether artistic, creative, or entrepreneurial, have always intersected with the social and environmental issues that surround her.
She is most recently serving as a Director of Social Responsibility on the board of Hiking My Feelings, hosting and curating the Joshua Tree National Park Association's virtual series Desert Live, and has also launched her own Live conversation series named Exploring Responsibly on Instagram.
Today you’ll find her writing, advising businesses and non-profits, or adventuring outside, probably taking photos, fishing, or hiking.
Through written, recorded, photographed storytelling and documentation, she works alongside brands - publications - organizations towards inspiring others to take care of our natural resources, as well as empower them to become the land and people stewards we need in the world.
Check out all beautiful, proactive things Gabaccia :
Gifts for Growth and Hope in challenging times
Anne finds incredible guests from different walks of life, all with inspiring stories to tell. Their stories hold the underlying message of hope, and they share with us the tools and strategies they used to overcome struggles and navigate hardships in their lives. We all have gifts to share and things to learn from one another, and there are some incredible gifts being offered in Grey Matters Now. Thanks Anne!
Anne and Sigmund are inspiring lights
I first met this pair while I was managing an ethical retail boutique in Leucadia (which they always supported and where they bought many of their gifts to friends during the holidays). I was always inspired by how Anne is a very involved person in the community and beyond, and always enjoyed her stories and point of view on current issues that surround us all. Sigmund, well, he’s my soulmate dog whom like me, loves to balance things on his head - we used to do it together all the time (for the gram and for ourselves).
I’m very happy to be able to take Anne and Sigmund on the road with me through their in-depth conversations with a diverse group of people on Grey Matters Now. No matter what the topic is, there’s always a lesson to be learned and to make you feel motivated to be a better you. Thanks for all the light you shine!
Love this Podcast!
While the Podcast has a running theme, every one has a different subject but always covers things that matter in a non political, non judgemental way. In a world so divided, if you are looking for answers or even questions listen to Anne and her guests!