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JD Valerio: Journal/News

last minute first - February 19, 2010

On Tuesday I got asked to do a show on Friday. Looking forward to it. The tough thing is dropping some tasks for last minute promotion etc. Some of my favorite shows have been last minute. A couple of years ago my friend Neal Swanger called me to join him in Hastings, MN at 2nd Street coffee. We had a great time. Before the show I ran around town with demo CD's and flyers and was able to get a few more people in the door. Afterwards we hung out at a bar called the Busted Nut. The Busted Nut is one of those peanut shell on the floor type places. We played trivia pursuit and drank PBR. Good stuff. A lot of the good stuff happens at the last minute.

Serendipity - February 16, 2010

On Saturday I went to Butch N Nellie’s for Coffee it is about 3 blocks from my apartment. I ran into a guy, Rodg that runs an open mic at Pangea (another coffee shop in Sacramento). He joined my table. Then a guy who is in a couple bands, Blvd. Park and Nevada Backwards ,joined us. His name is Brian Ballentine, and he invited me to a show that night at Marilyn’s on K. Then a guy who books shows at Old Ironsides, Jerry, showed up at Butch N Nellie’s too. I had been trying to contact Jerry to book a gig and low and behold the guy knows my brother Jeffry. Needless to say, I don’t know what will come of the conversations we had, but it was fun to sit there at the coffee shop and meet random people. I ended up going to the Nevada Backwards show at Marilyn’s which was great. They had a ton of energy and put on a fabulous show.

In Minneapolis I can go just about anywhere and find a familiar face, but here, 2000 miles away in Sacramento, the sense of community is still forming. But on Saturday, it felt like I was living in a small town where everyone knew everyone. That was nice.

the luna's show feb 12 - February 13, 2010

What a fun show. Luna's is an intimate venue and the sound there is great, the people were the kind you want to surround yourself with. I opend for Devin Farren who was backed up by Sam McCleod on banjo and Devin's brother Justin Farren on Upright Bass. I enjoyed the tunes. It was good to see friends and I had fun singing my guts out. ahh.
Also, they have good vino there!

songwriting - February 12, 2010

Sometimes you just have to write funky stuff to knock the gems loose. Songwriting can be loads of fun but getting through the writers block is challenging. So today I am just letting whatever comes out go down on the page. Will need to edit for younger audiences (that is if it ever makes it outside my apartment).
Well I am all ready for my show tonight at Luna's in Sacramento. 8pm can't come soon enough. I am stoked to be playing my first official gig here in the Golden State since 2004 or so. . .

Video of Live Your Life - February 8, 2010

Video of Fallen Angels - February 8, 2010

Video "Swim" Live at Torch Club - January 29, 2010

Here is a video of "Swim" from the Torch Club:

Video "open mic surgery" new song - January 29, 2010

Wrote this last week and performed it live at the Torch Club in Sacramento this Wednesday:

Tour - January 23, 2010

I am gearing up to plan a tour for my music. I am not sure where I want to go yet but I've been looking at maps and reading about other touring musicians online. If anyone out there knows a good gig route for singer/songwriters in the USA feel free to drop me a line. JD

Video of the song Pirates from the Torch club Wed - January 22, 2010

video from torch club open mic - January 22, 2010

The guitar sounds out of tune but thought it would be fun to throw this up here anyway.

the search for new gigs in the west - January 21, 2010

I booked my first full lenght headliner performance in Sacramento at the Coffee Garden on Feb 26 (details on Calendar section). Yesterday I drove around Sac in my car and stopped by a few venues, I also did some open micing at the Torch Club and Pangea. My goal is to spend a lot of time booking as many gigs as possible. If you have any ideas for Northern Californa please post them on my guestbook section or send me a message. Hope this year is treating you well!

flowing like the nile - January 18, 2010

Well, writers block has come crashing down. The music is flowing like the Nile. Now if I can just focus on quality over quantity, I might actually get some new songs ready for public showcase. I wrote a naughty song for a such themed open mic at Butch N’ Nellies on Friday and played it for a very receptive group of people. It went over well but not exactly the branded impression I want to leave. . .heh heh.

2nd Saturday in Sacramento - January 10, 2010

The open mic at Butch n Nellies didn't happen last night. Turns out it is only on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays. So, I discovered 2nd Saturdays in Sacramento. It reminded me of the Art Crawl in Minneapolis. There was live music and a bunch of artist studios were open to the public. I finished up a new song yesterday called "where will you go" but I doubt it will ever make it on to the stage. . .but hey, at least I finished a song! With the move out to Sacramento and life changes I haven't had much time to write anything decent. But now I am in the swing of things and enjoying being creative again.

Butch n' Nellies Tonight - January 9, 2010

Tonight I am going to Butch n' Nellies Coffee in Sacramento for open mic. I only get to do one song, but it will be good to try out some of my new material on the group there.

It has been overcast in Sacramento for about two weeks, so lyrics about rain and water on the window pane keep creeping into my head. Perhaps a warm spell will influence a brighter wrtitting note.

Although I have family in Sacramento, most of my adult friends are back in Minnesota. I've been hanging out a lot by myself lately. Making new friends takes some time but I've met some cool people. There is a singer, Madalyn May that is in town doing an open mic tour. Her voice is angelic and she enchants her audience with songs of love and breaking up. Another open micer, Ben Weaver sings descriptive tunes about relationships and a bar he enjoyed going to in Washington.

Sacramento is full of interesting songwriters and I look forward to hearing more.

open mics - January 5, 2010

Living in Sacramento has been fun so far (aside from the car towing yesterday!). I will be playing Open Mics around town to generate shows etc. I will be the featured open mic slot on Jan. 23rd at Butch and Nellie’s on I street in Sacramento (details on the calendar section of this website). Tonight there is an open mic at Boyd Luthiery located at 2014 Del Paso Blvd. in Sacramento. . .going to check that out. . .

Just Moved to Cali! - December 31, 2009

A few weeks ago I left a job that wasn't quite doing it for me. I packed up a Uhaul and drove 2000 miles across the country. I stayed with my folks in Auburn, CA for about 5 days, found an apartment in Downtown Sacramento and moved in. Last night I played my first open mic here in Sacramento in eight years! It was at the Old Ironside and I sold a CD. There were 11 musicians and each of us got to do 2 songs. I was impressed with the local talent here and met some new friends.

On Facebook and Email I've received some questions about the move - do I still plan to play in Minnesota? Etc. The answer is yes! It will just be a while.

I really don't know what lies ahead but I am hoping to get to play a lot of shows.

It is kind of scary to quit a good paying job, move to another state, etc. Especially in this economy. But sometimes, you just have to hold your breath, dive in, and see where life takes you. . .
JD Valerio Music

Promote Your Page Too

December 4th - November 21, 2009

On December 4th I'll be playing at Corner Coffee in Minneapolis. I am looking forward to this show because I'll get to hear James Curry, Monte Abeler and Mind Asde as well.

I've been working at a new job and the commute is 77 miles one way. The commute is 5 days a week for now but I carpool with a co-worker and in mid December it goes down to 3 days a week.

I still have found time to pick up the guitar every now and then. I have three new songs that I am looking forward to playing in a couple of weeks a Corner Coffee.

The CD release party was awesome. A lot of friends showed up and I had fun playing with the other musicians that joined me for the evening.

As we close out 2009, I wish you a wonderful holiday season!


Song For Halloween - October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween. In the music section of this site I posted a Halloween song for you to listen to.

I can’t tell you how excited I am about the upcoming CD release party this week for my new CD, Hot Apple Cider. I hope you can make it. It will be a lot of fun! Here are a few details about the event:
Date: Wednesday, November 4th
Time: Music starts at 8pm (There are no other bands playing so we’ll dive right in at 8)
Location: The Blue Nile Restaurant and Lounge located at 2027 E. Franklin Ave. in Minneapolis, MN 55404
Cost: Free – having people like you there is what is important :).

I’ll be playing all of the songs from the new CD and joining me on stage will be : Josh Misner, TJ Stroebl, Seth Levine, Karen Derdoski, Jennifer Levenhagen, and perhaps one or two surprise guests.

Reservations: Reservations aren’t required but if you want to save a good spot you can call 612-338-3000 to make reservations. If you decide to make reservations, make sure you are reserving a table for the CD release party on the lounge side of the restaurant. Some of my friends have mentioned that they are having dinner there before the show which is a great idea! If you have never tried Ethiopian food, I highly recommend the Blue Nile for dinner. You can read about the food and beverages at their website - Hope to see you there,

sneak peak - October 5, 2009

I am really excited about getting my new music out there. On the music section of this website I put sneak peek tracks from my new CD for people to listen to. The tracks are "Egypt" and "Tower".

This last weekend I went to TJ's place for rehearsal. TJ, Seth, and I had fun playing through the 14 songs from the new CD. TJ plays drums, Seth plays bass.

We also did some jamming - my favorite part. I love creating new music. Some of the best music is created on the spot when multiple musicians are just going with the flow and playing off of each other.

Painters can throw paint on a canvass and art emerges. In a similar way - random scales, chords and beats can be mixed together and through some mystery can be shaped into a lasting piece of music. But even if the end product of art never makes it to the masses, it serves a purpose, even if only to satisfy the desire to create.

Have you ever written down random words to form a poem from the engine of your subconscious? Have you scattered your passion in the symbolic act of sploshing paint all over an empty canvas? Have you taken spontaneous photos, participated in an unrehearsed drum circles, or collected leaves and pasted them on paper? Activities like these have the tendency to awaken deep realms of creativity in us.

So let the paint brushes glide, the keyboard keys type, and the music flow like red wine. Let us be awake.

John (JD) Valerio CD Release and Fall Schedule - September 25, 2009

Hello Friends,
It is with great pleasure that I present to you my fall schedule and information about my CD release party on Wednesday November 4th at Blue Nile in Minneapolis! The CD is called “Hot Apple Cider”, a 14 song project recorded by my friend (and drummer on the CD), TJ Stroebl. I was lucky to have some good musician friends accompanying me on the recordings: TJ Stroebl on drums and vocals, Seth Levine on bass, Jennifer Levenhagen on violin and Karen Derdoski on vocals. The songs on the album cover a variety of subjects such as love, passion for life, Halloween, Egypt, the process of healing, and living in a fourplex apartment building. If you are interested in helping to promote the CD release party by inviting friends, putting up flyers, or in other creative ways, please let me know. I am really excited to have completed the CD project and look forward to sharing my music with you this year.

Here is the fall schedule:

Live Music on October 17th at The Beat Coffeehouse in Minneapolis, MN
Several Acts including: Ben Cook- Feltz and the Percussion Armada, JD Valerio, and Mother Banjo $5 cover – all ages (ph) 612-710-3992
1414 W 28th Street, Minneapolis, MN

Live Music on Friday October 30th at 2nd Street Coffee Shop in Hastings, MN
7pm – 9pm
Sharing the night with Neal Swanger Free show – all ages (ph) 651-437-0015
202 Second Street East, Hastings MN, 55033

Free show – ages 18+ (ph) 612-338-3000
2027 Franklin Ave. E., Minneapolis, MN 55404

Happy Fall,
JD Valerio

New CD should be done by mid September - August 28, 2009

Tony and Ericka Mandile came over today to work with me on design. Once that step is done the 14 song album will be ready to be duplicated and finished - hopefully by mid September!

Now I need to find a good location for the CD Rease - if anyone has ideas let me know.

Good sound system for 4-5 piece band, in Minneapolis, seats 200, nice room and location. Bonus features: serves wine, beer, coffee, snacks and Hot Apple Cider (the name of the record is Hot Apple Cider).

Woo hoo! Almost there.

JD Valerio Playing at 2nd Street Coffee in Hastings During Rivertown Days - July 15, 2009

This Friday July 17th @ 7:00pm
2nd Street Coffee House
202 2nd Street East
Hastings, MN

Singer/songwriter night including performances from:
The Old Time New Timers with Aaron Blum and Dan Olmschenk.
J.D. Valerio will be promoting his cd.
Neal Swanger with Aaron Blum playing new tunes.
Also going on in hasting’s that day is Rivertown Day, check out this site for details:,%20JULY%2017

JD Valerio Live Show - Also available for live listening on - June 22, 2009

Hi Friends,
If you would like to listen to my live performance this Wednesday, please see the end of this message for details. Better yet, if you live in the St.Paul/Minneapolis area, feel free to join us on site.

Here are the details:
JD Valerio playing 1 hour set on Wednesday June 24, 2009.
Gabe Heller will be playing a set as well.
Music is between 7-9pm.
This is a free show. Performance order won’t be set until the night of the performance.

Location: The Coffee Grounds
1579 Hamline Ave. Falcon Heights, MN
Ph 651-644-9959
The show will be streamed live from

To listen goto the night of the show (7pm – 9pm Central Time) and choose your streaming option.

Have a fantastic week!

About The New CD - June 10, 2009

My hope was to have a new CD done and ready to go by my 34th birthday. Well, we have passed that point, but as long as I get it out this year I’ll consider the mission accomplished.

14 tracks have been recorded and a few of them have been “mixed”.

After mixing all of the tracks, the next steps are to get a CD cover and insert designed and printed, make millions of copies of the CDs, and get them ready for the grand release.

I am not really going to make millions of copies but we can all dream can’t we?
I love my day job but doing music for a leaving would be ideal :).

I wrote a new song called "Pirates" and it is about “walking the plank” and swimming away from the pirates in our lives – the stuff that is holding us down (bad job, bad friends, vices, etc.)

The song Pirates has a good “yo-ho-ho” chorus line and I am looking forward to belting it out on June 16th, 2009 at Dunn Brothers in St. Paul, MN on the corner of Grand and Snelling (for those of you familiar with the area).

Peace out.
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