Thursday, December 10, 2009

What It Is

What It Is

It is madness
says reason
It is what it is
says love

It is unhappiness
says caution
It is nothing but pain
says fear
It has no future
says insight
It is what it is
says love

It is ridiculous
says pride
It is foolish
says caution
It is impossible
says experience
It is what it is
says love.

[Erich Fried]

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Artist of the Month - Chris James & Patrick Rynn

Every month I will feature a musician, artist, or writer that has influenced me. For fun. For December I want to introduce you to Chris James and Patrick Rynn.

I met these guys not long after I started singing blues and jump in nightclubs around San Diego...around 1995. I believe my friendship with them started when Patrick filled in on upright bass for a few shows with my band, Lucky Scandal & the Many Shades of Sin. His skills as a player and his easy-going, happy smile made him a joy to share the bandstand with. Chris James, I soon learned was not only an amazing singer and blues shouter, but played guitar unlike anyone I had ever heard in San Diego.

Over the years Chris and Patrick and I became mutual fans, friends, and occasional bandmates. Their extensive knowledge of music, particularly blues and jazz, fed my fascination with those sounds and artists and my own developing vocal and writing style. Their care and dedication to their art remains an incredible inspiration to me.

I was thrilled to photograph the cover of their debut album (nominated for a WC Handy Award) and always look forward to any opportunity to hang with them, whether laughing over a beer or singing on the stage.

These guys also have a band called The Blue Four and are part of the Rhythm Room Allstars. While they spend most of the summer touring, you can catch them in San Diego, Phoenix, and Chicago on a regular basis. I highly recommend catching a show

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Neverout

Introducing "The Neverout." Original songs by Nena Anderson. A revolving cast of the best local and national musicians backing me up, featuring guests (and sometimes songs) from bands such as Brawley, The Blackout Party, The Cheap Leis, and more. Blues, jazz, own special blend.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

3 shows this week

Full week ahead with shows at 3 of my favorite places to hang out: Riviera Supper Club, Firehouse, and Vin De Syrah! Not your typical nightclubs. Each is a unique atmosphere with an "everybody welcome" attitude, excellent dining, and great variety in music.

TUESDAY Nov. 10 - Riviera Supper Club

And all Tuesdays in November! The Riviera is a "grill it yourself" supper club with an attached bar/lounge (The Turquoise Room) It's got a comfy, classic retro vibe. Settle into a booth for this rare opportunity to hear my original Brawley tunes and americana classics in an intimate setting. 9:30 pm

11/10 - I will be accompanied by Brian Holwerda of The Blackout Party and Dave Berzansky from Brawley. 11/17 - Surprise line-up! 11/24 - Brawley. Yes, the whole gang is in on this one. Mark your calendars.

WEDNESDAY, Nov 11 - Firehouse American Eatery + Lounge

A special night at Firehouse with tastings, wine specials and more. This sleek Pacific Beach venue proves that there is style in PB! Join myself and Brian Holwerda of The Blackout Party for blues and jazz. 7-9pm

FRIDAY, Nov 13 - Vin De Syrah

Come early, grab a cozy booth with bottle service, and listen to jazz provided by my Trio: myself, Adrian Demain, and Rob Thorson. Stay late for dancing all night to DJ Misha, Polyfonix, DJ Tchort. 7-9pm Lucky 13...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Saber Bien

tears for friends passed
too much pride to ask for help
too much talent to guess at their pain
smoke and mirrors
drugs and distractions
smiles and laughter
intensity of the highs and lows
elation and destruction

i know it well

but it's not yet too late
to chip away my facade
of guarded strength
to live through the lows
to love the highs

to know it all well

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hope and Storytelling

I had an enlightening meeting yesterday with a songwriter. I'm trying to expand my network, come out from under the rock I've been hiding, learn a little from the experience of those that have traveled (or are traveling) my same road. I am so grateful to those who share their time with me, their knowledge, their opinions and their insight.

I get complacent. Afraid. Frustrated. Bored. Hmmm. So every couple of years I change it up, jump headfirst into something I know little about, but am determined to master. A few years back it was jazz. Then it was guitar. Now it's storytelling.

Master any of them I have yet to do. But I am excited for the bumps in the road and the journey, regardless of destination.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I Smile

Summer spent
As Fall now
Beckons the birds
And I smile in my boots

Parrish clouds
Litter the sky tonight
Jasmine breeze exchanged
For scent of the sea
And I smile for your kiss

Friday, August 28, 2009

Stop and Think About It

I'm not good with definitions. About "what I do." In so many ways, "what I do" defines who I am as a person and how I live my life...yet it is vastly more diverse than a simple job title or description. When questioned about it (or the lack of definition on my business cards) I balk. Uncomfortable. My talents are fluid. My skills are sharp. And I relish all things new and adapting. Why would I want to pigeon-hole myself with one definition?

Now it's true that too much diversity can lead to confusion. And a lot of maintenence. (I do have 3 separate blogs, 4 websites, etc. etc.) I do this because I do believe in consistent and concise messaging: branding.

Feeling the stress today of having so many "jobs." When it is distilled down, the only description that works for me is Artist. This blog will serve as an outlet for all things Nena Anderson. Music, poetry, critical writings and opinions, photography, inventions/product design, illustration and graphic design, parenting, cooking, producing and so on.

I shot this record cover for good friends and former bandmates, Chris James and Patrick Rynn. I am so proud that they are finally receiving recognition for the amazing musicians and hard-working cats that they are. This year they were nominated for a WC Handy Award for Best New Blues Artist.

This is a merch case I designed and built for the band  Wirepony. I worked with the artist in developing a case that was easy to store and transport and that could hold a selection of product. I'm obsessed with combining function with aesthetic. The case supports the brand image of the artist with it's "traveling merchantile look" and kept it all tidy with a cash box and a place to collect mailing list info.

I've drawn cartoons since I was 7 years old, winning contests and drawing logos since I was 12. Yet it never really seemed to me to be a viable "job." Ha! I'm hoping to spend more time in the future illustrating and painting again. This is a piece from a few years back that I created for Nathan James and Ben Hernandez  for a cd they created with  Carl Sonny Leyland. The actual illustration is 20"x 9"

After many years as working as a designer and marketer in fashion, action sports, and sporting goods, I'm thrilled that my art is now melding with my passion for music!

More about (un)defining myself at my work(?) blog *smiling* check it out at  Dungbeetle.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What Love Is

Love. Twisted and idealized by romanticism, society, experience and expectation.
True love is unconditional. Painful. Joyful. Possession without repression. Freeing, yet secure and strengthening. Love seeks truth.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Humphrey's Lounge

I played one of my far-and-few between solo shows last night at Humphrey's Backstage Lounge. Well, almost solo. My friend Kenny Eng sat in on lead guitar and was great! The post Diana Krall crowd enjoyed my "trucker jazz" set and I picked up a few new fans...always a good thing. Thanks to Greg Friedman and Danielle LoPresti for inviting me to perform. And O for the fab foto.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Creating Change

Saturday I will spend my day as a volunteer and observer at the North Park Music Thing. I hear so many musicians grumble and complain about working situations in San Diego and the so called scene. And after 17 years as a working musician in San Diego, I have been one of them on many occasion. Yet there is something here...spark and care, encouragement and nurturing (and sometimes an ass-kicking) I have been so lucky to have experienced from my talented San Diego friends. The music industry is changing. Where it's going...we all wait and watch and listen. I'm not much of a "wait and see" kinda gal. So I am choosing to become a participant, a mover, driven to start creating the changes to what will inspire and hopefully support me as an artist. Maybe it's not a big thing (i'll see you at the registration desk *smile*) but it is a just a start. Research. Observation. Networking. Educating. Evolving. Creating Change.

Monday, July 13, 2009


The mimosa and mulberry
I take it in
Crisp, dry, sweet
Morning air and the flutter of wings
Golden light and stillness
Intermingle with rust and stone
The joshua tree and hummingbird
I take it in
Beckoning the heat
Midday sun and rustle of leaves
Mountain wind and coolness
Taking the day into night
The bat and ocotillo
I take it in
Moon chasing sun
Purple sky and guitar strum
Howl of coyote and stillness
Welcome a blanket of stars

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Down The Rabbit Hole...

photos courtesy of

We played a fun, grand opening party at Syrah Wine Parlor last week. Finally, a Gaslamp venue with excellent style, atmosphere, and service! Be sure to check it out. Underground...below Dakota Grill...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


destroyed by distraction


again that voice speaks to me

chipping away at it

bit by bit by bit

til it's gone



Friday, June 19, 2009

Coalminer's Daughter

Last night on our way to a fabulous gig at Syrah, we passed by Loretta Lynn's tour bus. It was a photo op just too good to pass up. You don't see names plastered on buses anymore...too many security issues and paparrazi. I guess Loretta doesn't have to worry about that...who would be fool enough to mess with a coalminer's daughter?!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Just a Little Bit More

there is sound in this space
where i don't wait for you
but i listen and dream

time is meaningless here
it is ever so slow
or never enough

and i have opened my heart
just a little bit more

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

July 4th at Pappy & Harriets

That's right y'all. It's a triple-bill girlsinger round-up at Pappy and Harriets Pioneertown Palace. Get yerselves out to the high-desert this 4th of July.

In case you are unawares, BRAWLEY is one of my projects.

and if you don't know them yet,
Sara Petite
and Miss Linnzi

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Change is Good

I'm working on re-designing my sites and blog, so don't be surprised if you see things migrate around, different colors and ideas everyday! I'm excited to be adding my photography and other features here over the next few weeks.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Shot of Inspiration

i write love songs. created by heartache. observation. affectation.
inspired by my life, my loves, my loses and my lessons.
sweetened by my son's unconditional adoration.
and sharpened by a nip of bourbon.

Video Snippy

May 17, 2009 at Brick by Brick, San Diego (Acoustic Alliance)
Video courtesy of Veronica Graciano.

I'm the 2nd girlsinger of the video: a quick snip of "Say You'll Be Mine"

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sunday Night Music

Sunday night I played my first Acoustic Alliance show, presented by Cathryn Beeks and It was great fun...on stage with 3 other songwriters, each of us took a turn to play 3 songs. I love the variety and talent and the fantastic support of fans and musicians. Thanks listenlocalsd!

After the gig, I sat in and sang a few tunes with the Archtones at Croce's in the San Diego Gaslamp. Great energy and fun...we really got the place rockin'! I'm looking forward to future gigs with the Archtones throughout the summer and for the holidays.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I can, I will...

sweet bit of photo on this japanese website for electra bicycles...i'm the girl tucked behind the bike on the bottom right too! check it out at

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Archive Photo

back in the days when i wore betty page bangs and swing was the thing, i had a band called 47combo. before that, it was a similar band called lucky scandal & the many shades of sin.

jump blues, jazz, rockabilly, we had a blast, always with a full floor of dancers dressed to the nines and everyone having a good time.

i'm not sure who took this photo of me...or where...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

John Meeks Video shoot

A gorgeous weekend of clear blue sky and crisp spring air was the setting for stills and film for a new music video from the John Meeks band. I joined filmmaker Andy Platfoot, John Meeks, his band and a few friends for a desert campout among the joshua trees.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hello Spring!

I am a fan of warm weather and sunshine. Cold hurts me. With less chill in my bones I've been happily plucking away at my guitar and working on new songs. I have a show coming up in San Diego April 29. It will be a half-hour solo set, part of a showcase.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Jazz Compiliation Release

My rendition of "Gee Baby Aint I Good To You" was released again this month in Europe, this time on a 2cd compilation titled, "Glamour Jazz."

While I'm not listed on the cover, my track is the first on the cd. It's nice to see my name alongside such artists as Chet Baker, Cassandra Wilson and Jamie Cullum!

Last year I had several songs released on two other compilations, "2nd Smooth Jazz Avenue" and "In Love with Jazz." (I am not a "smooth jazz" artist!!!!) but both recordings had successful sales in Europe. I look forward to doing more recordings for them!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

SXSW 09 Recap

Originally uploaded by dungbeetleblog
I've posted photos I took at SXSW... check them out by clicking the photo. Highlights of the trip? hmmm...

1. The Fling at Metropolitan Apts. (photo) outside of downtown, this funky apt. complex hosted a pool party. not many people there (as you can see), but it was a relaxing vibe...great break from the sx chaos...good music and cold beer.

2. Momo's showcase was a double whammy. Colin Gilmore followed by an acoustic set by Joe Ely with accordianist Joel Guzman.

3. Breakfast at Barton Creek Cafe with Otis. Best hash browns. Ever.

4. Hours of photographing 6th Street adventures with friend and photog Jeff Wiant.

Thanks to my friends, Brande and Wyatt of Global Access Entertainment Visas for allowing me to tag along with them and experience some fantastic international sounds. Thanks also to Shaney Jo of Keep-A-Breast for keeping me in the loop with the "cool crowd" *laughing*

Saturday, March 21, 2009

sxsw adventures...

...just flew in from 4 days of adventure in the city of Austin, TX... loads of music, new friends and bbq. Check back in the next few days for stories and photos...once I catch up on a bit of sleep!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Photos by Jeff Wiant

For those of you that have been asking about my latest photos...they were shot by lensman Jeff Wiant. Jeff also films and edits video. More of these images are up on my website.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mix it Up!

From punk shows to jazz jams, I am always inspired by going to see live music. I'll try to keep you up to date on good shows I plan to attend and performances that have moved me!

Last Wednesday I attended pianist Danny Green's official record release party at Anthology in San Diego. It was an incredible show featuring Justin Grinell, bassist, Dylan Savage, drums, Peter Sprague, guitar and Tripp Sprague, saxophone. This is world-class jazz...check out his site at and buy the cd.

Last year I recorded a few tunes with Danny that were released in Europe. You can listen to "Gee Baby" and the jazz version of "Say You'll Be Mine" at myspace/nenaanderson.