⭐️Backstage with Ali⭐️

⭐️Backstage with Ali⭐️ is a VIP club for folks who want a closer connection with me.

Each Month, You'll Receive:

  • An Unreleased Original Song
    (audio and/or video)

  • A Classic Rock Cover Song
    (audio and/or video)

  • An Exclusive Behind-The Scenes Video

  • A VIP-Only Online Hang with me 

  • Inclusion in our own private ⭐️Backstage with Ali⭐️ Facebook Group

  • Plus, various & random surprises (cuz that's how I roll) 😉

Current member Jim says: 
“As always – ever inspired by you! I wouldn’t have even picked up a guitar again after 3 decades if not for you!!”

Current member Charles says:
“Not only are you an amazing singer and musician but you have also created a personal pathway to your fans…Backstage With Ali gives us a great way to connect with you.”

As a Thank You for becoming a member and joining me on this online adventure, your monthly price is $10/month, for as long as you’d like to hang out Backstage with me. That means that whenever the price goes up, YOUR price stays the same.

🤩 I'm looking forward to seeing you backstage! 🤩

46 Months

September 2019 - If I Had Your Life, Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin), Our House (Crosby Stills and Nash), The Artist's Way

Welcome Backstage! 

Here are your September 2019 Goodies! 🎸 🎶 🎉

  • If I Had Your Life ~ Solo Acoustic August 2019
  • If I Had Your Life ~ Band Rehearsal May 2019
  • Inspiring Reads: The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
  • Whole Lotta Love ~ Band Rehearsal March 2009
  • Our House ~ Acoustic Rehearsal with Upright Bass June 2007

This month's goodies include video & audio of a new song that I haven't yet recorded, as well as exclusive rehearsal audio of classic rock cover songs I've never shared with anyone before.

I included TWO cover songs this month, as the Led Zeppelin song is a short song snippet we spontaneously fell into at rehearsal ~ but even though it's not the complete song, I wanted to share it with you cuz it's such a fun twist on the original.

PRO TIP: If you go through everything in this module, you'll earn enough Engagement Points (EPs) to unlock a special Bonus Module where you juuuuust might find a complete cover of one of my favorite Led Zeppelin songs...just sayin!

Bonus Content - September 2019

When you've viewed at least 3 pieces of content, this Bonus Module will unlock & you can see what's inside! 🗝

October 2019 - Everything Happens, Too Much Time On My Hands (Styx), Meet My Guitars

Here are your October 2019 Goodies! 🎸 🎶 🎉

  • Everything Happens 
  • Too Much Time On My Hands (Styx)
  • Behind-the-Scenes: Meet My Guitars

This month's offerings include video & audio of a new song I haven't yet recorded, as well as an exclusive video of me covering my favorite Styx song in a laid-back, bluesy way.

In the "Meet My Guitars" video -- you'll meet 5 of my instruments, and hear the stories behind how I acquired each one (involving some very personal stories re: ex-boyfriends 😱). I'll be sure to record a "Meet My Guitars ~ Part 2" in the future, as there are many more beauties for me to introduce to you. 😀

Bonus Content - October 2019

When you've earned at least 7 Engagement Points (EPs), this Bonus Module will unlock & you can see what's inside! 🗝

November 2019 ~ Even When, I Won't Back Down (Tom Petty), Recording Studio Behind-The-Scenes: Choosing the Right Key for "Come Together" (The Beatles)

Here are your November 2019 Goodies! 🎸 🎶 🎉

  • Even When (2 versions)
  • I Won't Back Down (Tom Petty)
  • Recording Studio Behind-the-Scenes: Choosing the Right Key for "Come Together"

This month's offerings includes two different audio versions of a song I haven't ever recorded, as well as an exclusive video of me covering my favorite Tom Petty song ~ and the story behind why he was inspired to write it.

In this month's "Behind the Scenes" video you'll get a sneak peek into the process my producer and I went through in order to choose which key to record "Come Together" in. As you'll see, I could sing it in either key, but to us, one of the keys was more pleasing to listen to than the other.

Stay tuned as I release more behind-the-scenes studio footage this month...It's because of YOUR SUPPORT that I get to record this month, so THANK YOU!💖

December 2019 ~ Slow Burn, Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin), Behind-the-Scenes: My Carry-On Travel Rig

Here are your December 2019 Goodies! 🎸 🎶 🎉

  • Slow Burn
  • Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin)
  • Behind-the-Scenes: My Carry-On Travel Rig 

This month's offerings include a new song I wrote with Patricia Bahia called "Slow Burn," a slowed-down, solo electric version of Immigrant Song (just me & my Les Paul), and a "Behind the Scenes" video of me showing you the technology I use to practice electric guitar when I'm traveling (this is also the rig I used for November's Facebook Live).

January 2020 ~ Shut Your Mouth & Do Something, Criminal (Fiona Apple), The War of Art (New Year's Encouragement & Motivation!)

Here are your January 2020 Goodies! 🎉 🎸 🎶 🎉

  • Shut Your Mouth & Do Something (No Guitar Solo/Unmixed)
  • Criminal (Fiona Apple)
  • Behind-the-Scenes: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Happy New Year!!!

This month, I'm thrilled to be sharing my new, bluesy version of the song "Shut Your Mouth" with you. If you're familiar with the original version of the song (from the album "Make Your Move) ~ you might be pretty surprised by how different (and awesome!) it is now 😲 ~ complete with slide guitar & a funky rhythm section!

I'm also including my version of Fiona Apple's 1990s hit "Criminal," which, I guess as we enter the 2020's (!), could now be classified as a "classic" song (not to make us feel old or anything! LOL) I love this song, and had a lot of fun arranging a groovy version of it for solo acoustic guitar.

And to help us all ring in the New Year on a positive note, I picked out my very favorite passages from one of my all-time favorite books: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

I can't recommend this book highly enough -- it's SO inspiring if there's ANYTHING you want to change about your life. The video I made is a bit on the longer side (almost 19 minutes) ~ so I had to split it into 2 parts to upload it. I urge you to watch both parts, as it ends on a very positive and inspiring note to prepare you for the New Year!

February 2020 ~ Brave, Way Over Yonder (Carole King), Behind-the-Scenes: Meet My Guitars, Pt. 2, PREVIEW & Download of "Shut Your Mouth and DO Something"

Here are your February 2020 Goodies! 🎉 🎸 🎶 🎉

  • Brave
  • Way Over Yonder (Carole King)
  • Behind-the-Scenes: Meet My Guitars, Pt. 2

Happy February!!

This month, I'm excited to share a BRAND new song with you ~ it's something I started last year, then brought Patricia Bahia in to co-write, but hadn't finished yet. Needing a new song by February 1, I finished writing it on the plane ride from LA to Dallas on January 31 ~ thanks, deadline! 😜

I've also included a bluesy electric guitar version of Carole King's "Way Over Yonder." I was inspired to approach it a la Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughn, guitar-wise, and am NOW inspired to learn some Jimi Hendrix ballads to dive into that approach deeper.

For our Behind-the-Scenes video this month, I'm introducing you to four more of my guitars ~ ones that don't usually leave the house. A couple of them are quite unique and vintage...

March 2020 ~ Pour Me Another, Torn ~ Live From The Lady Loft, Behind-the-Scenes: Aerosmith Gear Talk With My Guitar Guru Bob DeMarco

Here are your March 2020 Goodies! 🎉 🎸 🎶 🎉

  • Pour Me Another
  • Torn
  • Behind-the-Scenes: Aerosmith Gear Talk With My Guitar Guru Bob DeMarco

Happy March!!

This month, I'm excited to share a *vintage* song with you (about drinking wine! 😜) ~ something I had lyrics for but didn't have music I loved till I re-wrote it last year. It's called "Pour Me Another." 🍷

I've also included a cover of one of my favorite pop songs ~ but I perform a version closer to how the original songwriters recorded it, as opposed to the super-famous version that became a #1 hit single.

For our Behind-the-Scenes video this month, I'm introducing you to Bob DeMarco ~ my guitar gear guru, who's been helping me revamp my sound & my guitar's pedalboard for RagDolls (the Aerosmith tribute band where I play Joe Perry's guitar parts note-for-note). 

April 2020 ~ The High Road, Gallows Pole (Led Zeppelin), Gallows Pole ~ Guitar Lesson, Stories Behind The Songs: Breathing Underwater (the Album)

Here are your April 2020 Goodies! 🎉 🎸 🎶 🎉

  • The High Road ~ Solo Dobro
  • Gallows Pole (Led Zeppelin)~ Solo Acoustic
  • Gallows Pole (Led Zeppelin)~ Guitar Lesson
  • Breathing Underwater: Stories Behind the Songs

Happy April!

Well, it sure is a strange time these days. I hope you're hanging in there and staying healthy & sane. 

This month I tried to give you a little extra to do ~ for those of you who are guitar players, anyway. There's a mini-guitar lesson on how to play the Led Zeppelin version of "Gallows Pole," as well as my own take on the song. This cover was requested by member Randy S. 😀 

Member Doug G. requested I tell the stories behind some of my acoustic songs, so for the Behind-The-Scenes video this month, I go through all the songs on my acoustic album "Breathing Underwater" and talk about the stories behind the songs.

Stay safe, and enjoy! 🌺

May 2020 ~ Coast, Beautiful (Linda Perry), Behind the Scenes: The Songwriting Process

Here are your May 2020 Goodies! 🎉 🎸 🎶 🎉

  • Coast (Original song performed by a 4-girl band)
  • Beautiful (Linda Perry Cover)
  • Behind the Scenes: The Songwriting Process

Happy May!

This month, I bring you a couple of bittersweet songs (must be the pandemic!), as well as a peek into my songwriting process, as requested by Bryan G.

The first song, Coast, is an original I started many years ago. I found the bones of it in my "Unfinished Lyrics" file and it felt right to complete it this month.

Beautiful -- a song made famous by Christina Aguilera -- is one of my absolute favorites, and was written by Linda Perry (formerly of 4 Non Blondes). I highlight this song in my book "Guitar For Girls," and I highly recommend searching YouTube to see Linda Perry performing it herself. I got to see her play it solo at a music conference and it was incredibly moving. 

June 2020 ~ I'm So Bored, Angel (Sarah McLachlan), Behind the Scenes: Getting Through Tough Times

Here are your June 2020 Goodies! 🎉 🎸 🎶 🎉

  • I'm So Bored 
  • Angel (Sarah McLachlan Cover)
  • Behind the Scenes: Getting Through Tough Times

Happy June!

This month, I bring you a new original song that I  "co-wrote" with my Uncle Roger, who passed away when I was 15. Also, my version of Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" (along with the lyrics & chord chart), and an answer to Ali-Cat Bryan G's question about how I dealt with hard times, when others didn't believe in me. 😍

Bonus Content ~ June 2020

I've been mining my archives for old photos & memorabilia to share...

July 2020 ~ Everything Happens (Early Mix), Desperado (Eagles), Behind-the-Scenes: Everything Happens ~ Recording During a Pandemic

Here are your July 2020 Goodies! 🎉 🎸 🎶 🎉

  • Everything Happens (Early Mix)
  • Desperado (The Eagles Cover)
  • Behind the Scenes: Recording "Everything Happens" During a Pandemic

Happy July!

This month, I'm sharing an original song that seems really appropriate during these pandemic times... it's a rough mix of "Everything Happens" (a demo I shared in ⭐️Backstage With Ali⭐️ in October). I'll be officially releasing this song in August, but you'll be receiving the final master recording right here in ⭐️Backstage With Ali⭐️ in a couple of weeks ~ once I record the final vocal and guitar solo on the outro, as well as have producer Seth Atkins Horan mix it. What you'll hear on this early mix is a "scratch vocal" (basically, a placeholder), as well as an idea of how the recording will sound ~ VERY different from the solo acoustic songwriting demo I shared back in October.

I also tackled one of my favorite Eagles songs: Desperado. WOW, are those chords hard to play on guitar! But man, what an amazing song... well worth learning... I have SO much fun singing this one!

And for our behind-the-scenes video this month, I'm sharing some video I took in my first in-person recording session with Seth since the pandemic. I wore my stylish mask for the session (as opposed to my cute yellow mask with llamas on it 😜), and we stayed as far apart from each other as possible (usually at least 10 feet). It worked great, and I'm really looking forward to spending more time finishing up the recordings we started many months ago!

Enjoy! 🤩

August 2020 ~ Stay Sexy, Everything Happens, Have a Cigar (Pink Floyd), Stories Behind The Songs: Make Your Move

Here are your August 2020 Goodies! 🎉 🎸 🎶 🎉

  • Stay Sexy
  • Everything Happens
  • Have a Cigar (Pink Floyd)
  • Stories Behind The Songs: Make Your Move (Album)

Happy August!

This month we have a very quirky original song inspired by a podcast called "My Favorite Murder," the final recording of "Everything Happens" 3 weeks before it's released, as well as my take on Pink Floyd's classic "Have a Cigar" (that was a FUN song to learn!). And I spend some time telling you the stories behind all the songs on my 3rd album, Make Your Move.

Bonus Content ~ August 2020

1. Imagination ~ This is a song from the Make Your Move sessions that didn't make it onto the album. I didn't feel like it fit in with the rest of the songs on the record, but I still enjoy the recording and thought you might like to hear it, if you haven't already. 😊

2. Come Together ~ Lead Vocal Session
On July 31, I recorded lead vocals for my version of Come Together, to be released in September. Here's a little snippet from one of my favorite takes.

September 2020 ~ Best Friends, Walk This Way (Aerosmith), Stories Behind The Songs: Dirty Little Secret (Album)

Here are your September 2020 Goodies! 🎉 🎸 🎶 🎉

  • Best Friends
  • Walk This Way (Aerosmith)
  • Stories Behind The Songs: Dirty Little Secret (Album)

Happy September! 

This month, I'm thrilled to be sharing a new original song called Best Friends 🐶😻, as well as my own take on Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" ~ my favorite Aerosmith song! For the "Behind the Scenes" video this month, I'm sharing the Stories Behind the Songs from my album "Dirty Little Secret," which was released in 2000. 🎶

October 2020 ~ Perennial, Come Together (The Beatles Cover), Behind-the-Scenes: RagDolls Rehearsal

Here are your October 2020 Goodies! 🎉 🎸 🎶 🎉

  • Come Together (The Beatles)
  • Perennial ~ Co-Written with Patricia Bahia
  • Behind-the-Scenes: RagDolls Rehearsal

Happy October! 

This month, I'm excited to give you a copy of my next single ~ my cover of The Beatles' "Come Together" 💞 The original song I wrote this month is called Perennial ~ I co-wrote it with Patricia Bahia, and I included a video we shot the night we finished draft #1 (I don't think it'll change much, but I'm leaving the possibility open...)

For our "Behind the Scenes" video this month, Alex has put together a montage of snippets from a recent RagDolls rehearsal. Because of Covid-19, we're rehearsing outdoors (in singer Susie's backyard, in front of the pool, as you'll see 😉). Because our other guitarist had food poisoning the night of the rehearsal, I'm the only guitar player (a little weird for an Aerosmith tribute band). I'll be sharing more rehearsal snippets with you soon, as we prepare for our first show at the end of October! 💖

November 2020 ~ Shut Your Mouth & Do Something (Instrumental Remix), RagDolls - Same Old Song And Dance (Live 2020), Behind-the-Scenes: RagDolls Soundcheck/Pre-Show

Here are your November 2020 Goodies! 🎉 🎸 🎶 🎉

  • Shut Your Mouth & Do Something (Instrumental Remix)
  • RagDolls - Same Old Song And Dance (Live 2020)
  • Behind-the-Scenes: RagDolls Soundcheck/Pre-Show

Happy November! 

Last month was (almost) all about preparing for RagDolls' first show (I'm still recovering!😅) ~ so that's reflected in your November goodies😍

The cover song is the RagDolls' performance of Aerosmith's "Same Old Song and Dance" from our show. I was really happy with my performance on this one -- over the past year of prep, I've gotten way more comfortable & proficient with my slide guitar playing, thanks to this song and the first song of the set, "Draw The Line."

For your Behind-The-Scenes video I've included a montage of show-day prep, including what our performance space *actually* looked like (pretty different from the way it looked at showtime!). We had a BLAST the whole day, and I hope that comes through. 💖

I *did* manage to find a bit of time to re-work "Shut Your Mouth and Do Something" into a high-energy instrumental track featuring a meeeeean blues-harp. I've included that for you, as well as the story leading to the new version, and am planning to share a new original song with you soon!

December 2020 ~ Slay It, Oh! Darling (The Beatles), Behind The Songs: That's What She Said

🎉 Here are your December 2020 Goodies! 🎉  

  • Slay It
  • Oh! Darling (The Beatles): Live From The Lady Loft
  • Behind-the-Songs: That's What She Said

Happy December! 

How do you like these ornaments?! I made 'em myself, based on some YouTube tutorials from Ali-Cat (and all-around awesome woman) Lahle 💖 If you wanna spend some time relaxing with a fun, new, colorful hobby, get yourself some glitter glue & acrylic paints (and ornaments!) and have at it! Here's a link: https://lahle.com/hand-painted-ornaments/throwing-ornaments-using-reverse-dirty-flip-technique.html

This month, I've included a new song I co-wrote with producer Seth Atkins Horan, called "Slay It." For the cover song, I thought I'd play "Oh! Darling," as it was so fun to sing on this month's livestream ~ I have a feeling I'll be doing more with this one! 💖 And for our behind-the-scenes video this month, I've recorded "That's What She Said: Behind The Songs." Not as dramatic as "Behind the Music," 😉 but hopefully you'll find the origins of these songs interesting (or at least, entertaining! 😜) Happy Holidays!!!

January 2021 ~ Light The Way, Dirty Laundry/Controversy Mashup (Don Henley/Prince), Ali Handal & Team's 2020 Recap

🎉 Here are your January 2021 Goodies! 🎉  

  • Light The Way
  • Dirty Laundry/Controversy Mashup (Don Henley/Prince)
  • Behind-the-Scenes: Ali Handal & Team's 2020 Recap

Happy New Year! 

Let's raise a toast to 2021!!! And give 2020 a swift kick in the you-know-where... 😜

This month, I share a brand-new first draft of a song I'm writing with Susie Major (lead singer of RagDolls), as well as a mashup of two songs I love: Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry" and Prince's "Controversy" 💖💖

I had fun making the video using the "Acapella" app ~ and having three different colored Ali faces singing backup 😉

For our Behind-The-Scenes video this month, my assistant Alex suggested we do a 2020 recap / Meet Ali's team video. I loved the idea ~ I hope you enjoy meeting Alex & Addison, as well as hearing about how we felt about 2020 ~ the bad and the silver linings ~ and what we're hoping for 2021. 🌈

February 2021 ~ Next To Me (Early Version), I Can't Go For That / You Give Love A Bad Name (Mashup), Behind-The-Scenes: Ali On The Price Is Right

🎉 Here are your February 2021 Goodies! 🎉  

  • Next To Me (Early Version)
  • I Can't Go For That / You Give Love A Bad Name Mashup (Hall & Oates/Bon Jovi)
  • Behind-the-Scenes: Ali On The Price Is Right

Happy February! 

This month I had a BLAST learning Hall & Oates "I Can't Go For That," which sounded suspiciously like another 80s rock hit that I felt the need to mash up with the poppier Hall & Oates song 😜 

My original song this month is a song I co-wrote in the studio with my producer Seth Atkins Horan. I'm including the "first draft" at the beginning of the month and will also add the final master recording as soon as we finish it. 

And, by special request from "Ali-Cat" Chuck: our Behind-The-Scenes video this month is the story of my first appearance playing guitar on "The Price Is Right" 🤩 It was a fun, ridiculous experience that is fun to share!

March 2021 ~ But I Do (2021 Remix), Man In The Mirror (Live From The Lady Loft), Behind The Scenes: Rugrats Session at Mutato Musika Studio.

🎉 Here are your March 2021 Goodies! 🎉  

  • But I Do (2021 Remix)
  • Man In The Mirror (Live From The Lady Loft)
  • Behind-the-Scenes: Rugrats Session at Mutato Musika Studio

Happy March! 

This month I started working on two new songs, but they're both in the very nascent "baby idea" stages. One is going to be a song about sisters (I'm planning to co-write it with Patricia Bahia), and the other has a title I came up with years ago, but never wrote the song: Funk Is My Favorite Anti-Depressant 😜

But neither of those song ideas is ready for you to see yet. Fortunately, my co-writer (and one of my guitar gurus) Jay Gore sent me a brand new 2021 remix of our song "But I Do." We never officially released the first version of the song, but you *might* have heard it if you have any of my "Bonus" digital collections that include songs that I haven't released on any of my albums. 

As for the cover song this month, I took a softer approach to Michael Jackson's hit song "Man In The Mirror." Did I ever tell you about my Michael Jackson story? I think I need to record a Zoom video call with my musician pals Jamie Green and Mona Tavakoli so we can re-live the time we all played at Neverland Valley Ranch ~ I'll bet they remember some of the details that I forgot! It was an amazing day, and I only have ONE photo from it!! 🙃

For our "Behind-The-Scenes" video this month, I share my experience recording vocals for 4 demos of songs that will appear on the Rugrats TV show on Nickelodeon. It was a really fun experience, and I have a feeling I'll be spending lots more time in this studio, as my producer Seth now has his studio there 🤩

April 2021 ~ I Got My Sisters (Bare Bones version), Big Shot (Billy Joel), Behind The Scenes: Sisters Songwriting Session (feat. Patricia Bahia).

🎉 Here are your April 2021 Goodies! 🎉  

  • I Got My Sisters (Bare Bones version)
  • Big Shot (Billy Joel)
  • Behind The Scenes: Sisters Songwriting Session (feat. Patricia Bahia)

Happy April! 

This month, I bring you one of my favorite Billy Joel songs, and a new bare bones version of a new song called "I Got My Sisters." I'm in the midst of finishing the lyrics on this song with my trusty co-writer Patricia Bahia. I've included a video of our first songwriting session for the song to give you a little peek into our process (edited by my assistant Alex).

As soon as we complete the song I'll upload it here...stay tuned! 🎶

May 2021 ~ Your Hair's Too Short (Steve Valentine), Aerosmith: Draw The Line (RagDolls Livestream), Behind The Scenes: New Album Pre-Production Meeting Report

🎉 Here are your May 2021 Goodies! 🎉  

  • Your Hair's Too Short (Steve Valentine)
  • Aerosmith: Draw The Line (RagDolls Livestream)
  • Behind The Scenes: New Album Pre-Production Meeting Report

Happy May! 

This month, for my original song, I'm sharing a little ditty that I co-wrote with actor and award-winning magician Steve Valentine, as well as television composer and ex-drummer of Cinderella 🤘 Fred Coury. Fred produced the track and now, ten years after we wrote the song, Steve is planning on releasing it as a fun, very metal kids' song!

It only took me SIX months to watch the RagDolls' first livestream show, but when I did, I really loved how we came roaring out of the gate with our first song: Draw The Line. It doesn't look like the band wants to release this show to the general public, but I get to share our best songs from the show with you 🤩

During the last week of April, I had my first pre-production meeting with Seth for my next full-length blues/rock album. As soon as I got home from the meeting, I jumped on camera to share (and process) his opinions about each song I presented to him, and to share details about what direction we see each song taking, musically-speaking. We actually may end up producing TWO albums of music this year, which I explain in the video.

Bonus Content ~ May 2021

Earn 50 EPs (Engagement Points) to get access to this Bonus Content 🎉

June 2021 ~ Out of Sight, Out of Mind; Strawberry Wine (Deana Carter), Behind The Scenes: RagDolls Photo Shoot, RagDolls First Live Show (5.29.21)

🎉 Here are your June 2021 Goodies! 🎉  

  • Out of Sight, Out of Mind
  • Strawberry Wine (Deana Carter)
  • Strawberry Wine Guitar Lesson & Chord Chart
  • Behind The Scenes: RagDolls Photo Shoot
  • RagDolls First Live Show (5.29.21)

Happy June! 

Wow ~ what a month I just had... a last-minute added show for RagDolls, which turned out to be HUGE fun! I've uploaded some amateur iPhone videos that were taken backstage and from the audience, but we also have 100% pro video coming soon, which I can't wait for you to see 😀

For this month's cover song, I took Chuck Coates' request to play "Strawberry Wine," made famous by Deana Carter. The more I heard and played the song, the deeper in love I fell with it. SUCH great writing, and a lot of fun to sing 🥰

I've included a little guitar lesson and chord chart for "Strawberry Wine," to give you some insight into how I made the song my own, in terms of arrangement for acoustic guitar, as well as to help you play it yourself.

This month's original song is a piece I started years ago. I'll be uploading the actual song very soon ~ but for now, I've uploaded the original "poem" I came up with when I was so annoyed by yet another person driving in front of me, chucking their trash out their window.

Oh! And RagDolls also had a photo shoot last month, so I included a little behind-the-scenes video I shot as we were preparing for the shoot, as well as some of our best shots. 🤩

July 2021 ~ Yes You Can, Hot Mess Express, Hard To Handle (Otis Redding), Behind The Scenes: RagDolls Photo Montage, RagDolls Live Show Raw Footage (6.26.21), RagDolls Set List Tour

🎉 Here are your July 2021 Goodies! 🎉  

  • Yes You Can
  • Hot Mess Express
  • Hard To Handle (Otis Redding)
  • Behind The Scenes: Ali's Recap of RagDolls Live Show @ the Saban Theater (6.26.21)
  • BTS: RagDolls Live Show Photo Montage
  • BTS: RagDolls Live Show Raw Footage

Happy July! 

I must admit, the first time I heard the song "Hard To Handle" was when the Black Crowes covered it in 1990. I wasn't yet familiar with the groovy King Floyd version or Otis Redding's original recording. But I've always loved the song's groove ~ and the killer guitar solo in the Black Crowes version! and I just LOVE singing this song 😍

This month I take you Behind the Scenes of our most recent RagDolls show, at the gorgeous Saban theatre in Beverly Hills. Assistant Alex has put together a photo montage ~ most of the shots were taken by Gary Alpert ~ as well as a video of some raw footage taken at the show.

My sister Sarah and her daughter (my niece) Kate were in town for the show, which was reeeeeally fun! Kate shared an expression that she had written down in her notebook: "Hot Mess Express," and I thought it'd make an excellent song title! So that's the song I'll be writing this month, and presenting to you as soon as I complete it. Stay tuned...

Update, 7/19/21: So, I haven't yet written "Hot Mess Express," but Patricia Bahia and I finally finished a song we started writing together 2 years ago, called "Yes You Can!" The lyrics are based on all the motivating things my physical trainer Mark Harari yells at us during our strength-building classes. My goal is to record a song that pushes me to work out harder than ever before... I'll keep you posted on the process, as we work on this in the studio 😃

August 2021 ~ Takedown (Pre-Recording Run-Through), "Takedown" Drums Recording Session w/ Jimmy Paxson & Seth Atkins Horan, Behind The Scenes: A Moment Alone Backstage.

🎉 Here are your August 2021 Goodies! 🎉  

  • Ali Handal - Takedown (Pre-Recording Run-Through)
  • "Takedown" Drums Recording Session w/ Jimmy Paxson & Seth Atkins Horan
  • Behind The Scenes: A Moment Alone Backstage

Happy August! 

This month is a special edition of ⭐️Backstage With Ali⭐️ ~ we're focusing on the studio sessions for my upcoming album.

On Saturday, July 31, producer Seth Atkins Horan and I went into Kingsize Soundlabs recording studio with drummer Jimmy Paxson and recorded drums for five songs that'll be on the next album 😍 

In this month's module you'll get a feel for how we construct a recording from the bottom up... starting with getting Jimmy familiar with the song (which you can see in the "Take Down (Pre-Recording Run-Through)" video.

Then we do a take (or sometimes more) with me playing acoustic guitar and singing, and Jimmy on drums. I'm recording what we call a "scratch track," meaning, it's a placeholder that I'll eventually record over. But in the meantime, having a scratch track enables me to just play the song once with Jimmy, and then return to the control room with producer Seth to make sure we get all the drum parts we need, and to be able to listen critically to what Jimmy's playing. It's very different listening to and feeling another player's parts WHILE you're playing with them, as opposed to being just a listener ~ listening without playing is a more accurate way to evaluate if a part is working or not. ESPECIALLY with a phenomenal drummer like Jimmy ~ pretty much everything he plays feels great while I'm playing with him, but I make better choices in directing him on which grooves work best for the song when I'm 100% concentrated on listening to how the drum groove works with the melody & lyric, as opposed to being distracted by how great it feels to play with him.

Our last module is a little video I took backstage at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills CA, shortly before RagDolls took the stage and KILLED it! 😜 That was a REALLY fun night, and we captured lots of video of that performance to share.

September 2021 ~ The High Road (Recording in Progress), Chainsaw (The Band Perry) - Live from Maui!, The High Road (Recording Booth Footage), The High Road (Jimmy Paxson Footage)

🎉 Here are your September 2021 Goodies! 🎉  

  • Ali Handal - The High Road (Recording in Progress) 
  • Chainsaw (The Band Perry Cover) - Live from Maui!
  • The High Road (Recording Booth Footage)
  • The High Road (Jimmy Paxson Footage)

Happy September! 

Aloha from Maui! I'm on a much-needed vacation right now, but yesterday Andrew let me use his guitar to record a video for my cover of the song "Chainsaw" (SUCH a fun and well-written tune! check out the version by "The Band Perry"). Even though three dudes originally wrote this song (it was first released by a band called "Old Dominion"), I think it's way more powerful (and funnier) when sung by a woman. 😉 This song is so great, and I'd love to record a really cool bluesy version of it... we'll see if and when that happens...

Speaking of recording, the rest of your September goodies relate to the album I'm currently recording. "The High Road" has become one of my favorite songs of this next record, and the drum groove that Jimmy Paxson put to it is off the chain!! I'm LOVING it so much, and hearing the song with the drums is SO inspiring to me! 
This month you'll get to see footage of us recording the drums for the song (as well as watching me record a "scratch" vocal and guitar track). Jimmy is one of the most groovin' drummers to watch (and, of course, listen to). I could sit and listen to *just* his drums for hours...

October 2021 ~ Slow Burn (Recording in Progress), Amazing Grace, Behind-the-Scenes: Pics & Video from RagDolls’ Arizona Gigs

🎉 Here are your October 2021 Goodies! 🎉  

  • Ali Handal - Slow Burn (Recording in Progress)
  • Amazing Grace 
  • Behind-the-Scenes: Pics & Video from RagDolls’ Arizona Gigs

🎃 Happy October! 🎃

This month, I'll be working a lot more on my new album, and I wanted to give you a sneak peek at where we are with the title track, "Slow Burn." On this month's recording-in-progress track, you'll hear a "scratch" (i.e., temporary) vocal and acoustic guitar, which I recorded while we recorded the drum tracks (played by Jimmy Paxson).

Seth and I are *also* working on a totally different version of "Slow Burn," which I'm hoping to be able to share with you soon 😍

This month I'll be learning "Amazing Grace" and making it my own so I can play it for a family friend's memorial service. 🕊 As soon as I find the perfect (for me) approach, I'll post it here for you. 😇

Right now, I'm traveling with RagDolls for our Arizona shows 🐍 Keyboardist Julie Dolan and I drove together, and we had WAY too much fun with Snapchat filters at our first rest stop in Arizona. 😄 We shot a couple of silly videos & tons of pictures, and I figured I'd share our silliness with you. 

As we go through the weekend, I'll post more pre- and post-show pics and videos 😉

November 2021 ~ Brave (Recording in Progress), Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen), Behind-the-Scenes: Plans And Goals For 2022

🎉 Here are your November 2021 Goodies! 🎉  

  • Ali Handal - Brave (Recording in Progress)
  • Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
  • Behind-the-Scenes: Plans And Goals For 2022

Happy November! 

For the remainder of this year, I'll be focusing heavily on my original music, and getting my album ready for release in 2022 💝 I'm sharing my progress with you as the songs morph and change. This month, you'll hear how the song "Brave" is coming along.

What you'll hear on "Brave" is Jimmy Paxson's completed drum tracks, including his signature trash can 🔥 ~ along with my "scratch" (temporary) lead vocal and guitar. I'm thrilled with ALL the drums on the album and I'm excited to start figuring out which guitar sounds to use ~ where will I use slide vs. Dobro vs. lap steel (?) vs. acoustic vs. Tele vs. other guitar sounds. It's a bit daunting, but once I start experimenting, it becomes clear pretty quickly what works (and what doesn't!).

For my cover song this month, I've included the Leonard Cohen-penned "Hallelujah" (made popular by the late Jeff Buckley). I learned the song to play at a family friend's memorial service last month (which is why I cut out some of the more salacious lyrics). It's such a beautiful song by a legendary writer.

For our behind-the-scenes video this month, I'm sharing my goals and plans for 2022. I have a LOT of exciting musical experiences in the works, and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you! 💖

December 2021 ~ Who You Are, Don’t Stop Believin’ (Journey), Axis of Awesome, Behind-the-Scenes: New Rehearsal Space!

🎉 Here are your December 2021 Goodies! 🎉  

  • Who You Are (new song in progress)
  • Don’t Stop Believin’ (Journey)
  • The "Axis of Awesome" ~ What is it??
  • Behind-the-Scenes: New Rehearsal Space!

Happy December! 

Ho ho ho! Welcome to the end of 2021... hard to believe we're here already 🤯 This month, I'm exploring the "Axis of Awesome" ~ a very, very, VERY common chord progression that I have never ~ until tonight ~ based any of my songs on! (For you music theory nerds like me, the chord progression is I V vi IV) 🎶

I've included an AWESOME (of course) video that demonstrates this chord progression and many of the songs that utilize it. I highly recommend you watch it ~ it's pretty amazing to hear how SO many hit songs use this exact same progression!

But once I decided to cover Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" ~ which is arguably one of the best songs using the "Axis of Awesome" chords ~ I decided that I should FINALLY write a song using the Axis of Awesome chords.

So when I got together with Patricia to write a new song, we based it off that chord progression, and I really love it so far! 

For our Behind the Scenes video this month, I'm going to show you my new lockout rehearsal space that I'm sharing with some friends. It's chock full of great guitar amps, and has a really nice vibe. Expect that video to be posted on 12/5/21. 😊

February 2022 ~ Guitar Therapy 2: 4 Songs!, RagDolls @ Music Box

🎉 Here are your February 2021 Goodies! 🎉  

  • Guitar Therapy: Session 2: Devil In The Rearview
  • Guitar Therapy: Session 2: The High Road
  • Guitar Therapy: Session 2: Smoke More Pot
  • Guitar Therapy: Session 2: Too Much Time On My Hands
  • RagDolls - Backstage at San Diego’s Music Box theater

Happy February! 

This month's Guitar Therapy session features a few familiar faces, plus some new ones: Adam Gust (my longtime drummer), Susie Major (the Steven Tyler to my Joe Perry, on background vocals), plus Bob Malone on keys ~ his "day job" is touring with John Fogherty (plus he's my neighbor & occasional cat sitter ~ he has a soft spot in his heart for Fiona! 😉) . He also has a career as a solo artist ~ he's a blues singer/songwriter and tours all over the world with his own band when he's not with Fogherty.

Bob ended up cueing the band for all our song endings, which was super helpful (it's something I usually have my drummer do, but Bob is used to being Musical Director and took over!). On bass we have Ben White, who is an acclaimed session & touring musician I met through the Fleetwood Mac symphony gigs I've done over the past couple of years. He's a killer bassist and fantastic singer, so there are some SWEET 4-part harmonies between me, Susie, Bob & Ben! It was sooooooo much fun, and I believe I'm the one who got the benefit of all that therapy... ENjoy! 🥰🥰

March 2022 ~ Guitar Therapy 3 (4 Songs) and Studio Footage!

🎉 Here are your March 2021 Goodies! 🎉  

  • Guitar Therapy: Session 3: I Miss You
  • Guitar Therapy: Session 3: Thank God For Birth Control
  • Guitar Therapy: Session 3: Beautiful
  • Guitar Therapy: Session 3: Breathing Underwater
  • Recording Vocals For "Brave"
  • Recording Rhythm Guitar for "Brave"

Happy March! 

My schedule is starting to pick up with more live shows and studio sessions. This month I'm sharing my most recent "Guitar Therapy" session, which was a more tender, acoustic session. It featured my long-time percussionist David Leach, as well as Bob Malone on keys, Ben White on bass, and myself. I definitely missed having a dedicated background singer ~ I was so spoiled having Susie Major at our first two sessions!

I've also included some iphone recordings of last week's recording session for my next single "Brave." I'll share the final recording with you as soon as we're finished.

It's taking sooooo long to complete these recordings now that producer Seth has a fancy, full-time engineering job with one of the top film composers (and ex-pop stars) in the world (Mark Mothersbaugh, formerly of Devo, and now one of Sony's top film composers). But I absolutely love working with Seth ~ he's worth waiting for! 😃

April 2022 ~ Upcoming Single: Brave (Recording inProgress),Recording Session Video, Ali vs. RagDolls at Soundcheck

🎉 Here are your April 2021 Goodies! 🎉  

  • Upcoming Single: Brave (Recording In Progress)
  • "Brave" Guitar Solo ~ Recording Session Video
  • Ali vs. RagDolls at Soundcheck

☔️💧Happy April! ☔️💧

This month, I'm sharing an UNMIXED version of the song "Brave," which I've been recording with producer Seth Atkins Horan. We've only been able to chip away at this project one night a week, but I'm really happy with the progress we're making... now that all the elements have been recorded, we get to decide what elements we're keeping and what we're not, as well as the thousands of little (but not unimportant) decisions that Seth makes while mixing a song.

Part of what I LOVE about this recording is the incredible guitar sound Seth & I got for the guitar solo! We put my Dan Armstrong guitar through my Talk Box, but instead of using the tube that I normally would use with the Talk Box, we mic'd the hole in the box where the tube comes out of. Then Seth found some insanely amazing effects to apply to that weird sound, and it sounds SO vintage!! We both instantly fell in love with that sound, and it's the kind of studio magic you just can't plan.

Anyway, I've included a video from that session, with me playing my first take of the guitar solo. We ended up using most of that take for the recording (even though I recorded a whole bunch of takes!! the first just had the best feel).

And last but not least, a sneak peek at shenanigans at the most recent RagDolls sound check...  😜

May 2022 ~ Guitar Therapy 4 (4 Songs) + RagDolls on TV

🎉 Here are your May 2021 Goodies! 🎉  

  • Guitar Therapy: Session 4: Everybody's So Naked
  • Guitar Therapy: Session 4: I Miss You
  • Guitar Therapy: Session 4: You're Worth More
  • Guitar Therapy: Session 4: You're Still With Me
  • RagDolls on TV 📺

Happy May! 

I'm thrilled to be sharing my fourth installation of Guitar Therapy with you ~ four songs featuring an insanely great rhythm section. Plus, a little snippet from RagDolls recent appearance on "Good Morning Arizona" last weekend. 😁 💝

June 2022 ~ Brave (Master), Guitar Therapy 5, NAMM 2022 Backstage

🎉 Here are your June 2021 Goodies! 🎉  

  • Ali Handal ~ Brave 
  • Guitar Therapy: Session 5: Brave
  • Guitar Therapy: Session 5: Smoke More Pot
  • NAMM 2022 Backstage ✨

July 2022 ~ Guitar Therapy: Session 5: You Get What You Settle For, Guitar Therapy: Session 5: I Love My Pussy Cat, Brave Solo Recording Session, The High Road Guitar Session, Edge ofSeventeen(Stevie Nicks)

🎉 Here are your July 2022 Goodies! 🎉  

  • Guitar Therapy: Session 5: You Get What You Settle For
  • Guitar Therapy: Session 5: I Love My Pussy Cat
  • Behind-the-Scenes: "Brave" Solo Recording Session
  • Behind-the-Scenes: "The High Road" Guitar Session
  • Edge of Seventeen (Stevie Nicks)

Happy July! 

This month, I'm sharing two more Guitar Therapy Session 5 videos, some recent recording session footage, as well as Susie Major and I rehearsing for our upcoming Fleetwood Mac gig in Ohio (the footage was recorded during our June Backstage Zoom) 🌺

August 2022 ~ The High Road (Recording in Progress), Behind-the-Scenes: RagDolls Live @ Whisky-A-Go-Go, Behind-the-Scenes: Brave (Music Video Shoot)

🎉 Here are your August 2022 Goodies! 🎉  

  • The High Road (Recording in Progress)
  • Behind-the-Scenes: RagDolls Live @ Whisky-A-Go-Go
  • Behind-the-Scenes: Brave (Music Video Shoot)

September 2022 ~ The High Road (Recording in Progress ~ Guitar Solos), Brave (Music video in progress), Behind-the-Scenes: RagDolls Live in New Hampshire

🎉 Here are your September 2022 Goodies! 🎉  

  • The High Road (Recording in Progress ~ Guitar Solos)
  • Brave (Music video in progress)
  • Behind-the-Scenes: RagDolls Live in New Hampshire

October 2022 ~ Slow Burn (Recording in Progress), Brave (Official Music Video), Behind-the-Scenes: RagDolls at (and on!) Canyon Lake

🎉 Here are your October 2022 Goodies! 🎉  

  • Slow Burn (Recording in Progress)
  • Brave (Official Music Video)
  • Behind-the-Scenes: RagDolls at (and on!) Canyon Lake

Happy October! 

Here's what I've been working on over the past month ~ getting a final version of the "Brave" music video, making progress on the album, and gigging with RagDolls in various parts of Southern California.

The version of "Slow Burn" I'm sharing with you has the final acoustic guitar on it ~ I used my hubby Andrew's handmade Ryan guitar, and WOW does it sound amazing! I use this guitar for all of my acoustic tracks that need to sound gorgeous. It's the most beautiful acoustic guitar I've ever recorded with. 😊 There's also a new "scratch" lead vocal on the track that you haven't heard before. I'll be replacing it with a final lead vocal, as well as lots of backgrounds as the song progresses. Also still to be added are more guitars. You'll hear a bit of what I have in mind on the choruses, as I added some heavily-reverbed slide guitar (to get that sound, I had my Reverb setting on my amp all the way up, which I don't usually do - I love the "countrified" effect!).

November 2022 ~ The High Road ft. Marc Maron (completed recording!), Kiss (Prince), and Hawaii Songwriting Trip

🎉 Here are your November 2022 Goodies! 🎉  

  • The High Road ft. Marc Maron (completed recording!)
  • Kiss (Prince)
  • Behind-the-Scenes: Hawaii Songwriting Trip

Happy November! 

This month, I'm sharing an almost-completed mix of "The High Road" with you ~ I'll have the final mix ready for you to hear in a week or so! I'm thrilled with how it's turned out!

I'm also sharing a live video of me & Jamie Green singing Prince's "Kiss" at her engagement party. In preparing the song, I did learn it in Prince's original (very high) key, but with only my acoustic guitar to accompany myself, I thought it'd be cooler to slow the song down a bit and bring the key more to my comfort zone.

I'm also sharing some "Behind-the-Scenes" video from my phone, from the week I spent in Hawaii, writing and recording new songs with some friends. The aim is for the songs to be placed in TV shows and/or films ~ I'll keep you posted if it happens with any of the four songs I co-wrote!

And last, but DEFINITELY not least, I FINALLY have a super cool logo for ⭐️Backstage With Ali⭐️ Now my question for YOU is: what would you like it on?? Guitar pick tins? T-shirts? Notebooks?

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