Variety is  the spice

Variety is the spice

Busy mom Gwendolyn headlines night of music and tap dance Sunday at 'community creative space' HM157

By Bliss Bowen 03/22/2012

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If you’re a viewer of the long-running cable show “Weeds,” you’ve doubtless heard cues and background music composed by Gwendolyn Sanford and husband Brandon Jay. Fans of Gwendolyn’s oeuvre as a singer-songwriter have had to content themselves with a small handful of album releases, as her energies have been devoted to writing for “Weeds” and, for the past three years, motherhood.
 Come Sunday, Gwendolyn will be performing songs from her 2011 album “Bright Light” at “community creative space” HM157, a kind of modernized Victorian-era salon whose funky atmosphere suits her winsome material. It will be the cap on a busy weekend celebrating her daughter’s third birthday — one of the rare performances the Sierra Madre native shoehorns into her busy-mom schedule. In the past, she juggled composing for TV and film with her quirky folk shows and a children’s-band side project called Gwendolyn’s Good Time Gang. Motherhood has inevitably redirected the focus of her creativity.
“It comes back to being happy and doing what makes you happy,” she says. “Maybe you don’t do as much as you would if you didn’t have kids, but you’re happier with the kids. My life is much more versatile now, and it’s so much more fun. It’s an abundance, you know?… 
“Since Arianna was born, I’ve written a ton of children’s songs, but I sing them to her. I never have time to write them down and put them in the files for the next record.” She laughs apologetically. “It’s more experiential, more directed toward her. I can’t foresee a Good Time Gang record in my near future, just because the first couple years as a mommy there’s so much change and transformation and such a big learning curve.” 
She has no idea when she’ll have time to record her next album but has chosen a title, “West Coast Kin,” for a concept that will celebrate her LA music community and fellow artists like I See Hawks in LA, Tony Gilkyson and Mike Stinson. She and Jay are immersed in composing songs for a musical based on the 1987 film “Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion,” in addition to gearing up for the eighth season of “Weeds.” 
“You have to remember to breathe,” Gwendolyn says. “Sometimes you get overwhelmed, and sometimes you can’t go out on a Saturday night to see your friend’s band, even though you really, really want to, but you’re so exhausted you fall asleep at 9:30. There’s a little bit of tradeoff; you don’t do as much as you used to, but there’s [more] variety.” 

Gwendolyn headlines a night of music that also features Triple Chicken Foot’s Kelly Marie Martin, Circe Link & Her Cowboy Jazz Band plus tap class with the Lovely Miss Shoes (aka the Cobra Lilies’ Alissa Newton) at HM157 historical monument and “community creative space,” 3110 N. Broadway, Lincoln Heights, 7 p.m. Sunday, March 25; $7 suggested donation. Info:, 


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