December 2015 Newsletter
Thursday, November 26, 2015
This time of year I usually look back in gratitude, thankful for another trip around the sun doing the thing I love. Usually, it's just me and my guitar up onstage (ok, there's usually 4 or 5 guitars), but for that to happen it requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice behind-the-scenes on the parts of my booking agent and family. There are not words enough to thank them here.
This business has changed so much in the past 15 years, and frankly I am lucky to still be able to call myself a professional musician. Not so long ago, the industry was ruled by gatekeepers and kingmakers who could throw open the doors to success to the ones they annointed. I am a bit embarrassed to think of what I was willing to do for "exposure" to that one person who could change my life. While I was waiting to be discovered, I would write songs worthy of the attention they might eventually draw, drive myself to gigs, set up the cds and mailing list, play my heart out and then go shake each hand of the folks lingering at the merch table after the gig.
In the age of digital streaming, the kingmakers are largely gone, and I realize that what they used to offer was a Faustian bargain at best. I could lament the fact that it's no longer viable to dream of "graduating" to the major labels, with their hefty promotional budgets, but in truth I haven't really lost anything. I have the same vitally important thing I've always had: YOU. That one-fan-at-a-time grassroots approach has proven to be the best strategy for weathering the ups and downs of the music business and building a long-term relationship with my audience. I cherish the kind of trust that comes from looking in the eyes and shaking the hands of nearly everyone who's ever paid me a dollar for playing music.
Driven by thoughts of what more I can give YOU to show my gratitude for your support, I have given away a song each month since around 2001. That works out to about 15 record's worth of material, free of charge. Occasionally, however, I still need to ask you to contribute so I can continue putting out new music. The crowdfunding model is the only one that currently works for artists at my level, so keep your eyes peeled for a Kickstarter campaign starting on Jan 4th to help fund the release and promotion of my 10th solo record. It's been a long time coming, and I think it's the best thing I've ever done.
I would never have gotten this far without you. I can't really continue without you either. And it turns out there are not words enough to thank all of you either. May you and your loved ones enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season, and I'm looking forward to a big 2106!
MP3 of the MONTH: This month's free track is a song about being grateful for what you have and striving to do the best you can. Check out a live version of "Bend In The River" from a recent show at Club Passim. You can get it on my Bandcamp page HERE. It's available for FREE for the month of December. Enjoy!
BY DEGREES: I am deeply moved by the reception my new song has received. Airplay on a handful of stations around the country, over 3,000 views on YouTube, and inclusion in every set I've performed in the last month have helped get the ball rolling. Unfortunately, in that same span of time there's been people gunned down at Black Lives Matter protests, 3 dead at a Coloradio Planned Parenthood center and, of course, Paris. I know this song won't solve the problem, but I would like it to go beyond me and my audience. Not for MY sake...for OUR sake. Neither side of this issue is swayed by the other's statistics. Sometimes, music can sidestep the numbers and nudge the debate into an area where we can all find some emotional common ground. There must be some people on my mailing list with connections to people on the front lines against gun-related violence. Anyone know Gabby Giffords or somebody at Everytown.org? Download the song for free and send it to them, or direct them to the video. Let's get this song heard!
NE & KS tour with Zachariah Hickman on upright bass!
Thu Dec 3rd - Rehmsworld Concert Series @ The Balcony, Loomis NE - 7:30 pm
Fri Dec 4th - The Listening Room @ The Lark, Hastings NE - 7:30 pm
Sat Dec 5th - West Side Folk (Unity Church of Lawrence), Lawrence KS - 7:30 pm
I love touring out in the Great Plains, and I can't wait to come back to some rooms I've played for years as well as a couple new ones. I've never been able to bring a sideman with me before, so I'm very excited to bring my friend and partner in crime Zachariah Hickman (Josh Ritter, Ray Lamontagne, Barnstar!) along for a special run of duo shows. Zack's been a part of everything I've done since we met in 2007, and something special always happens when we throw down together onstage. Folks in Nebraska and Kansas may have seen me before, but they've never seen me like this. Come on out and catch one of these special shows.
Sat Dec 12 - Tamworth Lyceum, Tamworth NH - 7 pm
Not only was this Bill Morrissey's hometown for the last decade or more of his life, it also happens to have a wonderful little general store venue that is one of my favorite places to play. Last time I was there, it was the Milltowns show, and it was heavy playing all those tunes for Bill's former neighbors, friends and bandmates. This time through, I'll still play some Bill songs but will focus more on my own material. Really looking forward to this one.
12th Annual Under the Covers shows!
Fri Dec 18th - Club Passim, Cambridge MA - TWO SHOWS - 7 & 10 pm
Hard to believe this show has been running for over a decade, and now with Rose Cousins joining myself, Jake Armerding and Zachariah Hickman for a night of no-holds-barred interpretations of our favorite songs. You never know what will happen at these shows...hell, WE don't even know what we're doing yet, but you can bet it will be entertaining. The early show is already sold out, and it looks like there's less than 40 tix left for the 10 pm show. Don't get left out in the cold, get your tickets for the 10 pm show HERE.
Sat Dec 19th - Club Passim, Cambridge MA (Lori McKenna Band)
ON THE HORIZON:
Jan 22 - Bluseed Studios, Saranac Lake NY
Jan 23 - Town Hall, Tunbridge VT
Jan 24 - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs NY