Mark Erelli

February 2012 Newsletter

February 2012 Newsletter

I am on my third glass of red wine, listening to a 70-year old Leonard Cohen croak out paeans of lust and transendence, as I write.  In full disclosure, I am also perched on my youngest son's imitation Stokke chair, praying that the baby monitor keeps hushing out uninterrupted white noise. In short, I am rocking both the yin and yang.

February is the month when love's expectations weigh heavy on the mind.  As a married man of nearly 10 years, I have gleaned my share of romantic advice from the chaff of my failures, a deep well I draw from every time I draw the ire of my lover.  One particular gem I revisit time and again comes from the midwestern bard Greg Brown, from a live version of "Good Morning Coffee," from the Newport Folk Festival, Turn of the Decade album. In an extended mid-song monologue, Mr. Brown laments that he is more of a tea person but his companion loves coffee, so he grinds the beans each morning because "that's what love is...learning to love what your lover loves."

Have truer words ever been spoken? I didn't marry a musician, but I met my wife at a folk festival.  Still, we came to the event from very different contexts--she for the community of friends who camped out together each year, and me in hopes for the chance to sing my songs for people, that I might be "heard." We courted for four years, a period where I very much tried to meet her in the middle and bridge the span of our disparate histories.

She is a Cape Cod girl, and for her, peace of mind and distance from the ocean are inversely related.  As a boy, I nearly drowned in the ocean, but for the good fortune of being rescued by two high school kids who had come to the beach to celebrate passing their lifeguard exam a few hours earlier.  From then on, I was nearly incapable of feeling comfortable even on the sandy shore, let alone going for a dip. I couldn't even eat seafood. Nowadays, I still have a healthy respect for the ocean, but I enjoy many a summer day taking my family to visit my father-in-law on the Cape.  Perhaps in hopes of proving the depth of my conversion to my wife, I put it all in a song (see: August).

For her part, my wife has come to honestly love some of the more rustic corners of the country and folk music canon. She recently confessed to me that the sound of a dobro used to make her cringe. Now, taking her out to dinner, followed by taking in a local concert by Darrell Scott, qualifies as a credible way to celebrate Valentine's Day.  Maybe she'll even let me buy that dobro I so desperately want to learn to play.  Regardless, I like to think that she now understands, or is at least forever resigned, to loving a man under the spell of those troubadour blues.

It is easy to look at Valentine's Day as a Hallmark holiday, something dreamed up for the economic benefit of those who peddle greeting cards and roses.  To parents of two boys under the age of five, it's a damn fine excuse to take a little time for ourselves and enjoy some good food, wine and music.  Maybe after the show we will drive east until we can smell the salt in the air, Willie Nelson's "Stardust" on the stereo. Even if we just head home to spell the babysitter, I am content just knowing the coastal drive, and its soundtrack, is something we would have both loved.

NEW GUITAR: I am so smitten by guitars that when I acquire a new one, it feels like I've adopted a new child.  I am proud to announce that I am the owner of a brand new, custom-made Creston electric guitar.  My instructions to painter Sarah Ryan were to make it look like an understated Western shirt, so it would match everything else I wear onstage.  I am still getting to know this axe, but I can tell it's a beast and I'm looking forward to setting it loose in a venue near you.

MP3 of the MONTH:  In honor of Valentine's Day, this month's track is a cover of Ron Sexsmith's love song "Whatever It Takes."  It's available for free for the month of February, and you can download it from my Bandcamp page.  Enjoy!


Fri Feb 3 - Bull McCabe's, Somerville MA - 8 pm
Truth be told this is not my gig, but rather that of Jess Tardy, a sassy local soul singer/piano player.  I'll be performing a 5-song featured guest set, including a song or two that I've not played with a band in years.  I've heard that these Friday residency shows have been packed, so you'll want to get there early.

Sat Feb 11 - Rose Garden Coffeehouse, Mansfield MA - 8 pm
This special performance will be a duo show with Jake Armerding, who is featured prominently on my Little Vigils record, and is a fellow member of Barnstar!.  It's been 7 years since we last did this, so expect the unexpected.  

Feb 17 - Birchmere, Alexandria VA (playing with Lori McKenna)

ON THE HORIZON: (more details on my website's tour page)
Mar 1 - Bellows Falls VT
Mar 10 - West Hartford CT
Mar 11 - Sandy Hook CT
Mar 31 - Shutesbury MA


updated: 6 years ago