Mark Erelli

November 2017 Newsletter

November 2017 Newsletter

TOM PETTY (1950-2017)

I have been an ardent fan of popular music for over 30 years, but there aren’t too many artists who have stayed with me on that whole ride. Fortunately, I outgrew bands like Motley Crue and Def Leppard, while others well-represented in my cassette collection never followed me to CD or digital. Some we lost too early, like Michael Jackson or Whitney Houston, and so remain forever frozen in my memory.

I almost can’t remember a time before Tom Petty’s music was in my life. His Long After Dark was the first album I ever bought, and I played it over and over on my Fisher Price record player. At 8 years old, it was hard to know which spoke to me more: that glorious chorus in “You Got Lucky” or the post-apocalyptic rogues the band played in the video on the fledgling MTV channel. The 80’s synthesizer bands fell by the wayside as I entered high school, but Tom Petty still dominated the soundtrack of my life. Timeless records like Full Moon Fever and Into The Great Wide Open more than held their own against the allure of newer grunge bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

Petty’s cultural relevance both lit the road ahead and illuminated the past. He embraced where music was headed, through cheeky videos like “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” while reminding us of where it all came from with his work in The Traveling Wilburys. I’m a huge Roy Orbison fan now, but I didn’t even know he existed until I checked out Petty’s new side project. His kinship with legendary artists, be it in concert with the Heartbreakers backing up Bob Dylan, or in the studio with Johnny Cash for Unchained, provided a vital link across genres and generations.

A couple of summers ago, my 16 year-old nephew asked me to teach him some stuff on the guitar, and the best way I could think of to begin was Full Moon Fever. I helped him chart out songs, showed him catchy licks, and pointed out the provenance of certain chord progressions and songs. We made it to the second side before I realized that my nephew was now the same age that I was when the record was originally released. And that 8 year-old kid who started his record collection with Tom Petty? He now has two boys of his own that listen to his cover of “Alright For Now” on his lullaby album every night before they go to bed.

Tom Petty died on the same day as the horrific mass shooting at the concert in Las Vegas. Our country has gone numb and is under siege from within. It seems trivial to mourn one guy with a guitar when the entire Constitution is daily under assault. Still, I don’t think it’s sunken in yet just how much we’ve lost with his passing. There will never be another.

KICKSTARTER: Thank you to everyone who helped me exceed my goal for the release of my upcoming covers record. Many of you have already been listening digitally, and likely you already have your CDs. If you haven't received your rewards yet, they are coming, I promise. I'm working fast as I can.

HOW DO I GET MIXTAPE?: I’ll start selling it at my shows next month, or you can PRE-ORDER it on download, CD or LP via my website, iTunes, etc. MIXTAPE will be officially released January 26th.

MP3 of the MONTH: It’s gotta be Petty, right? I recorded this version of “The Waiting” as an exclusive for someone who kicked MIXTAPE. However, she was my cousin and has graciously allowed me to share it with all of you. DOWNLOAD it for free for the month of November on my Bandcamp page. Enjoy!


Fri/Sat Nov 3rd & 4th - Moab Folk Festival, Moab UT - 7 pm
I had the pleasure of playing my first gig in Utah here last year. Now, I have the honor of returning as the People’s Choice winner from last year’s festival. I can’t wait to come back, this time with fiddle/mandolin/Barnstar! compadre Jake Armerding to accompany me.

Fri Nov 10th - Pump House Music Works, Wakefield RI - 7:30 pm
I've never played here before and, in fact, I don't play in RI nearly enough. I mean, it's right next door. Here's hoping this is the first step in changing that. Please join me!

Sat Nov 11th - Deb’s Chesham House Concerts, Harrisville NH - 7 pm
One of the best and coziest house concerts I’ve had the privilege of playing, and I’m excited to return for the 3rd or maybe even the 4th time. If you’ve never been to a house concert, this would be a great introduction.

Tue Nov 14th - Club Passim, Cambridge MA - 7:30 pm
I’ll be performing along with others as part of “Zachariah Hickman’s Power Outage Party.” If you are at all familiar with Zack, you know this will be a zany, spirited, and special event. Not sure I can say more about it right now, other than it is not to be missed.

Wed Nov 29 - Cotuit Center for the Arts, Cotuit MA - 7:30 pm
It’s always a pleasure to support Lori McKenna, and I’ll play in her band after I kick off the evening with a set of my own songs. The best of both worlds, if you ask me.


Thu Nov 30 - Larcom Theater, Beverly MA** **with Lori McKenna & her band
Fri Dec 1 - Stone Mountain Arts Center, Brownfield ME
Sat Dec 2 - CityStage, Springfield MA


Dec 7 - The Kate, Old Saybrook CT (opening for Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams)
Dec 8 - Next Stage, Putney VT
Dec 9 - Unity House Concerts, Springfield MA
Dec 10 - Tamworth Lyceum, Tamworth NH
Dec 14 & 15 - “Under the Covers” at Club Passim, Cambridge MA


updated: 1 year ago