Mark Erelli

September 2018 Newsletter

September 2018 Newsletter

I have always been a good student, eager to learn and do my best. I'm also punctual--almost to a fault--and I regularly freak people out when I arrive well in advance of when I'm expected. Lastly, I pride myself on being prepared. I show up to sideman gigs often knowing the songs well enough to play them from memory, and even remind the singer if he or she forgets a lyric. To that end, I have had a newsletter essay written and ready to go since mid-August, so I could enjoy the end of summer.

Unfortunately, I had to change direction at the last minute and postpone what I had been planning to publish in this month's essay. It's all for the best, I swear, but still I'm a little embarrassed. It must look like I was supposed to do some work over the summer break and pass it in the first week of class and just...didn't. I can easily get in touch with what that used to feel like because I just watched it happen to my son (though he was able to complete the assignment in the nick of time). But here I am, at a loss for a newsletter essay topic because I had to change direction at the last minute and hadn't devised a Plan B.

Seriously, I've got something amazing planned for you, but I can't tell you. Not just yet. I need a bit more time to set it up and do it justice. It's a competitive and crowded environment for new music, and it's not really possible to release things without proper and adequate lead time to set them up. This is ironic, because it's never been easier to release new music to the whole world...I could put a new song out there with a few clicks of the mouse. But it's very likely that nobody would hear it, so I'm going to be a bit more prudent and keep doing the work before I make the announcement.

That said, it's killing me because I've been working on this for the last six months, I swear. I mean, six months...I believe that's longer than I've worked on all 11 of my solo records...combined! By turns it has been rewarding and deeply moving, and also one of the more exasperating endeavors I've ever undertaken, where so much of what needed to happen was simply out of my hands. But it's finally coming together, and I'm grateful for the efforts of all involved and I know you're going to love it.

(Sigh.) Ok, I just can't leave you hanging like this, so I'll just say that I've been working on a benefit project for a really great cause, and I am hoping to give you a really good reason to support it and help change things for the better. I swear to God, I'm almost there. But not there yet. I'll put that first essay out in a month or two, I swear, but for now, I'll just shoot you a really sheepish grin and some sad, brown eyes, beg your patience and hope you believe that the dog ate my homework.

BARNSTAR!: I am pleased to announce that my bluegrass band, after a longer period of relative inactivity than any of wanted, has a bunch o' gigs this fall. What can we say? Each member of the band has several other musical and non-musical day jobs (Josh Ritter, Lori McKenna, Elephant Revival, fatherhood) that really threw a spanner in the works for a while. But we're back, and with new songs, too!

MP3 of the MONTH: In honor of the return of Barnstar! this fall, this month's download is a live performance of "Charlottesville," from the last gig we did back in June. This song has constantly changed over the year, from folkier versions to a more sprightly and straightforward bluegrass feel. This version is somewhere in between, I really love it, and I'm happy that you can download it for free from my Bandcamp site. It's available for the month of September and then it's gone. Enjoy!


Wed Sept 19 - Rockwood Music Hall 3, New York NY - 7 pm
I love this little speakeasy of a listening room a couple floors below the bustle of the city. It's the perfect place to work out some new songs in public in preparation for recording my next record. And seems like the perfect way to kick off your Wednesday evening, right? You can come to the gig and still be home 3 hours before New York even gets going for the night.

Thu Sept 20 - The Church of St. Luke in the Fields, New York - 7 pm
When someone asks you if you want to "join GRAMMY award-winning singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash and friends for an evening of information, music, shared experience and rallying for change" you know that's a no-brainer, right? What if one of those friends is yours truly? To top it all off, what if the event is FREE (though registration is required)? You literally now have zero excuses to miss this.

Fri Sept 21 - Paste Studio Live, New York NY - 12:30 pm
You can't come to this one and watch me play a few songs live, but you can tune in from the comfort of your own home or phone. You don't even have to change out of your pajamas to watch.

Sat Sept 22 - Princeton Coffeehouse, Princeton IL - 7:30 pm
But Mark, you say, weren't you just in New York City? And now you're in Illinois, doing just a single solo acoustic show? Yes, and I don't begrudge your incredulity. No one ever said being a folksinger makes sense. But I have a lot of fun and so will you if you come to this show.

Thu Sept 27 - 2nd Shift Music Series, Charles River Museum of Industry, Waltham MA - 8 pm
Fri/Sat Sept 28/29 - The Word Barn, Exeter NH - 8 pm
Sun Sept 30 - Vinegrass Festival, Truro MA - all day
Regardless of whether you've seen every show of ours, or if you've never seen us, each of these dates will be a fantastic opportunity to catch the band. A Barnstar! gig amongst old machinery in an old factory in a room with 30-foot ceilings? Check. Two nights in a rustic wooden barn in southern NH, reminiscent of Levon Helm's famed Midnight Rambles? Check. A bluegrass festival at the tip of Cape Cod at a winery (sharks not included)?!?!? CHECK. We look good, we sound good, and you can say a lot of things but you can't say that we're not trying.

Sat Sept 8 - CT Maritime Heritage Festival, New London CT** with Lori McKenna
Thu Sept 13 - Americanafest, Nashville TN**

Wed Oct 3 - Lincoln Elementary Auditorium, Winchester MA (Last MIXTAPE full band show!!!)
Wed Oct 10 - Club Passim, Cambridge MA (Zachariah Hickman: Songs & Strings Part II)
Thu Oct 18 - House Concert, Bowling Green OH
Fri Oct 19 - G.A.R. Hall, Peninsula OH
Sat Oct 20 - House Concert, Pittsburgh PA


updated: 12 months ago