Mark Erelli

October 2018 Newsletter

October 2018 Newsletter

Remember last month's newsletter, where I had some exciting news that I just wasn't quite ready to share? Well, this month I am proud to announce that on October 19, an official multi-artist version digital single of my song "By Degrees" will be released to the public. Rosanne Cash, Sheryl Crow, Lori McKenna, Anais Mitchell, Josh Ritter and myself each sing a verse of the song, and I am humbled by their efforts and grateful for contributions. ALL proceeds from streams and downloads go to Giffords: Courage To Fight Gun Violence, founded by recovered Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in the wake of her shooting at a 2011 event for her constituents. I've been working on pulling this together for much of the year, so I'm excited to tell you a bit about how the song came to be. But if you remember nothing else from this email, the song comes out October 19 and every cent of download and streaming profit goes straight to Gabby Giffords' organization. Now, here's the story of how this came to happen...

I wrote "By Degrees" a few years ago, in the wake of a mass shooting at a community college in Roseburg OR. The morning after, I made the mistake of reading the Twitter comments and hashtags about the event while waiting to board a flight. Somehow, I still naively thought we might wring a moment of unity out of the tragedy. After all, can't we all agree that no one should have to die in a hail of gunfire while going about their normal everyday business? The vitriol and calls for vengeance, on the shooter and whoever dared raise the issue of gun control, sickened me.

Shortly after boarding my plane, I put on sunglasses so my fellow passengers wouldn't see me cry as I furiously scribbled in my notebook. I finished the song in under an hour and was convinced that it was special. And though I wanted to share it with the world, I couldn't help but feel protective of it. We're not living in the 60's anymore, and I could easily imagine people dismissing a commercial release of a protest song with a "he's just trying to sell records." So I cut a basic acoustic demo of it in my basement, gave it away for free, sent it to a few industry contacts and radio stations, and played it at every show I could. I never made a cent off the song...and not that many people heard it.

In the wake of each mass shooting--a regular occurrence here in America--I have wondered if my song could somehow be used to raise awareness and money for the folks working on the front lines to reduce gun violence. It was a bittersweet epiphany when I realized that the voice of an under-the-radar, independent folksinger just wasn't going to cut it. But what if I could enlist other voices to sing my words and amplify the message? And what if we could team up with one of the leading national organizations working to save lives and prevent gun violence?

It took me eight months to make it happen, but thanks to the tireless work of my manager Kristina Latino, persistent guidance from Ms. Cash, and the generosity of the artists and recording engineers who donated their time and talents to the cause, it's happening. The best way for you to help is to go to the By Degrees website, and click the "GET THE SONG" button (note: this button will not be active until October 19th). This will take you to Giffords' Act Blue donation page, where you can pay any amount you like for the song, and you will immediately receive a thank you email with a link to download the track. You can purchase it on any of the major online music retail platforms and you can also stream it (Apple Music, Spotify, etc), which generates awareness, but these plateforms hardly raise any money.

I am under no illusions that my song will solve the problem of gun violence. But I have seen what doing nothing does and want to do something. I'm a songwriter and musician, so I did the only thing I knew how to do, as good as I could do it. I appreciate your support and urge you do what you can to support the cause.

MP3 of the MONTH: In honor Rosanne Cash's generous and steady guidance in the By Degrees project, this month's free track is a solo cover of one of my favorite songs of hers, "The Western Wall." You should also do yourself and check out Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt's gorgeous version from their album of the same name. It's available for free for the month of October on my Bandcamp site. Enjoy.


BENEFIT & final MIXTAPE band show with strings!
Wed Oct 3rd - Lincoln Elementary, Winchester MA - 7:30 pm
I'm excited to get back to recording and performing my own songs, but those MIXTAPE album release shows were so much fun I decided to circle back for one more. I'll be joined by the full band from the album, plus a string quartet. Even better, it's a benefit for a great cause, the Winchester Community Music School. My own kids have taken lessons there and it's a wonderful resource worthy of supporting, especially at a time when arts education often gets starved in public school budgets.

Zachariah Hickman: Songs & Strings, Part 2
Wed Oct 10 - Passim, Cambridge MA - 8 pm (SOLD OUT)
This is going to be an amazing evening of stellar artists peforming their songs backed by an exquisite string quintet. I'll be doing a few of mine, along with Lori McKenna, Elizabeth & The Catapult, Dinty Child & Lauren Balthrop. I know, I know, you want to come. But it sold out almost immediately. Fortune favors the bold, and those who live in the general vicinity of Boston. You can likely stream it online on Concert Window.

Thu Oct 18 - House Concert, Bowling Green OH (private)

Fri Oct 19 - BY DEGREES Official Release Date!
Don't worry, I will send another short newsletter on this release date to remind you.

Fri Oct 19 - G.A.R. Hall, Peninsula OH - 8 pm
I played this sweet little hall a few years ago and have been eager to return ever since. This will be a solo acoustic set, drawn from my albums and the whole mess of unrecorded songs that I'm sifting through for my next record. If you're into things like regrets, then by all means don't come. Otherwise, you're gonna want to be there.

Sat Oct 20 - Yellow Couch Studio, Pittsburgh PA - 8 pm
Pittsburgh...I haven't visited in so long! Last time I remember was a gig opening up for Josh Ritter, where I handily beat him and his entire band in drunk ping pong after the show. Not the way a support act is supposed to treat the headliner. I'm fairly confident this time will be different. Please email stevenfoxbury@gmail.com for tickets.

Thu Oct 25 - The Kate, Old Saybrook CT - 7:30 pm (supporting Della Mae)
Fri Oct 26 - Ingraham House, Bristol CT - 7:30 pm
Sat Oct 27 - Race Brook Lodge, Sheffield MA - 8 pm
What's better than Barnstar!? Well, MORE Barnstar! We had so much fun last month that we're saddling up again and heading out for some more shows. CT and Western MA, we're coming for YOU.

Peter Mulvey's Lamplighter Sessions
Mon Oct 29 - Passim, Cambridge MA - 8 pm
Peter Mulvey is a guiding light for me--a stellar songwriter, consummate performer, and the perfect example of how to sustainably grow as independent artist. I'll share the stage with him anytime. Hell, I'll pack up his gear and clean up the stage after he's done anytime. I'm honored to be a part of this night with Jennifer Kimball, Brianna Lane and more.

Oct 6 - The Flying Monkey, Plymouth NH** **with Lori McKenna
Oct 7 - Blue Ocean Music Hall, Salisbury MA**
Oct 16 - The Main Pub, Manchester CT with Lorne Entress' Sideman Series

Nov 1 - The Egremont Barn, South Egremont MA
Nov 3 - Common Fence Fall Moon Fest, Newport RI
Nov 15 - Spire Center, Plymouth MA^^ ^^Barnstar!
Nov 16 - Bangor Arts Exchange, Bangor ME^^
Nov 17 - Bass Hall, Peterborough NH^^
Nov 18 - Jalopy, Brooklyn NY^^
Nov 29 - Cabot Theatre, Beverly MA (opening for Rosanne Cash)
Dec 15-16 - Under The Covers @ Club Passim, Cambridge MA (5 & 8 pm shows each day)


updated: 11 months ago