Mark Erelli

January 2018 Newsletter

January 2018 Newsletter

It's likely that we've all asked this question of ourselves, or of our country, in the last year or so. Intentionality is hard to achieve, and even harder to maintain. Even when we're ostensibly doing one thing, it seems more and more that we are trying to do several others simultaneously. If those other things involve staring at a phone connected to an entire world of things, it can be overwhelming to the point where undercuts the task at hand.

I asked myself this question recently when I took the family to see the new Star Wars movie. I'm not one of those Star Wars fans that can tell you the difference between the planets Utapau and Wobani, but I did literally grow up with the original films and spent countless hours enacting my own stories with the action figures and spaceships. A new Star Wars film is a BIG DEAL in my world and, as my wife pointed out recently, I'm definitely the most excited one on the way to the movie theater. And on the way back home.

But I don't really have words for what I'm experiencing when I see these movies. I'm a full-on 7-year old boy when those opening lines start to scroll into that starry void. But when I see women rising up in positions of power and diverse beings of all races banding together in resistance to a malevolent regime, I'm an adult viewing a futuristic fantasty through lens of 2017's political and cultural trends. And when my own 7-year old son crawls into my lap halfway through the movie, adulthood and childhood come crashing together in a very tangible and emotional way.

One of the reasons I love music is that it is impossible to think of or do anything else while I'm making it. If I am distracted by the long drive awaiting me after the gig or how to introduce the next song, if I'm not fully in the moment, then I am doing it wrong. Period. The longer I do this, the more I try to chip away at the mindset that separates what I do for a living from my actual life. This means that I'm constantly reminding myself to focus on the task at hand, and not the endless parade of errands and endeavors awaiting me.

Here's to a new year of focussing more fully on the task at hand, be it writing a song, playing a gig, or being present for our friends and loved ones. It's always useful to ask 'what, exactly, is happening?'* and rededicate ourselves completely to the task at hand.

(*With the possible exception of the new Star Wars movie: if you're judging it as an adult with critical eyes and not simply enjoying as a 7-year old kid, then you are doing it all wrong. Period.)

MIXTAPE OFFICIAL RELEASE INFO: I've been talking about MIXTAPE for so long now, even I am a little surprised that it's not technically "out" yet. January 26th is the day everyone can download and stream the new record, though I'll likely send pre-ordered CDs and LPs out a week or so beforehand. I have some big plans for the release, but they need to wait until after a bit of sideman work with Lori McKenna and Josh Ritter. I won't get to around my own big release shows until late March, when I'll play a short run of shows with the full band from the album, along with a string quartet on select dates**:

Thu Mar 22 - Parlor Room, Northampton MA**
Fri Mar 23 - The Word Barn, Exeter NH**
Sat Mar 24 - City Winery, Boston MA**
Thu Mar 29 - Rockwood Music Hall 2, New York NY**
Fri Mar 30 - Jamey's House of Music, Lansdowne PA
Sat Mar 31 - Jammin' Java, Vienna VA

MP3 of the MONTH: I just finished last year's Gregg Allman biography, so let's kick off the new year with a ringing version of the Allman Brothers' "Midnight Rider," shall we? This version was recorded during last month's run of Under The Covers shows, features Jake Armerding on mandolin, Zachariah Hickman on upright bass, and Rose Cousins rocking the tambourine, with all chiming in on harmonies. The road goes on forever, but this track is only available as a free download for the month of January. Enjoy!


Fri Jan 5th - House Concert, Worcester MA - 7 pm
I don't get to play in central MA often enough, so this is a rare opportunity to catch me without traveling into Boston or out to the Pioneer Valley. It's just me and my acoustic instruments in a house, and you're invited. It doesn't matter if you don't know the person who owns the house, you're invited. I don't play at weird people's houses, only the cool ones. Go ahead and email Kelly at keldemean@gmail.com for reservations.

Sun/Mon Jan 7-8 - Club Passim, Cambridge MA - 7 pm
Every June, I'm fortunate enough to join a handful of songwriters for a writing retreat on Three Mile Island in New Hampshire's Lake Winnipesaukee. There are literally dozens of songs born on these retreats each year, and every January we reconvene and perform them at a pair of shows here. In most cases, the material is so fresh that it hasn't been recorded or released yet, and we may have just learned it at the pre-show rehearsal. I'll be performing a couple songs that haven't yet seen the light of day at these very special shows. Amazingly, tickets are still available for both Sunday and Monday.


Thu Jan 18 - Menotomy Grill, Arlington MA (sitting in with the house band for a few sets of my songs and covers)
Thu Jan 25 - Private Fundraiser, Boston MA (**with Lori McKenna)
Fri Jan 26 - Ann Arbor Folk Festival, Ann Arbor MI**

Feb 16-Mar 2 - On tour in Josh Ritter's band
Mar 24-31 - MIXTAPE Album Release Tour (see dates above)


updated: 1 year ago