Mark Erelli

June 2018 Newsletter

June 2018 Newsletter

Me, looking away.


I have written here many times before on the central role that paying attention and listening play in my job. Artists 'create,' but 'creation' is tricky process--it's rarely an easy thing that spontaneously drops into your lap from the heavens. Sometimes it does, and for that I am grateful. But if I want to remain creative on a more consistent basis, I need to stay open and tuned in to life, in all its complicated glory.

'Complicated glory' is a pretty poor descriptor for what I see when I look at the world these days. I'm sure there are good things happening somewhere, but all the news I see highlights the steady erosion of civilized society--norms, principles, institutions--that I held dear and perhaps took for granted. In short, forcing myself to stay open and pay attention sometimes feels akin to self-harm. Of course, that's exactly what he wants (I won't mention his name here), but I suspect I'm not alone in my desire to hole up in the corner of my living room inside a fort of couch cushions and blankets til this whole house of cards collapses.

I have brooded about this self-preservation impulse, concerned I am cutting myself off from the very things I require to inspire the creation that sustains my spirit. And yet...I've been writing up a storm! With a couple exceptions, the songs aren't anthems of resistance. The stuff that's coming out feels a bit lighter, perhaps at times more interior or introspective, but on the whole a bit ore uptempo and countrier than I've sounded in a while. I think I'm making up for cutting myself off from certain sources of inspiration by going deeper into other realms, both emotional and musical. It's exciting.

I am so committed to this process, following it where it leads me. I have been doing this long enough to understand that I am not in charge of the journey or destination. I can only control my level of commitment to staying on the ride and seeing it through--I can look away from some things, but not every thing. If it leads me back into more songs of social protest, so be it.

And if it leads me to writing a jangly pop song that sounds like a lost Tom Petty outtake...even better.

MP3 of the MONTH: Since we're musing about songwriting this month, what better choice could there be for the download than a live version of my songwriting mission statement "For A Song" (with strings!). You can download it for free for the month of June. Enjoy!


Thu May 31 - O'Shea's Olde Inne, West Dennis MA - 7 pm
Bar gigs ain't my typical scene, but O'Shea's is not your typical bar. It's more like an Irish pub, a lively gathering place for stories and song, than a bar. Very excited to be joined for the first time by the great Lyle Brewer on guitar. Lisa Bastoni opens.

Sat June 2 - Passim, Cambridge MA - TWO shows 5 & 8 pm!
This is an iconic room and my ground zero gig. For me, wherever I'm at musically, it has to work at Passim or it's not going to work anywhere. I'm doing two shows this time, and the 5 pm show will feature Zachariah Hickman on bass and Jake Armerding on fiddle/mandolin. For the 8 pm show, the three of us will be joined by guitarist extraordinaire Lyle Brewer. This is a combo I've never performed with before, so it's sure to be a great time. Don't miss it!

Fri June 8 - Stone Mountain Arts Center, Brownfield ME - 8 pm
SMAC is a place I've played many times as a sideman (Red Molly, Lori McKenna, Paula Cole) but only played once under my own name back in 2009. I am SO excited to return, and to do it as a co-bill with my good friend Rose Cousins. We'll have both been on a songwriting retreat in the woods for the week before this show. Maybe we'll play a new song for the first time? Either way, we'll be sure to shower and shave first.

Sat June 9 - Salmon Brook Music Series, Granby CT - 7:30 pm
I played this series once before a few years back, and I'm honored to return. This'll be me solo and acoustic, 1000% proof folk music. But you can take it, I know you can.

Sun June 17 - Club Passim, Cambridge MA - 8:30 pm
Pretty sure this'll be SOLD OUT by the time you're read this (there's 1 ticket left as I write). What can I say? You snooze you lose. More Barnstar! coming this fall, so stay tuned.

June 29 - Rams Head On Stage, Annapolis MD** **with Lori McKenna & her band
June 30 - Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton MA**
Jul 1 - Greenwich Odeum, East Greenwich RI**

No solo gigs this summer, but you can find me on tour playing electric guitar with either Lori McKenna and Josh Ritter. See you out there.


updated: 1 year ago