Mark Erelli

November 2016 Newsletter

November 2016 Newsletter

I've been a bit curmudgeonly about the surging popularity of vinyl in recent years. I don't think it sounds "better," and we shouldn't need non-portable turntables to force us to sit and listen to music. I'll give LPs points for large artwork and listing musician credits, two areas they clearly best other media. But in general, we don't have a music or media problem, we have a listening problem. Lo and behold, when you sit down and intentionally focus on music, it almost always sounds great and moves you.

It's been years since I last leisurely browsed through a record store. I used to be bummed if I wasn't popular enough for my records to be in stock. Then the cd began to feel like a dying medium that people buy less and less of. Now, because I'm not on a record label anymore I'll likely never again know the thrill of finding my own albums in the racks. It's all just too much. But nonetheless, there I was haunting the local record stores and buying vinyl at nearly every stop on my recent tour with Josh Ritter and Jason Isbell.

As I flipped through the stacks, I found myself gravitating towards the first albums that really grabbed me from the artists that I love: Jackson Browne's "For Everyman," Little Feat's "Waiting For Columbus," Emmylou Harris's "Quarter Moon In A Ten Cent Town," and so many more. When I was ecstatic to find a copy of Tom Rush's "New Year," the first (and only) folk concert my parents brought me to, I realized that my record purchases are inadvertently recreating the self-guided evolution of my musical education. Best of all, I'm hearing new things in this music when I spin the records, but it's not because of the medium, it's because of me. I'm a different man than the high school student who first devoured the Grateful Dead's "Europe '72," and I like to think I've matured a bit since I heard Joni Mitchell's "Hejira" in college.

In addition to enjoying the music anew myself, I'm also getting to share it with my boys. We've done away with screen time in the mornings before school, which means dad can put on side A of a record in the family room without someone complaining that it's drowning out their YouTube Minecraft vid. Not only do I spare myself the trauma of tuning in to NPR's presidential campaign coverage, but the boys get exposed to 20 minutes of Ray Charles or The Beatles--not a bad way to start the day regardless of your age. Sometimes I catch them bobbing their heads along to the music, or they ask me who's singing. Sometimes they just play and the music percolates in the background. I know it's sinking in in ways that they may not appreciate for years to come.

So don't be surprised if you find me in the record store again when I play your hometown. But please don't try to start a conversation about "how much warmer LPs sound," or how "music nowadays just isn't as good as it was back then." I couldn't care less about the medium. But anything that keeps me falling in love with music, and gives me the opportunity to share that with my kids, is alright by me.

FOR A SONG: I don't really care how you listen to my new record--CD, stream a digital download, vinyl--just that you listen. You can buy it anywhere, but I guess I like it best when you purchase directly from me HERE.

markerelli 2085
RITTER/ISBELL: What a wonderful time I had out on the road with Josh Ritter opening up for Jason Isbell. Two amazing songwriters and, more importantly, generous and genuine good people. I think I will remember that month for the rest of my life.

NOVEMBER 8th: I'll spare you a big speech about how important this election is and how dangerous and offensive one of our options is...just vote, ok?

MP3 of the MONTH: This month it's only fitting that I cover "Speed Trap Town," one of my favorites by Mr. Isbell. This song sounds like it could be an outtake from Springsteen's "Nebraska," which is just about the highest praise I can think of. I did a little basement demo and it's available for free for the month of November. You can download it HERE. Enjoy!


Fri/Sat Nov 4th-5th - Moab Folk Festival, Moab UT
Growing up in the suburbs of Boston I dreamed of one day visiting the red rocks of the American west that I'd read about in books by Edward Abbey and John McPhee. I've never been to Moab before and can't think of a better thing to bring me there for the first time. Lots of great artists playing this festival, including my friend Jeffrey Foucault, who will surely make a guest appearance in my set to revisit some tunes from 2010's Seven Curses.

Sat Nov 12th - Parlor Room, Northampton MA - 7 pm
The Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts is where so many of my musical dreams have come true, and it happens all over again every time I return. Excited for a solo show at Signature Sounds' venue, where so many old pictures of me hang on the wall it's kinda like playing inside an old high school yearbook.

Tue Nov 15th - The Brady Center Bear Awards, New York NY
I'm excited to announce that the folks at the Brady Campaign, who work very hard to help reduce gun violence in the US, have invited me to sing my song "By Degrees" at their annual gala. Even better is that I'll be singing my song with some help from none other than Rosanne Cash. Good music for a good cause.

Fri Nov 18th - Club Passim, Cambridge MA - 8 pm
Passim is basically the epicenter of my musical world. So many of the great things I've been fortunate enough to do in music have been because of this place and the people who run it. I'll be joined by Zachariah Hickman on upright bass and Jake Armerding on fiddle and mandolin, the first time for this particular trio in quite some time. Deni Hlavinka will join us on angelic harmonies. Korby Lenker opens. You don't wanna miss it.

Sat Nov 19 - Club Passim, Cambridge MA (3 & 8 pm shows with Alastair Moock)

Dec 3 - South Shore Folk Music Club, Kingston MA
Dec 4 - Tamworth Lyceum, Tamworth NH
Dec 16 - Passim, Cambridge MA (13th annual Under The Covers show with Jake Armerding, Rose Cousins & Zachariah Hickman)


updated: 2 years ago