Mark Erelli

March 2019 Newsletter

March 2019 Newsletter

(NOTE: There are a lot of cool things going on this month. I hope you enjoy this month's groovy essay, but be sure to check out the awesome list of gigs below!)


My kind are seekers; daydreamers and true believers. We are chasers and hunters, on the prowl for moments of ephemeral transcendence and universal banality. You can find us on highways silvered by a full moon; or up before the sun, scribbling furiously in a notebook beneath a dim lamp. We haunt the bars and taverns, libraries and museums, forests and mountains, our antennae tuned in to an overheard conversation or a snatch of birdsong, listening. My kind are always looking, questioning, honing, and distilling a crowded turn of phrase into the perfect word.

My kind are translators, transforming the sublime into verse, rendering loss into communion. We don't feel or live more fully than others, but we reach out through our joy and our pain, in hopes that all of us might feel less alone. We have sacred shared memories of moments crouched around an old boombox radio or record player, a voice or an instrument moving us to rapture. We spend a lifetime trying to shake loose in others that which was shaken loose in us.

I am part of a long line of those who came before and those yet to come. We learn from the old and new in equal measure. We don't abandon the past and rush toward the future, we simply carry as much was we can for as long as we can. Perhaps someday another will pick up what I bore and carry it forward once again. In that small way, we is ageless and immortal.

Some groups exclude, stewing in their own codes and philosophies. Not mine. There is always room for more of my kind. We pick each other up, encourage each other to reach deeper down, further in. If you do the work with honest intentions, you are welcome. There is always a reason to celebrate another voice, singing another song. That song might make you dance or it might save your life. You don't even have to play or sing...as long as you share the appreciation of a great song, then you're one of my kind too.

So here's to the seekers, daydreamers, and true believers. May we never find what we think we are looking for, 'cause we sure do have a helluva time searching.

BASIC FOLK: This month's essay was inspired by a recent episode of Cindy Howes' great new podcast "Basic Folk." She did a really great interview with Peter Mulvey, a long-time friend and guiding light who has a fantastic new record out. I didn't make Cindy cry, but you can check out our conversation from an earlier episode HERE.

SOCIAL MEDIA: As a method of reaching out to you directly, I like this email newsletter best. But I also engage with the necessary evil that is social media, often posting different sorts of things than you typically find here. Funny things my kids say to me, political stuff, random musings...I promise you all this and more if you follow me:

LIKE me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/markerelli/
FOLLOW me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarkErelli
CHECK OUT my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/markerelli
SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/hillbillypilgrim/

2nd SHIFT MUSIC SERIES: I am curating a music series at a fantastic museum in Waltham MA. Thirty foot ceilings in a room full of cool old industrial artifacts, it's a great place to see a show. Check out the spring lineup, and make sure to come out on Thu Mar 7 for our spring kickoff show with Jeffrey Martin.

MP3 of the MONTH: All this talk of seekers makes a live cover of the Indigo Girls' "Galileo" the perfect choice for the song of the month. I recently was on a musical cruise with Amy and Emily, and even sat behind them on the shuttle bus from the hotel to the boat. Couldn't think of one damn thing to say that wouldn't have been extremely embarrassing, so I didn't say anything. Hope we cross paths again. "Galileo" is available for free for the month of March. Enjoy!


Fri Mar 1 - House Concert, Worcester MA - 7 pm
Ever wondered what I sound like when you take away the big stage and fancy sound system? This is your chance. Spoiler alert: it's still good. Maybe even better. Please email Kelly at keldemean@gmail.com to reserve tickets and get more info on the location.

Sat Mar 2 - Center for the Arts (TCAN), Natick MA - 8 pm (co-bill with Liz Longley)
Do you like big, dynamic voices singing songs that give you all the feels? If not, then please do not come to this show. Seriously, if I don't make you cry then Liz Longley definitely will. But it's ok, after you dissolve into a puddle on the floor we will pick you up and lift your spirits before it's time to deal with the shit show again. I promise. Bonus: Zachariah Hickman on bass.

Sun Mar 3 - Academy of Music, Northampton MA - 7 pm (opening for Rosanne Cash)
I've gone on and on here about the respect I have for Ms. Cash...and I'm gonna do it again. She is that rare combination of tenderness and bravery, singing her own truth but with one of the heaviest legacies in country music behind her. On top of all this, please believe me when I tell you she is one of the warmest and most generous people I have ever met. I cannot wait to kick off the night (with Zachariah Hickman on bass) and then watch the show with the rest of you.

Tue Mar 5 - Bluebird Cafe, Nashville TN - 6 pm
It's been years since I last played this place, one of the most famous listening rooms in the country. I'm pretty excited for a killer in-the-round show with Robby Hecht, Caitlin Canty, and Caroline Spence. I'm told these pretty much always sell out, but I think there are a handful of tickets left, so act quickly.

Wed Mar 6 - The High Watt, Nashville TN - 8 pm (opening for Sadler Vaden)
At the end of last year, I went down to Nashville to make my 12th solo record, my first ever recorded outside New England. I fell in with a fantastic group of guys down there, who also happen to be badass musicians that regularly play and tour with the likes of Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves, The Milk Carton Kids and many many more. They're all going to join me for my first full band set in Nashville since a short showcase in 2004. We'll play a whole set of this yet-to-released material, and then Sadler (of Isbell's 400 Unit) will play a set of good ol' fashioned, face-melting rock n' roll. All this on a Wednesday.

Sat Mar 23 - Levon Helm Studios, Woodstock NY - 8 pm (opening for Josh Ritter)
I literally jumped around the kitchen when I got this gig. When my 11-year old drumming son asked me why I was carrying on, I started to explain about Levon and The Band and I just teared up. How do you explain one of your favorite bands, and how it feels to have never had the chance to see them live? I had always wanted to go see a Midnight Ramble at Levon's barn but I never made it happen. This is the next best thing, opening up for my friend--and one of my generation's best songwriters--Josh Ritter. Oh yeah, and it's SOLD OUT.

Thu Mar 28 - Unitarian Universalist Church, Melrose MA - 7 pm
This is a hometown fundraiser for a new community arts center run by our local Follow Your Art group. Activism doesn't get any more local than this: the church is around the corner and the center will be basically in my backyard. Should be a wonderful night of folk, country, and blues with Bill McQuaid, Alastair Moock, and yours truly.

Sun Mar 31 - Temple Isaiah, Lexington MA - 7:30 pm
I performed here a few years ago, and it's always a good sign when you play a house of worship...and then get asked back. I'll be joined by inestimable Zachariah Hickman on upright bass for a night of songs, old and new, borrowed and...well, probably won't do any "blue" songs in a temple.

No sideman gigs this month, but you never do know where I'll pop up next.

April 27 - Parlor Room, Northampton MA
May 18 - Palace Theater Spotlight Room, Manchester NH
May 31 - Passim, Cambridge MA


updated: 6 months ago