this month's newsletter will be a little different. scroll down for info on new music & please don't miss the ¡me gusta! recommendations at the end. they make me super happy.
i want to start first by saying that yesterday was a historic day for those of us that call america home. for the first time, there will be over 100 women in the US congress. some of those women will be our first muslim americans & native americans to represent us in DC. across the country, many LGBTQ+ folks won state and local elections (here's a great thread highlighting this "rainbow wave"
). michigan passed an anti-gerrymandering law, and pennsylvania democrats benefited from newly re-drawn districts. in florida, 1.4 million people had their voting rights restored. and of course, democrats took the house.
i just got back from a month in my home state of virgina, where i was an artist in residence at VCCA, the virginia center for the creative arts. there is no doubt that you'll hear the fruits of that time
in the next year or so ;). however, post residency & the morning after the election, looking at the results and just back to massachusetts, i am thinking about a few things.
it's often my responsibility to frame my work - what are you trying to do with your music, with your self,
i get asked. there is a much longer answer to this question, but one of the things i am trying to do with my work is lean into the role of connector and traveler. i have fallen in love with songs because they are the perfect form for this purpose. within their bounds, i can draw historical traditions and contemporary experience together. then i can make these connections easily portable by disseminating my little songs all over the place. i often think of my songs as seed pods, covered in burrs. you walk by them, they stick to your leg, and you take them with you, to the next place. they land somewhere, they bloom.
i also think of seed pods when i get to meet many tremendous folks in my work as a touring musician. in september, i had back to back to back to back gigs at a quaker meetinghouse in annapolis MD, a lesbian festival in OH, a university in RI, and a cabaret in NYC. i was the happiest clam moving between these regions, rooms, different audiences. each of my shows was different because of the shows that came before it. i took a little of each previous place with me, and i hope i left a little something behind. it felt like exactly what i was supposed to be doing.
the morning after the midterms, thinking about the divides in our country, i think one remedy is to be like these seed pods, to both stick to the people that pass by and to leave something of ourselves behind when we travel. as progressives we hear all the time that we need to get out of our bubbles and talk to people who are different than us. but i do not take this to mean we are supposed to go to conservative or rural places and try to understand
people there or find common ground
them of something they're not open to. i think it means we need to go and put ourselves, our loving whole unique selves, up in the space and face of people who are different than us. and just be there as our full selves
. and we need to invite folks different from ourselves into our spaces. and then we need to sing our songs - whatever form your "song" takes - and stick a little of ourselves onto someone different than us, for them to take home.
at a recent gig at sweet briar college, in rural central virginia, i met a professor who had listened to my music while she was in grad school at princeton. she couldn't believe i was on her campus! i met another professor with a long history in louisiana, who was a fan of my work. during the show, someone requested one of the first songs i ever wrote. he told me later he heard it on the radio in france and never forgot it. i take all this to mean my seed pods are working, my songs are catching on and taking rides.
what if we could do the same with our conservative neighbors, relatives and colleagues?
YOU CAME FOR MUSIC STUFF? HERE IT IS
the "miss you like hell" cast album is out now digitally
, and secretly/early i am selling signed copies of the paperback book & physical CD
... if you want to put on a production of "miss you like hell", now you can
... the holidays are coming, which means it's time for your annual reminder that i have an anti-holiday album that is NSFW and inappropriate for children
, on purpose... i have an essay in new book, nevertheless we persisted, which would make an excellent holiday gift
... i am producing jen zimberg's second album (i also produced her first), and she has a gorgeous kickstarter
going for it. she's trying to get to 200 backers, help her get there?
that's it for this month, thank you for coming to my ted talk / first attempt at a stump-speech.