new music for 2017

What can I say? — 2017 has been, thus far, an incredibly fertile year for songwriting!

Perhaps it was the unusually warm winter and corresponding ubiquity of massive outdoor social gatherings in public spaces. Or maybe it’s been due to the unusually boisterous online social activity, as it daily demonstrates a growth of interest in the grand traditions and so-artfully-constructed mechanisms of our aspirationally-representative democracy.

I really can’t say. But I can say that I’ve been writing a lot.

So I’m very happy to share with you the first fruits of that fertility, beginning with my own humble contribution to a hoary niche of the faux 18th-century library-of-ideas that is Americana:

the ode to a woman with two first names.

The canon of such songs is not insubstantial.

For instance, there is Bobbie Sue, from that Tennessee-bred gospel-to-the-mainstream close-harmony four piece, the Oak Ridge Boys.
Five other (beach) boys give us Barbara Ann, making similar use of a musical stutter.
In 1957, Buddy Holly loves Peggy Sue. In 1959, Buster Brown loves Fannie Mae. In 1982, toying with convention, Michael Jackson claims not have loved Billie Jean, and protests paternity.
Rod Stewart, from London, adopts the trope in Maggie Mae, among many questionably successful state-side borrowings.
Another Brit, reverses the gender roles: Recall Dusty Springfield singing to us of Billy Ray, who’d grown up in the church.
In all these classic songs the woman proudly standing in for American feminitity is designated in duple, with a compound name: two, separately commonplace, female first names beside each other.

Now I’ve written one of those songs: it’s called Kelly Anne.


Feel free to share it with whomever.

I’ll have four more tracks completed, family to this one, in a week or so, at which point I will post all of them together as an ‘EP’ on bandcamp, I think. I’ve heard that’s the least socially-irresponsible digital platform for the sale of recorded music, at the moment.

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Writing …

I’ve got new songs, which I’ll be playing in public. Wanna hear them? Show up to one of the following:

Club Passim, 3/22 – with Jennifer Kimball
The Owl Music Parlor, 3/23 – with Jennifer Kimball & Hannah Read
Three’s Brewing, 3/29 – with Taylor Ashton & Anna Roberts-Gevalt
Three’s Brewing, 4/16 – with Iris Lune, Rachael Price & Vilray Bolles, and Maddie Rice

For reference, here are some slightly less new songs:

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Miles of Music

I’m very excited to announce I’ll be spending the last week of June teaching (and learning) music on an island in a lake in New Hampshire. The 120 or so attendees, I predict, will all have a wonderful time and leave the island spiritually and physically refreshed, a little more ready for whatever challenges are to follow.

Act quick if you’d like to come. There are ways (working a few hours in the kitchen, for instance) to attend for less money. And there are straight-up scholarships.

http://www.milesofmusiccamp.com

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New Cuddle Magic

Here is music of which I’m immensely proud, made with 5 people who are among my closest friends and collaborators.

I hope you’ll listen.

https://cuddlemagic.bandcamp.com/album/ashes-axis

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New Album coming in January from Cuddle Magic

Here’s a taste of it, from NPR’s All Songs Considered. (We’re in good company, with Solange and Gillian Welch!)

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Baby States – New Old Time

Baby States is a trio I share with my very good friends Jeremy Gustin and Benjamin Lazar Davis. These guys are among the finest musicians I know.

It’s been a while now, since we commenced a collective obsession with old Appalachian fiddle tunes and murder ballads. It was more than a couple years ago that we began the process of re-imagining that material for our very non-traditional ensemble (at its core: drums/electric guitar/baritone saxophone). We recorded an album’s worth of that music maybe two or three years back, with Cedar Apffel.

Sideman obligations (all of us have been so busy, for which we are thankful!) kept delaying the release of that album. But, now, we’re finally letting it go into the world.

The Bluegrass Situation is posting a stream of the album right now!

We celebrate this release with a couple of shows: beginning at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, MA tomorrow night. Then we head to The Hoot, at Ashokan Reservoir in Olivebridge, NY for the weekend. And then we play a hometown show at the Manhattan Inn this Monday night, in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood.

In other, equally exciting news, I will be working with Pokey Lafarge & associates this October to record a new album. The songs, even in nascent (baby?) form, are good!

And, finally, I just spent a wonderful weekend with Mr. Andrew Dimola, of Montague, MA. In between hikes and creek swims, we began the process of editing and mixing and overdubbing-upon an collaborative album-in-the-works that features Trevor Dunn on bass and Jason Nazary on the drum set. It’s some tweaked-out music! Don’t know the music of Andrew Dimola? You should.

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New Single From Cuddle Magic – Touring with Pokey La Farge

Cuddle Magic has released the first single from our upcoming album. The British music magazine, DIY, broke the news first, and accompanied that with some nice words about our song:
We hope this early press coverage (from across the pond) portends international success. If it does not, we are all still very proud of the music, and we are happy to share it with everyone we know!
I have also attached myself, for the foreseeable future, to the Pokey La Farge organization out of St. Louis. I will be touring around the United States and Canada and Western Europe with that fascinating, out-of-time songwriter for the foreseeable future. We just returned from our first trip down the East Coast, and we will hit the Pacific at the end of this month. A detailed itinerary can be found here:
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Happy Valentine’s Day

… from me and Session Americana and Salt Stage

 

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Automatic Alec

Eric Rosenbaum & I made something new. Head here: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/93194596 to play me!

Also I have news:

Kristin Andreassen is visiting the Northeast. Me & Jefferson Hamer & Steph Coleman accompany her on some shows this weekend, including a house concert in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook this coming Friday.

On Tuesday Feb. 23, at Burrows presents me. Vilray Bolles hosts this monthly series at Bar Below Rye. I will sing songs, including these, and also some newer material.

Cuddle Magic will be playing shows in the Northeast this March. Our NYC show will be with the Kneebody/Deadelus colalboration (“Kneedelus“) at Le Poison Rouge on Mar. 13 — don’t wait to long to get tickets! More shows are up at www.cuddle-magic.com, and more will be added!

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Echolalia

Everyone should enjoy the experience of improvising with a computer.

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