As some of you know, I’ve been working up a bunch of new music lately, which ought to be making its way to you soon. This is one small piece from that pile, a song called “Break,” which my friend Max filmed me playing in his very cold studio one afternoon last month:
The new songs are all linked together, and the whole set is inspired by landscapes that shift and change abruptly and unpredictably: ice roads, estuaries, earthquake zones, floodplains, wandering rivers, and places like that. I’ve found that in situations where everything is upended and you find yourself desperately looking around for anything solid on which to plant your feet, it can be important to remember that the ground moves too. “Break” in particular is supposed to feel a little bit like having the floor pulled out from under you.
Again, I’ll have more about all this soon — I look forward to letting you hear the rest of this music and rambling about impermanent landscapes with you — but until then, please enjoy this first song.
While I’ve got you, here are some upcoming shows:
2/25 BRANDON, VT - Brandon Music, 7:30pm (tickets here)
2/28 COLEBROOK, NH - Tillotson Center, 7pm (tickets here)
3/1 CANAAN, VT - Canaan School, 12pm
3/10 BURLINGTON, VT - Radio Bean, 8pm
3/15 YARMOUTH, ME - Gather, 6pm
3/17 TAMWORTH, NH - Tamworth Lyceum, 7pm (tickets here)
3/18 FITZWILLIAM, NH - Fitzwilliam Inn, 7pm
3/23 MORRISTOWN, VT - River Arts, 6pm
3/24 WORCESTER, MA - House Concert
3/26 NEW YORK, NY - Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 1 (with Stephanie Jenkins), 8pm
3/29 CAMBRIDGE, MA – Lilypad, 7:30pm
4/6 NASHUA, NH - Riverwalk Cafe & Music Bar, 8pm (supporting Ian Ethan Case // tickets here)
4/8 BURLINGTON, VT - Light Club Lamp Shop, 8pm
Hope you’re all doing okay out there. See you soon.
Brian Carroll, who edits the Boston folk blog Red Line Roots, happened to be in the audience when I played in Burlington, VT the other night. He wrote a nice review of the show here:
Also: I wrote the piece in the video below when I was working as the artist-at-sea last month with Schmidt Ocean Institute on board R/V Falkor (see the previous entry on this page for more about that). The ship constantly monitored its speed through water and its speed over ground, and because trillions of gallons of water lay between us and the sea floor, the two speeds were never quite the same. I built a piano piece around the variance between those two changing rates of movement (each of the pianist’s hands is mapped to one of the two speeds), in the hope that by doing so I could highlight the profound influence of this incomprehensibly huge layer of liquid on both our forward motion and our relationship to the ground.
I’m generally obsessed with place and with motion — they have been behind almost all of my music for the last several years — but until I found myself in the middle of the ocean, I’d never been anywhere where those two things were so hard to understand or reconcile with each other.
For more about the kinds of things I was thinking about as I wrote this, you can check out the blog posts I wrote for SOI while on board their ship: they’re here, here, here, and here. And if you click through to the YouTube page where that video is hosted, there’s a slightly longer essay there that talks a bit more about what went into the piece.
All that stuff aside, I like how this thing came out, and I hope you like listening to it. And I’m enormously grateful to SOI for giving me the opportunity to make it.
10/30 MONTPELIER, VT – The Skinny Pancake
11/4 COLEBROOK, NH – Tillotson Center
11/10 SOMERVILLE, MA – Arts at the Armory (with 90-Mile Portage)
11/11 BURLINGTON, VT – Radio Bean
11/12 STOCKBRIDGE, MA – Six Depot
11/13 MANCHESTER, NH – The Currier Museum – Opening Event: “Mount Washington: Crown of New England”
11/16 YARMOUTH, ME – Gather
11/17 SALEM, MA – The Gulu Gulu Cafe (with 90-Mile Portage)
11/22 PORTLAND, ME – Blue (with Max García Conover, Griffin Sherry, & Rattlesnake Arm)
11/23 SOMERVILLE, MA – PA’s Lounge
11/27 MONTPELIER, VT – The Skinny Pancake