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Oregon

Recently, I was interested to learn that the first person to use the word “Oregon” in reference to the chunk of territory in the northwestern United States was a guy called Robert Rogers from Methuen, Massachusetts, the town where I also grew up. He spelled it sort of bizarrely (it was 1765), and he was trying to convince the king of England to give him money so that he could mount an expedition out that way in search of a Northwest Passage.

The history of the Oregon country since then has been pretty much one big stream of easterners wandering out here by way of covered wagon, train, and airstream trailer, in search of more space, milder temperatures, an insane amount of rain, or just a place that looks like this. Right now I’m temporarily one of them: I’m living out here for a few months on an artist residency through the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, a really great organization founded in 1970 and dedicated to promoting cross-pollination between art and environmental science. I’ll be here until May, hopefully getting some recording done and some essays finished up before I go back out on the road this summer.

As a result, my performance calendar has cooled off significantly until the end of the spring when my residency ends. I’m happy to report, however, that you’re all formally invited to virtually visit me here on the Oregon coast on March 18th at 8pm EDT (5pm Pacific), when I’ll be broadcasting a live concert over the internet via Concert Window. I did one of these last year and it was lots of fun. You can pay what you want and watch from wherever you happen to be. You can sign up here anytime between now and March 18th.

Here’s a video from a recent show in Nashville. It was unbelievably cold out and the heat in the venue had stopped working earlier in the day, but the good people at Little Lights still managed to make it into one of the warmest nights of my whole tour this winter:

I hope you’re all well.
B

Winter Tour 2015, Midwinter 3, and more

Starting on January 3rd, I’ll be driving an outrageously indirect path from Vermont to Oregon, where I’ll be based all spring for an artist residency at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. Here’s where you can catch me along that route:

1/3 BURLINGTON, VERMONT: Radio Bean, 8pm
1/4 PORTLAND, MAINE: One Longfellow Square (co-bill with Max Garcia Conover, 7pm)
1/7 HARRISONBURG, VIRGINIA: House Concert
1/8 NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: Little Lights, 8pm
1/9 CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE: [private event]
1/10 CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE: House Concert
1/11 ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Poem88, 8pm
1/12 LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS: TBA (with Dane Aaron)
1/13 DALLAS, TEXAS: Opening Bell, 8pm
1/15 TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA: The Branch, 8pm
1/16 BOULDER, COLORADO: House Concert
1/17 BOULDER, COLORADO: The Laughing Goat, 8pm
1/19 FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA: Firecreek Coffee, 7pm
1/21 SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: Hotel Utah, 8pm
1/23 EUGENE, OREGON: The Foundry (Sam Bond’s), 6pm
1/24 PORTLAND, OREGON: House Concert

Finally, here’s some new music. Every winter, I record a small handful of seasonally-themed songs and add them to a growing collection called Midwinter. I just released the 3rd volume, and you can hear some selections and download all eighteen songs here. There are five new songs this year, and they’re recorded entirely on piano and keyboard for a change, instead of being full of banjos and trombones like in the past. I’m very happy with how the whole collection is sounding, and I hope you’ll like it too:

Happy end-of-year, everybody. See you in 2015.
B

Feature in Sound of Boston

“I’m a very obsessive listener,” he said. “I’ll get obsessed with a sound, and most of the songs that I write will come from me trying to replicate something. So I guess any technical skill has come from a sort of desperate need to make that happen.”

Read Sound of Boston’s great new profile of Ben here.