Helllooo, out there! While my last newsletter did not stick to music and lost me some followers as a result, maybe this one will be palatable to those who are still reading :)
Whew. I had high hopes for 2020 and even pondered aloud on a few occasions that it seemed like the perfect year to release my new record "Longitude," as it just "had a great feeling to it." Yes, my friends! Maybe this pandemic is my fault! (though, I'm sure I'm not the only one who felt like she jinxed 2020 with her hopeful thoughts). I jokingly yelled at my friend who just texted me pics of the New Year's Eve souvenir she had made up... on it, she had printed something like "2021! It can't be WORSE than 2020!" So, we can all blame my poor friend for jinxing us this time :)
In a way, it's felt like the longest year ever, but in another way it feels like this year never existed in the temporal plane. I had high hopes for getting "Longitude" out to more folks and playing more gigs far(ther) and wide(r). I almost feel like I never even released it, so I'm hanging on to the hope that someday I'll get to celebrate with my bandmates and some of you, actual humans in real-time and real shared space.
I also recognize that my sadness over not being able to play and hear live music is the least of all the tragedies and horrors that 2020 has wrought. It's been a year of loss, loneliness, hardship, inequity, and fatigue. While I know that 2021 isn't magically going to be better as the calendar flips its page, I'm committed to making it a better year for as many of us as possible. You with me? :)
We DO get to look forward to a winter livestream on what will hopefully be a cozy Tuesday evening, January 26th... we will mask up, ventilate our space, and have a couple of Bourbon Renewal bandmates (Andrew and Ed) join us for a set to support Rockwood Music Hall in NYC! It will be on their FaceBook page (even if you don't have a FB account) HERE. And, they've created a cool little link so that you can RSVP to get a reminder as it gets closer and even donate ahead of time on their "tickets" button - the event link and info is HERE
Everyone I know is ready to bid 2020 adieu (maybe in not such nice terms). Thank you all for reading and for supporting music and arts - not only are the arts an escape, they're also an education for all of us. If we can get something good out of this trash-fire-heap of a year, may it be our appreciation for creativity and art, and for those who show up for us in times of need (after a recent trip to the E.R., I'm looking at you, you amazing nurses, doctors, and essential workers).
And, To 2020... don't let the door hit ya on your way out...
Hello out there, friends :) I am sorry to report that I currently have no music news to share (yup, this is supposed to be a music newsletter). It has been tough with the weather getting colder and virus cases rising... and while I have a great number of new songs in some phase of done and that I've been excitedly working on with our bass player, Ed Lucie... I've felt stuck. And anxious. And scared. I sat down to work on some lyrics and couldn't continue without writing the following... essay? Plea? I know that no one asked for it, but I felt compelled to get it out of me and into written form. I may lose "fans" or "subscribers" or "likes" but here's something I wrote that poured out of me unwittingly. I hope to have some sort of music news soon, and I hope that you are all healthy and ok. I miss people and live music immensely and hope you're all finding ways to get through this historically hard time. See you soon xx Britt
Election Thoughts From a Privileged White Female H.S.P. (Highly Sensitive Person)
I don’t have a huge platform. I don’t have a boat-load of followers who hang on or live to troll my every word or post. But, I got a lot of thoughts and a lot of feelings… that I usually try to channel into music. At this moment in time, I don’t know how to channel these thoughts and feelings into music and am feeling an overwhelming need to write some words on a page without the (usually helpful) constraints of rhythm and meter and instrumentation. Maybe they will strike a chord (nope, can’t resist the pun) with a few people out here, so here goes…
I grew up in a mostly white, suburban small town in which I learned the rules, internalized them, and followed them to a “T.” I had no idea, at the time, that the rules might be different for other groups of people, or that sometimes rules are meant to be pushed or broken. I remember being taught that we weren’t supposed to “see race/color.” I remember being very confused by this. If I simply noticed that someone looked different, did that make me “racist”? Even though I inherently figured that people around me at any given moment were most likely smarter, more talented, more beautiful than I was, I still worried that noticing our differences made me a bad person.
I’ve always been an emotional person and tend to feel things intensely and deeply. I hesitate to label myself an “empath” with all its potential trappings, but armed with years of therapy and some entertaining doctor’s office magazine articles, I feel pretty comfortable with the label “Highly Sensitive Person” (HSP). I often take on the anxiety and suffering of people I love, as unhelpful as that is for both parties. I never had any interest in politics (and yes, I’ve learned that it has been my privilege that’s allowed me to ignore many issues), partly because I never understood how it had to be so rigidly one way or the other. I joke that I never could have been on a debate team because I can’t argue something just for the sake of arguing or “winning,” especially if someone on the opposing side has a good point. I’ve always preferred to listen and say, “Wow, good point! Let’s talk about that!” I have trouble with seeing things in the metaphoric black and white - I’ve always lived in gray and labored under the impression that if humans are acting out of compassion and with good intentions, discussions can happen, without the “winning” and “losing” being the goal. I have also lived most of my life in abject fear of angering or upsetting people, holding my tongue or deferring, even in instances when people may have deserved or earned my ire.
So, here’s my admission: I am deeply embarrassed everyday that it took me until 2016 to realize how rampant racism STILL is. And how rampant sexism STILL is. As sensitive as I was to suffering around me, I neglected to recognize and educate myself about the suffering that I couldn’t readily see. I’ve spent the last 4 years and will spend the rest of my life trying to educate myself more and wishing I’d been exposed to a curriculum that included works like “The 1619 Project” at a younger age. The 2016 election of Donald Trump felt like the biggest blow to my sense of humanity (highlighting the “humane” root of that word), and it turned out that its outcome and his occupancy of that formerly respected office exposed so much more cruelty, hatred, and greed than I wanted to believe existed. I can usually see to a person’s heart pretty clearly, and while I knew he didn’t have one in his chest, I would’ve said “Come on, America! We’re BETTER than this!” But, (again embarrassingly) I realized we are NOT yet better.
So, why am I, a privileged white woman, still blabbering on here? Firstly, I feel like we white people have to own our missteps or lack of education around racism and sexism and take a long hard look around. “Do No Harm” is fine for not making waves, but our silence makes us complicit, and we need some tsunami-sized waves to change things right now. The past 4 years have been incredibly painful for those who care about human rights and decency. Secondly, I don’t know what else to do with this feeling of “Right vs Wrong” being so clear here. I cannot understand a view that continues to support Trump and his enabling Republicans. I’m angry and sad and scared, and I cannot find a way to have a conversation with people who still vote for him (and in case it’s not clear from above, I usually got this whole listening and empathizing thing down!) We cannot, as a nation, endure 4 more years of this cruelty, ignorance, and bigotry. Already-marginalized groups will lose MORE rights and freedoms. I’ll leave it at this: PLEASE, if you can’t lead with your mind on the clear-cut necessity of electing Biden/Harris… PLEASE lead with your heart.
Greetings, Earthlings! Or, maybe I'm being too narrow-minded... Greetings to all of you Earthlings AND Supernatural Creatures. I know you're amongst us. Maybe you're watching us like an experiment that has gone sideways and trying to help us get this mess back on-track? I hope so. There's been a whole lot of loss this year. So. much. loss. And while I'm one of the extraordinarily fortunate ones who is still able to make things work in this era, I feel our/your fatigue and outrage and frustration and sadness. With school starting and no one knowing which end is up (never mind which day it is!), I feel you!
My heart breaks for the music world, none of us knowing when gigs will come back and if our stages will still be there when we get there. All I know is that even this crowd-averse introvert is gonna find the biggest crowd of music revelers and hug every one of y'all while dancing to live music made by people I love... as soon as we can.
Since livestreams are what we got right now, we keep working on improving them and are gonna have to get creative as colder months (which I dread) approach. The new song "August Passes" that I co-wrote with our bass playin'/singing' friend, Ed Lucie, is about that struggle with being where we are and appreciating it instead of worrying about what's to come. It will be featured tomorrow night!
* Friday, Sept 4th at 7pm - "Out of the Blue" Livestream from our deck to wherever YOU are! With Andrew Stern, Ed Lucie, Mike Connors, and some yard peeps to make it feel like we're all together. We will split any donations with Blue (our favorite Portland venue) to help them stay afloat... so that we can all go back in person someday! It'll be on Blue's FB page (even if you don't have a FB account!) as well as on the Britt Connors Music page. They've made it easy to donate/buy a ticket HERE in case you don't see it in the comments, and you can leave a "note" there to say why you're donating, if you like :)
A few folks have asked how they can contribute in this virtual world if they don't have PayPal or Venmo, so I created a little "Tip Jar" on my HOME page on the right-hand side... you can use either PayPal or simple credit card that way. Any donations at any time are going toward paying my amazing bandmates, helping venues, or paying down the cost of creating "Longitude" when we can't sell merch physically at shows!
Finally, after tomorrow night's livestream, I'm going to be taking some time off to refill my creative well and get back to some writing. If you're missing live music and have a few extra $ hanging around, check out Maine Music Alliance - it's a way to contribute on a smaller or more specific scale to some of the best Greater Portland venues like Blue. We need them :)
Maybe I'll see you tomorrow night at 7pm, and the video will be saved on our pages if you can't catch it in real-time! Sending lots of love to all of you, with huge thanks for reading and supporting. We all need each other.
Hellooo! How's everybody doing? Checking in here. It's hard times for everyone right now, but I know some folks have it MUCH harder than others. If you're NOT ok, that's ok, too. And if I can help, I want to. Drop me a note if you like :)
From when I was small, I dreamed of making a living playing music, but now as I watch fellow musicians struggling to make ends meet and venues having to make extremely difficult decisions, including possibly shutting down for good... I've never been more grateful to have a career (that I also love) teaching Pilates, making me able to pay the bills without the pressure of art as my sole income. Musicians, artists, and venues that support them are really struggling, and I thank all of you reading this and investing in the music and art that you love. Downloading and purchasing from an artist's site, purchasing merch, becoming a "patron" on a Patreon page... goes a long way. The talent of the humans facing adversity is quite remarkable, isn't it??
I've been lucky to play with a bunch of bandmates and music family since the warmer season began, and it feels more special now that it's a more rare occasion! But, we have these 2 shows coming up - one you can enjoy from wherever you are, and one that's in-the-flesh here in Massachusetts!
* Sunday, August 2 at 8pm - Rockwood Music Hall Livestream - NYC from home! We'll have Ed Lucie on bass, Andrew Stern on guitar, and Mike Connors on drums (hopefully from our deck with some yard peeps!) on Rockwood's FB page (even if you don't have a FB account!) You can even RSVP to get a reminder or purchase "tickets" in advance HERE
* Thursday, August 6 - 8pm - The Black Box Franklin, MA Tix $20 - In-the-Flesh with real, live humans! The lovely Black Box Theatre has gotten creative and turned their parking lot into an outdoor venue, following protocol to keep us all safe. We will be adding Jerry Sabatini on trumpet and Rick Stone on alto sax and will be at a safe distance from each other AND from the audience. Tickets HERE along with all of their guidelines and precautionary measures.
Thanks to everyone who purchased vinyl last month, we were able to donate $120 to NAACP as pledged in my last newsletter. I'm grateful for all of you supporting music, and especially to those of you who have supported "Longitude" in this Pandemic Release. It's certainly not what I imagined for a 2020 album release, but I'll happily take what I can get right now and look forward to making music with my friends as much as I can. Please be well and keep in touch... hope to see you out there soon
Hey out there! I'm breaking my once-a-month limit on newsletters this time because a couple of things happened quickly, and I wanted to be sure to get the word out! It's been feeling quite soul-fulfilling to have some socially-distanced sessions with bandmates and beyond recently (now that we can be outdoors), and it's made me remember how healing and reassuring live music can be. It wasn't that I had truly forgotten, but the REMEMBERING felt quite powerful. We will continue to do more live streams and outdoor concerts from wherever we have access, including our backyard. I'll post future livestreams to the SHOWS page in case you want to tune in, but if you're feeling low, I hope you can find some live music happening SOMEwhere. We all need a lift :)
Speaking of live streams, we've been upping our game and have honed in on some better ways to get good sounds happening over the ever-unpredictable internet waves... and we will be playing this Thursday, June 18th from 7pm - 8pm for Passim from our deck! For each livestream, we have added bandmates, and this time we will have the talents of our bass player, Ed Lucie, as well as the guitar stylings and general bad-ass attitude of Andrew Stern! Here at print time, Passim's livestream page has not listed our show, but I assure you that it's happening! It's a $22 suggested donation, split between the musicians and the venue, as they are struggling to continue on, like all music venues right now... Even if you are not on FaceBook, you can still see the show from their link, I promise!
Finally, "Longitude" vinyl has arrived, and we are so proud of how it turned out. Our engineer, Warren Amerman, went above and beyond to get the vinyl to sound rich and with depth and detail. And, the artwork by Kerrin Parkinson is in the form we intended it, in large vinyl cover format. You can go to the MUSIC page to order it if you're a vinyl lover or know someone who is! And, I will donate 50% of all sales between now through June 19th to the NAACP as some small way to stand with and support the Black Lives Matter movement and the reckoning that I hope continues in this country.
Be well, stay well, and thanks for continuing to feed your own souls with art and music in hard times - sending love to you all xx Britt