Summer Greetings! I make it no secret that this is my favorite time of year, though the implications of just having had the hottest June on record is a whole other conversation... Hope you are keeping your cool as best you can!
I'm finally getting my true mojo back, 6 months after a trip to the E.R. that ended with a diagnosis of a rare-ish condition called Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE). I knew nothing about it then but now feel like an expert after courses of different medication and treatments, allergy tests, blood tests, and now a targeted elimination diet based on blood tests... I know this is a music newsletter and not a medical journal, but I say this in order to express that as much as the process has (to put it bluntly) royally sucked, it has been transformative in many ways, and I'm now in remission. The girl who couldn't cook and screwed up Jell-O on her first attempt, now can do some fine things in the kitchen, thanks to 1.survival instincts (obviously) 2. help from some amazing cooking friends 3. sheer determination :) It's been a hell of a "journey" (I know, that word is overused. But... really.)
Writing and creating and booking more shows is happening, and so we share our latest little VIDEO for my old tune "Independence Day," filmed and edited by The Amazing Mike Connors, as he's learning to use his new fancy equipment. Our beautiful friend, Ed Lucie, plays acoustic bass, and we filmed it on one of the hottest days of the year, so if you look closely, you can see our beads of sweat! I wrote the song years ago for someone who was struggling to leave an abusive relationship, but I've come to see it as reminder to take the leap in order to be our authentic selves, whether that's about a relationship, our sexuality, or our boundaries. Happy Independence Day, with whatever interpretation it has for you!
Now for shows! Just a few for now but hope to get some more in the books:
* Sunday, July 11 - 5pm - THE BLACK BOX Franklin, MA - rescheduled Food Truck and Live Music Festival! The festival goes from 5-10pm, tickets are $20, and I'll be playing a set with the awesome Eric Byers on guitar at 5pm. Ticket info on my SHOWS page
* Sunday, July 18 - 4pm - Our Yard!! Concord, MA - as a thank you to all of you who watched our livestreams and even joined us in the yard to watch during the pandemic last year, we are throwing a big ol' yard show, and this time we'll be facing the yard instead of the camera on the side! Message me if you'd like to be included in the email invitation and are in the 'hood!
* Friday, October 22 - 8pm - Sanctuary in Maynard, MA - Tickets aren't even on sale yet, but I want to alert you to this big show! This beautiful, spacious venue opened shortly before the pandemic shut everything down, so they did some livestreams... but, now they will have their due, and we can't wait to play on their stage as a very belated in-person "Longitude" celebration - we'll pull out all the stops!
Thank you for reading and watching and listening... we had to bid Bon Voyage to our bandmate, John Funkhouser, as he made a big move to Albuquerque. He's going to be sorely missed by so many musicians around Boston, and his moving on serves to remind me that we gotta be in the moment and enjoy every little bit of music, art, and humanity while it's happening... Happy Summer :) xx Britt
Happy May to all of you fine friends! May 1st is the Birthday of "Longitude" - my pandemic record that so many of you kindly supported. I can't believe it's been a year that it's been out in the world, since Mike and I were scared out of our minds to do our first-ever livestream for Blue in Portland, ME... I am abysmal when it comes to promotion and publicity and reaching out for reviews... but, you all buoyed our spirits and responded so graciously - we got much more practiced and savvy with livestreams and felt cheered by the few gigs we had. I hope to book more as venues get clearance, but we do have a NEW VIDEO below, AND one show to tell you about:
Sun, May 30th at 5pm - Food Truck & Live Music Festival at The Black Box in Franklin, MA Details and ticket links forthcoming! Mike Connors and I will play a duo set, which is how we started 11 years ago :)
Last I wrote, I got to introduce the video for "Carry You." But, while we are still waiting on more of our friends and bandmates to finish the vaccination process, and while I've been getting to the other side of some health issues (I'm finally there! on that "other side"- woohoo!)... Mike's been quite impressively teaching himself more about video editing so that we can work on a couple of projects from home! We've got another bigger video project still in the works, but here's a little diversion and new video version of my tune "Restless" (if I hadn't been so wrapped up in surviving the pandemic and the existential crises that it posed/-es, I wish I would have gotten better at playing my Telecaster. Alas...)
Hope you like it and if you do, please feel free to share it! Thanks so much for reading and for supporting arts in this difficult era - I see you and am grateful :) xx Britt
Helloooo, friends! Almost exactly a year ago, on Leap Day (Feb. 29th), I played my last pre-pandemic gig with Bourbon Renewal at our beloved Blue in Portland, Maine. To say that life has changed is a laughably and tragically enormous understatement. There has been so. much. loss. It's too much to fathom, and I won't attempt to measure it here - just know that while so many of us have been in survival mode, I'm finally trying to turn the creative juices away from pure survival and back toward bringing back light and joy and (dare I say) hope, in some small way.
In the absence of gigs, Mike has turned his attention toward home recording and video editing, so I'm feeling pretty lucky to have been quarantined with an incredibly creative and adaptable human... resulting in a new video (using some older footage by our talented friend, Scott Quade, and sound by Warren Amerman). I will officially release (make public) this video for "Carry You" on Friday, March 5th, but as a THANK YOU to y'all who are reading and have been with me out there, here is a private link before I take it public.
I hope you like it and that it brings you some sort of comfort :) And, if not, we are already working on a more comical take of another tune... "Carriage House Productions" comin' at you again soon, until we can safely gather and get some new band footage....
Also on next Friday, March 5th, we'll be playing a livestream for Blue on their FB page at 7pm. Trio with Mike Connors and Ed Lucie from our living room with safety measures in place. More info HERE We will be sharing any donations made with Blue so that we might have a real stage to play on when we finally can :)
Thank you for reading and watching and listening... keep on keepin' on. Most importantly, please stay safe and well, and I cannot wait 'til we can pack into small and large spaces and sing and dance together again. That day is coming. xx Britt
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.