Hi friends ~
I wanted to write you today about some new recordings I’ve just put out. Two live sets, on Bandcamp, both very special to me.
They were recorded at Tortoise Town, the living room venue I ran out of my apartment in Brooklyn for two years. Tortoise Town was (and will hopefully continue to be?) a very blessed place, absolutely formative in both my making music and my having a soul/community. I miss it!
But this is not an exercise in nostalgia. If anything, these sets - one recorded under more normal circumstances in the living room and another during absolutely wild circumstances outside - prove that transformative companionship is always within our grasp. Don’t let yourself believe otherwise!
Here’s a link (dig that watercolor I made for it, haha).
And here’s a streaming embed:
I should also point out that today is Bandcamp Friday, which means that Bandcamp is waiving its normal processing fees, meaning that more money goes directly to the musicians selling their work. Though these are available on a donation basis and you should absolutely stream it/grab it for free if you want, I’ll get more of whatever you decide they’re worth monetarily (which is especially helpful right now as I am pretty deeply unemployed at the moment, but that’s another story).
This is what I wrote about the recordings:
I think the nicest thing anyone ever said to me about my whole effort to play music for people is this:
“Coming to your shows feels like you’re inviting me into your house.”
They meant this figuratively - to say that hearing me sing in a bar felt transportive, more intimate, maybe a bit better than simply standing there nursing an overpriced beer. But with these live recordings I would like very much actually like to invite you into my house. My actual house.
Here are two live sets, recorded under very different circumstances: the first is from July of 2020, shortly before I moved away when I wanted to play one last house show. I invited friends over and they all stood gathered, masked, a few tentatively hugging in the street while I pointed the PA speakers out the window. A very beautiful evening, and the first time I ever talked to our next door neighbors in three years of living there. Please enjoy the sound of the wind and the train and the ambulance and the Sean Paul blasting by at one point.
The second set is from in the living room, from before all of this, right before my album YOUTH PASTORAL came out. It sounds - to me - painfully optimistic and painfully wide open. Singing in my own living room I felt free - free to sing, free to say what was weighing heavily on my heart (which I do in the recording), free, as I sing, to be one of. First, some settling in, then the audience calls the My Life’s Work hotline (561.926.9741), letting the syrupy drones waft from one cell phone to another. Then I begin tentatively pedaling a borrowed pump organ.
Tortoise Town is what I called my living room venue, really at first for no other reason than that I’m fond of tortoises. But as the shows kept unfolding in my living room I saw that it was a good metaphor - safe, slow, wise, the tortoise carries its house around on its back. And even though I moved away from Tortoise Town recently, I like to think that with singing - with gathering - I carry the house around on my back.
I hope this is not the end of Tortoise Town - friends and collaborators live there still - and I hope I also get it together to share more of these sets with you in the future. Please enjoy ~
By the way, I’m hoping to resume My Big Break newsletter activities soon - please stay tuned for that. THANKS! SAY HELLO IF YOU FEEL LIKE IT!