March 2023 Newsletter: “From Tiny Desks to Sanctuary”
Hello, out there! It's been a while since I've written, and I'm hoping that I'm sending this during the final gasps of winter, though March always has a way of getting my hopes up with a sunny warm day, then dashing them with a soupy slimy mess of slush (twice this week). Truth is, I haven't had much to report since I last wrote in November, as I've been holed up in usual hibernation, reveling in the growing of our now 6-month-old kitten, Ringo, and writing some new music. It's harder to get gigs since the pandemic's venue-killing attack, so I've been shifting focus to writing with the goal of recording soon and one upcoming show... but also Mike and I have been dreaming up ways to make our own scene, starting with more videos from our little carriage house, as in the livestream era!
If you know about NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series, you know that they host musicians from all over and from all genres in their library-looking tiny office, with minimal setup and much intimacy, sometimes cramming 10+ bandmates behind their desk and inspiring creative renditions of already amazing songs... it's considered a huge honor to play there. Well, some years back, those NPR folks opened up an annual contest, through which any unsigned artist could film a video of an original song with "A desk- ANY desk" in it. So, we moved a whole bunch of furniture, invested in a few better mics, Mike talked to every sound engineer on every gig he's had over the past month (there were a lot, just saying) and honed his video editing skills... and I'm proud to share our video-entry!
Our usual trumpet-playing friend, Jerry Sabatini, was a total natural at playing a bike wheel, a pot, a strainer, and wrenches (talk about multi-talented, that guy!) and we brought in our friend, Gill Aharon, from the LilyPad in Cambridge with his Rhodes and other strange and awesome sound effects. Ed Lucie locked in on bass with Mike's drumming and sang beautiful vocal harmonies, and I'm pretty proud of what we came up with! Also, I spent an inordinate amount of time in tricking out my "tiny desk" - I keep saying that I might be more proud of that than the original song itself. Yes, I'm fishing for compliments on my crafting skills.
Filming the video was such a learning experience and was so fun that we're planning to film more tunes with guest artists and new and old songs... maybe make it our own little "thing." Love to hear from you if you like the idea and what we came up with so far :)
Before I go, we do have ONE show planned as of now! We are headed back to Sanctuary in Maynard, MA, on Thursday, April 27th 7:30pm - tickets $18 ahead/$22 at door. If you haven't been, it's a beautiful, big space that used to be a church, and it has a swanky bar/lounge. We'll have our incredible cellist/vocalist friend, Bethany Weiman, back with us, as well as Andrew Stern on guitar, Ed Lucie on bass and vocals, and of course, Mike Connors on drums. Unfortunately, Jerry Sabatini can't make it to reprise his role as player of pots/strainers/wheels....next time...
Thanks so much for reading, listening, and sharing with others to spread the word- I feel lucky to live my life as a part-time rockstar, thanks to you :)
November 2022 Newsletter: "Warning: Cute Kitten Content plus New Video!"
Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate! Whether you are with family or "found family" or enjoying some solitude this season, I want to extend my gratitude for your ears and eyes here and beyond. I'll still make music even if no one listens, but it sure is great to see you at shows and hear that you've enjoyed something we've put into the world!
I am grateful this year for so much, but I want to share two gifts with you!
(if you don't like kittens, please avert your eyes. and definitely don't follow me on Instagram)
As heartbroken as we were to lose our beloved cat, Charlie, last February, we have just adopted a kitten - he was rescued in Alabama and transported to MA through the kindness of 2 different organizations... and it's clear that he was meant to be with us. Since the poor little guy and his mates had ringworm, we named him "Ringo." (and... other reasons :) He has been an absolute gift to us in these short couple of weeks, and I'll post a couple pics below as a gift to those of you who like kittens. (if you don't like kittens, I'm not sure we can be friends. I said it.)
The second gift I'd like to give to YOU as a thank you for being part of this newsletter group is a link to an unlisted video HERE. We had a special night at Club Passim on Sept 22 (thanks to all of you who joined us!), and we debuted my new song Hummingbird. It was inspired partially by the book The Hummingbirds' Gift by Sy Montgomery and includes a poem I read years ago by Robert Frost:
We dance 'round in a ring and suppose
But the secret sits in the middle and knows
Mike used the video footage from Passim's live stream as well as 2 of our friends' iPhone recordings (thanks, Julie and Sam!) We will definitely be recording this tune for the next record, but this is the only version in existence currently - hope you like it.
No shows to announce at this time, but I'm working on it for 2023, as well as finishing tunes so we can make a new record! If there's somewhere you want to hear us play, give a shout - booking gigs is not my strong suit, especially post-pandemic! And, if anyone understands Spotify and wants to teach this luddite some tricks, I'm all ears!!
Meanwhile, I'm sending out much love and gratitude - even in the hard times, there's beauty all around, and I wish it for you. xo Britt
August 2022 Newsletter: "Passim & Late Summer Vibes"
Hellooo to you! Popping in here to wish you late August greetings with the hopes that you've been having a great summer?! I always feel like a petulant little kid, yelling "No, it's NOT!!!" to anyone who tries to tell me summer's over, though you can readily buy Halloween candy and probably find pumpkin-spiced deodorant if that's what you're into... and, hey, I know summer's not everyone's jam (maybe if it were pumpkin-spiced?), but I'm clinging to it as long as possible, especially since I've had the gift of some time this summer. I've learned a lot about what I need to feel sane and to stay creative, and I can't wait to share new music, hopefully even at our next show...
which is a huge one at Club Passim in Harvard Sq Cambridge, MA! It's a month away, on Thursday, Sept 22 at 8pm and tickets are still available (* $22/$20 members) HERE. Passim is such a special place for me, and I always feel like I'm standing on hallowed ground on that stage. I'll be joined by my amazing bandmates: Ed Lucie on bass, Andrew Stern on guitar, Mike Connors on drums, Bethany Weiman on cello, and Jerry Sabatini on trumpet/flugelhorn. Wowzers, is it gonna be FUN - can't wait to share the evening with you!!
* please note their COVID restrictions- proof of vax will be required for entry
Thanks, as always, for reading and for listening. By the way, I quite enjoy me some pumpkin-spice, and I hope you have it any time you want it - thanks for letting me have my longest summer possible :) I'll leave you below with our video for "August Passes" which we, thankfully, made last summer when the lawn was all green and pretty, unlike our drought-disparaged dustbowl this year... that's another topic for another day. See you out there... xx Britt
July 2022 Newsletter: "SummerLover and Club Passim"
Hello, friends! I'm in my glory here, in the heat of the summer, and trying to take some time everyday to appreciate these precious (to me, anyway!) long days. I hope that even if this isn't your favorite season, you are finding some time to slow down a bit.
I feel the elusive muse swirling around me, and I'll be taking some time in these next weeks to partake in the challenging, fulfilling, heartbreaking, frustrating, joyous, and occasionally awe-inspiring dance of songwriting. I'll let you know how it goes at the next show ;)
And, I'm writing about that next show 'cause I wanted you to be the first to know... that we'll be playing at the legendary Club Passim on Thursday, September 22nd at 8pm! We'll even be joined by our friends Bethany Weiman on cello and Jerry Sabatini on trumpet.
Some of you may know that Passim was one of the main reasons I moved to Boston to try to become a songwriter. I had spent my life singing and wanting to sing anytime, anywhere, and it never fully occurred to me that I could sing MORE if I were a singer/SONGWRITER! So easy, right?! (I don't have access to the eye-rolling emoji here, so please imagine it right now) My dream was to play there, and that dream came true when we had our album release for Warmer Season on their very stage back in 2014. We had a few subsequent, equally magical shows there before the pandemic hit... when we were supposed to release Longitude, and instead had a livestream.
Tickets ($22/20) are already on sale for Passim members, but they'll be available to the public this Wednesday at noon, if you'd like to grab yours! They will also be livestreaming it for $5 (free to members) the week of the show. (please see COVID restrictions- proof of vax will be required)
Thank you all for reading and for spreading the word... I'd still be singing and writing even if no one were listening, but it sure is nice to have some folks listening :)
Enjoy these summer days and hope to see you soon with some new music... xx Britt
May 2022 Newsletter: "Two More Shows and 'Viriditas'"
Spring/Summer Greetings! I know... technically, it's still spring, but Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, and I'm in my element - I'm finally NOT cold all the time :)
We had a really special night with our new lineup of Bethany Weiman on cello, Phil Sargent on guitar, and Jerry Sabatini on trumpet/flugelhorn at Sanctuary earlier this month, and I'm still carrying that night with me. In my last newsletter, I may have said that you wouldn't hear from me for a while... but before I take a little break from gigging, I want to highlight these last 2 shows before aforementioned break. Booking shows has never been easy, but it's been even harder (for me, anyway) post-pandemic. Love to see you if you're in the area!
* Fri June 3 - Blue Portland, ME - 8pm -9:30pm
We had such fun in March with the same lineup: Bethany Weiman on cello, Jerry Sabatini on trumpet, Ed Lucie on bass, and Mike Connors on drums. No cover, just playing for your generous donations!
* Sat June 4 - Borrowed House Concerts - Plaistow, NH - 6pm (music starts at 7pm)
Tickets $20 - a few tickets left! Address disclosed upon purchase, for this intimate concert series. Can't wait to play at this "borrowed house" with Ed Lucie on bass and Mike Connors on percussion
And, finally, in another nod to my last newsletter in which I talked about my gratitude for "The Greening" that occurs in April/May, as the brown landscape magically transforms into lush greenness and colorful buds, I leave you with this quote I recently read from Hildegard von Bingen (forget "Triple Threat" status - she would've been regarded as at least a "Quintuple Threat" in her day):
"There is a power that has been since all eternity, and that force and potentiality is 'viriditas', the greening."
- Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179)
Be well and stay in the green.... xx Britt