The Hearth & Hymn tour was a beautiful thing. We rang in the new year on X Country ski’s with friends, eating rosehip berries in the northern woods. And now, Hearth & Hymn is available in many formats! Via Tunecore (similar to CD Baby), Itunes, Earthwork Music, and through Bandcamp where you can stream the album. Thanks to the Western Herald for writing a lovely review. We're excited to record another Hearth & Hymn collection in later 2014, with a short run of summer shows in the works. We’re also putting the call out to folks to send us song suggestions, and old songbooks that may otherwise be thrifted. If you’ve got some old songbooks that are unwanted, we’ll give them a home and go through them in due time!
After the tour, I recorded a couple tunes for my friend Mark Lavengood’s upcoming album. We had a great time recording at the Double Phelix, and I loved getting to sing three part harmonies with Jen Sygit and Lindsay Rilko. This is a photo (below) from earlier this winter when I song a song with Mark's bandmates Lindsay and Josh for their brand new duo album Time & luck. During a break, Huggy started trying out a tricky bass part to a song we were making up. I snapped this photo just as he was lamenting (laughmenting) about not being able to maintain his dance moves while he figured out the part. I love working with Mark, otherwise regarded as "Huggy Bear."
I found the picture below when doing some winter cleaning with my mom at her house in Brighton this past January. It's a shot of my mom Susie and I jamming together at the Stone House, which was my Oma & Opa's old communal home on the outskirts of Brighton, MI. I'm pretty sure I'm wearing a durndel here. I'm also pretty sure my triplet cousins are doing their devious low laugh in the periphery. Cleaning the garage with motown music blaring was a surprisingly fun way to start the year.
In late January, we had a great few days of home recording sessions at Michael and Laurel’s house in Kalamazoo for our upcoming BOWHUNTER string band record. Laurel engineered the sessions, and we broke it up by playing for the monthly Square Dance Kalamazoo dance that we help produce. This below photo of Laurel captures the excitement and enthusiasm we all felt during those sessions! The next photo gives you a sense of how fun it is to play dances with this band. You can check us out in Ann Arbor this weekend for two dances, and view our upcoming shows here.
I also recorded strings for Seth Bernard's upcoming album in January at La Luna studios in Kalamazoo, in a strings trio with me, May Erlewine and Micah Ling. Here’s a picture from the shoot, along with Flat Stanley, who I was toting around all week. Many thanks to Seth kept us well fed and laughing. It was moving to hear his songs, created in the midst of so much personal loss for Seth. It's an honor to work for someone who's inspired me, and so many others so deeply. I can't wait to hear how all of his songs come together.
Other than studio work, I've been lucky to do some after school programming with SEEDS in Northern Michigan, and with the Gift Of Music (GOM) organization that works as an enrichment provider for Communities In Schools. GOM was spearheaded by my friend Graham Parsons. You can learn more about the organization in this MLive article. The main goals of the program are to expose students to music, and engage them with songwriting, improvisation and instrumental activities. Pictured below is my friend Andy Catlin, rocking out with a few GOM students.
My friend Lillie Wolff was recently named the new Executive Director of the organization called ERAC/Ce, or Eliminating Racism and Claiming/Celebrating Equality. I've heard great things about their trainings. So, I decided to take one this February with encouragement from Lillie, and from a generous organizational scholarship. It's hard to explain what the experience was like, because much of it's value lies in being there with the group, and engaging in a social learning process together. But, I highly recommend it, and I'll be writing more in the future about this experience.
This past weekend, I got to hang with two of my favorite Chris's. Chris Koltay owns High Bias Recordings, a building next door to Slows BBQ that serves as a recording studio and a home. I've recorded with Koltay in the past on some unreleased Chris Bathgate material, and I love working with him. Chris Bathgate is recording music there this winter for his Skullls project, and I was lucky enough to try out one of my songs during some down time. It's not done yet, but it gave me a better sense of what's possible in his studio.
The rest of my late winter, early spring will involve doing more studio work, and SEEDS after-school programming (more details forthcoming.) I'll also be spending more time honing my craft at home. I'm really excited about the richness of home studio time.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.