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News & Updates

JuLY 2017

I'm so excited to be back at Zippah Recording this summer doing studio pre-production on some brand new material!  We've also been working on a special arrangement of a 19th century hymn that my great-great grandfather used to sing while being held in a Civil War prison camp. Thanks to the amazing Andy Santospago for lending his talent on banjo, mandolin and lap steel. Stay tuned for more news!

 

 

 

 
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I grew up in South Carolina near the Blue Ridge Mountains, in a house surrounded by large oak trees and filled with music, both live and recorded, which gave me a conviction growing up that the world was a sturdy, melodious place that would always make me sneeze. My earliest music influences were the R&B tunes from my brother's glorious stash of 45's - Bill Withers, The Brothers Johnson, Stevie Wonder. A few years later I discovered folk and bossanova in my parents collection, playing our dog-eared Joni Mitchell and Astrud Gilberto records until we had to buy replacement copies.

For me, music has always meant dancing. In high school while studying dance, I started playing guitar as a way to decompress after long rehearsals. Worried I'd end up a barista in a coffee joint if I stuck with dancing as a profession, I opted for a more financially secure future and went to college for Latin. At that time my alma mater Brown was enjoying a lively singer-songwriter scene, and with added inspiration in my headphones from Joni and Jobim, I began experimenting with alternate tunings and formed my first band with three college friends, playing clubs in and around Providence.

After graduation I headed to the folk music epicenter of the eastern seaboard, Cambridge MA, immediately landing work as a barista in a coffee joint. I also began playing in the subways and coffeehouses around Cambridge, including the venerable folk mecca Club Passim, and recorded my first solo acoustic CD Volcano in 1996 - six songs written in six different tunings which proved impossible to play all together at shows. A couple of years later I teamed up with members of the Boston-based rock band Groovasaurus to record and independently release my second album, Living Room Dances in 1999, a fusion of folk and jazz and a snapshot of my experiments with alternate tunings.

Whereas the songs of Living Room Dances have the feel of composed poems set to music, my third album Good Again, released in 2005, is a set of living conversations with people and events that have passed through and deeply impacted my life after 9/11, especially from my experiences teaching refugees in Boston. With the tunes on Good Again I also started moving away from my acoustic folk roots towards a jazz/R&B influenced sound, again having the good fortune to collaborate with some of the best rock and jazz players in the Boston music scene.

In 2010 I traded in my acoustic Guild for an electric Ibanez, began exploring the Blues, and with my fourth record Come and Gone, traveled further backwards to the spirit of the R&B 45's I danced to as a kid under oak trees. I think it's the music most deeply rooted in my body, memory and movement. Comfort food for uncertain times and places far from home. You can check out my latest album Come and Gone here, and stay posted for a brand new album slated for release in 2016!

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You can see us next at:

Sally O'Brien's
Union Square, Somerville, MA
Thursday, December 10, 2015
8pm start

 

 

 

 

 




 




photo: Karen Hendrickson-Santospago