28 September, 2010

light up the series of tubes + be a virtual audience member + free download of “queen of quiet”

this week’s download is “queen of quiet (fancy radio mix)” – a remix from an EP of the same title. the original song appeared as the first track on “distillation”

last summer, i had an idea: why not broadcast over the internet a series of concerts from my rural cabin and use them as a fundraiser for my next album? cabin fever seemed like a pretty simple and clever way to raise money and give listeners a unique experience.
turns out i loved webcasting. i got to interact with listeners in a new and intimate way. i got to act like a TV presenter or old-fashioned master of ceremonies. i got to bring in amazing friends as special guests. i got to create a visual style to match my music. i also got to solve audio and other technical problems. i love figuring out how to make things work!

i’ve been wanting to do another webcast and the “distillation anniversary tour” is an awesome opportunity to continue exploring how we can all use the internet for new creative purposes.

17 September, 2010

download of “easy baby” + remembering my first gig at passim

this week’s download is “easy baby”- recorded from the stage of club passim, cambridge MA on 7 december, 1997 and broadcast live on boston’s WERS. it’s part of “small deviant things, vol.1 1997-99″, my handmade archival series.


in exactly a week, i’ll be heading over to boston to do a radio appearance on WERS and play a gig at club passim as part of the Anniversary tour. i feel incredibly lucky that my first time on the famous passim stage was broadcast live and documented for posterity. i can guarantee that on that cold sunday afternoon in 1997 i was not imagining what it would be like to play at passim 12 years later, i was just thrilled for the gig.

at the time, i was in my sophomore year of college in providence. i’d been seriously playing out for about 2 years. i’d made my first demo cassette (anybody out there have a copy?), and i was running my career myself. i spent a lot of time sending out packages and calling folks asking for gigs. passim was like the promised land; it was a real venue in a real city. i’d just played my first real new york gig at the postcrypt, was a regular already at northampton’s fire and water, but i hadn’t cracked boston or the venerable passim. i couldn’t even get my calls returned.

07 September, 2010

Asheville NC + the story of the dress

it’s finally here! today i head to asheville NC to start the “distillation” anniversary tour. i’ll be performing the record in sequence for the first time, solo, for an intimate audience in a tiny theater. pressure? i’ll let you know.

i don’t remember the first time i played asheville, but i know i’ve been going there regularly since “distillation” came out, and it’s a town i have always felt at home in. i wanted the anniversary tour to stop in towns where i’ve built my best and biggest audiences, so asheville is a great place to kick off.

a couple weeks ago, an odd question popped into my mind. when was the last time i put on the dress i wore on the cover of my first record? hmmm, not since the photo shoot, 10 years ago. and then i wondered, does it still fit? i rummaged around my house until i found it again, in a box under a box at the bottom of a pile of sartorial bits saved from all points in my 32 years.

i’ve been planning the “distillation 10th anniversary” for a couple months now, but it wasnt until i tried putting on the dress that the anniversary became real. looking at myself in the mirror, wearing what had been so 2-dimensionally familiar for so many years, i suddenly felt like i stepped right back into the record cover.

06 September, 2010

Rachel Maddow and I Write a Song Via Text

yes, it's true. maddow, an old friend from the 413, made time in her busy schedule and corresponded with me via text on the subjects of the gulf, oil, iraq, and the ways everything is all connected. i took our conversation, wrapped it up in a slow second line, and called it a song. my new friends barkuna backed me up, and we debuted it in the low-pressure confines of The Town Hall, NYC. all of this to benefit the American Bird Conservancy. watch how it turned out below. the lyrics as they were written (but maybe not sung) are below that:

01 September, 2010

"Distillation" 10th Anniversary Project + Tour

this week, i'm kicking off my "Distillation" 10th Anniversary Project + Tour. i have plenty o fun things planned (including a tour where i will recreate the album). watch the trailer and visit the "Distillation" Micro-Site for a free download of the original version of "Blackbirds". PASS IT ON!!