May is passing at a pleasantly slow pace after a happily busy March & April. June goes back to busy, so let me dwell on the blessings of May.
After a somewhat housebound pandemic season I’m getting out more for long daily walks with my partner, Candace. We shoot for 90 minutes a day. Shelburne Falls is ideal for walking. We’re located in a valley with a river running through it. Being a river valley, our village has no routes that would qualify as flat. We’re always climbing up one side, down another. Living in a small town, we always have to build in time for conversations with the friends we are inevitably bumping into.
We are graced with an abundance of old, sprawling trees and the locals (way more so than us) are diligently digging and planting - primarily flowers, but some edible crops as well. We get our “home grown” from Wilder Brook Farm CSA, run by longtime friends John & Kate. Distribution begins in early June. Meanwhile, we work at the West County Food Pantry, distributing fresh produce and non-perishable edibles to our local community one day a week.
We all have been missing the human, huggable contacts with family and friends. Recently it has been sinking in how much I rely - as a singer, songwriter, and activist - on the street actions I’ve been part of for so many years. The Journey of Hope; the Starvin’ for Justice Fast & Vigil; the SOAWatch protests in Georgia and Arizona; the People’s Music Network in-person summer and winter gatherings, and the Great Labor Arts Exchange. These have been my go-to events to create and sing songs in support of causes and communities – fertile ground for action and creativity, and greatly missed. Someday soon. Meanwhile…
Lots of time and energy is going into preparations for the People’s Music Network Virtual Summer Convergence, a grand online assembly of music makers and spoken word artists, June 4 – 6. I’ve been working with a wonderful singer and good friend, Lindsey Wilson, to line up an exciting array of performers for the kickoff concert Friday night. Lindsey and I will also be presenting our own online concert on June 2nd (details and tickets). Mark your calendars and stay tuned.
I’m so happy to be expanding my longtime relationship with Elise Bryant. We’ve mostly met around the Great Labor Arts Exchange for the past few decades (information about this year’s event here), but the Zoom rooms of pandemic time have allowed us to “go on tour,” to use Elise’s phrase. Developing performance pieces, adapting them to the latency limitations of Zoom, and presenting them in collaboration with our tech and promo maven, Grace McEnery, has been time and labor intensive and 100% joyful. We plan to carry on through the summer and fall with online gigs, and who knows what after that. Our May Day performance was hosted by SBCAN of Santa Barbara, CA, a fine way to begin the month and to celebrate International Workers’ Day.
A week later, on May 9, I was online celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Fr. Dan Berrigan. Longtime friend Bill Wylie Kellerman and his mostly-Detroit-based community released a book to mark the occasion – Celebrant’s Flame: Daniel Berrigan in Memory & Reflection. So many of Dan’s closest friends shared memories, readings, and toasts, and I got to share the song I wrote for the Plowshares Eight in 1981. It was inspiring to be part of that cloud of witnesses.
In order to get the songs and the word out there Grace has been posting songs and stories on social media (links below) and has set me up with my own Youtube channel. All my recorded music will be there soon – some 2 dozen albums – plus videos of more recent performances. Up ‘til now I haven’t been able to easily find my recorded songs amidst that algorithmic maze, now they will be all in one place. Thank you, Grace!
All for now. Enjoy the warm months ahead as we await the return of live venues. Missing you…
|Scope Session (Type JEE)|