Playing at the Radio Bean in October with Mary and Mark – a beautiful night. I thought after: Trust in the music. Let things come out. Day by day. Don’t weigh on the past – it’s gone skipping away, has its own work to do. It’ll circle back around in good time. The future: it’ll come too, without you worrying about it. Present: now there’s something to pay attention to. It’s the only ground to stand on, break, dig into.
It was great to late-night talk with Mary and Mark about music things like the best picks, pickups, and microphones, but also about leaving space in the music, time wise, tone wise. How a strum on the guitar is a lot of information. Use it wisely.
I’m gleaning little vital pieces of information from all sources these days: Steve Paxton, contemporary dance saint, who came through town with a talk and a show at the Flynn Center in Burlington last week; beautiful inspiring monks Francis I, Francis, a book by Carlo Caretto and Thomas Merton‘s Living with Wisdom ; my dance students, whose curiosity and pure unabashed chutzpah totally inspires me. I’m floored learning Keith Richard’s guitar solo in Wild Horses. It doesn’t take much to make me happy, just one pluck at a time.
Very excited to play with some of my big-time teachers and inspirations, right in my own family. My sister Mary Byrne and her husband and music partner Mark Rogers are touring their debut album, I Line My Days Along Your Weight. You can read a great review of it here. We’ll be playing along side each other for two cozy dates right here in Northern Vermont, at some neat spots: on Thursday Oct 23rd at The Whammy Bar in dreamy Calais – a bar brilliant enough to situate itself in a general store in a bucolic hamlet in Vermont – and on Sunday Oct 26th at Radio Bean , a venerable Burlington music venue with a really broad artistic outlook. As in they say, “oh yeah we like your folk music and experimental dance mash ups!” I appreciate that.
Mary has been making music brilliantly in the family for a long time, in several bands in Atlanta, and now with Mark in Brooklyn. I was lucky enough to have Mary and band Hot Young Priest perform live for my last full-evening dance in NYC (Rounds, or the First Last Dance, or the Last First Dance, Or An Ordination, 2007). And well, Mark is an amazing guitar player and teacher. He taught me my first chord on the guitar almost exactly four years ago. I told him I wanted to know everything that Bob Dylan knew in his early NYC days. A couple weeks later he supplied me with a three-inch stack of Xeroxes from music workbooks. I said, “Is this info for the next couple months?” He said, “This is info for the next couple years!” He was right, I’m still working my way through that stack.
Back in March, partner-in-crime Stefan Jacobs and I went down to our basement, took everything out of the canning cellar except the fermenting apple cider, and ran cable into some microphones. In that little cold space, all bundled up, we recorded every song I had – mostly one take each. Here is a one take from that rough cut collection, the Apple Cider Cellar Tapes.