in which we claim (for now) a genre & celebrate the Rockwood Birthday Show and another 'Iron John' moment
“Through all the world there goes one long cry from the heart of the artist: ‘Give me leave to do my utmost’”. -Isak Dinesen, Babette’s Feast
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I keep the above quotation on a post-it inside my wallet. And if I already told you that, well, it’s still true.
JUST THE GIGS PLEASE
THU 8/4 7PM - Rebecca Hart & the Wrong Band @ Pocono Lake Preserve, PA
SAT 9/24 - Rebecca Hart & the Wrong Band @ Brooklyn Americana Fest
FROM THE CHRYSALIS
The struggle to define my music genre has been going on for a while now. I feel like that shouldn’t be true; it’s not so ‘out there’ (is it?) But after many years of being too folky for rock venues, not folky enough for the festivals, and chafing at “singer/songwriter” for a variety of reasons, the question ‘What kind of music do you play?’ sends me into a tailspin. I end up blurting out helpful things like “Never mind” and “IT’S NOT BORING!”
I know all artists have trouble describing their work. I am not special. It’s just that every time I try to pick a box (“folk”, “folkrock”, “indie rock”, “singersongwriterbutitsnotlikethat”), I feel like I’m lying. Similar to, though not the same as, the significant amount of time I’ve spent trying to answer “Yeah but what are you REALLY, an actor or a musician?” ( I mean: I’m an actor. But I don’t have any auditions right now. But also, so what.)
“Prog Folk”1 has been a rehearsal joke since before we had an electric mandolin or I wrote the lyric “Rise, my lord and lady, from your bed” (#sorrynotsorry) in this song:
(Video by Phil Schuster, thanks!)
The term is mostly a laugh, but maybe that’s why it feels the closest to on-brand. I’ve also tried “we play rock songs on acoustic instruments” but it’s the other way around too? sometimes? And let’s not even discuss the term “folkrock”, a piece of gum chewed way too long by now.
One thing I do know for sure is that the show we played at the Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 on Saturday night was the most YES, THAT’S WHAT IT IS I’ve felt in a long time.
Yes there was a bluegrassy opener (easy category!).)Yes there was a waltz. Yes there was a solo acoustic number. Yes I told stories. Yes things were planned. Yes things were improvised. Yes there was an upright bass and an acoustic guitar and a fiddle; yes there were electronic keyboards and drums and a distorted mandolin solo, yes I was loud, yes I was quiet, yes I made jokes, yes I cried, yes I was a folksinger, yes I was a rock band, yes I am yes I said yes yes yes.
Thank you to everyone who came out to listen and celebrate my Non Birthday! Next stop: new album. (Well, actually next stop: the Poconos. If you are in the area and want to go, message me and we’ll set it up! Dinner & a show!) I’ll keep you posted.
I’m writing this from the Library at the O’Neill Theater Center where Jacinth & I just presented some songs from IRON JOHN: an american ghost story, a musical I once described as “a straight play that somehow crashed into an opera”. They asked the writers to present their own work, so last night I got to be a librettist/lyricist/singer/guitarist/actor. Jacinth and I have never (?) performed live together I think; it was great. Also, Matt (Wrong Band) joined us on fiddle and vocals, which was also great. I love it when two worlds come together. Why stop there.
See you in the Poconos,
PS Next week I will be iN GREECE on a long-anticipated vacation. So either you won’t hear from me at all or you’ll get multiple pictures of salads.
as in, owing something to both the “progressive rock” movement of the 70s and to (English/Irish/American) folk music.