WHAT I DIDN’T DO THIS SUMMER // SESSION AMERICANA ‘NORTHEAST’ // FALL SHOWS
Earlier this year I was flipping through a magazine 30,000 feet above the ground, like you do, and I read something about a painter working “in obscurity.” This was to say that this artist was toiling away in the shadows without any recognition for their work, which is not what most of us are generally going for. But my immediate reaction was a startling bolt of pure, envious yearning at the idea of being left to do one’s work without anyone paying any attention. I scrawled those two words down on a little scrap of paper and when I shook out my bag at the end of the tour I found the scrap and stuck it on the wall above my desk in the general welter of bits and boops that gather there, and let it stare at me until I figured out what it was trying to tell me.
“Singer-songwriter” is a gig with a certain amount of built-in tension. You’re a writer, so you need a lot of time to withdraw from society, get real quiet and take a deep dive into wherever it is that the songs come from. But you’re a performer, so you also need to go forth often into lights and crowds and stand up in front of rooms full of people who are all looking at you. Essentially the process is a constant pendulum between “Please Leave Me Alone” and “Please Pay Attention to Me,” and even if you love both modes it can be a challenge to find a workable balance and manage the inevitable whiplash. This has always been a feature of this life, but now in the age of social media, there’s a new layer of complication to it, because we’re all - performer or not - supposed to be in “Pay Attention to Me” mode more or less 24/7.
Mulling it all over, I eventually realized that I was suffering from a temporary deficiency of obscurity. So this summer, I decided to allow myself some time under the radar. It was a quiet time in my tour schedule anyway, and then I gave all social media the Irish Goodbye (for anyone interested in trying this at home, you can’t announce that you’re leaving, it doesn’t work - you need to just slip away) and for months I didn’t send a newsletter, I didn’t post posts, I didn’t pipe up in any noticeable way. To the naked eye I appeared to be a normal person farting around. I grew a lot of cucumbers and swam with my kid and talked to my neighbors and walked my dog. All the while, I was writing songs. Even when I was not actively working on them, they hung in an invisible wreath around my head like a cloud of pipesmoke. No one was watching, and nothing scared them away. They bothered me and followed me around and kept me awake, and they grew like a garden, bigger every time I turned my attention to them.
Later this fall I’ll take that pile of songs to the studio with a pile of friends and make a new record. And after that you can expect me to follow you around the internet yelling at you to pay attention to me in the modern way. But I wanted to put a word in for obscurity, whether you’re a professional attention-grabber or not. If there’s a part of you longing to retreat from the fray, to whatever extent you can make it happen: do it. There are things that don’t come out of hiding if the lights are too bright.
All of that said, what’s brought me out of my lair is the need to tell you about a few relevant things, as follows:
SESSION AMERICANA “NORTHEAST” RELEASE: Friendband Session Americana has a new record of covers by Northeastern songwriters from James Taylor and Bill Morrissey to the Pixies and Donna Summer. I co-produced the record and played/sang on a lot of it, and if you want a sample you can listen right now to the new single: Rose Polenzani fronting Amy Correia’s You Go Your Way, with a B side of Ry Cavanaugh singing the classic Carly Simon hit Comin’ Around Again.
I got to join Session and a stage full of guest luminaries including Rose Polenzani, Merrie Amsterburg, Zak Trojano, John Powhida, Jennifer Kimball, Dietrich Strause, Ali McGuirk, and more for a few fantastic release shows this September, and we’ll do one more at Littlefield in Brooklyn NY on Nov 7. Come celebrate with us in flinty Northeastern style.
OTHER FALL SHOWS: October 10 I’ll return to the Second Shift Music Series at the Charles River Museum of Industry in Waltham MA. This is a very cool space to play in, and on this night I will be joined by Sam Moss and Rose Polenzani. We’ll be a couple weeks away from heading into the studio to start work on the new KD album, so we are likely to take a number of newer songs for a spin to make sure they’re ready to go.
In December I’ll do a little run with Chris Pureka co-headlining. We’ll be at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord NH 12/8, City Winery Boston 12/10, Murmurr Ballroom in Brooklyn, NY 12/11, Sellersville Theater in Sellersville PA 12/12, Jammin Java in Vienna VA 12/13, with a few more to be confirmed. Details below.
Aside from adding vocals, viola, piano, banjo, and pump organ to the Session Americana record, I’ve had a nice run of contributing to other people’s music of late. I loved playing cello on Jen Zimberg’s new album What Sings, produced by Erin McKeown. I hadn’t known Jen or her music before but there are some really unique and mesmerizing songs on this record. The title track still gets wedged in my head on a regular basis.
I also got to play cello on a beautiful track on Humans Are Special, the new one from my buds Thank God for Science. This one will boldly take you to many unexplored corners of the musical map, so buckle up and dig in!
In terms of stuff i didn’t play on, this month I’ll recommend Anna Tivel’s new one The Question - it’s been out for a little while but I just got my ears on it and it’s a beautiful listening journey, feels like reading a book of great short stories.
Happy fall everybody
Yours in the inky shadows, *kd
OCTOBER 10 - KD @ Second Shift Music Series, WALTHAM, MA Tix
DECEMBER 8 - KD & Chris Pureka @ Capitol Ctr for the Arts, CONCORD, NH Tix
DECEMBER 10 - KD & Chris Pureka @ City Winery, BOSTON MA Tix
DECEMBER 11 - KD & Chris Pureka @ Murmurr Ballroom, BROOKLYN, NY Tix
DECEMBER 12 - KD & Chris Pureka @ Sellersville Theater, SELLERSVILLE, PA Tix
DECEMBER 13 - KD & Chris Pureka @ Jammin Java, VIENNA, VA Tix
tix/info for all shows http://krisdelmhorst.com/tour