This is the first year that there is a papyrus version of my newsletter. If you would like a hard copy version of this missive please join our mailing list and tell us to send you one.You'll get Harvey Reid's newsletter, too, most likely because they are usually attatched. Harvey is my oft times musical partner, and recently acquired husband. It's his fault that I'm sitting here at my computer thinking that you folks out there might actually be interested in reading what I have to say. It's also his fault that I have been working at that awkward transition from side gal to solo artist. It's not always easy to have someone believe in you. It's hard work. But I married him anyway! I can't get away with sitting back and wondering why I'm not playing more gigs anymore, or why I don't have a website, or my own CD. Now I realize I have to book the gigs, work on my website myself, learn how to play guitar better etc etc etc. So if you have someone who is trying to empower you, my advice is...try not to get mad at them...maybe they're on to something! In my case, it takes me from a very powerless position (trying to find my place in a "business" as predatory, corrupt, disintersted in anyone over 24 and non-businesslike as the music business) and puts me in a position of "waking up every morning and taking action on my own behalf" (as said so eloquently by the legendary bluegrass flatpicker, Dan Crary...former recording artist for Sugar Hill Records turned executive of his own label.)
Just to quickly recap...Harvey helped me make my first solo CD in 2000 ("The Girl I Left Behind") which put me on the folk map( a very small dot, perhpas, but a dot nonetheless.) In 2001 we made a much acclaimed duo CD ("The Great Sad River.") In 2003 I put out my second solo CD ("Right Where I Should Be") which fueled some exciting success, and which (good for a girl's feeling of autonomy) Harvey Reid had very little to do with. So as Harvey and I settle into living happily ever after our minds reel trying to keep straight when we are running off to different gigs, and when we are running off to the same gig. At least I don't have to use that ambiguous word boyfriend now when I am accosted by young adoring folk hunks after my shows, or when I'm closing down the post festival jam session in the wee hours of the morning. Actually I'd love to get more young folks hunks and chicks out to see our shows. Folk music isn't boring!!!!! Historically, this is a good time to be starting the folk musician's journey. I have even had a few interesting independent record labels offers. I love the idea of having some help getting the music out there, but I just married Mr. DIY and I'm slowly catching on. I didn't change my name, though, so the jury’s out on the"to sign or not to sign" question. I hope to see you out there! On to the rest of the newsletter...
Festival Fever Festival Fever Festival FeverEvery time I come home I see a big sign that says "Welcome to Maine...the way life should be." The world of music festivals is also the way life should be. Whether they're run by two people or a legion of thousands of volunteers, festivals, at their best, make me proud to be a human. Weekend-long Brigadoon-like towns materialize in fields, parks and campgrounds world-around, built up lovingly by old-timers and newcomers alike. Replete with neighborhoods, old-friends, open jam sessions, craft stores and restaurants, it's all in a spirit of slowing down & appreciating the good things in life. My two favorite festivals this past summer were the Sioux River Folk Festival and the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Sioux River doesn't want to get any bigger. It thrills me that these South Dakotans, the embodiment of the pioneer spirit, realize that bigger isn’t always better. It's the same way I’m thrilled to see a "gone fishing" sign on the hardware store door (hey, if you can't get the right nuts and bolts for your project that day, then you can go fishing, too!) The Philly Folk Fest, on the other hand has grown from a handful of volunteer staff, to a staff 2000 strong. There is a thrill in having the festival town be bigger than one’s hometown, too! And it seems like people are inspired to be extra good to each other in this town. Peace prevails in everybody’s mind.
Deep in the South Dakota darkness, lit only by headlamps and fires was the late night festival jam. I rocked into the early morning light with a Swedish fiddler from the band Plommon
Philly Folk Fest- On stage I got to jam with Xavier Rudd, Kathleen Edwards, Mark Erelli and April Verch. At the hotel party after a night of bluegrass and old-time I got to cap it off with an eclectic jazz session with sax, bass, piano and a drummer from the Puerto Rican grammy nominated group Plena Libre. Did I mention that I love chicks that rock?
I've been performing with the amazing pickers of The New England Bluegrass Band (L-R: Roger Williams, Cecil Abels, Lincoln Meyers, Me, Pete Soukas, Chris Pandolfi) I hadn’t been in the bluegrass hot-seat for a while, and these gigs blasted the rust off my fingers. At the Smith Meeting House festival in NH it started to thunderstorm as we got on stage. Everyone ran for cover, so we did an unplugged set under the tent that was a hit. I read that country music is nostalgic for a time that never existed. That time exists at moments like these! Everyone huddled together, hushed up, then whooped and hollered
Single Girl, Married Girl....
Escorted by Dad to "Here Comes the Bride" on a great organ with a Pagan goddess dress and crown of flowers...
... and my first steps into married life. It was worth the wait!
our first weeks of Happily Ever After...the honeymoon begins...
Vagabonding in Venice- I dreamed of honeymooning in Venice when I was 16. I had to wait a while but Harvey Reid came through! Piazza San Marco was breathtaking and suprisingly quiet. The murmur of voices, the clink of wine glasses, no cars... when can I go back?
Honeymooning ... with my doggone King in front of our castle...actually we did squeeze in a festival in Sarzana.
Nice, but.. In case you gals back home wanted to see what was on this side. They never show this view in the art books.
The Florence Nightingales While most tourists saw these spirited gypsy musicians as a nuisance, Harvey and I were thrilled to meet some of our own, having both spent time as street musicians ourselves. Drop a five into the case next chance you get.
Back to work....
I came home from the honeymoon to some nice reviews and good news about my CD.
Some Quotes on Right Where I Should Be
Minnesota Public Radio ...Youth and strength flow through her voice. She's got power and conviction. She's writing new songs and retelling old stories, and there's still something mysterious in her music that sounds like it comes from an ancient and pure source.
The Boston Globe ...That neo-traditional current is starting to be felt among the ranks of New England songwriters ...among the hottest ... fiddler-singer Joyce Andersen.
Sing Out! ...Joyce's fiddle is joyfully present throughout, giving the overall sound a classic, traditional feel, although most of the songs are her own....A beautifully produced collection of songs that places her right up there with any of the songwriters out there performing their songs today.
I just found out that I'm nominated for Best Album (Right Where I Should Be), Best Song (There He Goes, Coming Back) and Best Folk Artist this year from Jam Magazine! Below is the review of "Right Where I Should Be" by Kris Garnjost.
Jam Music Magazine, 3/2003 Oh Brother! Oh Sister! Where art thou? You are here! Call it Americana. Call it roots music. Call it whatever you want, but if you are even remotely steeped in tradition, then stay right here and listen to me. Joyce Andersen has it all. She has a beautiful, powerful, expressive voice. She plays an emotional fiddle and a moving guitar. And she can write songs that feel like they could fit in a variety of traditional styles but speak with contemporary freshness about universal ideas. I am hard pressed to liken this independent and multi-talented woman to anyone, but there are similarities to her sometimes mentor, Harvey Reid. Reid may spend more time in traditional music. Andersen seems even more personal and more eclectic (if that is possible) than Reid, and because of this she reminds me of one of my all-time unique favorites, John Hartford. She may not have Hartford's cockeyed sense of humor, but all of her music, whether it's simple or complex, moving or playful, touches you in some way. It is hard to know which songs on Right Where I Should Be stand above the rest.
They range fromthe traditional story song Pretty Sylvia, and the contemporary country folk of I Just Wanna Dance to the swing jazz fun of The Whole World Is Doin' It and the stark minimalism of Love Finds A Way Every time I listen to Strange Elation, I am struck by the haunting sawing fiddle and the ethereal quality of Andersen's voice. The lyrics are haunting and moving as well. They speak of the experience of creating and the closeness of joy and sorrow in the process. Another of my favorites is the contemporary pop sound of Eve. She uses Eve and the fall from the Garden of Eden to express the importance of emotions and feelings in the defining of true lasting love. I also love the simple gospel joy of I'm Ready. Andersen's voice and fiddle rise and dance and sing together on this deliberate, old-style, song. It has one foot in a stark Appalachian church and the other in an Afro-American gospel choir. If I was left to pick only one song I could listen to on this album, I guess it would be There He Goes, Coming Back. It is, in my mind, a perfect country song. It is a quiet, simple tune that expresses the struggle of imperfect love. It has a wonderful combination of Andersen's crying fiddle and producer Tom Dean's delicate acoustic guitar. He also provides some great harmony with Andersen's strong honest voice. Finally it has one of the best country lyrics I have ever heard, “There he goes, coming back again.”
Me and the boys
Jamming with Eric Andersen-I played fiddle on Eric's double CD "Beat Avenue," w/Sean Pelton, Eric Bazilian, and Mark Egan. What a thrill to record live with A team cats in NYC. It inspired me to do the same for my CD! I have since had the pleasure of playing a few shows with Eric (pictured here at Capo's in Lowell, MA) and introducing him to Harvey who has some really old records from Eric's early days which Eric seemed to almost forget existed! He just keeps making more! His love of the music is inspiring and he is showing no signs of slowing down even after 40 or so years of making records.
Opening for Richard Thompson - I got to play really loud for a full house of RT-heads. He’s a rock band unto himself– a great inspiration to a solo performer. I've just started working with Dave Mattacks in preparation for my next CD. He was the drummer with Fairport Convention and will be reuniting with Richard Thompson on a tour later this year. It's a small world. Maybe in my next newsletter I will put in a better view of these red velvet snakeskin pants if they still fit...they deserve a better view.
The World Cafe radio show - You probably know David Dye's voice from one of the 150 syndicated radio stations. I went to Philadelphia in August 2003 to do a live interview. He’s a fun interviewer and an especially great audience of one -and what a hallowed studio! Recently I was called to do Mountain Stage filmed live in Charleston, WV. That airs in April of this year. I was on the bill with the Flatlanders (Jimmy Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and Joe Ely...sigh) and Ollabelle (with some great folks I knew from my NYC days) The Mavericks (wahooo! they rocked!) and Lucy Kaplansky (fellow troubadette!) I took all sorts of great pictures and then proceeded to lose my camera!
I wrote a song for peace on March 16th, on the eve of our attack of Iraq. It's called Filled With Love and I think you should take advantage of the FREE download and send the link around the world! The song was featured on the syndicated radio magazine show Here & Now which had a spotlight on peace songs throughout history...100's of years ago through the 60's to the present. "Filled with Love" closed out the show. It's a mantra, really, and very easy to sing along with. Go CHECK IT OUT! (This makes five links to the free download...how many do you need?!)
On that note....I wish you all a peaceful 2004. I am busy finishing up a whole bunch of new songs and I look forward to having two new CDs to share with you before the year is out, one with Harvey Reid and another solo release. I will keep you posted on these new releases as well as when I'm playing in your area if you let me know how. Please sign up on the mailing list. I won't share your information with anyone buy my husband, and he's the same way. Now go out and support live music! Or support independent art right here on this website and pick up a CD or two for yourself or a friend.