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A Glowing Light in the Darkness at the French House
An Evening of Performance and the Telling of Tales
My first multimedia show at the French House last Sunday was a fun and lively affair. I designed this show to feel very personal and to convey various emotions and concepts—vengeance, fear, loss, regret, vulnerability, immigration injustice, intimate love, fanciful whimsy, pride, joy, and gender fluidity.
I had under a month to prepare everything and my fellow musicians and I (Andrew Weitze on guitar and Joe Allen on drums pictured above) only had two full rehearsals with each other to get the music down. Initially, I was planning to do this show in March, but circumstances at the French House demanded a much earlier timeframe. I decided to go ahead with it, because sometimes in life one needs to jump in headfirst, regardless of hesitations.
Featured in this issue are my photos I showcased during a few of the songs.
The stage was grounded by a huge projection screen flanked by my Yamaha keyboard on one side and a drum set and Andrew’s guitar arsenal on stage left. My friend Billy Kemp, who also performed the opening set with his original songs, provided all of the audio and amplification equipment, including a PA system and a sizable mixing board.
My partner MaxZine played mandolin on two songs and controlled the visuals on the projection screen. I dedicated one song to him, and this probably made him blush.
We played eight of my original songs and two covers. Our set was divided into three parts—starting with a “Dark Shadows” section, then into a contemplative vibe, and finally to a louder, more whimsical finale. The two cover songs, These Boots Were Made for Walking by Nancy Sinatra and Yesterday by the Beatles, were more like complete makeovers with the former becoming a slow burn with a slight salsa rhythm and a large smattering of cascading minor chords and the latter sung entirely a capella by myself.
Four film vignettes were used in the show:
The Dance of the Burden: a surrealist dance film exploring the heavy, self- destructive emotions we all can carry throughout life.
Hello Mexico: the visual accompaniment to my song of the same name that highlights the struggles and motivations behind the migrant crisis along the US border with Mexico.
Winter’s Light: a visual poem exploring the cold lonesomeness of winter and the unique qualities of sunlight reflected in winter snow
The Gathered Heart: an effusive, beat-driven video showing the creation of a piece of art in real time—a cubist-inspired heart shaped by boxes.
The eight original songs we played were:
This Is Love
The elements of this show that I loved most included the art-laden beauty of the venue, the layers of rhythm and guitar added to my music, and the gracious audience that attended. There are not many historic homes in Nashville whose walls are completely adorned with an eclectic art collection. Abstract pieces juxtaposed with scenic landscape paintings enhanced the comforting and inviting vibe of the place.
Not many people have heard me play with a guitarist and drummer since my piano work often does the heavy lifting as a solo artist. My music sounds fuller and more alive with the richness that these other instruments bring. The synergy we create when we play feels so life-affirming. I love the rhythmic and sonic textures that Andrew and Joe created for my music. It felt amazing, and I am immensely grateful for their talent.
Lastly, an audience of over 50 people came to this show and packed the house. One never really knows how many people will show up for any gathering, but I was so happy with this turnout. Folks were very responsive and supportive throughout the set. The exchange that happens between a performer and an audience is always such a special, collaborative transaction. Energetically, I felt people’s love and openness as we played.
With some audio, logistical, and lighting problems, the show was not perfect, but perfection was never the goal. The next multimedia show will have ironed out those issues and will feature even more of my songs, films, and photography. I have A LOT more to share with the world, and every show will be different.
Thank you to all of you who came out to the French House and who also signed on to subscribe to this newsletter. You now play an active role in this creative journey I am on—across vast oceans, rugged canyons, and wide-open spaces of my imagination.
For any folks who attended the show, please feel free to write back with any thoughts and impressions from the night. This show is a work in progress, and I would love to know how everything felt from different perspectives.
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