Tonight 7PM All Star Storytelling Show
Tomorrow 7PM Open Mic: sign up starts at 6PM
7/23 8PM Andrew Kerr and Teddy Goldstein
7/24 8PM Caroline Rose, Robby Hecht opens
7/25 8PM Roosevelt Dime, Ghost of Paul Revere opens
7/26 3:30 Carrie Elkin and Danny Schmidt
7/26 8PM Amy Correia, Rebecca Correia opens
7/27 8PM The Whiskey Boys, Grace and the RSO opens
Tonight 7PM All Star Storytelling Show
It’s not everyday that you get to talk to an award-winning musician. Amy Correia’s latest album, You Go Your Way, won the 2011 Independent Music Award for the Best Folk Singer-Songwriter Album, and I got a chance to ask her a few questions about her songs, her stories, and her process.
The making of You Go Your Way was completely fan-funded, meaning that Amy sought support directly from her fans instead of working with a record label. “It was difficult deciding to do that, because you’re basically asking for help.” Amy found so much support and excitement among her fans that she raised over $37,000 for making of her album. “It was a great way to reconnect with my fans and find out who and who wasn’t interested. It gave me a great idea of where I am now and where I can build from. I’ve worked with two labels before – and it’s great having that support – but it sort of alienates you from the process. The direct link with fans is at the heart of how we as musicians can keep going.” In the end, Amy is glad that she chose to pursue fan-funding, but would be hesitant to do it again knowing all that it entails.
For me, what really makes this album stand out is that each song is a story told from a different character’s point of view, making the album an entertaining “compilation of character sketches” as well as compilation of great songs. “Thematically, the album is very diverse. There are songs from the point of view of a little kid whose dad goes off to war (Took Him Away), and there are songs from the point of view of a woman who is trying to pick up guys at a bar (Powder Blue Trans Am).” Amy’s imagination and wit defies the trope that female singer-songwriters only write autobiographical songs.
Since she inhabits so many different characters in her songs, I wondered if there was a certain character that she tends to go to when writing songs. “There is definitely a place that I go to, but I don’t know what character it would be. It’s like you are your truest self, you are the part of you that is most aware of what you want to say or communicate. Whenever I am writing, I try to tap into that space in myself because I think that’s where the best stuff comes from.”
Come experience Amy Correia’s exceptional musical and storytelling talent at Club Passim July 26 at 8pm, featuring Marty Ballou on upright bass. You can purchase tickets here, visit Amy’s website here, and listen to You Go Your Way on bandcamp.
4/14 7PM: Celtic Music Monday open session- bring your instruments!
4/15 8PM: The Olympic Symphonium and Jacob Augustine (Also streaming on Concert Window!)
4/16 8PM: Old Buck
4/17 and 4/18 8PM: Fishtank Ensemble
4/19 and 4/20: Down Home Up Here Bluegrass Festival! (Also streaming on Concert Window!)
See you at the club!
In the next installment of the Down Home Up Here Workshop interviews, Passim spoke with Stash Wyslouch, who will be teaching “Intro to Bluegrass Guitar” during the Festival. Stash has been coming to Passim since the Fall of 2005, when he played at an open mic. Since then, his relationship with Passim has expanded and deepened - he now plays and teaches here occasionally. A member of the Deadly Gentlemen, Stash is without a doubt a strong presence in the Boston music scene and an exciting addition to our festival.
Stash didn’t always play guitar in the bluegrass tradition, though - he started playing heavy metal when he was 12, and continued on the electric guitar through middle and high school. When he was 18, he bought a mandolin and started to get into acoustic music. It was only a matter of time before he picked up a guitar, and transferred from Tufts University to Berklee College of Music. There he began developing his ability to play with others and in many different styles.
Stash’s workshop will focus on playing melodies on a guitar using the flatpicking style. Students will be encouraged to make their own simple melodies and be taught variations and techniques useful to playing bluegrass and country music. The workshop is geared for intermediate and high level guitar players, who are familiar with all open chords and basic picking technique. Stash teaches with a universal approach - rather than just putting notes in front of someone for them to replicate, he tries to help people find their voices.
One of Stash’s strengths is his ability to play with lots of different people.
"Guitar is often in the background, so learning to interact with people, which is often the heart of folk, bluegrass, and country, is really important. Interacting with people is really what it’s all about. It’s about community, which is kind of what Passim is all about too."
Why make Stash your teacher? Besides his fantastic ability, he also has a unique take on this kind of music.
"Bluegrass sometimes gets a reputation as hillbilly music, so as someone who came to it late from Massachusetts, I find ways to make it relatable to people who aren’t familiar with its background and culture."
Sounds pretty convincing to me. Naming the Louvin Brothers, the Stanley Brothers, Jimmy Martin, and Willy Nelson as some of his musical influences, Stash will be sure to bring a lot of heart to this Down Home Up Here Festival workshop.
With the Down Home Up Here Festival fast approaching, we at Passim wanted to get in touch with some of our workshop instructors to learn a little bit more about them - what they play, why they play, and why people should attend their workshops. First in the interview lineup was David Delaney, a Berklee School of Music grad who has been part of the Passim community for years. A member of The Whiskey Boys, David has played to sold-out Passim crowds. This season he’s bringing his talents into the Passim classrooms.
So how did David get started on the fiddle? As a child, David went to Irish step dancing classes with his sisters, but quickly realized that he took more naturally to the music than to the dancing. After just one year of classical violin training, he began taking lessons on the Irish fiddle, and the rest, as they say, is history. But it wasn’t until he was a student at Berklee College of Music that he started playing bluegrass.
"Bluegrass was all the rage at Berklee parties. There was always a room that was a jam room, with people just playing." During his time at Berklee, David started playing at Passim open mics, and gradually moved on to headlining shows with his band, The Whisky Boys.
Last year David was one of the inaugural performers at the Down Home Up Here festival, and so he was excited to be asked to return in 2014 as a workshop instructor. He has been teaching fiddle since his years as a Berklee student, and over time has realized that he likes to teach bluegrass using basic music theory.
"Most people learn to play music through transcription, and though that works well for a lot of people it hasn’t been very effective for me…If you learn the basic theory, that’s how people can be in a jam and play songs they don’t know. I teach these tricks.”
David spoke excitedly of the way that improvisation allows you to play along with songs you don’t already know.
"My favorite thing is improvising over a set melody in a group. I also love playing in a 2 piece ensemble. With a 2-piece, you’re reading each other and have no limitations whatsoever. It’s thrilling. And that’s only possible if you know the kinds of shortcuts I’ll be teaching in my workshop."