New Song “Color Line” Featured in Libro Musica

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Grazie mille to music blog Libro Musica for the post about “Color Line,” my latest release! The song is a co-write between myself and Woody Guthrie, who penned the lyrics back in 1950 in response to the blatant racism of his then-landlord, Fred Trump. The lyrics were unpublished until 2016, and upon reading them, I was struck (and dismayed) at the uncanny resemblance between the Trump Guthrie knew and our current President-elect.

From Libro Musica:

“I love that artists like Marina Evans, use their talents to share a message that will help to promote, shape and inspire listeners to create social change. This message about the dark days of our past helps us to prepare for the future.”

Click here to read the full article; click here to listen to “Color Line (Old Man Trump)”!

You can stream the song online for free, but if you choose to purchase/download the song, please remember that ALL proceeds from sale of the digital track will be donated to the Woody & Marjorie Guthrie Fund at the Huntington’s Disease Society of America. Woody Guthrie passed away from Huntington’s disease in 1967 and we are still working towards a cure for this fatal illness.

 

Image credit: Horse and Hare Hand Carved Art + Design

Co-Write with Woody Guthrie: Color Line (Old Man Trump)

BIG news: I have signed my very first co-write agreement with non other than… Woody Guthrie! I humbly submit to you Color Line, lyrics by Woody Guthrie, music & new lyrics by yours truly. The beautiful arrangement you’ll hear is thanks to producer Bernardo Baglioni (as some of you may have guessed). To listen, click the player below or click here!

The story:

This may seem strange, as Guthrie left this earth quite some time ago. But like many of Guthrie’s works, these lyrics and the subject of the song are very much of this moment in American history, despite the 50+ years they have been gathering dust. So let’s start from the beginning.

In 1950, Woody Guthrie signed a lease on an apartment in Brooklyn, NY. The public housing complex, one of many that received federal loans & subsidies in the postwar years, was owned by Fred Trump, Donald Trump’s father. Soon after moving in, Guthrie began penning lyrics lamenting the fact that the equal opportunity the public housing initiative was supposed to afford was not, in fact, equal. Blacks were turned away, told the housing was full, or discouraged by falsely inflated rents. In his lyrics — unpublished until earlier this year — Guthrie holds Trump personally accountable for the racist rental policies employed at his properties:

I suppose
Old Man Trump knows
Just how much
Racial Hate
He stirred up
In the bloodpot of human hearts
When he drawed
That color line…

The accusations made in these bitter lines were later confirmed in various legal proceedings against the Trump real estate empire. The most damning evidence came from Trump’s own employees, who testified that rental applications for Trump properties were indeed coded by race, and that doormen and supers were encouraged “to decrease the number of black tenants… by encouraging them to locate housing elsewhere.”

I came across these lyrics in an article published by Will Kaufman, the scholar who discovered them, in January of this year. And I was absolutely stunned by the uncanny resemblance between Guthrie’s depiction of Trump senior and his son, the 2016 Republican nominee for President of the United States.

Reading the lyrics, I heard a melody immediately. Their prosody, their urgency… they needed to be released. I picked up a guitar, hummed the melody, edited Guthrie’s original lyrics, and added some of my own. It took quite a while to reach an agreement with Woody Guthrie Publications for usage of the lyrics, since they had never been published before and I was among hundreds of songwriters seeking to use them. But now here we are, just a few days before this crucial (unbelievable) election, and a signed co-write contract found its way to my inbox.

100% of my proceeds from sales of this track will be donated to the Woody & Marjorie Guthrie Fund at the Huntington’s Disease Society of America. Woody Guthrie passed away from Huntington’s Disease in 1967, and we are still working towards a cure for this fatal illness.

I hope I have done some justice to Guthrie’s legacy with this project. I hope Guthrie’s original intent carries across the decades to this critical moment in our nation’s history. I hope each and every one of you votes on Tuesday (not to worry – my absentee ballot is IN). And I hope that on Wednesday morning, as dawn breaks over the big, beautiful, protean experiment that is America, we wake to a brighter future.

See you on the other side,
Marina

 

The Lyrics:

(Guthrie/Evans)

I suppose
Old Man Trump
Old Man Trump

Oh he knows
Just how much
Racial Hate
He stirred up
In the bloodpot of human hearts

Human hearts 
When he drawed
That color line

That color line
That color line

This just ain’t, this just ain’t
My home, my home

This just ain’t, this just ain’t
My home, my home
Home – 

I just can’t pay my rent
My money’s down the drain

My soul is badly bent
I break my back
And I’m drowning
Just the same
Though he never earned it,
Trump he drawed
That dollar line
That dollar line
That dollar line

This just ain’t, this just ain’t my home, my home
Where are ya, America
My home, my home?

Children dying in the desert
He says: Build a wall
He draws his hate line in defiance
Of God and man’s law

I suppose Old Man Trump
Old Man Trump

He don’t wanna know…

 

New Song! “Blessed Burden”

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Hello all, in honor of the International Day of Peace on September 21, I am very excited to share a brand new song with you along that theme.

I wrote this song in a moment of helplessness — a feeling that is becoming all too familiar to many of us, unfortunately — when news of bombs and shipwrecks and shootings is constant and overwhelming. I got caught on the idea of peace as a burden that must be fought for, earned, and shared among the many, as opposed to a blessing bestowed upon and enjoyed by the few (hardly a new idea, I know, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it). But true peace is not easy, and neither is true love — and in this way, these challenges are also our sweetest blessings, both to give and to receive. I’ll leave it at that, and let the song say the rest. Click here to watch the video on YouTube if the below embedded preview isn’t working.

 

Lyrics

Verse:

Across wild seas and war torn lands

In droves they flee, screaming and wringing their hands

One fence, one borderline previously unseen

Is now a trench sharply defined, defended by artillery

Chorus:

We can spare it – a little love

We can share it – I know there’s more than enough

Verse:

I am sitting here in the warm cocoon of home

I’ve never known such fear, never was reduced to skin and bones

Who decided that this life

Was not for everyone, that this dream was divided?

Chorus/Bridge:

We can bear it – a little peace

We can bear it – to give love, give love is

Freefall – it’s scary

Trust entire

It’s a blessed burden

To light and tend this fire

Verse:

People, rise – and hold each other tight and near

Love defies the dark, the anger, greed, and fear

We’re just one little planet in a sea of stars

And whether we are gonna make it is a question of heart

Chorus:

We can bear it – a little peace

We can bear it – ’cause it’s love will set us free…

 

copyright 2016 Marina Evans

Opening for MARIA MULDAUR!

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BIG NEWS!

I am thrilled to announce that on Thursday, September 22 at the beautiful Spire Center for the Performing Arts in Plymouth, MA, I will be opening for none other than MARIA MULDAUR! Woohoo!

Following the runaway success of her 1974 hit “Midnight at the Oasis,” Muldaur’s 50-year career could best be described as “a long and adventurous odyssey through the various forms of American Roots Music.” Needless to say, this is quite an honor — I grew up listening to her, and can’t believe that after all these years I will be opening up one of her concerts. What a trip! Click here to reserve tickets – they’re going quickly!

SONGS FOR THE ANGELS on September 10!

PAARI Concert Poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During National Recovery Month, the Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative (PAARI) is hosting an exciting benefit concert featuring Cape Ann’s favorite singer/songwriters. Songs for the Angels will showcase Cape Ann’s vibrant music scene — represented by singer/songwriters Fly Amero, Allen Estes, Marina Evans, and Willie Alexander, and introducing opener Quentin Callewaert, plus a special performance from Chief Campanello, among other surprises. All will come together for the crucial cause of fighting addiction, both in our local community and across the nation. Held in the stunning Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, this promises to be a one of a kind concert for a very important cause. You won’t want to miss this one!

>> Click here to reserve your tickets! <<

About the Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative (PAARI):

The concert will support the Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative (PAARI). In 2015, Gloucester, Massachusetts Police Chief Leonard Campanello and John Rosenthal developed a revolutionary new program aimed at getting opioid drug users the help they need, instead of putting them in handcuffs. PAARI’s mission is to support the Gloucester Police’s ANGEL initiative and to aid other police departments to implement similar programs. PAARI-committed police departments share a common mission: Encourage opioid drug users to seek recovery; Help distribute life saving opioid blocking drugs to prevent and treat overdoses; Connect addicts with treatment programs and facilities; and Provide resources to other police departments and communities that want to do more to fight the opioid addiction epidemic. In just over a year, PAARI has grown into a network of over 150 police departments across the country. PAARI works to remove the stigma associated with drug addiction, turning the conversation toward the disease of addiction rather than the crime of addiction. We work directly with over 200 treatment centers to secure fully-funded scholarships for participants with or without insurance.  For more information about PAARI, please call PAARI at (888) 9-PAARI-9 or visit paariusa.org.

Live In-Studio Recording/Concert at EvoRad!

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Friday, August 19: Join Marina & Bernardo for an intimate acoustic experience at the Evolvement Radio studios in Newburyport, MA! We will be play an all-original concert that’s going to be recorded LIVE — and we’d love for you to be a part of it! Included with your donation at the door is delicious local beer by Cape Ann Brewing, snacks from KIND Healthy Snacks, a free download of the concert recording, and more. This promises to be a truly unique concert experience – and space is limited (only 20 seats!), so click here to reserve your seat today!

 

Schooner Serenade: Concert aboard Adventure

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Friday, August 12: Marina & Bernardo are so excited to be the third concert in the songwriter series Schooner Serenade! Held aboard the stunning Schooner Adventure as she is docked in her home port of Gloucester, MA, this series features New England songwriters lending their tunes to the valuable cause of preserving this historic ship’s legacy. Marina & Berna will be debuting new music from their forthcoming album, aptly entitled Tide and Stars.

Photo by Michael Bergmann

Harness the Wind to Escape the Land: Concert Aboard the Schooner Adventure

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On a sultry summer evening, a hot breeze blows off the land over the cool Atlantic, bringing with it the cries of seagulls and the smells of an industrious downtown. It’s just before 5pm, and already the streets are jammed with workers eager to make an early return home after a long day. I pull around the generous bend of Harbor Loop, catching blue sliver glimpses of the harbor between buildings and street lamps, and park beside the entrance to Maritime Gloucester. The enormous masts of the mighty Schooner Adventure, now moored peacefully at her pier, peek out over the rooftop. The pennant bearing the ship’s namesake flutters in the wind from the highest mast, its swallowtail playful and proud. Fair winds, and warm — perfect for a sunset sail.

The breeze stiffens as the sun begins to set, and by the time all are aboard it’s strong enough to justify a delicate maneuver: departing from the dock under sail, with no help from the motor. The crew hauls the golden sails partway up and they billow and swell as the ship bows elegantly and silently away from her slip. She moves so gently, as if she is embarrassed by her own beauty. A real lady.

Once we’re safely away from the pier and in the middle of the deep harbor — fittingly deemed “Le beau port” by Samuel de Champlain centuries ago — I fall in line to finish raising the sails. Keeping the rhythm set by the crew, we lean and pull, sigh and shout, as the thick, coarse lines give our smooth “city folk” palms a run for their money. “Hey, aren’t you a guitar player? You should be watching those hands!” someone calls to me over their shoulder. I smile and shrug, proud of what little calluses I do have on the tips of my fingers, and oddly relishing the tingle of my now-pink palms. It’s a satisfying kind of suffering, to burn your palms hauling a line: comparable to that good kind of sore after a long run, but somehow more immediate, more fundamental. You’ve got to harness the wind to escape the land.

Today the wind proves itself to be quite the stallion, filling the sails with the joyous bluster of newly discovered strength. Adventure lays back, leisurely, leaning her dark shoulders into the ocean. We pick up speed as we pass the dog bar (breakwater) at the edge of the harbor. The blunt knockabout bow heads south towards Boston; the wind picks up and the ship leans further in, her decks tilting at a sharp angle, the lines beating out an exuberant battle cry against the sails’ taut canvas. The wind increases steadily, as does the frenzy of the singing lines and the heartbeats of all souls aboard. Though she reaches a thrilling speed of just over 10 knots, Adventure is just as graceful flying through the open water as she was in her delicate departure from the dock. Her new rigging relishes the wild wind, and shamelessly sings its praises; her wise old hull, cracked many a time by ice and sea and salt and heat and caulked by generations of seaman’s worn hands, silently drinks in the glory of the ship’s rebirth.

Built in Essex, MA in 1926, Adventure was the last dory fishing schooner left in the Atlantic when she retired in 1953. She was the biggest moneymaker of all time, a “highliner,” having brought in nearly $4 million of cod and haddock throughout her illustrious career as a fishing vessel. She spent the next 34 years windjamming off the coast of Maine, and her speed and elegance earned her the title “Queen of the Windjammers.” Then, in 1988, Captain Jim Sharp (who had owned Adventure since 1965) donated her to the people of Gloucester (her home port) and to Adventure, Inc., a non-profit organization whose mission is threefold: to restore & preserve Adventure in perpetuity; to use her as a research and educational resource; and to sail her as a symbol of Gloucester’s rich maritime heritage. This marks the second full summer Adventure has been back in the water after 20-odd years spent on dry land for renovations. The joy of her resurrection is tangible in the singing lines, the swooping sails, and in the shining faces of captain, crew, and passengers alike.

As we approach Salem harbor, we come about in a broad, smooth arc. The boom swings effortlessly across the deck, and the sails billow and shake for only a brief moment as they find the wind. The Captain catches my eye from his post at the wheel and I pull out my guitar, settling down on a bench, looking towards the bow. Although the wind has died down since the jubilant departure from the harbor, I still have to brace myself (and my mic stand) with one foot steady on the deck, leaning into the weathered boards to keep my balance as I begin to play. At this moment I am particularly grateful for my coastal upbringing, and for my sea legs, without which both I and my precious guitar would probably have ended up overboard.

Marina on adventure_prisma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I play and sing for an hour or so, and the setting throws into sharp relief the fact that I grew up here, that this place and these waters are inextricable from myself and my songs. The sea, the horizon, the rocks, the wind — and the idea of a safe harbor solidified through longing from afar — these things often find their way into my songs and lyrics. These themes are all too familiar to the fishing families of Cape Ann, and have seeped into the island’s culture so that even first generation locals like myself can perceive and appreciate them. My voyages away from home have not been by sea, but they have been far, and frequent. I can understand, at least on the surface, the concept of feeling at home while on the road (or on the water), in flux — the apparent contradiction between the happiness and freedom of travel, and nostalgia for the fixed place in the world that formed you — and I wrestle with this through my music. And as I play, an eerie familiarity settles over me, as if Adventure already knows these songs — she’s heard it all before.

Breathing the salt air and singing into the sunset, it really feels like we are in another world — as if Adventure is floating freely in a summer snow globe filled with flecks of gold instead of snowflakes. We are untouchable here, with nothing but wind and song and sea to fill our hearts. We lounge on the decks alongside ghosts of sailors past, whose feet wore down the boards, whose heads rested below in the fo’c’s’le, whose voices echoed over calm seas or disappeared into furious winds, and we join them in awe and humility before the benevolent, endless, wild sea. And with a reverence far deeper than our own — hard-earned over a 90-year love affair with the Atlantic — Adventure bows and sighs, her hull kissing the wavelets, her sails blushing at their own beauty.


Marina will be performing aboard Adventure with Bernardo Baglioni while the ship is docked in Gloucester harbor on Friday, August 12 at 7:30pm. Tickets are $20 / $15 members; for more info, to learn about the ship, and to purchase tickets, visit schooner-adventure.org

Photos: first photo taken & edited by Marina; second photo taken by Peter Souza & edited by Marina

 

 

 

 

 

Homeward Bound: Stateside Summer Shows

Marina & Berna in VT 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s that time of year again – when I fly across the Atlantic from Italy to Cape Ann, Massachusetts, only to hit the ground running (& singing!) for a summer tour across New England. And I couldn’t be more excited!

This summer, it’s quite the mix: solo acoustic shows, concerts in duo with my musical partner & killer slide guitarist Bernardo Baglioni, and performances fronting the incredible Compaq Big Band. Everything from house concerts (in living rooms, recording studios, and one on the stunning shores of Lake Winnipesaukee!) to museums, from the decks of one of Gloucester’s historic schooners to the hallowed halls of aged New England churches — there’s a concert for everyone. Click here to see the full calendar!

I’m also looking forward to a benefit concert for the Schooner Adventure, “the last of the Gloucestermen,” a historic ship that is a living testament to our rich maritime history (August 12). I’ll be performing in acoustic duo with Bernardo aboard the ship as she’s docked in her beautiful home port of Gloucester, MA. Come join us for a sunset concert beneath the spars!

More concerts are being added all the time, so stay tuned — click here to view the full concert calendar, or follow me on Facebook or Instagram for up-to-the-minute news. Many thanks all — looking forward to seeing you (and singing to you!) along the road!

 

Back in the Studio for New Album “Tide and Stars”!

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Big news, everybody: I’m back in the studio again working on a brand new original album entitled Tide and Stars! As with my two most recent records, Unbound and The Tuscan Sessions, I am working with Italian producer (and my husband & musical partner, incidentally) Bernardo Baglioni. Unlike our past two records — both recorded here in Italy, with our Italian band — this time we’ll be recording with a mix of Italian and American musicians, and we’ll be doing so on both sides of the pond.

We hit the studio this week in Florence, Italy with Florentine drummer Donald Renda (pictured above), who is also featured on both Unbound and The Tuscan Sessions. And as usual, he nailed it! Next up are the basses, followed by guitars, mandolins, and possibly dobro & banjo — and finally, we’ll wrap things up with the vocal tracks.

This record takes a decidedly more acoustic, folk/americana turn than my last two projects, and I’m looking forward to realizing these songs in a more pared-down context. The songs are direct, to the point, and hark back to traditional song forms & structures. It’s raw, it’s true, and it’s me — so it’s thrilling, and more than a little scary, to bring this music to life and to share it with the world. That said — I can’t wait! Stay tuned for more news & updates as the project moves forward. Onwards!