Buy Music, Support the ACLU!

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Exciting news: digital music retailer Bandcamp, the site/service through which I (and many, many independent artists!) share and sell digital music downloads, is donating 100% of its profits from digital music sales today to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)!

AND SO AM I!

Click here to listen!

In exchange for digital distribution service, Bandcamp takes a 15% cut of all digital music sales conducted through its site. Today, I am honored to join Bandcamp in their effort to support immigrants, upon whose backs this great country was built.

Ethan Diamond, Bandcamp’s founder, writes:

“Like 98% of U.S. citizens (including the President), I am the descendant of immigrants—my great-grandparents came to America from Russia and Lithuania as teenagers and worked in sweatshops until they were able to afford to bring the rest of their families over. Most everyone you speak to in this country has a similar story to tell, because we are, in fact, a nation of immigrants, bound together by a shared belief in justice, equality, and the freedom to pursue a better life. In this context, last week’s Executive Order barring immigrants and refugees from seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States is not simply immoral, it violates the very spirit and foundation of America.”

Click here to visit my Bandcamp site, where you can listen & purchase my music (and discover more independent music & artists!). For today’s sales, I too will donate 100% of my earnings to the ACLU!*

 

*Note on song “Color Line (Old Man Trump)”: My profits from this song have already been promised to the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, but Bandcamp will still donate 100% of their proceeds for sale of this track to the ACLU. For all other songs and albums sold today, I will donate 100% of my profits to the ACLU.

Performing at Women’s March Rome

Women's March Rome

Photo by Micayla Mirabella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Saturday, January 21, Marina was honored to lend her voice & songs to the Women’s March in Rome, Italy! This was one of hundreds of “sister marches” to the Women’s March on Washington that occurred across the globe. Millions of people joined together across borders and oceans, across racial and gender and religious and economic lines, to call for JUSTICE and EQUALITY for all people.

In the folk tradition Marina strapped her guitar to her back, traveled to Rome, climbed the steps of the fountain facing the mighty Pantheon, and performed songs of protest, of peace, and of social justice — both her own original compositions, as well as some resounding crowd favorites (“Down by the Riverside” and “Amazing Grace”). Joined by guitarist and mandolin player Bernardo Baglioni, Marina started off the set with her most recent release, “Color Line (Old Man Trump),” an uncanny co-write with Woody Guthrie on the evils of the Trump dynasty (click here for the full story on Woody’s lyric & Marina’s song). She followed that with her song “Turtleshell Eyes,” a rumination on the persecution of women in the Middle East inspired by Azar Nafisi’s book Reading Lolita in Tehran. She ended her first set with “One Way or the Other,” another original song about overcoming adversity in the face of power.

The energy was tangible in that ancient square, in the imposing shadows of the Pantheon. Voices jilted and mingled and harmonized in chants and songs. Colors blended and slogans of hope, of resilience, and of defiance danced in the air.

“Today’s gathering of souls was much needed,” Marina said, “particularly for those of us who, being far from home, feel isolated or helpless in the face of recent events. It was heartening and inspiring to join together in song, fists raised, hearts full — but the freedom to gather and protest in this way is in itself a precious thing. Our liberty is a blessing, but it is also a responsibility: a responsibility to give voice to the voiceless the world over, to protect and defend those who are not free to do so themselves.”

Marina ended her set with a new original song, “Blessed Burden,” inspired by the refugee crisis that started in Europe and has now expanded the world over. Here’s a selection of the lyric (listen & read full lyrics here):

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…

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…

 

update from the desert

Hulloooo from out west!

The cross country tour is just about drawing to a close as we make our final journey across the southwestern desert. Since the last update, we’ve hit Nashville, Asheville, NC, Atlanta, GA, New Orleans, LA, Dallas, TX, and Socorro, NM. Whew!

In New Orleans, I was greatly inspired by the stride piano stylings of Richard Scott at Fritzel’s on Bourbon Street. Click here to have a listen – man, can he play!

So far, the longest stretch has been from west Texas to New Mexico. But not to fear: we brought a yukulele, and were therefore musically productive on the road. Click here to hear a little diddy from the west Texas brushlands.

We’ll hit Arizona and Nevada before our final gig at the fabulous Room 5 in Los Angeles on Friday, 11/16 at 7pm. Anybody in LA, or with friends out there: spread the word! Would love to see you!

Tumbleweeds and tabletop mesas are calling – more soon. Be well, and THANK YOU for your ongoing support!

tour across america!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello everyone – I am THRILLED to announce that I am headed off on tour across this great land. With Dogtown released and The Tuscan Sessions due out November 1 (!), it’s high time to hit the road. I’ll be on tour with fantastic guitarist (and Tuscan Sessions producer) Bernardo Baglioni. We’re booked as far as New Orleans, and we’re aiming to play our way to the Pacific. Below are the first few dates – see a full calendar here. Hope to see you along the way!

11/1: The Bitter End, New York’s oldest rock club! 147 Bleecker Street. We play at 11pm, and it’s $5 at the door.

11/2: Milkboy Coffee, Ardmore, PA

We open up tonight’s show at 8pm. Also featuring Marlow and Andrew Whitman. $10 at the door, or for $8 advance – click here.

11/5: Taps & Tapas, Nashville, TN

Tonight is one of Nashville’s famous ‘songwriters in the round’ sessions at Taps & Tapas. Berna and I are reaaaally looking forward to sharing the stage with some of Nashville’s best! 2117 Belcourt Avenue. Show starts at 7; we go on around 9.

Thanks to 3G and social media, I have a ridiculous number of ways to stay in touch with you from the road. I’ll narrow things down. To hear the latest, pick your poison:
My website
Facebook
Twitter
Or… contact me with a snail mail address and maaaaaaaybe you’ll get a postcard (no promises, but hey).

And thanks to YOU, I am on my way!