Summer shows!

Marina & Berna in VT 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello, hello! I write from a glowing screen in an old stone house in the hills of Chianti, the dark green Persian blinds drawn tight against the summer swelter outside. The wheat sways and glows gold, spilling down the hillside to the well in the valley below. Summer is here, the cicadas are singing, the jasmine is blooming… and I am booking, booking, booking!

After another few weeks in this blissful place, Berna and I will hop a plane and head back to salty New England, guitars in hand, where my trusty steed (… Honda) awaits. The trunk is already packed: tent, fishing pole, amps, CDs. We’ll hit the ground running — as usual — with shows booked in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and New York City (and more on the way). We’ll be stretching out some new tunes — including one in Italian (!) — off my forthcoming album Tide & Stars. And we would LOVE to see & sing to you. It’s been too long!

Click here to view upcoming gigs on the books. I’m adding more shows all the time, though, so check back often if you don’t find one in your area — or follow me (Facebook) (Instagram) to stay up to date! Thanks team… and see you SOON!

<3 <3 <3

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 In his lyrics — unpublished until earlier this year — Guthrie holds Trump personally accountable for the racist rental policies employed at his properties: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…

 

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

donny drums_tide and stars 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

On the Road: ME, CT, NYC!

This week, I’m so excited to be hitting the road again in acoustic duo with Bernardo. In the coming days we’ll hit Maine, Connecticut, and New York City – and on Saturday, we’ll be opening for none other than incredible troubadour, artist, and author Ellis Paul! Check the list below for dates & details. Hope to see some old & new faces along the way!

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Supporting Les Sampou at the Rose Garden!

Rose-Garden-Coffeehouse 2

 

 

 

 

  • Who: Marina Evans opens for Les Sampou
  • What: American singer-songwriters, blues, country & folk
  • Where: The Congregational Church, 17 West St., Mansfield, MA
  • When: Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015, 8 pm
  • Tickets: $20 at the door or in advance at www.rosegardenfolk.com

Les Sampou makes her return to the Rose Garden Coffeehouse on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015, bringing her America/folk/blues and rock styling to our stage for the first time since 1998. A guitarist with a powerful, sultry voice, Sampou often plays with a full band. Though she will perform solo at the Rose Garden, Sampou is a commanding stage presence by herself. She can sing blues with the passion of Bonnie, country with the angst of Emmylou and rock with the fire of Janis. But every note is brilliantly original. “Lyrics are at the heart of my songs,” says Sampou. “I wrap a melody and harmony around them to bring out the meaning and emotion. When you listen to my songs, you don’t have to wonder what I’m talking about.”

From the Bottom Line in New York City, to the Montreal Jazz Festival, to the Music Circus right here in Cohasset, Mass., Sampou has played her heart out in front of crowds of 20 to 20,000. She has opened for legends such as Aretha Franklin, Heart and Sugarland. Les has given workshops at Berklee School of Music and appeared on the top syndicated radio programs such as Acoustic Cafe, World Cafe, and NPR. Her soaring vocals , strong guitar playing and upbeat material of cross-styles and ballads will leave you talking about her show long after the lights go out.

Sampou has released five albums, three on her own label and two on Rounder Records. Her second album, “Fall from Grace,” topped the Gavin Americana Charts nationwide. Her most recent release “Lonesomeville” (2010) charted number 2 on the US/European Americana F.A.R. Charts and led to her guest performance at the 25th Anniverary SXSW Conference in Austin, TX. Les is working on her sixth album to be released in 2015.

Marina Evans opens

Marina Evans of Rockport, Mass. – recently nominated as Female Performer of the Year at the New England Music Awards – will open for Sampou, performing her own songs that combine jazz, traditional folk, and an indie rock edge. Evans combines various styles, genres, and instrumentation – from sweet ballads to folk anthems to straight up rock and roll – in her latest self-produced and self-released album, Unbound (2013). Her music has been described as “swellingly beautiful,” “raucous,” and “anthemic” in the Noise Magazine, and her live performance “creates as much dramatic feeling as two gunfighters approaching each other with hands over holsters.” Evans has released 3 EPs and a full length album in the past three years, and has toured with them from her hometown to New York City, Nashville, New Orleans, Los Angeles, London, across Italy, and everywhere in between. In 2014, she supported such folk greats as Loudon Wainwright III, Ellis Paul, Antje Duvekot and Meg Hutchinson, and is thrilled to share the stage with Les to kick off 2015!

Links:

  • Les Sampou – http://lessampou.com
  • Marina Evans – http://marinaevansmusic.com/
  • New England Music Awards – http://www.nemusicawards.com/ne-music-award-nomineesvote