Newsletter #1: Hello from Eliza Edens!

Hello and welcome to the inaugural Eliza Edens newsletter! I hope 2019 has been treating you well so far. You're receiving this email because you attended a show I've played sometime in the past couple years or downloaded Lowlight on Bandcamp, and for that I'm very grateful. Here are a few updates about what I've been up to lately.

New video: Veltway Session

While on tour last October through the Midwest, I stopped in Oak Park, IL for a Veltway Session with husband & wife, AV dream-team Britt & Spence. They welcomed me into their snug apartment where we shot a video of a new song called "Cradle of Dreams." The video can be watched here.

Be sure to look out for their other sessions too -- they've filmed HumbirdHalf Gringa (with Sam Cantor of Minor Moon), Michigander, and numerous other talented artists.

In the garden...

In the waning months of 2018, I spent two weeks working with the imaginative Dexter Wolfe to record a collection of songs. We set up shop in Western Massachusetts at the house I grew up in and then drove back to Minneapolis, MN, where Dexter could engineer the songs in the familiarity of his own studio space. We collaborated with some exceptional musicians in both places, and I'm thrilled about how the songs are starting to sound! Dexter is currently mixing the tunes in his acoustically pristine lair back in Minneapolis, and my hope is that they'll be coming to a sound-source near you in 2019 (fingers crossed).

These recording sessions wouldn't have been possible without the support of Club Passim's 2017 Iguana Fund. Thank you, Passim! (Sidenote: If you're a musical artist with a connection to New England, you should definitely consider applying for an Iguana Grant later this fall. They are crucial, project-enabling grants.)

Upcoming Show January 25th

My first local Philly show of 2019 is coming in hot on Friday, January 25th at 7:30pm, with Con Davison (of Bad Bad Hats), Gabe Goodman, and Another Michael. Please message me for the address (on social media or music.edens@gmail.com), I'd love to see you there!

Lastly, here are some albums I found inspiring this past year. Some new, some old:

Lavender, Half Waif
Freedom, Amen Dunes
abysskiss, Adrianne Lenker
Swim Inside the Moon, Angelo de Augustine
Impossible Truth, William Tyler
Melt EP, ggpeach
Slowmotionary, Ethan Gruska
Sittin' by the Road, Blaze Foley
Solo, Nils Frahm
You, Forever, Sam Evian
Family Tree, Nick Drake
Music for Saxofone & Bass Guitar, Sam Gendel, Sam Wilkes
When The Bird Sees the Solid Ground, The Tallest Man on Earth
Crying Laughing Loving Lying, Labi Siffre
The Universe Smiles Upon You, Khruangbin
Delta Momma Blues, Townes Van Zandt
Nepenthe, Julianna Barwick
I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Aretha Franklin
The Range of Light Wilderness, s/t

Starting off 2019, I've been listening to Jeff Tweedy's new solo album WARM, Maya de Vitry's brilliant new album Adaptations, and an album of languid Icelandic jazz called The Box Tree by Skúli Sverrisson & Óskar Guðjónsson.

Thanks for your support, and for reading this far! Aside for a few shows here & there, I'll be hunkered down for the rest of the winter to finish the post-production process on these freshly recorded songs (and probably write some new ones too).

Hope to see you on the road again in the spring & summer! If you desire more frequent updates, be sure to like/follow my profiles on Facebook and Instagram.

I hope your winter is full of warmth & light --
Eliza

Jan. 16th, 2019 // Philadelphia, PA

Notes from the Winter Garden: February Musings

February has waltzed past us once again, worked its magic, and left a wake of newfound change. Such a sly month of months.

 

It’s been an eventful 2018 thus far with plenty of touring, songwriting, reading, Super Bowl victory parades, and life happenings so I thought I’d write about it. There are some exciting summer plans hatching at the moment, but January & February hold a place in my mind (and many others’) for quiet reflection and renewal.

 

There’s a lyric from a song by Humbird that’s been ringing around my head since we toured the Northeast together this January, amidst snow and stubborn trunk latches: “buried deep is a quiet seed.” It’s indicative of how time works on a larger scale – that the richness of identity and beauty of experience can be hidden in the smallest pockets of life. It sums up my experience of winter lately.

 

The season started on a strong, high note – I received a grant from Club Passim in Cambridge, MA to help record an album I’m currently writing for called Garden of Sound. The idea originated at a writing retreat I took at a farm in Massachusetts this past September, after spending the summer travelling and hiking. The writing’s about half-way done at this point, and it’s been enlightening to bring the winter mindset to the crafting of it all – paying more attention to the contours of negative space in the weather and in the mind.

 

Although it hasn’t felt much like winter lately in Philadelphia – we’ve had a string of days with highs in the 70s. Climate change – yikes. I recently started a job with an environmental education center here in Philly, and a couple times a week I teach environmental science at an afterschool program. We did a lesson on watersheds and pollution the other week, and man, was it dire. We put some green food-coloring in the watershed model to mimic pollution from car exhaust, and the rivers and lakes became an unpleasant moldy green color. A chorus of “eeeeeeeeewwwwwwwws” resounded from the kids, and a combination of guilt and sadness stirred in my stomach. It’s difficult in these situations to come to terms with how detrimental and disrespectful humans have been to the planet, but absolutely critical to remain hopeful.

 

So where does art and music come into play here? It’s easy to think of it as excessive. I think it’s the opposite – quite necessary.

 

There’s a quote from a book by Terry Tempest-Williams that I turn to when I feel like music is not worth writing or pursuing in any way: “Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The birds still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated.”

 

Perhaps that’s why there are so many stories and myths about birds? We all want that same freedom. Art is not excess because there’s got to be something worth saving – some refuge from the hard fight for cultural and systemic change: common sense gun laws, regulation of corporations, racial justice, women’s rights, transgender rights, speaking truth to power, the fight against hatred and greed and for general equality for all, on a micro and macro level. The list goes on, and it’s exhausting and important. There's always something to fight for. We have to bask in art and culture every now and then to remember, at our cores, why we are here.

 

Garden of Sound, this record, is slow-growing – like a quiet seed. I hope when it fully surfaces in the world that it will be emblematic of this cradling of art in our culture as a space for healing, surprise, expression, and joy.

 

A few other ideas I’ve been thinking on during this writing process: the concept of a song as a walk, a walk as a constellation, and the similarities between touring and through-hiking. I’ve been reading a lot of John O’Donohue, Rebecca Solnit, and Rainer Maria Rilke, listening to some strange ambient records, drinking lots of coffee, and thinking about how to burst & bloom into summer. Looking forward to playing another string of shows soon enough.

 

Thoughtfully yours,

Eliza

Feb. 28th, 2018 // Philadelphia, PA

"The secret of a great melody is a secret."

- Dave Brubeck