Summers coming to a close and I am gearing up for some fall activities. It’s been a couple of months filled with politics and music. I traveled to Chiapas to get the low down on the latest organizing down there. I’ve been to Capitol Hill twice this summer, once for Low Power FM and once to lobby against the new energy bill. One win and one loss, but that’s a whole separate letter. I do plan to write about it all when I figure out how it’s all connected. Meanwhile Garth Brooks just signed an exclusive deal with Wal Mart to sell his music. Get this folks- that means Wal Mart is the only place to buy it. At the same time, it’s obvious that Starbucks is gearing up to be an exclusive music distributor as well. I can’t figure out why this doesn’t sit with me. I mean, I can’t articulate it. It’s something about lifestyle demographics being pushed on us. We’re being divided over and over again into blue state and red state populations. It’s a Wal Mart vs. Starbucks world, and music should really transcend this.
September will be an Indigo Girls atouring month-our last round of shows until January and February. We’re researching our options for new recording situations and plan to make a record in March 2006. Hopefully, our songwriting will be done in time and we can have a record out by next summer
I have one solo show in September in Chicago. I will be playing on September 22nd at The Bottom Lounge as part of Estrojam.
Estrojam 2005 will benefit world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma.
Estrojam, a burgeoning musical forum forwarding the voice of female leaders of social change is honoring her life of non-violent social change with event proceeds going to The US Campaign for Burma, a group dedicated to empowering Aung San Suu Kyi and bringing about an end to the military dictatorship. Through public education, leadership development initiatives, conferences, and advocacy campaigns at local, national and international levels, USCB works to empower Americans and exiles to promote freedom.
Aung Sang Suu Kyi won the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her courageous work fighting for Democracy in Burma. She is the most renound female leader active in the international political scene today. She is internationally respected and recognized by such dignitaries as the Dalai Lama, Oscar Arias, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and Betty Williams all of whom tried to visit her in prison in 1992 and were barred from entering the country. Human rights activists around the world organized media campaigns and demonstrations to observe her fiftieth birthday on June 19th, 1995 and to call for her release. Ten years later she is about to spend her 60th birthday in prison.
Amy Ray and the Volunteers will be heading out after the Indigo Girl tour for our Rocktober tour starting in the South and heading through the Midwest.
Our bass player Jody Bleyle just had a baby with her partner, so we have a new bass player coming on board to relieve her. I feel a whole new world coming on with the addition of Tara Jane O’Neil on bass and vocals. She hails from Louisville, KY and Portland, OR. TJO has her own thing going and has been part of a lot of bands including Rodan, Retsin, and The Sonora Pine. She’s also played with Danielle Howle and Come. You can learn a lot about Tara at her website-www.tarajaneoneil.com.
Will Lochamy and Les Nuby are still with me. In case you aren’t familiar with Les and Will… Les is playing guitar and singing with me. He is from Alabama and was actually the drummer in the band Verbena. Les has been in Europe and the UK all summer on the REM tour, drumming with their opening band, Idlewild. Will is also from Alabama and was in the killer garage band, 1945. He plays drums in Amy Ray and the Volunteers and recorded half of the new record, Prom. We spent some spring months on the road together on the East and West coasts.
Will, Les, Tara, and I met up in Atlanta and had a couple of rehearsals in August. It felt great to be back in the saddle with the band. Tour dates will be posted as they get confirmed. I am trying hard to get as many 18+ or All Ages shows as possible. If it doesn’t happen in your neck of the woods, I am sorry, I am still learning the ropes as the scene keeps changing. Also, I am doing my best to keep prices down. There will be some significant bands on the road with us; I am still sorting out all the details, so stay tuned for that too.
Here are some, sometimes blurry photos of our latest practice session.