It's good to connect with you again. Since late fall, I've paused booking live shows and focused on resting, listening, learning, and creating. I'm so grateful that I let myself pause. I had experiences and wrote music that have changed my life forever (more on that below). And now like the harbinger of spring starting to bloom in Franklin county, I am opening myself to performing live shows again as spring comes closer.
Power & Possibility: An Evening with Jeri Katherine Howell & Nat Colten
Art Center of the Bluegrass / Danville, KY
Thursday, March 2 / 6-7pm / $5
The Art Center of the Bluegrass' "Power and Possibility" series explores the intersection of art and power, examining how humans use stories, music, and art to interpret our histories, our communities, and ourselves. In this evening event, Nat and I will share an hour of new and familiar songs and a little collaborative music making! We really look forward to this show. Get tickets here.
Over two weeks in November and December, I collaborated with Model Laboratory orchestra teacher, ME Henton, to teach songwriting and performance with her middle and high school classes. Students wrote lyrics, composed music, and produced a "Tiny Desk Concert" performance of their songs - with filming & editing support from students in the digital media department (so cool!). Several students shared their concerts for a public audience at the EKU Center for the Arts.
I am grateful to ME, the students, and Model Lab for inviting me to create with them, and I'm grateful to the Kentucky Arts Council's Teaching Art Together grant for supporting this residency and teaching artists' work in schools across KY.
Young folx are feeling big things - change, fear for their safety, existential, silly, confused, just there, stuck, spiritual, connected, outcast, confident, hungry to play their string instrument... And they're resilient. Their voices are really important. I invite us all to listen.
In January, a dear writer friend and I pulled together a self-guided writing retreat in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I went to the ocean to write music without the listener in mind, to write a song simply so it could be a song, a song by me for no one.
It felt good. So did listening to hours of Elizabeth Gilbert interviews (like this one). And chatting about the creative process with Emma over homemade soup. And being with the ocean again.
Sometimes I avoid writing the songs or tending to the creative projects that are with me. Surrounding myself with other creative folks who understand and honor that part of me helps bring that work to life. Traveling to new places where I can be immersed in nature, in tune with my Self, and have dedicated focus time helps bring that work to life. Creating during the middle of a busy week, totally unplanned, helps. Resting and being patient helps. And @teeny_tiny_tunes (keep reading). I want all of it. I'm open to all of it.
Creative Connections (In Other News...)
Part my intention as an artist is to help build socio-ecological resilience through shared creative experiences, inclusive spaces, and by cultivating joy and resource sharing however I can. Here are some related projects I'm excited to share with you.
(Youth) Climate Activism in Kentucky Conversation: On Monday, February 20th from 7-8pm, I'm leading an informal Zoom meeting to summarize the results of my research on youth climate activism in Kentucky and hold space for folx interested in this work to connect. Register for Zoom link here.
Saro Lynch-Thomason: It's my final week in Saro Lynch-Thomason's "Badass Women in Folk Song" course, during which I've learned folk songs and traditional ballads about women as warriors, witches, mermaids, faeries, survivors, sailors, and justice-seekers. Y'all. Connect with Saro. She has a robust YouTube channel, Instagram presence, Patreon, and offers incredible learning and performance opportunities throughout the year. I'll be sharing what Saro has taught me in 4 short weeks for years to come.
Teeny Tiny Tunes: My songwriting friends started @teeny_tiny_tunes on Instagram, and you can contribute! Set a timer for 3 minutes, write a song in that 3 minutes, record a video of the song, and direct message them your video for a chance to be featured. As the creators share: "Have fun! This challenge is not about making a perfect song! It's about the weird random-seeming stuff your mind can generate when you give it a quick deadline and let it go." I shared my first teeny tiny tune this week. Eek! Yay!
Thanks for reading! I hope to see you soon.