Greetings from York, Maine from Joyce Andersen, Electro-Acoustic Violin Troubadour.
I made my first solo CD in 6 years! It's called "SWERVE!" It's my first totally solo, live CD recorded at concerts and in the studio. No side-men, no husband, no over-dubbing, no guitar, just me and my fiddle (or viola or hardinger fiddle depending on the track) It's a totally new sound. A transformation, really. An awakening. I was in a comfortable but slightly sleepy mode of motherhood, playing gigs & recording sessions as they came my way, not having the time or circumstance to cultivate a band, but wanting to rock. And still haunted by a nagging case of electric guitar envy.
But then when the fires were low, I had an epiphany. "You gotta make a solo violin & vocal CD, woman! You can embrace the old-time violin/vocals that you've always done and you can go new places and rock it!" I got inspired and wrote some new songs. I let my guitar gather a little dust. My husband, musical partner, and number one fan, Harvey Reid, encouraged me to explore technology in this endeavor. Well...it's been a long road, lots of steep technological learning curves, but it has finally paid off! And it's startling how using technology (loop pedals, delay pedals etc.) enables me to harness more music in a solo violin troubadour setting than I would have ever dreamed.
Motherhood is the Necessity of Re-invention (or something like that), so I got inventive. 20 years of musical adventures: side gal fiddlin', folk duo touring, band leader struttin’, singer-songwriter coffeehousin’ and restless genre-crossing has all led me here.
Back in 2000 I recorded my first solo violin/vocal songs on “The Girl I Left Behind” and they have remained some of my most requested. I made 4 CDs as a guitar-strumming singer-songwriter who also played the fiddle. But it’s hard, on stage, to be your own side-gal, launching into a fiddle break when you’re on guitar.
So it was 2 years ago now, with the boys tucked in bed, that I started figuring out how to harness my powers of improvisation in a solo show. I also wanted to rock harder, and push the boundaries of what I could do with just a fiddle (or viola or hardinger fiddle) and my voice. Harvey pulled out his old electric guitar gadgets and we explored some new rockstar gear to see how it would translate to the fiddle and viola. With the excitement of an artistic re-birth, I began writing, arranging and jamming day and night, playing in new ways, fueled by old & new songs & a deep connection to that mysterious magic that gets you playing music in the first place...
I found some great foot percussion along this journey which got my whole body rockin' back and forth between the heel tambourine and the kick drum. That led to incorporating some of the hip motion from the belly dance class I just happened to be taking at the time. My friend Billy Walsh helped me write my anthem for everyone out there, "Get Your Swerve On"... an 8 minute song with a groovy middle eastern break in the middle. I wear a hip scarf (coin skirt) and I bring along extra scarves to my shows for those who would like to join me. Like at this house concert here in Palo Alto, CA!
The CD Swerve is all recorded live, all solo, just like I do it on stage, and best of all, my die-hard fans are loving it. With the beauty & tone of an instrument perfected centuries ago flaoting inside new sonic landscapes I generate with my gear, I feel like an explorer, and I am able to go to musical places and improvise in ways I never thought of before.
You can hear sound clips from the album or download it digitally from your favorite online store (itunes, amazon, google music etc.) Most songs on the CD are 6 to 8 minutes long so previewing them for 30 seconds can be misleading, but they give you a big bang for your $0.99!
And a few more Joyscream news items for those that made it this far:
Harvey and I are gearing up for our Holiday concerts.
I got my copies of "SWERVE" hours before leaving for my October California tour. It was my first west coast tour in 5 years, andthe first and only tour with my new sound. It went great. Best reception from audiences that I've ever gotten. That was a big relief after working in my woodshed for 2 years on this. So I look forward to more live shows. The songs are different every time I play them which is part of what I love about this new approach - the live shows are a blast. I bring along coin skirts (hip scarves) to my shows for all you ladies who would like to join me in gettig your swerve on.
I joined Facebook. I fee like a female Rip Van Winkle. My heads been down raising small children and creating a new body of music. I don't know how I'm going to find time to navigate the new landscapes of this online world, but I'll give it a try! Like me! Tell your friends to like me at my fan page Joyce Andersen Music
I don't have any solo concerts booked, which frustrates the heck out me, but I will. I just need to make a more business minded copy of myself to do the booking while I take care of the kids. Or maybe I'll ask Harvey for some help on that! Wouldn't it be sweet if the gigs just called me up out of the blue?!
Come to think of it, this morning I got invited to play Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble with Eric Andersen in April. Just out of the blue!Wahooo!
That's a great note to end on!
Happy Holidays to each and every one of you!!