Grace is the right word

Next Sunday, July 20 there’s a tribute and benefit concert for my friend and neighbor Grace Griffith, the award-winning folk singer from Accokeek Maryland. It’s also an album release party for Passing Through, a new CD.

Due to the effects from Griffith’s 17-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease, the album took more than two years to painstakingly record; the record’s producer Chris Biondo, who also produced and performed with the late Eva Cassidy, opened his studio to Griffith and encouraged her to work at her own pace. The result is a haunting collection of folk and Celtic material revealing the artist’s soul. Griffith’s soaring vocals are made all the more poignant by her deteriorating physical condition.
from Blix Street Records

Play a song from the CD:


Her producer Chris Biondi spoke to WAMU’s Metro Connection on Friday, talking about what it took for Grace to create this final album. “It took a lot of courage to do what she did,” Biondo said.  PLAY THE INTERVIEW

The July 20th concert features a stellar lineup of musicians, including Tom Paxton, Al Petteway, Debi Smith, Marcy Marxer, Cathy Fink, Zan McCloud, Jim Robeson, Chris Biondo, Lenny Williams, Lisa Moscatiello, Randy Barrett and more.

The July 20 show is at the Birchmere in Alexandria at 7:30pm. Tickets available at the box office or online, here.

Please come out and show your support for this gifted singer and lovely soul. The CD Passing Through will lift your spirits and make you cry (that’s a good thing!). And, it makes a great gift!

The Speckless Sky

Have you ever been re-united with a piece of music, after such a long time that it makes you feeeel things?

Wednesday night I went to hear two musical heros (both Canadian!) at Wolf Trap, the splendid outdoor performance venue in Virginia. We sprawled under a clear blue sky (while it poured down rain at home!)

k.d.lang and Jane Siberry played to an enthusiastic crowd of fans. We had lawn tickets, so sprawled out and wined and dined as the shadows grew long.

k.d. will always have a place in my heart. Her disc Ingenue kept me going during the last weeks of my mothers life, and the first months without her. “Constant Craving” revived my longing for life  in that darkening October. When all went gray and cold her voice stirred something wild and deep in my blood. She called me back to life.

Maybe a great magnet pulls all souls toward truth
or maybe it is life itself gives wisdom to its youth
Constant craving, has always been, has always been.

I loved watching her cavort with her band and flirt with the front row fangirls. She can croon, she can belt it out, and man can she hold a note! The rockin’ version of Craving was worth the price of admission, I was dancing on the grass.

Play Inglewood

Jane’s music takes me back even further. I can’t remember remember how I found her, through my ex, maybe, or on WICB Ithaca College radio, but I had Speckless Sky on vinyl, and over the years as I’ve purged the record collection, hoping to get them digitized, I’v ehung onto that one, seeing as it was never on iTunes or CD as far as I could tell. Now, you can download Jane’s early works for free, or make a love offering if you like.

I want to write something down
I want to sing a song
or paint something
lie down and fade away
or get up and get away

Play One More Colour

Something about her wandering, peculiar songs touches the right nerve. I remember The Taxi Ride just completely broke me when I’d listen to it.

Did you call me? It’s only the trees outside flailing. It’s only the sirens that are wailing.

Jane played a very short set and we were disappointed, because she was wonderfully quirky and elegant and sweet, wearing a beautiful gown. But she came back in mid-show to duet with k.d. on Calling All Angels. That song, that song.

Everyday I gaze upon the sunset with such love, and intensity
Its almost as if you could finally crack the code and finally understand what this all means

Play Calling All Angels

My dear, dear friend Grace recorded this song on her album My Life, at a time when her brother was was dying from Parkinson’s, a disease she shares with him. This is music that cracks open your heart and heals you.

I am thrilled I got to hear these angels sing.