Ganessa James Music

June 2019

Happy summer, happy Pride month! The past few weeks, I've been both startled by the news AND amazed by the capacity and efforts that people of conscience, activists, artists, and regular folks are putting forth. We resist harmful regimes of separation when we reach out to each other, when we donate to support efforts for communities in need. When we support our indigenous folks, young folks, trans folk - especially trans women of color, our migrant siblings. Just to name a few! There are many efforts underway. If you're not already engaged I invite you to find one thing and support it. A dear one is making this beautiful effort to offer care to migrants at the border, show some love if you can: HERE.

I get to kick off the month playing music with Nona Hendryx and Vernon Reid at BAM's R&B Festival at MetroTech on June 6th at noon. Nona and Vernon open the festival with a set they call "Respect", a musical celebration and elevation of women's autonomy. This is a free lunchtime concert, so come on through and enjoy the vibes!

And that's plenty of awesome for me, getting to play with these legends? Yes. Taking some time to reconnect with friends and family? Yes. Celebrating what there is to celebrate, because we will not let the small vision of others turn our world to bleakness? YUP. This month I also get to participate in a local sweat lodge that some fam has been putting on for the past few years, and wow - this is year TEN. I was there for year one! I'm so proud of folks who are doing work to keep giving us space to heal and gather. What can I say, I just feel joyful, witnessing y'all. :)

One more thing I'd like to share with you is about Onliest, which is this project with Tiffany James and myself. This year is us entering into double decades of making music in this project, with lots of interesting twists in the journey. In April, we were very lucky to be asked by Ehud Lazin to come in and film a few songs for a video festival called Underwater Sunshine, a festival that happens twice a year, hosted by Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows. The springtime iteration is the Garden Sessions. A marvelous thing where like 50 bands come in, play a handful of songs, and then the video is streamed, and the beautiful lights of the festival chime in about the work in writing and podcast. Katie Mullins writes some of the loveliest things I think that have ever been written about Onliest HERE. (THANK YOU!!!) And Adam Duritz shouts us out in his podcast with author and music journalist James Campion HERE in Episode 63! (THANK YOU!!!) A whole bunch of gratitude, in short.

Love blast to all. Friends and Family.

May 2019

Beaming with gratitude for the gorgeous music and community spaces of these past few weeks. Grateful to Toshi Reagon and all the change-makers in the community circle in North Carolina. Grateful to the sparkling gathering of folks who came to be with Tiffany and I at Rockwood - y'all made my heart sing for real. Grateful to all the artists that I get to work with and learn from. And that we get to say somethin, do something, move something with these gifts.

I'd like to invite my Brooklyn folks to Queer MF on May 3rd featuring awesome queer NYC artists. The night's brought to you by Pls Pls Me who will share some of their irrepressible tunes - you'll hear from other musicians and wordsmiths as well. We're gonna be hanging and sanging and more at Branded Saloon, starting at 8pm and we hope you can join us. I'm excited to be playing a solo set for this show - got some feelins to share!

Then on May 17th and 18th Onliest will offer some music in the Real Sexy Variety Party (RSVP) at Arlo hotel Soho! This is such a fun set of shows, burlesque, music, all varieties of sexiness in a really cool space. Come through and check this out it's a unique night out in NYC.

Beyond that, I plan to go n check out poetry, music, the works. T'ai Freedom Ford's book release, Toshi's curation of Carnegie Hall's migration festival, and, and... Hope to see you out there. Love!

April 2019

Come through, Spring! I'm seeing the blossoms coming forth here in New York. It comes with such a feeling of joy and hope. And along with that, gets me energized to be out in community, witnessing and sharing gifts. That said, if you are in the Chapel Hill or Durham North Carolina the weekend of April 12th, please do come and check out The Alchemy of Change: A Parable Becoming Three-Day Festival, curated by Toshi Reagon as a culmination of her work as a DisTIL fellow at Carolina Performing Arts. It features events including sound healing, film, a BIGLovely concert on Saturday the 13th at Memorial Hall, and a community song circle with selections from the Parable Opera on Sunday the 14th. So much that is good here. Please come join the circle.

Then on April 28th, Onliest (Tiffany and Ganessa James) makes a Rockwood debut! I'm very excited to make twinly sounds with my favorite person at this venue where we have seen so much music we love. Come catch us that Sunday at 5pm. The show is free with a pass the bucket donation offering. We'll make some sweet sounds and afterwards we can go shake a tail feather with the homies at JOY: A Day Party in Brooklyn - YES!

Also, the Centered Podcast is out! Check out this cool meditation centering a young person of color finding her own path. The theme song Waterside, written by your truly. I wrote a bit last month about this song's origination, and I'm super glad to have it connected to this beautiful work.

Next month, I'll be making some music at Branded Saloon as part of Queer MF and Onliest will play in the Real Sexy Variety Party (RSVP) at Arlo hotel - as always, hope to share space with you.

And circling back to the beginning. On April 18th, I'm honored to join brASS burlesque in a special Compost Bin show honoring the life of the beautiful DJ Chocodelish, Sean Mair. This is going to be a really special night with many different offerings. So let's be in community! Let's speak the words of appreciation to each other while we can, and let's gather and honor those who have transitioned. Let's look out for one another. With kindness and care.

March 2019

Starting off the month of March with a gratitude to the wonderful organization that is Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX) and to all their fellow First Amendment Safe Spaces! Tiffany and I offered song as part of BAX's Arts and Artists in Progress Awards the first weekend of March. Honorees included some folks close to our hearts, like ACRE (Artists Co-creating Real Equity), Irondale, and Paloma McGregor's Dancing While Black. Gratitude to the artists and arts organizations that are making safe space for a multitude of voices to be heard, especially in the current political climate. The art space creates an opportunity for a different sort of dialogue to happen, which is critically important right now.

Excited to share that towards the end of March, the 'Centered' podcast will be released, with my song Waterside as the theme music. This fictional podcast follows a queer black protagonist who's making a choice between a 'sensible' career path and following her heart. Episodes will be starting on March 23rd running through May - I'll keep you posted with links.

So a bit about Waterside, it's a song I wrote a few years back, for which I thank my immersion in the songbook for 'Zinnas', the opera by Robert Wilson, Toshi Reagon, Bernice Johnson Reagon and Jacqueline Woodson. The opera celebrates the life and work of Clementine Hunter, a self taught African American painter whose work often reflected on her experience of living/working on a southern plantation. I played bass for the show's run in Lyon France and fell hard for the voice-driven, acoustic guitar supported compositions by Bernice Johnson Reagon and Toshi Reagon. When I got back from France I was inspired to start playing acoustic guitar again, and Waterside was one of the first songs to arrive. As much as anything, it's an incantation for respecting each other's freedom, an invitation to the place 'where we all lay our burdens down.' An early version of this tune is here on soundcloud: Waterside. This is a song I think I'll keep returning to, as it continues to evolve in my imagination.

In April: I'll be playing bass with Toshi Reagon's BIGLovely at UNC Carolina Performing Arts Center, followed by an offering at Current Art Space in NC covering some of the Parable Songbook. In late April, Tiffany James and I bring Onliest to Rockwood Music Hall. We'd love to see you there. As always, thank you for listening and following along on this journey!


February kicked of with a bang! Toshi Reagon, Juliette Jones and I played a set of activist oriented music at Brooklyn Musuem's First Saturdays as part of the closing celebration for the Soul of a Nation exhibit. One of my favorite moments was hearing Toshi sing Nina Simone's Young Gifted and Black in that beautiful clear ringing voice. The atrium was full of family and the vibe was a delight. Afterwards we headed upstairs to birthday-twirl for one of my favorite DJs - DJ Rimarkable! A hot night indeed.

So what's next? On March 2nd, Tiffany and I will be part of the Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX) Arts and Artists in progress awards, as Onliest. We're so excited to be part of that night and offer some music in celebration. Later on in March will be the release of a new podcast that includes an original song of mine, Waterside. You can check out an early version of this song on soundcloud. I'll have more to share about this song and the the podcast release in March - so stay tuned!

I'd also like to shout out some cool events coming up through the rest of February that are very much worth checking out. On February 12th, catch the spectacular Martha Redbone and her band at Joe's Pub for the early set, then stay for Xavier Smith's annual Ladies of Soul Tribute on the late set - this is a whole night of awesome. Then on February 17th, catch Toshi Reagon at the Park Ave Armory with some incredible artists in a symposium on Culture in a Changing America. And on February 28th, you won't want to miss Tariq Al-Sabir, an incredible young artist bringing a special gift of music to the stage at the Rubenstein Atriuim. Go get you something good!

See you out there, in love and music!

January 2019

HELLO 2019! We are so here! Calling forth wishes of all that's good as we swing into this cycle. We get things off to a bangin start with Toshi Reagon and the Word Rock Sword Musical Celebration of Women's Lives family joining "We Resist!" This night features a host of artists including Fandango at the Wall with Arturo O'Farrill, Marc Ribot's songs of Resistance, Samora Pinderhughes Transformations Suite, and so much more. WRS featuring music from Toshi Reagon, Allison Miller, Misthi, Onliest, and other special guests. If you're goin to the fest, be sure to come check us out - Sunday January 6th, 6pm at Le Poisson Rouge.

Come the end of the month, it's Toshi Reagon's Annual Birthday Concerts at Joe's Pub - YEAR 35! Toshi has such a special gift of music weaving community. Like always, you gotta be in the room to feel it. Come celebrate: January 23rd and 24th, All Women All the Time band, 25th and 26th with the BIGLovely OG's, and Sunday the 27th for the Sacred Music show. I'm playin bass on all the shows this year and I'm so excited. Toshi's just released some new music: SpiritLand. Get yourself a copy and be moved. Then come rock with us at Joe's!

When we gather and allow ourselves to be present with one another, there is an alchemy that shifts something within us. These are challenging times, and a way through is together. It will be an honor to be in the room with you, at these shows, wherever we gather in community. We keep sight of our own beauty in resistance, witnessing each other with love.

December 2018

Happy December fam! The year's coming to an end and I find that I have all sorts of things to be grateful for. My dad was in town for a while and got to hang through some Onliest rehearsals. He came to check us out in the International Human Rights Art Festival, which was a terrific joy to be a part of! He said often how much he loves the songs I've written. And charged me with doing more to share them with the world. So I got my homework, yeah?

Before we turn the calendar into the new year, I'll invite you to two happenings in December. On the 12th, Onliest will joining the lineup at the Resistance Revival Chorus' Holiday party at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. The Chorus is phenomenal AND there will be Special Guests, so you're around, you'll wanna check this out! Then on the 16th, Onliest will be playing a set at C'mon Everybody opening for Nickel and Rose and Karen and the Sorrows. We're excited to put down some twinful harmonies and to check out these amazing bands. Hope to see you out there!

Grateful to everyone who's been hanging out with me on this musical journey so far. Thank you for listening and for coming out to see me play. There's more to come next year!

November 2018

I'm kicking off the month of November in the Bay Area with Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely! We're playing two fantastic shows at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley. Each night'll be something special. I'm so glad to be out on the west coast again and to be playing with this incredible band. If you're in the Bay, please come out and hang with us. We all have somethin to give each other.

Later on, I'll be doing some cool stuff with my band Onliest. We're doing a special private house concert this month that I'm really excited about. I got songs on my heart and I can't wait to sing em with my twin Tiffany James. Then on the 17th, Onliest will be playing in the Internation Human Rights Art Festival at the Wild Project. This festival is a week of events starting on the 12th - please check out the events and come hang with us on Saturday for a night of performance including dance and song.

Sending out a blast of love for us all. Let's all hit the polls on November 6th and show em what a wave of love can do - whatcha think? <3

October 2018

Greeting October with gratitude. It's fall season here in NYC, my birthday season (hello libras!), you feel the shift around here this time of year. And we've wrapped up another incredible Word Rock Sword, too. That was year EIGHT y'all. I feel like I get one of the best seats in the house, holding the bass down for all these beautiful artists. This time around, I got to lift my voice up too, with Tiffany James in Onliest - we brought a twinly sort of joy. We chose to offer our song 'Lovely One.' We'd been talking a lot about how important our deep connections are with one another - how they help us weather hard times, celebrate good ones. Deep connections of all kinds, with your family blood/chosen, with your besties/homies, your furry friends or creatures of other stripes. You gotta pick someone to love, and someone to stand with, especially now. It doesn't have to be romantic. Hence, lovely one - really about how connecting in a vulnerable and brave way makes us (and life) beautiful! We are grateful to have been part of the thread at WRS this year, which emphasizes community and showing up for one another.

Next up, you can catch me at BAAD's BlakTinX performance series on October 26th. This night is called Strings and Things and will showcase black latinx folks with a focus on us string-wielders! Excited to be a part of this convening, and hope to see you there! Following that... Spreading the word to the Bay Area folks: Toshi Reagon's BIG Lovely will be in your AREA doin two shows at Freight and Salvage on November 2nd and 3rd. Y'all showed us SUCH a beautiful time the last time we played this stage. Really looking forward to seein your lovely faces and making that special kinda magic that happens in a room full of open-hearted folk.

Lastly, hope everyone is taking good care as we lead up to election season. Make sure you're registered to vote as we approach these registration deadlines. Read up on the elections and go vote with a friend. Change happens when people set intention and take action together. Yeah, we can do this. LOVE!

September 2018

I'll be honest with you - I'm still sitting with the unbelievable feat that was the Black Women Rock Legacy Power Jam set at Afro Punk in the last week of August. We lifted up artist voices from Sister Rosetta Tharpe, to Betty Davis, to Skunk Anansie. The stage was opened and blessed by Nona Hendryx and Angela Davis. The Nova Twins came in and slayed the stage. The set was closed with a tribute to Aretha Franklin. Our magic carpet ride was beautifully curated and guided by Toshi Reagon. A brilliant vision manifested. I am grateful to every artist who graced that stage, the brilliant band of musicians, and for all the artists who have blazed this path.

So it's September, and it is YEAR EIGHT of the Word Rock Sword Festival!!! If you've been in past years, you already know the magic. So many beautiful offerings, readings, yoga, community gatherings, and of course the WRS Concert at Le Poisson Rouge. Each year, I think this show can't get any better, but then each year it is powerful and unique, the incredible artists offering their special something - and the room full of absolutely stunning humans with luminous presence and energy. This festival is brought to you by the powerful intention and action of Toshi Reagon. Do check out all the festival offerings, and please come be in the room with us on September 22nd at Le Poisson Rouge, where you'll find the culmination of the festival journey. You'll hear from Nona Hendryx, Toshi Reagon, Joan As Policewoman, Be Steadwell, Mishti, many other beautiful artists, AND this year my twin Tiffany and I are really honored to join this lineup with our project, Onliest! Find out more about the festival HERE.

So, as this summer inches closer to a close, I wish for us to find spaces to gather, witness one another, and support each other's wellness and work. The point is that we show up for the people and things that matter to us. Let's look out for one another! There are lots of interesting political possibilities surfacing for the fall and going forward. If you live in NYC, you have til October 12th to register to vote in the November elections. Let's think about the elections as a community project! Pick a few peeps, and agree to go vote. Find out what's brewing in the local elections especially, so your vote can have a bigger impact. We got this!!

August 2018

This summer I've been taking time to see shows and spend time in community. I feel like our connections are the thing that really matters. And seems to me that this is the place where inspiration springs forth. Taking a moment to express gratitude for the spaces and folks that have held me in these past few weeks.

This month I'm part of the house band for the AfroPunk Power Jam set, under the brilliant direction of Toshi Reagon. This set will uplift Black Women Rock Legacy, and it will be completely lit! Really excited to be a part of the festival and especially to work with these musicians. A joyful honor. If you've got your tickets for AfroPunk, come see us on the 26th - we're on just before Janelle Monae!

On August 18th, I am so glad to be hangin out on bass again with Shelley Nicole's blaKbushe! You might recall we celebrated her new record 'I Am American' (produced by Vernon Reid) in February. Stay tuned for more releases from that joint because it is amazing. On the 18th in Bedstuy, we gathering to make a sweet sound in a street concert hosted by our beloved friends at home-goods store Peace and Riot. Good stuff is happening all day, come by, check out the store, and catch the 'bushe at 5pm!

Oh and.. I am, as always, writing lots of music. It's all steadily percolating. I'm excited to share some of the new stuff soon, and grateful to you for hangin out with me on the journey so far. Folks are listening to Believer on Spotify! It tickles me. If you are looking for post-believer sounds ::laughing:: check out my soundcloud. More new sounds soon to come.

(Peeking ahead - Word Rock Sword is coming in September! This is an annual gift of goodnes, and this year my twin Tiffany James and I are making a song offering in the concert with our twinly band, Onliest. Get your tickets!)

As you move this month, I hope you find ways to take excellent care. Whether that's taking a moment of stillness, hanging outdoors, listening to your favorite songs, or kicking it with your favorite peeps. I wish you wellness and peace. Love!

July 2018

Summer in full swing! I'm excited to kick off July joining in the celebration of Roadwork's 40th anniversary concert: Sisterfire at Folklife Festival. There are events all week long, so if you're in DC, please check it out! I'll be onstage on the July 8th program on the DC mall, with a whole crew of incredible artists. Find out more HERE.

Then on July 12th, I'll be playing bass with Toshi Reagon's BIGLovely in the River and Blues Festival. This is down in Wagner Park (near Battery Park) and it's FREE. Bring a picnic blanket and come lounge with us!

See you out there, love and music!

June 2018

Welcome to summer! This month I'll be making music in NY and the Bay, and I'm really excited about it. For my folks in the Bay Area, please come join us on June 15th in Oakland for Black Magic! This'll be an interactive, interdisciplinary performance that lifts black queer voices to resist anti-Blackness and homophobia. It features Micia Mosely, Marvin K White, Tanya Williams and Solas B Lalgee and myself. I'm so excited to make this collective offering with these dope artists. See you at Eastside Arts Alliance on the 15th, and if you stay in the Bay, be sure to check out all the other incredible programming in the National Queer Arts Festival, HERE.

On June 24th I'll be part of a unique night of word and song in Brooklyn. This is a completely acoustic space, I'm really looking forward to the poetry, readings and music here. For the address, RSVP to the facebook event HERE.

Then in July, I'll be joining Toshi Reagon's crew of fantastic musicians for the Folklife Festival in DC, and for River and Blues right here in NYC. Stay tuned for more details!

Stay safe, stay well, and Happy Pride!!!

May 2018

I sit inside music. I offer and receive music. Art of all kinds. For me it's medicine in a world that is out of order: where those with the most power proliferate the notion that land and property have more value than life, and decide along arbitrary lines who gets to 'live good'. We can and should continue to call out injustice. And raise our voices within/alongside communities bearing the brunt of the weight of the unequal society in which we all live.

Last month, Micia Mosely invited me into an artistic conversation on Resistance and Joy. We wanted to create a collective space to explore in music, verse, and movement, the experience of joy and how it bolsters our capacity for resistance - particularly now, when news and social media stay lit up with a near-constant litany of violence against black and brown bodies. The artists gave generously of their gifts, and I believe we took everyone in that room on a journey. I believe folks left with a little more capacity to do the awesome work they do every day.

Next month, we get to continue that conversation - this time in the Bay. On June 15th, I'll be joining a crew of fierce, talented artists for a night of interdisciplinary performance in the Queer Arts Festival on this same theme. Black Magic featuring Micia Mosely, Solas B Lalgee, Marvin K White, Tanya Williams and myself, is a co-created meditation on resisting anti-Blackness and homophobia. We'll use poetry, song, laughter, and imagery to illuminate the beauty of Black Queer lives. And in that shared joy, we hope to expand everyone's capacity to carry on in their daily excellence, resisting oppressions that are constantly working to diminish our lives. If you're out in the Bay, please save the date. I would love to see your faces and be in this conversation with you!
Love and self-care!

April 2018

April is lit up with offerings! Two artists who are dear to my heart are celebrating their new records with shows in NYC. It was really magical to be a part of the recording process. And even cooler to hear it come to life on stage. Also this month, a fundraiser for one of my first artistic homes in NYC: WOW Cafe Theatre. Check out all the goodness!

Shelley Nicole's blaKbushe is LIVE at Lincoln Center Rubenstein Atrium on April 5th. I'm playing bass here, with some of my favorite musicians - you'll hear them on the record as well! This crew is like family. The new record, 'I Am American' is pure fire. You'll wanna come check this FREE show at the Atrium, because Fire + Free is one of those irresistible combinations. Show's at 7:30, get there early for a seat.

Then on April 12th, I'm joining a crew of artists in "Resistance and Joy", a fundraiser for WOW Cafe Theatre. This'll be a special evening of poetry, movement, song, and laughter, all to benefit WOW Cafe, the country's oldest women's/transgender folx collective theatre. This is a space where I found community as a young NYC artist. I'm glad to return and support their awesome work. Featuring Micia Mosely, Maria Bauman (MBDance), Charan Morris, Chaney Sims, Al Spivey, and myself. We hope to make an offering that leaves you with more seeds for resistance and joy in your life. Please come join us.

Finally on the 24th, I'll be in the house at Littlefield, where Be Steadwell will bring forth her new record Queer Love Songs. I'll play a short opening set, and then I'll sit in on a few tunes with Be's crew. The generous and vulnerable process of collaboration for this project was its own beautiful thing - it really put me in mind of blossoms, and I suppose that imagery is right on time. I can't wait to sit back and take in the magic as it takes shape live.

Take fierce care of yourselves and each other. Love!

March 2018

Hey family! I'm tickled to be starting March off with a show on the first of the month. My friends the Decibelists are doing a video release party that's also Anti-Gentrification party (come thru!!!). And I think that's cool as hell. So, a bunch of NYC born artists are offering a song or two as part of jam. Proceeds from the evening will go to the Met Council on Housing, a tenant's rights organization. I'm really excited to be a part of this - you won't wanna miss it! See you March 1st at Starr Bar in Brooklyn. Everything kicks off at 8pm.

On March 15th, I'll be back at Starr Barr as a guest in the Brown RadicalAss Burlesque (brASS!) monthly cabaret. These are some beautiful politically aware humans making space for us to gather, be provoked, and entertained. Food for thought and much more!

Something I'd like to shout out that's not a performance of mine: this month is the Women's Jazz fest at the Schomburg. Every Monday night is something amazing to take in, so don't miss out! Lastly, keep your ear to the ground for some upcoming performances in April. You'll see me onstage with Shelley Nicole's blaKbushe, and some other friends and family - I'll keep you posted. Big love!

February 2018

Did you get to catch Toshi Reagon's birthday shows at the end of January? I'm not exaggerating when I say it was FIRE. Toshi brought the room to a whole different level with her honest, unflinching, political, vulnerable songs as the vehicle. MeShell Ndegeocello sat in for a few songs on bass! Each show was its own sort of magnificent - and I can't wait to do it again. Next ride with that crew will be February 17th at Joe's Pub, the annual Love Sessions, featuring all manner of amazing vocalists offering a meditation on love as revolution.

But first! On February 2nd, Shelley Nicole's brings blaKbushe to the Apollo Muic Cafe up in Harlem. This band is a fierce rockin family. We've been thundering in rehearsals. So excited to bring selections from the forthcoming record 'I Am American' to life in this evening of music. Get your tickets: HERE!


January 2018

Top of the year, fam! What gifts do you hold that you wish to make an offering of? I've set an intention to share a lot more music. And I hope in the process, I get to see a lot more of you in person!

Some goodness to kick things off: I'm playing bass in Toshi Reagon's annual birthday concerts at Joe's Pub on January 24th and 25th. These shows are always amazing. This configuration of the band is a family I'm honored to be a member of. Come join us and get something good - we'll leave the room with our hearts just a li'l wider. That's just the magic of honest music.

Then on February 2nd, I'm really stoked to be playing bass for Shelley Nicole's blaKbushe at the Apollo Muic Cafe in Harlem. We'll be playing an evening of music including tunes from her soon to be released album 'I Am American', produced by the venerable Vernon Reid. You won't want to miss this! More details HERE.

Can't wait to see you out there. Love!

December 2017

This December, I'm honored to join a fierce lineup of musicians and poets helping to raise funds for the We Want the Land Coalition. All The Way Home is the fundraiser, jumping off December 3rd at Shapeshifter Lab. All the goodness kicks off at 6:30, featuring offerings by Taylor Mac, Willa Mamet, E Nina Jay, R Erica Doyle, and blaKbushe - to name a few. Come be in the room if you can, and consider donating either way. This effort is to secure the land where the former Michigan Womyn's Music Festival was held in order to do programming to promote healing and empowerment for women and girls. Learn more, donate: WWTLC.

Then on December 9th, I'm super excited to be opening for My Gay Banjo at Union Hall in Brooklyn, as they celebrate the release of their latest CD: To the Wolves. Years ago I had the honor of opening for them in the same space. I am such a huge fan of their work, I simply can't wait to be in the room and take in the magic Owen and Julia make, stunning songwriting, and gorgeous harmonies. Come warm your heart with us - Get your Tickets!

Lastly, I'd like to wish everyone a beautiful month ahead. Whether you celebrate any of the upcoming holidays or not, I'm wishing opportunities for folks to gather with loved ones, chosen family, to laugh like mad, to share a meal, to hear or make some music, play games, whatever is food for your heart. Right now we see that the people running the show in our government don't have any regard for services and protections that allow a lot of folks to access dignified living. While it's not clear what's the sustainable end-game of looting natural resources and the non-wealthy of what little they have, it's clear that we will need each other more than ever. I personally plan to make time this month to see faces I don't get to see much of, rather than supporting big corporations with my dollars for holiday gestures. Is there something you're longing to do that is a break from the usual? I'm hoping you find company and courage to do so. There is much we can do when we gather with clear intention. Sending enormous love out to you.

November 2017

Lots of goodness this month! First, I'm excited to be recording some music for a forthcoming record by the one and only Be Steadwell. Really excited be a part of it and hear how everything comes together.

Out in the world: I'm very much looking forward to celebrating Astraea Lesbian Foundation's 40th anniversary at their gala on November 13th. Check out and support the amazing work they do all over the world! Astraea Foundation.
I'm also really excited to get down to NC to check out Toshi Reagon and Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon Opera version of Parable of the Sower at UNC. I just KNOW I need this music magic medicine, a meditation on the way through by the brilliant Octavia Butler. If you're in or around North Carolina, you'll wanna come check this out. Shows are on the 16th and 17th at UNC Chapel Hill.

I'd like to send a big love blast out to Dan Zanes: his recent release "Dan Zanes & Friends-LEADBELLY BABY" has been nominated for a GRAMMY! I'm so proud of Dan for putting together this project which includes so many folks in community to honor the iconic songwriting of Leadbelly. The homies Ashley Phillips and Jendog Lonewolf make vocal appearances. My brother Patrick Dougher appears on drums and also did the album artwork. I hold down bass on a few tracks here as well. Thanks to Dan for gathering a 'beautiful village' to bring this work forth.

Coming up in December: I'm really excited to take part in 'All The Way Home', a beautiful fundraiser/gathering for We Want the Land Coalition. Join us at Shapeshifter Labs in Brooklyn on December 3rd for a night of song, poetry and community, featuring Taylor Mac, Shelley Nicole's blaKbushe, R Erica Doyle - and more. After the performances, we'll all dance to the sounds of Biggie Maules. WWTLC is working to keep the land where MichFest took place available for healing and empowerment programming for women and girls. Hope you can join us - but can't be there in person, you can still support the work here: WWTLC.

See you out there, fam!

October 2017

Oh, hello October! I'm here STILL cloud-walking off the beautiful energy of Word Rock Sword - and taking in all the love and celebration of my birthday. In fact, there's a good chance I'll be celebrating for a few weeks yet. On that theme, Friday October 6th I'm honored to hold down bass for Mishti at Rockwood. Featuring Alex Nolan on guitar and Matt Graff on drums. This is one feisty crew, and some music that'll get inside you and shake you loose. Come check us out!

Also, very excited to support the Criminal Justice Initiative fundraiser on October 13th at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. This group does work around ending mass incarceration, and the fundraiser will go towards a rapid response fund. Whether you can join in person or not, you can support this work with your donation HERE.

I'll be taking the rest of the month to do some writing and recording, and taking in some good art. There's so much goodness out there to get. In particular I'd like to shout out drummer/composer/all-star Allison Miller. Her crew BoomTicBoom will be at Dizzy's Club on October 16th. I caught the set last year, in short, it was magic. And these are some TIMES. We need some magic right now, agreed? Also, if you can get yourself to North Carolina in November, Toshi Reagon is bringing the Parable of the Sower opera to the Carolina Performing Arts center in Chapel Hill. I plan on goin to support the work and get that good inspired medicine of all the brilliant minds attached to this work.

Watching events in Puerto Rico, I've heard from good sources that Taller Salud, who has been doing amazing work supporting women's health in Puerto Rico, is also serving as a key resource for helping folks after the storm. Check out their page and support their work here: Taller Salud. Let's keep our focus on ways we can support our brothers and sisters in PR and in the Caribbean who are struggling under unimaginable circumstances.

Sending out lots of love to you as we transition into this fall season, here in New York. There are big heavy things happening in the world, but I belive our hearts are bigger, our love is bigger. Whatever gifts we've been holding close, now's a good time to let them out in the world, shift the balance. See you out there, family.

September 2017

September is here, y'all. This is my birthday month. It's the time of year when Word Rock and Sword rolls around, which is pretty much all the gift I require: a room full of vibrant, joyful diverse love-filled humans, present to the musical offering of a broad crew of artists - under the direction of Toshi Reagon. Remember last month I mentioned the space ship? It lands at Le Poisson Rouge, September 23rd. Get your ticket and be in the room with us. I'll be the one holding the bass with a grin, in awe of music, of life, of you. Be sure to catch the other events in the festival as well. As always there is lots of goodness to receive, much needed medicine for these fraught times. Find out more here: WORD ROCK SWORD

Other things to look out for - my friend and collaborator Maria Bauman (MBDance) is bringing her beautiful choreographic work 'dying and dying and dying' to Gibney Dance, September 14-16. I have some original music in the piece, and am excited to finally see it in its entirety. Come see this show. And follow Maria's work here: MBDANCE

Taking this moment to shout out another collaborator: Dan Zanes. He's just released a Leadbelly tribute record featuring a host of local independent artists: Lead Belly, Baby! I play bass on a few tunes here. Leadbelly's music has inspired a ton of artists. Dan takes a fresh look at those original tunes and re-imagines them for your ears. Get the CD here: Lead Belly, Baby!

I'm looking forward to making and receiving art as an offering and as sustenance to get through the big work ahead. There is world enough, food enough, and dignity enough for us all. Thank you for doing the work that you do in the world. Thank you for showing kindness and care to communities who need it. When we gather together, our voices are amplified, our power is greater. Together, family. See you out there.

August 2017

To kick off this month, I'd like to invite you to come see a favorite of mine, Be Steadwell, at Shapeshifter Lab. That's August 7th, at 7pm. I'll be on guitar and might play a song or two of my own. If you know Be, you already know what this is about - amazing songwriting, killer harmonies, and something that you just have to be in the room to wrap your head around. So you're comin, right?

I'd also like to invite you into the magical moment that is Toshi Reagon's annual Word Rock and Sword show. This is year 7, fam! We basically transform Le Poisson Rouge into a spaceship in which magnificent artists like Nona Hendryx, Tamr-Kali, Joan As Policewoman (and MANY more) raise the roof with their tremendous gifts. Key to this equation: the gorgeous, scintillating, exhilarating and fantastic crew of folks who come to see this show. You have never seen such an attractive audience inside a space ship. This is a one of a kind experience. I'm tellin you early so you can get your ticket and come be in the room. Seven years and running, it is never NOT fantastic. Save the date, September 23rd 6pm at LPR: WORD ROCK SWORD

See you out there family.

July 2017

Happy Summer family! This month kicked off with the amazing festival/fundraiser Another Country at Littlefield. I'm grateful to the performers who shared their gifts, including Yva Las Vegass, Cactus Rose, Viva, The Paisley Fields, Elias Krell, super-faves My Gay Banjo, and so many more! I wanna thank the Gay Ole Opry for hosting this event, and send a special love shout-out to Karen Pittelman of Karen and the Sorrows for bein a fierce music maker, organizer, and all-around lovely human being! Keep an eye out for Karen and the Sorrow's upcoming CD release in late summer. Check out my Instagram for a few pics and search #AnotherCountry for more goodness from that night.

Now that summer is in swing I'm takin some time to be in it. I love how the summer calls you to get out and to be among peeps n loved ones. I'm getting inspiration from all that energy, and listening to so much good music. Sitting with my guitars and my thoughts, looking into my heart, a new song arrived I'll share here. It's about how precious our lives are, how important it is for us to live and love right now - whole heartedly. Please meet: Everything But Time.

June 2017

Summer's comin! It starts out with a bang with Toshi Reagnon's BIGLovely at Summerstage opening for none other than Mavis Staples - WHUT?! This is June 3rd at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park and it's FREE. Please come out and join us for what is bound to be a joyful noise in the park!

This month I'm honored also to be doing some collaborations with Kirya Traber (artist extraordinaire), and with soulful song goddess Gina Breedlove. We're making music for some community organizations and I'm really excited about it. What else can I say? It's June, the weather's warming up, now is a perfect time to get out, catch some art, be out in community, feel and show some PRIDE if you got it. Recharge your joy for the resistance.

Next month in July I'm superstoked to be joining the lineup for "Another Country", kicking off at Littlefield's new location and brought to you by the lovable folks of the Gay Ole Opry. It's an all day music extravaganza that pushes back on the notions of what country music is and who makes it. Stay tuned for this! And while you're here, check out this newer take on my song Waterside. It's close to my heart. The music tells the story.


May 2017

It's May and Toshi Reagon is bringing the BIGLovely crew out to California! We'll play CAP UCLA on May 4th, and head up to the Bay for Freight and Salvage on May 6th. We got some good-energy music to share, and we'd love to be in the room with you.

And to kick off June, BIGLovely will be opening for none other than MAVIS STAPLES at Summerstage on June 3rd. That's gonna be a joyful noise if there ever was one. I'm honored to part of the crew for this set. Please come join us for this very special evening!

Seems to me we need the light-bringers more than ever, right this moment. That includes all of us, when we're gathered together in strong purpose and intention. Check out some live music, dance, some art - recharge yourself.

In love and music.

April 2017

Gratitude. That word sums up all the amazing energies that have been arising. Choreographer Maria Bauman and I leaned into our vulnerability co-creating the dance/music performace piece 'Passages'. We set up a challenge to look at transitions of all kinds, and focused on the transitions in relationships. I had the chance to shake my usual shape and do improvised dance, while Maria gave herself to improvised singing. We shared this delicate work to a full house at Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance. So grateful to BAAD, to Maria, to dancers Courtney Cook and Sanchell Brown who helped bring Passages to life. And to everyon who joined us in the space, in person and in spirit.

And INTRINSIC! Littlefield was chock full of generous energy for Climbing Poetree's CD release. Over 30 artists and many more supportive collaborators made that night happen. I'm talkin string section, horn section, dancers, some of the fiercest singers, and of course, Alixa and Naima, their inimitable energy, and their heart-medicine music. If you haven't already copped the album, check it out for yourself: INTRINSIC

As for this month, I'm really excited to join the line-up for the Queer Country Quarterly at Branded Saloon on April 15th. We'll be celebrating Humble Tripe's record release. You'll also hear music from myself, Nadia Bourne, and Karen and the Sorrows! Then on the 19th, you'll find me on bass in Mishti's rock-blues set at Rockwood Music Hall. It's a fantastic night of music, come join us if you can!

Next month, Toshi Reagon brings BIGLovely to the west coast. We'll be at UCLA on May 3rd and in the bay at Freight and Salvage on May 6th. I can't wait to get out there and see beloved west coast faces. It's Spring, y'all. Come out and play!

March 2017

Hello loves!
This journey of taking messages and turning them to sound continues. In a lot of ways it's been a troubling winter season, though sprinkled with a lot of amazing musical moments. Personally, I'm glad that spring is rolling around and very excited about what's to come.
Last month, the ensembles for GOODFolk and Chaney Sims' Heartstrings respectively blazed up Joe's Pub. I pushed my own edges on bass and guitar in those shows. This month, I'm excited to stretch even further (literally). On March 18th at BAAD, I'll be doing an evening of collaboration with choreographer Maria Bauman: Passages. We're exploring themes of transition, and we each are going to explore a bit of the other's "dance space". So you'll see me doing some movement, and you'll get to hear Maria sing - as we bring our artistic gaze to the one thing humans can't escape: change. Please join us for this really unique offering!

Other gifts: March 14th at Branded Saloon we're celebrating Elias Krell's CD release. Sets of music by Elias, Trashy, and by yours truly. And on March 31st, I'm honored to join the crew that will bring Climbing Poetree's INTRINSIC CD to life in celebration of their CD release at Littlefield. The record was an epic undertaking and we're all super proud of Climbing Poetree for putting forth this gift of music - in addition to their unrelenting activist work. Hope to see you out there this month!

February 2017

What a proud showing of resistance to start off this year. January saw some of the largest gatherings of people in protest - ever. At the Women's March on Washington, the crowds were enormous. That day we felt the collective energy of hundreds of thousands of people present to express dissent. We heard people from all walks of life speaking truth to power. I was on that stage playing bass in the house band under the masterful direction of Toshi Reagon and Rachel Eckroth, musical directors, for some fierce artists lending their music and presence to the cause - from Janelle Monae to Maxwell to Alicia Keys. I am grateful to all the organizers, artists, and protesters for making a proufound statement on that epic day. And not only was the DC march huge - people turned out in cities all over the world, to show with their presence that there will be resistance to authoritarian/nationalist efforts to strip any oppressed group of their rights. It's just beginning.

We'll need spaces to gather and recharge during this time. Let music be your medicine. This month I'll be playing bass with Toshi Reagon's GOODFolk LOVEFest at Joe's Pub on February 17th. We'll be playing songs that explore the angst of love. And on February 21st, I'll be playing guitar with Grammy-nominated singer Chaney Sims in a very special evening of music with some fantastic musicians. There's heart medicine in this, so come join us.

Also: in March, I'll be doing an evening in collaboration with choreographer Maria Bauman at Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance. This is going to be an evening that blends what we both do, and I'm very excited about it - save the date and stay tuned for more details: March 18th. That month will also find me at Branded Saloon, playing a set of my tunes in Elias Krell's CD-release party, AND at the end of the month I'll be hanging on bass with Climbing Poetree for their CD-release at Littlefield. I'm so proud of my artist family. So... Come get something good. Take care of yourselves and each other. Hope, love, and music.

For Your Ears:
Title track from my EP Believer