Autumn 2018 Projects and Performances

Hi everybody! It's been a very busy few months, and I was on the road for almost the whole summer, but now I'm finally back in New England and looking forward to calming down a little bit. That said, I've got a bunch of performances coming up around here during September/October (see here), several of which are going to be pretty cool, and I'd like to quickly draw your attention to a few in particular:

First, after spending September playing amid various mountainsgardens, and islands, I'll be playing a sort of valedictory concert at the Appalachian Mountain Club's Boston headquarters on October 2nd, at which I'll showcase a bunch of the music I've written during my residency with the New England Trail over the last year. On October 7th, I'll be collaborating with Boston's Emerald Necklace Conservancy and the Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya as one small part of an ongoing installation this fall called Fog x FLO: Nakaya has arranged for fog to drift across a part of the arboretum to highlight the contours of Frederick Law Olmsted's distinctive landscape, and I'll be performing two 30-minute improvisations directly inspired by that geography and those visuals (more information here). Finally, in mid- and late October, I'll be presenting some thoughts and music at the Northern Woodlands & National Trail System Conference being held, respectively, in Vermont and Washington. You can still register for each of them at those links!

Details for all my shows, by the way, are always over here.

Anyway, speaking of trails, I recently wrote a little piece for quartet that will be performed a couple of times this fall as a part of a very cool national concert series called Rivers and Trails, which has been organized by the Landscape Composers Network in honor of the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System. My piece, Trace, will be played on 9/23 in Vallejo, CA and on October 4th in Houghton, MI, along with a bunch of other lovely and interesting new music. I won't be able to make it to either performance, unfortunately, but you should go and tell me how it sounds.

Also — I'm extremely excited about this — tickets go on sale tomorrow for a pair of very special concerts that I'll be doing in November and December in collaboration with Palaver Strings and the one and only Maine Youth Rock Orchestra. (For those of you unfamiliar with MYRO, check out this sweet new article about them in Strings Magazine, here.) The two groups will be joining forces to form a 39-piece orchestra which, among other things, will be playing several of my songs onstage with me. More about these shows in the coming months, but for now, please mark your calendars.

As I mentioned, I was on tour for most of June and July, and had a typically wonderful time: for perhaps the first time in years, I experienced no vehicular problems whatsoever(!), and I got to return to places that looked -- for instance -- like thisthisthis, and this. I also stopped in a lot of new spots and was able to to meet and play for a lot of excellent and interesting new people, which is really the point of this whole thing in the first place. Thanks to all of you for always making me feel so welcome in all the various places where you live.

In August, I once again had the pleasure of joining up with a band called the Ghost of Paul Revere for a bunch of shows in Canada, the Midwest, and Maine. The month wrapped up at their downright unbelievable Ghostland festival in Portland, ME (it looked like this and this). Ghostland afforded me the surreal opportunity to spend an hour and a half playing an accordion in front of more than 3,000 people, which is absolutely not a situation in which I ever expected to find myself. I'll be playing with the band again for a few scattered shows this fall and then joining them again for another longer tour in November.

Here's a beautiful book I just read and loved, and here's a background artist by whose work and career I've been strangely fascinated lately. Also, my very good friend and frequent collaborator Stephanie Jenkins -- here's a video of us playing a song together last fall -- is finally releasing an EP of her songs called End to End at the beginning of October, which I played on and which I encourage you to listen to. I'll be accompanying Steph at her release shows on 9/21 at Club Passim in Cambridge, MA and on 10/3 at the Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2) in New York. Both of those shows are co-bills with the folk artists Taylor Ashton and Courtney Hartman, who just released an extremely gorgeous album themselves.

That's all for now! I'm sorry that this letter is so unusually dense with information and relatively light on reflection, but I wanted to make sure to quickly let you know about all this fall stuff before the season goes racing by. Thanks very much, as always, for all your help and support, and please be in touch. I hope to see as many of you as possible this fall.


Ben Cosgrove