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Author Archives: AllisonM

december 14, 2014

I’ve never quite known what to do with myself during the holidays.  As I’ve said many times in my life, when you have no parents alive in the world you’ve got no one to answer to and nowhere to go for Christmas.

I can tell that people hate it when I say that.  They bristle noticeably in reaction to the bluntness of the words that are designed to remind me, and yes, sometimes even them, of the trade off.

Because sometimes my friends complain about their parents.  At times I stay silent when they do, at times I don’t, but the more tuned in ones always look or sound a bit remorseful when they realize they’ve bitched and moaned about something that must seem like a luxury to me.  I don’t want them to.  I get it.  Families can be a pain like no other.  But there is an altogether different kind of pain you get when yours is gone and you have to figure out, for the rest of your life, how to build another one.

I get into the spirit of this time of year really easily.  It’s happy.  I love it.  It’s emotionally loaded for sure, but I’ve gotten used to the lack of tradition surrounding my own holidays.  At the end of the day it just makes me want to celebrate another year lived and to give whatever I can of myself to those that I love.  One of my favorite things in life is to give a gift that is meaningful and thoughtful, or that might have been created by my own hand.  I spent hours yesterday embroidering sweet little hearts onto sets of linen napkins for those close to me who I know would understand such a thing.

I hardly notice anymore that neither my Mama’s or Daddy’s name appears on my gift list.  And that still doesn’t sit well with me.

I was reading the paper this morning when my eye caught an ornament on my tree, a little red haired angel that I bought six years ago almost to the day.  I bought her to represent the baby that I lost just before Christmas that year.  I don’t know when the pregnancy slipped away, but I knew she was gone on December 13th.  I took a minute to breathe and think, sitting as still as a stone, holding my paper, lost in that place that time travel takes you to to.  I then looked for what sparkly things might represent the other parts of me that have flown away, and there were none.  I have no box of ornaments that were passed down to me from the tree we decorated when I was a child.  A lot of things got lost back then.  So now I’m making my own heirlooms.  I quickly reminded myself of that.  And then I did what I do a lot.  I got out my needle and thread.

Just their initials in the red thread, of course.  The red thread that binds us together.

Thank you to those who have kept their red threads tied to me.  I have spent countless December 25ths at others’ tables, decorating others’ trees, waking up somewhere other than home.  Family comes in a million different ways and I’ve experienced at least fifteen or twenty of those.  But my son John Henry is now four years old, and what I do know, more than anything, is that I want him to always know where his home is, who his red thread is tied to, and to always feel the love and spirits that are kept alive and connected in it and through it.  I made the simple heart ornaments with the red initials for him, too.  They are part of his story, they are part of his home, they are part of his Christmas, past, present, and future, just as they are mine.  And they will go in the box of ornaments that I hope to pass on to him one day, that I won’t let get lost.  Because now I have him to answer to.

Happy Holidays Everyone.

Love,

a.FullSizeRender

ALLISON MOORER RETURNS WITH DOWN TO BELIEVING VIA eONE NASHVILLE MARCH 17th

Tour with Mary Gauthier kicks off March 19th

December XX, 2014 – Nashville, TN – The Academy and Grammy Award nominated songstress Allison Moorer is set to release her eOne Nashville debut, Down To Believing, on March 17th.   Produced by longtime friend and collaborator, guitarist Kenny Greenberg, the album was recorded over two years in Nashville while Moorer commuted back and forth from her home in New York City.  Her eighth studio recording since her 1998 debut Alabama Song, Down To Believing is her most personal collection of songs to date; one in which Rolling Stone has already called “brilliant and extraordinarily candid.”

The 13-song set is in many ways a sequel to Moorer and Greenberg’s second collaboration, the acclaimed 2000 album The Hardest Part.   At the time of its release, Moorer often acknowledged the inspiration her parents’ relationship had on that album.  Fifteen years later, she’s sifting eloquently through her modern day life as the inspiration for Down To Believing’s intensely personal song cycle.

Available for Pre-Order on iTunes & Amazon.com 

The recording of Down To Believing began in January of 2012, the same month her son John Henry received a formal diagnosis of autism.  The song “Mama Let The Wolf In,” is her response to that diagnosis.   Speaking to Rolling Stone, Moorer said of the song, “As a parent, whatever your children go through I think there’s a certain amount of it that you feel responsible for, even if you know that it has nothing to do with you…When you can’t protect them from going through something that’s hard, you feel responsible for it…Basically the song is channeling that energy and expressing that extreme frustration at not being able to protect him.  It makes me feel very powerless.”  Of the title track, one about the dissolution of her marriage to singer songwriter Steve Earle, Moorer says, ‘“Down To Believing’ is quite possibly one of my best songs, one of the most honest songs about marriage.”  She continues, “Obviously, this is a record about family and relationships.  ‘Blood’ is about my sister (singer songwriter Shelby Lynne).  It’s about loving someone unconditionally and always having your arms open to them no matter what.   Being able to reflect on your own experience and put it in a common language so that people can commune is what the job of a songwriter is.  I’m prouder of these songs than any I’ve ever written.”

Moorer’s 1998 song, “A Soft Place To Fall,” was included on the soundtrack to the feature film The Horse Whisperer, which led to an appearance in the film itself, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.  The opportunity gained her worldwide attention and set the stage for her career.  Moorer has been featured on releases by Joan Baez, Kid Rock, The Chieftains, while her songs have appeared on records by Miranda Lambert, Steve Earle and more.  She starred in the 2008 play Rebel Voices, based on Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove’s best-selling book Voices of a People’s History of The United States and also appeared in the 2009 film The People Speak.  The film was presented by the History Channel and was inspired by Zinn’s A People’s History of The Unites States.   It also featured Bob Dylan, Morgan Freeman, Bruce Springsteen, Danny Glover, Matt Damon, and more. Moorer will be performing the new songs during the popular 30A Songwriters Festival in South Walton, FL in January before she heads to Scotland for the Celtic Connections Festival.  The first leg of the Down To Believing tour will begin the week of release (Please see tour dates below).

 

Down To Believing Track List:

  1. Like It Used To Be
  2. Thunderstorm Hurricane
  3. I Lost My Crystal Ball
  4. Down To Believing
  5. Tear Me Apart
  6. If I Were Stronger
  7. Wish I
  8. Blood
  9. Mama Let The Wolf In
  10. I’m Doing Fine
  11. Back Of My Mind
  12. Have You Ever Seen The Rain
  13. Gonna Get It Wrong

 

Tour Dates with Mary Gauthier:

March 19th – Vienna, VA Jammin Java

March 20th – Princeton, NJ Folk Society

March 21st – Wilmington, DE World Café Live

March 22nd – Cambridge, MA Passims

March 24th – Portland, ME One Longfellow Square

March 25th – Fairfield, CT FTC Stage One

March 26th – Buffalo, NY 189 Public House

March 27th – Albany, NY Sawyer Theatre

 

Allison Moorer is represented worldwide by Gold Village Entertainment
and is booked by William Morris Endeavor

Blues for Dixie #2

31 August 2014

 

I just got back to the city a couple of days ago after spending a few weeks down south in Tennessee and Mississippi.  I wrote a bunch of songs in Nashville and also caught up with some of my oldest and best friends.  It occurred to me, like maybe never before, that Nashville is home to me.  No matter where I go or hang my hat, it always calls me back.  My people are there, and the songs are there.

 

I recall a conversation I had with a few songwriting friends about what state names sing the best.  I decided that they were Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, maybe sometimes Texas if it’s coming out of the right mouth, and California.  I’ll be singing about some and maybe all of those places next week at Joe’s Pub, on Wednesday, September 10, at 730pm.  Come join me.  It’ll be fun.

 

Allison Moorer

 

 

love,

allison

makeshift may 15, 2014

There is an Eastern legend called the red thread of destiny, or fate.  The myth is that there is a red string tied around the ankles of people who are destined to meet or aid each other through life in some way.  It may tangle or knot, but will never unravel or become untied.

 photo 1

Interesting that I chose to sew with red thread this week, and am drawn to it constantly.

I didn’t get to sew for as long as I wanted today, but still a stream of people came in to see what I was doing in the window with my red thread and turquoise jersey.

Later this evening, a group of women gathered on 7th street at the home of Lisa Fox for a potluck dinner to celebrate Makeshift and community.  Lisa’s home is the defacto clubhouse for a sewing circle of six women who come together as often as possible to stitch, talk, and slow down for a minute together.  I am happy to say that I am part of the group and these women bolster me in a manner that is rare.  They are smart, soulful, experienced, talented, and most of all, full of heart.  They are tireless in their individual searches for what really matters in this life.  We share losses, victories, questions, laughter, warmth.  We share our lives together when we are brought together by thread, no matter what color.

I work the red thread for them this week, and for every woman who has stood behind me, beside me, or pulled me along in this world.  For all of my many blessings, I count this one of connectedness among the greatest.

photo 2

makeshift may 14, 2014

I’ve been working on a swing skirt in cream on cream facets since last summer.  It’s four panels and I’m almost to the end of the third one.  I’m usually quicker to finish projects, working away diligently until I’m done, but I’ve had a lot going on lately so I’ve limped along on this one.  However, it is completely out of character for me to begin a new project before I’m finished with the last one.  But there I went yesterday, starting a coat kit in turquoise before the cream skirt was done.

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I wondered what had happened to me.  Where did my sense of order go?  How dare I put even one stitch into a new project?

Then I realized we’re never finished, we just stop working.  Or maybe we sometimes just need to move on to the next thing and let in a little color.  Sometimes we get bored with cream.

Oh, I’ll finish the cream skirt, and soon.  It was never my intention to let it sit there, neglected and incomplete, languishing in my sewing bag.  But I wanted something brighter for my project, so out came the turquoise.  I wanted to sew the turquoise with red thread in Lisa’s shop window.  Lisa’s shop window called for color.

People like color.

Four-year-old Lily liked color today when she walked by the window with her Daddy who owns the coffee shop four doors down.  She picked up my red tomato pin cushion.  She handled my silver stork embroidery scissors that I tied a length of light blue ribbon on so I don’t lose sight of them.  She held my spool of red thread in her tiny hand and looked it over.  I asked her if she’d like to learn to sew.  She said yes, then she left and pulled her Daddy back down the street by the hand while he stood on his skateboard.

A lady with a camera hanging around her neck liked color today when she passed by, stopped and gave me a huge smile and thumbs up and said “Hey!  That’s nice!”

Redheaded Ellen liked color today, too, so she came in and told Carrie and me about her idea for a modern day version of chastity panties.  She said the hook was “giving in without giving it up.”  She said there’d be a jewel here and a high-waist there and seams and all kinds of things that made me blush and reach for the $2 fold up fan I keep in my bag for just such moments.  I’m afraid I’ve got enough southern belle left in me to sometimes need to collect myself and feel a cool breeze on my face upon hearing certain words.  She asked me if I’d make the prototype.  I politely declined, but told her where she might get such a thing done.

We’ve all got color in us.  And some days, when it is required, we put the cream down and pick up the turquoise.

makeshift may 13, 2014

ImageHe walked in looking for the cigar bar that used to occupy the space where I sat just inside the door, right at the window, making my quilting stitches. He seemed confused. He asked Carrie, who manages lf8, where it had gone. She did her best to direct him toward the new locale for the stenchy establishment, and as he turned to walk out he took a quick look around the shop and at us and said, “so what is this now, woman’s work?”

Carrie and I both laughed and said yes, we supposed it was.

Woman’s work. Work for a woman.

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I don’t know about y’all, but I work pretty hard and spend very little time being pampered or sitting on my tuffet eating truffles. And the same goes for every woman I know. I’ve got a four-year-old son that has made me physically stronger than I’ve ever been before in my life, and I’m a singer/songwriter, so that means I’ve spent years throwing instruments around and have moved my share of amplifiers and cases, and have even loaded a van or two. I may not look like much but I’m no delicate flower. Yes, my hands are nimble. I can make nice, even stitches. But they can also wrap around the neck of a guitar, wield a hammer or wrench when they need to, be firm guides for my little guy, or solid sisters for my friends.

They do woman’s work all the time.

I suppose I could have been mistaken for someone not quite so dimensional, as I sat in the pretty blue chair that Lisa Fox, proprietress of lf8, put in the window for me to sit in while I worked the red stitches into the turquoise Alabama Chanin DIY coat kit. The cigar-hunting man didn’t know that I was finding rhythm in my labor of supposedly feminine art as I loved my thread and worked it in and out like I was taught to do by previous generations of women.  Women who did woman’s work.  He didn’t know that I was finding songs, poetry, and most importantly, quite possibly, a few non-gender specific thoughts there. But I was quiet as I sat and sewed. I was serene. I was being seen and not heard.

Woman’s work. Work for a woman. I could make the woman’s work list right now but I’m not going to. I’m just going to shake my head, smile, and know exactly what a woman’s work is as I remember that sometimes it’s just when you think you’re getting somewhere that someone comes up and wants to blow smoke.

Makeshift 2014

Allison is happy to take part in Makeshift 2014, and will be sewing at lf8 in the afternoons from 2-4 on Tuesday, May 13 through Friday, May 16. Not only because she likes to, but because she wants to take part in a conversation about connecting hands, needles, and thread, to make a living art instillation of a person making something, and to also celebrate the work and artistry of her friends Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin and Lisa Fox of lf8. She would love it if anyone who wants to join her would do so.

http://lf8elevate.com/

http://www.alabamachanin.com/

Blues for Dixie at Joe’s Pub May 22

There’s something about being born in the south that you just can’t shake. It never leaves your blood, no matter where your life may take you. I’ve been all over the world and still have Spanish moss hanging all over me. It’s in my vowels and dropped g’s, in my gestures, in my tendency to want to monogram anything that will stay still long enough, in my longings, in my music, and in my dreams. Someone asked me once how long I’d lived in New York City, and when I replied that I’d lived here for years, he asked me how I hadn’t lost my accent yet. I told him I couldn’t if I wanted to and that just for the record, I did not want to.

I’m celebrating it all with 75 minutes of music at Joe’s Pub on May 22nd. I’ll have a killer band with me and we’ll work out some of the best songs about the south, new and old. I love where I live, but I’m proud of where I’m from, and I want to sing about it.

love, allison
nyc, 4/7/2014

new album in the can

I’m so very happy to report that my new album, my eighth one (that’s hard to believe somehow) is all recorded. There is still plenty left to do, but the part I have the most to do with is done. I’m calling it “Down To Believing,” because not only is there a song called that on it, but it sums up everything the record is about. It all just comes down to whether you believe or not in the end, doesn’t it?

Stay tuned for more news as I get it. I’m hardly in the driver’s seat of the record company decision making vehicle, and honestly, I don’t want to be. I’ve heard for years how much more money can be made if you start your own label, if you do this, if you do that, but the truth about me is, I don’t want to run a label. I think I might know a little bit about how to at this point (emphasis on the little bit), and I give major propers to those artists who want to take it on, but I guess I’d rather take a lesser share and leave time in my life for other things. I’m so blessed to have both a way to make music and those other things. Thanks to all of those that help me in both regards.

Happy almost spring.
A.

heading back in…

I’ll be going into the studio in Nashville next week to hopefully finish up work on my upcoming album. Kenny Greenberg, who produced my first two albums is at the helm along with me this time. We’ve gotten a lot of good stuff in the can already and we’re excited about getting this one done. Stay tuned…

Oh! A song that I wrote with my friend Jeffrey Steele has been in “Nashville” for the past 3 episodes. It’s called “This Time,” and my version is up on the new side of the music page.

See y’all soon.
love
allison