ABC's - Arlo's Church Show, Berklee Story, and other Cool Vance Stuff

Hi VanceFans,

My yearly show at Arlo Guthrie’s church is about a month early this year. Come out from NY Albany or Westernish MA areas and surrounds and hike, hit fruit stands, do Tanglewood, or just see the show and go on home - it’s not far from I-90:

7/7 - Great Barrington, MA http://www.guthriecenter.org

Monday Brain Droppings -

~ Look at the temp gauge on my dashboard. I dunno, the triple digit thing is rare to see. That dust on the steering column is not from chips. I swear. I’m low carb.

~ Ellis Paul. One of the few people on this planet to whom I can tell anything. Anything. Without judgement. We’re each others muse, best friend, backboard, competition, foil, tear-catcher. We just did Delaware and Beacon, NY not for money but just to see where the other was at song-wise. And to jaw about our lives backstage. We didn’t disappoint each other and hopefully the minor droves that attended felt the same. We’ll do more. You should come when we do. I teach at his New England Songwriter’s retreat Labor Day weekend https://www.newenglandsongwritersretreat.com
All levels. Come.

~ Teaching with Liv Taylor and others too August 17 - 19 at Boston University. https://livingstontaylor.com/about/retreat/
I’m just a teaching fool.

~ My neighbor Cara drove by just as I was heading out with the dogs. She thinks my new running kicks are great. While we were finishing talking and I was about to just start running away she kinda motions with her chin - “Roscoe is pooping…” “Thanks, hon.” We just kept talking as I picked it up. I love my neighborhood.

~ Last week I did a intro to Berklee thing at Berklee College of Music, and had a mess of pre-college folks spread out amongst 6 classes. Mostly young women. Scads of talent. In this day of MeToo and all that men have to relearn, thanks for all of your trust as we dug deep into the hows and eventually the whys you'se steps in front of the mic. My last class and I somehow bonded in a way that, while maybe not the exception, was wondrous and we all felt in the last 1.25 hours that we were in each others care.

I don’t recall your name, Young Woman. You protested that you hadn’t written a song in a year. That your guitar playing was rusty and even plebeian from the get go - in fact you didn’t even bring a guitar. I said you didn’t have to get up to perform, but sure, it’d be a great opportunity to just work with me for a minute - even with a cover tune. 4 others had already gone before with me and lived, so you took the chance.

You borrowed a guitar and approached the mic from the side, moving in a crescent shape on the floor as you landed in front of it, and started singing. I don’t recall the cover. It had the word “sparkles” in it.

Partway through I stopped you and just cocked my head and stared with my arms questioningly out. You looked back at me curious, maybe frightened or even apologetic. I’m sorry for that. Another far more gregarious young woman spoke up from the back and said, “Let me translate for our wordless teacher….you have blown him and the rest of us in here totally away.” The rest of the class nodded and clapped gently like people do when the are not in celebration but in agreement. Her assessment of my response was right on. You were in tears. I asked if I could hug you - that’s what folks do nowadays, is ask- and we did, and that was for me as I felt better about what I do after seeing you do what you do, 17 year old Singing Girl. It was perfect. Your previously worrisome guitar playing was so simple and solid it just disappeared into the performance whole that is you. I’d pay good, dear money to hear that kind of truth, vulnerability, and even-voiced standing ground night after night. I’d pay money to *have* that kind of juice. Thanks, Young Woman. For the trust, the boost, and the view that we’re going to all be just fine in your generation’s hands.

Coaching, private parties, African violet whispering, all available upon request. Soon begging for album $$. You can give what you want. Look who said they’d play on my album - Chris Smither, Abbie Gardner, Tommy Malone, Herb Gardner (Abbie’s dad, trombone!).

best, xo,

vg