SONGS FOR BETTY

(LIVE IN PORTLAND)

IMG_0261.JPG

Yesterday, we began our tour with a show in Portland. If you have ever gone on a road trip, even short family ones, you know that the hardest part of that day is leaving town. There are always countless little things that add up to a extra hour or two, ours being the latter. And for those who may not know, I say “ours” because I have brought two really great friends with me on this tour. 

Aleida Gehrels is a wonderful viola player and human being. She and I met around three years ago, maybe a month or two after I moved to Seattle. She had decided to move to Seattle after ending her time playing music on a cruise ship. We were introduced by a mutual friend who was also playing music on the ship. Thankfully, I had written some songs she likes; so, now you can often see us playing music together! 

My other friend on this trip is Devin Daniel, who is playing guitar and a freshly learned instrument… the banjo. I have to confess that I sorta tricked him into learning the banjo. I told him that he couldn’t bring his electric on tour and had to learn the banjo. Two weeks ago, I told him that I was kidding and he could bring the guitar. We both had a really good laugh and agreed it was the right move; because, we have some banjo on this tour! Devin has become a great friend over the past few years, and I am excited to have him with us. 

Last night, we played our first show of tour in Portland at a venue called CAFE Artichoke. Definitely a name I could picture finding a place in this city. To help you visualize this show, they host a  Friday night showcase, meaning no-one there really knew anyone or heard of any artists performing. There is also no guaranteed pay, just donations. All the artists last night were not from the area, which means it is even a gamble to come and play. I will say that this was a lovely and respectful listening room for artist. The room vibe and audience was a little bit of an older generation. For instance, I didn’t know any of the cover songs that some artist sang and and people knew. And they definitely sounded like some serious throwbacks, if you know what I mean. I often feel a little lost in the middle of knowing popular songs from today and the older “hits.” But it is always fun to see the looks on peoples faces when they hear a song that recalls something for them. A certain joy lights up in their eyes. 

I could tell you a few different stories from last night, but one that sticks out were songs for Betty (not her actual name, I think). We shared the night with a very funny and talented songwriter from New Jersey. His way of communicating with the audience and delivery of singing were very unique and captivating. Soft spoken with moments of power, he did a really nice job of drawing you in. What stuck out the most was the common thread between the songs. Can you imagine writing a whole record about one relationship, releasing it, and touring with those songs for 3-4 years?? Picture yourself reading from your journal to a room of strangers in different cities. He was kind enough to share the story and connection of each song with a former love, named “Betty.” It’s an interesting and necessary process to create and share personal art; especially when it deals with heart break. I love to share some of my personal experiences and stories; but, I also love to dress it up with some tricks that keep some things concealed. I think one of the coolest things about art is the forms and styles of communicating. I remember one time a few years ago, I answered candidly a question about a song; I remember feeling slightly disappointed at their disappointment in my answer. I decided in that moment to not rob people of certain potential meanings a song could share with them. It’s also amazing with people totally connect and understand the meanings exactly. I love music, I love touring, and I love you! Can’t wait to share more songs and stories from this tour! 

Also check songs about “Betty” Here |  www.pentleyholmes.com.