There was more than the usual vibration and energy at Sidewalk Monday as a cross-section of folks from past and present eras gathered in the spirit of promotion for the Antifolk Festival. There was also, I think, coincidental visitation from folks who have been away for a while. Among those I chatted with or just saw on site were Isaac Gillespie, Jordan Levinson, Jeffrey Lewis, Deborah T., Aaron Invisible. The Festival is shorter this time, just a week, which I think is a good thing. It had grown so elaborate in recent years that it became a challenge to navigate. Also, condensing the schedule should heighten the specialness of the week. Of course, there are lots of folks missing from this year's schedule (me included!), but it will be interesting to see if this approach results in a different feel.
The second week of my renewed Sidewalk Talk Show Monday featured an interview with Emily Einhorn who is playing during the Festival this Friday. I remember finally clicking into Emily's stuff when I saw a Festival show of hers--maybe last year at this time. What stood out most strongly to me is that Emily's songs often depict a cast of characters that seem very different from her. So many songs that pour from the stage at Sidewalk are these autobiographical expressions of frustrated love that it was refreshing to encounter someone taking a different approach. On top of that she has a unique style as a performer.
Anyway, I was looking forward to talking with Emily about her work and about songwriting in general, and I think that we did touch on some intriguing points. Emily revealed, for example, that she only began writing songs at age 18--I don't know her current age but I gather that wasn't too long ago--and that prior to her efforts as a songwriter she was intensely devoted to Irish dance! Seriously.
I am continuing to refine my approach to this onstage talk show and am glad I have the opportunity to shape it from week to week. The main challenge is how to have a conversation of substance in a very condensed time frame. My tendency is to want to ask many questions on wide-ranging topics. But I'm beginning to learn that perhaps narrowing the focus extremely would allow for a more relaxed and ultimately more expansive feel. I'm still trying to figure out how to get these interviews posted here online...it will happen.
I am planning on attending several of the Festival shows starting tonight. Don't miss Domino at 7pm. Hope to see you there.