Co-Mission Contributor: Jackson Pines
(Photo by Michael Kravetsky)
Meet Jackson Pines
This pandemic came in the midst of the busiest year of my life. I’m sure lots of us have had to postpone or cancel fun and important things and milestones. For me, my wedding is currently postponed to August, and we’re hopeful we’ll be able to have it then. But all the other functions associated can’t be duplicated and my fiance and I are working through that. I’m currently a student of musicology in NYC and although the commute was rough everyday I have lost access to the music library, in person seminars, and opportunities. And although the recording of Jackson Pines’ second full length album is totally on hold, we just hope we will be able to record it before September when are booked to play the biggest stage of our careers at Sea.Hear.Now in Asbury Park opening for bands like Phoebe Bridgers, Dr. Dog, and The Beach Boys.
All in all I know I’m really lucky to be here, to be safely housed, to have food, and to be able to work a few hours a week teaching some students remotely at the Philadelphia Folk Society and beyond to make ends meet. And although we all the summer touring gigs we rely on for a large percentage of our yearly earnings to keep this project afloat, I did this just because I love making music and I wanna help somehow from home. You can listen to and buy our digital and physical copies of our albums at www.jacksonpines.bandcamp.com/ and of course stream it wherever.
Co-Mission Note: Jackson Pines graciously donated the track “Half Light” for the compilation.
Co-Mission Contributor: Anna Vogelzang
Meet Anna Vogelzang
This kind of turbulence isn’t new to musicians… It’s new to be in it together, yes – and that together-ness feels like a small blessing, to be honest; we’re all on pause, no matter what part of the album cycle we’re in. But we’re scrappy and used to hoofing it to make sure we can pay our bills next month, and the month after that. And while those skills come in handy emotionally in the face of this crisis, they do not change the fact that suddenly we’ve lost hundreds or thousands of dollars of gig and teaching income, the livestream market – while amazing – is heavily over-saturated, and we cannot start booking future shows until anyone knows what The Future’s going to look like. I’ve lost gigs, had to cancel the recording session in LA for my next LP, and am waiting to hear if my late summer festival shows are even going to be an option. All of our usual go-to ways of making it to next month have suddenly vanished.
I’ve been talking to a lot of friends who’re grateful for the pause – folks who knew they were about to burn out on tour but had planned on it anyway, because it’s what their team/career demanded; folks who’ve been trying to find a few weeks to focus on writing a new album and here it is in their laps; folks who just moved into new houses and are taking this as a gift to unpack and create their new space. Those people are struggling, too, without their service industry jobs, without their tours to pay their teams, without any certainty ahead of them – but they are still grateful. And I’m finding my version of that, too. Time to foster more direct connection with my Patreon community. Teaching toddler music classes to cooped up parents who are losing their minds. Eating lunch with my kiddo every day no matter what. Yoga in my bedroom. Writing a song a week. I’m just hoping we can all find one piece of joy in the everyday – because that will be what gets us to the other side.
People can support my efforts by joining my community at Patreon (patreon.com/annavogelzang) where I’m performing live once a week until the end of quarantine, and posting two new song demos/month. If you are a parent, you can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) about joining the toddler music class experience. You can also directly support via Venmo (@annavzang) or PayPal (email@example.com). <3
Co-Mission Contributor: Michael Cormier
(Photo by Abi Reimold)
Meet Michael Cormier:
I was working as a bread baker at a pizza shop when one day, the owners of the place announced we were shutting down indefinitely. Like myriad other workers in the service industry, I have no clue when there will be work available to me again.
I run a small record label called Dear Life Records, where I have released two solo records (Days Like Pearls and M-F). I write music for and lead a band called Hour, whose two records are available here. I also play drums in the weirdo country band Friendship, whose tour to SXSW got cancelled on day one. Supporting this music and future releases is the most helpful thing at this time!
Support Michael Cormier:
Dear Life Records: dearliferecs.bandcamp.com
Days Like Pearls: dearliferecs.bandcamp.com/album/days-like-pearls
Co-Mission Contributor: Nick Millevoi
Meet Nick Millevoi:
The initial shock of cancellations brought on by the pandemic was, of course, hard for all musicians. I had already gone through it myself starting in early February, when I was struck with an untested virus that resembled viral pneumonia and stayed in my system for over a month. In that time, I had to cancel a long-planned festival performance as well as gigs, rehearsals, and recordings. Shortly after I finally started to get back to normal, the pandemic hit and I got to relive the experience of clearing my schedule along with everyone else.
Now, as the weeks have gone on, it has become much harder for me to imagine a time when I’ll be on a stage or in an audience. As musicians, we really live to be in the same room as other people and creating, whether on stage, in a rehearsal, in a recording session, or however else it might happen.
I’m lucky to wear a few hats in my own life as a professional guitarist, namely through writing and teaching work that is able to continue for now. But my creative life is a symbiotic one, and performing feels like the center that holds it all together. Of course, it’s in times like this, I’d like music to help get me through, but not being able to work directly with others can really feel like adding insult to injury. There are ways we can continue to create and collaborate, and this project is certainly one of them. Musicians and artists are creative people, so no doubt we’ll get through this.
The song I recorded here, “On the Corner of the Square,” has been patiently waiting for a situation to arise where I’d bring it to life since late 2018. When asked to contribute a track to this compilation, this was the first idea that came to mind. The title and theme are based on the old minor key blues song “St. James Infirmary,” whose lyrics seem unfortunately timely.
Co-Mission Contributor: Sam Amidon
(Photo by John Spinks)
Meet Sam Amidon:
Folkadelphia note: Sam is a gracious soul; when we were still brainstorming about Co-Mission project idea, Sam immediately reached out to get involved and donate a track.
Ways to support Sam Amidon:
Co-Mission Contributor: Birdie Busch
(Photo by Todd Erk)
Meet Birdie Busch
Support Birdie Busch:
Co-Mission Contributor: Johanna Warren
(Photo by Shervin Lainez)
Meet Johanna Warren
I was planning to be on tour for the rest of 2020, but now I’m surrounded by nettles and bleating lambs in the hills of rural Wales. Everything I’d been working so hard on for a long time isn’t happening anymore, so it’s been a massive gasp of letting go… but I trust what’s happening, and I’m grateful for the course correction. The hypocrisies of identifying as a healer while living life on tour, burning tons of fossil fuels to travel the globe peddling plastic, has been wearing on me for years. What I find myself doing now instead—filling my days with foraging, farming, and gathering firewood—actually feels much closer to my core values and sense of integrity.
Co-Mission Contributor: Mercy Bell
(Photo by Chad Cochran)
So on March 1st and 2nd I was bartending in Nashville and actually invited Fred to come to my bar since he was visiting Nashville. Good thing he didn’t come, because he could have been a casualty of the tornado that touched down around 12:45 AM right outside of my bar, and which decimated my neighborhood of 5 Points in Nashville.
A week later, I got news that SXSW had been cancelled because of COVID-19, where I was scheduled to play my first official showcase. Then, all my shows from March into June were cancelled by promoters and venues. Then my bar had to close! So I’m jobless right now. The irony is that in February I quit my steady desk job so I could go to SXSW, tour, and bartend.
But, my grandmother survived WWII in the Philippines, my other grandparents survived the Great Depression, and my mom lived under a dictator in the Philippines, so I’m leaning on their example. Community, cooperation, creativity, and innovation are what we need right now, and we can do that from our houses. I’d make music even if there was an apocalypse and I was playing for myself at age 75 in a parking lot. Being creative has gotten me through every hard time of my life. This is serious and terrifiying. But I keep reminding myself that if you survive your rock bottom, it can be a trap door to a new life. So hang in there, Earth.
If you wanna help me out:
– FOLLOW me on Spotify, add my music to Spotify playlists.
– Listen to and share my music http://hyperurl.co/k4oriv
– Follow me on social media and engage with me! (It looks good on algorithms) @mercybell on IG and Twitter @mercybellmusic on Facebook
– Buy merch (here! https://mercybell.bandcamp.com/merch)
– Shoot me a tip! Paypal: https://www.paypal.me/MercyB. Venmo: @mercybellmusic
Co-Mission Contributor: Esther Rose
Meet Esther Rose
For me, the end of the world was Friday, March 13th. That was the day I finally realized I had to cancel tour, and it was the last time I saw all my friends in one room. By Sunday night I was on a different tour; I caught a midnight ride from New Orleans to New England to take isolation with my sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and Boots-the-dog in snowy Vermont. I live alone in the French Quarter, and the thought of an enforced solitary quarantine had me running to family connection and the companionship of animals and trees. I was extremely cautious and self-quarantined for 14 days up arriving.
Instead of being panicked about the future, I try to remind myself that even before the pandemic, I am always close to the edge. Being a touring musician is a high risk job and safety is a sweet illusion. I live on the highways and could encounter disaster at every turn. I carry around my most precious guitar and somehow nothing breaks or is stolen. It is an absolute goddamn miracle that touring works as well as it does, and I am always grateful when everything comes out right and we make it to the gig on time.
So now, in this time when nothing is coming out right for any of us, I try to remember what we do have. I wrote this song to help take me to that calm, secure feeling of having enough, and being okay in the present moment. I hope it takes you there, too.
The best way to support me is to digitally download my albums here: https://estherrosemusic.bandcamp.com/ If you already have the music and just want to help out, venmo me at The-Real-Esther-Rose
Co-Mission Contributor: Roger Harvey
(Photo by Simon Flory)
Anika & I flew out to Los Angeles on March 11th to start a tour through the American Southwest, almost instantly upon arrival we knew that cancelling all the shows was in the interests of everyone’s safety. Since then we drove a rental vehicle across America & are now safely settled back home in Pennsylvania. The best way to support us through this time is to listen & to share. If you like our music follow along with us, as we are making a concerted effort to continue to share music through this time in hopes to bring joy to ourselves & to others from a distance.