Co-Mission Contributor: Sarah La Puerta
Meet Sarah La Puerta
Several months ago, I moved from Lockhart, Texas into an old stone chapel in upstate New York to embark on a new creative journey. I hardly got a chance to look around the city of Troy before everything shut down, so now here I am, confined to my chapel’s ambivalent religion of isolation. Plans that seemed certain are now tenuous. Admittedly, very few things felt certain even before the pandemic. Plans that were threadbare have since turned to spider silk.
Right now, instead of preparing for a tour of Australia, I’m preparing a tamale in the oven — and I’m grateful for both the tamale and the oven. I spend these uncertain, unstructured, unpaid days writing stories, illuminating manuscripts, collaborating with others from a safe distance, and sinking deeper into eccentric habits, while remaining hesitantly optimistic about the construction a post-pandemic new “normal.”
Co-Mission Contributor: Adam Lytle
(Photo by by Dustin Condren)
Meet Adam Lytle
I was in the midst of recording a new album with my band, Quicksilver Daydream when it became apparent that Covid-19 was rapidly spreading through New York City. We decided to hit pause, for our collective safety, and watched as jobs, vacations and upcoming shows were canceled. The first few weeks of quarantine were pretty rough from an existential standpoint. The Brooklyn live-music community was a huge part of my life and it’s taken time for me to adjust to the void it left behind. But, I’ve been lucky to stay in good physical health. The only positive thing about the world getting turned upside down, is that it forces us to focus on what’s important. In this sea of uncertainty, reading, writing songs, and cooking, with my partner Meg, have been my lifeline. We’re taking it one day at a time over here and letting that be enough.
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Co-Mission Contributor: Sadie Dupuis
(Photo by Natalie Piserchio)
With all my tours and readings canceled for the foreseeable future, I’m sleeping in my own bed (or at least anxiously lying awake in it) for more consecutive nights than ever in my life. A more regular home base has made it less daunting to take on new projects this spring. One such project is Wax Nine Journal, a poetry weekly housed by the record label I run. Touring my book through 2018 and 2019 and meeting other poets, I was somewhat astonished to hear how few opportunities there are for us to make income through readings and even through their publishers – it’s harder than music, somehow! Almost all the writers I know rely on other forms of work that cannot happen with social distancing. Wax Nine pays small stipends to everyone we publish, almost all of which are funded by donations. The best way to support me right now is to help me support writers by making a donation (or reading and sharing the journal, or submitting some of your work!)
MY PRETTY POET
I chew up my feet
Running down a mountain times five
When I buy the green gem
I’m envied by thousands
When I look into the makeup monitor
My eyes the color of American money
There are two rescue seals
And I squat naked in front of a curtain
Legs spread like a man at work
At work against the demons in my molar
Which pummel each other all through the nights
Waiting to pop out my skull
You were bad all along
The only pretty thing in this evil world
Is the ghastly bitch
Co-Mission Contributor: Jacob Augustine
Meet Jacob Augustine
Music is my life. It’s all i do. Though I have original music and many original projects on the horizon my livelihood is playing old country songs in nursing homes. Since the pandemic, since before the pandemic all of that good work has gone away and I have been left to my own devices but in the end all is well for me and my thoughts prayers and positive energy goes out to everyone in more need than myself. If you live long enough, your gonna learn about loss. This song is about that. All life is beauty and loss makes it even more so. The fact that we die, and that all things die makes this journey that much more special. All is fleeting. This life is a gift in any from.
Co-Mission Contributor: Twain
(Photo by Sasha Arutyunova)
The pandemic allowed me to stop striving and really begin to take care of my mental health.
Co-Mission Contributor: Erika Lewis
(Photo by Eve Hawthorn)
Meet Erika Lewis
I had written this song some years ago during a transitional time when I could feel a necessary change was coming and it brought up hard feelings of fear and uncertainty. Those feelings came with the realization that the pain of letting go was the only way to move forward and foster new growth. The song felt fleeting and cathartic and at the time, too dreary to share. But now, in this collective place we find ourselves in, it feels relevant. Not just because there is a sadness to it, but because I think we are all experiencing letting go on some level. I had forgotten about it until recently when I was working over some songs with my friend John James, just before the pandemic became a reality. My hope is that this experience serves to open our hearts and minds as we re-emerge into the world.
Before the pandemic I had recently moved to Asheville, North Carolina with my son. Starting over is never easy but spring was on the horizon and I began to make some musical connections and book shows around town for my band, The Lonesome Doves. Hope for the future. Put on hold. For the past 11 years I have also been part of a jazz and blues band from New Orleans called Tuba Skinny. We tour a couple times a year and for us, April is a big month of festivals and events down there that I return to play for. Of course, that was all cancelled as well as the majority of gigs for the rest of the year. Sharing music with people is what I love to do and I feel grateful that I have been able to support myself in it so far
Co-Mission Contributor: Brittain Ashford
Meet Brittain Ashford:
The scope of how I planned to navigate the next year has radically changed, but I know I’m not alone. Mostly I find myself thinking about what it means to live in New York when one can’t enjoy any of the things that make New York… livable. I’m optimistic that, as a society, we will come out of this better. I just wish I could say I knew what that really meant or how long that process was going to take. Fuck it, I need a hug. I recently started a Patreon to try to make up the deficit in my monthly income, which feels weird and very humbling.
Support Brittain Ashford:
Co-Mission Contributor: Sinkane
(Courtesy of the artist)
Prior to the pandemic I had been battling with a lot of anxiety and stress about my career. I was feeling uninspired and altogether frustrated, depressed. I wasn’t looking forward to any of my upcoming gigs. Then, when things shut down, I felt a huge sense of relief. I didn’t have to do any more work…. And then, there it was, upon being forced to slow down and be with myself, I realized that THAT was what had been missing in my life. This pandemic has taken me inward. I haven’t been creative and I am ok with that. I play a lot of video games and cook dinner every night with my girlfriend. I’m not being a musician and it feels great because I know that, when I do decided to start working again, the fruit of that labor will be inspired, fresh, and healthy.
I don’t really feel connected to the live streaming thing but I’ve done it nonetheless. It has showed me how supportive my fans (and music fans all over the world) are. I’ve put up a digital tip jar with every acoustic performance or DJ set that I do on my Instagram/Facebook and the response has been so great. We are all hard wired to connect and this pandemic is showing us that. The news is dark…. but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
If you feel inclined to support Sinkane you can send a donation to:
You can also join my Patreon page and receive exclusive new music, merch discounts and early bird info on any upcoming Sinkane things: Patreon.com/sinkanetv
Co-Mission Collaborator: Kath Bloom
Meet Kath Bloom & David Shapiro:
In these days of Covid -19 the best and worst of humanity seem to be illuminated. I am so grateful and proud of all workers on the “front-line” They ALL should get raises. I am humbled everyday!! I am also sickened by some others: their ineptness and selfish motives. But this is also the territory of artists-to connect us on strong emotional and spiritual levels. To find beauty!!!
Co-Mission Contributor: Kevin Killen
Meet Kevin Killen
From a working standpoint…this situation has it’s good and bad…. I no longer need to come up with a reason to hide away in my studio for days on end, tinkering away at noises. But, the live gigs are gone now and that is where most of the money and enjoyment comes from all of this music stuff. I had big plans for this spring….In April I was supposed to drive out to IL to record an album with my dear friend Peter Adriel. That was going to be book ended by a big tour all around the country. The monetary loss on a project like this is one thing but you cannot put a price on an experience missed. I look forward to a chance to make up that session but for now……I’m still here…tinkering.
Support Kevin Killen:
Paypal @ email@example.com
Venmo @ Kevin_killen