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

The best way to support me is to download my album here: or if you’d like to be a patron you can PayPal me at

You can also find me on:

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)

Meet Sinkane:

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:
Venmo: @ahmed-gallab
Cashapp: $ahmedgallab

You can also join my Patreon page and receive exclusive new music, merch discounts and early bird info on any upcoming Sinkane things:

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!!!

Support Kath Bloom and David Shapiro:

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 @
Venmo @ Kevin_killen

Co-Mission Contributor: Squirrel Flower

(Photo by Maria Gelsomini)

Meet Squirrel Flower

Thankfully i’m living rent free and getting unemployment right now, so i’m not in extreme hardship, but I have lost pretty much every other source of income for the foreseeable future. Downloading my earlier music on bandcamp and supporting me on Bandcamp Day is probably the best way to support me, as well as streaming+sharing my music with others. My tour promoting my debut LP got cancelled, and it’s a strange thing to promote an album without touring. I also urge people to donate to others who are more in need, specifically to bail funds and undocumented worker funds.

Support Squirrel Flower:

Co-Mission Contributor: Louisa Branscomb

Meet Louisa Branscomb

We’re really always standing at the edge of the precipice, but we don’t look down until we trip.

Everything seemed perfect. I had launched a new all-woman band, Geez Louise, and we had some gigs and plans for an album. My regular band, Branscomb-Williams, was touring my new CD I’d worked on for 3 years, and we were at the top of the wave. Then came that that day in March. The full impact of the new pandemic hit me, and I got in the car in Florida and drove 13 hours home to my farm, non-stop.

I’m a songwriter, but my music has always been collaborative. I love the shared experience of co-creating a song together – it’s a special intimacy and bond. So not being able to hang and perform with my bandmates has been one of the hardest parts. When I heard about the project, I decided to take the dare. How could we fly over the landscape of loneliness between us and create again together, from 3 towns in 2 states?

The song that jumped to mind is one I’d never recorded, but one that gave me solace in another disaster –  when the tornado of 2011 destroyed my farm. I’d lost 75,000 trees and my home and barns. There had been no time to grieve and crying was a luxury I couldn’t afford. In a moment of stillness, sitting on top of the scalped hill, I saw a thin pine tree stripped bare that I had tried to save. There it was still standing – the skeleton of a tree, refusing to fall. I was flooded with grief. I thought, what redeems this tragedy – 460 people killed, all the destruction?

Suddenly I was filled with peace. We are all held by this benevolent old world that keeps giving us chances. It’s all we’ve got, and it’s not so bad. We are each the pine, sometimes stripped to the core, but… together or apart, as Ram Dass said, we are all just walking each other home.

I’m honored to be joined here by my distinguished band mates, Jeanette and Johnny Williams, (Branscomb-Williams) and Jody King, a gifted multi-instrumentalist, engineer, and friend who made it possible to pull this off in 2 weeks across 250 miles, with improvised studios lined with grandmothers’ quilts and flannel PJs, varying software, and makeshift equipment.

Sure, I’d rather we were on the front porch playing. And it’s quiet here in the country – I long for the songwriter retreats I’ve had here for 30 years, like in the picture (the lonesome pine that inspired the song is just to the right of center, top of the hill). And fear still lurks in my mirror. But it’s comforting that we are all on this walk together.

Support Louisa Branscomb and the band: 

Co-Mission Contributor: Janice Jo Lee

Meet Janice Jo Lee

I was on tour in British Columbia when events were getting cancelled due to the pandemic. All my April-June tour travel plans are no longer so now I’m at home in Toronto watching my plants grow, riding my bike, and hoping for the collapse of capitalism and the rise of a new world that prioritizes relationships and the earth.

A couple months in, I’ve acclimatized back into my home routine of time, space, and the slow living and listening I like to consider research. I consider myself a live performer primarily, and so this shutdown has given me space to record. The song for the compilation I wrote and recorded in May 2020 in my room. I’m not a professional engineer so I did my best with help from Clark at the radio station! The song is inspired by slowdown, reflection and self-recovery. I experimented with building my melody to match the natural cadence of my spoken word lyrics. Recording can take forever for me because I get stuck trying to make everything perfect. This recording is not “perfect”. Sometimes the bass and my vocal bass don’t match up or my sustained notes are pitchy. I like it. It’s what I could create with the capacity I have, and I prefer to be a human musical instrument and not a machine. What matters to me always is that I express my desired feeling and that the lyrical poetics are rich. I think I did that with this song, “Still of the Lake”. I’m so excited to release this song with Folkadelphia, which is my first release in the USA market. I met Fred at Folk Alliance when he came to our Groundings BIPOC artists concert room. That connection led to this project. Give thanks.

I don’t put my music on strictly streaming platforms, because I think these sites exploit the labour of artists. I am sticking to building audiences as I encounter them, and meet people, rather than hoping to go viral or become discovered from a playlist. As a folk artist, I am interested in directly connecting with my audience through live performances. Since shows are on hold indefinitely, the most direct way to interact with me is on Instagram @janjolee and buying my music or merch on my bandcamp. I’ve also just launched a Patreon! You can close concert halls but the music never dies!

Support Janice Jo Lee:

Co-Mission Contributor: Jolie Holland

Meet Jolie Holland

The pandemic is a real shock to our musical community. I’m concerned for our side players, for the venues, for the culture. My main source of livelihood is gone. Please consider supporting me at where I’m sharing new songs or videos every week, even at the lowest tier. You can buy merchandise directly from me via my website, or by tipping me at Venmo or Paypal. I’m the first Jolie Holland on either of those platforms, i.e., no numbers. I was about to start recording a new album with my friend Heath Cullen as co-producer. I was about to go on tour for the vinyl release of my 2004 album ‘Escondida’. Consequently, I have a lot of ‘Escondida’ themed merch available on my website, including 6 shirt designs. Hopefully we can revisit these ideas when the pandemic is past us. During lockdown in the eye of this hurricane, I continue to write, to coach other songwriters, and to work on some longer form writing: a memoir and an illustrated collection of first hand ghost stories.

Support Jolie Holland:

Co-Mission Contributor: Driftwood Soldier

Meet Driftwood Soldier

Humans are good problem solvers because our brains look for patterns. In moments of crisis that instinct goes into overdrive and any old thing can seem hyper-significant. It snowed in Philly this April and I thought ‘Of course! Makes sense! The world’s going to hell.’ A friend of a friend had an infestation of weasels in the screw drawer of his tool shed and I thought, ‘Yes, yes. It all fits together.’ Plagues and omens to no particular end. We’re all just trying to make sense of a world that never asked that of us in the first place.

For people looking to support us during an uncertain time, we released a new album back in the fall, and the best way to help us out is to go on Bandcamp and send a digital copy of Stay Ahead of the Wolf to a friend as a gift.

Support Driftwood Soldier: