With the impact of COVID and 2020 as a whole still being felt in the performances spaces, live music venues, and small theaters across Western Massachusetts, it’s good to get back out there and support the venues bringing entertainment back to the people.
One of those places is The Foundry in West Stockbridge about 9 minutes from our Lee store #intheBerkshires (and the next exit away on the Mass Pike/I-90E).
And Saturday, July 31, they are hosting the powderkeg vocal powers and rich keys-and-brass soundscapes of the Emily Braden Quartet, which Canna Provisions is a proud sponsor.
We caught up with the Emily before their show (see below for tickets and details) to talk Harlem life, cannabis in a time of COVID, and music as necessary component to the human species.
STEVIE, BIRD, MILES, AND ELEMENTS OF THE AMERICAN SONGBOOK CAN BE HEARD IN YOUR WORK. WHAT ARE YOUR TOP INFLUENCES THAT INSPIRE YOUR SOUND TO THIS DAY?
I always come “home” to The Great American Songbook because I love the timelessness and seek out the freedom, spontaneity and improvisation that is encouraged within the straight ahead genre. So much learning happens each time I sing a standard. It’s a very “alive” music for me – full of never-ending exploration, discovery and self-expression. I also love how it is a vehicle for connecting and communicating with musicians and audiences on stages all around the world. Having said that, I’m a devoted, eternal student (and fan!) of Black American Music on the whole and might say I gravitate towards soul music most of all. Stevie Wonder is a HUGE influence for me – both vocally and as a songwriter! I always cite Ella Fitzgerald and Chaka Khan as pillars for the sound I love and aspire to.
HOW HAS LIVING IN HARLEM INFLUENCED YOUR SOUND AND YOUR COLLABORATIONS?
Harlem is hallowed ground for every single American artform and the birthplace of so much history and Black culture past and present. Living and creating amongst people from all over the world, many of whom are directly part of the lineage of Black American Music has been one of the greatest gifts of my life. Music is a language and my “vocabulary” has been heavily shaped and refined by all of the incredible musicians and folks I’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate with here. On stage and off, being in Harlem has taught me so much about the history of the music, particularly about its essential and constant role in the movement for Black liberation.
DO YOU CONSUME CANNABIS? IF SO, WHAT’S YOUR CHOSEN PRODUCT OR METHOD?
I do occasionally partake! Mostly I use it for creative inspiration. It helps me unlock creative pathways when I’m songwriting and amplifies a beautiful experience. During the pandemic I started taking edibles on a regular basis as a sleep aid and to help with anxiety. As a vocalist, I generally avoid smoking so gummies/edibles have been a great solution to that!
WHAT MAKES A GREAT SMALL INTIMATE ROOM WHEN YOU’RE PERFORMING? ENERGY? ACOUSTICS? ETC.
A beautiful energy and connection with the audience outweighs a lot of things for me but the longer I do this, the more I appreciate the art (and am less willing to compromise) of good sound and beautiful acoustics in a room. It makes vocalizing much more enjoyable and opens me up to new creative possibilities.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR ALBUM CANNON & SPARROW, WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO RECORD AND WRITE DURING THE LAST YEAR OR SO?
Cannon & Sparrow is a collection of wild flowers-as-songs that have bloomed over the past four years from the windblown seeds of grief. The personal devastation of losing my father to cancer within a week of the 2016 Presidential election, which I experienced as a collective devastation and painful awakening, was really what started the process. I then lost both my maternal and paternal grandmothers within a year of each other. Then the pandemic. Though it is far from being a “sad” sounding album on the whole and very much centers on the joy that springs forth from grief, creating the album has been essential to my processing and healing. My producer Misha Piatigorsky and I did quite a bit of recording (and re-recording) during the pandemic months and though it hasn’t been an easy process, I’m happy to finally be nearing its release.
HOW HAS RETURNING TO THE STAGE AFTER COVID NOURISHED YOUR SOUL?
How has it not? It’s like someone that loves and lives by the ocean their whole life and then spends a year and a half in the desert. The gratitude and joy upon returning can’t help be even richer and more profound. Not to mention how incredible it has been to return to music after so much self-reflection and time dedicated to digging around in this heart of mine. The time has been transformative for me and hopefully has made me a better artist and human being. I find myself in a newfound state of wonderment and amazement these days when it comes to music. I am returning to the stage with a deeper understanding of my purpose as an artist, that is, to facilitate emotional experiences for all involved (myself included), and see music making as a calling and spiritual practice. I am also seeing with fresh eyes just how “human” music is – that making and participating in music is instinctual and necessary for us as a species.
TICKETS FOR JULY 9 SHOW AT THE FOUNDRY RIGHT HERE
COVID-19 Guidelines: We hope our patrons enjoy the safety of our outdoor programming and will choose to protect themselves by wearing a mask if they are unvaccinated at all indoor events. No food or drink from outside the venue is allowed.
$25 – Table Seating: Guests are offered table service and may order from our full bar menu.
$18 – The Foundry Green (General Admission): Guests sitting on the green are welcome to bring their own chairs and/or blankets and may order canned beer and wine.
Seating/ Bar/ Food Truck Open: 5:30 PM
(This event is outdoors.)
Due to the possibility of inclement weather, there are a limited amount of pre-sale tickets available online. If the event is sold-out, but remains outdoors, there will always be general admission tickets available at the box office the night of the event.
TICKETS FOR JULY 9 SHOW AT THE FOUNDRY RIGHT HERE
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Please Consume Responsibly. This product may cause impairment and may be habit forming. For use only by adults 21 years of age or older. Keep out of the reach of children.
This product has not been analyzed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is limited information on the side effects of using this product, and there may be associated health risks. Marijuana used during pregnancy and breast-feeding may pose potential harms. It is against the law to drive or operate machinery when under the influence of this product. KEEP THIS PRODUCT AWAY FROM CHILDREN. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgement. The effects of Edibles may be delayed by two hours or more. In case of accidental ingestion, contact poison control hotline 1-800-222-1222 or 9-1-1. This product may be illegal outside of MA.