May Quarantine Updates!

I just realized my blog was looking pretty outdated since I hadn’t updated it since the beginning of quarantine. Some people might not have done much in the past month and a half, but I’ve done quite a bit!

On a personal level I’ve been staying physically and mentally healthy lately, though I definitely had a bit of a breakdown at the beginning. I make sure to work out almost every day, eat healthyish, sleep for kind of eight hours, etc. I hope everyone reading this is doing okay too!

The first important piece of news is my new album, Better, coming out next Friday (May 8th)! I wrote most of the songs in February for the February Album Writing Month challenge (FAWM) in the hopes of releasing on this date, and I was lucky enough that I got my studio time in just under the wire during the first week of March. I even have the CDs and stickers that I wanted, as I was able to find manufacturers that were still making them!

I’ve done a bit of a staggered album release. Anyone who pre-ordered the album got the download a week early (which means at this stage it’s an instant download upon ordering). But the date it will go live on streaming sites is still May 8th. The best place to purchase a download or CD is my store, and if you’re interested in pre-saving on Spotify, Deezer, or Apple Music you can do that here. Thank you so much to everyone who has already pre-ordered and pre-saved. It means a lot to me to see that, especially at a time like this.

You can currently listen to the first two tracks of my album, “Better” and “Make It Right,” on YouTube. I will also paste them at the bottom of the blog for your convenience.

The second most important piece of news is my first virtual album tour! Let’s hope it’s not the first of many, but if that’s what I have to do, then I will do it. But for the time being, it’s a way to switch things up to keep myself interested and having fun through the many live streams I’m doing. And hopefully it will keep things interesting for those who decide to come along for the ride, too!

You can see my basic plan at the flyer I’ve added here, but the most comprehensive and up-to-date list will be at my live shows page. I continue to find and add amazing virtual open mics and festivals regularly (I love how well the music community has come together to create all of this).

Some notable parts of the tour:

  • My traditional day-after-release Facebook Live listening party, Saturday, May 9, 1 pm EDT: Come join me for a virtual party. Bring your own snacks and beverages, I will bring mine, and I’ll be listening live to the full album, giving commentary, and telling stories behind the song.
  • My first YouTube and Instagram Live streams, Saturday & Sunday (respectively), May 16-17, 1 pm EDT: I never really do live sets on Instagram or YouTube, so I thought I would give it a go. In both sets I’ll be performing songs from the album, and then I will be playing some of my favorite originals and covers, different for each set. Requests (for my own songs and covers I’ve done before) will also be accepted.
  • Special Salty Dog Cruise & punk rock themed set for Punk Rock Saves Lives, Tuesday May 19, 4 pm EDT: I’m thrilled to be doing a set to represent the music and events that have played an outsize role in my musical history. The second Flogging Molly (Salty Dog) Cruise in 2016 was the first time I really put myself out there, and I ended up *singing with my favorite singer*!! That was largely thanks to Rob Rushing, who was running a charity called Love Hope Strength at the time. (Punk Rock Saves Lives, which has a broader mission, is his new organization.)
  • Geographically themed tour dates: I’m doing three streams for the three places I would have played most significantly if real shows were allowed: New Jersey (Wed May 13, 4-6 pm EDT), the UK (Wed May 20, 4-6 EDT / 9-11 pm BST), and Germany (Wed May 27, 3-5 EDT, 9-11 pm CDT). In addition to album songs, these will involve requests from people from that place, covers of place-related songs and artists from that place, and maybe some of my songs that have been inspired by those artists.

I have already been doing a weekly Facebook Live stream (Wednesdays from ~4-6 pm EDT) since the beginning of the quarantine, and the response to those has been amazing! I will continue to do those after the “tour” is over. I’m so grateful to everyone who’s chosen to spend time listening to my songs and covers instead of watching Netflix or competing shows. Doing those every week keeps me sane, and it’s so nice to hear that it’s giving other people something to look forward to as well.

Okay, think I’ve rambled on enough here. As promised earlier, here are the first two tracks from Better:

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