Solo Performance in Williamsburg / by Sam Abelow

On June 20th, 2015 I did my first ever solo performance at Muchmore’s in Williamsburg. This was my first full set without a backing band. I had never performed, for an entire hour in all the years since I started doing music, completely alone.

Reviving the Past

I began the set playing on my Martin acoustic guitar, singing early compositions like “Butterflies” and “Song for Molly”. I explained to the crowd that having been written so long ago, the performance have evolved noticeably. These early songs, which were previously released under a different name, are going to be featured on an upcoming “Live and Uncut” album.

The crowd responded immensely to my raw and straightforward sound. The initial five songs all date back several years and it wasn’t until I played “Eternal Sleep”, which will be featured on the upcoming self-titled album, that I played a recently written piece I noted to the audience that they might notice a difference in the songwriting in the newer work.

New Influences and Sounds

After performing “Do Was a Deer” I commented on how it's lot like an Indian raga, or sitar music, which often sits on a single chord, expressing a definite meditative mood. I explained how, while working on the “Live and Uncut” project, my session drummer James Southworth, brought in some Indian drums called Tablas to enhance the vibe of the mellow, yet emotional song.

Next I played “The Black Sun” and also explained how James brought in the African drum called a Djembe for that recording session. I talked briefly about my interest in world music, rhythms and culture. This influence is being combined into my recent recordings.

received and affirmed

My Fender Telecaster became the foundation for the latter half of the set. I played the recently released song “Thick Skin”, singing with all my heart about the struggle to be "in this world". There is a music video in the works, but in the mean time be sure to download the EP.

I finished out with an encore of “Blood Sacrifice”, in which I explained the symbolism of the sacrifice. I had been reading the book “The Origins and History of Consciousness” by Erich Neumann which analyzes the archetypal imagery of mythology and ritual throughout the ages. I explained how the sacrifice symbolically represents the offering up of the individual self to the greater unknown. Surprisingly, this far out idea was received with cheers and "whoos!".

It was an unusual, inspiring and rewarding experience to share my music in this stripped down fashion. People were connecting with the stories that my songs tell; personal poetry which exposes my most vulnerable moments. This authentic expression of the human experience is healing both for myself, the writer and the listener.