One of Joel’s friends graciously hosted a private house show for close friends and family. There were about 25 people who came, and it was so awesome to catch up with friends and family. Having an opportunity to share more about the writing behind my music with people I love has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. The only hitch in the evening: after three days of straight performances, my voice was feeling raw. Real raw. Throughout the day I was warming up, hoping to slowly convince my voice to work for me. I was at its mercy.

The highlight of the evening was having Joel begin the show with several of his own songs. His writing is fresh and unique, but also familiar enough to be easily listened to. A mix of poetry and storytelling are applied to colorful acoustic harmonies. His music is hauntingly beautiful. It was an honor to share the night with him, and so incredible to hear him explain and perform his music.

A fifteen minute break separated Joel’s performance and mine, and a lot of internal coaching was occurring. At some point, your vocal chords can be warmed up no more, and it’s a mind-over-matter situation. I knew I had to coerce my voice into performing, but it was simply tired. The high falsettos I could normally hit were not as easy or clear, but time was up and I had to perform.

Sharing the “stage” in the house with me after Joel’s performance was Joseph, Joel, and my sister Lauren. We started with a new song, “Time That I Have,” which starts pretty low and mellow, but ends in a much higher range. I figured I’d ease myself into the first song and hopefully my voice would accompany me.

Something so unique about music is how our bodies resonate with it. When you are really into a song or can identify with what someone is singing, music almost takes you to a different state of mind. It transcends normal physical confines, as something temporal connects with your soul. It’s remarkable. As I began to dive into the song mentally and put myself in a place to connect with the song and communicate with my performance, my voice was right there with me. It’s remarkable how a mental or emotional connection can almost force the physical to accompany. My voice wasn’t quite as sharp as normal, but the transcendence of music brought my voice life and shape.

The set was killer. We got to play some brand new songs, I had the opportunity to share what they’re about and how they were written, which is something I love doing. And my voice even held out for the whole thing, which was a pleasant surprise.

This night in Portland was so special to me, and I’ll never forget it. I’m finding more and more that house shows are exactly that…very heartwarming, intimate, and special. There’s something about sharing music in a small space with friends and soon-to-be friends that creates immediate community. I believe that music is supposed to connect with people and help people connect with each other, which is precisely what a house show does on a highly tangible level.

Photo by Joshua Womack.