Notes on a show

With Graig Janssen and Joan Chew at the Map Room at the Bowery Electric. Photo by Allyson Smith.

When/where was it: Tuesday evening, July 23, in the Map Room at the Bowery Electric, a funky room at the end of the narrow bar, sometimes separated by a maroon velvet curtain (very theatrical). People who have played at Bowery Electric include David Johansen, Patti Smith, Norah Jones, and my personal dark star Lucinda Williams. Also Jesse Malin, who co-owns the BE and other East Village venues.

Who played: Well, me, and my wonderful cohorts Joan Chew and Graig Janssen. Joan played a mean violin on my new song “Woman with a Secret” and Graig did the same on guitar for the “Left It on the Stage,” which will soon be released as a digital single. On that one, Joan coaxed out a snare of sorts on a mini-cajon I bought in Barcelona last year. And for my also-soon-to-be-released ballad “Our Lady of the Tears,” Graig switched to keys (which Joan played on several other numbers), giving it just enough of a barfly feel for the hook line, “Everybody, cheers!” 


What did we play: Here’s the set list! An addendum: A couple of weeks later I almost stepped on an amazing giant moth on the steps leading out of an elevated subway station in Williamsburg, where I was meeting Joan. A woman stopped me and then the two of us used my folded-up set list, which was still in my bag, to carry the moth, which seemed like it might be injured, to a safer spot. (It's probably fine since when I turned around to check, it was gone.) I think set lists are, by nature, cool, but now this one seems more special.

Any gaffes: Of course! I was worried about remembering the lyrics to “Woman with a Secret” because it was new and I’d changed some lines. But instead the words refused to come out of my mouth on the second verse of our very first tune, my protest song “When Hell Freezes Over,” which we’ve done many, many times. Then as I was introducing our cover song of the night, the gorgeous “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” I backed intoI've just discovered from the video replay!my beloved Martin guitar, which fell off its stand with a scary clatter. (It’s fine too.) 

Who came: Old and new friends—many repeat guests and quite a few first-timers—most of them sitting on the worn cushiony furniture that's on one side, a few standing at the door, and a few sitting just beyond at the bar. Also, as usual, my husband and “roadie,” Robert Rosen; after the show, as a bunch of us were talking near the bar, he accidentally crashed into me, sending my beer down my dress. Everybody, cheers!

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