- Jeanette Bonnell
Kate MacLeod Sings Her Heart Out Online
Even for one of Utah's most prolific folk artists, this pandemic has been one of adaptation. Luckily for Kate MacLeod, transitioning her diverse style of music to a digital format during this time has resulted in her crafting a new weekly tradition for her fans to enjoy. Each Sunday, MacLeod streams live on Facebook for her Sing Your Heart Out Online Sing-In, where she performs covers, original songs and deep cuts that never made it to one of her many albums—on Valentine's Day, she sang a charming track called "That Kind of Love Goes Far." An expert on the violin and on guitar and harmonica, MacLeod's brand of Americana folk blends influences like bluegrass and classical with farther-flung Celtic and Eastern European traditions. This mixing of traditions has earned her fame across the country among her contemporaries, admiration by way of covers of her songs, and awards like the Folk Alliance International's Best of the West Award, which she won in 2019. She's also toured all over the world, which makes the chance to see her from your very own living room a unique opportunity. Past Sing-Ins are saved and posted up on her YouTube channel for your re-viewing pleasure (youtube.com/macleodkate). This week's upcoming episode will stream on Facebook as usual, but with a special twist as the second episode of her St. Patrick's Day special, where in addition to her usual angelic singing and pleasant between-talk, she provides some education on topics such as Irish Fiddle Tunes and more. Visit facebook.com/KateMacLeodMusic Sunday at 7 p.m. to tune in.
Studio Saturday at Provo's Covey Center for the Arts
Everybody knows that Utah County's full of some of Utah's most vibrant talent, and a bunch of it will be on display this Saturday, March 20 at the Covey Center. For starters, there's Cherish DeGraaf, who's mentioned in our feature story this week, and alongside her, the night will be filled out by five other artists, including Steven Fogamomi. Fogamomi's style is suited to a lineup next to folks like DeGraaf, with a low-key indie pop approach that spices things up thanks to rousing keyboard parts on songs like this year's "Up Late" and funky guitar riffs on "The Sea." They'll also be joined by Eli Jaxon, an artist with only a few tracks out, but whose music seems to meld electric guitar parts with what would otherwise be straightforward balladry on songs like "Waiting for Summer," featuring Macy Garrett. Other folks on the lineup include Jason Fullmer (who performs as Mr. Notewordy), Neil Mayfield and Izzy Searcy. Tickets for this lineup are only $5, available online or at the door—and obviously with all in-person shows these days, it's worth trying to get a ticket as soon as possible, since there is limited seating available. Doors are at 6:15 p.m., and info for this event and others at the Covey Center can be found at provo.org/community/covey-center-for-the-arts. Face coverings are required and socially-distanced seating will be enforced.
Jonzey Album Release at Kilby Court
A special night at Kilby Court is coming up here on Thursday, March 18, where young local up-and-comer Jonzey will release his first album a year after his EP Set Apart debuted. Digging deep into the soft bedroom genre, Jonzey's compositions are delicate, smothered rather than hushed, in the way that matches a certain kind of day—one spent at home, overcast sunlight the only light around, the kind of lazy gloom that feels all too accessible these days. On the five-track Set Apart, Jonzey established this sound for himself with modest synth keyboards and barely-there warped vocals on thrumming tracks like "Missed Calls." Elsewhere, on songs like "Blue Eyes," acoustic loops and lo-fi, blanketed beats sound like a muggy, hazy summer day that might—but probably won't—break out into a thunderstorm. On "Secondhand," from the same EP, Jonzey sings in a ridiculously small voice something that sounds like "run, run, run, away, now you've gone and fucked it up, now I'm gonna run away," which in its mutedness does a good job of translating the kind of shame that goes into running away. More recent singles like "My Dear" and "This Moment," also both from 2020, feature lusher production, building on the thin, woolen sound of his prior releases while keeping the same soothing qualities. It will be interesting to see how these qualities show up on his first album, The Tangled Web We Wove. Opening is Harvey Milk Boulevard, tickets are $15 and the show's doors are at 6 p.m. Visit kilbycourt.com for tickets and info on COVID protocols.
- Utah Symphony
Large Venues Re-Opening this Spring
Salt Lake County Arts & Culture-run venues are reopening this spring, and in addition to the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center and the Eccles Theater making way for dance, comedy and performance art, Abravanel Hall is bringing fine music back to the ears of SLC residents. This isn't their first time round with reopening; they tried it out for a few hopeful months between September 2020 and the end of November, when they were forced to close as cases rose around Thanksgiving. But with the loss of traditional holiday shows performed by the Utah Symphony at the hall, there comes the jubilant opportunity of welcoming spring, and hopefully a year that sees COVID losing its grip on all the things we hold culturally dear. Live performances by the Utah Symphony will be starting March 25, with a slew of dates progressing well through the spring into May, which should thrill those who have been missing their Mozart, wishing for Wagner, for Bach to come back, etc. Unlike solo artists or bands of a few people, classical acts like the symphony are a little more difficult to enjoy virtually—the grandiosity of an orchestra hinges on the acoustics of grand halls, after all. So it's surely also a relief to the players, too, who likely didn't get much chance to enjoy that unique thrill of playing in a great hall, to actual people, for most of the last year. And though these new dates ride alongside the statewide mask mandate lifting on April 10, masks and social distancing will still be required while attending each show. Find out more info on these upcoming dates at saltlakecountyarts.org.
Song of the Week: "long story short" by Taylor Swift
Yeah, yeah, yeah: Taylor Swift is such an obvious pop star to chat on about, and I've mentioned her more in the last year than you could have ever paid me to believe I would before the pandemic hit. But the truth is, the revival of Taylor Swift, Americana Queen has been, I think, one of the triumphs in art during this strange year of the virus. On her second surprise album of 2020, evermore, there are more of the same kinds of songs that are on the first surprise album, folklore—on both, she indulges in rich story weaving, the kind of songwriting that made her famous as a teenager who loved country clichés. On evermore, there's one particularly danceable track called "long story short" that I like to turn on often. Backed up by a skippy, papery beat and Swift's winking charisma, it's a song that returns to the self-mythologizing that Swift is also famous for, but which she mostly departs from on these two pandemic albums. It could be a sequel to her 2017 single "Look What You Made Me Do," where she leaned into media gossip about her being a twisted narcissist. On "long story short," Swift sings to her younger self: "Past me / I wanna tell you not to get lost in these petty things." While reminiscing on her less wise days of dying on every hill, she warmly recounts the abandoning of drama and battles to instead enjoy the simplicity of a good relationship. It's a wholesome arc packaged in a catchy song, and when she sums up the travails leading up to her happy ending ("Long story short / it was a bad ti-ime!"), it's tempting to turn it up and shake off one's own bad times.