06 April 2021 (released)
06 April 2021
Talent spotted by BBC Radio's Bob Harris, Keating appeared on the Bob Harris show, going on to perform at leading international festivals including Take Root (Netherlands), Glasgow Americana Festival (Scotland), the NJ Folk Festival, The Brooklyn Indie Music Fest, Maverick fest (UK), NXNE (Canada) and The Brooklyn Americana Fest. She has played on the bill with John Hiatt, Dan Bern, Bon Iver & other greats, and toured extensively throughout England, Scotland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands & Denmark. Keating will release her 10th independent album this summer.
Hi Annie! Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you get started in the music business.
I learned to play guitar when I was 12 (mostly self-taught and schooled by other players who took the time to show me things). I wrote my first song at age 13; played in college bands but didn’t have the courage to start making records until I was 30 and my daughter was born. Then a lightbulb went off - I realized I could stay home with her and also pursue my lifelong dream (part-time) of making music and sharing it. Since then, I’ve made eight full-length albums and two EPs, toured internationally many times, and I feel pretty lucky every day to get to do what I love to do. Guess I’m making up for some lost time and having fun doing it.
You've played many music festivals and shared the stage with some well-known artists like Bon Iver and John Hiatt. What's your favorite venue to play and more importantly, what's a favorite memory from being on the road?
Great question but so hard to answer - so many great memories! Take Root festival in the Netherlands was my first big festival, probably about ten years ago, which one featured Bon Iver and John Hiatt. Since it was my first larger- scale festival that one was a real rush. Back then people still bought “signed” CDs and I had hundreds of folks coming up to me after the set wanting to talk and buy albums, which was great. I love to get to meet music lovers and talk about any/all songs that inspire. My favorite VENUE (though I’ve played many wonderful stages big and small internationally over the years) still has got to be Jalopy Theatre in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It’s a small, intimate room and there’s an old-school, authentic magic to the place that creates a unique vibe. Jalopy is also my home away from home in non-pandemic days as I teach various fingerpicking guitar classes, there and I’m on the Board of Directors so we’ve been helping to keep the lights on at our favorite little venue through the pandemic.
My favorite memory from being on the road has got to be playing the outdoor venues and Buscadero Festival in Italy. Specifically, I adored the STORIE DI CORTILE -CORTE SAN ROCCO in CANTU, Italy. It was a special courtyard concert dedicated to and celebrating women. There were eight or so older women there in front of the stage, weaving gorgeous tapestries, showing us the art of women weavers in Italy - an art spanning hundreds of years, women singing and weaving in that courtyard together. What they made was so beautiful. Before the concert, the band and I had dinner with 20 Italian music lovers helping to organize the courtyard series - each person brought a dish - most spoke only Italian. We had a wonderful meal and then hundreds of Italians flooded into the courtyard, candles were lit along the pedestrian street leading up to the stage and we played for hours, joining a wonderful Italian band called SULUTUMANA after our set. They spoke little English and I speak even less Italian, yet we communicated just fine through the universal language of music and delivered some magical songs together. The crowd all got to their feet at the end and I embraced many new Italian friends/fans after the show. It was such a lovely night!
Tell us about your upcoming album 'Bristol County Tides’!
To me, this is an album of awakenings and human connection that feels both universal and deeply personal to my own journey over the last year. Bristol County Tides tells a story of love, loss, and finding what matters most in uncertain times. The album cover offers a painting of the road that I retreated to with my family (my mom’s cottage) during the first five months of the pandemic in Bristol County, Massachusetts. The inspiration for all songs was born there, amidst the rising and falling tides in an idyllic farm to coast New England town, where deep connections were forged amidst times of isolation. I found a kindred spirit (one of the songs on the album) who kindly showed us up the river, teaching me and my son how to navigate the tides and the shallows. We boat a little boat and spend much of our time navigating the river out to the sea, fishing, jumping off island rocks, and teaching our rescue dog to swim. It was both a deeply isolated and yet connected time, a journey of challenges and unexpected joys.
Who are some of your musical influences?
Neil Young was a big influence when I was young – I found an honesty and vulnerability in his songs. My older brothers exposed me to loads of great music that made deep impressions, including the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Al Green, the Band, Van Morrison, Lucinda Williams … all those wonderful artists/bands shaped me and my own music. But probably the biggest influence over the last few years for me has been the songwriting of John Prine (RIP a terrible loss to COVID). The way he tells a story, mixing humor and honest, true, deeply felt emotions knocks me off my feet. He’s my songwriting inspiration.
How has Covid affected your life and musical journey?
I don’t know if I would have written these 15 songs if I hadn’t relocated to that country dirt road. I met someone who inspired something in me. The months of quarantine and disconnect from my “normal” busy life and friendships opened up time for thinking, writing and feeling new things. So ironically, the initial isolation and relocation carved out space for creativity. The songs just kept tumbling out as spring turned to summer. All the time on the river somehow shaped these songs - you can hear references to the water, the tides, “the marsh an incandescent green” in most of the songs. On the other side of the coin, I sure have missed live shows. Haven’t done one since 2019 and that’s been really hard. Teaching and writing fuel me but there’s an energy to live shows with the audience feeling the music that nothing can replace. I’ve done my share of zoom/online shows and they don’t have the same energy or impact at all for me.
What's next on the agenda for you and how can our readers continue to follow along?
We’re still in the pre-release phase, which is exciting. The album doesn’t officially come out until June 4th, but friends/fans of the music can download all 15 songs on Bandcamp here for first access (now) to the songs: https://anniekeating1.bandcamp.com/album/bristol-county-tides. My website has most of the other relevant links/info www.anniekeating.com, including Twitter,Facebook and my YouTube channel where I post music updates and videos. I’m currently starting plans for a big fall CD release show in Brooklyn AND a five-country international tour for the spring or summer of 2022. Lots of fun ahead!