LADY JANE: Esperanza Friel

Posted on July 10, 2018 by Kristin Kelly

              

When Jocie Adams of the band Arc Iris wrote to us and said, "Do you know Lady Jane? We played a show with her recently. She is from Nothampton and is great!", we had our mission: find this woman, and ask her to play at Ode. And so it came to be. Esperanza Friel, aka "Lady Jane", will be performing at Ode this Friday, and we couldn't be more ready for some good local music on a hot summer night. See you soon! 

What’s the origin story of “Lady Jane”?
The origin story of Lady Jane is a long and winding one, but essentially it boils down to that one song by the stones called "Lady Jane" and how one night at an open mic I had no idea what to put down on the list other than my own name, and out of the blue I started to hum that tune and wrote down Lady Jane on the list.

What inspires you to write a song?
I get inspired at the strangest moments. When I'm grocery shopping or making dinner or out with friends sometimes a melody will pop into my head, and I'll excuse myself to go record it on my voice memos on my phone. My heart and all that anchors it give me most of my material, but sometimes I'll write songs and I have no idea where they came from.



Last time you laughed:
The last time I laughed was with my boyfriend on the beach today. He always makes me laugh—no matter the mood I'm in, he always finds a way to make me smile, and he's the funniest person I know. 

Guilty pleasure:
BBQ potato chips. 

Go-to summer album/song:
My go-to album this summer has been Super Trouper by ABBA. It's bouncy and joyful and just sounds like summer to me. Honorable mention goes to Caroline Rose's album, Loner, which has also been on constant repeat. 

What are your favorite summer spots in Western Mass?
Favorite swim spots are the Chesterfield Gorge and Chapel Falls.

What do you wear when you want to look and feel powerful?
To feel and look powerful I wear my vintage Levi mom jeans, a white t shirt, my Blundstone boots, and all of my jewelry, which consists of the four rings I wear everyday and two necklaces that I made with small charms that mean the world to me. 

Three years from today, where do you want to be and what will you be doing?
In three years I hope to have graduated from the MSW program at Smith (where I am currently a student this summer) and still making music. Doing both this summer has been a struggle, but it's proof to me that this is how I want my life to always be. Full and vibrant and busy and full of love. And if nothing happens the way I want it to, than at least I hope I am happy whatever I am doing and wherever I am.



Who are your music icons?
My music icons are Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell. After my first heartbreak in high school, Blue was the album I turned to. I named my first car Stevie Nicks. I listen to so much Fleetwood Mac it's insane.

What/whom do you sing for?
I sing for a lot of people. People I've been and people I've known and people I know right now at this moment in time. Music is kind of like that for me. Timeless and nostalgic and full of everything all at once.

Happy Planting w/ Alison Annes

Posted on June 09, 2018 by Kristin Kelly


 Alison Annes is her own bouquet: a dynamic arrangement of all forms of beauty, adding flourishes of color to the day. Florist by trade, life-enthusiast by nature, and an expert in "what looks good together", her expertise keeps plants and customers alike happy (and artfully arranged) at Ode. Everyone has been long awaiting this Ode art workshop! Choose from succulents and plants Alison has personally selected, and learn how to properly plant and care for your creations. And Alison will be there in all her glory (and wisdom), which means you will get to bask in in! We've reserved two nights for the workshop: June 13th and 14th, 6-8PM. There are still a few openings, so call or stop by Ode to sign-up! 

What’s your first memory of learning how to grow something?
In the garden with my Mum growing her prize winning roses, using her secret recipe fertilizer.

Best smelling flower?
It's so cliché, but a beautiful lavender rose called Ocean Song.

Spirit plant?
Yarrow

Other than working at Ode, what have been some of your favorite jobs?
Working at Adobe Flowers, where I learned so much from my mentor, Miss Nikki. Owning my own
flowers shops was a great accomplishment! My best job ever though was working on a horse
farm every summer as a child, payment was a ride at the end of a long day!

Top three rules of green-thumb?
Select plants that will do well in your home's environment.
Don’t be scared! Plants tend to intimidate us, don’t let them!!
Set a watering schedule, most plant problems stem from watering too much or too little.


What makes you blossom?
My grandson, watching him devour life with such enthusiasm. Oh, to be 7.

Favorite plant to cook/eat? How do you prepare it?
I love fresh herbs! Have to say Cilantro in homemade salsa, it’s such a sassy herb!

Where do you go to picnic, and what’s in your basket?
My favorite place is by a river, and my basket must have roast ham, salad, cheese, pickled
onions and sausage rolls...and a good bottle wine!


What’s your go-to gardening song?
Landslide. I yell along to it, forget my worries, and get lost in the dirt!

How does nature speak to you?
It calms me. If I close my eyes all my fond memories come from the sea, carpets of bluebells in
the woods, picking wild blackberries with my granddad.

Reserve your spot for Alison's Happy Planting Workshop by stopping by or calling Ode: 413-727-8026!



                                                   Photos by Chattman Photography
 

Time’s Up and The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts

Posted on May 01, 2018 by Kristin Kelly

Ode is hosting its second annual Auction for Action on May 11-13, a silent art auction featuring a curated collection of art, jewelry, and clothing. Inspired by the rising tide of women speaking out and for each other, Ode will be donating all the proceeds from this year's Auction for Action to Time's Up and The Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts.  Join us in supporting these incredible organizations on May 11-13, by bidding in-store or on our Instagram page, or attending our aunch party on Friday, May 11, 6-8pm.

The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts fuels progress toward gender equity by funding the most promising solutions, collaborating with results-oriented partners, and by elevating the collective power of local women to take charge, and to lead with purpose. 

Since 1997, Women’s Fund has awarded over $2.5 million to more than 150 nonprofit organizations helping to build long-term, sustainable, change through:
Leadership Development – 250+ women trained to lead communities in public, private and policy leadership roles through our Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact (LIPPI).
Local Investment – 3 million women and their families in Massachusetts are impacted through strategic partnerships and grant making.
Shared Vision – Over $2,500,000 has been invested by donors.



Powered by women, Time's Up addresses the systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace that have
kept underrepresented groups from reaching their  full potential. They partner with leading advocates for  equality and safety to improve laws, employment  agreements, and corporate policies; help change the  face of corporate boardrooms and the C-suite; and enable more women and men to access our legal system to hold wrongdoers accountable. Time's up wants all victims and survivors to be able to access justice and support for the wrongdoingtheyhave endured.  By lifting up the voices, power, and strength of women working in low-wage industries, Time's Up hopes to help put an end to the lack of financial stability that makes women vunerable to high rates of gender-based violence and exploitation in the workplace.

Alison Advises: Plant Tips for Spring

Posted on April 22, 2018 by Kristin Kelly

In honor of Earth Day and our love for providing a place for all living things, we decided to sit down with Alison, our resident florist and plant guru, to give us her top tips and tricks to having the greenest thumb in your own personal space.  

I love the idea of making sure we are checking our plants all year long, but Spring is a great time to think about fertilizing, repotting, as well as taking cuttings and separating plants.  If you want your plants to be bold and beautiful, you have to dig deeper into the soil. I am going to share a few of my tips and tricks on how to display plants in containers throughout your house in an upcoming Ode Art Workshop (June 13 & 14), so be sure to join us!

FRESH AIR
Spring is a good time to take your houseplants outside. Once the temperature is warm enough, to give them a good wash and a sheltered but sunny day on your porch.  Your plants need to get some fresh air too!

FERTILIZING
Definitely think about fertilizing in the Spring, but be careful with indoor plants because they don't need as much as you may think.  Some indoor plants require very little fertilizer and some plant types require their own special formula. It's always best to check what your specific plant needs and start with a balanced fertilizer which you can always get from a great local garden store.  Usually, the 20/20/20 and 30/20/20 fertilizer varieties (the numbers correlate to nutrition values such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) are what is recommended as a general guideline, but it is best to know your plants on a individual basis.

REPOTTING
Repotting is always advised when you bring a new plant home but not always needed or necessary.  Some plants like overcrowded pots, some like going solo, so always check before you decide to repot (reference resources below for more info). One of the most important things with plant care and repotting is buying very high quality, organic soil.

CUTTINGS & SEPARATING
Even though we are talking Spring, cuttings can be done throughout the year.  Plant cuttings are basically an easy way to multiply your plants! Some of the easiest plants to start with are Spider Plants, Wandering Jews, and Anthuriums. These varieties are great beginner plants as well.  Something I’ve learned this year is the easiest plants to grow are Bromeliads...did you know that they have pups (the pups are their babies that grow beside the mother plant in the same pot!). These pups are easily separated to make more fabulous potted Bromeliads for all over your house. But remember, if you have pets, always check when bringing a new plant into your home so that your fur babies are safe around them.

Alison’s Favorite Resources for Plant Tips, Necessities & Inspiration:

The Sill - NYC (www.thesill.com)
Hilton Carter (IG @hiltoncarter)
Jamie’s Jungle - London (IG @jamies_jungle)
Conservatory Archives London (https://www.conservatoryarchives.co.uk/)
Local Garden Stores: Andrew’s Greenhouse, Hadley Garden Center

Be sure to join us at the next Ode’s Art Workshop with Alison on June 13 & 14, where Alison will educate and guide us on creating a beautiful planters to decorate your home or patio. Stay tuned for more info!

Heather Maloney

Posted on April 12, 2018 by Kristin Kelly

                                          
                                                                              [All photos by Chattman Photography]

Artist, activist, and adamanent coffee connoisseur, Heather Maloney is the kind of woman you want at your table. Listening to her songs makes you feel like you have a close friend in the room. Through music, she tells stories of love and loss, heartbreak and heart-mending.  We were lucky enought to get to hang with Heather and play dress up for a day, and she couldn't have been more gracious and humble...characteristics sometimes rare in a person with so much talent and prowess. Join us in welcoming Heather and her songs to Ode on Friday, April 13th, from 6-8PM.  

What inspires you to write a song?
Most of my songs are silver linings; the brightest and shiniest things I could drudge up from my darkest and gnarliest experiences. That sounds dramatic, but it's true for me. When I'm struggling with something I write it into a song and I usually write my way into the bright side of it. My mom is a psychotherapist (sometimes that's more obvious than I'd like), and growing up in a household where talking about feelings was as normal as talking about what to eat for dinner ("I'm sorry for unconsciously projecting my need for validation onto you yesterday at the recital. Do you want pizza or pasta?"). The parallels between therapy and songwriting have shaped me fully, and many of the same reasons someone might go to therapy are the same reasons that prompt me to write songs.

What's your most rockstar outfit?
I don't own it yet, but I've been on a quest for leather pants for some time. They don't have to be real leather they just have to fit perfectly. Where are they, dammit?? 


What's your favorite place to perform?
On a single tour I'll perform in a grand theater one night and a living room the next. I can say honestly that some of the most memorable, electric moments have happened in the smaller listening rooms. There is something that just can't be replaced when the room gets bigger; a connectivity and a feedback loop between performer and audience that is just so contained, undiluted and pure magic. 

You just released a song, "How Many More". Can you tell us about the impetus for writing and recording it?
My February tour took me through Florida, right after the Parkland school shooting. I heard the news when I was staying in Orlando, right down the street from the Pulse nightclub, where over the past 2 winters I've watched the walls around the building become an ever-changing shrine of rainbows, candles, flowers and notes. About 10 minutes across Route 4, La Plaza Live was where I'd played my first show in Orlando, only a few months before singer Christina Grimmie was shot and killed standing at the same merch table I stood at. Listening to the horrifying live reports from Parkland, I was hit with a nauseating feeling of total immersion... of being totally immersed in a culture of gun violence that has run so rampant and so wildly out-of-control that it's evidence could be seen in every direction. It was everywhere. I went back to my cottage and picked up my guitar, thinking that if I could write out the feeling maybe I'd be able to shake the feeling of helplessness. I tried to write but nothing worth keeping came out, just some sloppy emotions with zero clarity. A few days of consuming news later, there she was. Parkland survivor Emma Gonzalez gave a speech that moved me to my core and lit my heart on fire. I picked up my guitar again, and this time a song came pouring out, fully formed. The song title was clear too: How Many More. 


I had a show in St. Augustine Florida that night, and for the first time in my 8 years of touring, I wrote and performed a song in the same day. I played How Many More again the following night in Sarasota. After each show I promised a number of people that I'd take an iphone video and post it in a few days. I never did. It dawned on me that the song could be utilized in a more powerful way than just a facebook post.

So I got on the phone and asked for a whole bunch of favors from a whole bunch of people, and amazingly every single person said YES. Within a couple of weeks we'd recorded, mixed, mastered, filmed and released 'How Many More' without spending a cent so that literally 100% of the proceeds generated have gone (and are still going!) directly to gun control advocacy groups (Everytown & Mom's Demand Action). I was blown away by the generosity of the entire group of volunteers and I've been blown away by how much support has poured in from downloads, donations & streams. (Here are all of the generous people who volunteered their time, skills & resources: Signature Sounds Recording Co, Ryan Hommel, Andrew Oedel at Ghost Hit Records, Melissa McClung, Kevin Butler at Test Tube Audio, Susa Talan and, what do you know, Ode Boutique!!)



If you could bring back the Lilith Fair, who would perform?
Oh yesssss I love this question. So many songwriters-who-happen-to-be-female are killing it right now. Aimee Mann's last record is still on repeat so hopefully she'd come and play the whole damn thing. I'm With Her is a super-group that has blessed us all. Laura Marling I will love forever and ever amen. Courtney Barnett, The Staves, Tori Amos, Regina Spektor, Lori McKenna, Emmylou Harris, Jesca Hoop, Brandi Carlile, Lucinda Williams, Phoebe Bridgers, HAIM, First Aid Kit, Anais Mitchell, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, The Weather Station, Julien Baker, Neko Case, Valerie June, Gillian Welch, Patty Griffin, there are so many more!! But seriously I'd die from happiness if all of these women played a single festival. I would just cease to exist. 

PS - NOWHERE in the festival write-ups would be read the words "Female Singer-Songwriter".  At THIS festival we'd know that that's not a fucking genre. All of these women are in different genres and NONE of them have to do with their gender! (sorry I just had to vent)


What are your daily rituals on the road?
1 - finding the snobbiest most delicious pour-over coffee in whatever city I wake up in.  2 - Podcasts podcasts podcasts. So much van-time.  3 - Find two minutes to breath/meditate before the show.  4 - Lavender diffuser and classy-AF-single-serve Sutter Home = hotel room of my dreams.

You spent years studying at a meditation center. What is your relationship with meditation now?
On a silent retreat, meditation can be very structured. Each day there is a rhythm and pattern, a certain amount of hours spent doing sitting meditation, walking meditation, attending a Dharma talk... you eat at the same times, sleep at the same times, watch the same breath, bow to the same Buddhas, wash the same dishes, walk down the same path through the same woods. It's quiet. The silence is everywhere, and eventually it grows inside of you too. It's a container, with just the right conditions to support this inner-stillness. 

When I stepped outside of that container to start my life as a touring musician, I stepped into a world that was the complete opposite in so many ways. Very little to no structure at all. No rhythms or patterns, eating and sleeping at different times in different time-zones on different pillows each and every night. It's not quiet. It's hand-shaking and restaurants and thin hotel walls and traffic and sound-check. It's constant sound and motion and stimulation. It's the opposite of a container, it's chaos. 

But when I left the meditation center I knew this. It's been my goal, since that day, to integrate that stillness into the unlikeliest of situations- to find and cultivate an inner stillness of the portable variety so I could take it with me wherever I go. I can't say it's been easy. I lose my way over and over. But I am relentlessly committed to returning to center. Sometimes it looks like stopping for just a few breaths. A trip to the bathroom just to breath 3 conscious breaths, a mantra when I'm behind the wheel, a pause before the show, chewing my damn food all the way. I look at the stage as my meditation cushion- the place I return to each night for 45 minutes to an hour of being fully present and connected. Often, it's the place and time I'm most aware and relaxed. My practice is a lot less structured and a lot more fluid than it used to be, but I'm getting better at surfing through it all each year with a bit more grace and equanimity. At least I like to think I am wink


Funniest on-the-road story?
I know there are better ones than this, but the first one that comes to mind is the time my bandmate Brennan was woken up at 4am by a huge, angry, fully-naked man knocking on his hotel room door at 4am in a Marriott in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Brennan tried to explain that it wasn't the right room but the guy was drunk enough that it a decent amount of negotiation before the guy ran away. You just never know what you're gonna see out there.