Lamplighter Sessions at Club Passim

For more information, see the Lamplighter Sessions Page

I have been transported by music suspiciously often in this life, and from the beginning, I sensed a pattern: most of these moments were impromptu, they happened offstage, and they involved people communicating something sublime in this elusive yet utterly reliable language we all share. The music-ness of moments is at its best when two or more players don’t quite know where it’s all going, and yet have enough of a common idea of the map at hand that they’re all going together.

The Lamplighter Sessions is my dogged attempt to set up, year after year, lightning rods in a field, to coax these offstage moments into being onstage. It’s my favorite thing I do all year, and this is coming from a guy who tours Ireland and Alaska, who plays concerts in a cave underneath West Virginia, and who tours by bike in the autumn. The Lamplighter sessions is a chance for me to give back, to all the great musicians I’ve met, and all the great audiences I’ve been lucky enough to assemble.

This year, it feels safe to say that the Sessions have coalesced into a one-room, five-night festival. We’ve done this enough times that the recurrent “Hey, next year we should do THIS” ideas have actually happened: this year we will have an exhibition of paintings by Midwest artist Jeremy Pinc. We will have a full-on Hallowe’en show, with songs, spoken word, and genuine costume theatrics. My co-curator, Mr. Barry Rothman, has been indispensable in pulling all these threads together, and we must thank the Iguana Fund, which awarded us a budget for transportation and promotion.

Some faces recur, most are new, but at the core of it all will be strangers and friends coming together to make up a set list out of thin air, just by reacting to whatever happens. I live for this, when one of the players transports not just the audience, but the musicians on stage, and then, once time resumes, someone says “What’s next?”