Afterword: Megan Talay

Afterword to the Greenpointers article on Megan Talay

Hearing Megan Talay live, it’s surprising to know that she was once shy about singing. She sounds like Bonnie Raitt, her voice lively and springy. Before they begin, she and her band members bring their hands in, stacking them one on top of another like they’re on a sports team: Paul Maddison on bass, Kenny Shaw on drums (straight off the plane from Australia where he was playing with Dispatch), and Greg Mayo on guitar. As they break, her band members yell, “happy birthday, Megan!”

Megan Talay - Pete's Candy Store April 10, 2015

She strums the intro of “Light the Way” with her back to the packed audience at Pete’s Candy Store, then turning, she sings, “He said, “I think you were dreamin hard last night / Yeah, I saw you shifting around in your sleep” / But I said, “I’m always dreamin hard.. you know, it’s alright- I’m never free / No I am never free.” Her entire set is filled with melodies and brimming lyrics that move and hook you. Although her music doesn’t always follow the usual verse-chorus structure, her lyrics are so memorable that by the time you hear the chorus for sometimes the second and final time, you’re singing along with her.

Halfway through the set, Talay sings “Forever in my Hand.” As context, she recounts when she entered a songwriting competition with this song during her sophomore year at the University of Miami. Livingston Taylor was a judge. “After I played, he said ‘at first, I thought, you got alotta lyrics here. You got enough lyrics here for three songs. When I heard you singing, it all had a thread and you made it work somehow. You’re a little pitchy, but you’ve got fantastic lyrics here and you don’t want them to get lost.'” If Taylor had heard Talay at Pete’s, he wouldn’t call her pitchy anymore. “He was encouraging me to speak-sing them. It was encouraging in a funny sort of way,” she says.

Katie & Megan Talay - What's My Name Again? April 10, 2015

It was a celebratory night, with her band members giving her a present on stage (a Mr. Potato Head), a dedication to her twin sister, Katie, (Blink 182’s “What’s My Age Again?,” during which Katie joined her to sing “Nobody likes you when you’re 23”), and friends, Beth Callen and Joanna Levine (Pinkwing) on guitar and vocals respectively, joining her for the cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason.” The highlight was her killing it on her guitar solo as she performed her final song, “Miami Take Me Home.” When the set was over, the audience chanted “one more, one more, one more,” but her time was up. To quote what she said at the beginning of her set, “Greg and I finished working on my first EP. If you like what you hear, get on my mailing list and we can hang out and be lovers.” No further guidance required.

Lit & Music in NYC This Week

Thursday, March 19, 8:00pm,Williamsburg: Folk-pop from Matt Keating off his new album This Perfect Crime. (No cover, The Living Room, 134 Metropolitan Ave, between Berry and Wythe)

Friday, March 20, 7:00pm, Cobble Hill: Poetry from Patrick Phillips on a new collection about father/son relationships. (No cover, Book Court, 163 Court Street, between Pacific and Dean)

Friday, March 20, 7:00pm, Greenpoint: For some new inspiration, galleries are open until 10pm on Greenpoint Gallery Night. (No cover, see this static map for all locations)

Saturday, March 21, 11:00pm, Bushwick: Hailing from DC, rock by the NRIs. (No cover, Pine Box Rock Shop, 12 Grattan St, between Bogart and Morgan)

Monday, March 23, 7:30pm, Gowanus: NPR and WNYC’s Ask Me Another blends brainteasers and local pub trivia night with comedy and music with guest, indie-pop singer-songwriter, Ingrid Michaelson. ($20 adv/$25 doors, The Bell House, 149 7th St, between 2nd and 3rd)

Lit & Music in NYC This Week

Thursday, March 5, 8:00pm, Upper West Side: Punch Brothers touring for ‘Phosphorescent Blues.’ ($39.50-$49.50, Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway, between 75th St & 74th)

Thursday, March 5, 9:00pm, Lower East Side: Folk-rock Tam Lin. (No cover, Rockwood Stage 1, 196 Allen St, Houston and Allen)

Friday, March 6, 7:00pm, Cobble Hill: The 2015 Whiting Award Winners Reading. Winners will be announced on Thursday, March 5. (No cover, Book Court, 163 Court Street, Court between Pacific and Dean streets)

Saturday, March 7, 7:00pm, Cobble Hill: The Brooklyn Writers Space Reading Series with authors David GrandJane Rose PorterTerence Degnan and Amy Sohn. (No cover, Book Court, 163 Court Street, Court between Pacific and Dean streets)

Saturday, March 7, 8:00pm, Lower East Side: Red Baraat touring for ‘Gaadi of Truth.’ ($18 in advance, $22 at the door, The Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St, between Kenmare & Bowery)

Saturday, March 7, 11:30pm, Lower East Side: City of the Sun. ($15, Rockwood Stage 3, 196 Allen St, Houston and Allen)

Sunday, March 8, 7:00pm, Cobble Hill: Canarium Poetry Reading with authors Michael MorseTod Marshall and Emily Wilson. (No cover, Book Court, 163 Court Street, Court between Pacific and Dean streets)

Sunday, March 8, 8:00pm, Williamsburg: Red Baraat celebrating Holi. ($15 in advance, Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Ave, between N 11th and N 12th)

Monday, March 9: 8:00pm, Cobble Hill: Brooklyn Poets Yawp. The Yawp is an open mic where you can hear a range of new pieces and works in progress. They offer a poetry workshop at 7pm, just before the open mic at 8. ($5, 61 Local, 61 Bergen St, Bergen and Smith)

Lit & Music in NYC This Week

Wednesday, February 25, 7:00pm, Cobble Hill: “You go to bathroom in a bucket, you’re heating frozen meals over a tiny little Coleman camp stove in an igloo or a small tent, but there is WiFi all over the continent.”Jynne Martin spent six weeks living in Antarctica and many of her poems in her debut collection, We Mammals in Hospitable Times, were written while there. Listen to an interview NPR conducted with her last month or listen to her read at Book Court on Wednesday. (No cover, Book Court, 163 Court Street, Court between Pacific and Dean streets)

Wednesday, February 25 through Saturday, February 28, Chelsea: As an update to last week’s rundown, additional tickets have been released for Sheila Heti’s play, All Our Happy Days Are Stupid. For excerpts of Sheila’s work, read this from her book, How Should a Person Be?, or this from her anthology, Should I Go to Grad School? ($25, The Kitchen, 512 W 19th St, 19th between 10th and 11th)

Thursday, February 26, 9:00pm, Williamsburg: Abby Payne Single Release Show with Pete Francis of Dispatch. I heard the single, “You More,” written for her wedding, at The Round Table last week and it’s stunning. (No cover, The Living Room, 134 Metropolitan Ave, Metropolitan between Berry and Wythe)

Friday, February 27, 8:15pm, Lower East Side: In 2012, I heard alt-country musician Jill Andrews at a house show in DC. She performed songs from her album, The Mirror, released the year before. Her absorbing lyrics and beautiful voice held the room in rapt attention. She is touring with Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek. Watkins also recently recorded a murder ballad, “Banks of the Ohio” with Fiona Apple. ($15 in advance, $20 at the door, Rockwood Stage 2, 196 Allen St, Houston and Allen)

Friday, February 27, 8:00pm, Lower East Side: Priya Darshini. (No cover, Rockwood Stage 1, 196 Allen St, Houston and Allen)

Saturday, February 28, 5:00pm, Lower East Side: Soul, blues, americana duo Pinkwing and folk, pop, rock singer-songwriter Megan Talay played at the December Round Table and are playing back to back again at the early show (No cover, Rockwood Stage 1, 196 Allen St, Houston and Allen)

Lit & Music in NYC This Week

Thursday, February 19, 9:00pm, Village: The Round Table with Abby Payne and Joelle Lurie. I’m looking forward to reading two poems between the sets of these two talented musicians. (No cover, Caffe Vivaldi, 32 Jones Street, off Bleecker near 7th Ave).

Thursday, February 19, 9:00pm, Williamsburg: Laura Gibson. ($10 advance, $12 at door, Rough Trade NYC, 64 N 9th St, 9th between Kent and Wythe)

Saturday, February 21, 8:00pm, Gowanus: Among other entertainment, the next installment of Zev Rector’s Everlasting Manual Electric Show will include a poetry reading by Rachel Voss. You can also read Rachel’s work in Borderline Poetry, Hanging Loose Magazine, and Work Magazine. ($30 for a single ticket or purchase in bulk for a discount, RSVP for location contact: tel: 321-EXIT-BY-5)

Saturday, February 21, 7:00pm, Astoria: If you missed Erin and Her Cello last week, catch them at Don’t Feed the Musicians.($5, Q.E.D., 27-16 23rd Ave, 23rd Ave and 28th St)

Tuesday, February 24, 7:30pm, Upper West Side: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble is performing sold out shows Thursday through Saturday this week, but you can still see Yo-Yo Ma at Avery Fisher Hall in celebration of the Chinese New Year on Tuesday. Along with being a critically acclaimed cellist, he is an extraordinary arts advocate. In 2013, I attended Yo-Yo’s Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at the Kennedy Center. During the lecture, entitled Art for Life’s Sake, he talked about the importance of arts integration in education and moving from STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) to STEAM (+ arts) and how his Silk Road Project uses the arts “to help students develop the tools that will make them eager, rather than fearful, to meet the world they don’t know.” ($45.00 – $115.00, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, corner of Columbus Ave and W 65th St)

Saturday, February 28, 3:00pm, Chelsea: My dear friend, art advisor Heather Flow, introduced me to Sheila Heti’s writing. The seven other performances of her play, All Our Happy Days Are Stupid, are sold out. For excerpts of Sheila’s work, read this from her book, How Should a Person Be?, or this from her anthology, Should I Go to Grad School? ($25, The Kitchen, 512 W 19th St, 19th between 10th and 11th)

Thursday, March 5, 7:00pm, Lower East Side: Jaymay is playing sold out shows Monday, February 23 and Thursday, February 26 at Rockwood, but tickets are still available for her third show on March 5. ($12Rockwood Stage 3, 196 Allen St, Houston and Allen)

Lit & Music in NYC This Week

Wednesday, February 11, 7pm, Williamsburg: Poets at the Yard wants to expose exceptional poetry to a broader community. Hosted by Alexandra Mendez-Diez the evening’s poets include: Russell Dillon, Mary Donnelly, Megin Jimenez and Nicholas Adamski. Beer will be sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery. Cheese from Bedford Cheese Shop will be served, paired with wines from Flatiron Wines. (Free, The Yard, 33 Nassau Avenue 2nd Floor, between Dobbin and N 15th)

Wednesday, February 11, 11:30pm, Lower East Side: “All I want to do is make good music,” says Joe Purdy. ($15, Rockwood Stage 2, 196 Allen St, Houston and Allen)

Thursday, February 12, 7:30pm, Greenpoint: An Art & Poetry Soirée with artist Brooke Borg + poet Ona Abelis. I had the privilege of hearing Brooke and Ona during our reading at Zev Rector’s Everlasting Manual Electric Show a few weeks ago. Whether or not you attend, pick up Ona’s book! RSVP to for location info.

Thursday, February 12, 8:00pm, Gowanus: I have been wanting to go to Mortified for a while now. It is a “Comic Excavation of the Strange & Extraordinary Things We Created as Kids.” We all have something(s). This month’s theme, Doomed Love Show. ($15-20,Littlefield, 622 Degraw St, between 3rd and 4th)

Wednesday, February 11, 8pm, Village or Saturday, February 14, 8pm, Gowanus: I saw Erin and Her Cello in December. Their show is playful and entertaining, which is likely why cult web-to-Comedy Central TV series Broad City asked them to play some of their songs live at the UCB Theatre in Chelsea on February 19. Since that show is sold out, there are two other ways to see them: February 11 (Dead Darlings: V Edition, Free Judson Memorial Church, New York University, 55 Washington Square S, Thompson and W 4th) and February 14 (The Rejection Show, $10-12, Littlefield, 622 Degraw St, between 3rd and 4th).

Through Sunday, March 15, 2pm BAM Harvey Theater: See Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy in the play The Iceman Cometh. It runs Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7pm and on Sundays at 2pm through Sunday, March 15. Suggesting it now because shows are selling out and better to get tickets now. (Starting at $35, 651 Fulton St, between Rockwell and Ashland)

Good Night, Please.

Wisdom from Kate Schutt’s grandmother for when it’s bedtime, but people are still over, talking loudly and not taking leave – a kind, but stern: Good Night, Please. Kate shared this story at her intimate house show last week where we got to hear her, her guitar, and on occasion her father on harmonica and talented saxophonist, John Ellis.

House shows are my favorite way to listen to music, but I first heard Kate live on stage 3 at the Rockwood in December. Stage 3 is the closest you get to someone’s living room and she was there playing with the amazing Julian Lage for their new collaboration, Redstack. She warned in a blog post that the show would sell out. I tried to get a ticket too late and she was not wrong.

Committed to finding a way to see her live after hearing her album No Love Lost, I came across the post “Want to Sing with me Thursday night?” on her blog. I hadn’t sung in front of more than one or two people since my graduating sixth grade class sang Boyz II Men’s It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday at the school assembly, but it was my way in the door. Kate sent me the lyrics for the chorus to Our Legs Are Burning and said “We will be ummmmm … winging it!” This is one of the many reasons I will keep going back to see Kate. For her to open up her work to others and not know what she’s going to get is intensely vulnerable and Kate seems to let herself be vulnerable consistently.

I’m looking forward to seeing Redstack again too. The guitar call and response between Kate and Julian was an open window into a conversation they were having in a different language. Their authenticity pervaded the room and it was one of the best things about the show.

Postscript: From the work Kate had up around her studio, I also learned that she can sketch and draw. And also do things like the Redstack poster in the banner of this post.

Lit & Music Around NYC This Week

Wednesday, February 4, 7pm, East Village: Liars’ League NYC was just in Time Out magazine’s list best reading series in NYC. Writers submit their stories related to the theme and actors perform selected work. This session’s theme: ENTRANCES & EXITS! A friend of mine submitted his work and had it performed a while ago. Looking forward to seeing this one day. (Free, KGB Bar, 85 East 4th, 4th and 2nd)

Friday, February 6, 7pm, Fort Greene: The Brooklyn Poets Reading Series was also on that Time Out list. Wendy Xu, Jessica Greenbaum, and Tom Sleigh read. (Free, BRIC House, 647 Fulton St, Fulton and Rockwell)

Friday, February 6, 7pm, Cobble Hill: Book Court welcomes the Brooklyn Writers Space for a reading series each month for it’s members to present their work. Mallory Kasdan, Rachel Heiman, Matt Matros, Jamie Berk read. (Free, Book Court, 163 Court St, Court between Pacific and Dean)

Saturday, February 7, 8pm, Beacon Theatre: I’ve been aching to see Jason Isbell live since the first time I saw him at the standing room only Rock and Roll Hotel in NE DC years ago. He is one of my favorite lyricists and his words coupled with his guitar and voice create an intelligently broody experience that is unforgettable. His show in DC tomorrow (Feb 4) is at a very different venue: the Lincoln Theatre – and it’s 1,225 seats are sold out. I think there is one ticket left at the Beacon Theatre (capacity 2,894).

Monday, February 9, 8pm, Cobble Hill: In October, I read poetry and listened to other poets at the Brooklyn Poets Yawp. The Yawp is an open mic where you can hear a range of new pieces and works in progress. It’s also a great way to gauge your work with an audience. They offer a poetry workshop at 7pm, just before the open mic at 8. ($5, 61 Local, 61 Bergen St, Bergen and Smith)