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Home mySSlife Entertainment Emily Elbert booked at City Hall Oct. 18 - Singer/songwriter shares recent events in life, career

Emily Elbert booked at City Hall Oct. 18 - Singer/songwriter shares recent events in life, career

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    SULPHUR SPRINGS – Dallas native Emily Elbert will be playing at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall in Sulphur Springs Saturday, Oct. 18. Hopkins County is just one of the many dates Elbert has booked into her busy schedule.

    Elbert earned a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston.
    After graduating, she toured Southeast Asia and has opened for Leon Russell, G. Livingston Taylor, Joan Osbourne, Ruthie Foster, Ben Taylor and Marcia Ball, to name a few.
    She’s also toured in the Northeast, Midwest, Northwest, Texas and California, and played at the International Folk Alliance Conference in Missouri.
    She recently participated in the Guitar Center Singer/Songwriter Competition, along with almost 10,000 artists from across the United States.
    “I didn’t ultimately win the competition, which of course I was bummed about, but it was a great experience overall,” Elbert said in a News-Telegram interview earlier this year. “It was nice meeting the other players and people involved, all of the finalists were given a bunch of great musical gear, and most importantly, I was truly uplifted and motivated by the encouragement from people who believe in me. That leaves a lasting impact.”
    Elbert visited with us recently about her life, her career and how she manages.     

    News-Telegram: What have you been doing for the past several months?
    Emily Elbert: Touring a lot, but also (finally) settling into a place to live. For the last three  to four years, I was just on the road so much that having a home base just wasn’t feasible.
    But recently, I’ve felt so hungry for the spiritual grounding that comes with having a nest. Then the stars aligned, and I found this super opening in L.A., a house full of artists, with a big garden and creative space and cheap rent. I moved in in June. I’ve still been traveling and playing a lot, but it’s so liberating just knowing that I’ve got a bed and a bookshelf and a record player waiting for me somewhere.
    Besides that, I spent most of the summer playing – up and down the California coast a few times, a couple of trips to the Northeast, some Texas dates. Then, last month, I played the Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival & Workshop in Montana, which was great.
    I played a beautiful show with Shelby Lynne, and got to hang with John Oates and Lee Ritenour and a bunch of really cool folks.

    N-T: What do you consider a successful listening room performance?
    EE: There’s a unique connectivity that can happen in a listening room environment – this heartfelt, personal shared experience between strangers. It’s such an intimate thing, to sing. There’s nothing to hide behind.
    But, when you’re onstage and you can look out and make eye contact with folks, it takes the vulnerability to a new level for everyone involved – and that’s where the magic comes into play. It becomes more interactive, more improvisatory, more honest, more soulful.
    It’s special to play in places that you have a connection to, as well, like East Texas – feels like family.

    N-T: How is the songwriting going?
    EE: It’s a journey. In the last few years, just going from gig to gig and crashing on couches most nights, it was a bit of a challenge finding my own head space. But I took in a lot of music, and a ton of experiences.
    Now that I have a little home time once in a while, I’m trying to shift more focus inward. Got plenty of new tunes I’m working on. Doing a bit of co-writing as well, which is a cool way to stretch creatively. I’m feeling good about it.

    N-T: How do you decide to cover another artist?  … How did "Until You Come Back to Me" come together?
    EE: I love working up cover arrangements of tunes – I’m crazy about music from a lot of different styles and eras, so it’s a good opportunity to incorporate that.
    I like to pick songs that are familiar, but wouldn’t normally be played by solo guitar and voice.  
    A song like “Until You Come Back to Me” is ideal, first of all because it’s timeless. It was written by Stevie Wonder, sung by Aretha Franklin – the best of the best.
    But it gets really fun when you try and translate it to the guitar, from its original format. There are bass lines, rhythm parts, horns, keys – all kinds of different elements that you can incorporate. It’s a nice challenge, and you learn a lot during the process. I like to cover a diverse array of tunes, so there’s something for all kinds of folks – Willie Nelson, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Michael Jackson… Classic tunes can take on new life when you put them through your own unique filter.

    N-T: Why did you choose the independent path?
    EE: I’ve learned a lot by working independently – a lot about hard work, and also about people and culture, and music and business, and all kinds of things. I’ve had so many beautiful experiences that I’m so grateful for. I’m not stuck on operating alone forever, though.
    There are some truly great labels, producers, managers and agents out there that I’d love to work with. But integrity is the most important thing to me – I don’t want to go on reality TV and have a bunch of corporations tell me who to be.
    I’d really love to find the right folks to work with – to establish relationships that can help me to continue making music, and putting that music into the world.
    But until then, I’m not going to sit around waiting – I’ll keep on working, keep on playing, because this is what makes me feel most alive. I’ve got faith.

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Tickets $15 or $20 at the door. They are available at Crossroads Listening Room and Music Company or by calling 903-342-1854. Door open at 7 p.m. Log onto www.crossroadsmusiccompany.com for more information.
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Muddy Jakes and Crossroads have partnered with the News-Telegram to offer two prize packages for the evening. Like and/or share the post about Elbert on the paper’s Facebook page for a chance to win dinner for two (excluding beverages and gratuities) and two tickets to the show. Winners will be announced Wednesday, Oct. 15.

 

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