In September, I'm thrilled to be performing with my duo partner Wendy Sassafras Ramsay—we're now officially known as Pepper and Sassafras—at two top-notch festivals. On September 10, we'll be in the Rochester, New York, area, performing in the New Voices showcase at the Turtle Hill Folk Festival along with fellow musicians Austin MacRae and John Sonntag. The following weekend brings us to western Massachusetts at FreshGrass, a major new festival with headliners this year including Old Crow Medicine Show, Glen Hansard, Rosanne Cash, and Ricky Skaggs. We are one of six finalists for the Best Duo award. The contest performance is on Saturday, September 17, and we'll be playing on other stages throughout the weekend. At FreshGrass, each contestant performs one traditional tune and one original. Here is a preview: our jazzy take on "Wayfaring Stranger," with Wendy on lead vocal and clarinet, and my John Lennon Songwriting Contest winner, "Fly." It is a thrill to play in these showcases alongside some brilliant young musicians, many of whom are—let's be honest—much closer to my kids' ages than to my own. One festival organizer asked me if I consider myself an emerging artist, and I didn't hesitate—of course I do. I feel like I'm playing and writing the best music of my life, growing in so many ways and constantly trying things I've never done before. In fact, I'd say one common denominator of the artists I've met is that they all feel this way--they are evolving, never quite satisfied, always looking for what's on the horizon.
So here's my new motto: Never stop emerging.