With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting tour schedules and album launch shows across the world, Folk and Tumble is making time to speak to the musicians and artists who though no fault of their own have found themselves facing uncertain futures. Next up in our series is Amy LaVere.
FT: You’ve just released your new album, ‘Painting Blue’. Has the COVID-19 situation have an impact on the release plans?
AL: Yes, in every way you can imagine. Tours cancelled, radio shows cancelled, appearances cancelled, a lot of hopeful rescheduling.
FT: What can you tell me about your inspirations behind the new album?
AL: Reflection and dismay are the themes here, I suppose. The record came together over 2017 and 2018 with the gloom of still current politics and all the complicated and conflicting emotions of being now in my early 40s. That said, because it is just my nature, I can’t help not being an optimist with a saucy sense of humour. I am dismayed, not in despair.
FT: There are cover versions of songs by John Martyn, Elvis Costello, and David Halley. What made you choose those songs in particular?
AL: I loved them. They spoke to me and I felt I could speak through them. They fit me at that time well enough to want to wear them around a while.
FT: Like many musicians at the minute, you are sitting at home having had your main source of income taken away from you through no fault of your own. How does that sudden loss affect you financially and mentally?
AL: Mentally, I’m often sad and heavy with the anticipation of grief. I’m very concerned about my family and friends who I fear may not survive a bout of the virus. It’s exhausting and daunting. That said, if you peeked through my window, you might see me dancing in my kitchen wearing a wig and happily kneading a blob of dough, so I’m coping in my own way.
It’s hard to really fathom the financial part. I invested quite a bit into the release of this record, draining my savings really, in an effort to have a big year of touring. I have only a few months of savings before I am ruined. I’m doing a weekly Facebook Live concert for tips via Paypal and Venmo with my husband and guitar player, Will Sexton.
FT: Did you have to cancel tour dates?
AL: Yes. Two months of full touring and an estimated income take of $11,000 worth for April and May. This was three people’s livelihoods that vanished mid-tour.
FT: As a self-employed musician, are you aware of any government support measures?
AL: Yes but I have yet to apply. Every time I open the website to start to ask for help I get this sadness induced narcolepsy and end up face down on my bed. I fear I will eventually need to face it but I’m going to wait and see if these web shows could be sustainable till the touring takes off again.
FT: What can people do to support musicians like yourself through this difficult time?
AL: Please watch and share and promote the web shows and tip the artists as if you were buying a ticket and even a little something extra if you can afford to.
FT: Thanks for your time. Stay safe and I hope to see you on the other side before too long.
AL: Thank you. You as well. Take great care.