It seems like Maine is finally, blissfully thawing out after a long winter. On a global scale, I am grateful for the many months of bitter cold and piles of snow. In my own life, though, it’s nice to shed some layers of clothing and emerge into the buzzing local energy of pre-tourist season. To that end, I’ve been writing, tinkering, and recording some demos at home. There are a handful of shows coming up, including the next edition of Quill’s acoustic open mic. Quill is an amazing community space that prioritizes and celebrates queer identities, experiences, and art. I’ve been hosting the open mic there for nearly a year(!) and it’s been a treat to see a community coalesce within its dark blue walls. If you’re feeling a shortage of ukulele orchestras, accordion-accompanied tales of yore, anxiety jokes, and cartoon sing-alongs in your life, then please join us on May 3rd.

This month, Juniper Ginger entered NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest for the first time – and also lent a helping hand to SnugHouse and Dead Gowns. Maine is well-represented in this year’s contest, including friends Oliver Waterman, Jeanette Villanuevas, and Bellatrix.

In addition to our spring shows, SnugHouse is gearing up for a summer tour. Some shows have been announced, and you can keep an eye out for a full tour announcement along with some new goodies. 🙂 In between shows, we’re carving out time to write together and to explore new songs and sounds. Now with 5 full time members, SnugHouse is discovering the beautiful alchemy of collaboration in our creative and business spheres. I can’t wait to share our newest ideas on the road this summer!

Some quick stats:
~20 shows.
countless open mics.
plus gigs and tours with SnugHouse, Dead Gowns, and others.
1 set of demos. No proper record this year, but I deserved a break after recording/releasing two albums in 2017. (and Leesta Vall is coming in January!)

Not much more to say except: thank you. My last shows of the year are at Blue on 12/16 and in my hometown on 12/23. 

Gratefully,
Alex

I am grateful to share my first big project of 2019. in On January 27th I will visit Leesta Vall in Brooklyn, NY to record some songs straight to vinyl. Here’s what the studio has to say about it:

“We’ll cut a 7″ lathe cut vinyl record of a live take of a song of your choosing for each person that orders between now and the session date. No two records will be the same and only one copy of each will be made. Your record will include a one-of-a-kind performance by Alex, performed and cut specifically for you. And Alex will even deliver a personal message right on the record before going into your performance …pretty special! Our limited edition lathe cut record releases are made on a modified antique record cutting lathe from the 1950’s. Each record is handmade, one at a time, in real time, by a real person.”

Click here to visit the preorder page. I carefully chose five songs that are representative of my albums, including two yet-to-be-released songs– and most importantly, songs I don’t think I’ll screw up too bad. I hope you’ll consider buying one (or a few) records for yourself, for friends, for your secret Santa…

If you want to share this far and wide on the internet, copy this link: bit.ly/juniperginger

In other news, I’m recalibrating to life after finishing tour with SnugHouse. We have been feeling the love toward our new EP, Like Water, especially at our hometown release show. We’re still small potatoes in the grand scheme, but filling the seats (and the balcony!) at One Longfellow Square was a dual exercise in gratitude and humility. Pursuing art will always be mostly self-indulgent, so it’s nice to be reminded that our words and actions can bring light and love to others in the world. Tour brought us as far as Washington, DC and Burlington, VT. For now, we are figuring out how to rest and enjoy Maine’s early-onset winter. We’ll keep our whistles whetted at South Portland Public Library on December 8th, and then properly hibernate until 2019.

Juniper Ginger will keep at it, though, with a showcase at Blue on December 16th. I curated (such a lofty word for calling up friends) an evening of music & visual art at a lovely listening room. Come check it out and keep in touch!

Be good,
Alex

It has been a whirlwind start to 2018. This SnugHouse thing is really taking off! I feel very grateful to have found a group of people who care about making music that is deliberate and thoughtful. Whenever I contribute a song I can feel confident that it will take on a new life, which is great because 1. in a broad sense, songs should transcend artists. While I try to honor the original context of the art I experience, the way that songs can become something unique for each listener is one of the major reasons I write them. So I also think it’s important to allow and encourage my songs to breathe. Also, 2. it takes the pressure off of me as the sole composer, arranger, and performer. Everyone in this group is a fantastic, nuanced writer. I am biased. I’m still allowed to think my friends are special– isn’t that the point of having friends?

In the meantime, Juniper Ginger remains an artistic vehicle for my moments of solitude. I am looking forward to hosting this show in Portland on February 1st. I’m also looking forward to more out-of-state shows this year.

Be kind & listen well,
Alex

 

 

Death & Danger has been out for a few weeks now.

(juniperginger.bandcamp.com/album/death-danger)

The response from friends and family has been really warm. I’ve had interesting, evocative conversations at shows. The songs seem to hit the room in the ways I intend. I’m glad the trauma that inspired this album is also able to inspire some beautiful moments.

I’m writing to announce my next project, titled Made of Gold. This time it’ll be short and sweet: four(ish) love songs, recorded mostly live, mostly acoustic. The project is inspired by one brand new song, but the others have been kicking around for a while. I even wrote one in high school! I’m so excited to finally memorialize them.

Track List:

  1. Nipmuck Trail (for Lia)
  2. Made Of Gold (for Mingus)
  3. I Was Someone Back When (for Sam)
  4. In Late July (for the NJC)

Keep an eye out for the release date & more info!

I’ve always been a fan of the barter system.

To me, bartering feels uncomplicated and deeply intimate. During my first few weeks in Portland I gave a flute lesson to my future boss. We were both a little broke. The following week she showed up at my door with a homemade blueberry pie. I was still broke, but something electric coursed through me and changed my whole approach to the game. Cash is nice, but pie is sweeter.

This week I’ll make two important trades. Mark will fix a massive crack on my upright bass in exchange for recording a couple of tracks for him. This exchange feels wholly unfair, but we’re both happy to try something new for each other. Then he’s going to leave town and I’ll have to follow him to NC just to meet folks to recommend his luthiery to.

Erin will trade me a computer for a guitar she deserves more than I do. She’s also leaving town in a bit. She deserves this, too.

Every month I trade my landlords a few hundred dollars for an apartment with a neat attic. There’s money involved so it doesn’t feel very poetic. But in this attic, I’ll finally make a little space for my new-old computer and my plugged up bass and my other sound machines. Then I’ll do something that I’ve been thinking about for a while.

Juniper Ginger – Death & Danger 

  1. Just Words
  2. Lancaster & Pearl
  3. Haunted
  4. When I Get Writing
  5. What Shall Be Done
  6. Cut You In Half
  7. Snug City Blues

These songs are important to me. I wrote them in three different bedrooms, in a factory, in a car, in a liquored-up stupor, in an emotional stupor. I hope to release them on or around May 9th. It’s been a long year, and I’ve thought about a lot of things I never wanted to think about. What does death do to new relationships? What does it do to old ones? What behaviors are really hereditary, and what’s just bullshit self-indulgent avoidance? What does the compulsive meaning-maker do when everything feels meaningless?

I’m from away, but I kinda think Portland is tired of the overwrought phoenix metaphor. All I can say is 2016 drew a line in the sand for me and mine. Now we’re on this side. Now we’re all different.

Maybe I’ll do an “anything-but-cash” system once the album is out. Let’s lift each other up, sing some sad songs, and bake a lot of pies.

-Alex