Ballad Camp – 1,001 ways to kiss your stone-dead lover

Like any great week at any great summer camp, this week’s Ballad Camp with Anais Mitchell and Gary Martin has just flown by. We’ve got a couple new Child Ballads tucked under our elbows, and I learned a dozen more arcane ways to say, “Father, I’m pregnant.” I even got a sunburn. Would you like to see it?

We’re sad to pack up and leave Assonet, MA, but we’ve got a festival in New Holland, PA to drive to, and I’ve got to hurry back to New York to do my roommate’s dishes and throw some bills in the paper recycling before I pay them online.

Gary cooked some incredible meals for us. Here’s a picture of his ribs. Not Gary’s ribs, but the ribs he cooked. OK, these aren’t actually the ribs he cooked, but they’re the ribs he might have cooked, as posted on an website which shall go unnamed but you could probably figure it out without too much trouble. They look like delicious ribs. And they were.

He also fed us steak and pork tenderloin, and we went out for amazing Portuguese food at Antonio’s in New Bedford. We drank a fair amount of wine. It was a carnivorous weekend. I’m ready to hang out with my vegetarian friends again.

I wish I could talk more about the music, but everything is under construction and there’s not much I want to share just yet. Let’s say we’ve been reinventing wheels and they’re finally starting to turn. A little more grease and we’re going to be racing downhill at a terrifying pace. Everything is on schedule for our recording dates this August in Vancouver, WA with John Raham (of the Be Good Tanyas and Po’ Girl fame, who I worked with on Reed Foehl‘s 2009 record Once and Ocean).

Anais and I work really well together, and I’m excited for our collaborations this summer and beyond. In a quiet moment, she told me that she trusted my songwriting instincts, and even if the first idea wasn’t a keeper, a good one would ultimately prevail. This meant a lot to me, coming from a songwriter as gifted as she (have you heard Hadestown yet?), and I confessed to her that I was a self-loathing egomaniac but at least I had a warm heart. We finished our scotches and went off to our bunks, boys downstairs, girls upstairs.


p.s. Be sure to check out Anais’ summer tour schedule online at, and mine in the “schedule” link up above in the title bar. We’re doing lots of shows together, including some featuring some new songs from Ballad Camp!

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