Tiny Desk Concert winner to perform at Old Jail on Nov. 1
BY AMY FUHRMAN
It’s been more than two years since Gaelynn Lea won NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert, but people across the country are still discovering the video online and falling for the unique singer-songwriter and her violin.
“We’ll be somewhere touring and all of a sudden somebody will recognize me from the video – that’s one of the neat things about the internet,” Lea said Monday in an interview with SVL Free News. “For all its problems, it really has changed the world of being an independent artist.”
Since she won Tiny Desk, the world has been wide open for Lea, who has played over 425 shows in 42 states and seven countries. On Thursday, Nov.1, she will add another mark on her map as she performs at the Iredell Arts Council’s Old Jail at 7:30 p.m.
Lea’s music is focused in the folk tradition, but she’s not afraid to take side trips into other genres, including pop and country. While her most recent album included backing by a full band, her solo tour features her on vocals, violin and a looping pedal.
“The instrumental music is very layered and textured,” she explained.
Home base for Lea and her husband Paul is Duluth, Minnesota. The long dreary winters there have inspired a somewhat melancholy tone to much of her music, she said.
“The songs are originals, and I feel like a lot of the music that comes out focuses on (the question of) how do you reconcile the idea that life is really difficult and really beautiful at the same time?”
Lea, who has Brittle Bone Disease, has become a vocal advocate for disability awareness and rights. Since Tiny Desk brought her to the spotlight, she has traveled across the country speaking out about the difficulties she has had navigating the healthcare system.
“People were really surprised with all the barriers there are, even people in the field,” she said. “I realized at that moment that it was really important for me to share that information as much as I could.”
While Lea sees her activism as a separate calling from her music, a few of her songs are inspired by her disability, including “I Wait,” which she will perform during her Statesville show.
For those not familiar with her work, Lea suggests listening online to “Someday We’ll Linger in the Sun” and “Grace and a Tender Hand.” To learn more about Gaelynn Lea and her music, visit www.violinscratches.com
WANT TO GO?
What: Gaelynn Lea Concert
Where: Iredell Arts Council, 203 S. Meeting Street, Statesville
When: Thursday, Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $13, available at www.brownpapertickets.com