For my husband and I, what started out as following a couple of favorite local bands has grown exponentially.
In a magical kind of “six guitar strings of separation” game, following one band leads to another and before you know it there aren’t enough free nights or tread left on your tires to be at every performance of the musicians you’ve grown fond of. Eventually you start to see something other than just the great music—you start to see the people behind it.
One of the most impressive things about so many in this talented group is what a supportive bunch they are. Nothing seems to exemplify that more than taking a look at the musical paths of two young women who’ve been inspired by this unique East End music community: Jewlee Trudden and Sara Hartman.
Both of these young ladies—they are under 21 years old—are talented, passionate about their music and count some of our best-known local musicians among their fans.
They are, to different degrees, supported, inspired and in some cases guided, by a musical community that truly rocks. The thread of common names linking Jewlee and Sara include many local favorites: Inda Eaton, Cynthia Daniels, Mick Hargraves, Nancy Atlas, Klyph Black, Joe Delia, Anthony Libatore, Caroline Doctorow, Crossroads Music and, I’m sure, several others. The tangible contributions this community has made to their music and their young lives are best known by Jewlee and Sara, but it was clear to me upon interviewing them both that it’s had a powerful accumulative effect.
“Me, Sara Hartman, was on stage with Inda Eaton, Caroline Doctorow and Nancy Atlas. I mean, wow. The queens of music out here, and I was singing with them.” So declared a fresh-faced Hartman in between saying “hi” to half of Sag Harbor as it passed by our table at SagTown Coffee. For Sara it was more than just inspiration from the “queens of music” that made a difference. She credits music producer Cynthia Daniels with “pulling me out of a bad time” and calls Inda Eaton (who Sara performed with several times over the summer) and Inda’s wife Annemarie “something like my other moms.” This goes deeper than musical inspiration. This speaks to who the members of this musical community I keep referring to really are and it’s inspiring on many levels.
Jewlee Trudden is all intensity, blood, sweat and rock and roll. Listening to her perform for the first time I was caught by how even though this was not “my” kind of music I was still transfixed. While Sara is settling into her first year at Berklee School of Music, Jewlee is touring, performing in Manhattan, upstate and in Florida. Already looking for a musical future of playing “bigger places with more people” she laughingly admits the life of an aspiring live musician “kicks your ass.”
Michael Clark from Crossroads music gave Cynthia Daniels’ card to Jewlee a few years ago and so began what sounds like a very mutually fulfilling connection. “Producing an artist with what we call ‘the curse of genius’ is one of the most inspiring and genuine experiences a person in my field can have,” Daniels claims. “Jewlee is a proliferate songwriter and player. We both took a chance on each other, and since we are still working together, that risk and reward relationship is ongoing.”
Eaton and Daniels both have the most encouraging and heartwarming things to say about these young women. For me hearing about these relationships gave form and substance to the positive and uplifting energy so often felt at the live shows we’ve been attending.
“Our East End music community is a generous group with a kind spirit that extends beyond public benefits, shows and appearances,” Eaton says. “For such a boisterous bunch—I can’t begin to tell you how many quiet and random acts of kindness I have witnessed behind the scenes and at the kitchen tables of the artists.”
On the Road
During her winter school hiatus Sara Hartman returned home to Sag Harbor and performed at the Stephen Talkhouse’s “Outrageous Open Mic Nite” in Amagansett the day after Christmas and then had a solo show at the Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor on January 3. After wowing the hometown crowds, Sara left for Nashville where she will be performing at a few venues, including an appearance this past Monday at The Basement, and she’ll be “making the rounds” with one of her many local mentors, Anthony Liberatore of East Hampton.
Meanwhile Jewlee Truden and her band In Circles are gigging around the frozen North East with stops this Saturday at Sun Place in Boston, Hootie’s Goodtimes Café in Pawcatuck, CT on Sunday and The Velvet Lounge in DC on January 14.