Hitmaking singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant recently announced the upcoming release Keep Your Courage, her eighth studio album, and will promote the record with a new tour that kicks off with concerts at the Bardavon on April 14 and 15.
A Hudson Valley resident since 1990, Merchant is vocal about her love for the region, and her work as an activist has often involved efforts for Riverkeeper, Clearwater, Family of Woodstock, Scenic Hudson, and other local benevolent organizations. “I really love that this area is just far enough from New York and still so culturally rich,” she told me when interviewed her for Chronogram in 2010. “Everyone I know here is here because they want to be here, and they’re doing really interesting work.”
Produced by Merchant, Keep Your Courage includes duets with vocalist Abena Koomson-Davis (Resistance Revival Chorus), contributions from the Celtic folk group Lunasa and Syrian virtuoso clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, and horn arrangements by trombonist Steve Davis. The album features lush orchestrations by composers Gabriel Kahane, Stephen Barber, Colin Jacobson, Megan Gould, and others throughout its nine original songs by Merchant and interpretation of “Hunting the Wren” by Ian Lynch of the Irish band Lankum.
Keep Your Courage is available for preorder at the singer’s website. Natalie Merchant will perform at the Bardavon in Poughkeepsie on April 14 and 15 at 8pm. Tickets start at $59.
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