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My Talented Friends: Claire Anthony [The Band Wagon]

“If Rosie Thomas, Yann Tiersen, Jars of Clay, Eisley, Sia, Damien Rice, Ray LaMontagne, Iron & Wine, Bon Iver, Nick Drake, The Weepies, Beirut, and Nickel Creek were drawn with a 256 Crayola pack on a huge coloring book and then melted down and mixed with the first flowers of spring, the early morning dew on a hot summer’s day, straw plucked from an old scarecrow, and clouds culled from a winter sky, then baked into a giant man-shaped flan that accidentally burned in the oven and could not be eaten by people so was driven to a park where it was scattered in front of a bramble bush and a flock of birds came down and ate it and started singing, then that song might sound like Claire Anthony.” –– DTA
Claire Anthony

Look out the window at dusk in the dead of winter. Trees, long stripped of their colorful plumage, are stark and black against the blue of the darkening sky. All alone. Their branches reach for the stars, reaching for their small ancient light. The wood is dry and cracked from the harsh elements of a cold winter. Winds from every direction have seemingly battered the life out of the mangled organism. A branch or two is felled with every gust of wind, which are then covered over with the freshly fallen snow, and forgotten. Snow and ice coat the trunk and remaining branches like a well-worn fitted suit. The tree shakes in the blustery winds of arctic origin (where there are no trees, for good reason), like chattering teeth, the branches rattle together. The tree turns its attention anxiously to the east. Waiting with great anticipation as it shivers through the night. The night is cold. The sun breaks over the horizon and wraps it’s warm, yellow arms of light and heat around the cold, covered wood. The suit of frozen precipitation is melted; stripped away like a robe dropped to the floor. Branches, previously weighed down under the cover of snow and darkness, readjust & reach for the sky once again, like a good stretch after a long nap. Light gives heat gives life, yet light is born out of darkness.

Claire Anthony – Red Bird


I’ve known Claire Anthony for nearly ten years. Ever since I’ve known her, she has continually left me in awe, and even intimidated with her depth and incredible talent. There is a quality to her performance style that is hard to pinpoint. It is something that cannot be learned or taught. It is not something one can emulate. It is a quality that is inborn. There is a vocal quality that gently, yet firmly grabs your attention. It beats back at distraction like the deluge beats back conflagration, and guides your focus. Even with everything else fallen away, the honesty is disarming. Despite any nerves that may be present, the performance is still as if we have joined Claire in her bedroom at 3am, listening in as she sings and plucks her way through songs freshly copied from the tablet of her heart. I’ve found it is rare that a performer can combine talent with this honesty and vocal expressiveness. You believe every word because every word feels true, because every word is true. But I am biased, I suppose …

Claire and her Taylor

It will be hard for me to not have this last paragraph sound exactly like Gina’s

Her lyrics are steeped in poetic imagery and her voice conveys emotion where mere words fall short … just reread the first paragraph of this post … the scene I described is what her music is. Her songs wrap their long, loving arms around you and warm you back to life. Visit her myspace. Listen to the songs I’ve linked here, and the ones there. If you’re in Western Washington, go to one of her gigs. You will be in awe too. Listen:

Claire Anthony – Untitled

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My Talented Friends: Gina Belliveau [The Band Wagon]

Gina Belliveau

A cold wind blows through the old growth pines, whose height towers above everything around them. They stand, stately and distinguished; weathered by years of abuse. Powerful storms have blown off of the cerulean blue Pacific, moisture laden and taut, the winds whipping at the thick, lichen covered bark. There is a natural and chaotic peace in this scene that comes from routine. Everything is in balance around this routine. There is green everywhere. The rain falls and the birds take shelter, singing songs from covered perches. No matter the weather, they sing. The song is the same, rain or shine. Beautifully accompanying the percussive patter of the rain. Their song rises and falls with the rain’s intensity. Singing from their shelter of hollowed out evergreens. These are the songs of Gina Belliveau. Drizzle and downpour all at once. Nuanced and in your face.

It feels very weird to be writing (read: boasting) about how talented and lovely a person Gina Belliveau is. She isn’t just another girl and a guitar. She isn’t just another girl. She’s a friend. A friend from back east. We were both (separately) “transposed” to the Pacific Northwest from Baltimore, as her ReverbNation profile indicates. She moved to Olympia with her husband Mike, who is a brave member of the United States Armed Forces. Formerly the bassist for Baltimore’s No Picnic!, Gina possesses immense talent. Now using the acoustic guitar as her main source of aural awesomeness, Gina has taken the percussive aspects of bass, and combined it with alternate tunings, looping, and delicate finger picking to create a style that one would be hard pressed to find anywhere else. — this is sounding cliche … ugh … here, just listen:

Gina Belliveau – Birdseed | Musicians Available


I really can’t do her justice. My words will always fall short when trying to capture the beauty of an image or song. That is why I am extremely happy there are people like Gina who see the world the way they do, and who can translate it so adeptly into beautiful songs. Her songs have depth, both musically and lyrically, and there is an urgency in her voice that invites us into the moment and into the beauty. Listen:

Gina Belliveau – Siren Song | Upload Music

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My Talented Friends

Ventured down to Tacoma tonight for an open mic of sorts. My friends Claire and Gina were signed up to perform. They are remarkably talented by themselves, but sometimes join forces to melt faces, hearts, and ears with their sweet harmonies. I hope to devote a post to each of these lovely ladies very soon, but for now, here is a picture I captured tonight (with my cell phone).

Claire (right) with Gina (in the dark)

if you are in Seattle tomorrow, catch Gina (and her bandmate, Mark) at El Diablo Coffee in Queen Anne!

I apologize for the brevity and lack of links and other media, but as mentioned earlier, I will be featuring a post for both Claire and Gina in the not so distant future!

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