It took three years to complete the body of work which will now become known as Avalon. When I decided I was ready to record this collection of songs and piano instrumentals, the first thing I did was to do a concert so I could perform as much of this music as possible. It is simply true that my songs do not get their “legs” until I listen to an audience listening to each piece of music. Only then can I be sure that the combination of tempo, rhythm, lyric and chord is right. So I did a show at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, CA and played several pieces for the first time in public. Thrilling and nerve-wracking at the same time.
Meanwhile, the months-long conversation that Kerry Lobel and I had been having about the need to reaffirm feminist vision and values in our various overlapping communities came to a conclusion: we would co-create a cultural project that reflected our point of view.
The next step was to pull together a group of women who would help us map out a strategy to move both the music and the vision out into the world. We convened at my home for a five-hour conference call. Half the team sat around my dining room table and half sat on phones three thousand miles away. Most of these women I have worked with for years on one project or another.
I called on Jennifer Einhorn, a well-regarded media specialist from New York, to write the promotional materials for the project. I originally met her in Northampton, MA in 1991 at a concert where she was the music distributor selling my CDs.
Ellen Toplin came to a concert of mine in Philadelphia in 1992 and shortly became the public relations expert who promoted both Another Place and Soon and Again. She is responsible for the fact that my music is played on NPR as often as it is. She brought her assistant, Stephanie Simon to work with us as well.
Barbara Brust, my brilliant webmaven, I met backstage in 1995 at Michigan Women’s Music Festival where she was assistant stage manager. She spent three years patiently trying to convince me to create a presence on the Internet. When I finally was ready, she worked to develop an incredible website.
Tracey Lake produced me in concert in Reno, NV shortly after I returned to performing in 1992. A gifted Internet marketing expert, she supported both Another Place and Soon and Again and stepped forward to work on specific marketing and booking concerns for the project.
Tam Martin, my booking agent, is a unique presence in the music industry in that she is not only a tireless representative of many artists in Women’s Music but also a concert/festival producer as well.
Like Tam, Julie Childs sent her spirit to the meeting. Julie, from Washington DC, is a community organizer who is helping us to establish links to numerous sites that relate to our goals. Her expertise in databases and e-mail architecture is invaluable.
We tackled many issues related to producing both a CD and tour and in the end we all agreed this piece of work needed a title. We chose the name The Avalon Project from Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “The Mists of Avalon“. It is our intention to call out the unique energy and power that resides in audiences of woman-loving people through music, laughter and truthtelling.