You Are There at an Online Performance by Garrison Starr

August 8, 2017

These are my notes on Garrison Starr’s “August Residency #1” at, 8/8/2017. (Who the hell takes notes on a concert? Sheesh, I guess that makes me a journalist.)

This is the first time I’ve attended a live musical performance online. It’s an exciting concept for me since I am unable to attend concerts in person.

Garrison Starr performing online, 8/8/17, as part of her August residencey at
Garrison Starr performing online, 8/8/17, as part of her August residencey at

Like any real concert, it would appear that this one is not starting exactly on-time. Ooops, turns out I didn’t have Adobe Flash turned on on my MacBook Pro.

She’s starting with an oldie (after complaining about the heat in her home, where she’s performing). I didn’t catch the title. It’s got, “I am born again” in the lyrics. Will try to figure it out later. (Had to switch to taking notes on my iPad, lest it bugger up the audio on my MacBook Pro.) She forgot the last verse of the song. The performance was halted for a moment due to technical sound difficulties, and while Garrison consulted the lyrics. It’s got, “Singing like a victim” in last verse.

It’s too hot for make-up, Garrison commented. She’s performing in a black tank top and looks like she’s sweating profusely. The next song is, “Nobody’s Breaking Your Heart,” written with Maia Sharp. This is not a song that I’ve heard on albums by either Garrison or Maia.

Each week will be different, and next week, she will have some “special guests.” Hmm, I wonder who it will be? I would so love to hear her with AG and/or Maia, but that’s probably too much to hope for.

This must be so hard, performing without a visible/audible audience. It’s like doing a reading, which I’ve done, in front of people who close their eyes and drop their chins to their chests while they listen. You wonder, “Are you deeply moved by what I’m reading, or are you all sound asleep?” My motto: Hey, no sound of snoring, no problem.

Technical problem: One person isn’t getting the sound. The rest of us are. Oops, now that person “tipped” Garrison and is now getting the show.

Garrison is in good voice tonight. Hearing her in a stripped down situation puts the emphasis on her voice and musicianship.

She is playing “Put Your Weapon Down,” from the new EP, “What If There Is No Destination” (2017). She’s singing her heart out, despite the high humidity. Proves that she is at least water-resistant, if not water-proof. (The scene is almost as wet as, albeit not quite as artsy as, the water scene from the movie, “Flashdance.”)

Garrison Starr's newest EP, "What If There Is No Destination."
Garrison Starr’s newest EP, “What If There Is No Destination.”

Now she’s playing one of my requests, “Sit with Me Tonight,” from the 2010 album of the same name. A beautiful song, and she is sounding terrific this evening. I was afraid that sans backup players or over-dubbing, some of the songs would come across diminished, but that’s just not so. For a moment, it sounded like she was swapping riffs with a bird outside. (smile)

Garrison Starr's 2010 album, "Sit With Me Tonight"
Garrison Starr’s 2010 album, “Sit With Me Tonight”

Amy Wilkins is handling the video and audio. Garrison says her dog, Gracie, is there, too, but I haven’t seen her yet.

Cool, she’s doing my other request, “Slow Crawl,” from her 2012 “Amateur” album. It’s wild to be able to type in a request or encouragement and have her respond to it directly. Ah, modern technology!

Garrison Starr's 2012 album, "Amateur"
Garrison Starr’s 2012 album, “Amateur”

Next, she’s doing, “The Lucky One,” from her 2017 EP, “What If There Is No Destination.” She seems very relaxed and into the songs. The one song she didn’t remember, she promised the requester she’d perform in a future show. (Ah, she wants to keep us coming back!)

Finally, Gracie has a few things to say (she’s the pup). If you tip US$12 to get an MP3 recording of the show, Garrison says she’ll add some sparkle to make it sound better. (Note to any other physically/medically challenged folks out there. Getting the MP3 is a nice way to hear the whole show even if you don’t have quite the stamina to sit through the whole thing. Luckily, I’m doing well tonight.)

Next is “Tough Girl,” off her latest EP. What a beautiful song. This ought to be picked up to be used in some TV show or something. It’s a very woman-positive song that shows some really vulnerability. (She lost her voice, just a wee bit, at one point. She came right back, though. Real pro.)

Next is “Burn the Dark,” which apparently got played in its entirety on some TV show. I can’t find it in the albums/EPs I have by Garrison. Does anyone else know if it’s on a recording?

Sign on the back wall of the area of her home that she’s using for the performance, “Proud Owner of a Rescue Pet.” You go, girl.

Next is “Other People’s Eyes,” which she wrote while living in someone’s basement when she came back to California. This song was definitely written at a low point for her, “feeling washed up…all the dreams I once had are dead.” It’s a good song. Maybe that’s a cricket, rather than a bird that is occasionally harmonizing with her.

(Note to Garrison, if she happens to read it: You really ought to be kind to your fans and get someone to put the lyrics to the songs on your albums and EPs on your web site. These days, I get my music by download, and most of the lyric sites on the web don’t do a decent job of covering your catalog. I had wanted to put in a snippet from this song here, but I can’t find the lyrics. Grr.)

Next, “Train bound for glory.” (Cool, my Apple Watch tells me that I’ve met my move goal for the day while sitting here listening to this concert. I guess I’ve been rocking and rolling, and bouncing around as I’ve listened to the music.) (Smile.)

I lost the audio and video for a moment, but a page refresh got it back quickly.

Next, she’s performing “Closer My Love,” from “The Forgotten Street” (2014). She’s doing a nice retrospective of her compositions. I’m really enjoying this.

Gracie, the dog, is once again, having her say. We still haven’t gotten to see her.

Next, she’s doing, “Sing It Like a Victim,” off “The Sound of You and Me.” This is the song she started with that she didn’t feel right about since some of us couldn’t hear it at that point. So, she’s doing it again.

Garrison Starr performing online, 8/8/17, as part of her August residencey at
Garrison Starr performing online, 8/8/17, as part of her August residencey at

Each of these shows she’s doing will be different. There are still three left to go.

She’s ending this set with “Bend It Till It Breaks,” another song I cannot find on the albums and EPs I have.

She’ll be performing in Fairfield, CT, this fall. Even though that’s in my state, I won’t be able to attend. At least this way, I get to experience a live performance by a musician I really admire.

I’ve had a very enjoyable hour, and if you think of it, surf on into ConcertWindow next week, and check it out. She’s a very talented composer, singer, and musician, who puts on a good show.


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I am a writer and an activist for people who are disabled by chronic illness. I am also interested in issues related to the LGBTQIA community and to women making music.

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