Rick Gottlieb and Elizabeth Lorrey hit the road for the Acoustic Reality Tour
From the South Shore to the North, folk artists Rick Gottlieb and Elizabeth Lorrey are going to become familiar faces across the Bay State, and even more familiar sounds.
Starting this March, the Acoustic Reality Tour will introduce the songs of these stage veterans to a whole new audience. The four-location tour begins on Friday, March 9, at the Dogwatch in scenic Scituate, and ends on May 6 at Amazing Things in Framingham. Known for an edgy, acoustic style cultivated over the last 20 years, Lorrey said it’s the chance to play before a new audience, but she’s also enjoying the entire process of arranging the tour.
“I've been playing for over 20 years, in bands and as a solo artist, but I haven't done a lot of organized touring with press and radio support and the promotion of several dates at once,” said Lorrey. “It's really fun for the music business geek in me to consider and approach these shows as a collective, rather than a series of one-off performances.”
Gottlieb, a laid-back artist who’s proven to be incredibly approachable, agreed that some fresh ears for his sound are the high point of the tour, but said it’s the interaction and reactions from the audience that he’s really looking forward to.
“Music is like a message in a bottle swept up to the ocean shoreline and when someone picks up and opens that musical ‘bottle’ and listens to what’s inside, well, it says more about the ocean than it does me,” Gottlieb said. “So what I look for in my tour with Elizabeth are the new reactions, the new experiences, the new understanding of the listeners that tell me what my music is really about.”
Both artists are eager to work together and share their styles. Lorrey, plans to release her next album, “Bittersweet” this spring. She remarked that she’s usually very introverted, and finds it funny to be before an audience, let alone strike up a conversation. So instead, she lets the music do it for her. Lorrey said she gets a rush when she can connect with the audience-even if it’s just one person.
Gottlieb, who was “discovered” by Livingston Taylor when he taught Performance Techniques at the Rocky Mountain Song School in 2011 and invited him to attend his Berklee College of Music Class in Stage Performance for free on the strength of his skills, has said each performance is different, with it’s own subtle nuances and the occasional mistake. While some artists may balk at the thought of making an error on stage, Gottlieb said his years as a performer have allowed him to move past the idea of “mistakes”, and even embrace it.
“In fact, my song, ‘Looking For a New Mistake To Make,’ although applied to relationships, is really about giving ourselves permission to be more creative musically,” said Gottlieb.
The tour is presented by Citywide Blackout, a Boston-based music promotions company, owned and operated by music afficionado Max Bowen. He learned of both these artists by listening to their CDs and knew he had to hear the story behind the musicians.
“Rick’s got such an easy-going stage presence, it’s easy to think you’re just sitting with him in a coffee shop, instead of in a packed club,” said Bowen, who also hosts the Citywide Blackout radio show on unregularradio.com. “Elizabeth’s got a dark style all her own, and her music’s got a great story to tell. I’m a huge fan of both artists, and trust me, you will be too.”
Lorrey sees herself as a storyteller, but it’s through the sounds, rather than the words. With her music, she tries to create images and evoke emotions through melody, harmony and rhythm, and let the lyrics reinforce this image.
“I'm telling the story with the sounds - or at least trying to- and the lyrics serve to enhance and strengthen the emotion or atmosphere being explored, not to transcribe it literally,” said Lorrey. “I like to have to think and chew on a song a little bit before I understand it. Sometimes one song will be about many different things.”
Gottlieb said it’s the audience that can sometimes define the story behind the song, rather than the artist themselves. He recalled a tune he wrote called “But For Your Love,” originally written about his wife Cheryl. When he got the chance to play it at his church, however, people later told him how strongly it touched their sense of Christianity.
“Needless to say, I was so surprised,” said Gottlieb. “Which only goes to show you that what a song was intended to be about by the songwriter is not as important as what an audience ultimately believes the song to be about.”
The act of writing his music is a way for Gottlieb to also deal with his own demons. Following the passing of his father, he found it impossible to write a song about the man for many years.
“The emotions associated with him were so strong that it overwhelmed my ability to write or compose music,” Gottlieb said.
In one of his most recent songs, “Waiting For The Train,” Gottlieb finally included a lyrics involving his father indirectly, and said he was so pleased with the outcome of the track,he decided to make it the title track for his next album.
“Like David Wilcox, I see music as embracing metaphor,” said Gottlieb. “Metaphor is naturally meant to be symbolic and I use metaphor in my lyrics to approach issues that everyone struggles with: Finding love, coping with relationships, trying to seek out what makes life really meaningful.”
Max Bowen-Citywide Blackout