Though her work as a solo artist and her time fronting 10,000 Maniacs have made singer/songwriter Natalie Merchant a name known around the world, she has been a Hudson Valley resident for long enough that she has become part of the community fabric. Merchant will honor that local connection when she begins her July tour of the Northeast with a performance at the Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) in Kingston on Thursday, July 3.
Merchant’s 16-date tour is in support of her new eponymous album on Nonesuch Records, her sixth as a solo artist and her first in 13 years comprised of entirely original material. Merchant also produced the album, which features musical contributions from John Medeski, Shawn Pelton, Clark Gayton, Uri Sharlin, Jesse Murphy, Erik Delta Penna and Gabriel Gordon; vocal contributions come from Simi Stone, Elizabeth Mitchell and Corliss Stafford. The collective feel of the music on the album still leaves room for Merchant’s trademark intimacy and honesty: no small feat. Expect similar wire-walking brilliance when Merchant takes the show on the road.
As dedicated to social and environmental causes as music, Merchant has recently sought new ways of combining her passions on film, with an involvement with the creation of a protest concert documentary, Dear Governor Cuomo, with New Yorkers against Fracking; and Shelter: A Concert Film to Benefit Victims of Domestic Violence, which Merchant directed and produced.
Merchant will open her tour at UPAC at 601 Broadway in Kingston on Thursday, July 3 at 8 p.m., with opening act Simi Stone. Tickets cost $75 for Golden Circle Seats, $55 for all other seats and $50 for members. For more information, visit www.bardavon.org.