Jamie’s November Blog, 2019

Read this as an Enewsletter: https://mailchi.mp/9b1c0985e20e/jamie-o-sept-enews-in-old-chicago-tix-on-sale-2388865

Autumn winds whirl as
Leaves leave trees.
Heavy snow on Halloween.
Temperatures drop. Branches bow.
Jiminy Cricket! Holy Cow!
November’s comin’ in.
Grab your coat ‘n get yer hat.
It’s winter-time again!

Jamie as “Sonja” for Halloween

A note from Jamie
With a big family to consider, plans to make, and grandchildren to entertain, the “holidays” start for me with a bunch of fall birthdays, leading to Halloween, leading to Thanksgiving, and then festivities are non-stop til 12th night. Followed by January birthdays of Olive and brother Cosmo. That’s a whole-lot. But, I’m not complaining.

It’s long been my fancy to plan singing gigs around the seasons — carols at Christmas, Valentine songs midwinter, love-songs on MayDay, and steamy ballads at summer solstice.

This year, autumn carries with it a weight. More poignant, more nostalgia-infused than ever. I’m wanting to slow the wheels down, hold-tight the best of times.

This Sunday, Nov 10 at 7 PM, I’m hosting a Roots Salon at my place in Rogers Park/Edgewater with the Crooked Mouth. That’s Jenny Magnus, Beau O’Reilly. Vicki Walden T-Roy Martin and Heather Riordan. With special guests performing Lullabies, including sister Kate, Brooke and Janet.(Read more: https://www.jamieoreilly.com/events/2019-11-10

Come get a taste of autumn treats, and hear this fun ensemble, as we savour the O’Reilly family’s Salon tradition, started by our ancestors in early 20th century Chicago, when they lived on Humboldt Boulevard. (Read more here).

Peace to all,
Jamie

Part 2. A long shelf life.
Ten months ago I looked at a resume of experience posted on my old website and weeded out dated mission statements. I removed headers of no-longer viable roles, and considered what I wanted to do next! I wanted to put a fresh-face to my years old A Voice for the Soul of the City persona. I needed to get real and edit, edit, edit.

It was an arduous, challenging effort. And a surprise. The Jamie O’Reilly that emerged from this re-brand, (and pricey website overhaul), reacquainted me with my formative artist-self. I realized, when all is said and done, I love to sing. The effort behind the other stuff — promotion, marketing, crafting “I” statements, project proposals, even coming up with group projects — is borne out of necessity. Honed and reshaped and paid for over years. For in this culture, to be a working independent artist is to accept the reality that nose-to-the grindstone effort is key to a long shelf-life.

But, and, perhaps decades in, we see the rewards of the pursuit.  No longer needing to clarify who we are, we see what we are.  What we did.   Beyond resting on laurels, we get to circle back and… 

Celebrate.  Even relax. Thinkin’ about the folk-wisdom in The Wizard of Oz film that tells a homesick Dorothy to trust her instincts, (“it isn’t any further than your own backyard”), and nudged me to look back. To seek my roots. 

I zeroed in on the stories of the people who came before me, whose passion and activism inspired me to be the artist, mother, lover and activist I’ve become. At the same time, I fixated on the songs that drew me in from over 40 years of performing: their potent musical phrases and lyrics swirling in my head like friendly furies.

I spent weeks getting my voice in shape so I could finesse a wide range of musical styles, reflecting my varied tastes and skills. Those songs became the foundation for In Old Chicago, which brought a full and enthusiastic house last month at Chief O’Neill’s Pub with Judi Heikes narrating and John Erickson on piano. I’ve shared a few nice comments here from people who were there. It was a good night. We performers need night’s like that.

The truth is, I did it for me.
I wanted to give myself something to sing about.

Just saw an extraordinary show “In Old Chicago” presented by Jamie O’Reilly at Chief O’Neill’s. Her gorgeous voice mixing poems with songs all with a thread of history of people, specifically the O’Reilly family, in Chicago: Sophie Tucker, Spanish-American War songs, romantic sing-a-longs, Haymarket martyrs. No hipster irony, just music she understands.

Robin Bienemann, Musician

It was an honor to be considered part of Jamie O’Reilly’s “us” and to be a part of the continuity of sharing beautiful songs, inspired poetry, meaningful stories through various histories, and the love that is inclusive and honoring when it comes from the heart, as it so clearly did last night.

Kathy Kelly, WNUR The Folk Show


IN OLD CHICAGO will be performed at Givins Castle in Chicago’s historic Beverly neighborhood Saturday, Feb 1, 2020.

Read more https://www.jamieoreilly.com/projects/cultural-programs/

Do you have a venue where you’d like to book this program?
Contact Jamie. Jamie@jamieoreilly.com

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