I’m not sure what it is about Erin Ivey’s voice, but it brings me bliss like few others can. When she sings, I want to curl up, close my eyes and float off into the distance as the music completely envelops every fiber of my being. That may seem a little over the top, but listen to her and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
I first discovered Erin Ivey years ago, as a college student delivering flowers to pay my bills. I drove a cargo van around the city of Austin every day with KUT blasting loudly through the speakers. I remember the first time the wonderful Jay Trachtenberg mentioned her name. I was taken aback the moment I heard her and continue to be with each new song she releases.
I recently attended and wrote about a show given by a close friend of hers, Elizabeth McQueen. In my article, I mentioned how big a fan I am of Erin, who participated in the show. I’ll be damned if she didn’t contact me after reading the piece on Elizabeth, and she graciously invited me out to her upcoming EP release.
That’s who Erin Ivey is. No ego. No pretension. Only love.
Erin put out an amazing new set of songs with the Tosca String Quartet, in an EP entitled Whisper of the Moon. The collection was funded with help from a very successful Kickstarter campaign. It’s no surprise that Erin’s fans are willing to support her. The talent is there; the personality is there; the music is all there.
The release show was at The Belmont on a beautiful Austin evening. The wind blew lightly, stringed lights hung from palm trees outside, and hundreds gathered inside to see Ivey unveil her latest.
She appeared sparkling in silver and red, under hanging stars and a big, bright moon. It was Valentine’s Day Eve, after all. Ivey began with a simple set of older material, playing on acoustic guitar with a lone lead guitar player. She told her room-full of friends she wanted to open with love songs to set the appropriate mood for the coming holiday.
When the Tosca String Quartet joined Ivey on stage, they began with my favorite track from the new EP, “Rest Your Head.” If I was to be sung a lullaby, any lullaby, I would choose this one.
Ivey drew the audience in with her hypnotic vocals and easily kept their attention for the rest of the set. Interpretive dancers joined in on the action during a few songs and added a beautiful, visual component to the performance.
Another favorite of mine Ivey performed was, “Oh, Light.” Not only was it flawlessly executed, but the song brought us all to a place we could relate to. We all think of what we will become when we die, which is exactly what this song addresses. No matter what you believe, all those thoughts still exist. Ivey isn’t afraid to take them on, which is something I really admire.
For an idea of what you missed, here’s Erin with the Tosca String Quartet:
Ivey reunited with Elizabeth McQueen for a charming rendition of “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” by the Everly Brothers. It brought me back to life as a little boy, riding in the back seat of the family sedan with my dad behind the wheel singing loudly and proudly. As the memories came back to me, all I could do was smile.
At one point during the show, while “Whisper of the Moon” was being performed, I looked down to see my wife in tears. No lie. Now, she’s an emotional woman, but she had good reason here. I had the lump in my throat going and just held it all in for pride’s sake.
All in all, we had a wonderful evening and I bought an album I will listen to again and again. Thank you, Erin Ivey, for the wonderful music and for being such a gracious and wonderful part of the Austin music community.
Which Austin musician touches your emotional core?