November 15, 2016
On ‘Songs Of Protest And Hope,’ Paula Boggs Band Starts A Conversation
New EP uses the stage to create a healthier community
NEW YORK — November 15, 2016 — Culled from a live performance at Empty Sea Studios in Seattle, the Paula Boggs Band wants to connect in a different way on its new EP, Songs of Protest & Hope. The five-song collection, set to release January 6, 2017, features three originals and a pair of covers that reflect the tenor of the times.
Songs of Protest & Hope grew out of a public challenge issued a few years ago by Questlove, the Roots drummer and late-night bandleader, who wondered about a lack of protest songs in the wake of the shooting deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. It’s also an expression of a concept that Boggs and her band have been thinking a lot about in recent years: what it means to be a citizen-artist, making music that entertains, but also enlightens and inspires.
The self- described Seattle- brewed soulgrass group, known for their ability to rock a crowd, decided to use the stage to start a conversation. They have showcased a killer, in-the-moment performance, and used their art as a tool of communication, an opportunity to engage the community to take actions that benefit the community and make it healthier.
The album features five songs; two songs from the 2015 album Carnival of Miracles – the thoughtful, atmospheric “Edith’s Coming Home” and the pointed perseverance anthem “Look Straight Ahead.” Also included are “Get Along Song,” which the group has been performing live for a few years, as well as a soulful, earthy take on the Youngbloods’ “Get Together,” and Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock,” a crowd favorite during the show.
An Army veteran who serves on the boards of KEXP Radio, Peabody Conservatory and the video and audio technology company Avid, Boggs is deeply involved in her own community. She was appointed to the President’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities in 2013, and her resume also includes a five-year stint as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, working as a vice president at Dell and general counsel for Starbucks.
There was a period when Boggs’ busy, high-powered career didn’t leave a lot of time to make music. After a family tragedy in 2005, though, she took up her guitar again as a way to grieve. She met three of the members of the Paula Boggs Band at an open mic, and the group released its first album, Buddha State of Mind, in 2010. Now, these citizen-artists, Mark Chinen on guitar and banjo; Isaac Castillo on bass and vocals; Tim Conroy on keyboards, accordion, melodica, trumpet and vocals; Tor Dietrichson on percussion and vocals; and Sandy Greenbaum on drum s, are ready to get started, engaging the com m unity with their art.
“At the end of the day, so much of the good that happens hinges on people’s action, how people see themselves in the world and how they interact with others,” Boggs says. “Hopefully, our music will be a spark for people to see themselves and their community in a slightly different and more positive way.”