Music has been my church for as long as I can remember, and live performance has always been the thing that brings me closest to losing myself in the beauty and mystery of it all. Of all the aspects of my job, performing is the most ephemeral, the most of-the-moment. You can’t do it while you’re watching yourself. It’s a high wire act – and for a circus girl, that’s a nearly irresistible thing.
Nonetheless, after several years of soul searching, questioning, and yes, grieving – I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to say farewell to touring life. It has been an absolute joy to play on stages from Sydney, Australia to Aberdeen, Scotland to Portland, Oregon. It has been a privilege to sing my songs for you. It has been my deepest pleasure and I will miss so many things about the road. But I am ready to stop.
Without a doubt, the thing I’ll miss the most is you. You’ve kept my spirits up and my wheels rolling for decades. You’ve been willing to follow me through some rough territory, song-wise, knowing that we would find beauty together in the darkness – literally and figuratively. You’ve shown your big hearts over and over again, whether donating to a cause when I asked, or sending your love and concern when I lost a friend or family member or a beloved dog. Seeing some of you become close to each other, even while separated by oceans, has given me so much pleasure – to have been the catalyst that brought you together is an amazing thing. Together we’ve celebrated and grieved births, deaths, marriages, divorces, heartbreaks – just like any family. What an unexpected joy.
Barry and I will stop touring in June 2023, but we will not stop making music, and when the opportunity presents itself we may play a live show here and there, or a livestream from home. But we are saying goodbye to the kind of touring we’ve been doing for over 20 years now. We’re ready for a new chapter, one that involves less doing and more being. We’re looking forward to less time on social media, more time at home. Less carbon footprint, more footprints on the hiking trail. And while I’m on the subject of Barry Walsh, I need to say once again what I’ve said for over 30 years now: there’s no one on earth I’d rather make music with. Since the first recording session of mine he played on in 1990, since the first tour we did together in 2001, his sensitivity and intuition has been nothing short of inspiring. I still get a thrill waiting to hear what he’ll play next. It’s never the same, and it’s always just right.
The music business has become increasingly, relentlessly demanding of artists. The pressure to release new “content” (not a synonym for art), to churn out singles and albums and videos and reels and posts on a prescribed schedule, often utterly out of sync with the artist’s internal one, isn’t producing more or greater art. It’s just increasing the noise and exhausting the artists. As someone who has always needed to let the field lie fallow in between creative bursts, I understand the pressure on young artists – and I hope they will resist. We need better songs, not more of them. We need artists who want to make art that lasts, not content that’s digested in the time it takes to scroll through your Instagram feed. I’m so grateful to have found you, an audience who understands this and has given me the grace to create on my own clock. My deepest thanks and love to all of you who have been coming – for years, and even decades – to share that sacred space in the dark with a song.