On the Road Again
Home can be a relative term for a touring musician. Spending just as much, or sometimes more, time on the road than in their actual residence makes for a different outlook regarding comfort, says Inda Eaton. For the East Hampton resident, who has spent a lot of time crisscrossing the country with her band, it’s all about finding community along the way.
“Road trips are how we roll” says the singer / songwriter. “So we have to find that sense of place wherever we happen to be at the time.”
Musicians have the opportunity to see the world in different ways because of all that travel, she continues. When you are out on the road and driving back and forth across the countryside, you see things that most people might miss by staying in one place.
That’s never been more apparent than in the past few years, adds Eaton, who reports that a post-election cross-country trip provided unexpected insight into our most basic human needs, and the title to her latest album.
“The yard signs were all still up, everywhere we went, much longer than I remember ever seeing them in years past,” she recalls. “The animus and divide was right there on your front lawn — it became your brand.”
“Just seeing that, from town to town, made me open my eyes,” she says. “I realized that we were all, in our own ways, looking for validation and sheltering in place.”
Thus, her ninth independently produced album came to be. “Shelter in Place,” recorded live at her house in East Hampton, features B. Rehm-Gerdes, Michael Gugliemo, Jeff Marshall and Jeffrey Smith, with special appearances by Eve Nelson, Nancy Atlas, Lee Lawler and Rose Lawler.
The 11-song album — filled with Eaton’s trademark emotionally charged anthems, ballads and boot stompers — aims to capture some of that energy while also focusing on the things that unite us. Featuring songs and stories of freedom, survival, loneliness, and love, it’s ultimately imbued with Eaton’s conviction that there’s no place like home, and music, to provide the comforts that we all need.
“It’s about getting some energy going and putting the good news out there,” says Eaton. “Hopefully removing some of those barriers and reminding us that we are all one with each other.”
Her message has already definitely got through to one person in particular. East Hampton-based multimedia artist and award-winning filmmaker Jane Martin, a friend of Eatons, heard the song “Once” from the album and included it in her documentary “What Is Love.”
The 34-minute film, part of a planned seven-part series, features more than 90 participants — including Alec Baldwin, Rodney Yee, Edie Windsor, Mercedes Ruehl and Atlas — who all discuss their feelings on the subject. Created by Martin and Alex Mankiewicz, it aims to shed light on the power of love and its necessity in our world today.
“I’m so thrilled that Jane wanted to use the song and to include some of my loving intention in her movie,” says Eaton. “I loved marrying up some of our energy to synch music with the spoken word, especially because the movie is stunning. It really draws you in.”
Recognizing the extra layer of depth and content that images add to music, Eaton says that she and the band, along with videographer and editor Mike Lavin from LTV, have been working on some visual representations of their own for some of their tunes. The results will be unveiled during a live concert at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor in the New Year.
Every concert offers its own community-in-the-moment, its own opportunity to shelter in place, says Eaton. And her intention for this multimedia performance (and those to come) is to enhance the experience and also the powerful message of love and unity that the songs convey.
“Just like with the album, it’s meant to show the power of human connection, and what can happen when we come face to face,” says Eaton. “I’m hopeful that the message will come through.”