It was a delight to talk to Mae Simpson tonight. Her voice is powerful, her band is amazing and it was fun to learn about some of the behind the scenes glue that makes them work together so well. Hard work, collaboration and honest meetings keep everyone feeling good and moving forward.
I didn’t realize that Mae started in hip hop but it makes sense with her energy and her way with words. We talked about a few of her songs, especially Home and Birds. I get the feeling from Mae, partially through what she says and partially in what she doesn’t say that her songs are deeply personal but she is more interested in what they mean to her audience than in telling her story or prescriptively eliciting a response – except perhaps a desire to dance to become part of the music. There’s a partnership or almost an agreement between Mae and the audience that everyone is going to be all in. I’ve seen it and felt it at the shows and she talked about how she encourages people to move forward to get engaged at the show and the energy is gives her.
It sounds like that partnership starts with her band: Drummer- Aaron Silverstein. percussionist- Ricardo J. Romero, Sax- Keaton Judy. Trumpet – Paul Pederson, bass- David Kellermann and guitar- Jorgen Wadkins. They formed a band three years ago through chance meetings, Craigslist and self-selection – their bond is clear. Mae talked about the working environment. She writes most of the songs, but the floor is open. So others write too. Sometimes one member will start with just a rift and from that a song is formed. Everyone is lifted up – on stage and in development.
They released an album on March 27 – Did you Make it Back. A brave move and an amazing album. During COVID they have been working on new material and a new twist on existing songs. Mae’s music (I find) is best enjoyed with a great sweaty dance but of course the days of sweaty dance have been paused so they are reimaging those songs with a more controlled response. I get the impression that we are going to get amped up soul and sway. We’ll get the opportunity to hear those renditions at the Broken Clock Brewery on October 17. If you can’t attend that, you can look forward to hearing more from her via Patreon in November.