ITHACA, N.Y.—Prominent local musician Maddy Walsh will be hosting and performing a show at the Hangar Theatre this week, part of an album release event designed to serve as a “welcome back” of sorts to live music productions that have largely been hamstrung by public gathering rules and COVID-19 caution since March 2020.
Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. on Nov. 6, featuring three sets of music performances and a short film. Walsh, well-known for her music as part of Maddy Walsh & The Blind Spots, will be introducing her new solo album, Humanmade Thing.
While considered a solo album, Humanmade Thing is also a collaboration with Walsh’s partner and band co-founder Mike Suave as well as producer Steven Dewey. Humanmade Thing was completed before the pandemic began but Walsh and Suave have wanted to release it at a live show in front of an audience, and this event signifies that chance.
“We’ve both been working really hard on it, getting it together. There’s a lot of moving parts to it. It’s been a pretty ambitious project,” Walsh said.
There will be other local musicians performing at the event, too. Walsh also assembled a regional band of eight Ithaca musicians from bands including Michael Wu of The Gunpoets, Jennifer Middaugh of the Sim Redmond Band, guitarist Diwas Gurung of Ayurveda, Sam Lupowitz of Noon Fifteen, singer Bronwen Exter and drummer Sam Fishman, along with other “special guests.”
Throughout her career, Walsh has consistently performed for charity and fundraising events. And now, in a crucial time for many creative professionals, Walsh is stepping up for her community again. She along with Suave are using the upcoming show as a way to pay back fair wages to the band members as well as the production team who lost out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Not just musicians were hit really hard financially by the pandemic. It’s everybody in the industry. Sound and lighting people, management, promoters, and organizers. Everyone that operates under that music industry umbrella. Just anyone whose livelihood depends on the gathering of people,” Walsh said.
“Because this was my solo album release, I wanted to take this opportunity to pay musicians and all those people in the music industry a fair wage,” she added. But this is not something she can do alone.
Both Walsh and Suave continue to seek sponsorships in order to support their cause. Both aren’t expecting to directly benefit from ticket sales, instead hoping to be paid via the album sales on the night of the show. The event is now 61 percent funded as of Nov. 2.
“Because I had to wait a year and a half to release this record, I wanted to go all in,” Walsh said. “We’re doing big production, we’re bringing a film crew, and we hired this fantastic band. So, we want to pay everyone well. I didn’t want to cut any corners, but I also wanted to keep ticket prices affordable.”
So far, Walsh and Suave have received sponsorship support from Firelight Camps, Hector Handmade, La Tourelle, Stone Post Vineyard, Veterans for Climate Justice, the ARQ Barn, Hopshire Farm & Brewery, Maguire Family of Dealerships, Yaman Real Estate, GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance and Buffalo Street Books. If an individual or business would want to sponsor them, they are open to outreach (at firstname.lastname@example.org).
The show is also meant to be a way to reunite creatives after a period of separation and tumultuous change. Despite Humanmade Thing being produced before the pandemic’s arrival, its themes revolving around conflicting perspectives on humanity have become even more pertinent to a world that is slowly nursing itself back to health.
“I’ve been working with the theme of the juxtaposition between my perpetual hope for humanity and our capacity for goodness, and my disappointment in people and disillusionment in our choices,” Walsh said. “I think most of the songs on the album straddle that conflict. Trying to remain positive, trying to remain hopeful, keeping the faith in people while also recognizing all the crazy things we do.”
Maddy Walsh Album Release Event
Saturday, November 6
Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m.