I’m excited to share with you a special video I’ve been working on with a talented videographer, Mark Ellis. Today it premieres at 12pm.
Years ago, I wrote this song about the shock of unexpected loss families go through, of suddenly losing my solo guitar skills due to dystonia, the downfall of my marriage and resulting ripple effects. The song was so emotional for me, I could only perform it once – for this live recording. I really needed to share it that night. I’ve seen my songs experience a second life, when times change, when more lives beyond just my own experience a shock, or when a global family needs to share its message. Videographer Mark Ellis soulfully brings the music into this unexpected and shocking time we’re experiencing today. It is our tribute to all those on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic.
My hope is this would bring encouragement to you and any health care workers you know and love who are working tirelessly during this time.
This video premieres today at 12pm (central standard time). Please watch and feel free to share stories of hope and love in the comments!
With love and gratitude,
If you missed the exciting launch of SimpleGifts new project in 2019, it’s important to know that you don’t have to wait 11 months between holiday tours to see us!!! We are thrilled momentum continues to sky-rocket for our year-round show, SimpleGifts with Billy McLaughlin presents The Young & the Rest… An acoustic tribute to Neil Young and the rest of your favorite artists who defined an era and whose popularity endures – Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, America and more.
For show and ticketing information please click here.
From the dailyrecordnews.com
The Ellensburg’s Learn from the Masters Musical Outreach (LMMO) guitar extravaganza ends with a free concert on Sept. 28 with a night of finger-style guitar featuring Billy McLaughlin, Adam Cord, and Macyn Taylor live in concert at the Morgan Performing Arts Center.
“Ellensburg is a special place,” McLaughlin said. “I had a chance to play the (420 Building) last year and people were hanging over the balcony. It was a great room and great community support.
“I see our show on (that) Saturday night as a continuum of American guitar. I love playing intimate settings like this. It will be ‘Guitar Joyful,’ and a way to showcase a way of playing that’s been around for generations.”
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette said watching McLaughlin is like “… Listening to two of the greatest acoustic guitarists you’ve ever heard,” in its review. The Chicago Sun Times said, “… It’s amazing that such an extensive sound comes from one instrument.” The Ellensburg audience will have a chance to hear the international performer in the intimate surroundings of the Morgan Performing Arts Center.
“I’ve played all over the world, but what I most enjoy is the connection with the people. So to play in an intimate setting puts me right in the center of it,” said McLaughlin, whose first release, “Fingerdance,” peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard charts.
McLaughlin’s style of placing both hands on the fret board, creating a harp-like effect on the acoustic guitar. The unusual approach has paved the way to extensive national touring and awards since the 1980s. The internationally-recognized virtuoso and will be joined by Youngstown Symphony Orchestra guitarist Adam Cord and Macyn Taylor, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Peck School of guitar studies.
“Adam’s an incredible talent and was with me when we played Ellensburg downtown last year. I really think people are going to enjoy hearing what Macyn can do,” McLaughlin said. “This is going to be a remarkable weekend with John (Stropes, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Peck School’s director of guitar studies) bringing in the Music of Leo Kottke Guitar workshop.
“I mean, 30 people signed up in the first week. It’s going to be a guitar event for the Pacific Northwest with players coming in from all over the country. Then to actually have the legendary Leo Kottke play on Friday while the workshop is going on, then wrap it up with our performance (at Morgan Performing Arts Center). It’s going to be guitar joyful and something pretty special.”
McLaughlin’s comeback of a lifetime
Now, I’m asking for your help – and it’s not just limited to Minneapolis/St. Paul! Please read further:
The first annual Twin Cities Dystonia Zoo Walk will be held Saturday, June 11th, 2016 at the Como Zoo, with all proceeds benefiting the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation.
The Twin Cities is one of 12 locations across the U.S. that will host a Zoo Walk in 2016. Last year, Zoo Walks in 8 cities drew over 4,000 participants.
This will be a family-friendly community day at the Como Zoo to raise awareness about dystonia. If you are not in the Twin Cities you can find a list of host cities for 2016 at the “more information” link below.
This DMRF Zoo-Walk is a twist on typical walks – participants are invited to walk as much for as long as little as they would like. No mileage goals or raising of pledge money is needed to participate in the Walk. It’s really just a day at Como Zoo that helps raise awareness for my condition.
Thank you very much for your support of this event and cause!!
Join My Walk Team!
If you are interested in participating in the Walk, please join my team by inputting “Team BillyMac” in the Team Name window on the registration page. I’d love to have you on my team!!! You’ll get a custom t-shirt with “Team BillyMac” on the back and I’ll have my Sharpie on hand to sign yours if you want! This is a Twin Cities-only team so if you are registering in another city please just complete a general registration or start your own team.
Includes: Access to the zoo, refreshments and a t-shirt
Click here to register
A t-shirt is included in the cost. Selecting a shirt size generates the registration entry fee. We will have your t-shirt waiting for you at the Zoo the day of the walk. Please note that shipping info in registration is part of the billing process but nothing will be shipped to you – just come that morning and we’ll have everything you need including t-shirts, bottled water, energy bars etc.
8:00 – 9:30 – Gather at the picnic grounds for: check-in and same day registration, t-shirt pick-up, gather with team members, face painting for children, sponsor tables
9:30 – 10:00 – Welcome: speakers from the medical community and the DMRF
10:00 on – Walk the zoo! Simply by being there you will help spread the word about Dystonia!
Can’t Attend but Want to Support?
Donations can be made here and will be matched 100% by an anonymous donor.
On the registration page, select “Donate” on the right side of the page and then “Donate to a dystance event” in the following screen. From there you can enter the event name “Twin Cities Zoo Walk.”
Martin Keller / Media Savant Communications
612-729-8585 / email@example.com
A Rare Summer Solstice Concert from a Group Known For Its Christmas Shows
DRIVEN BY FAN DEMAND, SIMPLEGIFTS TO PERFORM A NIGHT OF DIVERSE MUSIC BY BILLY McLAUGHLIN, THE CIVIL WARS, NEIL YOUNG, PETER GABRIEL, RICKIE LEE JONES, CELTIC TUNES AND OTHERS AT PEPITO’S PARKWAY THEATER JUNE 19
MINNEAPOLIS — May 27, 2015 — Here’s a switch: SimpleGifits*, a group known for its lovely, harmonious vocals and strings only at Christmas is celebrating the Summer Solstice, two days early on June 19 at Pepito’s Parkway Theater in south Minneapolis at 8:00 p.m.
No Christmas music will be heard.
Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door and available online at the SimpleGifts website www.simplegiftsmusic.net Pepito’s Parkway Theater is located at 4814 Chicago Ave S/Minneapolis, MN., 55417/www.theparkwaytheater.com.
What you will hear is original music by Billy McLaughlin who leads SimpleGifts, plus songs by The Civil War, Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, Rickie Lee Jones, some Celtic classics and other tunes by a superb line up musicians that includes: Billy McLaughlin, percussionist/drummer, Billy O, singers Ashleigh Still, Torie Redpath and Celtic star, Laura MacKenzie — plus special guest Melody Michelle Duncan, all the way from Mobile, Alabama, on violin and vocals.
“As longtime fans know, SimpleGifts has been hard to find in concert except during the short and dark days leading to Christmas. But this sunny solstice, we’re changing that, based on fan’s demand to hear SimpleGifts more than just during the holidays,” explains McLaughlin who put together the ensemble 13 years ago.
“Now we are finally giving everyone chance to hear us right near the official beginning of Summer, with a an wide variety of material ideally suited to the three-part female harmonies, plus the sounds of strings, piano, Celtic whistle and pipes. It’s going to be a treat for the ears on a nice summer’s eve.”
For more information — or to interview SimpleGifts or have them perform live in studio in advance of the June 19 date — please contact Martin Keller, Media Savant Communications, 612-729-8585, firstname.lastname@example.org
As long-time fans will tell you, SimpleGifts makes musical magic by bringing a modern flair to traditional Christmas carols and hymns. Staying close to the heart of Christmas by avoiding commercial and pop holiday repertoire has become the trademark of this award winning six-piece ensemble.
SimpleGifts combines violin, Celtic whistle and bagpipes, piano, acoustic guitar and percussion with angelic three part female vocals to create a “modern Old-World” sound. There is nothing ordinary about the arrangements this team delivers both in the studio and in concert. Seen by over 20,000 live audience members last season, this group continues to grow in popularity throughout the Upper Midwest and has successfully transitioned from their early days in coffeehouses and small listening rooms to prestigious performing art centers and larger churches.
General Electric’s Txchnologist blog – Slaying the Silence: One Musician’s Journey to Play Again by Michael Keller
Last week, Billy was featured in Txchnologist, “an online magazine created in partnership with General Electric.”
“After suffering a debilitating condition called focal dystonia that took away control of one of his hands, accomplished professional guitarist Billy McLaughlin was told he’d never play music again. That diagnosis wasn’t the end of his career, though; it was the starting point that led McLaughlin to eventually reprogram his brain and body to play with the opposite hand. Stepping on the stage after a long hiatus, his success is a testament to determination and to the flexibility of the brain to find novel ways to work around major problems, a phenomenon called neuroplasticity…” …continue reading
Full featured article on Txchnologist.com
On Location TV19 – Published on March 4, 2015, On Location TV19’s Local Image interviewed the writers and producers of Serenity Prayer Project. They were honored to be featured in this segment with Judy Skeie-Voss.
Serenity Prayer Project is an ongoing effort to share a musical version of The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr – “God grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change, COURAGE to change what I can, and the WISDOM to know the difference.”
Serenity Prayer Project On Location TV19’s Local Image March 2015
Judy sits down with Billy McLaughlin, Nate Sabin and Lori Morris Werch to talk about the Serenity Prayer Project.
Learn more about Serenity Prayer Project here.
As longtime fans know, SimpleGifts has been hard to find in concert except the short and dark days during Christmas. Well, it’s time to change that! SimpleGifts has THREE mid-year concerts coming up that we are happy to invite you to!
Come celebrate the longest days of summer with SimpleGifts, Billy McLaughlin and Laura MacKenzie at the Parkway Theater. Featuring Billy’s original music but don’t be surprised if a little Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, Rickie Lee Jones, The Civil Wars and some awesome Celtic classics sneak in! We are excited to share the new summer sound of SimpleGifts! Get ready for the new summer-sound of SimpleGifts!
Exciting news! We just added another concert with Billy McLaughlin in Chanhassen MN on November 14th! For continual updates keep checking the SimpleGifts website and/or join our mailing list by clicking the button below.