Album reflects on adoption

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BRATTLEBORO — The much anticipated CD "Thunder in My Arms'" by fiddler, singer Lissa Schneckenburger - released May 17 with themes of attachment and trauma conceived especially with foster and adoptive parents in mind - ties in nicely with May's National Foster Care Month. She will be performing it live with band members Ross Bellenoit on electric guitar, Alec Spiegelman on winds, Corey DiMario on double bass, and Stefan Amidon on drums. at the Stone Church on Saturday, June 1.

All of the songs are originals written by Schneckenburger, stemming from her own and witnessed experiences about the hardships and joys of caring for children with developmental trauma as a foster and adoptive parent. Some songs are based on real experiences, some imagined after working with lots of families and hearing their stories, weaving them into this album. She described the CD as a quilt of inspirations.

"It was exciting to write my own material for this album and to use a different sonic tapestry than I had on previous CDs," she said. "All of my earlier recordings have been traditional fiddle tunes and ballads played on acoustic instruments. On 'Thunder in My Arms,' I brought in drums, bass, electric guitar, horns, saxophones, and piano - it was a totally new world! It felt important to match the subject matter with edgier instrumentation and arrangements. I know that being a foster or adoptive parent can be both incredibly hard, and incredibly rewarding. At the very least my hope is that this music helps someone feel better at the end of a rough day, but if it also helps a few families find a deeper connection to each other, that is even better!"

"Thunder in My Arms'" is a sharp deviation from her previous albums, singing to a different set of instruments including an electric guitar, bass, and saxophone in addition to her fiddle. According to a press release, when Lissa Schneckenburger sings - an enchanting mix of smoke, gravel, and honey - you stop what you're doing. The downbeat slams your body as the lyrics ignite - diamonds in the snow, bright voices of love and loss - and then she brings each song to a boil, careening around every unexpected detail. The song ends before you're ready, leaving you breathless with your heart pounding in your ears. You reach forward and hit repeat.

Schneckenburger said she's looking forward to the upcoming live performance. "You go through the whole process of writing the material, arranging it, recording it, and putting an album out, and finally the icing on the cake is to get to play it live with a full band in front of a big group of people. You get energy from the crowd and the interchange between the musicians and the audience creates a really fun, unique experience for everyone. I'm super excited to bring this show to my friends and neighbors here in my home town."

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Setting the tone for the CD in the first track, "Look Away" reveals the rage and anger and feelings of abandonment from a child's point of view entering a foster home for the first time, giving emotional insight as to why these children might put their new parents through the wringer. Highlights include "Since the Day We Met," with a nod to classic rock; "They Sent Me a Picture," inspired by modern acoustic guitar players like Aoife O'Donovan and Schneckenburger's co-writer Mark Erelli; and "The 11th Labor of Hercules," a heartfelt love song set as a minor key waltz that uses the Greek myth as a metaphor, co-written with the young poet Genna Rose Nethercott. Also included are "On My Own"; "I Need Us Together"; "Feel Better"; "I'll Stick Around"; "Blow Out the Candles"; and "When My Baby Cries."

During the making of the CD, 10 percent of the sales went to Vermont Foster/Adoptive Family Association, donating a significant amount of money toward its Children's Activity Fund. Continuing a charitable component, fostering and adoptive families who can't afford to buy the CD can get it free. On the other hand, anyone who can afford to donate extra is encouraged to do so, so that those families can enjoy the CD as well.

"Thunder in My Arms" CD is available at lissafiddle.com, CDBaby, Bandcamp, iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and other digital retailers, and at her live performances.

The digital download is $10; $15 for the CD. Sliding scale pricing offered at lissafiddle.com.

Brattleboro's concert takes place Saturday, June 1, 7 p.m., at The Stone Church, 210 Main St. Tickets are $13 to $15 available at stonechurchvt.com. Schneckenburger will also be at the Portland House of Music and Events in Portland, Maine on Friday, May 31, and at the Once Ballroom in Somerville, Mass. on Sunday, June 2.

For more information about her music and concerts, visit lissafiddle.com.


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