View this email in your browser

We all have traits that feel like faults. Things we have known about ourselves for what feels like a long time, that have snuck their way in to become a significant part of who we are and influence the way we interact with the world. The nebulousness of a “long time” is a closed calendar in a box on a high shelf. Having that calendar hung up on the wall with a date circled in thick red sharpie telling you how many years you’ve been aware of this faulty trait (and have not yet “fixed” it), is an interesting form of specificity.

Tomorrow (Friday) afternoon Ellen Stanley (Mother Banjo) and Anthony Ihrig will be hosting us on their show Back Catalog Listening Party, where they invite artists to join them for a conversation about one of their older albums—playing several of the tracks throughout, showing pertinent photos, and answering audience questions from the comment section. (You can join us for this conversation about our album Before I Go, and post questions/comments, from 4-5 pm Central tomorrow over at this YouTube link! And Patrons will receive a link to a Zoom after-party that’ll keep the conversation going.) In preparing for this, I was rummaging through old writing notebooks where the bones of these songs live in order to revisit who I was then. My inability to get rid of things led to me finding much older versions of myself too. 

I couldn’t help but open a light blue 3-subject spiral bound notebook, cover faded from rubbing shoulders with textbooks in my high school backpack, random home phone numbers scribbled on the fuzzy manila-yellow back. The wide-ruled pages revealed bad poetry and embarrassingly dramatic journal entries mixed in with geometry homework and  notes from me searching the classifieds for a used car. A particular page caught my attention...

“Amidst the average everyday common sense knowledgeable person, lies us—the analytical common sense incompetent. We see past the surface of simple words to their origin, to get a better understanding of how to perceive things, when actually, all we are doing is confusing the issue. Our minds will not accept a simple obvious meaning for what it is. To us, it has to mean more, it must have a deeper underlying meaning. We often spend our time searching for answers that are being spoon-fed to us. Our analytical minds are oblivious to common sense.”
                    —16-year-old Crystal

My initial light-hearted reaction to my 16-year-old self quickly did the math and turned into the sinking feeling of good-lord-it’s-been-25-years-and-I-haven’t-managed-to-sort-this-overanyalyzing-thing-out-yet. But then I caught a glimpse of how this has been positive.

In order to overanalyze words and body language and details of an experience, I first have to even notice these details. While my noticing can be overwhelming to my nervous system, often, I wouldn’t be here writing a newsletter to you, living my life as artist, if I didn’t notice details. Songs are details. And songs can be stories that are created in the same way we tell ourselves stories about an experience. So this faulty trait has given me years of practice noticing things and making up stories.  How’s that for career planning ;)? 

Like remembering to find gratitude when we’ve gotten focused on negative things, seeing how perceived weaknesses have persevered to prove themselves as strengths can be a helpful exercise.

What strengths have you come to realize have been masquerading as faults?

// Music & Merch //

Our NPR Tiny Desk submission for this year, our song "Pigeons," is over on our YouTube channel.
We recorded a new song on an island off the coast of NH while attending the magical Miles of Music. We were honored to have Bridget Kearney of Lake Street Dive (bass) and Omar Ruiz-Lopez of Violet Bell (fiddle) share their gift of thoughtful and beautiful accompaniment.
Full story and the video over at our Patreon page.
Learn about early & exclusive access at Patreon

Web store is always open!

In addition to our CDs and poetry books, you can order T-shirts, tote bags,
and personalized handwritten lyrics or poetry.

Our little cabin and amazing view at Miles of Music last month.
OE Unedited
This is the section where we share an unedited journal entry or object write. 
(Object writing is a daily 10 minute writing exercise, where you write to a particular object in a sensory stream of consciousness kind of way. You can read more about it here.)
Object write topic: penny

waiting like it’s Christmas morning and my mom is the tree
my head at about purse-level
her hands digging inside the grey leather bag
for pennies

the fountain roaring and echoing
in the brick-floored mall
mixing in with walking conversations
chatter that i couldn’t make out
but didn’t care about
i just needed pennies

i had wishes
and they needed to be made

i wondered what the wishes lying on the bluish-white concrete were
and when they came true

her arms elbow deep in that bag you could fit a pomeranian in
me shifting and fidgeting with the hem of my t-shirt
not yet aware
of the similarities between a purse and a black hole
so i was impatiently relieved
as i saw the patina penny rising like a sun in her hand
rather than shocked
at this clear advance of science

then with a silent widening of eyes
a clear vision of all the magic in that mall
and a tiny toss of kindergarten strength
i threw it in
Details/advanced tickets links for all events can be found here
7/28 Austin,TX & FB Live - Wonder What Wednesdays

7/30 San Antonio, TX - Private House Concert

7/31 Austin, TX - Wyldwood Shows

8/1 Fort Worth, TX - The Post at River East w/ Jason Eady & Courtney Patton
As always, feel free to hit reply and say hello, or let us know if there is something in particular you'd like to see in our newsletters. Thank you for your support!

See you down the road,
Crystal & Pete (who is setting up streaming things for the BCLP show tomorrow, but sends his love)
You’ve bought our albums, you’ve come to our shows, you’ve signed up for our newsletter--you rock! Wondering what other no-cost things you could do to support our music?
  • If you’re on Facebook and want to like our page there, you can do that here.
  • If you're on Instagram and would like to follow us, you can do that here.
  • Think others may enjoy our music and newsletter? Forward them this email or tell them they can check us out and sign up at
  • If you use Spotify, and would like to follow us, that's here. And if you make playlists there, consider adding one of our songs if it fits in. 
  • If you use Pandora, you can create an Ordinary Elephant channel, or if an OE song comes on that you like, give it a thumbs up. 
Copyright 2021 Ordinary Elephant, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp