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PREVIEW: Folk/pop artist Namoli Brennet comes to the Foundry Saturday, June 8

Namoli Brennet has the audacity to assert that she and all of society's outcasts actually belong in this world and are worthy of the same respect as everyone else.

West Stockbridge — In “We Belong,” a catchy, evocative, and brilliantly produced single from the EP of the same title, Namoli Brennet proclaims the fundamental worth of all human persons: “Here’s to all the tough girls,” she sings, “And here’s to all the sensitive boys … Here’s to all the outspoken minorities. And here’s to those who chose diversity … We belong.” The Foundry exists for artists like Brennet, a four-time Outmusic award nominee who will appear at the venue Saturday, June 8.

Namoli Brennet has the audacity to assert that she and all of society’s outcasts actually belong in this world and are worthy of the same respect as everyone else.

Plenty of so-called folk music gets labeled as “introspective.” But Jamie Manser, writing for Zocalo Magazine, called Brennet’s music “Gorgeous and introspective.”

Tucson Weekly’s Gene Armstrong calls Brennet “one of the country’s best folk artists,” and that’s fair enough, perhaps because her songs are intelligent, introspective, make commentary on social and political issues, and are meant to be sung and played by an individual singer-songwriter. You can call it folk, but it makes more sense to describe it as tuneful, engaging pop music that gives you something worthwhile to think about and sticks with you after a single listen. called her performance at the Las Cruces pride event as “One of the most iconic pride performances of all time,” along with Nikki Minaj and Arianna Grande.

Brennet has released 13 albums since 2002. Her most recent release, 2023’s “The Poet Tree,” is a collection of classic poems set to music with vocals and piano accompaniment. If that sounds boring, it is because you don’t know what a compelling singing voice she has, along with an extraordinarily good ear for the kind of hymn-like harmonic writing she applies to these verses. She has what you might call a Nashville flair to her keyboard playing, which is richly emotive, with occasional hints of gospel and jazz. (Compare to Billy Joel’s “Goodnight, My Angel.”) Those and other influences aside, all of Brennet’s work reveals an uncanny instinct for pop songwriting of startling originality. And it probably doesn’t hurt that she has a degree in composition. The result on “The Poet Tree” is stunningly beautiful.

The Foundry’s mission is to present challenging, relevant art that connects, inspires, and bridges cultural boundaries—art that “changes the lens through which we view one another.” No artist is better equipped to support that mission than Namoli Brennet.

Hear Namoli Brennet on Saturday, June 8, at The Foundry, 2 Harris Street, West Stockbridge. Tickets are available here. Seating/bar: 6:30 p.m.; show: 7:30 p.m. For more information, call (413) 232-5222.

Parking is limited at the venue, so please use one of the three public parking lots in town: one across from the Post Office, one behind Berkshire Bank, and one just off Main Street. Whatever you do, don’t park at Trúc Orient Express Restaurant or the Post Office, unless you want to get a parking ticket.


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