Tuesday night was the 83rd installment of The Round at the Freemont Abbey Arts Center. The lineup was stacked with Damien Jurado, Jon Russell (The Head and the Heart), and Katie Costello with members of her band Pretty Broken Things.
If you aren’t familiar with The Round you must go. It’s a night of musicians, poets and live painters all working together to create a truly beautiful night. The musicians and poets each take a turn and then they start over at the beginning.
I think it’s safe to say that the sold out crowd at the Abbey came for Damien Jurado and Jon Russell, but when the show ended everybody was talking about Katie Costello. Katie and her band Pretty Broken Things stole the show from the start with beautiful songs and a voice that will not be denied.
Damien Jurado had a lot to say about Katie and began to gush as the night progressed.
“I wish I could write songs like that. You should help me write some songs” Jurado said after Katie finished singing one song. “That was unreal” he continued. See more Damien’s reaction to Katie in the video at the bottom along with a video of how the show ended.
You have to listen to Pretty Broken Things. After what I saw at The Round Tuesday night this is one of my new favorite bands. You can catch them tonight at the Columbia City Theater.
I got the chance to talk with Katie and ask her some questions about her experience.
Me: When did you find out you were going to play with Jon and Damien?
Katie: Oh man. That was a cool day. It was only a few weeks ago. My booking manager heard they were playing at The Round and we reached out to try and make the show happen and then she called me and said “are you sitting down? You got the show!” and I screamed till my voice was hoarse and went out to get a bottle of champagne.
Me: It was clear you were pretty giddy when the night started but when it ended it looked like Damien and Jon were giddy to be sitting next to you and Damien showered you with praise all night. How did that feel?
Katie: Damien is one of the best song writers of our generation. It was insanely humbling and amazing. It was just really validating. As a songwriter I’m blessed to play any stage anywhere for anyone. To get to sit and share a stage with people I admire as much as Damien and Jon, Damien is world renowned and someone I aspire to be like and to have someone like that validate what I do is amazing.
You saw my reaction I just covered my face and started crying. To have another songwriter say he had his ass handed to him! (laughter) He could have just patted me on the head and said “good job kid” and I still would have cried.
Me: Was it your idea to close the show with “Stand By Me”?
Katie: Yes. We all got there a little early and typically at The Round they try to end with a collaboration and I asked Damien and Jon if they know any covers and they both said no. So I said, “Let’s do something cool that everyone will know and get the crowd singing along.”
My favorite moment of the night was when I suggested “Stand By Me” and we were practicing before the show and we realized they didn’t really know the song. It was the cutest moment when they were asking me how they were doing and if they should sing a higher harmony or lower harmony. That was really fun.
Me: Have you ever played The Round before?
Katie: No. I have never even been to The Round before and had no idea what to expect going into the night.
Me: What did you think about it?
Katie: It was amazing. I have to say Nathan Marion, the music curator at The Abbey, is just amazing and The Round is his passion project. I am so grateful to him for that. He deserves all the credit for what is going on at the Abbey. What he does for the arts in Seattle is absolutely beautiful. To bring everyone down to that common ground level and mix the arts like that it becomes just about art and community and there is nothing more beautiful than to have art in that kind of environment. It’s not an artist up on a tall stage or some painting in a museum or a poet in a quiet coffee shop
I was privileged to be a part of it and love what Nathan does. I love this idea. There is a real sense of comradery among the artists. We all went out for drinks after and talked about how we all have different forms of art we pour our hearts out for whether it be music or poetry or painting and it’s special to have a place to share that.
Me: You and your band did a great job and I really can’t wait to see you guys again.
Katie: My band mates are so special. We are all best friends and having them up there sharing in that was amazing.