The Haunt welcomes Izzy True back home
At 7PM, the doors to The Haunt click open, inviting the late summer air to waft through the venue. It’s the first Thursday since classes started at Cornell University and Ithaca College. This marks the end of the sleepy summer of Ithaca, NY, and revitalizes the area as a bustling and renowned college town. Many of these students are here, eyes wide and ears ready to get their first taste of the thriving music scene.
On August 29th, Ithaca Underground hosted a live show with Motherwort, Kyra Skye (a.k.a. me, the author of this article) and Izzy True. Ithaca Underground brings together local musicians along with big-name touring acts to create a rich, diverse music scene. There are so many moving parts that go into making a show happen. Tonight, we’re here to experience it all.
Motherwort, the five-piece band from Interlaken, NY, take the stage. Each of them are farmers in their own right and formed a band by playing music together in a beautiful, rustic barn at Interbrook Farm. Now, that tender time together is being shared.
Youngiee, the lead singer, guitarist and violinist takes the center of the stage. Her crimson dress compliments the fiery spunk of their first songs. Self-described as “farm-grrrl folk punk”, they start off their set with a lion’s roar. They play with three guitars and sing together in unison, as if they are cheering on a flowering plant that needs to push through the soil. The crowd joins in, jumping and dancing along.
Later in the set, we encounter the other side of Motherwort. The guitars are replaced with the smooth melodies of a violin and cello, which paints a new picture. It is one of greenery and wildflowers swaying gently in the wind. Three-part harmonies are the storytellers and the songs feel like something you’d hear inside the chestnut walls of an Irish pub. The lyrics speak of harvests under the moon and feel like motherwort growing in the sunshine. Motherwort, as a band, embody the stories of the earth changing with the seasons, reminding listeners that each season is necessary for growth and renewal.
Social Media: @motherwortband
When I walk onto the stage, the air is still buzzing with wonderful and exciting energy from Motherwort’s performance. My skin pricks up in goosebumps and my mouth spreads into a smile- I’m so excited! I sling my bright green guitar on and step up to the mic, where I am greeted with faces of dear friends and new faces of those I haven’t met yet- but am about to!
“Hellooooo, everyone!” I yell into the mic and I am greeted with an exuberance that it indicative of Ithaca’s music scene. I kick off my set with “If You Don’t Love Yourself”, which is from my EP, Summer Nights. My intention for my performances is to help people reconnect with themselves and reminded them that they are loved unconditionally, just because they exist. As I start singing, I feel myself slip away and become a conductor of energy to share with the audience.
“Now repeat after me- ‘I feel so loved!”’ I sing and the crowd sings it back. The room is awash in warmth and positive energy, and I watch as audience members begin to hug each other and hug themselves. All of us are reminded that we are always deserving of the love we give so freely to others.
As the crowd dances to the music, I am flooded with feelings of gratitude- It feels surreal to be opening for Izzy True at the beginning of my senior year of college. At the end of my freshman year, I played bass guitar in Izzy True and joined them for a United States tour. Now, I’m opening for them as a solo artist! My heart feels full as I close out my last song, knowing that the performance after me is going to be just as spectacular.
Social Media: @skyewalker0
Izzy (they/them) hops onto The Haunt’s stage, a platform they’ve graced many times. Growing up in Trumansburg, NY, Izzy has been enveloped and nurtured by Ithaca Underground since they were a teenager. Now, they’re based in Chicago and are nearing the end of their month-long summer tour with their bandmates, Sam (drums) and Curt (sax & bass). The three of them set up and begin to rock!
Soon, they jump into a song called “Grandma”, which is on their full-length LP Sadbad. The song has an enormous sax solo, which Curt Orens generously provides. The squealing brass fills the whole room with a dissonance that resolves back into the high-treble electric guitar. It’s a song that describes the vibe of Izzy True- unexpected, rock, and full-bodied.
As we all dance and sway to the music, Izzy calls me onstage to sing “Bobo” another song from Sadbad.
“Will I be held, will I be held, will I be comforted,” We sing together in harmony.
To be invited back onstage with them feels reminiscent of touring around the country, playing on stages at SXSW and Cayuga Sound, and recording the song for the perfect take. Most of all, I am reminded how much fun it is to create music with such a wonderful human.
Social Media: @IZZYTRUEBAND
As the night dies down and the crowd makes their safe trips home, Motherwort, Izzy True, and I are all by our merch tables. There, we share in the excitement of a fantastic show, trade merch with each other, and soak up the joy of what it means to share music with such a vibrant community. All of us have been supported and influenced by Ithaca Underground in some way- and now we get to pay it forward and share what we’ve experienced with the rest of the community. What a wonderful thing it is, to take part in something that’s helped you grow, and then send sunshine right back on it, watching it continue flourish around you.
All photos were taken by Rachel Peterson.