Isolation Drill: Eliza Hardy Jones (Grace Potter, Strand Of Oaks, Buried Beds, Nightlands)

Like the majority of you, all of us in the Philadelphia area are staying at home, learning to adapt to our “new normal.” MAGNET is checking in with local musicians to see how and what they’re doing during this unprecedented time. Photos by Chris Sikich.

Jones: On March 11, I flew to Vancouver to start a West Coast tour with Grace Potter. By March 12, the tour was cancelled. Since we were already set up onstage at the Commodore Ballroom, we played for an hour to about a dozen people. And that was it. We packed up the stage and the bus, and we all flew home.

This is the longest stretch of time I’ve been at home in a very long time. And the first time I’ve been out of work in my adult life. I’m trying to appreciate this time as an opportunity for learning. I’ve taken online art-history courses, recommitted to anti-racist work, developed my embroidery stitches, listened to the Movement For Black Lives and honored what has been asked of me, mastered some new quilting techniques, flubbed through new bluegrass guitar licks, watched a thousand Logic tutorials, watched the world rise up against police brutality and systemic racism, practiced my Chopin mazurkas, and started recording a new record.

Having a home recording set-up means that I’ve been able to work on new music of my own and also do some distanced collaborations with far-away friends. Being able to share music making with friends has been a bright spot. Quilting continues to be a meditative space that points an arrow when I feel lost. I’m also lucky to have a car and the ability to drive out of the city to go on long hikes with my husband on unpopulated trails. Our weekly green baths are definitely keeping me from falling off the edge.

I miss my friends. I miss hugging people. I miss tour. I miss singing harmony. I miss traveling. But I have been insulated from the most devastating effects of COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve been working hard on advocating for and organizing for dismantling not just the symbols, but the systems of racism that our country is built on. State violence against Black people, Indigenous people, Trans people and people of Color takes many forms, and I’m working hard to disentangle myself from the many ways that I benefit from this violence as a white cis woman.

I’ve tried to be helpful where I can. I promise to try harder. Everything is strange. Somebody loves you. Black Lives Matter. Register to vote. Wear a mask.