FLYER Q&A: L.A.-based harpist Mary Lattimore to perform in Fayetteville

Mary Lattimore / Photo by Rachael Cassells

Los Angeles-based harpist Mary Lattimore returns to Fayetteville this Sunday, Dec. 12 for a show at Mount Sequoyah Center’s Clapp Auditorium.

Lattimore constructs half-improvisational songs through her Lyon and Healy Concert Grand pedal harp. I’d call her sound classical versus ambient, with sounds both comforting and unsettling. Her last two records Hundreds Of Days and Silver Ladders were on Best Of The Year lists from NPR, Pitchfork and others. Lattimore’s label Ghostly International has just released a new odds and ends record called Collected Pieces II, which includes the live favorite “Wawa By The Ocean.”

In addition to her own records, Lattimore has recently released a collaborative record with Mac McCaughan of Superchunk, and contributed harp to records by Kurt Vile, Thurston Moore, Sharon Van Etten and Hop Along.

Who: Mary Lattimore / Walt McClements
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12
Where: Mount Sequoyah Center’s Clapp Auditorium
Tickets: $12 in advance or $15 at the door

Lattimore’s music will be a perfect fit for the scenery at Mount Sequoyah. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Walt McClements will open the show at 7:30 p.m. All ages are welcome.

Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test are required for entry. There will be a donation-based bar courtesy of Trillium Salon Series.

Advanced tickets can be purchased for $12 at Tickets are $15 at the door.

I talked to Mary on a break from tour…

Hi Mary. You’re in the middle of tour right now, where are you and how has it been so far?

Right now, I’m in New York City. I’m playing three nights at Union Pool in Brooklyn. Touring has been great so far – it’s been really warm and inviting and in beautiful spaces.

I saw you last at the Momentary right before COVID hit. How was that experience, and what are you looking forward to when you come back to Fayetteville?

The Momentary was really fun because there was this palpable excitement about opening a brand new museum. I also met some other cool musicians from Iceland and Australia and got to check out Crystal Bridges, too. I’m looking forward to seeing friends in Fayetteville and have such a happy memory of my last show there.

How does performing live feel now?

Performing live now feels like such a relief. I’ve had a lot of audience members tell me it’s their first show outside of quarantine, so playing live music for people who haven’t connected that way in over a year feels very special. You appreciate it in a whole new way, both playing and listening.

You’ve just released a new record Collected Pieces II on Ghostly International. How do you decide which stray songs can live happily together on one record?

Ghostly helped me compile it, from tapes and Bandcamp tracks and stuff. They were helpful in picking out the stray songs that they liked that were floating out there in the world.

What have you been reading lately?

I really loved this new George Saunders book called “A Swim in a Pond in the Rain.” It’s got a very warm voice, where he basically gives his Russian short story course in book form and I’ve been reading it super slowly and underlining the key parts.

You are known to be an expert collaborator. Who have you worked with of late? And what makes a great collaboration?

I’ve worked on a project with this duo GROWING recently and it just went up on Bandcamp last month. Also, my neighbor, guitarist Paul Sukeena, and I made a record that will be coming out on Three Lobed Recordings next year. A great collaboration for me also involves a great friendship. I love conversational playing where you’re really feeding off of each other’s choices in the moment.

Are you watching anything at the moment? Do you prefer to watch episodes over time or binge them all together?

I’m, of course, watching Succession and I love it. It’s kind of fun to have to wait for an episode each week. I enjoy binging the shows, but waiting for the episodes feels way healthier.

What are your hopes and plans for 2022?

I hope to tour in Europe and the UK in 2022 and to make a new record for Ghostly and also to get more film scoring work.