For this edition of Off The Stage, we catch up with Cindy Emch of Secret Emchy Society.

Mother Church Pew’s Off The Stage is a series that celebrates a band’s path to where they are and the things they do behind the scenes to stay there.

For most casual fans of music, the forty-five minutes that a band spends on the stage is all they can see. However, when the guitar cases are closed and the venue’s floor is littered with empty beer cans and trash, most bands load their gear into the van and return back to their normal lives.

Mother Church Pew’s Off The Stage is a series that celebrates a band’s path to where they are and the things they do behind the scenes to stay there.

From Cindy Emch:

A year ago today I was just back from tour for a ten-day run at home before hitting the road again. Two years ago today I was heading to the YYJ airport in Victoria, BC to fly home from a run of shows on the Northern Gulf Islands off of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. And so it goes from the social media memories. Early May for as long as I can look back has been a time of being on the road, exploring new places, and playing new songs. This year it’s all different. For all of us.

In mid-March a combination of a blizzard closing Interstate 80 plus increasing concerns about COVID19 grounded my last tour, the rowdy adventures with touring Canadians, and the final batch of in-person live shows until who knows when. With an album release looming from two months away, I drove home from our band meeting at a diner in Grass Valley, California listening to way too much news about how bad things were about to get. I landed back home in Oakland at ~5pm, and by 5pm the next day, downpour notwithstanding I had the beginnings of my own little Victory Garden, a batch of homemade bread cooling on the counter, and Meyer Lemon Marmalade (with lemons harvested from our tree) in the Insta-Pot trucking along. The barter economy was arriving and I was all for it.

Emchy Society

In the subsequent weeks, I’ve learned how much I’ve forgotten from the days of gardening with my mom back in Michigan. We never tried to grow greens, and California is a whole other climate than the green beans, berries, and corn I grew up with – and so it’s been a huge learning curve for kale, collards, and the broccoli forest I’m still hoping bears edible crowns at some point. Going from tours, dive bar shows, and winery busking to hands in the dirt yard work and day job overtime is a huge adjustment. Thankfully live shows from Acme radio, The Boot, The Nuncheon Sessions, and Carolyn Mark’s Virtual Hootenanny keep giving me reasons to art direct the living room, keep my fingers nimble, and throw at least a few songs down every week.

The 2 am band toasts for “YAY NEW RECORD” and album release shows planned have become 10 pm zoom rants about how me and my fellow musicians figure out what next, financially, artistically, socially, all of it.

When not yard farming, live streaming, album promoting, or day jobbing I find myself reading and rediscovering a love of tea and calmness. Something about less traffic, cleaner air, it’s letting me move slower, find more beauty, and take some time for peace… And a new kitten.

Cindy Emch and Kitten

Because in the midst of singing ‘Dance Like the World is Ending’ for all of the folks that need to hear it – how could my wife and I ever resist the uncomplicated joy of rescue kitten number four? So now I spend my summer harvesting lettuce, sharing our new classic country / Bakersfield influenced album ‘The Chaser’ with the world, one way or another, and playing with Dino the kitten. Who could ask for anything more?

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