Auburn Public Theater’s 2018-19 season opens with Gabriel Kahane on September 13, read about his new album & tour on NPR:
A few weeks before the 2016 presidential election, composer Gabriel Kahanedecided he needed to take a journey. On Nov. 9, 2016, the day after the votes were counted, Kahane boarded an Amtrak train in Penn Station in New York City. He left his smartphone behind. He unplugged from the Internet. And he spent the next two weeks riding across the country, talking to people.
“I was having, you know, three meals a day with strangers,” Kahane says. “I kept a diary, a prose diary. I think I wrote something like 70,000 words while I was on the train. Basically recording, from memory, every conversation that I had in the dining car.”
He describes his latest album Book of Travelers, out now via Nonsuch Records, as “a listening tour.” He talked to about 70 or 80 people and turned the stories they told him into songs. Kahane says that some of the songs, like “What If I Told You,” are almost verbatim conversations he was having during his travels. He talked with people for hours about love, economic privilege, race and more. The more people he talked to, the more he found that the divisions we create for ourselves, political or otherwise, are manufactured and superficial.