Natalie Merchant: The Sheen Center 2023

Natalie Merchant and Erik Della Penna (photo by Gus Philippas for FUV)
by Alisa Ali | 08/30/2023 | 6:46am

Natalie Merchant and Erik Della Penna (photo by Gus Philippas for FUV)

All of us at WFUV have admired Natalie Merchant for a long time, so we were thrilled when she accepted our invitation to play an FUV Live concert at The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture in lower Manhattan.

From Merchant's early days with 10,000 Maniacs, and throughout her subsequent solo career, she has written and recorded thoughtful and enchanting music.

Her kind and generous soul is evident in her songs, and not just because of that beloved track from Ophelia.

Keep Your Courage is Merchant's latest solo album, her first in almost a decade, and it examines the different forms that love takes and highlights the courageousness of the act itself.

Ahead of her concert, she spoke to me about the new album and some of the people who've inspired her, such as Joan of Arc (who graces the cover of the record) and poet Walt Whitman, whom she calls "Uncle Walt."

Natalie and I also uncovered a bunch of Bronx connections, and a few Catholic ones too.

My brief interview was just a scrumptious appetizer to the main course of the evening. Natalie shared even more stories throughout her acoustic set, joined by her longtime guitarist Erik Della Penna, and she delved into her creative process for her songs.

Check out FUV's Flickr for more photos.


  • Motherland
  • Texas
  • Tell Yourself
  • Carnival
  • Break Your Heart
  • Life Is Sweet
  • Sister Tilly
  • Eye of the Storm 
  • Kind & Generous

[Recorded: 7/12/23; Engineered by Jim O'Hara, produced by Meghan Offtermatt]

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