Last month, Elephant Revival announced that Bridget Law — fiddler and vocalist for the band since its 2006 inception — will no longer join the group on tour. Law has announced this through a series of outlets and times — first at a press conference at Arise Music Festival this past August, then in a heartfelt statement on Facebook in September. Now, she’s taking an opportunity to explain her decision in detail.
“I think that it’s a symbol of how finite experiences are. Just like something that, at one point for me, seemed like it was such a major, major part of my life, to realize that it might be over.” – Law
We spoke with Law on the matter this month — her presence was calm, composed and even inspirationally peaceful. Though a sensitive subject, she seemed unwavering and delighted to be discussing the matter, almost as if she’s already feeling a sense of relief. But why relieved? Law’s comfort stems from a mixture of reasons, the first being no longer having to spend her life on the road.
Because of regularly being on the road, Law explained that she never had a chance to experience a life at home — something more balanced — more normal. Law’s husband Tierro Lee had more wisdom in the field of touring upon beginning the two’s relationship. He spent nearly a decade touring in the band Kan’Nal before coming off the road to have a child. Law said, “He was very aware of what the differences between a touring lifestyle and a home-based lifestyle really are and how they affect your life and your family and your state of being. I had been on the road so long that I really had no sense of that… Being a touring musician was the lifestyle that I knew from the time I was fresh out of college.”
Speaking of Tierro’s son, he was part of Law’s inspiration for building a home life. Law said, “His seven-year-old son instantly became a big part of my life and my heart space. I started to realize that there’s a lot more to life and if you’re not careful being a touring musician, you start living for those moments instead of these really intrinsically family-oriented or human moments that are a lot more subtle but really profound.”
Law is taking steps to focus on her family, and that could possibly even mean another child in her life in the near future. But first, she’s taking steps to find a balance at home. “I’m not actively trying to have a baby yet or anything but I feel like instead, what I’m doing before I make that step is to build a life around my home that also stimulates me — knowing what ‘Bridget Law’ is like at home before I become ‘Bridget Law, the mother.'” Law continued, “I’m learning that right now and it’s really been fun and fascinating and fruitful already, and it’s only been a couple months.”
In a separate interview in June of this year, we spoke with Law about why so few women perform at Red Rocks where the musician articulated the push and pull of touring as a factor for women musicians.“What I’m experiencing — and I’m sure I’m not alone in this — is when you’re a woman in your mid-30s, there are other things calling at that point.” One of those callings is working with other women and their involvement with music.
“I feel like Bonnie [Paine] and I were really lucky to be some of the first women who were invited and embraced and encouraged in the bluegrass scene around here — and that was over 10 years ago — and I think that it’s had a really nice effect on the music scene.”
Expected in June of 2018 in Fort Collins is Sister Winds Festival, which focuses on women performers working together and Law is helping produce it. In addition, she will be doing numerous deep-healing women’s workshops with her good friend and fellow musician Katie Gray. Gray helps organize ‘Sisters of the Tide,’ a women’s empowerment and wellness group and retreat. Just this past September, Law helped coordinate a Goddess Festival at Joyful Journey Hot Springs, Colorado with fellow band-member Bonnie Paine as well as Mackenzie Page from Gipsy Moon. The festival celebrated feminine bonds and community over the course of an entire weekend.
Being an activist and a role model for women nationwide isn’t the only advocacy work Law is moving forward with — she’s also fighting issues like environmental waste and pollution. Now that she has more time to focus on charitable work, she’s thinking about working with Leave No Trace or EcoVessel, making videos to encourage festival and concert-goers to bring reusable utensils with them, reducing waste. With the number of shows Law has played over the years, this is something she’s seen and experienced first hand.
“Elephant Revival has been my baby for a decade. I don’t want to tour anymore. One of the ideas I presented to them [Elephant Revival] is that I would be involved in the activism side,” said Law at Arise Music Festival.
But that’s not the only environmental issue Law is experiencing first hand — “I’m pretty directly affected by some of the fracking wells that are going in in this area,” she said, “There’s one just about a mile and a half from my house that they’re proposing.” Law stated she’s been attending City Council meetings to stay informed on the matter.
With all of that said, what does the future of live music look like for both Law and Elephant Revival? Well, this certainly won’t be the last we’ll be seeing Law in terms of live music. She claims that in the future you may find her sitting in with Elephant Revival, We Dream Dawn, Intuit, Everyone Orchestra, Bonfire Dub, Keller Williams or performing with her husband in their group Tierro with Bridget Law. The musician also noted that there’s always a chance she will rejoin the touring band and that the future is soaring with possibilities.
“A very natural and uplifting dynamic shift is occurring and we want to support her [Law’s] desire for a more stable family life. The transition is a beautiful thing for Bridget, and as well, for us — with regard to the creative evolution of the Elephant Revival sound. Though bittersweet, the change will be a positive one for everyone involved.” – Dango Rose, founding member, bassist and songwriter with Elephant Revival.
For now, Elephant Revival hasn’t replaced Law for the touring band but Paine expressed that she’s excited about the enthusiasm that a new violist will bring, though she will miss her dear friend Law. Paine continued, “There are feelings of acceptance morphing into a kind of excitement for fresh approaches to the music while still honoring what has been.” Though the band is excited to grow with a new violist, it’s clear that Law is already missed. No finite decision has been made in regards to whether or not Law will still record with the band.
Both Daniel Rodriquez (guitar, banjo, vocals) and Payne (vocals, washboard) explained that there’s a lot on the horizon for Elephant Revival — they’ll be recording an album this winter and following that up with a massive tour. The album will be produced in RCA Studios with Dave Cobb who’s known for working with Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell and Brandi Carlile. Paine explained that their approach to the new album will be “very live, without metronomes or tedious overdubbing” in order to capture more of “that in-the-moment vibe where the music feels alive and raw.” With a new producer and Law currently not a part of the touring band, fans may reasonably notice some changes with Elephant Revival in the future. Rodriguez said, “The social dynamic will change quite a bit. It’s like a new molecule is forming and we get a chance to reinvent how that works as it happens.”
Law said most of all, she will miss her fans and the connections she’s made with them. However, she reassured us, “There will be a lot more of that, just in a different passion.” Elephant Revival has one final Colorado show with Bridget Law this month — November 30 at the Boulder Theater, which is sold out. Both Law and Elephant Revival are listed on the 2018 WinterWondergrass lineup, so there’s the possibility for a reunion performance at the annual festival. You can find more information on Elephant Revival’s tour and tickets here. You can follow Law on Facebook for updates on her performances and events.
All photography by Meg O’Neill and shot on location at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.