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Eliza Blue releases ‘The Road Home’

When local folk singer Eliza Blue started performing in public, she was plagued by stage fright.

She secretly hoped members of the audience would just talk to one another and not pay her any attention. Those days are behind her now.

Her work recording her second full-length album, “The Road Home,” helped her overcome a lot of those anxieties she once battled, and it also helped her get more rooted in the Twin Cities music community.

“It’s been this really amazing experience to sort of find myself through music, and find this more courageous and confident person I didn’t even know I was,” she said in a recent interview.

Blue lives in Northeast and has come to consider Minnesota home (hence the title of her album).

The idea for the album came to Blue when she was living in Maine. She was working in a café near the ocean and started missing Minnesota.

At the beginning of the recording process she was wrestling with feelings of loneliness, but later found befriended musicians in town who contributed to the album.

In a release about the new album, other insights on her process are revealed: “Blue recorded the vast majority of her tracks alone in her attic between February and August 2009 and as a result, unavoidable house noises, baby sparrows from the nest outside the window, and crickets from the deepest part of the night make appearances along with some human friends and fellow musicians. The result is an extraordinarily intimate journey marked by loss, longing and redemption.”

A few vocalists she met at Jim Walsh’s hootenannies — a regular gathering of upcoming and established musicians in town — make an appearance on the last song of the album.

She said the hootenannies helped her connect to many other local musicians.

“The space he’s created for performers and audience members is just amazing,” she said.

Blue said she’s proud of the album.

“It feels like planting a garden when you know you’re putting in seeds so you kind of have an idea of what you’re going to get,” she said. “When it actually happens you’re like, ‘wow.’”

When: Eliza Blue with Aby Wolf and special guests, March 26 at 8 p.m.
Where: Cedar Cultural Center, 461 Cedar Ave. S.

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Women With Vision 2010

The Walker Art Center hosts the International Women with Vision festival through March 27 — the 17th installment of the film series.

One of the highlights of the festival is the premier of “Pride of Lions” — a documentary about life in Sierra Leone directed by local filmmaker Louise Woehrle and her brother John Woehrle.

The 52-minute film examines the country’s contemporary history and looks at the impact of the horrific civil war that ended in 2002.

“Louise specializes in telling stories that need to be told — from going into the complicated lives of teens, into the homes of hospice patients living until they die, to remote mountain villages in Haiti where children walk three hours to school to eat their only meal of the day, and into three remote Cree Communities where diabetes is considered an epidemic,” according to a statement about the film. “Her films reflect her heart and win awards.”

Woehrle said the idea for the film was inspired by her brother’s trips to Sierra Leone in 2004. He went to the African country to accompany a friend who had planned to meet her biological father. He was moved by his experiences in the country and later convinced Woehrle to team up together on a film about the country.

She said it was an amazing project for all the participants involved. “It was more than serendipity,” she said. “There was a divine hand in all of this.”

To learn more about the film, visit prideoflionsfilm.com.

When: “Pride of Lions” premier, March 20, 3 p.m.
Where: Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave. S.

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Services Works’ March project

Service Works, the Southwest-based volunteer group, is organizing a project to benefit Simpson Housing on March 20.

Simpson Housing provides transitional housing for families and overnight emergency shelter for men and women.

The Service Works volunteers will be making sandwiches and packing lunches for Simpson Shelter residents.

The following items are needed:
— Bread, sandwich meat, cheese and sandwich bags for 100 sandwiches
— 50 paper lunch bags
— 50 individually wrapped bags of chips and cookies/granola bars
— Plastic gloves
— 50 bottles of water
— New family board games

For more information on the event, contact Kathy Coskran at kac1122@aol.com.

When:
March 20, 1:30–3:30 p.m.
Where: First Universalist Church, 3400 Dupont Ave. S.