It’s that time of year again! It’s winter break and that means Kate and I will be leaving Nashville for wonderful, wintry New England. We’ve got a couple of things we wanted to let you all know about, especially for all of you living in Connecticut …

We’ll be appearing on Carol Moore’s “Vignette” TV Show on Torrington’s Local Access Channel 5 on Friday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m.

Then on Saturday, Dec. 18 from 2 to 4 p.m., we’ll be performing at Frugal Finds Consignment Boutique at 705 Main St. in Watertown, Conn.

And all of this leads up to… a very folky, holiday concert at Bank Street Coffee House at 56 Bank St. in New Milford, Conn. on Saturday, Dec. 18 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Hope to see you and we wish you a very happy and healthy holiday!

Best, Jen

Because everyone should have a little Free Thought in their music library…check out http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/freethought for more information!

On Monday, July 12th, Kate and I will be making a special appearance on Torrington’s WAPJ FM, 89.9 or 105.1 FM. We will be appearing on Hollie Pond and Barrie’s Miscellaneous Morning Show, from 9 am to 10 am. For more information, visit http://www.wapjfm.com/.

We are the next generation of Bob Dylan, Donovan, and Peter Paul and Mary. We are Free Thought.

And we sing folk-rock.

Jen Vanderlyn – that’s me – I am the main songwriter, the lead singer, and the guitarist – the troubadour, if you will. I’ve studied music and songwriting since I was a kid, taking formal lessons for a time, but mostly just listening to the music and lyrics created by those who have graced the recording studios, concert halls, and coffee houses before me.

Right now, I am immersed in the work of Donovan, the Bee Gees, and Fairport Convention – studying every lyric, chord structure, and melody with an intense focus on what society was like surrounding the time each song was written – and is it wild – did you know that Donovan’s famous jam song “Season of the Witch” is based entirely upon two chords? Genius, that’s all I have to say to that.

When I write songs, I aim toward timelessness and universality – I aim toward capturing a snapshot of the human condition – and, if I’m lucky, I succeed such that I no longer need to introduce the songs – they speak entirely for themselves.

But, music, being the starving profession it is, is only one of the things I find myself doing. I am also a freelance journalist and I work at two house museums, giving tours at one and helping with the marketing and promotions at the other. And I am an advocate for the preservation of historic landmarks and amusement parks…because buildings need love, too.

Kate Vanderlyn, my sister, sings harmony and plays bass. She is also a photographer with an eye for capturing all that is overlooked and abandoned, as well as anything that showcases the multiple facets of light and darkness. I would consider her a bohemian poet at heart – there have been nights when I’ve seen her writing about life, immersed in the quiet haven of the balcony that overlooks 12th St. South. Some of her photos and poetry may surface here.

But enough about us – if you’re still curious, you can find our full biography on our Press Kit page – the link is located in the left column – and read about the things we’ve left out.

Jen Vanderlyn

Jen Vanderlyn (L) and Kate Vanderlyn (R) - Free Thought

Free Thought. I’ve been asked many times why we settled on that as a band name. We actually derived it one hot summer day while thinking about the countless musicians who have influenced us – The Moody Blues, America, Bruce Springsteen, Donovan, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Crosby Stills and Nash – and we realized, these musicians, what they write, who they are, all of it is based around the freedom of thought, expression, and poetry, not unlike the musical art we were creating.

And so we named ourselves…

Come to find out a few years later, there is a freethought philosophy, as well, based around unorthodox attitudes and beliefs, as Merriam-Webster and Wikipedia say. Smiling at this discovery, Kate and I knew we were on the right track.

So free thinking continues to define us. It is what inspires us to seek out and write about the odd and overlooked, the fleeting, hidden beauty that exists and stands smiling at us in every city, town, and amusement park…everywhere humanity thrives.

Our mission, then, is to encourage you to appreciate life’s natural beauty, to inspire in you openness to new ideas, and stimulate active observation, interpretation, and expression of every one of those things, those issues, that make all of us so wonderfully and fallibly human.

It’s nice to meet all of you, we hope you’ll have fun experiencing life along with us.

Jen and Kate Vanderlyn