Nonesuch releases Natalie Merchant’s first album of new songs in nearly a decade, ” Keep Your Courage,” April 14, 2023


Nonesuch Records will release Natalie Merchant’s Keep Your Courage, her ninth solo studio album and first of new material since 2014’s self-titled record, on April 14, 2023. An eclectic album, produced by Merchant, it features two duets sung with vocalist Abena Koomson-Davis (Resistance Revival Chorus), contributions from the Celtic folk group Lúnasa and Syrian virtuoso clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, and horn arrangements by jazz trombonist Steve Davis. There are lush orchestrations throughout by seven composers including: Gabriel Kahane, Stephen Barber, Colin Jacobson, and Megan Gould. Keep Your Courage comprises nine original songs by Merchant as well as an interpretation of “Hunting the Wren” by Ian Lynch of the Irish band Lankum. The vinyl LP edition of Keep Your Courage includes four bonus tracks from earlier albums, previously unreleased on vinyl.

In celebration of the release, Merchant will embark upon a US tour this spring, going into the fall (schedule below); European dates will be announced shortly.

Merchant writes in her album’s liner notes, “The songs contained within this album were written and recorded during the global pandemic that began in the winter of 2019 and is in its fifth wave as I write, in the autumn of 2022. It has been, and continues to be, a period of great flux and fear on every level: global, national, communal, familial, personal. But this is not an album about the coronavirus or the chaos it caused. For the most part, this is an album about the human heart.” She continues, “The word ‘courage’ has its root in the Latin word for heart, cor, and we see it over and over in many languages: le coeur, il cuore, o coração, el corazón. This is a song cycle that maps the journey of a courageous heart.”

Over her forty-year career Natalie Merchant has attained a place among America’s most respected recording artists. She has earned a reputation for being a songwriter of quality and a captivating stage performer and has distinguished herself as a social justice and environmental activist. Merchant began her musical career as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the pop music band 10,000 Maniacs and released one platinum, two double-platinum, and one triple-platinum records with the group: The Wishing Chair (1985), In My Tribe (1987), Blind Man’s Zoo (1989), Hope Chest (1990), Our Time in Eden (1992), and 10,000 Maniacs MTV Unplugged (1993). Merchant left the group in 1994 and has subsequently released nine albums as a solo artist with combined sales of seven million copies: Tigerlily (1995), Ophelia (1998), Natalie Merchant Live (1999), Motherland (2001), The House Carpenter’s Daughter (2003), Leave Your Sleep (2010), Natalie Merchant (2014), Paradise Is There (2015), and Butterfly (2017).

Merchant has collaborated with a wide range of artists, including Billy Bragg, Gavin Bryars, David Byrne, The Chieftains, Cowboy Junkies, Philip Glass, Kronos Quartet, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Mavis Staples, REM, and Wilco. She served on the New York State Council on the Arts from 2007–2011 at the appointment of Governor Elliot Spitzer and was recently appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center by New York State Senator and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Merchant’s awards include: The Library Lion Award from the New York Public Library (2011), The American Society of Authors Composers & Publishers (ASCAP) Champion Award (2019), and The John Lennon Real Love Award (2019). More information about Merchant’s career and philanthropic work may be found here.

Natalie Merchant US Tour
Saturday—April 15—Poughkeepsie, NY—Bardavon, 1869 Opera House
Tuesday—April 18—Pittsburgh, PA—Byham Theater
Wednesday—April 19—Charlottesville, VA—The Paramount Theater
Friday—April 21—Philadelphia, PA—Kimmel Cultural Campus
Saturday—April 22—Hershey, PA—The Hershey Theatre
Monday—April 24—Greenville, SC—Peace Center Concert Hall*
Wednesday—April 26—Clearwater, FL—Ruth Eckerd Hall
Thursday—April 27—Fort Lauderdale, FL—Au—Rene Theater – Broward
Center for the Performing Arts**
Friday—April 28—St. Augustine, FL—The Saint Augustine Amphitheatre
Sunday—April 30—Atlanta, GA—Atlanta Symphony Hall**
Tuesday—May 9—Portland, ME—Merrill Auditorium
Wednesday—May 10—Boston, MA—Emerson Colonial Theatre
Saturday—May 13—Cleveland, OH—Keybank State Theatre
Sunday—May 14—Cincinnati, OH—Taft Theatre
Tuesday—May 16—Carmel, IN—The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts
Wednesday—May 17—Ann Arbor, MI—Michigan Theater
Friday—May 19—Chicago, IL—Chicago Theatre
Saturday—May 20—Milwaukee, WI—The Pabst Theater
Friday–Saturday—June 2–3—New York, NY—Lincoln Center for the
Performing Arts — Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center**
Wednesday—June 28—Providence, RI—Veterans Memorial Auditorium**
Friday–Saturday—June 30–July 1—Washington, DC—John F. Kennedy
Center for The Performing Arts**
Saturday—July 8—Chautauqua, NY—Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater* **
Wednesday—September 20—Spokane, WA—Martin Woldson Theatre at The Fox
Friday—September 22—Seattle, WA—Venue TBA*
Saturday—September 23—Portland, OR—Keller Auditorium
Tuesday—September 26—San Francisco, CA—The Masonic
Wednesday—September 27—Saratoga, CA—The Mountain Winery*
Friday—September 29—San Diego, CA—Humphrey’s
Date TBA—Los Angeles, CA—Venue TBA
*On-sale timing TBA
**With symphony orchestra

Keep Your Courage Tracklist
1. Big Girls
2. Come on, Aphrodite
3. Sister Tilly
4. Narcissus
5. Hunting the Wren
6. Guardian Angel
7. Eye of the Storm
8. Tower of Babel
9. Song of Himself
10. The Feast of Saint Valentine

Bonus Content
11. Spring and Fall: To a Young Child (from 2010’s Leave Your Sleep)
12. Butterfly (from 2017’s Butterfly)
13. Giving up Everything (from 2014’s Natalie Merchant)
14. Frozen Charlotte (from 2017’s Butterfly; original version on 1998’s Ophelia)