The McLovins have been selected to play the opening spot at the AURA Music and Arts Festival after winning a Facebook contest conducted by the festival called “Vote to Aura.” The multi-day event, featuring Papadosio, Conspirator, Perpetual Groove, Dopapod, RAQ, Kung Fu, and many other acts, takes place over Presidents’ Day weekend, February 15-17, at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. The Connecticut quartet initiated a Kickstarter campaign to help pay their expenses for the trip, and have achieved over 80% of their $5,000 goal, which needs to be met by January 31.

Drummer/vocalist Jake Huffman has also been busy working on various studio and collegiate projects, as well as looking forward to the upcoming festival season. However, his latest gig may surprise even the most loyal McLovins fan. “I co-wrote a song with Emmy, Tony, and Grammy-award winning Bill Sherman, the musical director of Sesame Street,” said Huffman to “The character and subject of the song must still be kept secret (mostly because this character is one of the oldest and beloved puppets on the show). I spent the holidays in Alabama with my girlfriend, Kara Kirkland, and her family. After hearing me play a few of my songs on piano, her brother-in-law Bill approached me. Not only did we decide he would produce my side project album, but to my surprise he asked me, “Jake, why don’t you write a song with me for Sesame Street ?” Obviously after growing up watching Sesame Street I felt honored and enthusiastically accepted.”

Bill Sherman kept his promise and, after the holidays, Huffman entered the New York City studio. “Bill and I spent the morning in his basement studio Wednesday, January 9th arranging and recording the demo,” said Huffman. “I recorded the vocal melody of the incredible lyrics written by one of the best Sesame Street writers, Joey Mazzarino. Final touches were put on the drums, piano, vocals and organ on Thursday the 10th. Friday, we finished the song in the Sesame Street studio in New York City. I can honestly say that the experience was life changing. Bill acted as a strong guide and mentored me through each step and gave me so much confidence in my work.”

While the McLovins are contemplating their late winter, spring, and festival schedules with a new management and booking agent structure, Huffman has also been furthering his music education with yet another rather esteemed institution. “I am also lucky enough to be enrolled in Berklee’s online song-writing program,” said Huffman. “With a schedule as busy as mine, a normal college program unfortunately just does not work for me. After talking to my Berklee advisor, I am so incredibly pumped to begin this new learning adventure. In this class I will focus on improving my song writing skills and will be receiving critiques from not only my professor, but also my fellow class mates. I feel like it will be an incredible learning experience for my music and personal growth—a win-win situation.”

The McLovins next play at the Higher Ground – Showcase Lounge in Burlington, Vermont on January 18.

Here’s a list of their upcoming live dates

January 18 Burlington, VT—Higher Ground – Showcase Lounge
January 19 Brattelboro, VT—The Cue Bar
January 27 Hartford, CT—The Great Hall in Union Station – Downtown Rocks for Newtown event
February 16 Live Oak, FL— Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park and Campground – AURA Music Festival
February 22 Philadelphia, PA – World Café Live
March 1 Saratoga Springs, NY – Putnam Den