the flowers of may
April 30, 2013
is it may already? wow. that was fast.
more progress on the record... so happy to tell you about guest appearances by both my longtime friend PAT WICTOR, who lends his prodigious slide guitar skills, both acoustic and electric, to one track, and a newfound musical buddy, JIM KEYES, who adds organ and other things with black and white keys to no fewer than two tracks! i've never had any keys on an album before. come to think of it, i've never had pat wictor on an album before, either. this just might turn out to be a landmark record after all...
still writing songs for the realwomenrealsongs project, of course -- this is week 35 -- i am proud to say i haven't missed a week yet! we're in the beginning stages of planning a compilation to be released upon completion of the project. stay tuned for that.
and as if i weren't writing enough, i recently became involved with yet another songwriting project (though this one required only one song). it's called, plainly enough, the acoustic guitar project, and it involves a roving guitar, passed around to musicians for a week at a time, wherein we write and record a song -- one take, no overdubs --upload it to the project website, then pass the guitar along to another musician. i'm the 30th player in the new york city area to get my hands on the guitar, and i must say i'm pretty happy with the the tune i contributed. you can hear it by clicking here. a little side note -- the songwriter who had the guitar just before me is someone very, very close to me, and i like his song very, very much...
finally, as far as live performances go, i've got several shows with the joni mitchell's blue project coming up in may, june, and july, plus a solo jaunt to chigago in june! see the calendar page for details on those and other upcoming shows.
until next we meet, i wish you sweet-smelling may flowers and very little sneezing.
April 1, 2013
how time flies when we are not paying attention! or more accurately, how time flies when we are giving our attention to matters other than the passing of time...
so much to tell you... most of all, i'm happy to report that the new album is progressing wonderfully! i'm hoping to announce the title and start pre-orders before too long. producer fred gillen, jr. and i are playing things pretty close to the vest this time, tracking most parts ourselves - although there may be a special guest star or two - and letting the process unfold in as organic a manner as possible. i'm happy to say we've decided on the 12 songs that will make up the album, which was no small task, considering there were 25 or 30 songs under consideration. we've tried to choose not only the best songs, but songs that hang together thematically. although some say the album is an antiquated format, and singles are where it's at, fred and i refuse to believe that. our endeavor is to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. perhaps we are both relics from an earlier age, but that's how we roll...
also exciting is the fact that this record marks the first time i'll be playing electric guitar on a CD. here's a little photographic evidence of me and "the gillenator," fred's custom guitar:
i cannot wait to present this new project to you! stay tuned, and join me at a show if you can. i've been letting a few new tunes out of the bag at each concert, so check the CALENDAR page to find out where i'll be. until next we meet, i wish you good times, great music, and
a perfect seven
March 1, 2013
March the first. The first of March. It’s a celebratory day in our household, since today is our little boy’s seventh birthday. Seven. I can hardly believe seven years have gone by since we welcomed him into the world on that beautifully cold, bright afternoon in a room with a view of my beloved Brooklyn Bridge. He was so very tiny, and so very beautiful to us. We told no one his name until he heard it first, whispered into his little ear by his father. He thinks that’s a pretty cool thing now that he’s old enough to understand.
Of course, he’s not so tiny anymore, but he is still so very beautiful to us. Sometimes, it amazes me that the little bundle we met only seven years ago can sing, dance, tell jokes, add and subtract, climb a jungle gym, play Risk, chess, tag, and soccer, cultivate friendships and give butterfly kisses. He can also navigate the NYC subway system better than some adults, which is a particular point of pride…
Seven. That number carries a great deal of symbolic weight in many cultures. In the Judeo-Christian tradition it is culmination, completion, perfection. I like that. To me, seven is perfect. Of course it is. I'm his mother...
Was I supposed to write about music? Oh, yes. Right. Well, here goes: I’m making a super-groovy record with Fred Gillen, Jr. at Woody’s House
, which will be ready sometime before the weather gets hot and sultry again; I’m writing songs weekly for RealWomenRealSongs
and posting the results on our YouTube
channel; I’m playing concerts, both alone and with my cohorts in the Joni Mitchell’s Blue: A 40th Anniversary Celebration
Click the links for more info on the outside projects, or cruise on over to the CALENDAR
page for more concert info.
And I will celebrate the beauty of seven this month. It is perfect.
February 1, 2013
hi friends ~
i'm delighted to report that i have begun recording sessions for a brand-new cd with my friend and longtime producer FRED GILLEN, JR.! as many of you know, i've got tons of new songs in the hopper, thanks in part to the REALWOMENREALSONGS project i've been involved in for the past 22 weeks. fred and i are both excited about this new bumper crop of songs and are letting production unfold in a very organic way. this is the first time we've started recording without a definitive list of what will make the final cut. we're confident the right songs will emerge as we dig further and further into the recording process and explore the best sonic possibilities for each. so glad we've got lots of options to choose from! we promise to present only what we feel are the very best on the new album. hoping for release by springtime, so stay tuned!
of course, i'm still out there performing on my own and with the JONI MITCHELL'S BLUE project - check the CALENDAR page for details on upcoming shows. hope to see you out there on the road sometime. stay warm, my friends.
january is jumping
December 27, 2012
happy new year, friends!
we're still eating christmas cookies and leftover lasagna (the traditional family christmas dish) here in brooklyn, but january is just around the corner! so many special shows to tell you about this month...
first of all, on january 3 and january 5, i am proud to tell you that i and my friends from joni mitchell's blue: a 40th anniversary celebration will be performing not one, but two benefit concerts in manhattan and dobbs ferry, respectively. all proceeds from the january 3 show in manhattan and part of the proceeds from the january 5 show in dobbs ferry will go to tunnel to towers and all hands volunteers. both organizations have been doing great relief work in the new york city neighborhoods most affected by hurricane sandy. we hope you'll be able to join us at one - or both - of these concerts. see the calendar page for details.
the rest of the month takes me to long island, massachusetts, and finally, new jersey, where i'm excited to open a show for folk's perennially effervescent duo, the kennedys!
meanwhile, i'm still writing and posting a new song every week at realwomenrealsongs on youtube. follow the link and see what me and all the other realwomen have been writing! after 17 weeks, i am still exhilarated and fascinated by this project, and so proud to be in such amazing company! better hurry and see what we're up to - only 35 more weeks to go...
many thanks, as always, for your continued support as journey down this long and winding musical path. it's wonderful to know there are lots of friends walking with me. i wish each and every one of you a wonderful new year, and hope to see you out there somewhere sometime soon. until i do, may your life be filled with good times, great music, and
December 1, 2012
december used to be a quiet month for me, musically, but much to my delight, this december is just the opposite... TWO joni mitchell's blue shows, plus solo shows in brooklyn and city island, and the constant writing and recording of new songs for the realwomenrealsongs project... i am feeling creative and loving it!
while i had hoped to have a new album tracked by this point, i have decided instead to hold off on recording just a bit longer. so many new songs are coming down the pike as i write for the above-mentioned realwomenrealsongs project, and i don't feel ready to divert my energy away from writing just yet. i'm really enjoying being prolific in this moment, and want to ride that wave as long as i can. as my friend and producer, fred gillen, jr., wisely reminded me, "what's the rush?" so, we will wait and see what happens in the early part of the new year...
meanwhile, i will keep making new songs, performing the old ones, and deciding which of the new ones merit fancying up and including in a new collection. i have never been patient, but i am learning. life is a journey, right?
journey on, friends. hope to see you down the road...
November 15, 2012
hi friends ~
half of november has slipped away, and i just noticed. the month certainly came roaring in here in the northeast, as hurricane sandy swept us off our feet... my family and i are thankful to have emerged unscathed, but some of our neighbors were not as fortunate. the devastation is great in many coastal areas, but my heart is particularly with the people of the eastern shore of staten island, my hometown.
if you are inclined to help, may i recommend donating to the STEVEN SILLER TUNNEL TO TOWERS FOUNDATION, an organization dedicated to honoring the memory of firefighter steven siller, who gave his life trying to save others on the morning of september 11, 2001. you may direct your donation to a particular geographic area HERE.
as for me, i'm coming down from the high of last weekend's northeast regional folk alliance conference, where i was privileged to have an official showcase. so many friends, so much music, and so little sleep... yet, i am energized by the experience and continue to be excited about writing and performing new songs, which i post every thursday on the realwomenrealsongs youtube channel. tune in sometime to see what's percolating...
also hoping to write a song or two for an upcoming film scripted by an old friend... but more on that later.
meanwhile, you can find me here in brooklyn, or out on the road somewhere... check the calendar page for details. until next we meet, i wish you good times, great music, and
the happy dance of october
October 1, 2012
just got word that i've been granted an official "quad" showcase at the annual NERFA conference! for the uninitiated, NERFA is basically a non-stop weekend of music and business for folkie types in the northeast. i have been attending NERFA for many years, and i just LOVE it! i am honored to have the opportunity to perform for venue operators, deejays, and folk friends from our region and beyond. i'm also doing a little happy dance, which is best left to the imagination...
in other news, i am now in the 5th week of the songwriting project that will take one year of my life, RealWomenRealSongs, and i am happy to tell you that it's been a really wonderful experience so far. although i find the process by turns terrifying, exhilarating, frustrating, and joyous, i'm so glad to be working with the amazing CARY COOPER and so many other fabulous women on putting something beautiful into the world.
there are already tons of videos on our collaborative YouTube channel, and a bunch of them are mine! surf on over and explore, then subscribe. i post a new song every thursday, but i have been spending a few minutes each morning enjoying new videos by my wonderful colleagues on this journey. i am so proud to be part of this project, and am continually humbled and awed by the work of these women. thanks, cary!
even before i started the RealWomenRealSongs project, i was writing lots of new songs, and songs, like people, need comfortable and nurturing homes... so, i'm happy to announce that i'll once again be working with my friend FRED GILLEN, JR. at woody's house to make a brand-new album this fall! my job this month is to record home demos as fast as i can so fred and i can choose the very best of the bunch to record all fancy-like. can't wait to get started!
meanwhile, there are some really groovy shows i'll be taking part in during the coming months... take a peek at the CALENDAR page to see where you can find me. hope to see you out there somewhere. until then, i wish you love, inspiration and
August 29, 2012
oh, my. how i love september! at heart, i am still a geeky schoolgirl who actually enjoys buying school supplies and revels in the smell of new pencils. and i am not ashamed to tell you that my heart goes all a-flutter at the sight of a brand-new notebook full of empty pages...
so now that i am neither student nor teacher, how will i satisfy my craving for new projects and, more importantly, use my fresh pencils and notebooks?
i am happy to tell you that this month, i embark upon a songwriting project that will take one year of my life. one year! RealWomenRealSongs is a YouTube collab devised by texas singer/songwriter/supermom cary cooper, in which 14 women from all over the usa and canada will be writing and posting newly-written songs each week for the next year. i am alternately terrified and excited to be part of this, in the company of such amazing songwriters and performers, but can't wait to get started! we got our first writing prompt this week, and new songs start going live on monday, september 3. i will be posting on thursdays, along with the very groovy chana rothman from philadelphia.
be sure to "like" RealWomenRealSongs on facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel to follow us on our journey!
and speaking of YouTube, i finally decided to enter the digital age and create a channel all my own:
you'll find some live videos on the channel, plus a few new songs live from my ultra-posh brooklyn studio (read: my comfortable but not-so-posh brooklyn apartment). i hope to add more good stuff in the coming months. you can even leave comments about what you'd like me to post... i promise to read them.
meanwhile, i still have shows to do. take a peek at the CALENDAR page to see where i will be this fall. hope to see you out there somewhere. until then, i wish you freshly-sharpened pencils and
hound dogs in august
August 1, 2012
I will certainly be baying at the moon this month... wahoo! Plenty of shows to be excited about, and a new songwriting project!
First of all, I am really thrilled to be doing a couple of band shows with the key players from my Threshold
band - Fred Gillen, Jr., Mike Weatherly, and Cheryl Prashker - August 18 in Yonkers NY and August 24 in Ringwood NJ, the former sharing with JAMES B. DUKEHOUSE
, an electrifying trio led by my friend Joe Iadanza. Band shows are always full of great energy, and very special for me. Join us for one or both!
Also delighted to team with my Chicks With Dip pals to perform the songs of Simon & Garfunkel in Metuchen NJ on August 4... We've been performing Joni Mitchell's Blue: A 40th Anniversary Celebration
to great acclaim all over the place, and have recently made the CD available for purchase at CD Baby
! We'll be bringing the Joni concert to World Cafe Live in Philadelphia on September 1, so mark your calendars!
Details for these and other shows can be found, of course, on the CALENDAR
Finally, and perhaps best of all, this month I am honored to have been chosen to embark upon a new songwriting project, RealWomenRealSongs
, a newfangled YouTube Collab. The brainchild of Texas singer/songwriter Cary Cooper
, this project challenges 14 female songwriters, myself included, to write 26-52 songs in a year and post videos of our newly written, unvarnished songs on the web on our assigned day each week. Scary, exciting, exhilarating and wonderful as it is, I hope you'll follow our journey. As Cary says, "We hope that in in watching us take risks, YOU will become inspired to create something of your own, be it a song, a painting, that book you've been dying to write...the possibilities are endless!"
Life is a journey, so let's get a move on... Wishing you wonderfulness and creativity in the days to come!
too darn hot
July 1, 2012
we are absolutely sizzling here in brooklyn, and july has barely begun! i am more thankful than ever for the simple pleasures of shady trees and splashy fountains in prospect park, ocean breezes and lemonade at coney island, and the chilly air of museums and movie theaters that make summer in the city not only bearable, but fun.
what's heating up most for me these days, musically speaking, is the wonderful tribute concert and album project i've been involved with this year, Joni Mitchell's Blue: A 40th Anniversary Celebration
. we are beyond thrilled that this project has taken on a life of its own and has been booked for a bunch of east coast dates stretching out to june 2013! this month, we have the distinct pleasure of reprising the concert in new york city at the venerable CITY WINERY
on july 16. see the CALENDAR
page for full details on this show, plus more this fall and next spring. we've also just made the full CD available for purchase online at CD BABY
i'm also excited to be attending the FALCON RIDGE FOLK FESTIVAL
once again this year. i will have the privilege of performing both at the ACOUSTIC LIVE
booth on the midway and at the budgiedome up on the ridge after the main stage closes down, and i couldn't be happier. i look forward to seeing many of you there!
most of all, looking forward to a summer of simple pleasures shared with family and friends. wishing the same for you, and until we meet again, may your days be filled with hot tunes, cool drinks, and
june is jumpin'
June 4, 2012
hello, friends! seems every time i sit down to write one of these updates, it is raining here in brooklyn. or perhaps i only sit down to write when it rains... either way, i am glad to tell you i won't be sitting down for long.
june is busier than i expected it to be, what with a handful of shows and the first stirrings of a new recording. as i'm sure i've gushed about in previous posts, i've been writing a great deal since the release of "threshold" last summer. i am delighted to tell you that i have a whole slew of new songs waiting in the wings for what i hope will become a new album for release sometime next spring. that means, of course, that all those new songs have to make their way from the page to a demo recording soon so my friend and producer FRED GILLEN, JR.
can help me sort the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. guess i'll be spending lots of quality time wearing headphones in my home studio (otherwise known as my living room) this month!
you know, i had an amazing revelation last week: recording is not something that must be done only in the dead of winter. i realized that the last five albums i have been involved in - including most of red molly's - have been recorded in december or january, when i often suffer from some sort of respiratory ailment. therefore, at least one song on each of those albums has been hampered by a head cold, bronchitis, or (in one case) pneumonia. this time around, i thought it might be exciting to record sometime before the cold weather hits, if only to see what i sound like without such ailments to impede me. brilliant, i know... now why didn't i think of that eight years ago?
this month also brings preparations and more bookings for the wonderful tribute concert and album project i've been involved with this year, "Joni Mitchell's Blue: A 40th Anniversary Celebration." there are concert dates for the fall posted here on the CALENDAR
page, with more coming in 2013. also, we've got a brand-new facebook page for the joni project HERE
. stop by sometime and give us a "like" if you want the latest news on that project.
well, i've surely been sitting down long enough, and a new song is waiting to be written. i hope to run into some of you at various festivals this joyous season, and until i do, i wish you good times, great music and
May 2, 2012
I find I'm spending lots of time this Spring making plans for Summer and Fall. Does that happen to everyone? We spend our days filling in boxes on our calendars and fretting about the future while the present sometimes goes by unnoticed. So many little moments of beauty happen every day, and they often slip by in the rush of groceries and repairs and laundry and correspondence and deadlines. Each day brings more and we rush to get everything accomplished...
My friend Pat Wictor writes lovingly in his song "I Don't Know What She Knows," about a woman who is able "to be and not just do." I surely envy that, and wish I could be more like the woman in the song. It seems I "do" a great deal, but often wonder what it might be like to just "be" for a while.
This month, though I have plenty of those things - and more - to keep me busy, I shall endeavor to notice and savor fleeting, graceful moments wherever they may be found. Just be...
april in brooklyn
April 1, 2012
March came in like a lion and went out like, well... a lion. Ten shows in one month, which is far more than I'm used to as of late. I must admit, I am a little tired, but oh, so very happy. So many wonderful things happened in March - I launched a songwriter series in my hometown with a new friend, toured with an old friend, opened shows for two songwriting heroes, sang Joni Mitchell songs with my NY songwriter pals, and shared a show and a meal with one of my favorite poets. It was a banner month, indeed, and I'm feeling pretty darn lucky.
This month, I have far fewer performances, which is kind of a relief. The madness of March left me very little time for writing, and much to my surprise, I missed it. Writing has really become one of my favorite things to do. Tough, though, to give it the energy and space it needs when you're busy preparing for the next show and getting ready to leave home again. and again. Since I'll be sticking pretty close to my usual orbit in April, I'm hoping a few new tunes will reveal themselves before month's end. Maybe I'll even post a few home videos, like I promised a few months ago...
Until then, you can find me in Brooklyn, Harrisburg, Sandy Hook, and Manhattan - when I'm not in my writing chair by the window or under a tree in Prospect Park, that is...
Happy Spring, friends!
February 28, 2012
I returned from the Folk Alliance International Conference in Memphis with renewed energy, and it's a good thing, too - March is absolutely BRIMMING with activity here at Camp Solebello. Nine shows this month, from Brooklyn to Buffalo and everywhere in between!
I have many reasons to be excited this month:
> First, I'm launching a new songwriter series here in Brooklyn with my friend and neighbor BEV GRANT. Bev is an accomplished and fearless songwriter, performer, and activist, and I look forward to sharing shows with her and some of our favorite songwriters in the coming months. We begin on March 9 with Bev's sister-in-song, INA MAY WOOL and urban poet PAUL SACHS.
> I am thrilled to be sharing a few shows with my longtime friend PAT WICTOR, amazing slide player and songwriter, now a member of the powerful male harmony trio BROTHER SUN. We'll be collaborating on some new tunes and old favorites in Pennsylvania and upstate New York, March 16-18.
> I have the distinct privilege of doing opening sets for two of my favorite songwriters, LYNN MILES and JOHN GORKA in Buffalo NY and Needham MA, respectively. How do I love my job? Let me count the ways...
> Finally, I'm pleased to report that Joni Mitchell's Blue: A 40th Anniversary Celebration, which I was privileged to be part of in NYC this past January, will be performed a second time at Outpost in the Burbs in Montclair NJ on March 30! I will be joining 10 of my female singer/songwriter pals to present Joni Mitchell's masterpiece - in its entirety. What a joy!
I think that might just be enough for one month... check the CALENDAR page for details.
Hope to see you out there somewhere. Until I do, I wish you hot buttered popcorn and
January 30, 2012
Hi Friends ~
So far, 2012 has been very busy, indeed, and it shows no signs of becoming less so, at least for the next few months. I am grateful, since being busy is far better than sitting on one's hands, especially as a performing songwriter. February brings shows in NY, NJ, PA, and MA, plus my first solo appearance at the Folk Alliance International Conference in Memphis!
I haven't been to Folk Alliance since I attended with Red Molly in 2009, so I am very excited about returning. This year, I have the honor of performing as an Official Showcase Artist! This annual conference brings a chance to cement musical friendships, form and renew business relationships, and generally revel in marvelous music with kindred spirits for a long weekend. I can't wait!
Hopefully, I'll have lots of news to report upon my return. Until then, I hope to see you out there on the road someplace. May February be warm and cozy for you, my friends!
January 1, 2012
Today, like the two-headed Roman god Janus, I look both backward and forward simultaneously. Well, not literally. I assure you I haven't grown another head. That would be really weird.
Seriously, though, in reflecting on 2011, I feel mostly gratitude - for a loving family, for a comfy place to call home, for the opportunity to do the things I love best, and for the creative energy to keep on doing them. I feel privileged to live the life I do, and am ever so thankful for friends near and far who support my endeavors in myriad ways.
In looking forward toward 2012, I feel mostly excitement - for the opportunity to share stages with some of my favorite musicians, for the chance to showcase at the MotherOfAllFolkConferences in Memphis, and for the challenging, yet happy work of songwriting and performance that lies ahead. I am also strangely excited about what is not yet known. For the mystery in the unplanned, the anticipation of what may come. Bring it, 2012. Here I am.
Happy New Year, everyone. May your days be filled with wonderful unknowns...
Planning with Gratitude
November 26, 2011
As ever, and mostly at this time of year, I am thankful for a life in music, for a little family who supports and nurtures me in my chosen profession, and for the willing ears of folks like you who allow me to continue doing what I love best. In the festive air of of these months, I pause to give thanks, then turn my thoughts toward what's around the bend...
Lots of my time and energy during the holiday season goes into planning where I'll be traveling in the first half of 2012. I am delighted to report that some really exciting things are brewing. Here are a few highlights:
First of all, I'll be starting 2012 with a bang at Kennett Flash (Kennet Square PA) on January 7. This will be my first solo headliner in this beautiful room, so to make the occasion extra festive, I'll be bringing a BAND to this show, featuring my longtime friend and collaborator, percussionist CHERYL PRASHKER. Looking forward to a fabulous time with Philly-area friends!
In February, I'll be heading to Memphis for the 24th International Folk Alliance Conference, a "gathering of the tribe" if ever there was one. In addition to reconnecting with musical friends from near and far, I am honored to have been selected as an Official Showcase Artist this year. Can't wait to share my latest tunes with the folk community at large!
March brings a mini-tour with my dear friend PAT WICTOR, singer-songwriter, renowned slide player, and one-third of the celebrated male harmony trio BROTHER SUN. Pat and I will be sharing shows in Bethlehem PA, Wellsville NY, and Walton NY that will feature us both on our own and in wonderful collaborations that have me dusting off my pretty little mandolin just for the occasion. If you're in the neighborhood, you won't want to miss these shows!
Of course, I hope to add many more dates to my dance card in the coming weeks and months, so the CALENDAR page is the place to go for the latest info on my musical comings-and-goings.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season and a new year filled with love, music and
October 29, 2011
Today is the 29th of October, and I am watching snow fall outside my Brooklyn window as I type this. Yes, you read that right. I said snow. Strange, yet strangely relaxing, since today is a day in which my biggest plan is to cook dinner for my family... Nice to just nest every now and again, and a freak snowstorm is a great excuse to drop the "to do" list for a little while.
It is a season of changes, I suppose. Despite this freaky day, we've been slowly adjusting to the creeping chill in the air, the falling leaves and the shorter days. Change happens whether or not we want it to sometimes, and though I often find myself resistant to such things, changes often make things better, or at least richer.
What's changing for me these days is the focus of my musical life. Whereas most of the last decade has been spent honing performance skills, I find myself concentrating more and more on the writing aspect of my chosen profession. Writing songs used to be a daunting task, one I looked forward to with nervous anticipation, at best. In the past year - the past few months most especially - I've written more songs than I had during the previous five. And the late, great Jack Hardy
was right. It gets easier. The more you practice, and the less importance you place on making each song a big "hit," the more pleasurable the act of writing becomes.
I attribute the change in my attitude toward writing to the two songwriting groups I'm currently involved in: Chicks with Dip, a collective of women I've been meeting with for many years; and the Jack Hardy Songwriters' Exchange, a group I've been attending with some regularity for the past few months. Having something new to present at each of these meetings has really gotten my creative juices flowing again, and the feedback I've received from other writers of all stripes has been very helpful, indeed. Being in the presence of so many wonderfully creative minds is also pretty inspiring for me. I am grateful for all I've learned thus far, and happy to say a new crop of songs is emerging from my efforts. Writing is much more fun these days, and I look forward to sharing new songs with you as I deem them ready for more ears...
So glad to have you along for this next step in my creative journey. Here's to positive change!
September 5, 2011
Ah, Neil Diamond. I think of him (and La Streisand) every time I walk past Erasmus High School here in Flatbush. Who knows? Someday, my boy may go there too, then grow up to be an international superstar. Maybe. But I suppose he should focus on getting through Kindergarten first.
No matter how old I get, September has always meant back-to-school for me. Now, of course, the smallest member of our household actually does go back to school each September, so new notebooks, freshly-sharpened pencils, and feelings of excitement and trepidation are all in the air as we sense new beginnings and contemplate possibilities. So many possibilities...
Kids go back to school and parents make plans. Mine include some cycling, a little Yoga, and lots of writing. Got myself some new notebooks and pencils, too, so maybe the ideas that keep flying around in my head can get written down before they flit out the window and into another songwriter's imagination. Hoping to get more involved with some of the wonderful songwriting collectives here in NYC, and looking forward to nurturing budding and veteran performers at the Christopher Street Coffeehouse
open mic, where I'm privileged to serve as host.
So here's to new beginnings for everyone. We all deserve a fresh white sheet of paper and a new pencil every now and again.
August 12, 2011
Things are going really well for Threshold
in radioland these days. For starters, the record is #77 on AMA's Americana Ranking
, #32 on Cashbox Magazine / Roots Music Report Folk Top 50
, and #14 on Folk DJ
And a few weeks back, I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Kathy Millar of WHUD radio in New York's Hudson Valley. Kathy's a terrific interviewer, and it was a real pleasure talking with her. You can hear the interview in its entirety by clicking HERE
On August 24, I will be returning to the WVKR studios in Poughkeepsie to visit with Sharon Panaro and chat about the new record. Sharon's also a delight to be around, and I look forward to our talk. If you're not in the WVKR listening area, you can stream Sharon's show live, Wednesday evenings at 6PM, on the WVKR WEBSITE
Until next time, then, I wish you
How You Feelin'?
August 1, 2011
July was just smokin' here in Brooklyn, and not only because of all the barbecue grills going in Prospect Park. In the immortal words of my fellow Staten Island native, David Johansen (aka Buster Poindexter), we are feeling "hot, hot, hot!"
But the hottest night of the month for me was July 28. That evening, I was privileged to perform songs from Threshold at The Living Room in NYC with a smokin' band of players - Cheryl Prashker (drums), Mike Weatherly (bass), Steve Kirkman (guitar), Sara Milonovich (fiddle), Mark Allen Berube (banjo), and Catherine Miles (vocals)! I had the time of my life, and am so grateful to these wonderful musicians and all the good folks who came out to listen so enthusiastically! Made me want to schedule more full-band shows down the road...
Meanwhile, Threshold is enjoying some success out there in radio-land. Here's where we are this week:
# 80 on AMA's Americana Ranking
# 42 on Cashbox Magazine / Roots Music Report's Folk Top 50
# 14 on Folk DJ
# 7 on the Roots Music Report's Folk Internet Airplay Top 50
Not bad for a little indie record, huh? All those numbers make me think of Casey Kasem and the American Top 40...
Until we meet again, I wish you carefree summer days filled with cool drinks, good music and
July 3, 2011
As I enjoy the long holiday weekend with family in beautiful Western Massachusetts, I feel grateful. Grateful to be surrounded by loving family and friends, grateful to make my living doing what I love, and grateful that my great-grandparents chose to cross the ocean so many years ago in hopes of a better life in America. I can only imagine what my ancestors were thinking as they sailed into New York Harbor, but I somehow think their ideals were pretty much in line with those of the American founding fathers. And I'm happy to say their descendants, myself included, certainly enjoy a freer and more comfortable life than those who crossed the Atlantic. This is what I'm thinking about this Independence Day...
And what a wonderful thing it is to be independent, especially as a musician. For instance, I am excited that an independent record like "Threshold," is garnering airplay all over the country! These fine stations have already played tracks from my new CD:
WAMC, Albany NY
WFUV, New York NY
WFDU, Teaneck NJ
WXPN, Philadelphia PA
WVKR, Poughkeepsie NY
WEFT, Champaign IL
WPSU, State College PA
WQBR, McElhattan PA
WRKF, Baton Rouge LA
KGLP, Gallup NM
WNEC, Henniker NH
Also very excited to celebrate the release of "Threshold" with a bunch of shows this month, culminating in a big CD Release party with full band on July 28 at The Living Room in my hometown of New York City!
Thanks for helping me remain an independent musician... I do hope we meet again soon, at a show or otherwise. But until then, I wish you a wonderful summer filled with great music, great times, and
A Stop on the Journey
June 1, 2011
I cannot begin to tell you exactly how excited I am that my latest CD, Threshold, is finished and ready for the world! As with any endeavor worth pursuing, of course, the joy is in the journey - and this is only one stopping point on the road - but I must say that this particular milestone is really, really thrilling for me. There's just something about actually holding that little cardboard folder with the plastic disc inside that sets my heart all a-flutter...
As I pause to reflect, I realize most of the joy in this journey stems from the excellent travel companions I have had thus far: Fred Gillen, Jr., whose production skills and boundless enthusiasm for the project made every step easy; Cheryl Prashker and Mike Weatherly, who together formed the most soulful rhythm section I could imagine; Sara Milonovich, whose amazing violin brought both sweet and sinister elements to the mix; Steve Kirkman, who knew exactly which notes to play on which guitars, and exactly what they should sound like; Catherine Miles, who sang like The Carter Family, The Jordanaires, and The Staples Singers all rolled into one fabulous voice; and my own beloved Mark Allen Berube, who brought twangy banjo, warm bass vocals, and most importantly, unflagging support to the project every day.
Also with me on the journey were my friends Mark Dann, Elizabeth Robinson, and Jim Colbert, who graciously contributed their engineering, photography, and design talents, respectively, to the project with as much gusto as if it were their faces on the cover of the record. Many thanks to these folks for turning parts of the project I dreaded into sheer joy.
Now comes the next part of the journey, wherein the little cardboard folders with the little plastic discs venture out into the world to meet people. Perhaps you've already met one. If you can give it a good home, I thank you for being yet another excellent companion on this wonderful journey.
I look forward to seeing you out there on the road of life.
Next Page >>
May 1, 2011
May Day... mayday... day of labor, day of help from friends. I'm happy to say that my own artistic labors in recent months are about to pay off in spades, due to the equally artistic labors of my dear friend and producer, Fred Gillen, Jr. At long last, my latest CD, "Threshold," is actually at the manufacturer, and will be printed and ready for public listening within just a few short weeks! And what a labor of love it has been...
Making a solo record after being part of a successful trio for six years is a leap of faith, to say the least. We grow to trust the instincts and ears of bandmates as we trust the instincts of a spouse, and trusting oneself after being part of a winning team for so long is not exactly easy.
That's where Fred came in. Together, we formed a new team, and trusted each other's ideas, instincts, and ears. Side by side, we created what Fred calls a timeless album. The songs are contemporary, save two traditional tunes that have grown and changed over many years, but the arrangements are not tied to our own era. The sound of this record is a journey through American roots music, thanks to Fred's guidance.
In short, I am thrilled with the results of our work together, and cannot wait for the rest of you to hear what we've done. "Threshold" will be available for purchase online and at live shows in June, but if you want to get a copy as soon as I get them in my hands, click HERE
to pre-order. I will love you for it forever.
Wishing you a joyful springtime and until we meet again,