Early on in this process, I spent a great deal of time figuring out
which songs would appear on this album. There was one song
specifically that I knew belonged on "Seahorses". It's exactly one of
the songs that exemplified all of the ideas and themes behind this
album. Foolishly, I decided to leave it out. I did this
because I could not figure out the best way to present this song. Of
all my songs in my repertoire, this one demands a certain degree of
reverence. It did not feel right to go for something fully produced
with a complete band of instruments behind it, and I felt that it would
cheapen its intention and its meaning by making it available on a
Well, as it turned out, I changed my mind, and of course, I did it at
the worst possible time. The deal-breaker was that, as the recording
sessions were coming to a close, I felt more and more that excluding it
would be a mistake, and I would physically beat myself up for this many
years down the road. Furthermore, this actually is not a commercial
album. I would certainly love to sell many copies of it, but if only
one was sold to someone who really connected with it, then I would be
very happy. It is, more than anything, a work of art--my art, that is. It is a series of thoughts, stories, musical compositions, and feelings
that I am compelled to share.
On the final night of recording, when the main vocal parts for several
of the songs were done, I said, "To hell with it!! Let's do it!!". Given our constraints in time (studio time is so not cheap), this last
minute inclusion required a certain degree of determination. I decided
just record it live. By this, I mean that I was going to just sit at
the piano and play while singing into a mike. This meant that there
would be no full band or rhythm section behind it, and unlike all of
the other songs, the vocals would not be recorded separately from the
music. So, even though I knew my voice had reached it's limit after
already singing so much, I performed it anyway. Ben, my producer,
just hit the "record" button, and I just played.
It was about 2:00 am (very late!) by the time we did this. We recorded
the song all the way through twice over, and by the time I heard the
second recording, Ben and I knew that I got it right on the first try.
fact, I honestly believe it is one of the best versions of the song
I've ever performed. Perhaps it helped that my voice was tired and
that it was so late at night, but the finished recording delivered
everything that this song needed to give---every intonation, every
cadence being so honest, with every word and every note nestled upon
of a tidal wave of emotion.
You will all know which song this is once you hear the album. For me,
it is a stand-out track for several reasons, but it also happens to be
the only one recorded live in-studio. Later on, my good friend
Laurel Blackman composed a beautiful string part for it, and we added
a solitary violin to accompany the piano. In the end, I just followed
through on what I knew deep in my heart needed to happen. This song is
now presented in this album in a manner that is all too fitting. I
can't wait for all of you to hear it.
I am very proud of this recording, and I am so happy that I changed my
There happens to be one song in the world that served as a catalyst for me to pursue music as an on-going passion. Several years ago, a friend of mine had told me of a new artist named Fiona Apple. She mentioned that I might like her stuff and recommended that I check her out. Well, a few weeks later, I was in a record store and came across one of those listening booth/kiosks that had several different CD's that you could hear songs from. Fiona Apple's debut album called "Tidal", with those gargantuan blue eyes staring out at you, was one of them . . .
I remember picking up a copy and thinking "Oh, this is that girl that my friend told me about". After looking throught the song titles in the back of it, one title stood out to me. It was number 7--a song called "Never Is a Promise". I thought it was such a simple but poetically provocative name for a song.
In the middle of this very busy record store, I put the headphones on, went to #7, and was hopeful that I would like what I would hear. I can honestly say that this event changed the way I looked at music. I heard this song with all of its power, hopeful defiance, angst, and beauty, and I was so inspired. I could relate to every word and understand every nuance in the music. The delicate inflections in her voice, the sense of mounting urgency in the piano, the mournful violins, and that tender moment at the end when she sings "You'll say I need appeasing when I start to cry"--I was never the same after this. This song changed me in ways that I can't even begin to explain.
Every now and then, I actually play this song on the piano and sing it when I'm alone in my room. I just love to play it so much.
I made some music purchases in June and August and they arrived within the past two weeks; two CDs and two LPs. The LPs were pre-orders from June. The CDs were more recent purchases. Let me start with the CDs. Before I begin, please note that these are solely my opinions regarding similarities to various other artists - only to give an approximation of what they are like. We all have unique impressions of how one artist sounds like another artist. So I caution to sample for yourself before taking my word for what an artist sounds like and plunking down some bills for the album.
Baby Grandmothers was one of the early Swedish psychedelic experimental bands performing in 1967. They never recorded an LP but left behind a single and enough live recordings to provide a complete compilation of their recorded work on CD by Swedish label, Subliminal Sounds, in 2007. The band was a trio consisting of Kenny Hakansson on guitar, Bengt "Bella" Linnarsson on bass, and Pelle Ekman on drums. The band evolved out of the blues-psych band, T-Boones, and I figured they would be similar. Man, was I wrong! Baby Grandmothers were truly several steps beyond the typical blues band, similar to early Ashra Tempel, with a modal style based primarily on improvisation with hypnotic rhythms, although there are a few songs, or parts of songs, that have a more conventional pop sound. The 20 minute composition "Being Is More than Life (2)", an extended version of their single, has become one of my favorites on the disc. And keep in mind this was 1967. The only other European artists with this type of sound at that time, besides the German group Ashra Tempel mentioned above, would be Pink Floyd (with Syd Barrett) and Hapshash & The Coloured Coat in the UK and another Swedish band, Parson Sound. I really like this CD and it will take several more spins in my player, over time.