Here in NYC, my window box narcissus are bright and blooming but they have had to sleep covered in black trash bags to protect them from the freeze! Fickle April! I hope Spring is treating you a bit less dramatically.
Since we last met, I’ve been grateful to participate in several wonderful nights of music.
On Bleecker Street in January at the Bitter End, I sang backing vocals for my good friend, the talented composer and pianist, Elise Morris. It was an honor to sing with her and her colorful band: Frank Burrows, Chris Bishop, Warren Odze and Emily Bindiger. Elise’s unique and luscious set of original songs was an inspiration to me and the audience liked it, too! She has another Bitter End gig scheduled for June 20th if any of you local folks are interested.
In February, I participated in L’il Mo’s Harmony Swap at The Treehouse at 2A. Tom Clark runs the stage and the soundboard at this good old fashioned East Village neighborhood music bar.
This time L’il Mo chose "Family Bands" as the theme, so all performers swapped harmonies on Carter Family, Boswell Sisters, Staple Singers, Bee Gees, Carpenters, Eisley Brothers, Jackson 5, Kinks, Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose, and the Pointer Sisters -- just to name a few. I sang with a whole gaggle of wonderful folks, but for levity’s sake I will just throw out a big Thank You to Sherryl Marshall, Leslie Wagner, Paul Pimsler, Charlie Roth, Tom Shad, Tom Clark and L’il Mo (Monica Passin)!
Here's a little video that Mike recorded of me, Sherryl Marshall, Leslie Wagner, Tom Shad, and Paul Pimsler performing "Respect Yourself." The visuals are blurry but the audio is fab - enjoy!
I also spent a Sunday morning in the Middle Church sanctuary on 2nd Ave and 7th Street with five other singers, recording backup on a song for the artist Cousin George. I have not heard anything back yet, but the acoustics in the sanctuary that morning sounded great and the vocalists were all having a good time!
In March, we took a trip to the West Coast. I got to hang out with two of my three siblings and an awesome niece! We jammed at McCabe’s Guitar Shop, took in the Mapplethorpe exhibit at LACMA, and scoured the bins at Amoeba Records, where Eye to Eye was sold out but represented!
We had lunch with our old buddy Adam Carpenter who has approximately 100 trillion followers on Instagram. What a character!
I think there is nothing better than going shoe shopping with your sister and your niece. Agreed? Retail therapy never fails to excite!
Puget Sound Guitar Workshop director and royalty Janet Peterson and Karee Wardrop came out to the East Coast from Bellingham, WA, with their son Keajn to look at colleges. We had a fun gathering with them, their daughter Devan, and my friend Sherryl (who just happened to be spending the night in town after a benefit gig for Adam Roth).
Gospel Choir continues to be a great source of inspiration for me. The Reverend Jacqui Lewis is a powerhouse with a heart of gold and our musical director, John Del Cueto, always encourages us to trust the spirit and take musical risks. Leave your fears at the door and sing big!
Here's the most recent opportunity I had to sing a solo with the choir, on April 10th. The song is "Walking" by a band called Mary Mary.
I have the pleasure of teaching a wonderful vocal ensemble group called The Singin’ Seniors through the non profit organization, FEEL THE MUSIC, at Lenox Hill Senior Center in midtown Manhattan. I teach an eight-week session with accompanist Clare Cooper with a recital at the end of each session. Our most recent recital was Friday, April 1st, accompanied by a wonderful trio of musicians: Clare Cooper, Kenny Soule, and Steve Marks.
This session, the Singin’ Seniors sang the following songs: “Till There Was You” (Beatles-style), “Fire” by Bruce Springsteen, “Get Happy” (Judy Garland-style), “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor, “I’ll Be There” by The Jackson 5, “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell, and “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King.
My Singin’ Seniors really pour themselves into the music and have evolved as a group. The harmonies are starting to jell and the syncopation is moving right along as well!
The Singin’ Seniors have a few weeks’ break and then we’re back at it April 28th with our early summer session. This time around, I intend to work with students on memorizing at least one song to get them off the page. It is a bit more of a mental challenge but the energy of really knowing the music pays off in performance!
Lastly, social media offered up a surprising bit of connection last month when the psychedelic rock trio Mirror Travel posted this photo on Instagram:
It turns out that “Nice Girls" is one of Mirror Travel's favorite songs! Take a listen to their new album, “Cruise Deal” here. They are awesome!
That’s it for now!
Enjoy the seasonal changes and may the petals in your life be plentiful!
…does that salutation make me a petal pusher?