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Thursday
Apr142016

Greetings all and Happy Spring!

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.

photo by Adam IslerTreehouse at 2AIn 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).

Photo by MikeGospel 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!

 

Thank You,

Enjoy the seasonal changes and may the petals in your life be plentiful!

…does that salutation make me a petal pusher?

Love,

xxx,

Deborah

Wednesday
Dec022015

Thank You, Thank You

Hello all!

First things first – upcoming events!

Women of Substance Radio chose my song “Merry Christmas to You” to be part of their holiday music programming along with music from Idina Menzel and other fabulous artists. I've got all NYC players on the track with me: Ann Klein, Steve Alcott, and Kenny Soule.

Tune in and listen to the show on December 9th, 2015!

Women of Substance Radio
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Noon and 8 p.m. Eastern
http://www.womenofsubstanceradio.com/

The link will give you the option of joining their mailing list, but you can click "No Thanks" if you'd prefer not to.

You can also tune in on Mobile Devices by downloading their free mobile app. Just search for "Women of Substance" in your App Store or use these links to download for free:
iTunes Store (Apple): http://bit.ly/1ELrcau
Google Play Store (Android): http://bit.ly/1E1mDot

 

On Wednesday, members of the Middle Church Jerriese Johnson Gospel Choir (including me!) are joining other fantastic gospel singers at Carnegie Hall for a gospel sing along with Donnie McClurkin and Kim Burrell.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015
8pm
Gospel Sing Along with Donnie McClurkin and Kim Burrell
Carnegie Hall
Tickets range from $16-$62 through the Carnegie Hall website

 

And tomorrow, my current class of Singin' Seniors is holding its winter concert. You're welcome to join! No need to RSVP.

Singin' Seniors Winter Concert
Friday, December 4, 2015
1 p.m.
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, 619 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10022
Downstairs in St Peter’s Church

 

Now, to catch up!

Back in the summer, I spent some time in Brooklyn at Grand Street Studios with my stellar producer, Ken Rich, recording four of my new songs. If you’ve been to a show in the past year, you’ve probably heard one or two of them. As a freelance artist, I am not really sure how to present them. Do I wait until I have enough songs for a new album? Or do I just submit them individually to iTunes? If anyone would like to comment or tell me what they are doing with their own musical project, I am all ears. I can’t wait to share them with you!

For basic tracks, I worked with some of the guys who form the band Poundcake: Jon Graboff, Ethan Eubanks and Jeff Hill. Andrew Carillo came in for guitar overdubs and I sang my old timey murder ballad duet called "Bet on the Horses" with the legendary Hugh Pool.

After all that musical work together, I headed on a very special “bucket list” trip with my childhood friend from Nebraska, Susan Stover -- we've been friends since third grade! We started adventuring together right out of high school. School reunions and mutual friends bring us together from time to time and it turns out, unlike our husbands, we were both crazy enough to want to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu! So in late September, we traveled to Peru to begin the journey and I can safely say I had a physical challenge unlike anything else I have ever done!

Besides the fabulously physical challenge of hiking through the Andes, we had a tremendous time and a great education visiting first the colorful town of Cusco and then the mysterious and ancient sacred sites, terraces, and temples in and around the incomparable city of Machu Picchu.

I was left with a head full of images and stories that will stay with me forever. I have been writing a sort of travelogue about it that is nearly done. I still want to add photographs that I took or that others in our group have shared. I will let you know when that “book” is done!

Crawling into my little tent one night, I started repeating a phrase over and over until I had to acknowledge that a song was being born! The phrase was, "Thank you for bringing us to Machu Picchu." I found my phone in my daypack (very important to use it sparingly as there was no re-charging) and stumbled outside into the serious moonlight to record my ideas before they evaporated like the morning dew.

We were camped very close to the rushing Urubamba River and the sound of a crowing rooster kept coming into range somewhere in a nearby valley. All I can say is, it’s a good thing I recorded it then because once I woke up the next day and got going on yet another full-on day of hiking, that song was gone! I would like to think I would have remembered it eventually but it was such a comfort, knowing I had recorded my ideas the night before!

And there is a free tip for songwriters; whenever possible, carry a recording device. You never know when inspiration may hit!

I've shared the song with the fans on my mailing list -- if you'd like to download a free copy, just click the "Join My Mailing List" button on the left side of this page.

When I returned to NYC, the autumn crop of Singin’ Seniors started up again after a three month hiatus. The Singin’ Seniors class is made possible through the non profit organization, Feel the Music. I have Valerie Ghent and Nicolle Bennett to thank for keeping me busy! I teach group ensemble with the illustrious accompaniment of Clare Cooper. The group sings tunes all the way from the 30s to the 2010s! I am very proud of this special group of senior vocalists. We always have such fun working on songs and this latest batch is sure to please.

I continue to rehearse and sing and draw inspiration from the wonderful Middle Church Jerriese Johnson Gospel Choir in the East Village, under the directorship of John Del Cueto. We recently had an evening concert for Justice that was inspiring and powerfully beautiful. We sang several songs of Tituss Burgess and some other gifted songwriters. I was given the opportunity to sing the last solo of the evening and lemme tell you people, I sure felt the spirit moving! Last year at the rally, we had Joan Baez, a VIP joining us. But the energy was just as high this year. I am honored to be a member of this talented, kind and inclusive choir.

My dear old Dad celebrated his 95th birthday back in Nebraska on November 14th. I am so lucky to still be someone’s daughter. He has been my father, my coach, my ally, my advisor, my friend my whole life. I can honestly say that Darrel Berg taught me about spirit and soul in such a way that it never left me, no matter what incarnation it manifested in me, throughout my life. I am forever grateful to him and to my mother, for believing in me and for giving me the freedom to create the life I imagined for myself. A life full of artistry, creativity and personal expression.

One last thing – through the Sadie Nash Foundation, another non profit organization that I am getting involved with, I had the great pleasure of meeting the grande dame of American feminists, Gloria Steinem! 

Gloria was speaking in late October at the New York Public Library along with civil rights lawyer Roberta Kaplan, who got the DOMA ruling passed. The Sadie Nash Foundation was lucky enough to have Gloria and Roberta join our small group beforehand for an intimate discussion with several young women, or “Nashers,” in the program. What was the core message of the gathering? In speaking out for justice and equality, first find like-minded people who know how to listen and with them, practice finding your own voice until you know who you are and what you stand for.

That’s it for now!
Peace Out,  
Thank You,
May the holidays be good to you,
xxx,
Deborah

Wednesday
Jun242015

Performing Live in "The Field of Stars"

Hello and happy summer!

A short note to say that this Sunday, June 28th, I'll be performing with Sherryl Marshall, Monica Passin, and Charlie Giordano at The Treehouse at 2-A as part of L'il Mo's "Field of Stars" series.

Sunday, June 28
The Treehouse at 2A
25 Avenue A @ 2nd Street
8:30pm-11:30pm
NO COVER

Join us for an stellar night of music!

More soon,

xx,

Deborah

Monday
Apr132015

"Distance Between Us" in the Top 20

Reporting from Nashville, TN, where I'm soaking up the sights and sounds, to proudly announce that "Distance Between Us" charted in the Top 20 Songs for March 2015 on Women of Substance Radio. Thanks to everyone who tuned in and voted for me. It's still in rotation, and you can listen to my song and the other top 20 at this link.

Thank you for listening and voting!

xxx,

Deborah

Monday
Mar092015

Listen to "Distance Between Us" on Women of Substance Radio

Taking a pause in a whirlwind musical week of teaching private singing lessons, singing with the Gospel Choir, and singing back-up with some amazing musicians to share some fun news.

The fine programmers over at Women of Substance Radio selected "Distance Between Us" as a featured show on their "What's on my iPod" New Music Show this week. WOSRadio features the best music by female artists in all genres.

Tune in at 5 p.m. ET (2 p.m. PT) to listen to my song and others from talented artists via streaming Internet radio at:
http://bit.ly/1MnqC5f
or
http://www.womenofsubstanceradio.com.

The link will give you the option of joining their mailing list, but you can click "No Thanks" if you'd prefer not to.

You can also tune in on Mobile Devices by downloading their free mobile app. Just search for "Women of Substance" in your App Store or use these links to download for free:
iTunes Store (Apple): http://bit.ly/1ELrcau
Google Play Store (Android): http://bit.ly/1E1mDot

"Distance Between Us" will be in heavy rotation for the next two weeks. If you would, please click the "thumbs up" icon on your desktop player while my song is playing:


You can also request the song as often as you'd like by clicking the lower-left menu button:


Then clicking on the "Song Request" button:


The more "likes" and requests my song receives, the more they'll air my song. The station makes a great background soundtrack to your day -- on the subway, at your desk, or chasing little ones around.

As always, I appreciate your support and enthusiasm!

xx
Deborah