With every album I’ve recorded people have flat out said they wished I’d made a live album. I guess I just needed to feel really mortal to be brave enough.
Don’t get me wrong, my previous albums have been well received, but the live concert is a zillion times better than the records. I can* be coy but I’m pretty sure it’s because the shows can be so emotionally satisfying (*I don’t want to jinx myself so by saying ‘can’ I hereby build in a disclaimer for any future lame shows). The experience is the heaviness of the songs delivered with my big voice, mixed in with my funny interpretation of life, makes for a real roller coaster. I think existential angst is hilarious, when it’s not killing me.
See that great picture of the people sitting and standing and milling around that stoop in Harlem? I’ve been inspired for years by that photograph taken by artist Art Kane in 1958 titled Great Day in Harlem, with so many great players of the day together. Not only is the image beautiful, the sense of community is enduring, and the accomplishment of gathering so many people together is noteworthy. In a way, this is a small attempt of gathering a bunch of musos together.
I’m a career independent performing songwriter: I’ve released four albums and one EP. When I’ve tried to give it up because it’s felt too costly to record and tour, I’ve been depressed. Singing gives me purpose and using my hands keeps me sane. So, I create stuff with my hands and I make music and to make ends meet I work at every opportunity that comes along. I manage. I’m not complaining. I’m lucky. I’m tired but I’m happy because music gives my life meaning, I guess. Mostly. It’s a hard life and many musicians give it up.
It’s a pity. And it’s bullshit. And it’s the subject of my new project: the biggest thing I’ve ever produced.
It’s kinda based on the fact that my audiences are filled with musicians. Musicians who play, musicians who quit, musicians who never got a chance to try, musicians at heart. I see them in artist development, supervisors, managers, agents, producers, engineers, builders, and promoters. They are the makers, accountants, bartenders, beer reps, designers, stylists, publicists, actors, bookers, cooks, waiters, festival directors, tour managers, arts foundation and granting office administrators…the list is enormous. So I’m inviting the musicians to come back and to sing, to build and be a part of the experience. We’ll perform my show together as a community and I’ll record the experience as a live album.
It’s taken me a lifetime to recognize that I’m not alone, and I want to be with the people I know and admire, and I want to sing with them.
So this album is my live album but it’s also my life album. Oh, jeeze, that’s cheesy. Try again. So this album is my live album but it’s also your chance to sing on an album. And you get three chances – three nights of recording. Theres’s also four afternoon rehearsals where you can observe musos (in their natural habitat) rehearse the show, so you can learn the songs and rehearse your singing part, too. Or you can just enjoy seeing the process from behind the scenes.
I’ve written a seven song set that I think is sing-along-able. Not like your kids’ records, no, like your existentially challenged records. I’m hoping what is normal angst to me is the same for others. I’m hoping this is BS we all share, or dammit, I’m alone again. That can’t be…. right? Even if I am alone, and you’re alone, let’s be alone together. Right?
Besides, it doesn’t matter if you think you can sing. I think you can sing. So sing.