Wow, it’s been a while since my last post – but even without kids (though our cat, Massimo, is definitely our ‘little boy’) I have somehow been transformed into a jeans-wearing June Cleaver and been baking and cooking up a storm! But without a string of pearls, so I do get one little demerit. It’s been great, though. Yes, because I get to eat what I make (yahoo!) but also because it’s so much fun to feed people you care about and see a momentary look of rapture on their faces.
Hey, since this is a blog by a musician, how about something music-related (for once)? Then I’ll try to wrap up with something seasonally-related so you can go about your holiday machinations in the proper spirit.
So December became a time for two major music projects that added to my general busyness (actually three, but the third is a secret…for now). The first was a wonderful recording opportunity for a new project I’m involved with, The Cordials! As I think I’ve mentioned before, The Cordials were started by dear friend Laura Kepner-Adney (of Silver Thread Trio and Wingflash Design fame) who had some awesome songs that didn’t fit in with the beautiful folky Trio. So she asked me to come on board as bass player and Courtney Robbins – a wonderful singer/songwriter/guitar player to play drums (which she never had done before). The results are a funky mix of sweet and sour, americana and grunge, sugar and spice…it’s hard to describe. My favorite aspect of the band are our three-part harmonies – it’s a special blend. But sometime in the near future we’ll actually have some recorded evidence so you can judge for yourself! A couple of weeks ago we spent a day with Chris Schultz at Wavelab (which has recorded the likes of Calexico, Neko Case and Amos Lee) and it was a very long, very awesome time. Here are some pics from the day (most from co-conspirator and fantastic drummer, Winston Watson):
We still have some more details to add, fiddle and tweak but the rough mixes sound great – especially some new harmonies we crafted on the spot.
Then The Modeens and members of Seashell Radio (the amazing J Fen Ikner and the also amazing and aforementioned Courtney) teamed up for the Great Cover Up. This is a long-standing annual fundraising event in Tucson where local bands cover established bands in a multi-day music festival. Who’s covering whom is kept a deep, dark secret until show day. We covered The Beach Boys and it was my biggest musical challenge yet. Brian Wilson is a genius and the harmonies as well as instrument lines are arranged like mini pieces of Mozart of Beethoven. Ie, it’s farking hard! So we toiled and studied and wrassled for three weeks and loved (almost) every second of it. The results were very gratifying – once we figured what the individual pieces actually were, they fell in place like jigsaw puzzle pieces. To spice things up, we switched places so most of us had a lead singing spot and the bass and guitar were juggled betwixt and between Fen, Me and Jamie. The setlist was (in order): Wouldn’t It Be Nice, Don’t Worry, In My Room, I Get Around, God Only Knows and Good Vibrations.
To top it all off, my brother and sister-in-law came into town that weekend and were right up on the lip of the stage, cheering us on! I can’t even tell you how happy I was to see their faces while playing this music. The audience response was gratifying and it was over way too soon. Here are a few videos to give you an idea (I feel compelled to point out that Jamie is dressed as Mike Love (incl exotic baseball cap) and Fen is dressed as Brian Wilson with the bathrobe and shaggy hair – they don’t normally look like this):
In My Room
Wouldn’t It Be Nice
We’re still missing video from “Don’t Worry” where I sang the lead, without playing an instrument, which was oh so fun. So when something surfaces, I’ll let you know.
Now it’s time to get ready for a little holiday funmaking – been baking gingersnaps and double chocolates but will be putting on the brisket soon and will try my hand at latkes for the first time (wish me luck!) There’s no real tree this year so I just have my fond memories of many a green Christmas spent tramping through tree lots with the Williams clan. Each year we’d take turns on who got to make the final choice about which tree to take home. We’d groan when it was Daddy’s year, he’d always eagerly reach out for the scraggly, Charlie Brown trees while the rest of us begged and pleaded for the tall, bushy “normal” trees. But I had to admit that those slightly pitiful specimen always had the most character and charm. So Daddy, yes, you were right! I said it!
And to all of you, I wish you joy, merriment and enough peace to keep your sanity. Whatever your beliefs, this is a nice opportunity to cozy up with people you care for and enjoy life and each other with some lights and plenty of food during the darkest time of year. Thank you so much for reading this blog o’ mine that sprung up last March. It’s been teaching me a lot about myself and my family and I look forward to lots more in the new year.