I've finished 14 demos of some new and old compositions. I've begun the task of writing the charts in Finale notation. The band that I have in place for a studio recording is a dream team; I'm afraid to talk about it too much in case it's not real. But I am very excited to record again in late August 2017. The core group is a quartet: guitar, piano, bass, drums. There will be three guest vocalists, a cellist, and a traditional Celtic flutist.
The recording is called "Boats." The oldest composition of mine, if I am remembering correctly, is from 1992. There are three from 2003, one from 2011, and maybe one other from the early '90s, I don't really know. The rest, more importantly to my mind, are from December 2016 to the present. I had a growth spurt in writing when a piano moved into my living space.
The mix of old and new was not intentional. In fact, I tend to have an aversion to older material in general, preferring instead to look ahead or at least stay present if not futuristic. But this album of material called "Boats" has been on my mind since I took a boat ride from Ogunquit, Maine in 2003, and it has never really left my system. It was a little tour boat jaunt that I've taken many times, sliding out of Perkins Cove and down to York, back up to the Ogunquit main beach, and back to the cove. The boat wrote the song for me, if you'll pardon the corny esoteric notion. Maybe it was the waves. Maybe it was the collection of people in the boat, unaware that something was grabbing hold of me, not exactly being tuned out by me, but not exactly being part of my ride either. Or maybe they were the biggest part of my ride. I don't know where it came from, but the phrase "The American Wave" kept singing in my head in a loop. The chords changed below the melody, and I tinkered with them some more when I got back to shore, but the melodic phrase was relentless and fun. Later that summer from the comfort of home, I wrote the song "Boats," which crosses musical boundaries like an ocean that doesn't know what country it's in. So there were two songs with an emerging theme.
New songs have taken on names from recent travels, like "La Boca," "Puente de la Mujer," "Caminito," and "Gamsahamnida." There are Latin grooves, jazz waltzes, ballads, and music that I don't know how to describe. It is instrumental, except for "The American Wave," which will feature three vocalists.
This is just the beginning of describing this work, which has been a long time in the making. Tim Ray-piano, Lincoln Goines-bass, and Mark Walker-drums will be joining me in the studio. Some songs will feature electric guitar, some acoustic, some nylon string, some all of those guitars. More on the guests later, but Sonia Rutstein, Reggie Harris, Euguene Freisen, Sarah Bauhan...
Also, as if I can concentrate on much else, there are a couple of fun gigs in MA coming up fast this summer: Cercie Miller Quartet on Cape Cod (I'll be playing guitar in the group) on July 12, and Melissa Ferrick at the Bull Run July 8 (I'll be opening the show on solo guitar). Click on over to my calendar page for details!