Sunday, September 23, 2012

Carole King

A little sad to have just finished Carole King's new memoir, A Natural Woman. I felt so inspired as I found myself immersed in her unending world of musical creativity. Some facts are just extraordinary - I was amazed to find out that she was only 18 when she wrote this song with Gerry Goffin for the Shirelles, including the string arrangement (I always loved that one)- her first attempt at string arranging for a recording I think. And of course, she also wrote some of my all-time favorite songs, wether sung by her or are a couple of quotes from the book that struck a chord with me:

- (on songwriting) "Alabaster Lady is one of those songs that came through me, rather than from me. As soon as I recognize that a song is coming through me, I try to get out of the way and let the process be guided by whatever is driving me beyond what I think of as craft. People have different names for whatever inspires them, but anyone who's ever created anything from that place knows exactly what I'm talking about."

- (on recording Tapestry, and the amazing convergence of talents at that particular time and place -something I wish I could channel somehow!) "With the Carpenters recording in Studio A and Joni Mitchell recording Blue down the hall in Studio C with Henry Lewy engineering, Lou and I would be recording with Hank Cicalo in Studio B. Seven blocks east, Peter and James were recording Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon at Sunset Sound with Richard Orshoff at the control board. A constant stream of singers, musicians, friends and family flowed in and out of the recording studios along Sunset Boulevard. At A&M we commuted dow the hall. Sometimes we commuted between A&M and Sunset Sound."

Now I'm looking forward to watching this documentary.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Looking at Klimt's drawings and studies for his paintings made me think of the parallel with the song in its acoustic form and the finished produced recording... The exhibit was beautiful, this was one of my favorite drawings :

Fish Blood, 1898

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

BLUE MOON #5 - Let's Stay Here

Welcome to the final installment!
This is a song written at another friend's house, Caitlin's. I was just back from a trip to Europe and looking for a place - nostalgia, hopes, possibilities, and the soft sand of the atlantic coast all found their way into the song. In open G tuning; I often play this one last in a set - like this time, complete with hugs at the end! - check it out on vimeo and youtube.

I hope you liked this series, please feel free to share your felings in the comments.

A big thank you to Lisa Moro for the video, and to The Lost Church for the amazing space.

And to my partners in crime for that show, Sam Heminger (stand up bass), Amy Fowler (mandolin and harmony vocals) and Zach Von Joo (video projections).

photo (as in the last post) by Rikki Ward

Monday, September 3, 2012

BLUE MOON #4 - Looks Like It's Gonna Rain

Written at my friend Kara's, where I was staying while being between places in San Francisco, for someone who didn't quite measure up. Because Kara loves her, I was listening a lot to Joanna Newsom's Ys at the time. The song started while I was walking around, the clouds were becoming grayer, there was some rain on the way.

Watch it with Amy's lovely voice harmonizing with me, on vimeo and youtube. (and hear the Lost Church's chairs cracking!)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

BLUE MOON #3 - Like A Woman In Love

Some songs hardly need an introduction, and this might be one of them. You meet someone, everything feels so new that it's hard to put into words - is it love? or something like it...

The video is up on vimeo and youtube - with some laughter in the beginning, due to a previous false start...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

BLUE MOON #2 - Bumblebee (like you've never heard it)

Written in Golden Gate Park - my friend Chantale, who was visiting, dragged my hung over ass out there on a sunday morning to take photos. I brought my guitar. After I was through playing all my songs, there was nothing left to do but figure out what was next, and this bumblebee happened to hover  by the bushes nearby, so I started singing to it. As we walked out of the park the lyrics for the second verse came to me, and by the next day I had a song. It still feels like that song wrote itself, the best feeling really.

This version features Amy's wonderful mandolin part, a rare treat. And it's up on vimeo and youtube (also on facebook of course) - enjoy!