Category Archives: Music

Tunnel of Love, Live in Hamburg

On the way to our Fulbright semester in China, we stopped in Germany and drove in a loop from Berlin to Weimar to Cologne to Hamburg, and then back to Berlin. While in Hamburg, we checked out the amazing Elbe Tunnel and I could not resist the temptation to record a live version of my song, Tunnel of Love, on my iPod Touch, while walking under the Elbe River. So here it is: I added some basic instrumentation and background vocals when we returned to Ithaca six months later.
 

Happy birthday to me (When I’m Sixty-Four)

When those of us born in 1952 turned 15 (or were about to turn 15) and the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper (including McCartney’s “When I’m Sixty-Four”), actually being 64 was just an incomprehensible abstraction. Well times change: here’s my live cover of the classic song (with background vocals, bass, drums, and organ added) that I’ve just posted on YouTube to celebrate my 64th birthday.

Ode to Fluff

I was asked by the architecture students running Thumbnail, a PechaKucha style event, to submit a song consistent with the event’s theme of “fluff.” The song itself can be heard on SoundCloud; the video, which includes the song as well as a spoken introduction (consisting of twenty 20-second segments as required—for a total length of 400 seconds, or 6 minutes 40 seconds), can be seen on YouTube; or, if you want lots of additional information about the lyrics and production, see the video on my music page.

This "fluff" image was created by the architecture students running Cornell's "Thumbnail" event, April 15, 2016.

This “fluff” image was created by the architecture students running Cornell’s “Thumbnail” event, April 15, 2016.

Honeymoon Phase

My brother Kurt and I have created a new music production entity called Rollover.2 (it’s a derivative of the rock group, Rollo; hence the name, which is a contraction of “Rollo Version 2.” Our first production is a new song called Honeymoon Phase. Lyrics and production notes can be found here; the video is embedded below or can be watched directly on YouTube.

Sunlight

I’ve been recording songs by other artists in chronological order — one for each year beginning in the early 1960s — and have now reached the end of the decade with “Sunlight,” a song written by Jesse Colin Young for the Youngbloods that was released in 1969 on their Elephant Mountain album.

I was an early fan of the Youngbloods because my uncle, who worked at RCA records, made sure we had all of their albums from the 1960s. “Sunlight” was always one of my favorite songs. I recorded this cover version live using one mic (well, I only have one mic) for the guitar and vocal. Live piano and bass (both Logic Pro software instruments, actually) were added later; all performances were captured live with my refurbished iPod Touch and edited in Final Cut Express.

Just Need a Little Concentration

I’ve written another song. Not much backstory, except to remark on the obvious that it’s one more examination of aging and except that I had been struggling with the lyrics for months. At a certain point, I felt the need to say it’s done, and to move on. Even the video betrays evidence of that impatience: I didn’t want to deal with audio-video syncing problems I’ve been experiencing using Final Cut Express (Apple’s old video editing platform), and so there are some noticeable time lags between voice and image, especially in the final verse. You can find lyrics and production notes here along with a thank you to brother Kurt for helping with the final mix in his Brooklyn basement studio.

Bound for Glory

I went to see three sets at Bound for Glory yesterday, WVBR’s long-running live (and free) Sunday evening radio concert program at Anabel Taylor Hall at Cornell. Guy Davis performed, and also took this selfie.

Me (left) and Guy (right) between sets at Anabel Taylor Hall

Me (left) and Guy (right) between sets at Anabel Taylor Hall at Cornell

The two of us were in the same class at New Rochelle High School, but our paths never really intersected there. Guy is an amazing singer, songwriter, musician, and performer — something I was not entirely aware of until I saw him play yesterday. You should definitely check out his web site and buy one or more of his CDs.

From the New Rochelle High School yearbook (1970)

From the New Rochelle High School yearbook (1970)

While we’re on this subject, it turns out that there were a number of other students from that same class from New Rochelle who went on to have professional careers as musicians. Amy Madden is a singer, songwriter, bassist, writer, and poet (recently inducted into the NYC Blues Hall of Fame). Andy Tuck “worked throughout the 70’s and 80’s as a professional jazz pianist and composer” (some of his amazing music can be heard here).

From the New Rochelle High School yearbook (1970)

From the New Rochelle High School yearbook (1970)

And then there were two other former friends who started out with me in the New Rochelle school system, but presumably finished their secondary education elsewhere:

Kapilow (left) and Mintzer (right) also turned into amazing musicians

Kapilow (left) and Mintzer (right) also turned into amazing musicians

I met Rob Kapilow in Junior High School where he impressed me, not necessarily with his piano playing, but with his impassioned interest and advocacy for entering into relationships with 15-year-old girls. But that was then. From his current web site, we read: “Kapilow’s range of activities is astonishingly broad, including his What Makes It Great?® presentations (now for over fifteen seasons in New York and Boston), his family compositions and Family Musik® events, his “Citypieces”, and residencies with institutions as diverse as the National Gallery of Canada and Stanford University.”

Bob Mintzer actually went to elementary school with me. I remember a “den” in his house — at that time, having grown up living only in apartments, I had been to very few actual single-family houses, and I’m pretty sure this was my first experience with a real den. Such things can make a big impression on a ten- or eleven-year-old boy. Bob is now “a twenty year member of the Grammy award winning Yellowjackets who also leads a Grammy winning Big Band, travels with his own Quartet, and plays with numerous bands globally.”

Am I leaving anyone out?