Compass & Sparrow

   They say I should write a blog. A blog will build interest in the music. Ok, if it'll get more ears on the tunes, then I'll write a blog.

     Compass & Sparrow has been in the works for three years off and on, mostly off… and then on. It's a collection of a dozen original tunes, some written as long as 15 years ago, some as fresh as a few months before wrapping up recording.  

   I like to think of the songs as tiny stories, their inspiration based on thoughts I've thunk, books I've read, or people I've observed.

   Unsinkable, for example, is a song about the Titanic disaster which I'm somewhat obsessed with. The song is based on the story of Ida and Isidor Straus, two of the ship's more notable victims. Isidor Straus was the founder of the Macy's department store. The famous story, which has been portrayed in films and books, tells of how Ida Straus famously refused to board a lifeboat in order to remain with her husband on the deck. She was quoted as saying "we have lived together many years, where you go, I go." Now that's love. Virtuoso accordionist Rob Reich took the song to turbulent seas, and down to the sandy floor. 

   "Ode to a Disappearing Hill" is a song about the view from my window in San Francisco, which used to include a view of a far-off hill. I loved that I could see this barren hill, in between the skyscrapers and concrete.  I arranged a bench near my bedroom window where I could play music in view of the hill. But several months after moving in, a new high rise climbed into the sky and blocked the hill from sight. 

    That song features the beautiful harmony vocals of Rosie Steffy, who is the singer and songwriter for my favorite Bay Area group, La Dee Da. Rosie's songs are like technicolor journeys across glaciers, and down dark hallways ending up in oddly shaped rooms you never even knew existed. It's some of the most beautiful music I've ever heard. Clarinetist Ben Goldberg, who is one of my musical idols adds some chilling melodies, as does violinist Matthew Szemela.

  I'm really blessed to have have these fine folks adding their gifts of melody and song to my music. There are lots of surprises in the tunes, little bits of unusual instruments like bouzouki and mandolute(an Algerian cross between guitar and oud) that butt-up against acoustic guitars, electronic loops, mandolins, accordions and drums.

      Well, I think that's enough blog for a first time out. Don't want to injure myself. I sure hope you dig the tunes.