|Alice Leon Singer / Songwriter (The AL’s & The Alice Project)||
I was recently alerted to the fact that an appearance with my old band After Alice on Star Search had surfaced on You Tube. I hadn't thought much about it until I was asked to audition for "America's Got Talent". So many memories flooded back. There was all sorts of drama occurring within the band that took away some of the joy for me at the time so I never sought out the video. Time changes everything and I can now look at our performance and enjoy it for what it is. Musically, our band worked very hard. We rehearsed and played endless free gigs just to be heard. We did alot of laughing along with the crying and that's what a young band with dreams of making if BIG does. Drama is just part of the package. My son Eli reacted to it and told me I looked the same now. I know that isn't true, but it doesn't hurt to hear. That appearance really was an affirmation of our dreams and I'm glad it's finally out there. BTW...we were on the show the following year. I'd love to see that video!
SOLD OUT show at THE TURNING POINT. I had no idea so many friends would come out on a Wednesday night in the Winter to share in this CD release event. I was so energized and humbled to be able to perform my songs with the caliber of players that joined me. To have my son accompany us for the last song of the night was something special, and I think he signed more CD's than I did:) I can't believe how lucky I am to do what I love to do and create nights like last night. The take away is this...if you love what you do and believe in your art...they will come! Al did such an amazing job as musical director and had to coordinate so much. This night was as much for him as anyone. As always...the joy I have in sharing the music I've written with Jimmy and now Eryn and AL is immeasurable. My friend and violinist Laura Oatts performance was outstanding and Luther Rix playing on two tunes was an incredible honor.
I can't remember the last time I worked so hard preparing for a show. We've had many rehearsals and have driven a lot of miles to make it happen. The thing is that the album was not recorded as a band. The songs were created and built in the studio over the course of 3 years. Al Greene decided to dedicate the entire Summer '12 mixing and adding parts to build a cohesive CD. Once it was mastered it seemed a shame to not at least once showcase what we had created. 6 of the songs were co written with Jimmy, 3 with Eryn, one with Al,
One of mine and a Beatle production. As it happened a dear friend told me about her son who has just graduated from film school and he and a mate are going to capture the night. So many friends have promised to venture out and I know it's going to be a "happening". I hope I can sleep well tonight.
An adventure to be sure. The experience brought me back to the time my old band from the 90's "After Alice" had done Star Search. It's a funny thing to be sitting amongst butter knife drummers, transvestites in space suits, magicians, angry comedians, vampire illusionists, dancers, basketball trick specialists, wedding gown clad ukelele players and many more looking for their opportunity to become a STAR. I had a great deal of hesitation and doubt leading up to going. It's hard to be "judged" in a subjective fashion without the backing of my band, or the ability to truly tell my stories and play my own music. I decided though that win or lose, I would sing well and enjoy myself. Having Eli there was a real plus. The producers asked him if his Mommy was a good singer and he said "She's the BEST singer". I guess I passed the audition:) Big thanks goes out to my friend and big supporter Johnny Lampert who pulled the strings to make it happen.
A roller coaster week. I had a great gig Tuesday night at the turning point in pier mont NY. Joe Delia hosted this fun night of songwriters. Jimmy Leahey and I got to play some of our tunes and we sat in with Joe and Gregg Hollister. The hard part was leaving my son home with a very high fever all week. Then I had a great songwriting session with my after school program in hohokus...still my son was sick. Tomorrow I head out for an audition at America's got talent. I'm not sure if My son will be well enough to go. Aaaaagh Perspective!
I had a great writer friend named Ralph Schienstein who used to say he never worked a day in his life. Since I started my music business and launched myself as a full time musician...I truly get what he meant. This week I wrote 8 songs with students aged 8 to 98. I then capped my week off with a great show with my band The Alice Project last night at ODs in Nyack. I'll be spending the majority of the weekend mixing songs in my studio. Life is good!
Review for Eryn Shewell’s new album... 2013
While it is true that I adore Eryn and wanted this CD to be great, I wasn’t prepared to be absolutely blown away by the joy, love and musicianship found on this album. I rarely come across a CD that I want to listen to from start to finish over and over again. It is also rare to come across an album that makes you feel as if you’ve been transported to another place. I’ve often wondered what makes Eryn’s voice so transformative and wonderful. I finally came up with the answer... I believe her. When she sings about longing and love, I long and love with her. When she sings about heartbreak, my heart feels broken and when she sings about her love of New Orleans... I’m right there with her. There is a playfulness and joy in her performances that is infectious. The command she has of her voice is stunning, sometimes extremely delicate and at other times simply raising the roof. While I know some feel a need to compare her to other vocalists, I refuse to go down that road because I believe we have a true original here. Right from the opening tune “Fall” she establishes the theme of this collection... LOVE. “Every day I walk through my endless garden planted with a million thoughts of you”... She follows this with what sounds like an old classic rootsy song “Suck it Up” which is about keeping it together when her heart is broken. This is the musical style that allows Eryn’s voice to soar into the stratosphere. The horn arrangements throughout this CD are as good as it gets. “Breathe in” is so sexy and beautiful. “Boy Like You” brings us right into that smoky bar with her as she falls in love with the lonely guitar player. One of my faves on the CD “Afraid of the Dark”... comes out swinging and again is a vocal showcase filled with the angst of not knowing where she stands with her lover. “Relax to sleep” is a lullaby to herself with classic 70‘s rock undertones that build and build. “High School sweet heart” is a ton of fun with it’s playful Bo Diddly beat and killer slide guitars. There are some chordal twists and turns that are so melodic and surprising on this one. “Back seat romance forecast” gets us back with the full band...upbeat and sexy. “Simple” is destined to be a classic. A song about love that is as simple as it’s title. Simple as the rain. The final song on this CD makes us smile along with Eryn and her band. Her version of Tom Waits song “I wish I was in New Orleans” brings us right downtown with a real “New Orleans dixie band”. I couldn’t help but smile and bop right out of this CD. I should mention that the orchestrations and musicianship throughout the entire album are as good as it gets. This album is a treat each time I listen to it and I’m not done yet!