Music has always been a part of my life.
My grandfather wrote operas; my uncle was a celebrated concert pianist; my sister Isabelle is perhaps the best known composer of children’s operas, though she’s written film scores and symphonies as well. My other sister, Florence, discovered and promoted Patrick Juvet, France’s David Bowie. My dad played the violin and my mom was a good pianist. Heeding Oscar Wilde’s admonition to gentlemen, she was a lady. That is to say she could play the accordion but did not. I could go on.
When I was a kid, my mother insisted on sentencing me to piano lessons that were dismal failures. I got my first guitar when I was about ten, a nasty little Kay that was painted white and whose strings cut my fingers. The music teacher wanted me to play Frère Jacques; I insisted on learning Le Gorille, a George Brassens song about a gorilla loose in Paris.
Over the years I played in countless bands, never well. In fact, I’m a lousy guitarist, so I eventually opted to learn instruments that were guitar derivatives—the Dobro, Melobar, pedal steel, and dulcimer. I never got good at those either, but since relatively few people played them, I could pretend to shine. I often called myself the best French pedal-steel guitar player in Northern Virginia. It may still be true.
I’ve played with really good people, musicians such as Rich Forsen, who have a knack for arrangements and the patience to do it well. Rich took almost a year to mix the CD of Idylwood, the last band with whom I played live. He did it with equipment that, by modern standards, was primitive. Should you be interested, Say Goodnight is available on iTunes, and to this day, some of that disc’s songs are among the best mixed that I’ve heard.
I don’t play live anymore, but I do write and compose songs that my friend Mike Yablonski and I record in his basement studio. Mike is an amazing arranger, and I’m honored to work with him. We’ve done about a dozen tunes so far and plan to release a CD in the near future. Together, we are Cash & Carry, whose photo of two sullen black-hatted men scowling at a wooden albatross could put off potential buyers. We’ve worked with Cindy Callahan, Beth Kinzer and Jessica Frakes, women singers of amazing diversity and range.
Mike and I just released our latest song, If I Thought. You can listen for free.
Let me know what you think, and many thanks.