'Just about anyone would enjoy a night out listening to singer Jack Gunderson and his wonderfully supportive, almost note-perfect piano accompanist, Jimmy Martin.' So wrote Bob Protzman of the St. Paul Pioneer Press in his review of 'After Hours.' 'Great voice, Jack!' wrote Tom Paxton 'That voice is a gift from God' said Carmel Quinn. 'I still say he has one of the best voices I've ever heard' says Warren Nelson, founder and artistic director of Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua and host of Tent Show Radio. Compliments like that are what sustain me and my love for singing. The seed for this 'After Hours' CD waited to sprout for quite a while. From the very first gig we played together, my friend Jimmy Martin and I realized that our favorite time of the evening was later on, when the crowd was down to a few intimate friends. I would pull a stool up next to the piano and we would take requests to do our personal favorites. Mine have always been love songs with lyrics that move me and melodies that are a joy to sing. And it is a thrill to sing along with Jimmy's piano playing. He always knows just the right thing to play. That first gig I mentioned? We had each been in different bands that had the same booking agency and we knew each other, but had never worked together. Our agent called on short notice and booked us for a six-hour gig! We didn't get a chance to rehearse. We quickly learned to really listen to each other. And from then on we've always enjoyed the spontaneity of picking a song and a key, going for it and seeing what happens. Some of the songs on 'After Hours' were recorded that way, with little or no rehearsal, just to capture that freshness. So one night I'm sitting in the control room at Creation Audio in Minneapolis listening to my old friends, the Petersons in a recording session. Billy was on the bass and Mama Jeanne was playing this gorgeous-sounding Yamaha grand piano. Then it dawns on me. Jimmy and I have to record a duo album here, with him playing this beautiful-sounding piano and me singing through one of those great-sounding Neumann U47's. So here you have it. A dream come true. The toughest part of the project was paring down the list of all the wonderful songs I've sung or heard. These are some of my most favorite and their sequence follows a life story familiar to many of us. That exuberant first love, courting, marrying, splitting up and the ensuing grief and loneliness, the memories, the cautious re-entry into a new relationship, and finding love and hope again. Sit back and enjoy. And as the song says: '...So here's to life, here's to love, and here's to you.'
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