For the last 36 years I have been a high school physics and chemistry teacher, but have played and written songs since 1967, when I first picked up a guitar. Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Hoyt Axton, and Gordon Lightfoot were my main influences. In the early 1970's I played a few gigs (well below minimum wage) to put some food in my mouth, but I always have wondered what it would be like to pursue the music full time. With retirement from teaching just a year or 2 away it seems I may soon get my chance. This project, "Leavin Town" is mainly composed of songs written during the last 3 or 4 years. It was when I decided to lay them down for a CD about 2 years ago that some magic began to happen. Believe it or not, all of the musicians on this album were my students in my physics and chemistry classes. Scotty Bramer, Virginia Rockwell, Eric Lamm, Danny Janklow and Michael Enciso all expressed a desire to play on a song or two when they saw my recording equipment sitting in the office. They had never seen anything like that fossilized ¼ inch tape deck before. I think it was that tape deck and not the music that had them hooked. I had no idea if working with them would pan out, and in fact I had no real idea of where they should go with the music....so I decided to give them the freedom to do whatever they felt would work. Scotty, a jazz guitarist, took the songs ( "Butterflies", "Latte 101 Blues" and "Leavin Town") home for about a week and came up with his ideas, and we laid them down as he heard it right in the classroom during the evenings. Danny, the flutist ( actually plays clarinet and sax as well), had never heard "Houses of Man" before.. He listened to it once. We ran through it twice, then laid it down in two takes. I was flabbergasted! Eric Lamm and Virginia Rockwell were classically trained and I felt a ballad I had written some years before ("Point Conception") might work for them. Eric, an upright bass player, had never written anything before, but came up with a stunning duet for Viola and Bass. I was so impressed. The next year, Eric asked if I had something more challenging. It so happened I did. "The Aftermath", written about hurricane Katrina, had three movements, with a layering of themes and emotions. I gave Eric a rough recording of the song to work with, and during a span of several months came up with something I still cannot fathom. His accompaniment, written for 2 violins, viola, cello, clarinet, oboe and bass, added a depth of subtle coloring I could never achieve. Virginia, having never composed original music before, was given the opportunity on "Dawn" to do what she thought work. Her viola soars on this song. As the recording of the CD was just about complete, I wrote a new song "Time to Believe", but my guitar work just didn't do it justice. I asked Michael to give it a try. Since we couldn't move the piano to my room, we moved the recording equipment to the music classroom, and on the 3rd take, he got it right. I hope you take the time to listen to these songs. The more you will listen to them, the more they will grow on you.
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