We’re nearing the pointy end of my monthly cover project for 2016. What an amazing experience this has been. So far this year I’ve recorded nine cover songs in nine different studios both in Australia and the United States.
I’d been thinking about adding an Aussie cover to the mix and when I opened up the suggestion box to my team of Patrons over at Patreon.com, a wonderful thing happened. Michelle Whitby, who grew up in the same town as me, Grafton NSW Australia, suggested Flame Trees by Don Walker and Steve Prestwich from one of Australia’s most iconic bands, Cold Chisel.
This was such an exciting idea and I’m stunned that I hadn’t thought of it myself lol. This being because Don Walker grew up in my town too in fact, our families knew each other quite well.
The Flame Tree lyrics are inspired by our hometown of Grafton and this made the whole recording experience quite a nostalgic one for me. I feel that the people you grow up with and share childhood memories with, directly or indirectly, forever hold a special place in your life. It’s an unspoken connection like no other.
Adding to the synchronicity of this whole thing, when I rang Angus Woodhead to enquire about his Glasshouse Studio for the recording, I asked if he had an acoustic piano. I didn’t tell him the song that I was recording but his response was, “I have a Yamaha CP70 which is the same as the piano that Cold Chisel used on their Khe Sanh recording” I squealed and said “OMG I’m recording Chisel’s Flame Trees!” That was it. I knew I had to record with Angus and his CP70.
I’m extremely proud of this track and I really hope that I’ve done the Cold Chisel boys proud.
Below is a Behind The Scenes look into my day recording Flame Trees. Thank you Michelle for the suggestion and thank you to Angus for such a great day in the studio.
I arrived home safely a couple of weeks ago after an unexpected visit to the U.S. to visit a dear friend who received some news about her health. She's been undergoing chemotherapy now since the beginning of June and I'm so happy to say that she's doing really well.
I can't believe how this year is flying, and this cover song was for August - already! The song was introduced to me by my sweet friend Karen Nash. She'd seen the movie Sing Street and fell in love with the track To Find You. She played it for me and immediately I wanted to record it. Bonus, Karen also suggested I record it in her and her husband Bob Malone's home before I left L.A. to come back to Oz!
The lyrics are so powerful in this song, and I think that everyone feels this way when they fall in love with someone. I don't mean just infatuation although I'm sure we still believe this to be true at the time, but when you find someone that makes your heart sing and continues to do that through the good and bad, well that's when you can listen to these lyrics and tear up with feelings of love and joy and deep connection.
"So bring the lightning bring the fire bring the fall, I know I'll get my heart through, I got miles to go but from the day I started crawling I was on my way to find you"
Aaargh! Just beautiful.
I'll leave you with a little Behind The Scenes video below, and I'd also like to say thank you to Steve McDonald, Bob DeMarco, Ann Rinaldi, Karen Nash, Bob Malone and my Team Trizzie over at Patreon for making this recording possible.
Love and Gratitude.
As my time in the States draws to a close in the next few weeks, I'm feeling blessed to have been able to spend this precious time with my friend Theresa and help her through this difficult time with her chemotherapy treatment, and I'm also feeling very grateful to have been able to continue my recording project at the same time.
Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" was chosen by one of my Patrons, Ann Rinaldi for me to record as my July cover. I want to thank Ann for this wonderful choice and I want to dedicate this track to Theresa Beebe. "You are beautiful, in every single way" and I love you my sweet friend.
When I knew I was coming to visit Theresa, I put a call out on facebook to find a studio in L.A. with a piano so that Ann Rinaldi could attend the session. I found Fernando Perdomo's Reseda Ranch Studios, and it felt like such a great fit for this recording.
On the day, I asked Fernando if he'd add some guitars to the track which he did with so much love and respect for the song, and I also surprised Ann by asking her to add the whisper line at the opening of the song. She was thrilled and stepped up to the microphone like a pro!
Below is a little look into our recording session. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did on the day.
'I'd Rather Go Blind' is an Etta James classic that was chosen for me to record as my June cover song by one of my Patrons. Thank you to Troyce Walls for this wonderful suggestion.
When I first listened to this song, I wondered how I could make it my own as I don't really consider myself a blues singer and let's face it, Etta James is quite an act to follow.
I decided however, to take it in a whole other direction while respecting the original and making sure I didn't accidentally re-write the song making it unrecognizable.
As I'm in the States at the moment, I was lucky enough to be able to record this track back at the studios where I recorded my Feel So Pretty album. Steve McDonald engineered once again, and my good friend Bob Malone (Fogerty band) offered to play some Rhodes and Hammond Organ for me. What a treat!
Below is a sneak peek into the recording session as we listened back before mixing the track down. It was such a fun day and I hope you enjoy what we created together.
p.s. this track will be available for purchase when it's released later in the year along with all the other covers that I'm recording in 2016.
2016 is turning out to be another very interesting year! Even when you think you've got it all planned out, I've learned to expect the unexpected.
I decided at the beginning of the year to take a year off from touring to concentrate on other things like making music videos, recording covers and spending time alone to meditate, read, walk, and enjoy living in the moment.
I settled in to my digs in Australia, not hard when it's close to the beach and family, and everything felt so right and good.
Then just after my Birthday later in May, I got a message from one of my closest friends, Theresa, in the States to say that she'd been diagnosed with Breast Cancer and was to start chemotherapy almost immediately.
I was devastated and straight away I was making plans to fly over and be with her. I didn't know what to expect when I saw her. I've not been through this with anyone before and I have to admit I was terrified. Then I thought, if I'm terrified, what must SHE be feeling. When I spoke with her on the phone, she put my mind at ease with her uplifted attitude and I just couldn't wait to get on that flight.
I'm here now with her in California, and I have to say, I feel very blessed to be able to go through this experience with her which is turning out to be a surprisingly joyful one. Watching her accept and embrace this thing is inspirational. She's so full of love and laughter and the time we're spending together is healing in itself in so many ways.
Having said all this, my purpose for this story is to show you her artwork which she refers to as 'My Tangled Journey'. Just over a year ago, Theresa began drawing Mandalas and I watch as she churns these out on a daily basis. I'm captivated by these stunning pieces of work and I'm in awe of her skill. Since she began she's published two full books through Amazon and she has a third in the making.
I asked her if I could make a video collage of her work and she loved the idea. She chose one of my songs that she thought would go well with the mandalas, 'Celebrate It' from my Here On In album, and below is the result of this project.
I hope you like it, and if you'd like to follow Theresa's progress this year you can join her on her Caringbridge Page.
Thank you for reading my story today, and don't forget, I always love to read your comments below.
One thing that I'm really grateful for is the continued love and respect that my ex partner and I have for each other. How else would I be able to write about this song that represents such a significant time in my life.
If you're in love with someone, then there must be things about them that make you melt right? Little things that stay in your memory forever because of the way they made you feel.
One of those things for me was the fact that he would stroke my face so gently and his fingers were really soft and silky. This was magic to me. I never asked him to do it, he just did it which made it all the more special.
Towards the end of our relationship, we spent some time in a ski resort in Northern Italy where his band had a contract to play for a few months. Each night, I would go and listen to the band and each night they would play 'With Or Without You' by U2. What struck me about this song was it's simplicity and repetition, and the effect it had on the audience. Every night, they put their hands in the air and swayed from side to side. No other song had this same impact and I just wanted to go home and see if I could write something that was purposefully repetitive and simple in structure.
You would think this would be an easy task, but it was a challenge for me because I had to keep reminding myself to "keep it simple, keep it simple". The temptation is always to add more, more lyrics, more chords, more tricks.
So anyway, I just sat and thought about the love in that U2 song, and I thought about how those silky fingers stroking my face made me feel, and once I convinced myself that this song was to be an exercise in simplicity, I dropped all expectations about producing a potential hit song, and then it was all done in about 20 minutes. I was shocked!
To my surprise, Silky Fingers has managed to touch a lot of hearts, and on the flip side, it's also been reviewed as being too simplistic. Well, either way, it's a win win for me right? Whether it will ever cause people to throw their hands in the air and sway, probably not, but I'll keep trying for that song, because THAT would be quite an achievement I think.
Below is the only video that I have so far for Silky Fingers, and this is the acoustic version which can be found on my Silky Fingers album. If you like a more produced sound, you can find that version on my Le Cafe Ancien album.
This week I want to tell you about a funny thing that happened a few years ago while I was on tour in the States with Fiona Joy.
The world seems to be getting smaller and smaller as more people are travelling these days but it's still a minor miracle when you meet someone in a whole other country who has a direct connection with you in the most unexpected way.
Fiona and I were doing a show in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and before I went on to play, a man named David Sorensen walked up to me and wanted to chat about Australia. This is not unusual lol! A lot of people in the U.S. ask about where I'm from and when I tell them I'm from northern NSW do you know it, they say, oh no I've never been to Australia and I don't know it at all.
On this occasion, David wanted to know exactly where I was from so I told him that I was living near a town called Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore etc. He said, "oh I know it well. In fact, I was there last year and I broke my foot while walking on rocks at the beach". He said "in fact I was taken to the local hospital there and the ER doctor was so nice and very thorough and really looked after me. I was very impressed". I said, "oh what was the doctor's name" but David couldn't quite remember and knowing that it was a hospital in my area, I said, "um it wasn't Guy Loosemore by any chance was it?" and he straight away said "yes it was! Oh of course, I thought I recognized your last name". That's my brother! What are the chances!
Well we giggled about that for a bit and I thought to myself, phew, just as well he only had good things to say about that doctor. I probably wouldn't have dared to ask who it was if he was not so impressed (wink wink).
David and I have remained friends and in fact it turns out that he is a wonderful artist. He actually spends quite a bit of time in Australia touring his paintings which reflect his love affair with the Australian wilderness. You can see more of David's work HERE!
Enjoy and thank you for reading my story today.
Some of you will know that last year I put a couple of shadow pictures up on my facebook page and my friends there thought it was really fun, so they started to get involved. Of course I'm not the first person to do this, but for some reason, it has become a thing on my page and my pictures have been dubbed Shadowgirl. She's more popular than me lol!
What has ensued is a regular contribution of shadow art from some of my facebook community which is so cute and wonderful. People post their shadow pictures to my page and I then put them on my Shadowgirl page here on my website. (See the Shadowgirl tab for the whole collection to date).
All this enthusiasm gave me an idea. I thought it would be fun to put together a new music video based on shadows in motion. I just happened to have a really funky little song just sitting around that I'd recorded for my Feel So Pretty album, but it didn't get added due to the fact that it was so different. I'd been wanting to release it but I was waiting for the right opportunity. Here it was!
I put a call out to my facebook community for anyone who'd like to be involved in my new music video but I didn't say publicly what it would entail. I didn't want to give the idea away too soon.
I had a number of people jump on this opportunity and after giving them the brief, they began to send me snippets of their shadows dancing to my new song. This whole process was such a giggle for me and I'm so appreciative of everyone who got involved.
An unexpected surprise came, when a good friend of mine in Los Angeles, Jeanette Elaine Dubois, emailed me and asked if she could edit the video. She loved the concept so much and her excitement got me really excited too. I handed all the video footage over to her immediately and she went to work. I am so impressed with Jeanette's creativity and I feel so honoured to have had her work on First Kiss, especially since she had to fit it in around her busy schedule working on Oprah's Super Soul Sessions! Yes! That's our girl! Jeanette also features in the First Kiss video but what I love about the Shadow concept is, you don't actually know who's who (wink wink).
Please enjoy my Team Shadowgirl's creative project below, and a HUGE Thank You to everyone involved including producer of the track Steve McDonald, Bob DeMarco at DeMarco Productions, Lionel Richie's long time guitarist Ben Mauro (that's right!) and all my shadow dancers: Shadowgirl, Jeanette Elaine Dubois, Doon-Louise Loosemore, my Mum and Dad, Kythese Kolodzinski, Ebony and Nixon Kolodzinski, Oren Loosemore, Bruyere and Charlygirl Williams, Rubydog, Adel Welty, Scott Thompson, Jeffery Barnes, Adam A Waltemire, Pam Follett, Yvette Lohnes and Martin Enock.
Last weekend marked the third month of my covers project and I chose to record Landslide by Fleetwood Mac.
I had decided on the studio months ago for this song which meant a flight from Brisbane to Sydney followed by a two and a half hour train journey west to the Blue Mountains.
My friends Lexi and Scott who I studied music with at university, own an 1830's convict built sandstone house at Mount Victoria. They live upstairs and they have an old wares shop downstairs which is very popular with the locals and tourists. The Blue Mountains is a go-to weekend destination for many Sydney dwellers.
Lexi is a beautiful pianist and composer and she has an 1895 restored Steinway Grand, so I was very excited to be recording Landslide in her home studio.
I've put together a Behind The Scenes video for you below, and I hope you enjoy my recording. There are limitless options for songs when it comes to recording a cover, but I'm finding it interesting to realize how very few songs completely resonate with me when I sit down to actually learn to play and sing them. I can be totally in love with a song, but when I try to translate it via the piano and my voice, there are so many elements that need to fall into place in order for me to feel that I've truly done the song the justice it deserves.
Enjoy, and please leave a comment below as I love to hear your thoughts.
A friend of mine asked me today to explain the meaning behind the lyrics to my song 'This Should Be A Good Thing'. She said that it's one her favourite songs of mine and that it makes her cry sometimes. There's nothing better than to hear those words from someone about a song you've written, so I told her that I'd write a blog about it and send it to her.
I wrote this song as I was finally coming through the worst of a broken heart after a long term relationship split. I generally find solace in writing songs and on this day, I wanted to write, but I couldn't find the inspiration. I thought to myself..... Ha! .... my heart has healed and now I have nothing to say. This should be a good thing (having nothing left to cry about), and yet, I'm frustrated that I now cannot find any words to put into a new song. Dammit, why can't I just write a happy song? lol!
I scoured my iTunes library for a spark as I do when I want inspiration for a new song. I looked around the room to see if there was an object that might inspire an idea, and I searched my memory, cautiously, for some kind of jolt that might bring forth an opening line and after all this, I got.... wait for it.... "Looking all around the room, looking for some clues" lol. I went with it and the whole song became a story about the kind of day I was having trying to write this song.
I was interested in the irony about actually coming to a good place in my emotions, (for most people this would be a good thing), but for a songwriter, not so much. Don't get me wrong, I don't truly believe that I need to have a broken heart to be able to write another song, but it certainly did provide me with a swag of lyrical content back then ;)
Below is the audio track for 'This Should Be A Good Thing' and I've posted the lyrics as well for you. I hope you enjoy it and please leave a comment below. I love to hear your thoughts. Thank you Caren Conrad for the request.
This track and the whole album 'Feel So Pretty' is available on iTunes and Amazon or directly through my website.