I’m so excited to announce that my very first studio album, titled ‘In With the New’, is nearly complete! Over the past summer, in the midst of buying a farm and moving to Wisconsin, I somehow found the time to record 9 original songs with violinist Alasha Al-Qudwah (of the Charleston, West Virginia band, Qiet). We recorded at 3 Elliott Studio in Athens, Ohio with producer Josh Antonuccio. I play piano and sing on most of the tracks, and I even switch things up and play fiddle on one song. We were fortunate to be joined on a few tracks by Christopher Vincent (also of the band Qiet). My husband, Frank, played percussion on several songs, making me very proud!
We need some help with the cost of this big project. With only a few weeks until mastering for the album is complete, we’ve launched a Kickstarter fundraiser to help with the expense of production. From now until December 21, you can contribute to the project and pre-order a copy of the album! Even small contributions are a huge help, and it’s a great way to get a CD in the mail and hear the product of all our love and hard work.
The feeling of the album is of transition, drawing from my experiences becoming a parent, changing my career, moving, and starting new life. It was important for me to finish recording the album before we moved. One thing I loved about living in West Virginia was that the music and arts community of there offered tons of inspiration and enthusiasm. My friends in the band Qiet and members our own collaborative project, Snakebox, offered support and encouragement. Before moving to Charleston I always had pieces of melodies and lyrics bouncing around in my head, but the supportive community in West Virginia gave me the confidence to start writing songs and performing them live.
When I met Alasha, we immediately clicked. The first time she came over I noticed that she had musical notation tattooed on her back. When I took a closer look, it was the very same Yann Tiersen piece that was sitting open on my piano! It was too perfect to be mere coincidence. At that moment we knew we were soulmates. We both had a background in classical music, yet loved traditional folk styles. Alasha’s creative spirit and daring improvisations were an inspiration to me. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to play live with Alasha on a regular basis in Charleston, with me on piano, vocals, kick drum and foot tambourine and Alasha playing her unforgettable violin. Many of my friends encouraged me to record some of my original songs, but Alasha gave me the impetus to make it happen and helped guide me through the process.
Recording in a professional studio setting was exciting, challenging, and completely different from anything I had done before. I’ll admit I found it excruciating to hear myself played back, like looking at your own face under a strong magnifying glass. I also struggled trying to walk the impossibly fine line of wanting perfection but having a limited amount of precious studio time to finish every track. It was surprising to me how, despite my best efforts to arrive well-rehearsed, small errors and imperfections that I hadn’t even noticed in practice seemed to stand out. Fortunately, after having some time to step back, I’m very pleased with how the album turned out!
This blog is meant to be about food, farming and homesteading, not about music, but for me it’s all part of a whole. I feel the various elements of my life coming together in synchronicity. In the past (like many creative people who work in the sciences) I split my life between the logical, thinking side that I used in my career and the creative, emotional part of my personality. I’m hoping that life as a grower, with its hard work during the summer and period of rest in the winter, will afford me a valuable opportunity every year to rest, reflect, and create. Now that things are settling down after our move, I’m looking forward to performing and writing more. I hope that ‘In With the New’ is the first stepping stone in what will become a growing musical career!