If you'd like an intro to some of the work I do, here are a few samples. For full singles and demos, listen below.
After a God
This is an original setting of Jenny Browne's poem. The text brings the vast expanse of space into the intimate space between two people, and I tried to maintain that pull with the musical elements. I wanted chords that created a wide-stepping harmonic progression, but also felt warm and enveloping. The vocal sound is intimate, but the melody sweeps through long, suspended, sustained notes. My first drafts were just for piano and bass, but it felt like it needed something to keep the sweeping chords and melody line from getting too bogged down and spaced out. Trip-hop/electronic drum patterns started presenting themselves as a way to provide momentum and grounding. The drums completely drop out every three measures to release back into a feeling of being suspended in space.
The song naturally developed a relationship with threes. The chord roots are all a major 3rd apart, which creates an infinite harmonic loop. The accent patterns and word emphases in the poetry naturally fell over a trio of three-measure segments. My interpretation of the poem includes the dream of a child, so it was interesting to me that theme of three showed up on its own in light of this interpretation.
After recording a song for my nephew's 1st Christmas, I wanted to do the same for my niece. I took the standard "Emily" and changed the name to hers. Pianist Sean Parsons named his daughter Emily, and even has the first three notes of this melody tattooed on his arm in her honor. It only made sense to record this one with him. :)
My sister Lauren made the adorable album art.
Written by Johnny Mandel and Johnny Mercer
Arranged by Sean Parsons
One Little Song
I found this tune after a long search for the perfect Americana song to complete the three multi-genre sets I programmed for the 2015 American Traditions Competition. I loved the theme of believing that there's something left to create even when it seems like it's all been done. The wonderful Ryan Kennedy, guitarist on NPR's Mountain Stage, joined me on this one. We won the 2015 Ohio Music Award for Best Cover Song for it.
Written by Gillian Welch
Boy of My Dreams
My grandfather sang the 20's tune "Girl of My Dreams" to my mom when she was little, and my mom sang it so me. When my nephew Knox was born, he was the first of his generation, and I wanted to continue the family tradition. I gave him this at his first Christmas with hand-painted album art by my sister Lauren.
Written by Sonny Clapp
Arranged by Jess Baldwin