(Note: since migrating to the new blog template, this wasÂ probably theÂ eighthÂ post on the blog, probably written inÂ June ofÂ 2011):
On December 14, 2010 our group, Saratoga Faire, performed a holiday concert to about 800 people at Troy Music Hall. We have played there before (to about 1,000 people at that time). It is an ornate Victorian era music hall with two upper balconies in upstate NY.
This is a snippet of a photo of the inside of the hall with two upper balconies just above the stage areaÂ (from the Troy Music Hall website):
Â In order to perform holiday music concerts in November and December, I had to neglect uploading art to my (new) Artfire shop. When I was all through with the holiday concerts and was looking at my files, trying to figure out what art to upload, I thought, "Why not upload my CDs?"
Afterall, it is a large part of what I do with my life.
Â So here my CDs (newly uploaded to the shop on January 1, 2011):
Â Wing'd With Hopes with The Spirites Consort was released in 2001:
Wing'd With Hopes is my best-selling CD to date. It is an album of Renaissance songs using modern instruments, an innovative approach and a produced sound. It was recorded, mixed, mastered and co-producedÂ with Scott Petito (who also records big names like James Taylor, the Band, Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, Pete Seeger, Dave BrubeckÂ and Aine Minogue, so it is a quality recording). The instruments are primarily acoustic instruments with world percussion, so it is a kind of hybrid sound somewhere between folk, classical and world music.
The inspiration came to me as I was listening to John Dowland recordings. Initially I was learning both the vocalsÂ and theÂ lute part. When my father listened to me in concert he was impressed with my ability toÂ play the difficult lute parts and sing at the same time, but thought it looked much too laborious and thought I should take a new age, creative approach to the music. I agreed and never lookedÂ back.
AfterÂ recording Wing'd With Hopes, I won a grant from The New York Foundation for the Arts to make another CD. This resulted in The Goldenrod, which was released in 2004:
The Goldenrod is an original song CD.Â Three of the originals were written with Jason Kessler, who I worked withÂ from 1998 - 2000 in various capacities from Renaissance and light classical concerts, holiday concerts and jazz/new age style originals. The three compositions, Seaflight I, Where Did You Go and Perhaps Butterflies were songs in which Jason wrote the music and I wrote the lyrics. Perhaps ButterfliesÂ is my favorite of the original songs and lyrics to date.
There is one song on the CD which did notÂ have myÂ lyrics or music: Dreaming You Back to Me. This one was written by my music partner, Jeff Belding (music) and a lyricist he worked with for awhile, Rene Balsam.
As with Wing'd With Hopes, theÂ CDÂ is also recorded, mixed, mastered and co-producedÂ with Scott Petito.
The inspiration for writing the CD came from the break-up of a relationship and the healing, spiritual journey and finally new love that I experienced following the break-up. I call it my "heartbreak and hope album." Musically, the influences range from jazz, Renaissance music, folk and new age.
In the midst of finishing The Goldenrod CD project, Jeff Belding and I formed a band with Frank Orsini (violin, viola and mandolin) with Jim Lestrange (hammered dulcimer, bass and guitar). We called ourselves Saratoga Faire.
Our debut album, released in 2009 is called Saratoga Romance:
The title track is a waltz written by Jeff Belding about the place where we all met. He also contributes songwriting to The Fountain and Living to Eternity.
But a predominance of the album is Celtic and traditional songs.
We covered two songs on the album: Wind in the Willows written by Alan Bell and made popular by Blackmore's NightÂ and Far Away, an instrumental by Peter Jung thatÂ has aÂ Celtic style to it (in my opinion).
Finally I leave you with a photo of our band at Troy Music Hall:
My favorite on the album is Far Away, however, the most downloaded song is Wind in the Willows, followed by Silkie, followed by Bonny Portmore and The Water is Wide.
Here are some links to various soundclips:
4 samples from Wing'd With Hopes CD (The Spirites Consort on MYSPACE)Â
My own MYSPACE which features some of the songs from The Goldenrod CD
Saratoga Faire's MYSPACE which has 4 soundclips from the Saratoga Romance CD