Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Because the classics never go out of style...We wish you all an abundant holiday season filled with love, happiness and loved ones, and a joyous new year.

Your Redheads

Laurel & Wendy Lane

Saturday, December 5, 2009

If it’s Tuesday, This Must Be Rochester

Your Redheads spent last week on a whirlwind tour of New York State; each day a different city with lots of driving through other cities in between. So what compelled us to spend so much time getting to know the parts of New York that aren’t of the five boroughs? We were part of a tour for the New York State Presenters Network . Spearheaded by impresario Peter Lesser, the tour was meant to bring artists and presenters across the state together to exchange ideas about block booking, community involvement and collaborations between artists and arts’ organizations. We came back chock full of ideas, and fired up. We'd met some wonderful new people, seen jaw-droppingly gorgeous venues in places you’d least expect, and and been inspired to think well outside of the box. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be bringing you many of those ideas, profiles of the places and organizations we discovered, along with commentary from some of the artists and arts supporters who were involved. But first…we just wouldn’t be your Redheads if we didn’t share with you our very own Road Trip Top Ten…

1.) Biggest Regret: Not stopping to have our picture taken with the taxidermied bear.

2.) Culinary Highpoint: Kingston, NY. Pulling into our hotel and seeing a TGI Fridays, Taco Bell, and a Sonic Drive-In did not bode well for our gastric expectations, but a little expedition off the beaten path to the waterfront brought great rewards. This is where we found Ship to Shore Restaurant , and Richard, our charming and darn near perfect waiter who brought us one of our best meals in recent memory. Starting off with a soup of caramelized onions, cici beans and just a hint of curry and followed by a seafood risotto with rock shrimp and scallops that were beyond fresh we thought we couldn’t ask for anything more. Until…dessert! The vanilla bean crème brulée had us near tears. We felt we need never eat again, at least until the next morning when we made a stop at Adams Fairacre Farms market and picked up local goat cheese and apples and pears for that night’s automotive dinner. AND chocolate…which brings us to...

3.) Best Breakfast: Truffles from Adams Fairacre Farm! Don’t give us that look! Chocolate is loaded with good things that fill one with peace and good will towards one's fellow man, especially when the chocolate in question has been laced with brandy. Besides, isn’t it a vegetable?

4.) Low Point: In a nameless city in a nameless hotel calling for extra blankets and receiving something called a blanket that seemed to have been fabricated out of melted cassette tapes. ICK!

5.) Best In-Car Entertainment: Reading P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves & Wooster stories aloud. Musical use of language, great characters, and fall-on-the-floor funny. Just what the old onion needs while on the road.

6.) Lower Point: The much-vaunted "Sleep Number" beds in our hotel rooms somewhere along the way. As far as the Redheads can discern, the perfect sleep number is the phone number you call to get a couple of Sealy Posturepedics delivered a.s.a.p.

7.) Magic Moment: Stopping on a pitch black road in the Adirondacks and looking up to see that the lights in the sky were millions of stars. Millions!

8.) In our Next Life: We want to be dancers with Paul Taylor’s Taylor 2 Company.

9.) Our Confession… There is no Ten; we got distracted by something shiny.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Counting Our Blessings

Because it wouldn't be a holiday without a visit from our favorite felt and fur folk. Amongst the many things we are grateful for this holiday YouTube ranks high on the list! Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Laurel & Wendy Lane

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jersey Girls

Our last few master classes have been rather far afield so we decided it was high time we did something in our own backyard, which is how we found ourselves this past Saturday in Edison, NJ. Edison is the home of Thomas Edison’s laboratory, the SECOND oldest Baptist church in New Jersey AND Edison Valley Playhouse. The playhouse is a sweet little theatre in a converted church that is over a hundred years old. We feel very fortunate to attract people to our classes who are serious about their work, enthusiastic and fun, and this group was no exception. Their bravery and commitment really inspired us as we spent the day working on tunes, and having lively discussions on the arts of talking to an audience, putting a set together, and networking skills. Many many Redhead kudos to our hostess Barbara Gurskey and the rest of the gang Jerry Wichinsky, Lluana Jones, and Linda Correll. They came equipped with juicy material and ready to work. Behind the keys Tex Arnold supported our singers brilliantly and his incisive comments always go right to the heart of the matter. We will be back at the Playhouse for another round on March 20th, and we can’t wait!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Every Redhead Wants to Rule the World

Photo By Alfred Palmer

Frequently your redheads find themselves ending an intense conversation about important issues of the day by sighing Ahhhh…when we rule the world… Realizing that we will never achieve global domination by quietly murmuring to ourselves we’ve decided to periodically share these thoughts with you. Given that the weather’s turning to fall, and the forecast is calling for a chilly drizzle, our most recent conversations have revolved around comfort food, so today…when we rule the world…

Free chocolate for everyone!

And we're not talking about any chocolate that lists sugar as its first ingredient. We are talking about exquisite chocolate like Valrhona and Caillebaut, and Chocolove, and Terra Nostra, and Green and Black's.

What would you do if you ruled the world? Post a comment by October 31st in our comment section and our favorite idea will receive (what else?) free chocolate!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ad Libitum With Alex Rybeck

It’s been entirely too long since we’ve invited one of our talented cohorts to participate in our favorite questionnaire on topics musical, so after searching far and wide for just the right person to reintroduce this feature we settled on Alex Rybeck. Actually, the search wasn’t all that far or wide; I just looked across the world’s tiniest dressing room and thought “AHA!”. It has been my great good fortune to spend the better part of the last two weeks singing with Alex during Jason Graae’s stint at the Metropolitan Room. Alex has many attributes most highly prized by The Redheads: he’s a composer, pianist, arranger, and hysterically funny. Anyone who can compose a song called Sybil Why’d You Have to Split ranks high on our list of great party guests. We aren’t the only ones who crave his company. Faith Prince, Tommy Tune, Marni Nixon, Lee Roy Reams, and two of our previous Ad Libitum guests, Anne Hampton Callaway and Jason Graae, have all had the privilege of working with Alex. His latest project, Liz Callaway’s album Passage of Time, will be released October 20th, and he and Miss C will be celebrating with five shows at NYC’s Metropolitan Room October 20th – 25th. Until you can meet him in the flesh, we hope you enjoy him in the blog….

What is your current State of Mind?
More or less awake.

What was the first song you ever performed in public?
I have no idea. I am 52 years old and my memory isn't so hot. But I began playing the piano at an early age and wasn't shy when asked to play for family or company or at school assemblies. Around the age of 6, I began taking lessons and learned all those cute little pieces one learns for annual recitals. But I also composed and played by ear, and from an early age I enjoyed showing off with medleys from THE SOUND OF MUSIC, MARY POPPINS and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, or with whatever piece I'd just written. I especially loved taking requests! Clearly, from a tender age, I was destined to play in piano bars.(Too bad I never thought about passing around a tip bowl when I was six.)

What was the first musical act you ever saw in person?
First musician I ever heard was my dad playing the piano at home. He wasn't a pro, but he played very, very well, and watching him make music sparked my own interest. Hearing Artur Rubinstein playing Chopin in recital at Constitution Hall was an early memorable experience. First operas I attended were CARMEN and MADAMA BUTTERFLY. That scary Death Theme in CARMEN really got to me and appealed to my morbid nature.The first NY musical I saw was YOU'RE A GOOD MAN,CHARLIE BROWN (Off Bway), because my fifth grade teacher had played us the cast album in class.I begged my folks to see it, and so we made the trip from DC and saw it.First NYC nightclub act I saw after moving to NYC (circa 1980) was Karen Mason and Brian Lasser. MOLTO influential.

What is your idea of perfect musical happiness?
As a listener, hearing Dionne Warwick (esp.circa 1964-1975) singing those great Bacharach-David ballads. Burt playing/conducting his own music. Artur Rubinstein playing the Grieg A Minor Concerto. Thelma Houston singing Jimmy Webb ("Sunshower" album). Lehar's THE LAND OF SMILES sung by Margit Schramm and Rudolf Schock.The best of Diana Ross, Lou Rawls, Petula Clark, Laura Nyro, Dusty Springfield, Sergio Mendes, Karen Carpenter, Eva Cassidy, Luther Vandross... Billie Holiday. Esther Satterfield singing "Lullabye for Nancy Carol". The first notes of the Overture to PROMISES, PROMISES. Streisand's last note of "A Piece of Sky". "Multitudes of Amy's" and "Too Many Mornings" by Sondheim... Francis Poulenc! (2nd Movement of his Concerto for Two Pianos). Black Gospel! (one orgasmic example being Susan Quintyne and The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir performing "For Ev'ry Mountain"). The canon led by the boy soprano toward the end of Bernstein's MASS... The score to (film musical) "Young Girls of Rochefort" (Michel Legrand)...Obviously, too many treasures to name.As a composer: being in "the zone"... following a melodic or harmonic sequence in the moment of birthing it, and hitting upon something fresh and emotionally "right".As a pianist/arranger: working with great talents like Liz and Ann Hampton Callaway, or Karen Mason, for whom playing is like flying into a limitless sky. Any time I get the chance to play "The Story Goes On" for Liz is about as good as it gets -- the combination of a great song and the perfect voice to sing it never fails.And finally: being in the recording studio, hearing one's own music (be it an original song or an orchestration) come alive, and then being able to savor it afterward and share it with others.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of musical misery?
Hearing something you love and care about get massacred.

Name three composers you love and with whom you’d like to collaborate:
Burt Bacharach, Stephen Sondheim, Poulenc. (But I love so many more: Ravel. Bach. Stravinsky. Puccini. Lehar. Harvey Schmidt. Cy Coleman. John Kander. Jimmy Webb. Stephen Schwartz. Jule Styne. Margeurite Monnot. Gershwin. Arlen. Bernstein. Ellington. Jobim! Holland-Dozier-Holland! Brian Lasser... The list goes on and on.)

Four lyricists I would love to collaborate with: Lindy Robbins, David Zippel, Sheldon Harnick, Carol Hall. (Among others)

What virtue do you consider essential for every musician?
Staying open to possibilities.

What Profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Author. Illustrator. Filmmaker/film scorer. Broadway dance arranger.Witch doctor.

What profession would you not like to attempt? Toll booth collector. Policeman. Nursery school teacher. Nursing home janitor.

What is your greatest extravagance?
flying to Australia to visit someone (although at the time I would have said it was a necessity).

Who are your real life heroes?
people (past and present) who set examples of how to be decent, kind, fair, wise, compassionate, generous, funny, creative, free-thinking, risk-taking. Especially people who have overcome hardships.My personal heroes include family members, friends, colleagues, teachers, as well as folks I've never met but who inspired me by their words and/or deeds or works of art they left behind.

Where do you see yourself artistically in twelve years?
If I'm still around, I would hope to be doing what I am doing now, because I am doing what I love.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Girls’ Night(s) Out

Melissa Manchester, Michele Brourman, Me, and Amanda McBroom Post show at the Gardenia

The Gardenia gig was delightful! Michele Brourman and I put together a terrific set of songs from some of our favorite composers including Gretchen Peters, June Carter Cash, Joni Mitchell, Amanda McBroom, Michele herself and Melissa Manchester. Ms. Manchester even showed up at the club with her mother to hear me sing her delicious songs Lucky Break (written with Beth Nielsen Chapman) and Mother’s Prayer. If you think it’s daunting having one composer in the room try having THREE, but I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive cheering section. Amanda McB joined me for a duet on Michele and Sheila Rae’s tune It’s Never Perfect and a trio with Michele and me on Monotonous. Many friends old and new dropped by including composers Shelly Markham and Ray Jessel, singer Anne Kerry Ford, my very best friend from high school Cindy Banescu, and my newlywed cousin Elizabeth Mucci, who brought her new hubby along for my approval. Many many many debts of gratitude are owed to Tom Rolla and the Gardenia staff, my friends Jason Graae and Glen Fretwell who provided me with a lovely temporary home in the Hollywood hills, Miss Laurel back on the East Coast who is a never-ending fount of wisdom and sanity, Amanda McBroom who sang my praises and worked the phones getting people to come out to see us, and last but never least my partner in song Michele Brourman, whose awe-inspiring talent and support make me feel I can do anything! We’re eagerly anticipating our return.

Friday, August 28, 2009

California Dreaming

Is there a better place to take a break from rehearsal than the Chinese Garden of the Huntington Library?

Mea culpa! Mea maxima culpa! Miss Laurel and I have been somewhat remiss this summer in our blogging habits. I can assure we had the best of intentions, but somehow life got in our way. We’ve managed to have a few adventures this summer, mostly career related. As you can see from the last post Laurel has been busily promoting a new CD with her trio JaLaLa, which we’ll have more on in the coming weeks. And me? Well, I have been working like crazy to get ready for my big Hollywood debut. I got to spend a marvelous week in LA collaborating and rehearsing with my pal Michele Brourman. Michele is one talented cookie with flawless musical taste and a gift for writing songs that cut right to your heart. When you put two women with eclectic musical tastes in a room with a piano, it’s amazing what comes up. We spent hours trying things out and bouncing ideas off each other, and even the bad ideas seemed to lead us to some interesting places. I am so excited about the set we’ve put together for our gig at the Gardenia. We've managed to combine our musical sensibilities in a really wonderful way, and have roped Amanda McBroom into our merry band for a number or three. I am a very lucky girl to be thus surrounded by talent. I was so busy working that I almost got to experience nothing of LA save the freeway, which should be no one’s sole impression of that part of the world. Fortunately my friend Glen saw to it that I got a little non-freeway driving tour of the surrounding areas and a wonderful visit to the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in Pasadena. I even managed to see the ocean once from the terrace of the Getty Villa in Malibu, after that and a beautiful drive on Pacific Coast highway I went diligently back to work. I’m LA bound again on Monday to finish getting ready for the gig which happens next Friday and Saturday. If you’re in the neighborhood I’d love to see you. If you’re not I promise to try to remember batteries for the camera so I can have a snap or two to post here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

JaLaLa steps out!


WHEN: AUGUST 18TH, 2009 @ 7PM
WHO: JALALA is Janis Siegel, Laurel Massé, and Lauren Kinhan
with Yaron Gershovsky, piano
Dave Finck, bass
Matt Wilson, drums

John Herndon Mercer, familiarly known as Johnny Mercer, was more than just a lyricist of popular song; he was a true American poet and THAT OLD MERCER MAGIC is an amazing new project from three equally amazing ladies who have come together to form the vocal trio JaLaLa: Janis Siegel of The Manhattan Transfer, Laurel Massé, who was a founding member of The Manhattan Transfer, and Lauren Kinhan of New York Voices. Meet JaLaLa after their performance to have your copy of their new CD signed.

ALSO- catch us on WBGO SUNDAY AUG 16th at NOON
being interviewed by the inimitable MICHAEL BOURNE

Monday, July 20, 2009

Off to Philly

Rick Jensen Surrounded by our Philly vocalists Karen Gross, Rob Cox, Barbara Gurskey, Anne Ellithorpe, & Lorraine Barrett

Your Redheads had a grand time on Saturday teaching a fine group of singers in Philadelphia. This time out we were very pleased indeed to have one of our favorite piano men, Rick Jensen, along for the ride. The ins and outs of song interpretation, chatting with an audience, messing up
on-stage, and schmoozing gracefully with fellow artists were among the issues of the day.

Our students Lorraine Barrett, Rob Cox, Anne Ellithorpe, Karen Gross, and Barbara Gurskey, shared their talents with us most willingly. We were much inspired by their enthusiasm for the work.

Miss Laurel, Miss Wendy Lane and our Hostess for the day Anne Ellithorpe

Many thanks to Anne Ellithorpe who served as hostess for the event, graciously opening her home and her kitchen to us. She sings, she dances, she makes a heck of a peanut butter brownie! If you feed us we’ll always come back! An extra thank you is due to Mr.J who did double duty as pianist and official photog for the event.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dolly on Dolly

Dolly Parton is one of the few people in the world who renders your Redheads positively twitterpated. If we had a shrine here at Redhead HQ it would be to her. She’s a singer, composer entrepreneur (entrepreneuse?) wrapped in a defiantly glittery package who says what she thinks and does what she wants. Our fondest wish is that she will one day participate in our Ad Libitum questionnaire. Actually, that’s our second fondest wish, our first is that she would drop by and sing with us. Until that time comes though we’d thought we’d share this clip from a TV interview she did in the UK, it’s everything we love about her and then some!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pages of My Mind

Photo courtesy of My Vintage Vogue

I have an addiction. I’m not proud of it, but they say confessing is the first step towards wellness so here it is: I, Wendy Lane Bailey, have a serious Jones for reference books. It’s sad but true. Dictionaries, thesauruses, glossaries of obscure musical terms, and The New York Public Library Desk Reference make my mouth water and my knees weak. I once spent an evening with two friends and an Oxford English Dictionary looking up bizarre words and using them in inane sentences. It was one of the best evenings ever! I am aware that this is not how cool show biz types are supposed to spend their time, but I just can’t help myself.

Recently, I decided that I could no longer afford to keep stuffing my house with books; they have their own room, and are threatening to take over the rest of the house. So I trotted off to my local public library, paid my massive overdue fine (my inability to return anything on time is why I started buying books in the first place), and plunged into exploring the shelves. Imagine my delight when strolling through the music section my eyes beheld a large green book titled The Green Book of Songs By Subject. Angels sang and the skies opened for I had discovered a whole new way to spend countless hours mindlessly amusing myself by looking for songs about things like Crime, Love on the Ropes or Standing (I’ve never heard the song Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money in My Hand, but with a title like that do I really need to?). Who knew there was such a thing? If I wanted to do a set of songs about Social Outcasts there’s a category for that. Freak on a Leash may not be the ideal song for me, but it’s there if I need it. I will say it’s not a comprehensive list of songs, for example, In These Shoes is left out of the Shoe section, which is a travesty, but then again one can’t have everything. There is even an on-line version that is continually updated, and yes, need you even ask? I am now a proud subscriber.

Now I must be off. I have a long evening ahead of me looking up songs about insects and anatomy. Don’t envy my glamorous life….


Saturday, July 4, 2009

All American Mondegreens AND the Muppets

Happy Fourth of July!!! Before there are BBQs and fireworks let there be Muppets and Mondegreens ...

The Star Spangled Banner seems to be fertile ground for misheard lyrics. From the personal  "Jose, can you see" to the fruity "Grapefruit through the night".

Speaking of Fruit, here’s one from Home on the Range: "Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam, and the deer and the cantaloupe play".

And finally, the Pledge of Allegiance, not just for people anymore: "I led the pigeons to the flag…"

Thank you to our friend Harry Althaus for the National Anthem mondegreen (your surprise is on its way), and to the rest of you have a healthy, joyous and safe Fourth!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Someday Soon

My people are not a portable people. A trip to the corner store requires an oversize tote bag containing at least two books, a spare pair of shoes, three shades of lipstick and two and a half pounds of loose change. I’ve come to accept this about myself, and I appreciate the lovely shoulder muscles that have developed from schlepping my paraphernalia all over town. My portability powers will be sorely tried this summer as I get ready to make a couple of trips out to the West Coast. I understand that Continental Airlines only lets you have one fifty pound bag and then they ask for a kidney and your first born child. Ah, but lest you think I protest too much…All this schlepage is for a good cause. I’ll be spending time on the Other Coast working on a brand new set of tunes to be debuted at the Gardenia in West Hollywood on September 4th and 5th.

I’ll also be working with a brand new set of collaborators. I have wanted to work with Michele Brourman for a very long time, and I’m thrilled that we’ve finally found the time and a venue to do it. Michele is an arranger, composer, pianist and vocalist with exquisite taste. We have been having a grand time pitching ideas back and forth. Right now we’re working whittling the song list down from the forty or so songs we absolutely love to an hour’s worth of material. Obviously packing light isn’t my only issue, although in my defense we started out with eighty.

Two of my other favorite Angelinos will be making guest appearances. Singer/Songwriter Amanda McBroom will pop in for a song or two, as will the insanely talented Jason Graae. I am a lucky girl to have such gifted and generous friends!

And now…back to packing and song whittling!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Life in a Song

We were deeply grieved yesterday to hear of the sudden death of Michael Jackson from cardiac arrest. We mourn the loss of a brilliant performer who struggled personally and tried to help all of us find redemption through his music. He leaves behind an enormous artistic legacy and our sadness at what might have been had he continued. Thank you, Michael, for the music.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Alright, Okay, You Win

Congratulations Justin Ritchie, from Washington, DC you are the big winner of our mondegreen challenge!

Justin correctly identified "When the world gets naked, hun" as being a misheard lyric from Girls Just Want to Have Fun. He also knew that the correct lyric was “When the working day is done”, and that it was originally sung by Cyndi Lauper. In the process we learned that there are more than a few other recordings out there including one by Greg Laswell (who knew it was really a ballad?), Miley Cyrus and a band with an unprintable name but an oddly catchy version. Being ladies, we can only tell you that the band’s name starts with Star.

Justin, your copy of Hit Me With Your Pet Shark: Misheard Lyrics of the 1980’s is on its way. By the way, Cyndi will be in DC at the 9:30 club on August 12th, maybe you can get her to sign it! The photo comes from Cyndi's website, doesn't she look AMAZING?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Once Upon a Summertime

Being languid creatures by nature, we redheads often dream of spending summer poolside, sipping exotic drinks and reading high-minded tomes whilst being waited upon by handsome (yet learned) pool boys. Alas, we burn at the slightest touch of sunlight, and have some serious habits to support like eating and paying the rent. Exit one fantasy, enter more fulfilling pursuits. We’re quite looking forward to spending much of the next two months teaching and coaching performers. Together we’ll be doing master classes for singers of all stripes in Delaware on July 11th and in the Philadelphia area on July 18th. Even better still Rick Jensen, composer, pianist, arranger, and mensch (that’s Yiddish for one hip cat) will be joining us in these excursions. We promise luculent and coruscating pedagogy for all. (That’s intellectual speak for we’ll be easy to understand and really funny. We just discovered Eric’s Lexicon of Obscure and Cool Words, and are dying to try out a few).

In addition to our joint pursuits we’ve got a few other things going on. For Miss Laurel that means her annual teaching stints at Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp and The Cabaret Conference at Yale University. While at Yale she’ll be sharing the bill with Amanda McBroom for an evening of great tunes on Saturday, August 1st. Miss Wendy Lane will be heading off in the opposite direction to spend some time in L.A. working on a new project, the details of which will be spilled in abundance very soon.

Along the way, we’ll be filing reports, posting photos, and sharing it all with you. You can always keep track of our whereabouts by checking out the “Where in the World are the Redheads” section of the blog, in its usual spot to the right of this column. Have a salubrious summer! (there we go again…)


Your Redheads

PS The fabu photo came from another one of our favorite sites My Vintage Vogue. A great inspiration for stylish daydreams.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tuesday’s Mondegreen Moment

It’s dreary, it’s dark, it’s damp, and so to amuse ourselves on this sodden Tuesday morning we picked up our trusty mondegreen book, closed our eyes, opened to a page, pointed and this is the wisdom we received from the great mondegreen spirit…

When the world gets naked, hun...

Recognize it? Perhaps you’ve even sung it? If you can identify the source of this misheard lyric, including the original artist, the title of the song and the correct lyric email us by Tuesday June 22nd. We will put all the correct answers into the hat and choose, at random, a lucky winner who will receive a pristine copy of Charles Grosvenor Jr.’s Hit Me With Your Pet Shark Misheard Lyrics of the 1980’s. And, yes, the prize is a hint to the answer.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Linguistic Misunderestimations 'n' More

Recently we received a press release containing the following phrase:

She literally catapulted herself into a new rank of club performers...

Certainly there was an easier way to go about career advancement. Picture it! A singer climbs to the top of a catapult to be hurled into a row of frightened fellow artists below (replacements for those already flattened by the last catapulting). Is she vocalizing as she flies through the air while those below freeze in terror? As Holly Golightly would say, “The mind reels”.

Here at Two Well Read we are taking a stand against the misuse of the word literally. Of course, we aren’t literally taking a stand. We’re sitting. But even so….

According to one of our favorite writers on matters verbal, Mr. Roy Blount Jr., "This word, which derives from letter, as in 'the letter of the law', means just what it says, which is to say: ”meaning just what it says.” It should not be used to mean its opposite: virtually, or figuratively...."

Ah! Perhaps former president G.W. Bush really meant to say that the mission was figuratively accomplished.

Enough said.

Won’t you join us in our quest to restore this word to its proper place? The next time some hapless fellow tells you he "literally went through the roof” or “literally died”, ask for proof. Were there splinters involved? A white light? If not, perhaps you can gently suggest a better linguistic path. Together we can literally make a difference.

PS The quote from Roy Blount Jr. is from his fabulous new book Alphabet Juice. If you love words as we do, check it out. It’s a great read!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mondegreen Moment

On this cloudy Thursday afternoon let’s take a break and ponder the following misheard gem from the Beatles' Ticket to Ride

She’s got a chicken to ride
We can’t help but wonder where one finds a chicken saddle?

Your Redheads are collecting mondegreens for a weekly feature here on Two Well Read, and we need your input. Please share your stories of misheard lyrics with us by sending them to  wendylaneandlaurel@verizon.net. If we use them we’ll give you full credit, and a nifty surprise gift. There’s no expiration date on this one and no limit on the number of entries you can send.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Most Unusual Gig

Miss Wendy Lane Welcomes you to her fabulous dressing house

My friend Michelle O, when not trying to kill me through physical fitness, is often the source of inspired lunacy. So when she asked me to be the featured performer at a benefit for her foundation, I said yes at once. After all, there were no golf clubs or tennis rackets involved. This is how my intrepid pianist Rick Jensen and I found ourselves performing in the middle of a furniture store and sharing a bill with former New York Giants (I am told this is a football team) Ottis Anderson, Jim Burt, Harry Carson, and Bart Oates.
Wendy Lane auditions new back-up singers. Super Bowl XXV MVP Ottis Anderson is on the right.
Lest you think this is a bad thing let me say that, first of all, it was a VERY NICE furniture store, and second we were all pitching in to support the Colleen Giblin Foundation and their mission of pediatric neurological research. A variety of folks donated their time and talents to make this evening a success, starting with Joe, Marcia and Mark Bograd and Mark Thomas, who opened the doors of Bograd's Fine Furniture, for this event, and provided for Rick and me not just a dressing room, but a dressing HOUSE. Our very own two story Victorian with pressed tin ceilings, and lovely antiques.
Rick gets ready for his close-up in the dressing house
We were having such a great time staging an impromptu photo session in our digs we almost missed our entrance. A big Redhead smooch to event co-sponsors New Jersey Monthly Magazine, and Fiore Associates, as well as, Meg Minasian, and Michelle Oates of the Gilblin Foundation, and our wonderful tech guys Kaipo Bridges and Jason Small. It was a marvelous party, and we were honored to be part of it.
Wendy Lane & Rick on-stage

Wendy Lane, Ottis Anderson, and Michelle Oates having way too much fun

Monday, May 4, 2009

Keeping Up

We’re so flustered from all our recent activity that we just realized we neglected to announce the winner from last month’s Inspiration Challenge. The Redhead award (a $20 I-Tunes gift card) goes to our friend Karen Merstik from the Vegas girl group Dangerous Curves. We were delighted to hear her thoughts on getting back into the inspirational groove, and even more thrilled to find that she is also a redhead. Karen, drop us a note at parkroadmanagement@verizon.net with your contact info, and we’ll get your card right out to you. As for the rest of you…we’ll be posting this month’s giveaway question in the next week so keep your browser tuned in.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Where Has the Time All Gone To?

It has been a whirlwind of a week for your Redheads. First we had Miss Laurel’s gig at Birdland, which was a smash hit. Many thanks to Jim Caruso, who wins our vote for the coolest guy in show biz, Sean Corcoran who made it all look and sound pretty, and the Birdland staff, especially James the bartender who kept Miss Wendy Lane supplied with diet cokes throughout! Tuesday was Bistro Award night, where Laurel was awarded the 2009 Bistro for best Jazz Vocalist, and we got to see Liza with a Z, Charles Aznavour and various and sundry other show folk. After that the rest of the week was spent hard at work on a few new projects we have in the works. We’ll be spilling the details on those in the coming weeks and months, but for now here are a few shots from Monday’s Birdland show.

Laurel & the Band
Rich De Rosa (Drums), Steve La Spina (Bass), Tex Arnold (Musical Director, piano)

Laurel & Broadcast Legend Joe Franklin

Laurel with Composer Larry Kerchner, Joe Franklin, & Annette Costa

The photos were all taken by Wendy Lane, who despite her nifty Armani Cocktail dress forgot to get herself into any of the shots. No worries though, we’ll have some of her after her performance for the Colleen Giblin Foundation this coming Thursday (details about that may be found under Where In the World are the Redheads to the right of this column).

Friday, April 24, 2009

Free Association with Wendy Lane & Laurel

We must admit that being performers has made us just the tiniest bit solipsistic, or maybe we became performers because we saw that we were indeed the center of the universe. This being the case, we’re taking our naval gazing public with a new feature where Laurel and Wendy Lane take turns interviewing each other on a wide variety of topics. In honor of her gig this Monday at Birdland Miss. Laurel gets to take the interviewee chair first.

Laurel had the great good fortune to start her career at the top with the Manhattan Transfer. Her seven year tenure with the group took her around the world, into the recording studio on onto the television. The following clip from the Transfer’s TV show inspired today’s round of questions.

WLB: This Clip is from the short lived Manhattan Transfer TV show, what do you remember most about working on the show?
LM: This is a clip from one of the four Manhattan Transfer shows that we did for CBS in 1975. Our show was a summer replacement for The Cher Show. Janis and I shared Cher's dressing room, as I recall, and the makeup man on her show, Brad Wilder, also worked ours. My strongest memories of the show are of working nonstop. This was basically a variety show, but we didn't have musical guests from week to week, which meant that we had songs, dance routines, and skits to learn every week. I remember getting to the makeup chair at 5 AM on taping days so that Barbara Lorenz could start curling my hair. I also recall that there were two teams of writers, some successful old-time TV comedy writers who had done the Dean Martin Show, and our younger, wilder folks who included Bruce Vilanch, I think. I have an image in my mind of us ping-ponging back and forth from one little room to another, doing shuttle diplomacy.

WLB: What specifically about this clip do you recall?
LM: Lush Life is a beautiful and difficult song. The challenge is to make all those impossible intervals seem inevitable and easy, and the sophisticated lyric seem casual, as if one always talks that way. And to keep the fox stole from slipping off my shoulder.

WLB: What goes through your mind when you watch this clip now?
LM: Oh, I wish someone had suggested I be more still until I moved on purpose, but the most pressing thought is that I was a far better singer than I thought I was then.

WLB: Since the time of the Transfer and the TV show how do you feel you have changed as a singer and performer?
LM: How have I changed? I am much more confident. My voice is richer. I know a lot more about music now. And I trust the audience's goodness. I am grateful for the privilege of singing for people, wherever, whenever. But the most important change is that I am 33 years older than I was in 1975, and nothing - nothing! - is better for an artist than the living of life over time.

WLB: If you could have a conversation with the girl in the video clip what would you tell her?
LM: If I could talk to 1975 Laurel, I would tell her that she was good, and she was right (she would know what I was referring to), and that eventually she would have a dog. Eventually she would live in the country for a time as she had always dreamed. I would tell her that happiness is a decision made every day, and that God was and would remain extravagantly in love with her.

WLB: What was the most valuable thing you learned in your time with the Transfer?
LM: I think my time in the Transfer taught me that people have different learning styles. No two of us worked on the music in exactly the same way. And we came from different backgrounds, and had very different tastes. We argued a lot. But we worked so hard on our music, and, in spite of all the differences, we made a sound that was unified and beautiful, and performed shows that made audiences feel good. I am very proud of that. I am also proud of the way we influenced education. There were not very many jazz choral programs when we started - now there are jazz choruses in thousands of colleges and high schools, and a lot of those groups sing Manhattan Transfer arrangements. I am happy to have contributed to the keeping of the flame, happy to be continuing to sing music I love.

WLB: Okay, let’s wrap this up with a plug for your Birdland appearance…
LM: As a solo artist, my musical taste has remained very eclectic. In my upcoming show at Birdland (Monday, April 27 at 7 PM) I will be singing tunes from Broadway shows, from Tin Pan Alley , music by Lester Young, Harry Nilsson, Bach, and yes, something from the Manhattan Transfer songbook. And I am looking forward to every moment.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday Morning Motivation

It wasn’t the beautiful spring weather, or the weekend overdose of chocolate bunnies I could feel gathering around my waist that got me out of the house this morning. Nope. It was the chance to exercise with RuPaul. Alas, not the real RuPaul, but RuRu’s new album Champion. An atypical recommendation from one of your Redheads? Perhaps. But any album that makes you feel like you’re stalking down a catwalk rather than pounding the pavement in tres unattractive shoes on an endless quest to fit into the series of little black dresses you must wear to upcoming events is worth its weight in mascara.

By the way, two of those little black dress worthy events coming up would be Miss. Laurel’s gig at the Land of the Bird on April 27th, and my warbling in NJ to benefit pediatric neurology on May 7th. For those details look to the right of this column, we’re looking forward to seeing you. In the meantime…anyone for a catwalk?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Mondegreen for the Moment

In these uncertain times it’s good to know that even the land of misheard lyrics feels our pain.Thus this timely interpretation of the Elton John classic Bennie and the Jets

B-B-B-Bennie, Bennie is in Debt

This Tuesday diversion brought to you courtesy of your Redheads and Amiright.com, further proof that maybe the internet really isn’t such a boon to productivity after all…

Friday, April 3, 2009

On the Road To Inspiration

Inspiration can be a slippery companion, there one minute and gone the next, as your Redheads know all too well. In a split second you go from burning with a brilliant idea to being slumped on the floor consuming mass quantities of diet coke and chocolate unable to remember your own name let alone your glorious insight. We have learned through the past few years of working together that our typical work day has to include time to have a good meal, share a laugh and maybe a stroll to see what revelations our favorite retail establishments hold. Our best ideas sometimes come not when we are staring at each other across the desk, but when we are actively engaged in other pursuits. A brisk walk on a gorgeous day, an object of beauty or the smell of new shoes (the more expensive the shoe, the brighter the brainstorm) can spark our creativity and get us back on the right track. Miss Laurel’s inventiveness is frequently spurred by the sound of a piece by Bach, or witnessing an anonymous act of kindness. For Miss. Wendy Lane it can be seeing a great work of art like John Singer Sargent’s Madame X, George Seurat’s “In the Studio” , an Alphonse Mucha print, or a Walker Evans photograph; or hearing a song that feels so much like it was written especially for her that she can’t wait to wrap her vocal chords around it. One of the other places we’ve found ourselves most inspired is the classroom, to see another singer grow and change in front of your very eyes is a great gift from the universe. We are very excited that we will have that pleasure with some frequency this spring and summer as we are preparing workshops currently scheduled for Washington, DC, Wilmington, DE, and Philadelphia, PA with the possibility of adding a few other stops along the way. For details check out the Where in the World are the Redheads Section of the blog. We are looking forward to being inspired by you!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Instead She Wrote…

Here at Two Well Read we try very very hard to come up with new and scintillating discussions on the state of music, life and all the rest of it, but some days things just don’t flow like they should. So today instead of a fascinating discourse on a subject artistic you’re gonna get…

Things Wendy Lane Does When She Should be Writing Her Blog Post

  • Visit favorite websites; ponder why I can’t get my eye makeup to look like the “girls” on RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • Spin round and round in my desk chair until I’m dizzy…perhaps this will shake loose the brilliance within
  • Check E-mail
  • Stare out the window and wonder why the neighbor across the street never invites me over to use her pool (maybe because I am constantly staring out the window)
  • Play computer word game in the hopes that resplendent verbiage will result
  • Call friends to discuss latest medical, legal, amorous crises
  • Type title onto page,become overwhelmed with sense of accomplishment, take a nap
  • Check E-mail
  • Remove cats from keyboard…on second thought, maybe I could make something out of djklwepatepjoiat
  • Shake fist at ceiling and curse my lot in life
  • Check E-mail Look under desk to see if dazzling first sentence may be found there.
  • Make list of things I’m doing rather than writing blog post
  • Check E-mail

So what I really want to know from all this spinning and listing is what inspires YOU, and what do YOU do when your muse deserts you and you find yourself stuck? Do you have a ritual? A favorite place you go to get your mojo back? Inspire us with your answer by April 22nd and you could be the lucky recipient of a $20 I-tunes gift card.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ad Libitum with Jason Graae

Finding the right words to describe Jason Graae is something of a challenge. He’s an actor, singer, instrumentalist, voice-over artist, and musical comedian. Jason has appeared at Carnegie Hall, on Broadway, hit television shows, operas, and in his own highly acclaimed, fall-on-the-floor funny solo show. He has received the New York Nightlife Award, Four Bistro awards, and a Drama Desk nomination for Best actor in a musical. He’s also the greatest person in the world to spend an evening with at the Delta Grill eating fried okra, and gabbing, and the ONLY person to have ever hired me for my dancing abilities. Being one of the funniest people on the planet has its drawbacks, mostly that your friends are always asking you to contribute free commentary to their blogs. Fortunately, he has a soft spot for redheads, and I am thrilled to share my friend with you as this month's special celebrity guest. So pull up a chair, grab a bowl of fried okra, Girl Scout cookies, Ben & Jerry’s or whatever your guilty pleasure happens to be and enjoy…

What is your current State of Mind?
I am currently reading "The Power of Now" and am discovering the brilliance as well as the insanity that the mind is capable of.I think mine has been teetering dangerously close toward the insanity, BUT IT'S NOT ANYMORE OKAAAAY?

What was the first song you ever performed in public?
"Call Me Irresponsible" in 6th grade auditioning for "George M!"
I did get the plum role of Boy #2.

What was the first musical act you ever saw in person?
Victor Borge.He made fun of my sister coming in late for Act 2 and she was completely oblivious and I was completely mortified.
What is your idea of perfect musical happiness?
Being on the inside of a really tight chord.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of musical misery?
When my oboe reed broke in Palm Beach 2 weeks ago and I sounded like a duck with hemmrhoids(sp) and this woman in the front row had her hands over her ears. Turns out she was trying not to sneeze. But still...

Name three composers or lyricists you wish would write a song for you?
Amanda Green,Amanda McBroom,Jerry Herman
What virtue do you consider essential for every musician?
Eagerness to please 50%
To hell with what anyone thinks %50

What Profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
1st chair Oboist in a major symphony orchestra

What profession would you not like to attempt?
2nd chair oboist

What is your greatest extravagance?
My generosity and love for others.
Just kidding.
The $$ I pay my back-up girls, the Foie Graaes.
Ask Wendy Lane Bailey.

Who are your real life heroes?
Obama.my Mama.The Dali Llama.

Where do you see yourself musically/artistically in ten years?
The front room of the Duplex singing Shipoopee.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Another Winner

Congratulations and a big Redhead smooch to Charles Martin the winner of this month’s RedHead award for devising the perfect addition to our Ad Libitum questionnaire. His cleverness gains him a permanent place on our questionnaire and a copy of Ann Hampton Callaway’s latest release At Last. The winning query, Where do you see yourself musically and artistically in the next ten years? has been added and answered by March’s special guest celebrity. Tune in tomorrow for the big reveal. In the meantime, Mr. Martin, drop us a line at parkroadmanagement@verizon.net with your contact information and we’ll get your prize right out to you.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Happy News

It is my very great pleasure to tell you that my friend and partner in crime, Miss. Laurel, is the recipient of the 2008 Backstage Bistro Award for outstanding Jazz Vocalist. She is being honored for her New York City performances at The Metropolitan Room and Birdland. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer girl, and I am thrilled for her! The official ceremony will happen in April, and we’ll be sure to bring you all the goings on and pics from the big night.

Monday, March 2, 2009

We'd Rather You Didn't...

An occasional series in which your Redheads relay horrifying things they’ve seen, heard, and (gasp) even done on stage that they’d rather not experience again.

Wendy Lane: The first thing that springs to mind is the singer who said before every song in her set “the next song I’m going to try to do for you is…” This led to a whole string of emotions beginning with Curiosity: Why was she going to try? Might she be suddenly sucked into the piano by a force beyond her control? This was followed by Irritation: I made the effort to come and see her and now she’s not sure she’ll be able to do the job? Which led me ultimately to worry: What can I, a simple audience member, do to help her if she is unable to continue? It was a most uncomfortable performance for those on stage and those in the audience. To quote that great musical sage Yoda “do, or do not. There is no try”.

Laurel: Sometimes performers may forget a line or a lyric; the major difference between seasoned professionals and the inexperienced is that the pros aren't thrown off the horse when this happens. After all, whatever do you think seasoned them in the first place? That's right: messing up in front of an audience. The pros don’t lose their rhythm. They keep going. If the mistake is so bad, so very very bad that there is no moving forward, they "pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and start all over again". They do not blame anyone. They do not allow the audience to feel uncomfortable for one second. And they go on to have a good time, because they already know they are human.

The inexperienced don't. It has come as a terrible shock. And so they freeze. Or blame the band.

Or cry. Or blame the lighting person. Or melt in to a puddle like the Wicked Witch of the West. All of which make the audience have to worry about the performer. This worry is not part of the audience's job description. THEIR job is to have a god time. Period.

The performer's job is to allow that to happen. Encourage it to happen. Inspire it. Create it. And lighten up!

What about you? Do you have a performance pet peeve? Do share it with us, BUT spare us names and other identifying details. We’ve all been there so we’re way more interested in the what than the who did it! We’re listening.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Amanda's Italian Aria

While we're on the subject of Amanda McBroom...We just got a note from her asking us to help get the word out about one of her latest projects. It seems that Amanda and LA voice teacher Susan Kiechle are jetting off to Italy in May to teach a week long vocal workshop in the Tuscan Hills. The workshop is called Vocal Magic - The Art & Craft of Singing and is being held at San Fedele a renovated monastery in Tuscany. We've seen Amanda in action as a teacher and a more generous and loving instructor is hard to find. May 16th through the 23rd are the appointed dates, and if you want the complete scoop go to Il Chiostro and click on current workshops.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Redheads on the Town

Apres Show
The Redheads with Michele Brourman & Amanda McBroom
What’s better than an evening with one of our favorite singer-songwriters? A double feature, of course; starring two of our favorite people on the planet Amanda McBroom & Michele Brourman. Last Friday night your Redheads trekked downtown to the Metropolitan room to see, hear, cheer on, and yes, even steal a song or two from these virtuosos. Miss. Amanda ruled the first half of the evening singing a great mix of tunes, some she wrote, some she didn’t and several were from her upcoming album of Jacques Brel tunes. She was accompanied by Miss. Michele Brourman her frequent co-writer, musical director, long time friend and the producer of the new Album. If this was the only set we’d seen that evening it certainly would have left us with great smiles on our faces, but then came part II. After a break Michele took the stage solo and wowed us with her great warmth, tender voice, and masterful songs. Both these ladies have long been on the list of people we wish would write songs just for us so our pens were busy all evening making notes of tunes we wanted to add to our repertoires.

The audience was nothing to sneeze at either. It was chock full of other composers on our dream list including Carol Hall, Julie Gold, John Bucchino, and Shelia Rae. Also gliding through the room were Tommy Tune and Robert LaFosse. Ahhh…if only we could move through the world with that much grace… It was a wonderful night with wonderful friends, and we even managed to get a snap shot or two!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Making Music in Delaware

Our Delaware Group
( L to R WLB, Vivian Holfeld, Leslie Shapiro, LM, Jessica Cohn, Lily Ozer, Diane Tadlock, Patti Malatesta, Carol Cassarino, Katie Soukup, Tina Sheing)
We got up too early, slid around on the ice, and Miss Wendy lane ended up flat on her tuchus at the hands of Miss. Laurel during a particularly spirited re-enactment of the 6th of the 10 Commandments of Schmoozing …all in all, our Delaware Master Class last Saturday was FANTASTIC! Our host, the delightful Tina Sheing, helped us gather a great group of performers who put their hearts and voices into the work. Katie Soupkup provided support and encouragement from the keyboard for our singers who fulfilled our every pedagogical request with enthusiasm.

Many thanks to Tina, Katie, our students Vivian Holfeld,Leslie Shapiro, Carol Cassarino, Jessica Cohn,Patti Malatesta, Lily Ozer and Diane Tadlock. We’re looking forward to making a return appearance in the First State in the spring. Keep your eyes on this space for details.

A very special word of thanks to composer Larry Kerchner and Annette Costa who, among other things, kept Miss Wendy from sliding away on the icy sidewalk (note to self, put on the wildly impractical shoes AFTER entering the building, broken bones do not a graceful entrance make), provided a camera when ours was MIA, and fed us a magnificent lunch after class. Your kindness put the perfect grace note on a wonderful trip.

The RedHeads

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Latin For Musicians

We are delighted to have Miss. Ann Hampton Callaway
joining us this month for our Redhead Questionnaire; so much so, in fact, we decided a new name for this feature was in order. From here on out it shall be called (drum roll please...) Ad Libitum. We think it’s the perfect name to use when asking questions on the innermost thoughts of the musically inclined.

But wait there’s more…we’ve made one other important decision regarding one of our favorite recurring themes: it’s one question too short. Eleven questions are nice, but it just doesn’t have the same roundness as an even dozen, and this dear reader is where you come in. We need a doozy of a dozenth question. Dream one up, post it in the comment section by March 5th, and if yours is our favorite we’ll make it a permanent part of the questionnaire. The author of the winning query will be gifted with Ann Hampton Callaway’s latest CD At Last. Read on to hear from one of our favorite all round musicians, then speak up and tell us what you want to ask!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Presenting: Ann Hampton Callaway

Imagine pulling a random assortment of words out of the air and handing them to a songwriter, with the instruction "Make a song that rhymes, makes sense, is musically sound... and includes all of these words".

I could write that song, in six months. Other better songwriters might be able to turn that around in a week. Ann Hampton Callaway can sing that song for you instantly, in a voice as warm, sweet, and dark as buckwheat honey, arranged and accompanied by a sensitive piano player - herself.

I have never met anyone as relentlessly creative as Ann. She has a catalogue of songs recorded by some of our finest vocalists, including Streisand. She is a delightful collaborator, as I well know from my experience of singing a benefit concert with her in 2008, and is also one of the most enthusiastic colleagues I know, who, like Amanda McBroom, is quick to appreciate and encourage the talent of others.

Ann is also on my short list of favorite singers no matter what she is singing, because of that beautiful instrument, but also because of her emotional integrity. She knows what words mean, and and so when she sings a song it has layers of meaning. She can wrench your heart, and then make you laugh. Finally I deeply appreciate her positive view of life. She does not wear rose-colored glasses - she knows that bad things happen - but she doesn't wear grey ones, either, because good things happen, too, and we can make more of them happen if we join together.

I am delighted that Ann agreed to tackle the Redhead Questionnaire - read it, and get to know her a little better. Visit her website at Then give yourself the gift of her beautiful new CD, "At Last".

So (cue fanfare!), here is Ann's take on our questionnaire:

What is your current State of Mind?
I am presently a bit jet lagged from my recent trip to Spain and France and concerned about some cold symptoms showing up but in a calm, contemplative mood.

What was the first song you ever performed in public? My first solo was at J.H.S 141 in Riverdale where my music teacher Miss Morris had taken a special interest in my talent. The piece was "Sempre libera" from La Traviata, the English translation. The first line was “Ever free to take my chances, ever free to follow my heart” and was somehow very appropriate for my 12 or 13 year old spirit. I still have the sheet music I used to learn the piece and my signature looks quite innocent to have sung all those runs. I remember what I wore- a purple polyester full length dress with 70’s mod flowers on it. My hair was long and parted down the middle and I must have looked like a passionate hippie dressed up for Verdi.

What was the first musical act you ever saw in person?
I saw Ray Charles at The Westbury Music Fair around the age of 11. I was blown away by his music and asked my parents if we could try to get his autograph. We waited backstage for some time but were informed that Mr. Charles did not give out autographs. I think it was then that I developed the I’m-Too-White-To-Sing-the-Blues Blues which I later wrote a song about.

What is your idea of perfect musical happiness? Every time I let go with an audience, and truly allow myself to be a vessel of love, is perfect musical happiness. I feel this state more and more as I get older.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of musical misery? Hmmm, maybe singing with arrogant, bored musicians who do are butchering my charts for a loud, inattentive audience while I am navigating through vocal difficulties due to a sinus infection that won’t stop and the sound man has forgotten to turn the main speakers on and there’s feedback from the monitor that ruins our hearing while a music great who could decide my future is in the front row, an ex is heckling me and it is the only show being recorded for a live CD.

Name three composers you wish would write a song for you?
Stephen Sondheim, Stevie Wonder and Joni Mitchell would be living ones.

What virtue do you consider essential for every musician?
Emotional honesty.

What Profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
It would thrill me to produce a truly fine work of fiction. I think in shorter forms- songs and poetry- but novelists who build vast and believable universes have my greatest admiration.

What profession would you not like to attempt?
I would never want to do a job, for instance be a soldier or an armed policeman, where I would be required to possibly kill someone. Life is the most extraordinary and precious gift and I am grateful to have a profession that can celebrate this truth and rekindle the humanity and love that it takes to protect and uplift our brief time on this planet.

What is your greatest extravagance?
I own a signed Picasso created the year I was born. I had no business buying it but it gives me great joy. As a child, Picasso’s expansive creative spirit, which seemed to know no boundaries, gave me inspiration to pursue the myriad facets of my imagination.

Who are your real life heroes?
Everyone who wakes up in the morning and has the courage to be their true self is a hero to me. I see heroes all around me and I am especially happy to see one in the White House...”At Last.”