Thursday, December 23, 2010

Our Gift To You

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Stephen Sondheim
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogMarch to Keep Fear Alive


As we've mentioned before one of our latest obsessions is  Stephen Sondheim's new book Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes. If we could we'd wrap up a copy for each and everyone of you as a present. Since we lack the funds and the staff of magical elves necessary for shipping such a gift, we decided to give you a glimpse of the man himself from a recent episode of The Colbert Report. With it we are sending you our warmest December wishes and hopes for a bright and tuneful New Year.

Hugs, kisses and all that other stuff!
Your Redheads

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We'd Rather You Didn't...World Leader Edition



Much has been made of entertainers who dabble in politics, but what happens when the tables are turned? Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin took to the stage recently at a children's benefit in Saint Petersburg.  Good luck in your day job Mr. Prime Minister, you're going to want to hold onto it!

Monday, December 13, 2010

All Hail the Queen of Soul



Aretha Franklin has long been one of our very favorite performers, and we are deeply saddened to hear of her recent health troubles. We're sending many thoughts, prayers and wishes her way for a rapid recovery, and sincerely hope that she'll be back on stage soon doing what she does best!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I’ve Got a Name Etc.



It’s been a while since I posted an update on my EP project, so I thought I’d take a little breather from the Holiday madness to fill you in.

After several months of referring to the project as The Wendy Lane Bailey EP Project or simply The Recording we’ve got an honest to goodness title. Soon you will be able to rush right out and buy your very own copy of Wendy Lane Bailey’s Breathing. The title comes from a song written by Amanda McBroom, and my producer/arranger/music director Michele Brourman. As far as I know, I’m the first person outside of Amanda herself to have recorded it, and I’m very excited to send it out into the world.

The post-production phase is moving along nicely. We’re almost ready to send the tracks off to mastering, the dull legalities are being handled and artwork is being created. In the coming weeks I’ll be announcing the official release date.

I had a wonderful photo session with Isaac Bailey. I got to show this native Californian why we Southern Girls are called Steel Magnolias by posing outdoors in 38 degree weather. Oh, and did I mention it was sleeting and there was a corset involved? We had the best location EVER, but I’m not going to tell you what it was. I’ll wait till the cover is revealed and we’ll see if you can guess. My undying gratitude and admiration go out to Mario Raymondi, Edwin Peterson, and Jay Milian who worked wonders with hairspray and waterproof mascara. It takes a highly specialized team of beauty experts to keep a girl looking her best even in a monsoon.

The closer I get to finishing the more excited I get. I’m tremendously proud of my work and the work of everyone who contributed to Breathing, and I’m eagerly anticipating the day it makes its grand debut!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Of Domestic Perfection & Such



We've been decking our halls and frantically preparing for our appointed holiday rounds of gigs and socail events (sometimes both at the same time!).  All of this brings to our mind the woman who does it all with such aplomb, not a blonde hair mussed, or a button askew. The Queen Mother of Domestic Perfection, Martha Stewart. Of course, we wish to point out that the reason she's never ruffled is that she has a staff of highly trained elves whose job it is to make such perfection. We try to keep this in mind while we are juggling our various yuletide obligations and feeling slightly less than breezy. When that thought fails to comfort us there is always our friend Amanda McBroom, whose song to the Domestic One always perks us right up!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Send In Sondheim

The other day the postman delivered into our hot little hands a copy of Stephen Sondheim's new book Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines & Anecdotes . We are anticipating a blissful holiday weekend lost in all its 445 pages. Of course, the book's arrival sent us straight off to Youtube to see what Sondheimian gems could be found there and we were not disappointed. Here are a few of our favorites:



Thoughts on songwriting from a salon for songwriters at The Academy for New Music Theatre.



A clip from a workshop Mr. S taught at the Guildhall school in the late eighties. It's wonderful to see him work with the students, but the best part is watching his face as he watches and listens to them. By the way the actress in the clip is Jacqui Dankworth, daughter of Cleo Laine and John Dankworth, and an impressive performer in her own right.



Bernadette Peters performs One of our favorite songs from one of our favorite musicals.



Judi Dench sings Sondheim...need we say more?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

We’d Rather You Didn’t


We’ve been bit harried these days and so have gotten away from some of our beloved regular features. But as we both have CDs nearing completion (and availability) we find we are beset from all sides by well meaning advice and analyses of How The Music Business Works. With this in mind, we have decided it’s time for another segment of We’d Rather You Didn’t.

All told Your redheads have been singing professionally for as long as Cher has been alive, and in that time we have picked up a few tidbits of information about the music business so we’d really rather strangers didn’t assume that we are lost little lambs in need of guidance. In fact, here are few things we’d like to share with you, especially if you are thinking of entering the business and getting rich by Christmas.


1.)The check is NOT in the mail.

2.)Though someone may have opened for Englebert Humperdink at a Muscular Dystrophy Telethon in 1978, it does not necessarily follow that he or she knows or, for that matter, even met said Englebert.


3.) In light of #2, therefore, said someone probably can’t get anyone a gig headlining Caesar’s Palace.


4.) Therefore, singing for free in his or her Greek restaurant in Lodi, NJ may not be the career move he or she is suggesting it will be, as no one can compete with flaming saganaki.


5.) The check is still not in the mail


6.) Though Hot Blooded was a big hit for Foreigner, it’s really not the right song for either of us.

7.) We know your friend Ace very successfully managed his local tire shop for many years, but that’s not really the same as managing artists.


8.) Giving “Power of Attorney” to a manager does not mean he will have the authority to get you an attorney should you need one. Indeed, it means something very different.

9.) Music actually is a “Real Job”.

10.) Check? What check?

Some of the spirit of this list is admirably captured in DC Anderson’s song Your Father & I Have Been Talking. It’s our Thanksgiving present to you. Scroll down to the next post and enjoy!

We'd Rather You Didn't

DC Anderson's Your Father & I Have Been Talking

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tuscany Ciao-down



We Redheads are not given to envy; we love all our performer pals and are never ever jealous of their success, but we do admit to just the slightest twinge because we can't be there when two of our favorite  people, Amanda McBroom and Michele Brourmanspend an entire week teaching, singing (and eating!) in Tuscany this June.  But YOU can go! Heart & Soul: The Art of Vocal Performance  will be taught June 11-18 at San Fidele, a twelfth-century monastery in the Tuscan Hills between Sienna and Florence. The class is for any vocalists who want to sharpen their skills and increase their repertoire while enjoying the beauty of Italy. In addition to Michele and Amanda, Gerald Sternbach (master pianist, arranger and composer) will also be part of the faculty.  It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with some of the finest musicians and teachers we’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. The program  is sponsored by Il Chiostro and you can get all the details on their site . Meanwhile, we have a sudden craving for pasta, and must dash! Ciao!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Music for a Monday


It’s Monday run amok! I’m throwing myself about trying to get ready for a photo session, meet nine or ten pressing deadlines and prep for an influx of houseguests. The glam quotient is sorely lacking, but the soundtrack is great. Cutting through the chaos is Cyndi Lauper’s At Last album, taking the sting out of an overwrought afternoon.




Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wasted Words



Words, like hemlines, tend to fade in and out of fashion. Some words, such as holpen, an archaic past participle of the word help, are best left in lexicography’s dumpster. There are others though, that still have a lot of good usage left in them. I am embarking upon a personal mission to bring the word VEX back into everyday use.

Kicking around since the fifteenth century vex comes from the Latin vexare meaning to agitate or harry. To be vexed is to be irritated, agitated, puzzled, or provoked by the behavior of others. It can also mean to shake or toss about. Like it in a sentence? I am positively vexed that the word vex is so rarely used anymore.

Just saying the word feels good. Go on try it, I’ll wait. You start off with that yummy buzzy v and then slide into a creamy eee going into the stop plosive k sound and winding up on an ssssssssssssss. For a little word you get a lot of bang for your phonetic buck. Looking for more wordy fun? Try rolling vex’s variations around on your tongue. Vexation…vexatious…vexatiousness…vexedly…could be hours of endless fun for the whole family.

So go forth and use this word with abandon today. Extra bonus points if you let us know how and where you used it!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Back In My Arms Again




When I woke up this morning my inner DJ was playing the supremes. All in all not such a bad way to start the day!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Think I Love You


I don’t know how to say this but I think I may be in love with Tim Gunn. Alas, it is doomed to be a distant unrequited sort of thing as I’m not exactly his type, and I’ve been married since I was a zygote, but still there it is. He’s been one of my primary reasons for watching Project Runway for ages, and I am an enthusiastic follower of his video blogs on Facebook. But now, with the release of his new book Gunn’s Golden Rules, my feelings have grown deeper and more ardent.

You see, in our classes Laurel and I always include a little segment that we call the Ten Commandments of Schmoozing, where we talk about the basics of navigating the world of networking in the arts. While there are ten very witty commandments (one day we’ll share them with you) they all boil down to this: “Be nice and use good manners”. Over the course of our careers, we’ve seen people behave in appalling ways when they are trying to make themselves known. We once saw an actress back a director into a corner while delivering a ten minute verbal resumé without once stopping to draw breath (she DID make herself known, but perhaps not in the way in which she’d hoped). We’re really disturbed by things like this because we feel that there are ways of networking and self-promotion that don’t make people run away from you in horror.

While Mr. Gunn gives fifteen rules for appropriate behavior in his new book, they are right in line with our Ten Commandments of Schmoozing. He doesn’t just give you the rules, but he backs them up with examples and names names! The tales of entitlement run amok in the book are enough to keep you up at night wondering what’s becoming of the world. The people he calls out in his book (Anna Wintour and several other prominent fashionistas are among them) are not people who simply don’t know any better. They are privileged souls with every reason to be grateful and gracious. Yet they seem to delight in being petulant and nasty. Anonymous makes a few appearances here too, doing things like refusing to give way to passengers exiting the subway before getting on (why IS that?), and causing scenes in various temples of retail. Not all of his examples are negative, there are enough random acts of etiquette in the book to give you hope for humanity.

It makes a redhead’s heart happy to know that there is someone else in the world who is taking up the cause of good manners. Instead of “can’t we all just get along?” perhaps our rallying cry should be “why don't we all just behave ourselves?” Maybe if we did, the getting along part would solve itself.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

You're The Top



VH1 has compiled a list of what they are calling the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. It seems they polled 200 artists including Ozzy Osbourne, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood, and members of U2 and the Police to come up with their list (you will note that neither of your Redheads was consulted for this poll). Of course, this is related to a multi-episode television special of the same name, so certainly their picks are designed to stir up conversation, controversy, and most of all, viewership.

 
This isn’t the first time they’ve come up such a list. The first was in 1998. It’s interesting to compare the two to see who moved up, who moved down, and who fell off. Between the time of the two lists Michael Jackson went from #40 to #3, and James Brown went from #46 to #9 bolstering the argument for death as a career boost. But then again, Ray Charles went from #12 to #43, and Marvin Gaye from #14 to #20 so maybe not. The ’98 list was called the 100 Greatest Artists of Rock & Roll yet contained names like Miles Davis (#39), John Coltrane (#77), Johnny Cash (#89), Gladys Knight & the Pips (#91), and The Four Tops (#93). None of these names with the exception of Johnny Cash are to be found on the latest list even though the name has been changed to the more general 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Why the name change? one wonders, when there are no jazz artists, and only one country artist represented. Several of the seminal voices of our time didn’t make the cut, including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Karen Carpenter, or Barbara Streisand.

 
All of which leads us to a question or two. Does a list like this really serve a purpose? Certainly it could be used to gauge the musical influences and tastes of the 200 artists polled, but beyond that, what do we discover? Does it indicate an ignorance of the musical past on the part of those polled? Other than being a lovely tidbit for one’s Wikipedia page, is there any real value to being named on a list like this? Does a list like this add to or take away from our collective musical educations? What does it really mean to be an influential artist? What are the criteria they used, and how do they differ from what ours would be?

 
Finally, and more importantly who are YOUR top musical influences, and why? Do share with us; we think your opinion is way more interesting than Ozzy’s.

 
By the way, Ozzy attended several Manhattan Transfer performances in the 1970s, and seemed to be a great fan. Obviously he forgot that when making his list.



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sweet Tuesday Morning

A little musical trivia to impress your friends with...

The man who has written some of the most interesting and challenging songs of the past forty years, Leonard Cohen, turns 76 today. In 2008 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he is currently wrapping up a North American Tour. It's hard to pick a favorite amongst all his songs, but this one, Dance Me to the End of Love, is definitely up there!

Do you know what the number one Single on the US charts was on this day in 1968? It was Jeannie C. Riley's Harper Valley PTA. Tom T. Hall wrote the song, and it went to the top of Billboard's Pop AND Country charts. This wouldn't happen again until 1981 when Dolly Parton released 9 to 5.

Thanks to This Day In Music for keeping us in the know!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Who Wears These Clothes


Today is the start of Fashion week in New York City. Instead of spinning around in my chair, and staring blankly out the window when I should be writing, I’m obsessively checking Tom & Lorenzo’s Twitter feed from the Project Runway finale show, and staring blankly at pretty pictures on style blogs when I should be writing. I have been obsessed with fashion since I begged for (and got) my first pair of high heeled sandals for my sixth grade graduation. They were white leather (a color I haven’t worn on my feet since) with spiked heels. My mother was appalled, I was ecstatic. All the money I earned through babysitting as a teenager went to clothes. My mother’s friend Donna was a talented seamstress and I once traded babysitting for her skills. I still remember the dress. It was pink with gray polka dots, a wide belt, full skirt, and contrasting collar. In fact, hanging in my closet at this very moment is more grown up version of that very dress. I didn’t realize that at the time I bought it, I only knew that putting the dress on in the fitting room made me ridiculously happy.

Clothes are another creative outlet for me. I love having the power to transform and express myself at will simply by what I put on or take off. I can use clothing as armor. I can face anything with high enough heels and a sharply tailored jacket or pencil skirt. The right outfit speaks volumes and I don’t have to open my mouth.

As a performer I have discovered that what gets worn on-stage has the power to enhance or detract. I have been distracted on many occasions from what should have been a brilliant performance by poor wardrobe choices. I once spent an entire evening worrying whether a divine performer of my acquaintance was going to (in the words of Project Runway contestant Peach) show us the good china, so ill fitting was her outfit. It was no way for either of us to spend an evening.

The most iconic performers have a strong visual component. Think of Frank Sinatra, Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen, or Madonna and more than music comes to mind. Whether it’s Sinatra’s impeccable suit and fedora, Dolly’s sequins and sky high heels, Springsteen’s jeans and tees or Madonna’s ever shifting fashion persona each one has a defined sense of personal style. You may not agree with Dolly’s wardrobe choices but her outfits are immaculately tailored with never a sequin out of place and tell you exactly what she wants you to know about her. Even Springsteen’s basic jeans, and tee look is perfectly pulled off. Those aren’t just any jeans he’s thrown on, they fit like a dream, not too loose, or too long and that tee is made of great material, and his hair is perfectly groomed. It’s all meant to look like he just threw it all together, but in reality it takes a lot of effort to get it just right.

I was raised by a mother who insisted on good manners. The kind of manners that let other people know they are important. Dressing the part was a huge part of her training. Dressing for an event wasn’t about my being comfortable it was letting people know that I loved and respected them by putting the time and thought into what I wore. As much as I would love to go on-stage in sweat pants and bare feet because that’s what’s comfortable, I couldn’t do it. I want an audience to know I went to some effort because THEY were coming to see me. They’re leaving their house and paying to see me the least I can do it look presentable, and of course, sing really pretty.

My favorite part of clothing is the actual ritual of getting dressed. It’s more than just choosing an outfit and putting it on, it’s about the act of transitioning from one part of my life to another. This is especially true of getting ready to go out on-stage. That act of taking off the street make-up and clothes and putting on the performance wear helps me put aside all the stuff that happened outside the venue, the business end of getting the gig, the slow traffic that I had to crawl through to get there, whatever. The act of getting dressed helps me forget all that and focus on what I’m about to do, and the people I’m doing it for. It’s not just when I’m working that this happens though. Even just changing from my every day errand running outfit into an outfit to go out for dinner has the excitement of transitioning into another version of myself. Clothing let’s me become different people sometimes in the course of a single day, and really, what’s not to love about that?

So Happy Fashion Week! Gotta run now it’s almost time for Project Runway!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

L.A. Serenade


Me singing away in the studio



Can it really be Labor Day weekend already? It seems I start the summer with a list of all the wonderful things I’m going to accomplish and then wake up September 1st having checked off not a one. Fortunately, this summer my list contained a single item “RECORD” which I am thrilled to say has been accomplished. I spent an utterly idyllic week in L.A. working in the studio with Michele Brourman and Stephan Oberhoff, a dynamic duo if ever there was one. Michele co-produced, arranged, and played piano. Stephan co-produced and played acoustic guitar, electric guitar and percussion. Larry Tuttle played bass, and all was right with the world. An English actor friend of mine told me that Judy Dench once told him that she would not work on a set where there was no laughter, and I feel the same way about making music. Yes, it’s serious business and the work is often quite hard, but it should also be joyous. To be surrounded by talented people who do what that do with great relish AND a sense of humor was sheer heaven for me.

Now we’re moving into the post- production phase, getting all our ducks in a row so that our new baby can be released into the world. The waiting is tough, but well worth it. I’m proud of my work, and taking the time to figure out how to present it in its best light is all part of the fun.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Come Fly With Me


Things have been moving at warp speed around here. Miss Wendy Lane is jetting off to L.A. on Monday to get down to business in the studio; meanwhile, on this coast Miss Laurel is recording a project of her own. Soon you will be awash in media from us, but in order for that joyous day to come, all must be fairly quiet on the blog front for the next two weeks. Never fear! We’ll be back with photos, gossip, and an opinion or two just as soon as our tunes are in the can.


While you’re awaiting our return here, we wanted to share with you the list of Executive Producers and PR wizards who are helping to make Wendy Lane’s project possible.


Executive Producers

 
Kathi & Kaipo Bridges

Joe De Furia

Carolyn Gould

Christy Frye

Jason Graae & Glen Fretwell

Robert Hahn

Janet Hockenson

Michael Marero, LCDR USN

Laurel Massé

Ross McDonald

Michael Miyazaki

Michelle Oates

Polly Scoville

Ronald Squeri

Christy Trapp

Alex Tang & Bob Bagnall

Kim & Finn Wentworth

David Winters

Donna Wright


PR Wizards
Emily Everson

Laura Gunn

Laurel Massé

Michael Miyazaki

Michelle Oates

Joe Peck

 We are sending much love and gratitude out to everyone who is helping to make this project possible!                       
 



Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We Did It!!!!




A huge thank you for making my CD campaign a rip roaring success! We exceeded our funding goal, and soon I'll be off to La La Land to go into the studio and sing my heart out. Keep watching this space for regular updates.

Thank you again, I couldn't have done it without you!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Closing Time



The final countdown has begun. I've got 51 hours & $528 left until I reach my goal. If you've got any spare change lurking under those sofa cushions now's the time to send it in!

Friday, July 23, 2010

It’s All in the Movies


It’s hot. Brain melting, sweat dripping, wardrobe wilting, h-o-t, hot. In weather like this leaving the house is most definitely overrated. It’s far better to stay indoors blasting your a/c with a tall icy drink and a big tub of popcorn for a music movie marathon. Here in no particular order is a list of some of our favorites not including documentaries and concert films; we’ll save those for future posts.

This Is Spinal Tap: Spandex, Stonehenge and tiny sandwiches, oh my! How many music movies can claim to be both hilarious AND realistic? Or maybe it’s realistically hilarious, we don’t care we’re too busy laughing.

Lush Life: Jeff Goldblum and Forrest Whitaker star in this one about pals trying to make music in NYC. A bit difficult to track down, but well worth the hunt.

Still Crazy: The very funny story of the very fictional band Strange Fruit. There’s a Great cast that includes Bill Nighy, Billy Connolly, Jimmy Nail, Timothy Spall & Stephen Rea; and a great score by Foreigner’s Mick Jones, and Chris Difford of Squeeze.

 


Coal Miner’s Daughter: A great actress playing a country music icon; Sissy Spacek won an Oscar for portraying Loretta Lynn in her remarkable life story.




Bird: Forrest Whitaker makes another appearance on our list, this time playing Charlie Parker in this Clint Eastwood-directed biopic. A great flick, but a sad one.

Amadeus: Sex, intrigue, pretty costumes, and divine music - what more do you need? Oh yeah, great acting. Don’t worry it’s got that too!



Music & Lyrics: Perhaps not the most realistic movie of the bunch, especially if you like your music flicks with a bit more grit, but it’s great escapist fare. Drew Barrymore is charming and Hugh Grant is perfect as the happy has-been 80’s pop god.


Love Me or Leave Me: Speaking of gritty realism, it’s not a term one usually associates with Miss Doris Day, but that’s exactly what you get in this film version of the life of Ruth Etting. It’s a rare dramatic turn for her, and it pays off.


Immortal Beloved: Another costume drama this one featuring Gary Oldman as Bethoven . It’s tragic and romantic…sigh.

 
High Fidelity: Not really a movie about musicians as much as it is a movie about people who love music. John Cusak (one of Miss Wendy Lane’s top five crushes) is terrific, and the soundtrack is killer. Nick Hornby, one of the funniest writers on the planet, wrote the book on which this film is based and the screenwriters did a great job of transferring Hornby’s unique humor to the film. This was made into a broadway musical as well, but without as much success.



So, that’s what we’re watching this summer. How 'bout you?



Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ain't It Funny How Time Slips Away

We're in the home stretch for my CD fundraiser. You've only got until 11:59 PM Monday July 26th to join the party. Check out this handy dandy e-flyer for details....

'Only 8 Days Left...'

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wordplay



According to Save the Words, 90% of everything we write is communicated by just 7,000 words. When you think about it that’s not really a whole lot of verbiage. Apparently every day there are scads of words left abandoned and unwanted. The solution? Adoption, of course! I am well on my way to becoming the Angelina Jolie of the vocabulary world having already adopted some seventeen words. I am doing my best to rescarciate my past linguistic laziness. Besides words are neater, eat less, and will never blurt out your real age at public gatherings.

There are quite a few advantages to taking on rarely used terms. If you knew that cheesy reality make-over show was really about the fine art of venustation, wouldn’t you feel better about watching? Next door neighbor keeping you up all night while he rehearses his Post Hard-Core band? Four letter obscenities are so passé, far better to call him a senticious foppotee and watch his head explode. That uncle of yours that dominates every family gathering with his tall tales and answers to all the world’s ills? He’s not a crazy liar he’s a phlyarologist. (Not to be confused with your greedy brother who is a philargyrist.) A warning, most of your new adoptees will render your computer’s spell check tristifical.

It doesn’t seem fair that I should have all the fun. Try it yourself. Go to Save the Words adopt a word, and then use it in a sentence, a lyric or a poem in our comment section by August 2nd. The one we like best will win a copy of Ammon Shea’s book Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Three weeks and counting…





I’ve got just a hair under three weeks left in my recording project fund drive, and we are 35% funded. Not too shabby, but I’ve still got a way to go before I reach my $6000 funding goal. You can help by visiting Kickstarter and pledging a few shillings to the cause. For as little as $10 you can pre-order an advance copy of the recording; if you’ve got some more pocket change rattling around you can make a larger pledge which will net you any number of cool gifts, including an Executive Producer Credit. I’m giving away an extra gift this week to everyone who pledges. Since my birthday is coming up if you pledge by this Friday July 9thyou’ll get an special musical birthday greeting from me when it’s your big day! All the details are here.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Muppets & Mondegreens

We’re carrying on our grand Fourth of July tradition of Muppets and Mondegreens.



We're thinking that maybe the title of America the Beautiful should be changed to America the Confused as it seems to be a bounteous source of misheard lyrics. Some of our favorites:



"My country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liver trees"


"From every mouse inside, let freedom ring"


"Land Where the pilgrim’s fried "


Who knew America the Beautiful was about interplanetary travel?

"Oh, beautiful, for spaceship guys"


We’ll end this on a note from the Boss of Mondegreens, Bruce Springsteen, from Born in the USA

"I had a brother I can’t solve"

Happy 4th, y’all!

Jimmy Webb on Leonard Lopate




One of our favorite songsmiths, Jimmy Webb, was a guest on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show yesterday. You can listen to the interview here. He’s got a new album out and will be giving a FREE outdoor concert in NYC Wednesday July 14th at the River To River Festival in Battery Park City. We’re off to buy hats and sunscreen right now!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Everyone Knows



There are times when I just can’t help myself, and this would be one of them. Did you know that on this day in 1967 the number one single in the US was Windy by The Association? Did you also know that this is one of the two sources of my name (the other was Wendy from Peter Pan)? Furthermore, did you know that July is the start of my birth month? All these things being the case I just had to post this wacky clip. By the way, a real lady never tells her age, but I will tell you that I was NOT born the year this song was number one!

Thanks to This Day In Music for the factoid!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Do You Suppose He Means Us?

Stephen Fry as Jeeves


Some words of wisdom this hot and muggy June Monday from the pen of one of our favorite writers, P.G. Wodehouse,to the mouth of one of our favorite characters, Jeeves...

I would always hesitate to reccomend as a life's companion a young lady with quite such a vivid shade of red hair. Red hair, sir, in my opinion, is dangerous.

Hmm...Perhaps he has a point. Got any good redhead quotes? Send 'em on down we are waiting to add them to our collection.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Let’s Get it Started




It’s time for the big reveal! I have been hard at work on a new project, and I’m ready to spill the details. Not only that, but you get to be part of it all!


So here’s the deal. After much plotting, planning, preparation, and prayer, I’ve decided it’s high time I released my very first solo EP Album! Michele Brourman is producer/arranger (needless to say we’ll be laying down a tune or two penned by her), and we’ve got a studio and all the trimmings ready to go. There’s just one thing, and this is where you come in…

I’m partnering with Kickstarter a site devoted to helping artists secure funding for projects. It works like this: I come up with a project (in this case recording an EP), set a funding goal and a deadline, and devise a campaign. Once that’s in place, I invite all my supporters to visit the site to watch a little pitch video starring yours truly (you can see it HERE). If you like what you see, make a donation to the cause. Your philanthropy earns you my undying gratitude and a nifty prize or two. You could even get yourself an Executive Producer credit. The campaign runs through July 26 and, since Kickstarter is all-or-nothing funding, I have to reach my goal by that date, or no money will change hands. If you help me spread the word you’ll get an extra special bonus gift!

I’m very excited about the possibilities of this new venture, and I do hope you’ll come along for the ride.





Thursday, June 10, 2010

And the Angels Sing

It’s been quite the whirl for your redheads of late. Monday night found Miss Laurel on the stage at Birdland with her trio JaLaLa, and Miss Wendy Lane in the audience cheering them on. Laurel and her Cohorts Janis Siegel, and Lauren Kinhan had the capacity crowd on their feet cheering for more. Special guests Lew Soloff and Jon Hendricks sat in for a couple of tunes, and a grand time was had by all. A big readhead smooch to all of you who came out! For the complete lowdown on songs and a great on-stage pic visit Laurel’s other blog. In the meantime, here’s a little behind the scenes shot from the sound check.

Janis, Lauren & Laurel at sound check. Even out of diva drag they're gorgeous!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Taste of Things to Come



While Wendy Lane is putting together a new project (about which more will be made known here in a few days), I am getting ready for the second round of
JaLaLa
dates. JaLaLa is my girl trio of Janis Siegel, my original Manhattan Transfer cohort, and Lauren Kinhan, of New York Voices, and myself. We are going to be at The Egg in Albany, NY this coming Saturday, June 5th, and at Birdland in New York City on Monday, June 7th. We have some terrific new material ranging from Lambert, Hendricks and Ross to Queen, and the same wonderful rhythm section of Yaron Gershovsky on piano, Steve LaSpina on bass, and Deric Dickens on drums that were with us in February. And we are delighted to be recording the Birdland gig, so there may well be a live JaLaLa CD sometime soon.

Here's a little clip of a performance we did in NYC last August to celebrate the release of our CD, That Old Mercer Magic. Enjoy!

And get ready for some news from Wendy Lane...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Little Victories



Sound the trumpets, stop the presses, and all that other stuff: we have a winner! The winner of the free ticket to see JaLaLa at Birdland is Jon88. Thank you, Jon, for your thoughtful comment about those who have inspired you. Laurel's mother is in the hospital at the moment, and she was persuaded by the way you acknowledged your mom.

So drop us a note  HERE with your full name, and we’ll put you on the guest list for the big gig on June 7th. We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Once Upon a Summertime

If you're a singer looking to spend some time honing your skills this summer we're looking for you! We'll be giving a workshop in Edison, NJ on July 10th.

Check out the details at this link
'Words & Music Singers' Workshop in New Jersey'

Come on down and have fun singing with us!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Last Saturday night, live at the Tusten Theatre

As you may have seen mentioned here, Miss Laurel had a gig on Saturday at the Tusten Theatre in Narrowsburg, New York. Narrowsburg is a hamlet of 400 and we are happy to report that a good quarter of that hamlet was in attendance. Here's a little eyecandy from the excursion...


The capacious Town Hall / courthouse / senior citizen center / Theatre dressing room complete with piano and player. Apparently, they are champion multi-taskers in Narrowsburg.


The dashing duo, Laurel and Tex Arnold pre-show.

 
For a report straight from the Chanteuse's typing fingers click HERE.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Wee Nudge

Just a gentle nudge from your Redheads to get your tix now for Miss. Laurel's upcoming gigs with her Trio JaLaLa.

Here's a link for the official flyer
'Laurel Masse' May & June Appearances'

Monday, May 17, 2010

Do You Know?


Strike up the band and roll out the red carpet here are the answers to last week’s quiz.


Madonna                   Judy Holliday

Beyoncé                    Stevie Wonder

Jim Morrison             Frank Sinatra

Fun Redhead fact: According to Stephen Davis in Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend Sinatra would get seriously annoyed every time he heard Light My Fire on the radio, because he thought Morrison’s crooning was a blatant rip-off of his style.

Stevie Wonder         The Staples Singers

 Linda Ronstadt        Maria Callas

Fun Redhead Quote: Miss Ronstadt has said I learn more...about singing rock n roll from listening to Maria Callas records than I ever would from listening to pop music for a month of Sundays. She's the greatest chick singer ever.


Ella Fitzgerald          Connee Boswell
Fun Redhead Quote: Of Boswell’s influence Ella said My mother brought home one of her records, and I fell in love with it....I tried so hard to sound just like her.

Christina Aguilera      Etta James

Billie Holiday               Bessie Smith

Mary Lou Williams     Lovie Austin
Fun Redhead Fact: Austin was often seen tooling around her adopted home town of Chicago in her Stutz Bearcat with Leopard Skin Upholstery and dressed to the nines.

 John Lennon             Harry Nilsson

Elvis                             Mario Lanza

How’d you do? Did you get them all? Any surprises? Are there any other interesting musicians and their inspirations that we left off the list? Do Tell.


By the way, the marvy photo of Billie Holiday is by Bob Willoughby.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Of Thee I Sing


The other day we found ourselves in the midst of a discussion about favorite singers and musical influences, and here’s the twist! They weren’t our personal inspirations but those of other artists. We were pretty surprised at who admired whom. It seems a shame to keep all the fun to ourselves, so for your cyber amusement here’s a little quiz to start off your week. Can you match the admirer to the admired? For brevity’s sake we’ve kept it to just one per performer. We’ll post the answers in a day or two.


Performer                           Influence

1.) Madonna                       A.) Frank Sinatra

2.) Beyoncé                        B.) Maria Callas

3.) Jim Morrison                C.) Connee Boswell

4.) Stevie Wonder             D.) Judy Holliday

5.) Linda Ronstadt             E.) Mario Lanza

6.) Ella Fitzgerald              F.) The Staples Singers

7.) Christina Aguilera       G.) Bessie Smith

8.) Billie Holiday               H.) Harry Nilsson

9.) Mary Lou Williams      I.) Stevie Wonder

10.) John Lennon             J.) Etta James

11.) Elvis                          K.) Lovie Austin

Now, on a not-quite-unrelated note, if you swivel your eyes to the right of this column and take a peek at Where in the World Are the Redheads?, you’ll note that Miss Laurel has a few gigs coming up. This weekend she’s got a solo concert with Tex Arnold at the Tusten Theatre in upstate NY. Come June, she’ll be reuniting with Lauren Kinhan and Janis Siegel aka JaLaLa, for gigs at Albany’s Egg and NYC’s Birdland (in case you’re wondering, their musical influences are the Boswell Sisters, and the Ronettes). We’ve decided to give away a free ticket to the Birdland date. All you have to do to enter the fray is post a comment here about who your influences have been, musical or otherwise. Tell us who you admire and why, and the entry that inspires us the most will get the tic. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunny Day



There’s always a danger in doing a master class on the first glorious day of spring. Will your students show up, or will they abandon you for gamboling in some local field of wildflowers? Will their bodies show up while their minds are otherwise occupied with thoughts of gamboling, wildflowers, and other non-musical ideas? Will your redheads be able to resist their own temptations to abandon all thoughts of meaningful pedagogy and rush headlong into the great outdoors spouting poetry and eschewing all forms of sun protection? As it turns out we needn’t have worried. Even though it WAS truly the most wonderful day of the year so far, we were blessed with a focused and talented group of singers who showed up and gave it their all. Anne Ellithorp, Stephen Belfatti, Barbara Gurskey (our ever charming hostess at Edison Valley Playhouse), Bryan Murray, and Jessica Pfeiffer knocked us out with their unique song choices and cheerful hard work. We had such fun working with all of you, and can’t wait for our next class at EVP on July 10th. We’ve also set a date to teach in Philly on September 25th. We’ve got plenty of room at the moment, so if you’re in one of those places and have been wanting to brush up your performance skills, come on down. Details are to the right under Where in the World are the Redheads. Mention that you read it here, and you’ll get a special insider price (and may be eligible for our extended payment plan).

We are sorry we didn’t get a snap of our terrific little group, but we’re still having camera issues. In other words, Wendy Lane is still trying to locate her mysteriously missing camera, and Laurel has not owned one since the 1970s. We give your our solemn word as Redheads that next time we will have a camera along to document the goings-on!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Come Saturday Morning


We’re at it again this Saturday. Miss Laurel, Miss Wendy Lane, and the unflappable Tex Arnold are heading out to the Wilds of Jersey (Edison to be exact) to spend an afternoon working with singers. If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to beef up your performance chops, there may be a space left in the workshop with your name on it. If you’ve ever wondered what these classes were all, about you can take advantage of a new option we’re trying with this one: auditing. For $20 you can come, sit in a comfy theatre seat and observe the goings on. It’s a great opportunity to check it out. If you’d like more info on participating or auditing drop a line or call (646-831-0359) Park Road Management. We’re waiting to hear from you!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ease on Down the Road



Braving blizzards, transit trains and the New Jersey Turnpike we set off last weekend for my appointed gigs. First up was the Metropolitan Room in New York City. After spending the first half of the week in blissful rehearsal with Michele Brourman, I lay awake all Thursday night listening to the wind howl and the snow fall (yes, if you’re really listening you can actually hear it fall) and wondering who in their right mind would venture out in the worst storm of the year just to hear me sing. Ah, but New Yorkers are a hardy lot and we ended up with two lovely and enthusiastic audiences. We had a fine time delving deeper into the material that Michele and I had begun to develop in LA over the summer. The addition of Miss Laurel for two numbers was the icing on the cake. For me, there is nothing better than making music with people who are not just great musicians but also dear friends. The relationship the three of us have off-stage has only served to make the music that much better.



Miss Laurel, Me & Michele after the 10:00 Show at Blues Alley. Thanks Michael M. for the snap!


By Sunday morning the weather had cleared and we hopped into the car, pointed it south, and set off for DC. My friends Alex Tang and Bob Bagnall allowed us to invade their gorgeous historic house in the Kalorama section of the city. We were provided with comfy beds, vegetable frittatas for breakfast and all the Girl Scout cookies we could eat. I wondered if they’d notice if we took up permanent residence on their third floor. Michael Miyazaki and Ron Squeri provided us with a wonderful evening-before-the-show supper that included several of my longtime DC pals. Michael and another DC friend Matt Howe provided me with the only pictures from this run of gigs, for which I will be eternally grateful. It was wonderful to be back on the stage at Blues Alley. The audience was filled with many old friends, and some of my very first mentors. The whole experience was like coming home. It was difficult to leave, but we’ll be back soon!




Me on-stage at Blues Alley...Photo courtesy of Matt Howe


On Tuesday we staggered to the car and up the Jersey turnpike to home, slightly the worse for wear but thrilled at the work we did. Many many many thanks to the top notch staffs of the Metropolitan Room and Blues Alley, especially Ted Stafford (Met Room) and Robby Cooper (Blues Alley) who gave us great lights and sound. I am grateful to everyone who came out to cheer us one. Thank you! It was a delight to sing for you. We are making plans to do this again in the near future, so keep watching this space for dates. Some nice people even wrote a bit about the shows, you can check out their thoughts HERE, & HERE, & HERE.


And before I forget, I’ve gotten some requests for the song list so here it is:

I feel Lucky Mary Chapin Carpenter / Don Schlitz

Walking after Midnight Donald Hecht

I Got Lucky in the Hall Marshall Barer / Dean Fuller

Breathing /So In Love Amanda Mcbroom / Michele Brourman
Cole Porter

Round Amanda McBroom / Joel Silberman

Lucky Break Melissa Manchester / Beth Nielsen Chapman

Once in a Blue Moon /Night Ride Home Anne Caldwell / Jerome Kern
Joni Mitchell

It’s Never Perfect Shelia Rae / Michele Brourman

Monotonous June Carroll / Arthur Siegel

Silver Heart/ Shut Up and Drive Michele Brourman
Melvern Rivers Rutherford III / Annie Tate / Sam M. Tate

Sometimes More is More Michele Brourman

Ring of Fire June Carter / Merle Kilgore

Independence Day Gretchen Peters

A Mother’s Prayer Melissa Manchester