The collection will be called A Sliver In The Sky.
A Sliver In The Sky will be more than just a recorded collection of original Jewish music. It will be the foundation of a creative project that will allow me to partner with synagogues around the country, to help them create their own musical sound.
Here's how I envision this will work:
Along with the release of the finished recording, I will make lead sheets for most of the songs available by request to congregations wishing to purchase copies for their use. (This will be handled separately from CD and download sales.) Most of the songs in this collection are written in such a way that folks can add their own harmonies and/alternate instrumentation to really personalize them for use in their particular communities. I don't plan to give a lot of "instruction" other than melody line and guitar chords for each song to allow for this organic evolution of musical realization. My goal is to invite communities to see what they come up with on their own, knowing full well the results will not be the same in every community -- and that is exactly what I hope for!
Another significant part of my dream is that communities will invite me to join them in creating "their" version of one or more of my songs, as a way to help spread my music and help communities grow their musical involvement and participation. At this point, if a synagogue community wants more input into developing a musical approach (such as harmony, possible instrumentation, etc.), I will be happy to work in partnership (via video conferencing or, more ideally, as an artist-in-residence) with the community to help them expand their vision of my music.
These prayers and blessings are not museum pieces, but living intentions filled with meaning. The whole point of prayer is to make what's inside us come alive and find a way to be realized on our outsides, an active force for good in the world. I want my music to help do that.
In order to make this collection usable as a teaching piece, and also to make it more realistically affordable to produce, I am making it a solo project, just me and my guitar and perhaps a percussion track on one or two songs.
I feel a desire to get simpler, to pare things down as much as possible and let melody and words take center stage. I want the kavanah -- the intention -- of these songs to shine through.
My music is homespun, made by hand, simple. It reflects very human imperfections and emotions, a struggle for wholeness and a desire to be real. I want nothing sanitized for anyone's protection. Most live music is not nearly as perfect as that, and I want my record music to more closely match the vibrancy and energy of a live performance.
I am thrilled to let you know that I'll be recording again at The Map Room studios in Portland, and will record live (no separate tracks) as much as possible.
I have already been in contact with Josh Powell and he has happily agreed to be my engineer for this recording.
I'm really looking forward to working with him again.
I plan to work with Stuart Fessant at Indigo Groove studios again for mastering, and will have the CD replicated once again by the nice folks at CDPDX/SuperDigital here in Portland. (And yes, I'll pick everything up by bicycle and trailer once again!)
One difference is that I may not have nearly as many physical copies of a CD made this time, because so much of music sales is happening online with digital downloads now and because favoring digital downloads over physical CDs will reduce some aspects of production cost.
(** I welcome suggestions for or against reducing the number of physical CDs I make available.)
My goal has been, and continues to be, getting me and my music out there in the world and into as many Jewish communities as possible. If this collection helps me to achieve that goal then I will be very happy.
I will begin my crowdfunding campaign shortly after the Jewish High Holy Days, sometime in October or early November. Stay tuned to my web site and Facebook page for details.
If you would like to get on board early and offer support to this effort before the crowdfunding campaign goes live, please be in touch with me. And, as ever, thanks so much for continuing to support Jewish music made by hand.