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Jeff Harnar Sings Sammy Cahn: The Second Time Around
Jeff Harnar Sings Sammy Cahn: The Second Time Around

The Jesus Year: A Letter From My Dad - Matthew ScottParting Gift: the Songs of Gerald Ginsburg

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Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The Second Time Around

Jeff Harnar came to us in 2021 with a proposal for three albums: two new recordings and a reissue of a CD long out of print. Having released 2022's I Know Things Now: My Life in Sondheim's Words and Jeff's Cy Coleman songbook, A Collective Cy, in 2023, we turned our attention to the reissue, his 2001 tribute to the great Sammy Cahn. But the more we looked at the album, the clearer it became that what was needed was more than a simple re-release. The passage of time meant that Jeff related to the material differently now - as an artist and interpreter, but also an individual; there were things he wanted to say - ways of expressing himself - that could only be accomplished by going back into the studio. The sound of albums, too, has changed dramatically in the last 25 years, and we wanted the album to feel every bit as immediate and contemporary as Jeff's interpretations. And so over the ensuing months, the original album was remixed and remastered, new tracks were added, older tracks reenvisioned, and what emerged is something very much new, drawn from something old. As we were discussing the process, and the fact that Jeff was enjoying a rare opportunity to take a second look at material that was very dear to him, he mentioned with amusement that one of Cahn's classic songs was, in fact, entitled "The Second Time Around" - and of course that became the perfect title for this new album. When we gathered in the studio to record - armed with charts created especially for this album by Jeff's longtime music director, Alex Rybeck - the joy in the room was palpable. How often do we yearn for a chance to revisit a moment in our lives, knowing what we know now? That's what The Second Time Around came to represent - not just for Jeff, but for all of us. We hope you'll feel that joy of rediscovery as well. — Tommy Krasker

Posted on Friday, May 31, 2024

Parting Gift

I received a call last summer from the estate of Gerald Ginsburg. The name, I confess, meant nothing to me. He was a composer who wrote what he called “theater lieder” – settings of poetry, of everyone from Yeats to Edna St. Vincent Millay to E. E. Cummings: part art song, part theatre song. He was an insecure, haunted man – plagued by self-doubt – and after one much-heralded performance of his work at Carnegie Hall in 1974, he receded into the shadows. He died a few years ago, at 87, in obscurity. The estate wanted to make an album, and sent me a sampling of his songs – and honestly, I expected nothing. But he turned out to be a tremendous talent; I couldn’t get the songs out of my head. I decided to come out of producorial retirement to oversee the album personally. And I thought I would start by approaching some of the artists who’ve meant the most to me over the last 30 years and see if they’d be willing to come aboard and do one or two numbers that we’d orchestrate especially for them. And remarkably, pretty much every performer I contacted – after hearing the songs – said yes. They heard what I did. And then I started to approach artists I didn’t know at all, whom I admired but had never had the chance to work with – and they said yes too. And then I started reaching out to orchestrators, and every one of them, once they heard the material, signed on: Jonathan Tunick, Doug Besterman, Larry Hochman, Michael Starobin, among others. It was the most incredible combination of talents in the recording studio, making absolutely remarkable music – and reveling in the experience. Everyone poured their hearts into this project, and I think you’ll hear it on the resulting album, Parting Gift: The Songs of Gerald Ginsburg. It was one of the greatest experiences that I’ve had in the recording studio, and I’ve been producing albums for 35 freaking years. You think after all that time, you’re unlikely to find another project that’s going to fill you with the sense of wonder you felt when you first started in the business, but for me, this one did. I hope you enjoy. — Tommy Krasker

Posted on Monday, April 23, 2024

Glitter & Doom

We had such a wonderful time working with director Tom Gustafson and screenwriter Cory Krueckeberg in 2008 — when we released the soundtrack to their hit indie film musical Were the World Mine — that we were delighted when they invited us to collaborate with them on their newest project. Glitter & Doom is an amazing film. It’s joyous and inventive and moving, but for us, its accomplishments go way beyond what you see on the screen. By reintroducing the songs of Indigo Girls Amy Ray and Emily Saliers to a new audience and reimagining them with a more contemporary sound, it reminds us how and why great music endures. By placing Amy and Emily’s songs within a context of a film musical, and telling the story through their lyrics, it makes you see their work in ways you hadn’t before. And by forging a queer love story on the screen at a time when LGBTQ rights are in danger of being restricted and revoked, it makes a powerful and positive statement that never turns polemic. These are bold and brilliant achievements — and all of them lie quietly beneath the surface of this incredibly exuberant and upbeat film. It’s the sort of film that works on so many levels, it practically cries out for a soundtrack. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of it. The soundtrack — 18 tracks, including one that Amy and Emily wrote and performed especially for the film, “What We Wanna Be” — is available at iTunes and on all streaming sites, and CDs can be ordered from Amazon.

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