This new recording, "Still Lookin' Up At The Stars", will be as good or better than anything I've released so far. Working with Scott Sawyer as producer has been exciting and rewarding in many ways. Scott brings not only his formidable talent as a guitarist but also insight into my songs. He knows the material and what it is about and what it needs to say. His playing is tasteful, minimalist or expansive but always in service to the song. We both believe the song and it's lyrics are where it begins and the song should do the heavy lifting in performance or recordings.
This project is different for me in that I recorded my songs live in a great studio (Sound Pure) with excellent musicians: Bobby Cohen (drums), John Simonetti (bass and horns), Dave Finucane (sax), Ron Brendle (bass) and Scott Sawyer (electric guitar). Jason Richmond was the engineer and Scott's brother Jon Sawyer flew in from San Francisco to assist mightily. There are limited overdubs and a great live feel for the performances. Some songs were charted out and the poems were mostly one take with complete improvisation from the jazz band.
There are two songs and one spoken word poem on this record that have never been released. The remainder of the tracks are completely new and fresh interpretations of some of my best songs spanning 40 years of playing and writing.
The music business has changed a lot over the years but the creative process remains the same. You sit down with a pencil and paper and create something that wasn't there before and comes from deep inside you. Then you bring the song to great musicians and you feel it take wing to a higher plane. I am very excited about this recording and want you to hear it. Your contribution will be rewarded I promise you and there are premiums for those contributions including a beautiful hand made book of my poetry with my son David's drawings, CDs, house concerts, etc. Thanks for supporting me and Scott through all these years! -- Bruce Piephoff 6/16/11
THEN: Bruce Piephoff & Scott Sawyer met circa 1975 in Greensboro, NC. Bruce had been writing & performing his original songs & poetry for several years; Scott was fresh out of high school and just getting started with his career in music. They hung out with a cast of colorful characters -- including the poet Jim Young and musicians Billy Ransom Hobbs and Dakota Joe -- and performed in the Tate Street venues. Scott left Greensboro in 1983...their paths crossed a few times after that but it wasn't until 2009 that Bruce & Scott reconnected "on-stage"...audience response was overwhelmingly positive. Their careers have taken them in very different directions...but they share much common ground and interests including roots & folk music, jazz & blues, beat poetry, imagery & story telling through words and music.
NOW: Looking back, I appreciate my "early years" in Greensboro more than ever...and feel fortunate to have been a part of such a colorful & creative scene...there is definitely something in the water. Bruce is a prime example. His words and songs are full of imagery...there is so much to work with.
We've completed two days of live tracking at SoundPure Studios, a 1st-class facility in Durham, NC. Jason Richmond is engineering, mixing and contributing to the production (as recording engineers often do, whether or not they receive credit). Brent Lambert will master the final mixes at Kitchen Mastering (world-class) in Carrboro, NC. We'll initially press 1000 CDs and release the album digitally, too.
Through years of personal experience recording & producing music, I've learned how important it is to work with people who connect with your music and are truly excited to be a part of it. This is certainly the case with all involved in this project. There is something to be said for "shared history", too: 100+ years here.
Most of the recording for "Still Looking Up at the Stars" has been completed. So far, all studio time and a portion of the musician expenses has been paid for out-of-pocket. We're asking you to help us raise $7885, which will enable us to reimburse ourselves in part...as well as cover all remaining recording/mixing/production & musician expenses plus mastering, graphic design, and manufacturing of the CDs. Any additional money raised will enable us to set aside money for touring and promotion in support of the album. We're aiming for an early October 2011 release date.
You never know what is around the corner: 3 years ago I had no idea I'd be performing with Bruce again, much less producing an album for him. Life is funny that way. But here we are, celebrating our mutual love of music, poetry, some recently-departed dear friends...and LIFE.
Please help us to spread the word and know that Bruce and I are happy to address any questions or concerns that you may have. We can't wait to finish this album and share it with you...Thank You in advance for your help! -- Scott Sawyer 6/18/2011
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