WE DID IT!!! Square Peg was #8 May 2016 on Folk DJ!
"Marci Geller is a true artist: passionate and gifted with the drive to constantly evolve as a songwriter. “Square Peg” is a brilliant example of how a dedicated writer connects with the heart of their audience."
-Joltin Joe Pszonek, Radio Nowhere On WMSC and Radio Nowhere Internet Radio
"This CD is a MUST LISTEN!! I give this a hearty STANDING OVATION!!"
-Michael McKenna – Nor'easter Entertainment Magazine
"Her latest CD/download 'Square Peg' is chock full of memorable songs that, while defying categorization, remain 'Marci'."
-Norm Prusslin Founding General Manager, WUSB 90.1FM, Long Island, Co-Founder, Long Island Music Hall of Fame, President/Chair Emeritus, Intercollegiate Broadcasting System, Inc.
"Gorgeous. And oh, so timely." - Michael Tearson, Former Sirius/XM--on air host Deep Tracks
"Square Peg is a pleasure to listen to the first time and even more of a treat upon repeated hearings..." - David Amram, Composer/Conductor/Multi-Instrumentalist/Author
"Like an angel coming down from The Heavens, Marci's songs and voice will touch, and captivate your heart'"
- Jon Stein, Hootenanny Café, WTBQ-FM
"For the lover of songwriters in the best 70's-tradition (think of Carole King, James Taylor, Carly Simon and Jackson Browne) " - Stijntsje is get! Magazine/Blogspot - The Netherlands
"It is a thoroughly delightful CD" - John Sillberg, CKOL Radio 93.7FM
"Marci's passionate songs and beautiful vocals combine for a stirring performance." - Ron Olesko, WFDU-FM 89.1 Traditions
- Joltin' Joe Pszonek - RadioNowhere Top 10Top 25
- Razzi Entertainment
- Rich Warren - THE MIDNIGHT SPECIAL "Rich's Picks
- Bill Hahn, WFDU Brunch with Bill "Singled Out"
Hidden away in a drawer of an old dresser in our attic, I have a full container of smoothed glass pieces from my childhood. Until now, I have shared it with but one person, my husband, who loves me in spite of myself. Today it serves as a metaphor, however the shudder it can evoke on a cloudy, rainy day is all too real. You see, when I was in sixth grade, I had the sudden realization that I was different from all the other kids. It hit me so hard, that I decided then and there that I didn’t have any true friends, and it was best that I exile myself to avoid being ridiculed or worse.
Sixth grade recess is no easy environment. It sorts out the winners from the losers. It establishes the natural order of classmates in a way that is undefinable, yet understood by any kid who attends school. In order to survive recess, I adopted this bizarre ritual that gave the appearance of being busy with purpose. While the other kids ran, laughed and played, I sat in the rock bed that surrounded the perimeter of the school, and picked out all the pieces of smooth glass I could find. I remember maybe one or two kids asking what I was doing and when I shrugged my shoulders, they re-entered the playing field with the other kids, never considering me again. No grownups bothered me. Perhaps I looked so focused that they believed me too. I had a mission. What I really had was many hours to contemplate life and my position.
The interesting thing about it is, I now ponder if I really was so different, or if I just “decided” that I was, and therefore, didn’t fit it? Is it possible that all of us think we’re different, but pretend to be “normal,” and then appear to be? When I consider what made me feel unlike the other children, my only answer is that I believed that I didn’t belong. That my obsessions which included books, music and my microscope would freak out the bicycle/ball/doll fixated beings that I shared the classroom with. It isn’t surprising to me that my music career can ofttimes feel like a rock bed filled with smooth glass.
As with so many creative inspirations, while on my daily run, far from our home, the idea of calling the latest CD Square Peg exploded in my brain. That was it. It defined not only how I feel as I walk this life, but also what the CD itself sounded like.
As with previous releases, there was no specific genre to it. This collection of songs that I birthed and remain in love with while simultaneously feeling a mother-like protection over, is eclectic at best. I have tried to discipline myself to write in a consistent genre. Of course as soon as I resign myself to this idea, my creative spark rebels with music that seduces me, and quite often, leaves me feeling like a jilted lover. I have searched fruitlessly for a musical community where I make sense. Don’t get me wrong. I have made wonderful friends, and I have wonderful listeners. They are few, but make up for in quality what I lack in quantity.
What I have come to understand is, I am who I am. I am ever-evolving, and yet that still sets me orbiting in my own little universe. I wonder if this collection of songs was sent to me for that reason-to provide a safe haven for other square pegs?
I can say without hesitation that the songs if nothing else, are honest. I think they express joy, pain, loneliness and remarkable love. Many were composed during the numerous creative challenges I embark on; The Fearless Songwriter Challenge, The Kerrville Songwriter’s Breakfast at FAI, The Jack Hardy Songwriters Exchange. All of these became culprits in channeling my stress into music. I can also confess that the recording of this collection did not come without its challenges. There were many.
Technical issues, creative transgressions, one angry Kickstarter backer who harassed me to the point of considering throwing in the towel. There were logistical issues with musicians, an almost never-ending winter, and the worst hurdle, my own heart and head that betrayed me in the midst of it all. Thankfully, my husband/partner/co-producer and engineer Gian kept calm through all of my storms. He allowed me my tantrums and consoled me through tears and self-doubt.
What we produced is what we both believe to be a magical mishmash of songs that will hopefully fulfill the souls of our fellow Square Pegs. It is my gift to myself, to him, and to you. I think my deepest hope is that it helps even but one person feel a little less alone. That will make it a success a for me.
Carry on my fellow SP’s. Be brave, be different. Face your fear, regardless of your own perceived limitations. Know that I am here, admitting what I now choose to label as uniqueness, and hoping the same for you. I hope that this CD can become the soundtrack to your story, and celebrate the embracing of your container of smooth glass pieces.
Sing Out! Magazine Review:
May 19, 2016Ron Olesko
& WFDU-FM’s TRADITIONS Playlist for May 15, 2016
Honesty and challenge are two factors that Marci Geller used to her advantage to create a masterpiece of a CD with her latest release Square Peg. A songwriter whose profile has been rising in recent years, Marci writes catchy tunes, heartfelt lyrics and employs her stunning voice to deliver a mesmerizing collection of songs. Marci visited my show this week to share the songs and the story of how this came to be.
While Square Pegs contains some very personal songs, Marci makes each song relatable to the listener. The songs celebrate many facets of love including some difficult topics such as bumping into former lovers, rejecting suitors, ending relationships and maintaining a distant relationship. There are also songs such as “Only Love Matters” (sung with guest David Buskin), that offers a reminder about the power of love. Expressions of pain and joy and ultimately hope.
The CD was crowd sourced through a Kickstarter campaign. The honesty that Marci displayed in this campaign, as well as her talent, led to raising 130% of the goal. As part of the process, she invited her backers to watch live video feeds of the CD being recorded in the studio. The resulting CD proves that her fans and backers were well rewarded for their faith.
In the campaign, Marci explained the significance of the CD’s title, Square Peg. Marci revealed that she felt isolated when growing up. In my interview with Marci, she recalled spending time alone during middle school, sitting in the schoolyard by herself and picking out pieces of smooth glass that she found in a rock bed by the school. While the other kids would play with Barbie dolls or join in games, Marci was more interested in books, music and silent contemplation. This introspection helped nurture her creativity, and today we see the results.
The release of the CD itself was delayed due to a massive flood that wiped out her in-home recording studio, followed by her father suffering two heart attacks. He has recovered, and so has Marci, and we now have the CD. Besides these challenges, the majority of the songs on Square Pegs are also the results of challenges of the creative type.
Over the course of the past few years, Marci participated in several “song challenges” including the Fearless Songwriters Challenge, the Kerrville Songwriters Breakfast challenge, Jack Hardy’s Songwriter Exchange and others. These “challenges” are creative exercises where songwriters are given a topic or a source of inspiration and asked to write a song within an allotted time frame. The late Jack Hardy often stressed how important it was for a songwriter to keep writing songs on a regular basis, and the conditioning required to maintain a rigorous schedule would help the artist improve their work. Challenges like the ones Marci participated in often involve discussion among the songwriters who participate, opening up new insights. These challenges, with self-imposed deadlines, push the songwriter to look beyond their comfort level by offering new inspiration and exposing the craft of creating songs in a new light. The artist often is required to post their creations online. The results can be mixed, but as in Marci’s case, gems are often uncovered through this process.
Ron Olesko and Marci Geller
One of my favorite cuts on Square Pegs is a product of the Fearless Songwriters Challenge. The evocative song called “She Was Happy Then” was inspired by an image of the famous Childe Hassam painting “Boston Commons at Twilight.” The participants of the challenge were given this image, and at first the 1880s painting stumped Marci. After studying the work, she focused on the woman in the painting who is seen holding a child’s hand. Marci began imagining what that woman’s life and thoughts were at that moment and she created this lovely song in less than an hour.
Another memorable cut is “Forgotten Dreams,” a song that came from a Kerrville Folk Festival sponsored songwriters breakfast challenge that was held at a Folk Alliance conference. The participants were asked to pull a slip of paper from a box and write a song. Written on Marci’s slip were the words “Forgotten Dreams.” While thinking about the words, Marci began thinking of images of a person transitioning to the other side, while friends and family kept holding this person here on our earthly plain. Marci created this song and performed it on the final day of the conference. When she arrived home, she learned that her close friend and friend of the folk community, Steve Minnisale, was in the process of transitioning. Marci firmly believes that Steve’s spirit sent her the images that nurtured the creation of this song. The song was also covered by Mya Byrne on her CD As I Am.
Marci is joined by a number of her friends and folk community mainstays on this recording. The first cut, “Save Me,”features legendary singer-songwriter Lori Lieberman on backing vocals. This song grew out of Marci dealing with a case of SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder) after a particularly long winter. David Buskin joins Marci for the song “Only Love Matters.” An earlier recording of this song appeared on the reality show Celebrity Rehab as background to actor Gary Busey opening up about his issues.
In addition to Lori Lieberman and David Buskin, other guest artists appearing on Square Peginclude Mya Byrne, Barbara Kessler, Craig Akin, Brian Dunne from Hall & Oates and Jon Preddice from Miles To Dayton. Conductor/arranger Paul Michael Barkan added his touch to several cuts, along with a well-placed string quartet to round out the sound on this diverse collection of songs.
Click below to hear Ron Olesko’s interview with Marci Geller discussing Square Pegs.
Originally broadcast on WFDU-FM’s TRADITIONS on May 15, 2016