WE DID IT!!! Square Peg was #8 May 2016 on Folk DJ!

Square Peg: CD

Square Peg: CD

In cart Not available Out of stock

This CD is a MUST LISTEN!! I give this a hearty STANDING OVATION!! – Michael McKenna, Nor'easter Entertainment Magazine

Featuring duets with Lori Lieberman and David Buskin and a cast of music's finest players.

Sign up to receive news about Square Peg, Shows and More!

For now, enjoy a free download from Open Book :-)

Please prove that you are not a robot

"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"
For recent radio interviews, go HERE.

Click to read the: 
 Story Behind the CD

Square Peg - The story behind the CD

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. 
XO, 
Marci  

Sing Out! Magazine Review:

Square Peg Makes a Perfect Fit 

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-Marci-GDE3833.jpg
Ron Olesko and Marci Geller 
at WFDU-FM 

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 

 

Nor'Easter Entertainment Magazine Review:

Marci Geller 
“Square Peg” CD 
Marci Geller is one of those musicians, who after listening to her, one would feel that you've been listening to her music for years. She can be mysterious, but playful, she can have a serious side and she can exude happiness all in the same breath. She uses the power of her songwriting talents, her powerful vocals and those signature melodies to grab the listener and hold them captive. She has received many kudos from many sources including the Independent Songwriter magazine and has appeared on many different shows and TV outlets in her career. She also toured for 2 years with legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore's Folk-Renaissance Band and has shared the stage with countless other musical luminaries. 

This 12-track CD, “Square Peg” features renowned musicians including Lori Leiberman, David Buskin, Mya Byrne, Barbara Kessler, Craig Akin, Brian Dunne from hall & Oates and Jon Preddice from Miles To Dayton. The list of contributing musicians on this LP are as long as my arm and include many well-known players. 

The CD opens with “Save Me” feat. Lori Leiberman, a faith-based track that captures you from the door. “I'm Not Yours Yet” is a fun-sounding ditty in the mold of a Joni Mitchell with a Midwest feel. Marci's vox are dominating and the harmonies tight and precise. “She Was Happy Then” takes you to Marci's serious side with this old-country sound where we hear the strings nicely compliment this tune. “Strong” sends a powerful message through this lyrical masterpiece. The country overtones with the slide steel are refreshing. “Forgotten Dreams” is a faith-based number that gets deep into Marci's feelings. This reminds me of Natalie Grant. “Back Around” gives me a feeling of listening to some down-home country. This upbeat retro-sounding track is so fun to listen to! 

“I Just Love You” evokes memories of days gone by. I like the pop this tune has to it and the hook is infectious. The simple composure makes this track jump out at the listener. “Only Love Matters'” feat. David Buskin hears David and Marci with some awesome harmonies that make this one of the best on this LP. “Nearly” comes from the heart as we hear Marci go all out. The story behind this is probably some event she has experienced in her life! “Sally Knows” takes you to a place that one hardly ventures into. The passion behind the tune is overwhelming. “Won't You Stay” is so very touching. It gives the listener the feeling of being there as she describes her experience. The final track, “Would You Still Believe” is so Carole King. The composition, vocal deflection and style are a total match with this legendary singer. 

Marci Geller's ability to jump from Faith-Based to Country-Influenced to Roots to Folk-Renaissance is remarkable. Her powerful, angelic voice hypnotizes one instantly. The artistic and poetic lyrics, the expert musicianship and the creative compositions are magnificent. The guest artists on this effort offer some much talent and creativity that this effort should jump on to the charts with little effort. I can see this CD crossing over into many different formats easily. 
This CD is a MUST LISTEN!! I give this a hearty STANDING OVATION!! Well Done! 
Review by Michael McKenna – Nor'easter Entertainment Magazine —

Lovely Listener Quotes

"Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Marci Geller is a musical treasure!  Now traveling and performing all over the country, she is, at once, a singer of extraordinary ability, a songwriter of intelligent and poetic lyrics and styling’s and a keyboardist/guitarist with a style that brings her musical adventures to a most satisfying listening experience!  

Her latest CD/download 'Square Peg' is chock full of memorable songs that, while defying categorization, remain 'Marci'. Be sure to catch her in concert next time she visits your town! "
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. 

Susan Devita: "Okay, the first time you listen to "Square Peg", it's because you love Marci Geller.. The second time, it's because you love the songs!! Not only a dear friend and one time bandmate, she also happens to be the real thing. I'm serious. Have a listen!! xx"

Anthony Pomes: "Marci Geller's Square Peg makes good on a continued quest and promise, both to herself and her always-growing international audience, to bring forth through sound and thought and melody that which is uniquely and inalienably hers. On these twelve remarkable new tracks, Geller licks the age-old trick of maintaining artistic continuity while pushing on into brave new realms of personal expression and craft. She has the selfless wisdom to share the performance of her new songs only with those accompanying musicians who know best how to enhance and contribute to what she creates. Whether accompanying her own strong and tuneful voice on piano or more increasingly now on acoustic guitar, Ms. Geller has entered that rarified space into which only our deepest and truest original artists thrust themselves. Where fate conquers fear and sound swallows silence, there is where Marci Geller's voice and visions reside. Square Peg is Ms. Geller's finest and fiercest album to date."

Joseph Gioglio: "Marci, I finally had some quiet time to listen to your album today and I wanted you to know that i think it's amazing! Beautiful and inspiring." 

David E Schwartz: "Everybody should run, not walk to buy Marci Geller's new CD, Square Peg!!‪"

Austin Mazor: "Loved It!"

Renee Weitzner: "Love the new album, Marci Geller! Love the collaboration between the different artists like Lori Lieberman, David Buskin, Marshal Aaron Rosenberg and so many other wonderful talents. Each time I listen, I hear a new favorite song.... Just beautiful!!!!!"

Robyn Frankel Martin‎: "Hi Marci, this is to tell you sincerely, the songs on Square Peg are masterful, delightful, lovable. Your best, better creation thus far. Kudos to you. Just sayin. Love, Lovely listener. Back around stands out."

Robert Yahn & Jodi Lamhut: "Friends if you want to hear a great piece of art here it is! Marci's cd is great!"

Merrell Feuer Angstreich: "Marci Geller creates earworms without even trying. Her songs not only stay with you, they randomly pop into your head and make your day better when you least expect it."

Gail Prusslin: "Only Love Matters" featuring David Buskinis simply stunning!"

Alan Marzelli: "Love the album! Great follow up to Open Book!"

Ron Meixsell; "I Love the new CD.  It really expresses your heart Marci!!!

"Patricia Bologna: "I just listened to this album. Wonderful!"

Judy Blinn Oliver: "I just finished listening to the CD and it's perfect to listen to with a glass of wine and good company."

Susan Kane: "Oh yeah! Marci Geller's new CD is just magnificent, go get your own copy ASAP!!

Karen Wenz Haugen: "I am loving Marci Geller's new CD "Square Peg". Marci's songwriting is sometimes playful and whimsical, sometimes earthy, sometimes serious and emotional, sometimes nostalgic. And always inspiring. Her guest artists contribute beautiful harmonies and musical depth to Marci's already talented effort. I am not a professional musician or critic, but I do know that I really enjoy Marci's music."
 

John Breckenridge: "Recently I received Marci Geller 's new CD, "Square Peg" in addition to her 2102 CD "Open Book". "Square Peg" is an awesome 12 track of original music, absolutely Love the CD, especially track 3, "She Was Happy Then", track 5, "Forgotten Dreams", and track 8, "It's Only Love That Matters". I highly recommend to purchase "Square Peg" what a great CD. Thanks Marci for personally autographing "Square Peg", great CD."


 

EACH SONG HAS A STORY...
SPOILER ALERT! Some folks don't want to know the true-truth about a song. I fully respect that. If you want to maintain the mystery, hold onto your own interpretation, then skip this section.
If you want to know the inner workings....

Here's how they came to be:


Save Me: It was mid-March and I headed out for my morning run. I was quite sure that winter would never end.  Running is the only way I'm able to combat the heavy dose of SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder) that I experience each year, and that tends to throb most severely in March.

All of a sudden, I heard bagpipes in the distance. At first I thought I was hearing things. Then I thought "Have I died?" Yep, that's how my noggin works. Turns out it was a lone woman practicing in our neighborhood park. Well of course, it was the Friday before St. Patrick's Day! DOH! As I ran my miles, the bagpipes persisted, and the chorus flooded my brain "I've searched high, I fell low. Lost my savior long ago. Now I know that it's the music that will save me." 

I knew from its inception that I wanted another voice to join me on the track. I can't begin to tell you how humbled that that person turned out to be legendary singer-songwriter and blessed friend, Lori Lieberman

I'm Not Yours Yet: I picked up playing guitar again after a very long hiatus. I was getting frustrated at how limited I was due to basically being a beginner. I remembered hearing guitar-playing friends talk about DADGAD-a way of tuning the guitar that allowed for thicker, richer chords without having to have the dexterity of an advanced player. I went online. learned how to tune my baby guitar in this fashion and went into writing mode.

I took my newly fashioned baby to a "Jack Hardy Songwriter's Exchange" meeting. What I originally wrote was "I'm not sure yet" but one of the attendees laughed when he saw the lyrics I had handed out and said "I thought you said 'I'm not yours yet'" I liked it so much better and it brought into focus what I was really trying to get at.

I rewrote the entire lyric to reflect this new perspective, and that's the story!

She Was Happy Then: I stumbled upon this Facebook group called "The Fearless Songwriter Challenge" and decided the time was ripe to amp up my stress levels and dive in head first. I wrote an entire blog about the process which you can read HERE. If you're not up for reading the whole blog, in a nutshell you are given a prompt every day and asked to write, do a basic recording and then post your creation every day for seven consecutive days. 

The very first day of the very first FSC I ever did birthed this song. The prompt was a turn of the century painting called "Boston Common at Twilight." I fought it at first-I had been expecting a verbal prompt and was annoyed when I saw a painting. Then I got over myself, let the muse grab a hold of me, and voila, this song was written in under an hour.

Strong: See above-another Fearless song...another time in my life when uncertainty was a giant cloud. I loved the song from the get-go, even though very often I break up a bit when trying to sing it. It just hits one of those very deep nerves in me. What made it come to life listening to my brilliant husband who suggested I contract conductor/arranger Paul Michael Barkan to add his magical touch. He not only scored the arrangement, but connected me with Andrew Perea who coordinated the quartet AND gave me such confidence. His enthusiasm and passion really drove the session which we web-broadcast. You can watch a recording of that webcast HERE and HERE.

Forgotten Dreams: I was in Toronto for the very first time attending my very first Folk Alliance International conference. There is a festival that happens in TX called "Kerrville Folk Festival" that attends the conference and hosts this songwriter breakfast challenge. Basically, on day one of the conference, you reach into a box, pull out a piece of paper with a prompt on it, and then have until Sunday morning to come up with something to share at the breakfast. Mind you, at these conferences you get on average about 4 hours of sleep and are out and about all day and night singing, networking and exploring...

When I pulled the prompt  "Forgotten Dreams" I decide to let it marinate a while. I went for a morning run...in Toronto...in February...in 9° weather. It wasn't cold, it was painful. Anyway, I digress. I kept getting this strange image of someone being ready to "transition" over to the other side, but everyone who was heartbroken holding them here on this Earthly plane. I thought it pretty strange, and sort of fatalistic, but allowed it to seep into my psyche.

A few miles away from the hotel I heard in my head "Lay down your head and follow the angels." I knew this was the start of something powerful, so I ran back at full speed. I also had a wonderful, supportive and TOLERANT friend Mira Shapiro who was my roommate. She made sure she gave me the space to flesh this one out. To this day she can claim she was there for the inception and birth of this baby.

Oddly enough, when I returned home from FAI, I received word that a friend to our community Steve Minissalle was in the process of transitioning. To this day, I feel like he sent me those images. I also find comfort knowing that this song has taken on a life of its own since Mya Byrne honored me by covering it on her latest CD. Her rendition always reduces me to tears.

Back Around: I think this was my second guitar ditty penned after resurrecting my guitar playing addiction. I was frustrated with my limited ability and also wasn't feeling confident in my ability to strum. Thankfully my good friend and frequent collaborator David Cook came to the rescue. He showed me some nifty tricks, tips and disciplines to strengthen my ability. 

The irony here is...and I'll try and keep this as concise as possible....I ran into the head of A&R for the last label that I had worked with in hopes of releasing Box of Truth. Long story short, after getting my hopes raised ridiculously high, the A&R dude was let go, my CD went into what felt like an infinite limbo, and once again I found myself questioning everything. Ok, so scroll forward, I survived the demise of my record deal. I decided to release BOT on my label and get on with my life.

The last thing I expected was to run into him managing a local music store. Music store didn't sing well so I changed it to a dollar store, and also turned him into an ex-lover. I have found that most people who are not musicians relate to the heartbreak of bad deals and wanted to make it more universal. I took this one to a Songwriter Exchange meeting and tweaked it to its current form.

I Just Love You: This was also birthed out of the very first Fearless. I think it took about 20 minutes to write and Gian (My husband, and the object of my love) refers to it as my "homage to Burt Bacharach." I'll take it.

It's pretty easy to figure out-we spend a lot of time physically apart, but always have connected hearts. I think my favorite thing about the song is the "oooh's" and how we had such a hard time staying serious in the studio when we recorded them. I made an executive decision to keep the Tom-foolary in because love just like life can be messy at times, and that's what makes it sweet.

Only Love Matters: This song originally appeared on an all-original holiday CD that Sonic Underground put out as a fund raiser years ago. The song got a decent amount of soundtrack placements, some very unexpected.

I remember Gian and I coming home from my Great Uncle Herb's funeral. We were both just spent and crashed on our respective sofas in our den and turned on the boob-tube. The TV turned onto VH-1 and was airing an episode of Celebrity Rehab-the one with Gary Busey. We both looked at each other as Gary made his heartfelt speech to his fellow celebs causing them all to cry and bond. I said to Gian "That sounds really familiar," to which he responded "that's YOU." And so yes my friends, my big soundtrack moment; my song was played on Celebrity rehab...the paycheck was good!

I was deciding on tracks for the new CD when a longtime, dear friend Amy Rosen "reminded" me that she had asked for a new release of this particular song numerous times. It was time to honor her request. It was intimidating until the idea of asking the remarkable David Buskin to join me in a duet brought it back to new life. 

Nearly: This is sort of the bittersweet sequel to Back Around. Where in Back Around I found empowerment, running into the new A&R head who killed my deal...that was harder for me. Again, realizing that not many can connect to the pain of disappointment as an artist, I translated the story to be about a toxic lover. In essence, that's exactly what it felt like at the time.

Sally Knows: Another song prompted by another song challenge. This time I was attending the NERFA conference (North East Regional Folk Alliance) for the first time since we had disbanded my band Lucky 13. I was finding my way, and not sure if I still fit into this world of guitar laden folks. I heard that DJ Angela Page was handing out song prompts, and if you were able to write and record a basic track by the following Tuesday, she would play it on her show.

These conferences require a magnitude of constant energy, and being that I was already feeling a bit uncertain, I had escaped to this balcony that overlooks the lobby of the conference hotel. I could still hear the din of the hundreds of bustling musicians, DJs and venue presenters, but was far enough removed that it gave me a clearer perspective. It came to me: I am worthy of being heard; I have something to offer; I have my wisdom, and my years, and my stories. I took a deep breath and descended back down to the lobby.

It was at that moment that I ran into Angela and I asked her for a prompt. She gave me "Sally Knows" and I got this tingle up my neck. I wrote a song for the "Sally" in all of us, recorded a rough track when I got home and heard it played on the air. This version on the CD is actually a whole step higher than the original writing/recording. That's what happens when you don't sleep, sing all day and night and then try to record!

Won't You Stay?: I've previously eluded to my struggles with SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder). It usually starts seeping into my brain towards the end of October when the days are getting noticeably shorter and cooler. Gian my husband and I squeak in as many last walks on our favorite beach before it gets too icy to navigate the bluffs. I have such a love affair with the water. Just being near it helps me breathe a little easier. When I know that it's time to say farewell until the next Spring, the melancholy is palpable.

This song is reflective. It came to me when I woke one morning with that heaviness. I took a deep breath and reminded myself of our warm and comforting meal the night before. I reminded myself that I would emerge in Spring and do my best during winter to stay happy. At the time I was also making peace with a friendship that what transitioning from musical partnership to being only friendship. Again, I took this musical "break-up" and translated it into a love-lost song that is haunting and hopefully hopeful.

Would You Still Believe?: Another song birthed by the Fearless Songwriter Challenge, and inspired by my best friend, love of my life, partner, and husband Gian DiMauro. If it weren't for him, this album would not be. Nor would this song. He was the first person to introduce the "Non-Beach Boys" brilliance of Brian Wilson to me. As a kid I danced to the Beach Boys and I remember when my Mom bought an album called "Transcendental Meditation" because she had not only recently learned TM herself, but had brought my sister and me to be trained as well. I remember hoping no one would find out we were "meditators" because it seemed so odd. I am of course, ever-thankful to my Mom for enriching my soul with this practice since my childhood...but I digress.

My husband Gian is one of the most sensitive and kindest people I have ever met. He connected so deeply with Brian and even resembles him a bit (although I think he's WAY more handsome ;-). Gian played me songs from Pet Sounds and Smile when we first met because he wanted to expand my understanding of Brian. It infected my brain and it certainly expresses itself in my writing.

When I sat down to write this particular "Fearless" song, I knew that I was writing it for Gian. It is honest and is one big question. I know he loves it-it's his favorite song on this CD. It felt perfect to end with this piece and to once again enlist the talent of Paul Michael Barkan to arrange and conduct the string quartet. 

Orphans...There were many songs that didn't make their way onto this collection. It is my hope to spend some time recording them when I'm not on the road and share those too. Many appear in the Fearless Songwriter Challenge Blog. If you can tolerate 1-take, ruff recordings done on an iPhone, they're there to experience. Until then, live big, be you, celebrate your Square Peg'ish-ness!