This is my third album release of 2017, and a departure from the last few. This album is mostly non-political, and while I can't help to some extent reflecting on the times around us, it's more about family, relationships, life, etc.
All of the songs except the lead-off track "Ruth" and 'Hovercraft of Eels" were written by me in the last few months. Here's some thoughts about some of the songs:
"Ruth" is a song about my amazing grandmother, written shortly after she died in 2008. Among other talents, Ruth was an incredible piano player, with the ability to play just about the entire catalog of jazz standards, in any key, at the drop of a hat. Serious dancer (once danced with Gene Kelly) and lots more, too. I decided to revisit the song now as I had written new songs about her sister (Elsie) and her (ex-) husband (Sid), both of which appear on this album. I thought I might as well have that side of the family tree be more fully represented. (The earlier 2008 recording of "Ruth" , with the great Tom Ricciuti on guitar and bass, is on my album "Ship of State". In this brand new version of "Ruth" , I play everything, including lead guitar and bass.)
"Aunt Elsie" is an acoustic guitar-and-harmonica song about Ruth's sister, who looked and sounded very different then Ruth. "Grandpa Sid" was Ruth's first husband, and my grandfather. He had alot of different sides, some better then others, and alot of his history I only learned about after his death. Was always pleasant to me, but there were some mysterious elements there for sure.
"Never Occurred" posits questions about the role of coincidence and chance, both in our individual lives, and in history as well.
"Hovercraft of Eels" was a lyric I had and the music was written four or five years ago by a dear departed friend of mine, Paul "Hoops" Turrell, who died in Jan 2017. The only recording from that time has Hoops doing all the instruments and singing- I've recently started performing this song at a few live gigs, and thought I'd record 'my' version (which has an extra little bridge between verses but is otherwise faithful to his musical vision). Its a fun little bit of Monty Python-inspired nonsense.
"Invisible Mask" is a true story about a certain rock star who did a wonderfully kind thing many years ago that no-one at the time knew about.
"Number 42" is about the late great baseball player Jackie Robinson. "9th inning blues' references a famous baseball play involving the Mets and the 1986 season. I'm not a serious baseball fan, but was inspired to write these two songs as a friend, Ronnie Norpel, runs an open mic nearby (called tract-187 at the underground) and one month the theme was 'baseball' so i thought I'd come up with something.
The first verse of "The Dreamers" was heard in an earlier form on my last album 'Summer of the Orange Disaster' and it's been rewritten and expanded for this release.
"Stormy Season" is a delta slide blues I wrote that I play on a baritone tricone resonator guitar. It addressed climate change, and while this album is largely non-political, I couldn't resist putting something about this important issue on here.
"Take it easy but take it" is a phrase associated with Woody Guthrie- I used it as a refrain/chorus, and wrote and recorded the song at the last minute, so there's a little sloppy guitar work, tho hopefully not too sloppy. Fun to do a few longer solos, too.
Enjoy! I had fun creating it, hope you have fun listening! Let me know what you think....
-Mike Skliar Nov 29, 2017
released November 30, 2017
Mike Skliar- acoustic guitars, bass, mandolin, baritone tricone resonator guitar, harmonica, drum & percussion programming, shakers and percussion, keyboards, 'virtual glockenspiel and trombone', lead and background vocals.
All songs written by Mike Skliar, (c) M. Skliar all rights reserved
( except "Hovercraft of Eels" -lyric by Mike Skliar, music by Paul "Hoops" Turrell.)