It has 17 songs on it (Wow - what a bonus for these recession busting times!). Nine of them are mine and the rest are by some people I know, and some people I don't. The arrangements are spare, closer to what you get when you see me live with some songs having an added vocal here, viola, mandolin or guitar there etc. And for the most part, the CD was almost completely recorded "live" which means I actually stood there in front of the mics and played and sang just as I do when I perform live. Most recordings these days are not made this way. Usually every track is recorded separately which makes the recording and the mixing process WAY more easy but then you don't get the energy, verve and idiosyncrasies that a live performance creates either. It all depends on what you're going for and in my case I was going for the latter. It did have its challenges, but it also produced some great tracks. If you listen really closely you can hear me move in and out from the mic with the guitar as I'm moving around while I'm playing, or a "popped" vocal mic here and there, or things I haven't even noticed, but then hey - that's real life.
The arrangements and song choices go from the exuberant guitar and vocal only on "I Like It When Everything's O.K." or the guitar, mandolin and viola (Yes, I made a long awaited dream come true and played viola on this CD. It sounds good but it wasn't as easy as I thought!) and vocal on "Live Forever" to the pensive thoughtful and restrained sounds of Michael Smith's "I Brought My Father With Me" or my own "50 Looks Like Such A Big Number". It contains songs of mine, or others' that I've been doing for a long time like Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talkin'" and songs that are brand new like "Magic Girl" which I wrote during the time the recording was being made.
I was also extremely pleased to be joined by old friends and great performers on this CD. My old friend and past duo partner Marvin Dykhuis joined me on classical guitar on "Angels in My Day" and on mandolin on "Live Forever". Friend and Racine native Zach Johnson who I've been collaborating with on and off for the last five or six years played piano on "Before The Earth was Even Made" and piano and violin on "This Train". My friends from Door County Marise Redamann and Julian Hagen who I've done some trio performing with joined me on
vocals on "Time" and "50 Looks Like Such A Big Number" and on guitar and vocals on "All I Have To Do is Dream". And last but not least, Richard Holly joined me on guitar on an old song of mine he and I used to do as a duo called "Stay With Me" as well as an old Beatle tune we used to do called "I'll Cry Instead". I debated a little about including this last one but I think you'll really like it!
I guess there's a few more songs I haven't mentioned. They'll be surprises and I think you'll like them too.
THE CONCERT WITH RACINE CHORAL ARTS SOCIETY AND MARK PAFFRATH WITH
SPECIAL GUEST ZACH JOHNSON
A few years ago I was approached by Jim Schatzman, conductor and artistic director of the Racine Choral Arts Society and he said he would love to do a collaboration sometime between his group and me and my music and asked me if I'd be interested. I told him I'd totally be up for it.
After a few years' incubation he got a hold of me late last Summer and suggested that we get together and have some preliminary talks about a concert that coming May. Well - that time is here and after a lot of work the collaborative concert is nigh!
This is the Choral Arts Society's last concert of their season. It's called "It's Not Easy Being Green" and among other great musical selections, it will also include a portion during each half of the show that will include me performing my music while being supported by the
chorus singing arrangements specially written to accompany my songs. The arrangements were written by Karel Suchy who is a member of the chorus. I've been to one rehearsal so far where we went through all of the arrangements and let me tell you it is a fantastic experience. So, at the risk of sounding un-humble, for me, for any of my fans and followers, or just those curious about what I'd sound like with a live, almost "movie score" like vocal soundtrack backing me up, this is truly a one time, can't miss opportunity. Incidentally it will also be held
at the Great Hall at the DeKoven Foundation here in Racine which is a place that is not only dear to my heart but also an awe inspiring place to hear a live music concert.
I was asked by the chorus if I know anybody who could play some of the violin or piano parts that are on the recording of some of the songs we'll be doing. I made a preliminary call to Zach Johnson who, as you recall, played on the CD. As it turns out he was going to be in town this weekend and was actually looking for a gig that night so we found him one and it will be an added treat for everyone to be able to have him join us.
CD RELEASE EVENT
Could it get any better? Yes! this concert is also going to function as a kind of CD release event as it will be the first time and place that my new CD will be available. I first told Jim Schatzman that I chose the May 8th date as a deadline and CD release date because I knew about the show and that there would probably be people there that would be interested in it. But I said that doesn't necessarily mean it needed to be a CD release event but he said "No, no, no, we'd love to make the concert a CD release event!" So how could I argue with that. So as a result, yes, I will be playing songs from the new CD and yes, it will be available there that night!