In 20 Photos….Willie Nelson, a High School Reunion, and a Clean(er) Studio.

What I’ve been up to over the summer – in 20 photos.

1.Traveled up a winding road to the top of a mountain in Saratoga, California to see Willie Nelson and Kasey Musgraves at The Mountain Winery.
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2. Got to the top of the mountain and took in the view. Look at that sun!
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3. Gazed into the valley. Thought about my favorite novel, East of Eden.
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4. Checked out the amphitheater. Cool, huh?IMG_6702

5. Sat back and relaxed. Date night, beer, great music, no toddler.
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6. Watched the sunset and listened to Kasey Musgraves. Wow, she blew me away.IMG_7232

7. Watched the legend himself, Willie Nelson. More beer and “Always on My Mind”.IMG_7272

8. I flew to Florida, where I grew up. Usually the first thing I do when I’m in town is get boiled peanuts. If you are from The South, you know about boiled peanuts. Thinking about family and friends in Florida right now, as Hurricane Irma is blowing across the state as I write.IMG_6400

9. I was in town for my high school reunion. I attended The Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, a visual and performing arts high school. Ya know, just like “Fame”. It has changed a lot since I was there. Now they have a sculpture garden.IMG_6500

10. There it is, my old locker. IMG_6504

11. Did I mention a lot has changed since I attended there? Now they have a full fledged jazz recording studio! I went there the first year it opened. We just had a trailer in the school parking lot for a few music classes. It was really impressive to see how the school has developed over the years and the opportunities students now have to develop their artistic talents. IMG_6523

12. They also now have a fully built out theatre. Did I mention our theatre was the un-air-conditioned gym?IMG_6525

13. Every good arts school should have student sculpture in the library. IMG_6590

14. Also, an incredibly cool wire car sculpture. I wish I knew who did these pieces, as I would give them credit here. IMG_6589

15. Oh yes, the reunion itself! You know when you go to a performing arts high school, there will be “A Chorus Line” style kick line at the party. IMG_6649

16. Finally getting around to cleaning my studio.IMG_7769

17. See, nothing on the floor.IMG_7768

18. Last, but not least, the beach. IMG_7046

19. There is always a time for the beach. We sat and watched the waves.IMG_7055

20. Now the real last, but not least. Always time for a hug.IMG_6341

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Maybe my work studio should become my play studio.

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I have a room in my house that functions as my music studio. My instruments are in there. My computer and recording gear is in there. My desk is in there. Everything music related is in there. But somehow, I never seem to get around to organizing it or giving it much love. It remains a bit of a mess on a regular basis. What I find instead is that I work all over other parts of the house, inside and out.

For example, my dining room table is probably my favorite place to write out music and do research. My backyard has lately been my favorite place to practice, come up with new ideas on the guitar, or write in my journal. Soon I will likely start recording vocals in my bathroom. I keep giving myself the goal of cleaning and organizing my studio but I never do it. Maybe it’s because I lived in New York City for so long in small apartments with barely enough room for a music studio that makes me want to spread out. Maybe it’s because I’m a procrastinator. Maybe I’m just a mess maker. Who knows.

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I’ve started noticing that the places I end up working in are the same places in my house where my kid is playing. Right next to his train set in the living room. Right next to his dirt garden outside where he runs his trucks around. He doesn’t play in his room either. His toys, as you can see in the pictures above, are usually spread out all over the house. Maybe this means my work feels more like play. Maybe I can’t work in a space with four walls and a desk. I wonder if I make my work area seem more like a play area if I’ll be inspired to create in it. I think it’s time to bring the outdoors and a different set up to my studio. I’m thinking plants, flowers, a dining room table, and an Adirondack chair. Maybe also a sand box? What do you think? I’d love to know.

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That’s all folks. Hope you are having a great week and enjoying your summer, wherever you may be. Before I sign off, did you know I have a new Instagram account just for RachelLeeWalsh music? Find me there at RachelLeeWalsh if you want to connect.

 

New friends. Old renditions.

I’ve been making new friends this week. Musician friends that is. I went to play with a new ensemble, went to hear a great New Orleans jazz band in Oakland, and scheduled a few upcoming meet ups to play with a couple of piano players and other bands. I took this little amp and some new songs with me to play with the new jazz ensemble.AmpChartsI’ve also been doing more research on renditions of songs I’m including in my set list. I went back to one of my all time favorite jazz standards, How High The Moon and my favorite rendition of it by Mary Ford and Les Paul. I just love Mary’s voice on this version and if you watch the video you can see Les Paul using some early multitrack recording tactics, which he pioneered. HowHighTheMoonI’ve also been listening to some older Norah Jones songs. I might have to add my own version of Come Away With Me to my set.

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That’s all folks. Have a great week. See you on the flip side.

 

 

My 66 Favorite Jazz Standards

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As you know, I’m in the process of putting together a jazz ensemble. I’ve been digging around, figuring out songs to put on the set list. In the process, I’ve been re-discovering some songs I really just love. Songs like “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” by Cole Porter and “My Funny Valentine” by Rodgers and Hart. Below are my 66 of my favorites!  Why 66, you ask? Well, it’s just how many were really moving me this week. It also had such a nice “Route 66” ring to it! There are probably 1 or 2 on the list that aren’t officially jazz standards (Nina Simone), but I couldn’t resist including them. What are your favorites? Have any recommendations of songs I should add to this list and maybe add to my live set?

  1. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
  2. I Could Write a Book
  3. My Baby Just Cares for Me
  4. It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)
  5. My Funny Valentine
  6. All of Me
  7. Body and Soul
  8. But Not For Me
  9. You Go To My Head
  10. Round Midnight
  11. Misty
  12. It Had To Be You
  13. Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
  14. Blue Skies
  15. For Sentimental Reasons
  16. Take The A Train
  17. They Can’t Take That Away from Me
  18. Someone to Watch Over Me
  19. St. James Infirmary
  20. Our Love is Here To Stay
  21. Straighten Up and Fly Right
  22. Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby?
  23. Ain’t Misbehavin’
  24. Stompin’ at the Savoy
  25. Satin Doll
  26. Blue Gardenia
  27. Autumn Leaves
  28. Lullaby of Birdland
  29. High How the Moon
  30. Black Coffee
  31. Night in Tunisia
  32. I Wan’t a Little Sugar in My Bowl
  33. Summertime
  34. Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby?
  35. I’ve Got a Crush On You
  36. Black Coffee
  37. Come Rain or Come Shine
  38. My Baby Just Cares For Me
  39. Feelin Good
  40. A Tisket a Tasket
  41. Just One of Those Things
  42. Stella by Starlight
  43. Witchcraft
  44. Skylark
  45. Girl from Ipanema
  46. Nice Work if You Can Get It
  47. Stormy Weather
  48. Tea for Two
  49. Cheek to Cheek
  50. (I’ve got you) Under my Skin
  51. Honeysuckle Rose
  52. Fly Me to the Moon
  53. Stompin at the Savoy
  54. PaperMoon
  55. When I fall in Love
  56. Someone to Watch
  57. The Nearness of You
  58. Old Devil Moon
  59. Autumn in New York
  60. Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?
  61. Embraceable
  62. La Vie En Rose
  63. Lush Life
  64. At Last
  65. Birdland
  66. La Mer

FLYING BURRITO’S, A HOLIDAY SONG IN MAY, AND BEING PISSED OFF WITH GOD.

Week 15 Juanita

These past few weeks I’ve gone back to a few old favorites, both originals and covers.

I couldn’t resist doing the song “Juanita”. The great American songwriter Gram Parsons wrote the song along with Chris Hillman during their time as part of the group The Flying Burrito Brothers. There are always a few songs by Gram Parsons that I keep ready to play live. This is one of my favorites. I first heard it when growing up but came to really love it when I heard Emmylou Harris and Sheryl Crow do their version of it. Best harmonies ever. Check out my video performance of the song right here.

I also recorded a song I rarely ever play out live. It’s called “All That I Need is You”. I wrote it a few years ago as part of a songwriting group I was a member of. We would come up with a weekly word or idea prompt for a new song. One week during December the assignment was to write a holiday song. This is what I wrote. Check it out right here.

Lastly, yes, a song about being pissed off with God. It’s called “Oh Lord”. I wrote it after hearing a man speak on the news who had just watched his whole house be blown away by Hurricane Katrina. Check out my YouTube performance of it right here. The song was also on my last EP “The Singles”. You can listen to the recording with a full band and buy it too by going to my main website at www.RachelLeeWalsh.com.

That’s all she wrote.

Thank for listening. See you again soon.

Rachel

An Old Song by Special Request

Week 14 Baby Blue Main

A friend I’ve known for many years requested that I do an old song of mine called “Baby Blue”. I wrote it years ago back when I first branched out my own as a solo artist. I’ve had the song rolling around in my head for a couple of months now so finally decided to play it here for 52in52. Check it out on my RLW YouTube page. This one goes out to Jennifer.

I also uploaded a couple of other songs last week, including covers of “The Wayfaring Stranger” and “The One I Love is Gone”. I was cat sitting at a friend’s place in San Francisco and didn’t have a guitar, so ended up doing some a cappella performances with a bit of hand percussion.

Thanks for listening. Hope you enjoy. See you next week.

Rachel

 

 

“Man on The Wire” by Rachel Lee Walsh

Week 7 Man on The Wire

I started working on “Man on The Wire” a couple of years ago after seeing the film “Man on Wire“, a 2008 documentary about the high-wire artist Philippe Petit walking on a tight rope strung between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. It’s an amazing story about preparing for the walk, getting to the top of the buildings in secret, and the walk itself. I have an intense fear of heights that I’m always pushing myself to get over, so watching his story was beyond inspiring to me. I will certainly never do a tight rope walk between two buildings as tall as the Twin Towers, but I can at least work toward getting up to the top of high mountains, which is what I wrote the song about.

I’ve recent months I’ve been attending songwriting workshops with a chapter of West Coast Songwriters. I played this song recently at one of the meetups and changed it a bit based on the groups input. I’d love to hear your insight as well.

Watch the video performance at this link: Rachel Lee Walsh YouTube Page.

Thanks for listening. See you next week.

Rachel

 

“You Are My Sunshine” A Jimmie Davis & Charles Mitchell Cover by Rachel Lee Walsh

Week 6 You Are My Sunshine

This time last year, I was living in NYC and it was ZERO degrees. Now I live in California and it’s pretty darn sunny and warm, basically around 65 degrees. I’m guessing this is why my brain went to doing a cover of the song “You Are My Sunshine”. It’s also a song that I sing often to my toddler so it was swirling around in my head.

I’ve started to experiment a bit with accompanying myself on other instruments besides guitar and piano including hand percussion and even children’s musical toys like my child’s xylophone. This week I tried having some fun with rhythm eggs and a small ankle tambourine, pictured below (along with a chalk sun drawing of course).

Week 6 You Are My Sunshine Instruments

Check out the video recording of the song right here on my RLW YouTube page.

Hope you enjoy. Thanks for listening. See you next week.

“Trapeze” A Patty Griffin Cover by Rachel Lee Walsh

Week 5 Trapeze

 

This week I was in the mood to do a cover of a Patty Griffin song called “Trapeze”. I find the lyrics of the song to be so beautiful and inspiring, so much that at one point I thought of getting a tattoo of the chorus. I didn’t end up doing that…yet.

Check out my video of the song on my RLW YouTube page.

Thanks for listening.

See you next week.

Rachel

 

“Make Room for The New” by Rachel Lee Walsh

Week 4 Make Room for The New

A couple of years ago I wrote a 30 second song as a writing challenge with The Ignition Lab, a group of songwriters I got together with to write. The goal was to come up with a short song that could be used in a TV commercial. I ended up writing something I thought could be used for a home improvement store. I revisited the song again this year and tweaked it a bit. You can see the video on my RLW YouTube page.

Thanks for listening.

Until next week.

Rachel