I am no stranger to writing songs on a deadline. I’ve been a participant of February Album Writing Month, SIMGE’s 24 Hour Songwriting Challenge, 50/90, and my own creation, 14 Songs in 14 Days. So when I conjured up a crazy idea of a songwriting challenge and brought it to Alice and Ed, they told me to roll with it.
Last month, I sent an email to a number of New Jersey songwriters asking them to partake in this unique sound experiment. They were to write and record a tune for a holiday that typically gets the song shaft: Thanksgiving. Eight songsters emerged with their own interpretations of what the holiday conjures up in them. The musicianship and unique perspectives mirror the diversity found within our borders of the Garden State. (David Kleiner gets bonus points for singing “New Jersey” 14 times.)
A couple of things I’m thankful for are…Ed and Alice for providing this opportunity and the musicians for sharing their wonderful talent.
Pull up your comfy chair, pour yourself a nice beverage, and take a listen.
You Don’t Know Jersey
the premiere of
Stuff This in Yer Face! Volume One
*You can also listen to the playlist on SoundCloud and read the lyrics to each song.
**If you’d like to learn about each songwriter’s perspective, read the liner notes below the playlist.
***If you like what you hear, click on their name below: buy an album, follow them, and support local music!
Mr. Langham – Thanksgiving is for Friends: “The title says it all.”
Larée Cisco – All This Love!: “I have a lot to be thankful for. I’ve been through lots of heartbreak with losing a lot of the people that I loved over the years. I guess the one thing that you can always be thankful for is love. I have to be honest. It was a real struggle not to just write a song about stuffing my face with turkey. Still might do that.”
Son of Dov – Crimson Rd: “A bittersweet trip down a road of melancholy ache when celebrating the holiday in New Jersey. As a child we used to drive down the parkway to visit my aunt. I recall crimson leaves covering her pretty streets but in the last five years the holidays have been difficult due to the loss of family members but thankful to have the memories and love to give to those in need.”
Deivito – Milpa: “I’ve always been fascinated by the Mesoamerican way of agricultural life known as ‘la Milpa’ (or the Three Sisters of north Native American lore). Corn, squash and beans (and other crops) are planted together that they may complement each other nutritionally, reflecting the crucial importance of different parts supporting and strengthening each other for the benefit of all. Sharing Nature’s blessings in loving meals with family and friends strengthens our bonds, and so this song was a privilege to write.”
Deena – Talkin’ Turkey: “After listening to several Thanksgiving songs, I knew I had to make it silly and fun. I started thinking turkey: of what it means to “talk turkey,” and the wild turkeys I’ve seen in the streets of my town around this time of year…. and then…..”
Aquino – Moving Me. Moving Free.: “A story formulated in my head. A person alone the night before Thanksgiving. The desolate streets bring him sadness and fear. The only way for this person to find solace is to move. Literally. I tried to make the song sound like the person was dancing.”
David Kleiner – Thanksgiving in NJ: “I had some ideas about writing a song which would dispute some commonly-believed misconceptions about the history of Thanksgiving, and do it in an early-60s rock style, with the refrain “Rock, rock, Plymouth Rock.” I started doing some research, but the pressures of time overcame me, so I was about to give up on the project. Then I sat down and wrote “Thanksgiving in New Jersey” very quickly. It is a VERY short shelflife song, so many of the references will be outdated or forgotten by next Thanksgiving.”
Russell Norkevich – Pilgrim’s Path: “The basic idea for the song is about being thankful for the challenging things in your life. Those challenging things that forge character. They bring new perspective.”
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