Has it already been a year since the last Stuff This in Yer Face! songwriting challenge? Once again we’ve recruited New Jersey songwriters to compose original songs for, about, or inspired by Thanksgiving. The musicians had a month to write and record their contribution. The eight songs we’ve received span a diverse range of styles and interpretations of this year’s theme: the underrepresented, but oh so necessary…side dish! The theme was cooked up by YDKJ’s own Alice Magdziak.
And now for the annual Stuff This in Yer Face songwriting challenge gratitude shout outs! Thank you Alice and Edward at YDKJ as well as all the musicians that took the time to create these amazing works.
Pull up a comfy chair, pour yourself a nice beverage, and take a listen. Headphones are recommended! After you’re done, please consider supporting these artists – buy their music, go to show, sign up on their mailing list. Thank you for supporting New Jersey Music!
You Don’t Know Jersey
the premiere of
Stuff This in Yer Face! Volume Three
**If you’d like to learn about each songwriter’s process, read the liner notes below.
Dave Kleiner – Multicultural Thanksgiving: “When Michael Aquino gave us the topic “side dishes” I pictured all kinds of interesting foods. I thought about the many different cultures where I live and where I work. Most of us celebrate within our families, but even our families have become more diverse, as people marry and work with folks from all around the world. I picked up the ukulele, so the song would have a jolly, trebly vibe. I chose many of the side dishes because they rhyme. Thank you for inspiring me, Aquino!“
Favorite Side Dish: “Cranberry sauce from the can.”
Larée Cisco – Talkin’ Bout’ Sides…Side Dishes!: “I’m a big fan of lists, so that’s what I went with. I got the list idea from this rapper who was telling made up stories about all the female celebrities he hung out with. He would just say a name, then he would rhyme their name with what they did when they hung out. It’s pretty funny.”
Favorite Side Dish: “Toasted Marshmallows on top of sweet potatoes. Yaaas.”
Deivito y Aquino – El Pan Nuestro (A Décima): (Deivito): “Side dishes made me picture Puerto Rican fare and the plight of Caribbean islanders since Hurricane Maria. I focused on the versatile platano and the painting El Pan Nuestro (Ramon Frade, 1905) – ‘peasant food’ embraced as our daily bread. I also wrote under the elegant constraints of the Latin American decima: ten verses with eight syllables, each line’s end adhering to a fixed rhyme scheme. And though I added a dash of too many syllables here, and overcooked a rhyme there, this beloved poetic form pushed me beyond my talents.” (Aquino): “When Deivito asked if I would consider writing a song with him for the challenge, I instantly agreed. When he told me it was a décima, I was like, ‘Oh crap!’ Décimas are sacred to Puerto Ricans. So I tried to keep the musicality of décima but give it a unique flair. Devito flew with it. Lots of ideas were tried, and we landed on what you hear. We wanted it to be fun and exciting. At one point Deivis said that I needed channel Flava Flav for the verses. I tried. This song is dedicated to our fellow Puerto Ricans, on the island struggling, day to day to survive. Puerto Rico se levanta! ”
Favorite Side Dish: (Deivito) “Serenata de Bacalao (Puerto Rican Codfish Salad).” (Aquino) “Plátanos Maduros.”
Deena Shoshkes – Thanksgiving Song: “Got to thinking – who needs a big turkey when the side dishes are the best part of the meal at the table and in all of life.”
Favorite Side Dish: “Stuffing!”
Declan Remus – Praise The Side Dish: “I spent a long time trying to think of something clever, but nothing seemed to fit. One day I just sat down and started to write off the top of my head, and these lyrics are what came out. The music was written around the lyrics. I wanted something happy and upbeat.”
Favorite Side Dish: “Sausage Apple Stuffing.”
Kevin and Oliver Liebkemann – Thanksgiving Shuffle: “The side dish theme got me thinking of all the little details that go into hosting a big family Thanksgiving dinner. I pictured a stressed out host struggling to make sure everything was just right and the song pretty much wrote itself! My wife, the voice of experience, suggested a redemption verse for the poor stressed out host at the end. “
Favorite Side Dish: “My mom makes a fabulous oyster dressing!”
Lynn Rosenthal – Side Dishes: ”Like many, when I think of holiday time, it brings back memories of all the traditional foods we had for Thanksgiving or Christmas. By traditional, I mean our family traditions. Like most, we sometimes put the FUN in dysfunction around the holidays, but we always came through it with laughter. And I’m still sitting at the kids’ table. Did I mention that I’m almost 49?”
Favorite Side Dish: “If I’m talking specifically about family gatherings, it’s this Pennsylvania Dutch dish called HOTSLAW. If it’s something most of you would be familiar with, it’d be green bean casserole.”
Frank Ippolito – Spoon: “I was inspired by the monthly gathering we have fostered in downtown Jersey City called The Spaghetti Sessions, where food and great music is shared freely among community. Just bring yourself. Bring a guitar. And bring a spoon.”
Favorite Side Dish: “ummmm…..”
You can also listen to the playlist over at Soundcloud.
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