Category Archives: Kickstarter Campaign

We’ve Started Recording the Final Pieces

Steve Rashid and I started recording the final pieces for Shabbat Sweet on Monday, May 19.

I’m relieved and a little sad that the recording process is coming to a close (hopefully by the end of the summer).  Relieved because I’ve been working on this project, including the Kickstarter campaign, for over a year. And while it’s a joy, it’s also work and takes lots of my energy and attention! Sad because it’s been a profoundly great joy! It’s fascinating to start with an idea of how something will sound, and then to see how it evolves.

For instance, Beggar’s Niggun is one of the pieces we’re working on. And while Steve and I sat down beforehand to talk about a plan for arranging it, now that I hear the rough, I’ve got a whole new idea. (boy, is Steve going to be thrilled with that!).

So… thanks for hanging in there with me throughout the project.

I’ll be playing live in several places in the next few months. Please check the DATES page on my website so that you can plan I time to come out and experience Shabbat Sweet live!

The Kickstarter Campaign was a Year Ago?

Listen to all of the current, completed eight tracks if you are a backer, or would like to become one (see below)

Just about a year ago I pressed a button and started an insane, vulnerable, incredibly-intense month. I launched the Kickstarter campaign to record Shabbat Sweet, the music and melodies I wrote for Erev Shabbat, the Friday night Sabbath Service. I don’t know if I’d ever worked harder, had more emotional turbulence, or gambled more than I did that month. It was exhausting, stimulating, engaging, frightening and looooooooong. Every day, nearly every moment, I thought about how to reach out to others and share my vision, and how to get them to back the project without sounding like I was begging (though I always felt like I was).

By the end of the month almost 200 dear, wonderful, generous, fellow-insane people became supporters of the project, and the process of recording the service began.

Now it’s a year later, and we’ve completed two-thirds of the recording. I had imagined the recording would be finished by now, and that I’d franticly be putting the final touches on the production of the physical CD. And, as I should have figured, my imagination was in over-achievement mode.

I found that I had to maintain a balance among the many things I love – my family, my work, my music, my friends and my self – so that none of them suffered greatly while I invested time and energy in any one of them.

So I appreciate the patience of my beloved backers as the final pieces get recorded by the middle of the summer, if all goes as planned. We’re going to take the time we need to take get the recording right. We want to create the best sounding, most interesting and delightfully pleasing recording of Shabbat Sweet we possibly can make.

I can’t thank all the backers of the project enough for your generosity and patience as we plod on. I imagine it’s been difficult for your wait, as well. So as an early gift, I’ve created a “Shabbat Sweet Eight Track” page on the website where you can stream and listen to all eight tracks now! Just click HERE and use same password you use to hear the audio updates. Email me (shabbatsweet@gmail.com) if you want your memory refreshed. And if you’d like to listen to the current completed tracks, and are not already a backer, click HERE to donate to the project ($10 minimum) and I will be glad to email you the password. We already plan to record about four more prayers, but there are even four more we could record if we had more funding. Just sayin’!

[By the way, I’ll be performing at the Greater Chicago Jewish Festival on Sunday, June 8 at 4:00 on the Polk Brothers’ Family Stage]

It May be Purim, But I Ain’t Jokin’!

Me with my dear friend and Rabbi, Brant Rosen. He's such a clown!
Me with my dear friend and Rabbi, Brant Rosen. He’s such a clown! Sorry you can’t see my Queen Esther skirt!

Purim is a great time for playing around and having fun. Heck, there might even be some pictures out there of me dressed as Queen Esther!

Nevertheless, I am quite serious when I say that tomorrow night we’ll complete the process for phase 2 of recording Shabbat Sweet when we add the harmony vocals to V’Shamru and Adon Olam. Then it will be on to mixing that set of four prayers.

THEN… we’ll start recording the last four: 1) Beggar’s Niggun, 2) Amidah, 3)Shalom Rav and 4) Hashkivenu.

I know, I know: for those of you who have experienced Shabbat Sweet live, you may be thinking, hey, aren’t there other prayers that won’t be included in the recording? And, sadly, that is true. Heck, I even wrote a new melody of Ahavat Olam this past year!!!

The reality is we’ll record everything that the generosity of the amazing Kickstarter backers will allow. I am extremely proud of what we’ve done, and I’m sure the same will be said of what we’ll do. And it’s been a costly adventure to make such a recording of this high quality. I’m sure we’ll get the rest of the Sweet recorded with the next album!!!!

A Musical Leap of Faith

One of my dear friends asked me what I was doing this weekend. I thought about it for just a moment, and the answer was simple: practicing.

You see, on Monday, I’m going to record the baritone ukulele parts for the current set of recordings for Shabbat Sweet. Yes, I’m excited (as I always say), and nervous (I think I say that a lot, too!).

When I started practicing along with the current tracks, over winter break, I was just trying to play cleanly, using the same approach to each piece I’d always taken. I did some “demo” recording on my phone, thanks to a simple and amazing multi-track recording program (thanks, Android!). And I didn’t like what I heard.

With the rhythm section we recorded, the playing I’d always been doing didn’t seem to add anything. So I took a Kierkegaardian leap-of-faith, and just started TRYING different rhythms and approaches. Like an actor trying different accents and emotions with the same words.

And I think I’ve come up with uke parts that make an interesting contribution to the recording. It’s been a musical stretch for me, and I’ve loved the challenge. I played one of the parts for my wife last night, and her response was just what I had hoped for – and she’s my best, and most honest critic!

Stay tuned!!!! And Shabbat Shalom.

The Recording Starts July 1

Waiting.

The space in between.

Between the intensity of Kickstarter and the process of recording.

It’s been a strange twilight

And the waiting finally comes to an end this Monday, July 1, when I go into the studio with Steve Rashid and start recording. We’ve decided on the first pieces to record:

  1. Shalom Aleichem
  2. Lecha Dodi
  3. Mi Chamocha

The way we settled on recording will be for me to lay down “scratch” vocals and baritone ukulele parts first. Then we’ll have the rhythm section come in and record. Then other instruments, followed by final ukulele and vocals and harmonies.

Thank you for your patience as I recovered from the month of Kickstarter and planned the start of the recording.  For those who pledged at the $54 or higher level, I’ll get the audio updates going very quickly. Stay tuned.

The Kickstarter Campaign Succeeded!

Hours before the deadline (around 2:30 pm, but who was counting?), the Kickstarter campaign succeeded to raise the funds to record Shabbat Sweet with the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band produced by Steve Rashid, the Emmy-award winning composer, producer and arranger.

Thank you to everyone who supported this project.

Lessons learned:

  1. When anxiety is your Achilles’ Heel, proceed with running a month-long campaign to raise $15,000 VERY cautiously.
  2. When you’re running a month-long campaign to raise $!5,000, work REAL HARD to ignore those doubts and worries and negative messages running through your head.
  3. When you’re a Kickstarter campaign, DO trust your family, friends and gracious strangers; they’ll do amazing things and come through for you.

So… I’m exhausted. And I’m already moving forward: I’ve already written Steve Rashid to set up a meeting to plan the recording process.

Again and again: I am immensely humbled by your support and generosity!!  This is going to be an amazing recording!!!!

Stay tuned for periodic updates here, and if you were backed the project, in email from Kickstarter.