The thought of a concept album is almost lost on the download generation (and they are certainly welcome to download every single here), but this album offers an eclectic selection of songs with me singing of my love for a man. This concept in and of itself isn’t new, but it is my first outing, so to speak, with an album to share with other gay men around the world. Some songs were selected to make you laugh. Some songs might give you a smile. There’s a bit of Broadway and a few other songs you might remember, as well as, a couple you maybe never heard before. But most of all, I want people to enjoy this album and the music I have had the pleasure of creating with some of my talented friends.
I started my musical journey on the yellow brick road, as did many of us, yes early beginnings as a Munchkin in Munchkinland at the early age of six going on seven. So just as much to say, that I have been a friend of Dorothy for much of my life. And so my performing in public began and continued most predominantly through community theater.
Anyway, until I moved to LA at 19 to finish college at LMU, that was pretty much it for singing and performing aside from high school chorus and the occasional opportunity to dress up in a chicken suit. (But that's another story.) LA was a big eye-opener, as it would be for anyone let alone a young gay guy from south Arkansas. I began to write songs and performing at lots of fun places on the Sunset Strip and beyond. Carlos & Charlie's, often hosted by Joan Rivers, the Rose Tatoo, the Palomino Club and other "interesting" places. All the while making a living working in television production as a production assistant and slowly moving up that food chain. Life was good, met a few cute guys along the way and a few hot messes as well. It came a time in my early 20's, I was taking voice lessons with Bob Garrett and we ended up writing a couple of songs together. On my web site, I have included a demo of one of those songs from over 20 years ago for a sneak peek at one that will be resurrected for my next album. I can't sing that high anymore, but it's a look back to a day long past.
And then a fire in my apartment building left me homeless and sent me back to stay with my family in Arkansas for the summer to regroup. In some ways I felt defeated, but got chosen to direct the summer musical at the community theater, the South Arkansas Arts Center, and while in my home town, met the love of my life, Ty. He had been there most of his and my life, but we had never met.
In the past 20 years I managed to find love, work somewhat in the shadows of "the industry" (as in, behind the scenes) in Los Angeles, New York, Sweden, Dominican Republic and all point in between, boomeranged through Nashville and came to live in Hilo, Hawaii. It was here that the muse again came to me. Hawaii is so full of music and incredible voices that I found my self facing this love I have to sing out loud and once again I fell in love with the audience, and they seemed to like me too.
This album came to pass during a difficult time in my life. My dad was dying that year. As I took trips back and forth from Hawaii to Arkansas to help my mother, brothers and sister care for him, I would stop off in Burbank to break up the long distance travel with a day or two stay at the home of my long-time friend Andy Belling. I then told him I wanted to finally do an album. Andy he agreed to produce it with me and do the arrangements. I have been directing and performing theater and variety shows here in Hilo for the community since Ty and I arrived on the beautiful shores of Hawaii, and now it was time to reach out to a larger audience.
So there we were. As we began to discuss the album, this concept of an album for our contemporaries emerged. Select songs of love and the like, traditionally sung by women to men, but now sung by a man to a man. As a gay man, I have always grown up listening to popular music, as we all did, but I often felt a certain disconnect to what I was hearing since I felt they weren't singing to or about me, unless of course the lyrics were maybe non-gender specific.
This album isn't a political statement. It is a musical effort meant to entertain and to reach out and touch a community of people that have always supported and inspired me as many of us have struggled with sometimes savage hatred and unkind stereotypes. As the pieces came together, I felt as if it was indeed time to pursue this most challenging but most rewarding path again. 25 years ago, you just couldn't be a successful out, gay music star. There was no American Idol and recording deals were with big companies that might steal your music or force you to stay in the closet. Even Elton John married a woman to keep up the appearances. We all knew better. The internet has also inspired me and opened the door for direct connect between artist and fan. With the the help and support of so many of my talented friends, this CD is now a reality and here for people to enjoy, all people. In its short release time to date, it has been on Sirius Satellite Radio Q109, reviewed most favorably in my little home town of El Dorado, Arkansas, and I have sent CDs out one at a time to gay radio programs, publications and to friends around the world . It is truly a labor of love and a love I am happy to now share with you.