In the first few days of 2011, I noticed a pattern beginning to form indicating exceptionally challenging times at hand. Challenging on so many levels: financially to be sure, physically for so many, and most troubling of all, a challenge to any semblance of positive attitude - and increasing by the week. And as I write this in mid-September, the trend continues.
Occasional moments of peace and comfort are a fundamental necessity for all people, and this show was assembled in an attempt to create just such a refuge from such disconcerting circumstances. ‘The Best things In Life’, a line written by Lew Brown and Buddy De Sylva in 1927 reads in full, ‘the best things in life are free’ and the song became an unofficial anthem of the great depression years of the 1930s.
Such a philosophy in the midst of overwhelming and widespread despair might appear, on the surface, to be naïve.
This simplistic view is in fact true. The best things in life are free, and the power of that truth within these lyrics has made it possible for them to survive the test of time.
The American Songbook is timeless, and in developing this show for performance in San Francisco and New York, the resulting time travel through the 20th century felt nearly effortless because of the artistry and ability to ‘tell the truth’ these masterful composers unfailingly displayed.
In the spring of 2011, I had the privilege of appearing on stage and performing these songs nightly with three pals: Mike Greensill, John Wiitala and Vince Lateano. In addition to being fine musicians, they are also extraordinarily excellent human beings. Every performance was a celebration and meditation on the central theme, The Best Things In Life Are Free. This recording is a compilation of performances in the last week of May. Come join us.