I have been active in the Bear Community for 10 years, bringing together musical brothers across the country to celebrate diversity and pride with my showcase Bearapalooza. Now I want to have some fun and give the community an album they can call their own. "Just Bear with Me" is my musical journey through all things bear, and my love letter to all of you!
"Bear World" kicks off the trip with rocking guitars by Glen Pavan of Future Villain Band and a proud rap by hip-hop artist Bone Intell. Feeling Proud Shout it Loud! This is my anthem for what the Bear community still means to me!
Inspired by the campaign of the same name, I wrote "It Get's Better" to get across the message that despite struggles in high school, life does get better. It has a message; but it's fun and funky. It's dedicated to the late house music artist "Aaron Carl". He inspired me so much, may he rest in peace.
I wrote "I'm Here, I'm Queer and I'm Country" on the NYC subway just before moving to Nashville. It has been a live fan favorite for many years, but I wanted to wait until I could get it right before recording it. Guitars by Jeff Rockcub, and fiddle by Samuel Clint Damewood did the trick ! Yee Haw !
When JD Doyle of "Queer Music Heritage" told me he loved covers of girl group songs by gay men, and that he never heard "My Guy" done, I just had to do it for him. It has an awesome bass part by Don Harvey, and I love this version of the song
"Sexiful" is a song I came up with one night in Philly, when I was out with Bill & Dan at the Bike Stop. Dan told me I looked Sexiful, and it stuck with me. It has been evolving in many demo forms for years and finally its a funky tight tribute to "Dirty Dan" complete with "purple" harmonies from Jay and Kendall, and funky guitar riffs from Jeff Rockcub!.
"Gang Bang" was originally an idea of Kendall's, who wrote the words and basic melody. Now, it's a duet, taking us on a retro-trip using old music samples, surf guitar by Jeff Rockcub, and hilarious skits by Kendall and Jay. It's also an homage to B-52's, Austin Powers, & Pizzicato 5 !
As I was nearing the end of the process for the album, It suddenly hit me that it would be cute to have a title song and I wrote "Just Bear With Me". Singer-Songwriter and mandolin player Nolan Kennedy was here at Easton Mountain, so we recorded it, with Jay on percussion, and both doing harmonies, then Don Harvey sent me a bass track to bring it all together. I think its adorable and sweet and it reminds me of a feel good Indigo Girls song.
In 2009, Roger Yolanda Mapes brought me an old song he never recorded from his Plastic Family days. I did an arrangement, and we recorded him doing it, but it was never put on an album. Since he really didn't have a place to fit the song in any of his new projects, I asked if I could record it. I loved the playful bite it had, but its really got a positive message about not playing the victim. I'm glad it found a home !
"Pump Up the Bears" is just plain fun and sexy. Technotronic is the music of my coming out in the early 90's so I wanted to tribute that, but also to create something a little harder edged, so I added electric guitars. Kendall added awesome backup vox. Performing this one kinda turns me on! WOOF!
Beary Merry Christmas came from another request by JD Doyle of QMH! JD said there wasn't a Bear Christmas song, so of course I had to make him one. This is a tribute to Brenda Lee, the Carpenters and all that AM radio male unison chorus stuff I remember from holidays of my childhood. Plus its a little naughty in that "Santa Baby" kind of way! Lot's a love and a big buffet!
Every Bearapalooza event for 10 years has been ended with all the performers getting on stage together and singing "Fat Bottom Bears" with me. It is obviously a tribute to Queen, and has finally been recorded. Glen Pavan's Guitars and Don Harvey's bass really made it ROCK ! Kendall and I built the thick harmonies layer by layer. Take me home tonight!
The album ends with two bonus remixes. Jay had done a lot of dense percussion tacks for "Just Bear With Me", but it was too much for the regular version, so it occurred to me to have a version that was ABOUT the percussion and I even added some other percussion samples to what he had done. I thought Bear World needed a slamming dance mix, so I whipped up and alternate version!
This album has been a fun journey through a decade of my life that has brought me so much joy, family, love, learning. growing, and pride. Genres to me are tools for expression, and like the colors in the bear flag, each genre, from Country to Folk, to Rock to Rap, represent part of the diversity of our community, and the diversity of the different aspects of who I am ! I am so glad to share, and I hope you have fun listening to it!