Tag Archive | Songwriter

Pink Thing of The Day: Saving for a Custom Van, a Tribute to Adam Schlesinger

saving for a custom van

Adam Schlesinger, best known to most music fans as a member of the power pop band, Fountains of Wayne lost his life on April 1st of this year at the age of 52.  One of the first musicians taken from us by the Corona Virus pandemic, Adam’s death is an immeasurable loss. In addition to founding Fountains of Wayne with Chris Collingwood, Schlesinger was a gifted and prolific songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist who also recorded with electro-pop trio Ivy and ‘supergroup’ Tinted Windows (with Bun E. Carlos, James Iha and Taylor Hanson). Offstage, he had an impressive career writing music for film and television. I first met Adam in 1995, when I interviewed Fountains of Wayne during the press cycle for its debut album, and over the years I would see him occasionally at parties and industry events. He was a nice guy and an unbelievable talent. Everybody loved Adam.

It is in Adam Schlesinger’s memory that wide array of artists touched by his life pay tribute to the many musical projects of which he was a part via a Bandcamp-exclusive benefit compilation, Saving for a Custom Van. The 31-song collection features collaborators, tourmates, friends, and fans putting their own spin on songs spanning his entire career. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend co-creator, executive producer and star Rachel Bloom turns Fountains of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom” into a jazzy cabaret moodpiece, while Schlesinger’s Fountains of Wayne bandmate Jody Porter contributes a melancholy, shimmering take on Ivy’s “Four in the Morning.” Sarah Silverman — who teamed up with Schlesinger on the upcoming musical The Bedwetter — joins with songwriter Ben Lee for a gorgeous, folk-leaning take on “Way Back Into Love,” a Schlesinger song central to the 2007 film Music and Lyrics.

Other musicians on the compilation tackle Fountains of Wayne songs (Letters to Cleo’s Kay Hanley, “Radiation Vibe” —  listen at This Link.; Motion City Soundtrack, “Dip in the Ocean”; Nada Surf, “Sick Day”; Vivian Girls/Upset member Ali Koehler, “Hackensack”), while Ivy songs are also well-represented (Belly members Tanya Donelly and Gail Greenwood, “Undertow”; Ted Leo, “Everyday”; HUNNY, “Tess Don’t Tell”).

Saving for a Custom Van, which takes its title from a lyric in Fountains of Wayne’s “Utopia Parkway,” is co-curated and co-released by Father/Daughter Records and Wax Nine, the label/journal run by Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis (who also contributes a FoW cover under her Sad13 moniker). One-hundred percent of proceeds will be donated to MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund, which is dedicated to helping music industry and community members affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Download the full album for just $10 at Bandcamp via This Link

Read The Full Track Listing After The Jump!

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The Art of Graham Nash at ACA Galleries

Graham Nash Self Portrait Mirror Trio
Three Self Portraits By Graham Nash (All Photos By Gail)

You’d have to be dead from the neck up to not know who musician and songwriter Graham Nash is. Between his work in The Hollies and his decades-long collaboration in Crosby, Stills and Nash, he’s written some of the best-loved songs in the American rock catalog. Nash been an avid photographer since he was 10 years old, but you might be surprised to find out that his impressive art portfolio also includes an extensive collection of pastel drawings, abstract photography, and politically themed, large format photo assemblages. You can see a broad sampling of Graham Nash’s art now through October 27, 2012 at ACA Galleries in the Chelsea gallery district.

David Crosby and Phil Collins
David Crosby and Phil Collins

Bob Dylan Joni Mitchell Elvis Costello
Bob Dylan with Leon Russell, Joni Mitchell, Elvis Costello

I was fortunate to attend the opening night reception for this exhibit, and to also briefly meet Graham Nash, who is extremely friendly and down-to-earth. While Nash’s realist portraiture is among the most vivid and iconic photography in the rock realm, I was also wildly impressed with his more abstract works and his provocative digital collages.

Citizens United By Graham Nash
Citizens United

Nash is widely known as an activist in support of causes related to social justice, peace, environmental issues and progressive politics. He addresses these issues in several pieces included in this exhibit.

Hearts Desire By Graham Nash
Hearts Desire

This Could Be You
This Could Be You

Tape Abstract by Graham Nash
Tape Abstract

What’s most remarkable about Nash’s work is how consistently high quality his pieces are. He seems to be equally talented at just about everything he sets his hand to. His abstract photography is particularly sharp and clever. I recommend this exhibit especially to fans of Graham Nash’s music, because I think it will really blow your mind to see what else this guy can do. The exhibit is only up for a brief time so you just have one more week to check it out. Don’t miss it!

Graham and Liz D at Opening Reception
Graham Nash Poses with Friends at the Exhibit’s Opening Reception

The Art of Graham Nash will be on Exhibit only through October 27th, 2012 at ACA Galleries, Located at 529 West 20th Street, 5th Floor, NYC.

Graham Nash Self Portrait in the Flag
Self Portrait in the Flag

Neil Young is Young
Neil Young

Remembering Harry Nilsson on his Birthday

Harry Nilsson Grave Stone

The late, great singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson was born on this day, June 15th, in 1941. I recently watched the unbelievably well-made documentary, Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)? which is now available on DVD via Netflix.

I’m a huge fan of Nilsson’s music, as he reached the height of his popularity in the sixties and seventies, when I was growing up, so I thought I knew a lot about the guy. But Who is Harry Nilsson? gave me quite a schooling on the details of Nilsson’s life and career that I couldn’t have imagined.

This insightful documentary goes way back to his childhood, his family life, his early career writing songs for others that grew into his own recording career as a solo artist, his film soundtrack projects, personal friendships with other songwriters and musicians (Nilsson was a favorite artist of all four Beatles and he maintained close friendships with John Lennon and Ringo Starr until his death) and a wildly in-depth overview of his recording process via interviews with those he worked closely with (the interviews with producer Richard Perry alone are worth the time it takes to watch the film).

Of course, it’s not like you don’t know how the story is going to end. A well-covered topic in Who Is Harry Nilsson? is the artist’s ridiculously indulgent and debauched Rock Star Lifestyle, which lead directly to his early death at age 52 – a tragic waste of an extraordinary and irreplaceable talent.

I was entirely captivated, entertained and profoundly moved by the life story of Harry Nilsson, who was extremely respected for his talent and considered by his peers to be the greatest American singer of his generation. There is no doubt that his influence is vast and deeply felt even today. Harry Nilsson died on January 15th, 1994 from heart failure brought on by a lifetime of alcoholism and hard drug abuse. If he were still alive, he would be celebrating his Birthday today. Happy Birthday, Harry, we still miss you.

Tiffany Lee, AKA Plumb

As a recording artist and songwriter, interviews are part of every week for me, if not every day. Many interviewers have often compiled their questions based on what information they did or did not receive from my press biography. Gail has not only written the most honest biography ever printed about me and my career, but her original interview questions made for a very interesting and relative read.

Bobby Fingeroth, Singer/Songwriter

Like most singer-songwriters, I prefer to handle as few non-music-related tasks as possible. When it comes to writing my bio or press releases, it's nice to know that I can turn to Gail for consistently high quality work completed in a timely fashion. Gail is courteous, professional and easy to reach once the job is done. Anytime I have contacted her for a referral or guidance, she has always done her best to help me as soon as possible. These qualities make Gail a rare gem not only in the music business, but in any business for that matter!

Cristina Williams, Singer/Songwriter, Guitarist

Even though I'm a writer as well as a musician, writing my own bio has always been absolute sheer torture. I wanted to hire a professional writer, but I didn't want the same old, processed cheese "I'm the most awesome thing ever!" spiel you see everywhere. I wanted something different; intelligent but fun. Then there was Gail. It was such a relief to come across a writer who knows rock 'n' roll, knows how you fit in the history of rock 'n' roll (she can name that influence in two notes!) and puts it together for you with personality. She's classy, sassy and a cool chick all around!

Sarah Fimm, Singer/Songwriter/Multi-instrumentalist

Gail has the distinct ability to locate the essence of an artist and deliver it into writing with careful attention and respect. She has a clear understanding of our language and the beauty of music, and thus, gives an artist what they deserve: a clear, unbiased interpretation of themselves in their own words. Gail continues to offer herself as a channel for the worlds of art, writing, music and humanity to converge. She is a unique, talented and friendly human being with an affinity for humor, experience and love. Who could ask for a better person to capture the center of you?

Larry Dvoskin, Grammy Nominated Songwriter, Producer and Creator of American Pride

Gail is Rock & Roll personified: sexy, edgy, inspired, unpredictable, radical, hot and moving with the beat of the new generation. When approaching a story, she is a true artist: a craftswoman weaving words, feelings and images which are creative, sexually charged, inspired and touching.

David Nefesh, Singer/Songwriter

Gail Worley has a way of "relating with" the artists she interviews. That makes for great readingregardless of one's penchant for the music at hand because she brings their fascinating personalities to the fore while showing her own unique colors as well. She does all this with a wonderful mix of good humor, passion, sensitivity and refreshing nerve that makes me feel like I'm looking through a window into someone's living room, observing two interesting people hang out. There's a comfort in her realness that's hard to find these days, and she reminds us that music is (or should be) all about sharing and connecting.