Flashback Friday: Mary Chapin Carpenter ‘This Is Love’

Mary Chapin Carpenter (photo: Aaron Farrington)

Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “This Is Love,” from her massive 1994 hit album, Stones In The Road, has been bouncing around in my head lately.

Longtime readers know the 5-time Grammy Award-winner’s music holds a special place for me. Full of melody, humanity, and thoughtful self-exploration.

I’ve had this on my mind the past few days as a friend of mine recently announced a huge life change as his relationship of several years came to an amicable end, he’s leaving his home of many years and journeying on to the ‘what’s next.’

Recalling Mary Chapin’s lyrics, I found this sums up in the best way how we send love and support to those who move on to the next chapter.

Hit play and listen. You’ll get it.

Thanksgiving Memory: My Debut On The Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade

Wow, talk about #ThrowBackThursday!

I can’t believe how time goes by. Twenty-three years ago today, I made my Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade debut with the 1995 Broadway revival cast of Hello, Dolly! (including the incomparable Tony Award-winner herself, Carol Channing)!

I remember this like it was yesterday. We all had to get up waaaaaaaay early, get down to the Lunt-Fontanne Theater where we were playing to get into costume, then get on a bus to ride about 10 blocks down Broadway to sit in a trailer before we headed out to do “Before The Parade Passes By.”

And it was so cold! You’d never know to look at Carol, though. And what a thrill to be on the most famous and watched parade with the world.

I then headed to home on the Upper West Side for a most fab dinner with (then boyfriend, now husband) Michael and my bestie, Carlye.

During dinner the phone rang, and it was Vanessa Williams calling from the West Coast to say “Happy Thanksgiving!” – and since she was watching the parade in California – “you look like you’re freezing!” LOL

I still love my Broadway Dolly! family all these years later. What a great memory to find this video today.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Song Of The Day: Janis Siegel & Fred Hersh “Agua”

Michael Caprio

A bit of #TBT action today as the above pic of hubby Michael came up as a reminder on Facebook today and it totally took me back in time to when we first met.

It was 1994. Michael and I had just begun to date long distance after meeting in Minneapolis at the recording session for the revival of Hello, Dolly! with Carol Channing bound for the Great White Way (my first Broadway show).

Michael was the 25-year-old vice president of publicity for the record label that handled the recording.

A couple of weeks into dating I realized I didn’t have a pic of Michael. Remember, this was pre-internet days.

He sent me a test polaroid pic from a photo shoot he’d just overseen for a new album, Slow Hot Wind, by Janis Siegel of the Manhattan Transfer and jazz pianist Fred Hersh.

I still have the polaroid in my office.

And I loved the album when it came out.

p.s. Michael and I celebrate our 24th anniversary this month, which is pretty cool 🙂

Check out “Agua” from Slow Hot Wind below.

#TBT – Whitney Houston & Jermaine Jackson “If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful”

(I’m using the GH cover as this version has been remastered)

A little #TBT action as I sit back a relive the days I wore down my cassette tape (!!!) of this duet, “If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful,” by Jermaine Jackson and a young Whitney Houston.

A bit of history about this recording: Whitney was deemed ineligible for “Best New Artist” in 1986 when her first solo album dropped because this duet with Jermaine had been released prior and she was considered “not new.”

Isn’t that silly? Anyway…

Everything here takes me back: the oh-so-80s music production, Jermaine’s light but shining vocals, and then – my girl.

So much here was a sign of what was to come. So sweet in the beginning, but take note of moments like the 2:40 mark and 3:32. Boom!

My bestie Matt and I rewound those tapes over and over and over to hear the awesome over-the-bar key change and those rocking riffs.

Sigh. Takes me back.

Sit back and enjoy 🙂

Song Of The Day: Dionne Warwick “(Theme From) Valley Of The Dolls”

My dear friend Alex Rybeck, (uber-talented composer, music director, arranger) reminded me of the artful yet melancholy “Theme from Valley of the Dolls” recorded by a wistful Dionne Warwick back in 1968.

The spare, haunting arrangement coupled with Warwick’s elegantly pensive vocal has always struck me as a special kind of pop song.

Hitting #1 on the Record World Chart in March 1968, the song was the “B” side of Dionne’s million selling “I Say a Little Prayer”, which also became another million-seller for Dionne.

What I didn’t know was that the song was originally intended for Judy Garland, who was initially cast in the film Valley of the Dolls but subsequently fired.

I can definitely see Judy bringing her unmistakable vulnerability and poignancy to the tune.

They say the mark of a great song is how future generations can connect to it. In this Trumpian day and age, who hasn’t thought:

“Gotta get off,
Gonna get, 
Have to get off from this ride.”

#TBT: Olivia Newton-John “Help Me To Heal”

For a bit of #ThrowBackThursday, I’m thinking of my girl, Olivia Newton-John.

Her brilliant 2006 album, Grace and Gratitude, was a touchstone for my cancer journey back in 2009.

She re-released the album, dubbed Grace and Gratitude Renewed, in 2010 with added tracks, including a contribution from Grammy winner David Darling.

When she re-released the album in 2010, it debuted at #2 on the Billboard New Age chart – a new frontier for her.

I was clear of my cancer at the time, and Olivia asked me to direct a charity concert of the album. I was, of course, honored.

The new iteration of G&G featured a new song, “Help Me To Heal.” There wasn’t a music video for the album, but her team gave me raw footage from the original recording sessions in Toronto, Ontario, inviting me to create.

What you see below became the “official” music video for the song. How cool is that?

The album is easily a highlight of her already golden career. Not necessarily a “new age” release, it’s relaxing, revitalizing and helps people “breathe” after day-to-day pressures. I think it’s quite fantastic.

As many know, Olivia is currently facing a recurrence of her breast cancer from 1992.

I hear she is doing very well with her current treatment, and I look forward to seeing her back onstage next month.

#F*ckCancer #TeamONJ

#TBT – Hottie Young Tim Kaine

How about this for #ThrowBackThursday?

I’ve always thought Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Tim Kaine has a handsome face, but take a look at these pics of a young Tim Kaine!

Woof.

(h/t Queerty)