Saturday, July 6, 2013

New Collaborations, New CDs


The Quilt Unplugged

With the impending release of a second edition of Frye Gaillard and Kathryn Scheldt’s book, The Quilt and the Poetry of Alabama Music, Frye and Kathryn recently went into Mike Severs’ studio in Franklin, TN, just outside of Nashville, and recorded a new album entitled The Quilt: Stories and Songs. The new CD, scheduled for release in March, pairs three readings by Frye and one by Kathryn with acoustic renditions of four different songs. Mike Severs, former lead guitarist for Dolly Parton and currently producer-guitarist for folk legend Don McLean, produced and played guitar on the new Quilt CD. “Mike and Kathryn have been making music together ever since they were kids in Camden, SC,” said Frye. “I love the understated beauty of their work on this record. It’s something a little different, mixing music with the spoken word. I’m excited by the way it turned out.” To order the CD, contact Frye at wfg2346@gmail.com.



“Red Rock Heart,” the new album by Nashville singer-songwriter Pamela Jackson, features two songs co-written with Frye Gaillard. Jackson, an Alabama native, has performed at such musical venues as The Bluebird, Brown’s Diner, and Douglas Corner in Nashville; Moonlight on the Mountain in Birmingham, and the Frank Brown Songwriter’s Festival in Gulf Shores, AL. Because of the lyrical strength of her songs, she has also appeared at such literary venues as the Clarksville Writers’ Conference at Austin Peay University, the 2014 Southern Studies Conference at Auburn University-Montgomery, and the Huntsville Public Library. “Pamela Jackson,” said Gaillard, “is one of Nashville’s great undiscovered talents, an artist who writes with integrity and force. This new album, produced so beautifully by Tricia Walker, is Pamela at her best.” In addition to the songs, “Dancing” and “The Things We Live Through,” co-written with Gaillard, Jackson co-wrote five of the cuts on “Red Rock Heart” with Nashville songwriter Davis Raines. The other five, including the title cut, she wrote solo.



Raines, meanwhile, has completed work on a new CD, “Mockingbird” – and the title cut was co-written with Gaillard. “Davis and I were commissioned to write the song,” Gaillard explained, “for a literary conference on To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s classic work. It was not an easy assignment, and we decided in the end not to write directly about the book, but about the culture out of which it grew. Davis began writing more songs after that, some of them solo, some with Pamela Jackson, Dennis Morgan and other songwriters, surrounding our original song with others about the heart and soul of the South – and especially our home state of Alabama. Davis writes about football, food, and southern music, about booze and broken hearts, and people who run afoul of the law – and most seriously, I suppose, about our complicated legacy of race. My favorite song on the record is ‘Someone, Somewhere Tonight,’ written by Davis and Walt Wilkins. It’s been recorded by Kenny Rogers, Pam Tillis and Kellie Pickler. But nobody sings it like Davis – and Pamela Jackson’s harmonies are a testament to the power of friendship and music.”



In this busy season for songwriter friends, Kathryn Scheldt of Fairhope, AL, and guitarist Jim Mings, a South Carolinian by way of Austin, TX, have completed an album called “Blue Jazz Country.” Gaillard once again had a hand in the title cut, co-writing it with Scheldt and Mings. “Kathryn Scheldt is a singer’s songwriter,” said Gaillard. “Over the course of a long career, she has continued to display her remarkable talent as an artist, both as a writer and a performer, through songs that range from country to jazz. This new album contains some of both, with a little bit of blues thrown in for good measure. Kathryn’s vocals are beautiful as always, full of energy and feeling, and Jim Mings can play anything with strings. There’s a lot of musical chemistry here, and for me, once again, it’s been a great opportunity to add a few lyrics to Kathryn’s body of work. Our collaboration, in fact, provided my first push down the path of songwriting, where I would almost certainly not have ventured alone. I met Davis Raines and Pamela Jackson when Kathryn and I were writing The Quilt, a book that celebrates the legacy of Alabama’s singer-songwriters. I’m grateful to Kathryn and all of these writers for finding a place for me in their creative process.”



And finally, Kathryn and Frye have each collaborated recently with the dynamic Anne E. DeChant, an Ohio native now living in Nashville. Anne E., a singer-songwriter who has played the White House and will share the stage this summer with the Indigo Girls, recently co-wrote “A Little Wine” with Kathryn and “Like the Sun Coming In” with Frye. “Anne E. DeChant is a beautiful spirit and a force of nature,” said Frye. “You can check out these songs and others, including my personal favorite, ‘The Worth of Water,’ and her Hollywood soundtrack hit, ‘Girls and Airplanes,’ by logging onto her website, www.anneedechant.com. If you like Melissa Etheridge, Bonnie Raitt, or the story songs of Emmylou Harris, you owe it to yourself to check out Anne E.”

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Frye at the Bluebird


On Thursday evening, May 30, Frye Gaillard will “play” the Bluebird Cafe, Nashville’s famous songwriters Mecca, appearing at an in-the-round with his songwriting friends, Peter Cooper, Davis Raines, Kathryn Scheldt and Jon Byrd. “Mercifully, I won’t be singing,” Gaillard says, “just reading from the book, The Quilt and the Poetry of Alabama Music. I wrote about all of these fine songwriters in that book, and have actually co-written one song each with Peter and Davis, and multiple songs with Kathryn Scheldt. All of these writers have demonstrated with their work that the kinds of Americana songs they write represent a powerful form of literature – of story-telling – as well as a beautiful genre of music. I have to say, it’ll be quite a kick to join them on the stage of the Bluebird, where so many of my songwriting heroes have played.” Showtime is 6 p.m.