In the fall of 2013, I embarked on a journey that actually began over three decades ago.
I’d been a fervent fan of Rosemary Clooney, after first seeing her in the holiday TV classic ‘White Christmas’ when I was a teenager. Her voice is so rich and she fills every lyric with this quiet, steady, deep feeling. In 1998, I was blessed to hear her with the North Carolina Symphony and meet her backstage. She was as gracious and wonderful as I’d hoped. My autographed program and the photo of us still hang in my office today.
When my cousin Patrick and I would run into each other at family gatherings, our talk revolved around music. We’d speak of his love of old standards, my love of Rosemary Clooney and he’d say those were the songs I should learn to sing. In the summer of 2013, he said it again and I asked him to make me a list – like Johnny Cash had done for his daughter Rosanne – of a bunch of standards I should know. He agreed and then said I should record them. I was awestruck when he generously provided the funding for me to professionally record an album’s worth of our favorite songs.
Throughout the process, I listened to tons of music and read several biographies. From the classic (Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and Rosemary Clooney) to the new (Susan Werner, Diana Krall, Eva Cassidy, Melanie Gardot, Nellie McKay and Jane Monheit), this music made me smile, hum along, and occasionally get up and dance.
I’m fascinated with the simplicity and beauty of this music. It’s deceptively simple, yet riveting. It’s timeless. I hope you’ll enjoy listening to “It’s a Good Day” as much as I enjoyed making it.
For Mamaw, Papaw & Aunt Pat
The last time I ever saw my Papaw, we spent the afternoon listening to Frank Sinatra together. This was significant because my grandfather was not a fan. My Mamaw, however, dearly loved ‘Ol Blue Eyes. So that Christmas, Papaw relented and bought her the entire box set of Sinatra’s music. She was beyond thrilled. I helped her take down their Christmas tree that morning. Then, we all sat down in the den with cups of tea and, smiling, just listened. I’ll never forget the happiness of that day. Only two months later, I got the call Papaw had died unexpectedly after open-heart surgery. I will always treasure that afternoon. So this album is for Papaw, Mamaw and her sweet sister, my Great Aunt Pat. The songs on this album make me think of them…the classics I heard on their car radio, back when ‘oldies’ meant Big Band. They have always been three of the biggest fans of my singing. Great encouragers. When I think of them, I certainly think, “It’s a Good Day.”
ALBUM RELEASE: August 2015
Listen to clips from “It’s a Good Day”