"Thirsty Thursday" Featuring David Arn
For newer fans, how did your passion for music and career come about? My love of music started early. My grandfather played piano professionally and piano lessons seemed mandatory. I grew up in the era when adults threw parties. I recall being awakened at midnight by my father and a few neighbors begging me to come downstairs and play piano. I was probably thirteen or fourteen . I could play by ear. The adults would gather around the piano and I'd pluck my way through their requests of old standards, "Moon Glow", "Summertime","Mame". Everyone sang. Just telling it brings back an entangled smell of whiskey and cigarettes, men's Old Spice and women's hair spray. It was a great time and even though I was underage no one ever called social services (laughs).
I played in bands, climbed the tree of knowledge, studied literature, wrote and published until I learned how to support myself. About ten years ago I wrote my first song and discovered a path to merge my passion for music with that of writing. My musical collaborations with guitarist Tobias Wilson have lifted the music to a higher level. You can listen to "Silently Drifting to Paradise" and hear how Toby's guitars add an additional dimension to my piano accompaniment. We have done many songs together and each time he has brought things to it that are not on the page in such a way that he remains egoless and does not overwrite the intention of the song.
You recently released your new album, "Traveler Tales." Tell us about the writing process and where the idea came from. "Traveler Tales" is a collection of fourteen songs, fourteen travelers on a common journey, each relating their situation through song--the Mother's Tale, the Veteran's Tale, The Ex-Lover's Tale, etc. It is much like Chaucer's characters in "Canterbury Tales". Each song is a first-person narrative and just as each of us have unique qualities the different tales are rendered in distinct styles (acoustic folk, rock, folk rock) depending on whether the character is marginalized, alone, in or out of love.
I had been working on it for three years with musicians whose artistry I respect. Tobias Wilson Joni Fuller Raz Ben Ari, Ian Smith (Gladys Knight,Sister Sledge,The Temptations), Jordan McQueen. Kerri Hardwick, Tyra Juliette (Demi Lovato, Pharrell,Ed Sheeran).
Is there any news for a forthcoming album? I am currently working on a project with the working title "Alone in Seven Pieces". It is an intimate acoustic project written during lockdown. I have paired with Brooklyn filmmaker, William Murray, who is creating visual vignettes to accompany a few of the songs. We have worked together before and three of our collaborations have won awards at film festivals.
A video and song entitled “The Only Truth I Know” will be released soon. It takes on the conflicting realities that seem to be currently dividing the country. The video was recently announced as a finalist at the New York International Film Awards.
Which song on "Traveler Tales is the most dear to you and why? Most likely "Mother's Day feat. Ava Hart--The Mother's Tale." Ava is a gifted singer and performer and is the mother of a small child with autism. Until I began working with her I was unaware of the struggle parents go through. She wanted me to write something for her child. I was with her when she heard the demo. She started crying. When Alex Wharton mastered the final version at Abbey Road he said she has an amazing soulful aura.
The Russian dancer, Natsya Memphis, created an unique video capturing the passion of the song. It is a song that makes a connection with parents. Many fans have reached out with comments about the song and the video.
Where do you draw inspiration from when writing? That's a good question. Inspiration is a place I go to and once I get there and then leave I have difficulty finding my way back again. That is to say, I have no idea where it comes from or why certain ideas engage my imagination. It just happens when I'm open to it.
Where is your favorite place to eat in your hometown? In Virginia Beach you go to Steinhilber's. It's a family restaurant that has been here since the 1940's-- charming wood-paneled place in a bucolic setting. You might expect to see the ghost of Humphrey Bogart seated at a window table. Excellent service. If you go you have to have the large Fantail Fried Shrimp either as an appetizer of entrée.
Most memorable meal while touring. Where were you and what did it involve? Two years ago I had traveled to the U.K. I could not have planned such a gathering. I had been south of Manchester to film a music video with Tobias WIlson, and then back to London for a radio interview. Through an intermingling of coincidence and haphazard planning I was there in London with my brother and his wife from Connecticut, my daughter (who works in London) and her friend from L.A., my sister-in law from Texas and her friend--all there at the same time. We met for a fabulous dinner at a pub. To be honest, I can't remember what I ordered but it was a joyful communion of spirit that remains strong in my memory.
What's on your pizza? Do you fold your pizza or eat it straight on? Ranch or no ranch? A large NY slice, either cheese or pepperoni, served on a white paper plate at a stand-eat-and-go place. You eat it while walking down Sixth Avenue, trying not to let grease drip down your chin. Last time I checked ranch was not available, only crushed red pepper.
If I was a bartender, what would you order? Jack on the rocks with a splash.
If you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why? My father is no longer with us but everyone in our extended family can fondly recall his favorite toast. Let me introduce you to my best friend, Jack Daniels". So in his honor, I would love their sponsorship.