I first became aware of MaryJo Mundy while wearing my lyricist/singer/songwriter hat. I attended The Gardenia’s Tuesday night open mic, which was originally created and hosted by MaryJo, and heard her sing Berlin’s “How Deep Is the Ocean?” She was one of the best vocal artists I’d ever heard and I immediately asked her to sing on several of my song demos. So when she decided to cover the songs of Laura Nyro – one of my all-time favorite songwriters and also one of the most influential women in music history — I couldn’t wait to capture it in this live recording. Some have been surprised that a cabaret singer with roots in the American Songbook was singing 1970’s pop-rock at a white-table-cloth supper club. But MaryJo is that good – she could sing the phone book (remember phone books?!) and make it sound gorgeous, sexy, soulful and all her own. And the intersection of her sophisticated vocal and interpretive chops with the joyful, youthful and poetic pop that is Nyro’s genius is exactly what makes this project so exciting!
On March 27th, 2015 award-winning folk singer and “acoustic humorist” (and my longtime friend) Christine Lavin was scheduled for a concert at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, CA. As it happened, a mutual friend and fellow songwriter, Daniel Cainer, was in town from London and Christine really wanted to include him as a special guest. That was no surprise – she is renowned as one of the most generous and supportive people in the business, always promoting and championing other artists. But what began as a solo show with a surprise guest appearance turned into a captivating evening of seven performers when I introduced Christine to some of L.A.’s best songwriters and she just couldn’t resist sharing them with her crowd! Then, right before she went on stage the sound man told her he was going to record the show – standard procedure at McCabe’s. Did she tell me? Did she tell the other artists? No. She didn’t want anyone to be nervous or self-conscious. Afterwards she announced that she had the whole thing on tape and…hey, kids, let’s release an album! Brilliant. Because what I think we have captured, along with some of the greatest original songs around, is the spirit and spontaneity – the fun, funny, relaxed and emotionally connected experience you only get at a live music event.