The Sweet Shel Suite: Music Inspired By Shel Silverstein

by Chad Eby

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about

Friends -

Only two of the tracks will be available here for streaming on a rotating basis, but don't worry, the entire 9-track album will download once you have checked out.

Tracks:
1. Lester (The Wish-Waster)
2. The Long Haired Boy
3. Ourchestra
4. Years From Now, When I'm Gone
5. Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me, Too
6. Masks
7. Falling Up
8. The Clock Man
9. The Dance of the Shoes

With that out of the way....about the music!

For years, our children have loved the poetry and stories of Shel Silverstein, and my wife and I have been deeply moved by the "grownup" messages that are delivered in ways that are equally meaningful to our children. It occurred to me that the meter, spirit, and imagery (both implied and brilliantly drawn) of these works were perfect foils for musical inspiration. The first compositions were completed in the winter of 2012-13, and I finished the last few in May of 2014. A few words about each of the tunes (leadsheets of which will download for you in PDF format):

Lester (The Wish-Waster) – Lester is a character who receives wishes from a genie, and proceeds to use them to wish for more wishes, becoming greedier and greedier but yet never actually accumulating anything. The melodic fragments repeat and pile up on top of one another as the tune rolls along, eventually ending with Lester’s dissonant demise, with nothing to show for it. One of Lester Young’s favorite vehicles, “Oh, Lady Be Good," provides a loose framework.

The Long-Haired Boy – This anti-bullying parable touches me deeply. The song represents the boy’s long hair lifting him into the sky, and helping him soar up and down amongst the clouds, finally bidding a not-so-fond farewell to the townspeople who tormented him, and then wanted him to be their friend once they discovered he can fly.

Ourchestra – Just a go-get-em, burnout-type tune. The poem is about people playing a bunch of wild-sounding, body-part instruments, and the crazy band they make up.

Years From Now, When I Am Gone – Copyright restrictions prevent me from including any poems here, but a quick Google search should turn up these two separate poems, which are both beautiful and sentimental. When I first wrote this tune, my students Evan Ringel and Alex Bingham called it a "Midwestern power ballad," which cracked me up. I've changed it to "Midwestern Lutheran power ballad" to make it even more true to my roots...

Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me, Too – This is the most literally translated poem in the suite, as the melody aligns itself almost exactly with the meter and pacing of the first verse of the original. The time shifts dealt me fits for a good while, but this one is so, so very fun to play. And curse my ears for initially hearing and conceiving this tune in the key of A…

Masks – In Masks, two blue-skinned folks cover themselves, hiding their real faces and appearance from everyone around them. In the process, they miss out on meeting their soulmates – each other. The melody bounces back and forth between alto and trumpet, and doesn’t really commit to a specific key until the very end.

Falling Up – This poem features playful use of opposites, which I represented with the chords and melody heading in opposite directions of one another. My kids loved the line in the poem where the narrator says he got dizzy and “threw down."

The Clock Man – The Clock Man presents himself to a man three times during the course of his life, each time asking how much he would pay for "an extra day." As a child, he waves him off. In middle age, he casually offers a little something. At the end of his days, he offers the clock man everything, including "all of the stars in the sky."

The Dance of the Shoes – This short, silly little poem about dancing, owner-less shoes made me think of tap-dancing, which of course led me to a drum solo. The tune is a loose mash-up of Neal Hefti’s “Cute” and John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” and is primarily a showcase for Daniel.


Thanks, Shel Silverstein (1930-1999)

credits

released September 27, 2014

This album is lovingly dedicated to Spenser and Mira, who have taught me to embrace each moment.

All songs composed by Chad Eby - BMI
Recorded and mixed by Nick Corrigan in The Music Lab @ Jefferson Center, Roanoke, VA; June 2014
Final mix and mastering by Rob "Wacko" Hunter
Original drawing by Emily Maynard
Photography by Emma Diaz
Cover design by Max Wendt

Thanks to the good folks at D'Addario Woodwinds for keep me "well-reeded"! (Thanks, Thomas and Kristen!)

With humble thanks and appreciation to Brandon, Steve, Daniel, Nick, and Rob for their consummate professionalism and artistry. Also to Evan Ringel, Alex Bingham, Mike Blanco, and Thomas Heflin for helping me workshop these tunes earlier in their lives.

With gratitude to the good folks at the Jefferson Center in Roanoke, VA, who continue to allow me to record in their great facility: Dylan, Cyrus, and Brian.

With admiration to young Emily Maynard for her brilliant drawing, to Emma Diaz for her photography, and to Max Wendt for his designers eye.

And to my friends and family, without whom music has no meaning:
Carmen, Spenser, Mira, Marc and Michelle, Mom and Dale, Bob & Barb, Cathi & Don, Andy & Debbie, Branford & Nicole, Gio, Wynton, Michael & Rosemary, Amanda, Pete & Nancy, Todd, Doug (DERG!), Matt, all the Geros, Wally, Byron, Will, Dave (DIRTY D), and everyone who donated to the campaign to get these discs made - I really couldn't have done it without you!

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about

Chad Eby Greensboro

Iowa native and North Carolina resident Chad Eby has earned widespread critical acclaim as “a consummate improviser” (Jazz Times), “has tremendous poise and natural melodic sense” (Ottawa Sun), and his ”tone is boundless, blues-inflected, and wholly satisfying” (AllAboutJazz.com). He is a Conn-Selmer and D'Addario Woodwinds Performing Artist.

"Chad Eby is a consummate artist." - Bill Charlap
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