Christmas is always a bittersweet time of year for us—we get to play the songs off our Christmas album, but usually only once or twice! This year we managed to squeeze in four Christmas shows, including two in new venues: the Little Washington Theatre, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (aka the Rocky museum). Our Philly show had a theme: it was an ugly Christmas sweater party! We did have to do a little shopping for the event, but we are proud to say that our sweaters were among the ugliest on site.
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On our New England tour this summer, we took a swing to the north to play the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, which sits on the US-Canada border at Derby Line, Vermont, and Stanstead, Quebec. What a charming venue! The international border runs right down the middle of it…but we were able to get by without passports, because the historic building is legally considered an island.
On July 9 we played a fun outdoor show on Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury, VT. This bandstand is set on a mountaintop that’s privately owned, but always open to people and dogs. The most touching spot in the place was the dog chapel, papered with notes from people to their beloved old dogs. It must be true that all dogs go to heaven.
We’re pleased to see The Lock & the Key at #27 in the national Roots Music Report jazz chart! We’ve heard reports of “sightings” on stations all over the country. If you hear us on your radio please let us know!
We are delighted to announce the release of our eighth album: The Lock & the Key. There are eleven cuts on it: nine originals and two covers. It took just about a year to make, and we are quite proud of it. One of Charlie’s favorite tracks is “The Sweet Ride Home,” for which singer Marilyn Older wrote a lyric about the moments just after a wonderful date. It’s driven by a groove from drummer Tommy Barrick, and the melody is ghosted a fourth down by Joe Jackson’s trombone. Tutti ensemble section in the middle is the full-on Chaise Lounge statement. Another fave: “The Earl.” Sax player Gary Gregg routinely stuns our live audiences with his ultra-melodic solos, and we captured a hot one on this track, named for one of Gary’s saxophone heroes, Earl Bostic. Bass (and tambourine) player Pete Ostle shines on “Mozambique.” We may be especially proud of the last song on the record, “I Grew a Rose,” because we tried to get a very retro Harry Belafonte sound, and we think we hit the nail on the head. In concert, we sometimes use male backing vocals as comic relief, but on this cut we are nothing but sincere. The artwork for the album is by Adriana Cordero.
Chaise Lounge acted as an emissary between two musical countries last weekend–and the odd and somewhat schizophrenic nature of what we do was brought into sharp focus. On Saturday night, we played at Chris’ Jazz Café in Philadelphia, the jazziest of East Coast Jazz clubs. On Sunday, we played at Godfrey Daniels, a quintessential folk club in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. Jazz and folk: Could Chaise Lounge really find common ground between those two ideologies? At Chris’ we brought a folksinger’s love of storytelling to the coolest cats in Philly. And at Godfrey Daniels, we brought our sharp suits and sharp chops and swung our as*** off for the salt-of-the-earth folksters of Bethlehem. And hooray, it felt like we brought a little bit of peace, love, and understanding to both sides, at a time when our country can use as much peace, love, and understanding as we can get.