In praise of road food

We were leaving our (sold out!) gig in Allentown, Pennsylvania, a couple of days ago and had not eaten for hours. Marilyn floated the notion of stopping for food. It was voted on, ratified, and before we went another three traffic lights, Pete spotted a White Castle. He is from Detroit. Apparently White Castle is a Midwest thing. No one else had ever had a White Castle “slider.” It is worth noting that in 2014 Time magazine voted the White Castle slider the “most influential burger of all time.”

A lot of advice has been written for touring musicians. All the advisors mention eating healthily while on the road. Great idea! We will admit that keeping your energy up is important. Spritzers instead of milkshakes. Carrots instead of french fries. But none of these articles ever seem to mention the joys of geographically specific fast food. When we’re touring, Tommy buys any locally produced spicy beef jerky product. We have all sampled the purple pickled eggs they sell in New Jersey. And we wanted to try the Midwestern meal that had Pete in a nostalgic reverie.

We bought a huge bag of sliders and another equally huge bag of French fries. (In our defense, they did not offer carrots.) We must say, they were delicious—and they gave us the strength to power on.

The Lock & the Key is here!

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.

Shuttle Diplomacy

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.

A flash of inspiration

Corner of High and Blue Youtube ScreenshotYou never know where your next idea will come from. For us, most recently, it came from a set of walking directions and an offhand crack from Pete. Last month, when we played at The Rooster’s Wife in North Carolina, we were honored to be houseguests of the club’s owner, Janet Kenworthy. After sound check, Janet gave us directions to her house: “Walk out this door, turn right on High Street, then walk up to Blue Street and it’s right there.” “OK,” I repeated, “You’re at the corner of High and Blue.” After the perfect pause, Pete said meaningfully, “Man, I’ve been there.

How could this not be the next song in what Marilyn refers to as our “scorned-woman-slumped-over-bar catalog”? When we got home, I put pencil to staff paper and came up with a new song named after the intersection—and the mental state. Here’s a video of us performing it last week at our favorite DC supper club, The Hamilton: “The Corner of High and Blue.”

—Charlie