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Laurie is a hero for me and she was a total pro to work with, not to mention a hugely charming individual.
All of her musicians (Rob Burger, Bill Laswell, Colin Stetson) are trained assassins, and my fellow backup singers (David Driver and Theo Bleckman) went 0 to 60 in no time flat. My goal for the eve was just to not fall down, but I actually somehow enjoyed myself.
The CD release show at Poisson Rouge the night before Letterman was a steamy whirlwind. We sang on five songs, and didn’t have much rehearsal to prep for it, and it felt like a million degrees down there. There were two flies stalking Laurie all night but she was indomitable.
Wow. The whole thing, just wow. Not the kind of thing you could ever expect or prepare yourself for. Oh, and Lou gives good notes.
Four shows in one week, a mini-tour of our favorite New York venues: Barbes, the Living Room, Union Hall, Rockwood Music Hall. Thanks to everyone who came out to see us. That was super fun.
And now, at last, this Honker of an album is set loose upon the universe. Be good, little album, and take care!
We’re funding our new album with help from fans, friends and this amazing website called Kickstarter, which allows people to donate to the project.
With the record industry being what it is, this is a super exciting new way to try to fund an album. We only get the money if we meet our fundraising goal of $12,500 within two months — if we fall short, everyone gets their money back and we get squat — so the stakes are high, but I’m hoping it’ll give the people who enjoy our music a deeper sense of ownership over the project. Speaking of which, everyone who donates gets a CD and a credit as a Micro Producer, and if you donate significantly, you get a lot more than that.
And oh, we are off to an awesome start. After a day and a half, we are over %10 of the way to our goal. Thanks to the 24 backers who’ve donated so generously already!
Read more about the project, and how you can help, here.
My Grandpa Nathan passed away on Saturday. He was 97 years old. I’m sorry that he had to go but I’m relieved for him — 97 years is a long time and he was pooped. He had been ready to move on for the past few years at least.
I couldn’t be at the funeral, which was today in Los Angeles, but I’m thinking about him. Here are some things I will always remember about my Grandpa Nathan:
His devotion to his wife. In the years that I knew them, nothing mattered more to Nathan than Irene and her well-being. Their love was deep, lasting and romantic, and I don’t say that just because I once walked in on them sleeping naked in Palm Springs. Whether buying her jewelry or taking her to the doctor, Nathan was always there for Irene. They were the ultimate team. And for two who people who could really appreciate a well-phrased complaint, I never heard either one of them complain about the other.
My grandpa Nathan made the best matzo brie and the best potato pancakes. Simply the best.
My Grandpa Nathan fixed things well enough so that you could keep using them. Sometimes more than once.
On most occasions, Nathan Lipton let other people do the talking. On Passover, he made up for it. With joy in his heart.
My grandpa Nathan could lighten the mood. He could drive 12 hours without stopping. When he spoke, he sounded like Chicago, Lithuania and the desert all rolled into one. When he said something heartfelt, he might squint or throw his hands in the air, and you got the sense that it hurt him a little to say it.
My grandpa loved Judaism. It gave him something to do, a way to see the world, and a way to grow. His study of Judaism later in life became Nathan’s college. It allowed him to become an educated man years after the opportunity to do so had seemingly passed him by.
My grandpa didn’t drink. He didn’t lie. He didn’t steal anything more than a packet of Sambo’s jelly, and that was probably for Irene. He was as moral a person as I’ve ever known, and his morality came not from God or family, but from somewhere within.
My grandpa raised two wonderful sons who dutifully and lovingly spent years of their lives trying to do for him what he had done for them and Irene. There is no greater tribute to his decency than that.
As much as anything, what I will remember about my Grandpa Nathan is that he liked to start at end of the story and work his way back. To him, context was everything. The climax was only a way to frame the story. What really excited him was the little details, the surprising turns, the minor victories that one experienced along the way.
We all talk like that too, Grandpa. And we can’t help it either.
We love you, and we will miss you. Thank you for the latkes and for the sincerity of your example.