HOW THIS CD CAME TO BE
In the summer of 2008 I was living on West 47th near 9th Avenue courtesy of my brother, Mike and his wife Gita. I was working selling ticket subscriptions for RoundaAbout Theatre (don't ask). I had just come back from my adventures where I basically roamed the earth like Kane in Kungfu until I ran out of money. Unbeknownst to me I was in the middle of some sort of break down or breakthrough, depending on how you want to look at it. I missed London but lack of finances prevented me from returning, so I settled in as best I could. Some bizarre episode at work went down: a male co-worker flipped out on a female co-worker for no apparent reason (maybe he was having one of those breakdown/breakthroughs too) The upshot was some wacky touchy-feelie session engineered by our boss to facilitate an espirit du corps. It was illuminating.I found out the reason the guy sitting next to me looked so familiar was because he had a recurring walk-on on Law and Order as a cop. Marco the Magician sat across the aisle from me and there was another singer: Merry Agape who's main genre was Country. We exchanged CDs. After listening to ALONE TOGETHER, which I recorded with my brother Michael Merritt (also available on iTunes), Merry loaned me a binder with sheet music for dozens of awe-inspiring songs that spanned the historical arc of Tin Pan Alley during its classic era.
HOMAGE TO TIN PAN ALLEY
As Quentin Crisp said of Poland, Tin Pan Alley is more a state of mind than an actual place. But if you went looking for Tin Pan Alley during the early part of the last century you'd find it on West 28th Street, in New York City, between Broadway and 5th Avenue. In later years Tin Pan Alley became synonymous with the iconic Brill Building at 1619 Broadway in Manhattan.
I began to plunk out these tunes on a portable keyboard with increasing fascination, marveling at the deceptive simplicity of the melodies and absolutely captivated by the beauty of the lyrics.
HARRY WARREN and MACK GORDON
I had to sing these songs, especially the ones crafted by the dynamic duo of Mack Gordon and Harry Warren, both first generation Americans, both composer/lyricist. Harry Warren was born Salvatore Antonio Guaragna in Brooklyn, New York in 1893. He died in 1981 and the plaque on his headstone has the first bar of a tune featured on my CD, "You'll Never Know", which won an Academy Award in 1943. Harry Warren wrote that tune with Mack Gordon, who was born Morris Gittler in Warsaw, Poland. Together the team of Harry Warren and Mack Gordon wrote some of the most soul-satisfying popular songs of the 20th Century or any Century for that matter and you will find several on my CD, "This Is Always", including the title song.
THE PIANO MAN - JOHN diMARTINO
"This Is Aways", the CD would not have been possible without the creative talents of one of the best pianist a Jazz vocalist could hope for - Mr. John diMartino. John and I go way back to the good old club date days in Philly.I am extremely proud and happy to report that he is the musical director on two CDs recently nominated for Grammy awards. I encourage you to Google him and find out what else he's been up to. Not only does he make a piano do extraordinary things, he's one of the best humans on the planet.
There are not enough words to express my thanks to TED TEDESCO at Tedesco Studios in Paramus, NJ where we recorded "This Is Always",TOMMY JOYNER and CODY CICHOWSKI at MilkBoy Studios in Ardmore, PA where we mixed, MELANIE DuPREE for the photography and cover-art and last but definitely not least MERRY AGAPE. Hey, Merry, I still have your binder!