BEHIND THE MUSIC WITH AS IS
HERE'S TO LIFE
From the beginning, this CD has been all about experiencing life to its fullest. We've been asked many times about the song selections because at first glance they seem eclectic, even incongruent. But the album is a collection of emotions, experiences, ups and downs - the twisting and turning of a life well lived. That's really what we set out to accomplish with this CD. To take our listeners on a journey - sometimes up and sometimes down - but always living the moments of life fully. What song better expresses this than Here's to Life ? The lyrics, sung with the weight of all those life moments, talk of joy, excitement, love and regret. They speak of feeling fulfilled but still being curious for what could be next. Unlike other covers on the CD, this one is not so much overdone as much as it has been done conclusively by the inimitable Shirley Horn. So, we didn't set out to do this differently so much as we did it as an homage to her rendition.
Musically, James McKinney's’ beautiful string arrangement at the beginning is a nod to Judy Garland’s “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” from the 1941 film, “The Ziegfeld Girl”. Our relationship with James began many years ago when he and Alan attended Howard University together, studying with jazz greats, Grady Tate and Geri Allen. Since then, we've maintained the friendship through our marriages, children and music. James is now a very successful music producer and trustee on the Recording Academy's Grammy board. More than all of that, he brings an amazing level of musicianship, production and arranging skills to this record. The textured instrumentation and lush vocal arrangements are all James. Most of all, he is a dear friend and incredible human. No matter how we were feeling or what was going right or wrong, he was always our biggest cheerleader!
Alan's arpeggiated guitar lines keep the tune's musical lines moving forward while simultaneously breathing emotion into each string as they ring through the chords. Here's some great shots of Al playing and James conducting the string section.
On a personal level, this tune is also about Stacey's struggle with Lyme Disease. Battling chronic illness as a relatively young person with a family is very challenging. You wrestle with everyday "living" in ways most people don't and the poignancy and value of every experience is that much more salient in the context of your ability to just achieve it. Every syllable of this lyric is sung with great intent, as if she could live a lifetime in every line. That's the way she wanted it to feel for the listener - especially our fans who are also battling Lyme. She wanted them to know that she understands the preciousness of every moment.
Since releasing the record, a miracle has happened and we receive mail regularly from patients who are inspired by the tune but also from people struggling with other ailments and conditions from cancer to depression.
The video was developed for release this summer to bring awareness to Lyme disease and give patients an opportunity to express their hopes and dreams for life after Lyme. We are donating all proceeds from the sale of this track to the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Educational Foundation to support physician training to recognize and treat Lyme disease. In addition, the track is a backdrop for the organization's national radio PSA to support Lyme awareness across the United States.
Be sure to come back tomorrow for a special surprise!
Did you miss Day One or Two?
Revisit Day Two