Posts Tagged ‘ justin goldner

New Single: Abby Bernstein’s “Just Know”

Today Abby Bernstein releases a brand new single that I co-wrote and co-produced, along with Abby and Chris Camilleri!

I worked with Abby on her most recent record I’m Not Sorry, and it was great getting to work with Chris for the first time.

Big-ups to Jordan Perlson (drums) and Dana Leong (cello) for lending their talents to this track.

Check it out on iTunes here:

Arabic fusion: Shusmo’s “Pieces”

The only thing that rivals the feeling I get from the classics of Arabic or Balkan music– Umm Kulthum, Petro-Loukas Chalkias, Vassilis Tsitsanis– is to hear new, inventive works drawing on such rich traditions. Waterlily Acoustics has been a treasury of acoustic world fusion, with some standout titles such as Tabula Rasa with Indian slide guitarist V.M. Bhatt, Chinese er-hu (2 string fiddle) player Jie-Bing Chen and Bela Fleck on banjo, and the Grammy-winning A Meeting By The River with the aforementioned Bhatt and Ry Cooder.

Another record that struck me on its release a few years ago was One by New York-based group Shusmo (“شو إسمه”, Levantine Arabic for “What’s it called?”).  Led by Palestinian buzuq player Tareq Abboushi and featuring Peruvian, Greek and American musicians, the group has a strong melodic thread supported by an irresistible lattice of Latin and Arabic rhythms– congas and riqq cover a spectrum of both frequency and rhythmic space.

Below is a transcription of the lead-off track, “Pieces”. You can stream the tune here.

This Thursday June 23, Shusmo celebrates the release of their new record at Joe’s Pub in New York.

Aladdin’s “Friend Like Me” reimagined; Nashville + San Diego

I will openly admit that I had (read: have) enormous crushes on Ariel and Jasmine from the early 90’s Disney movies The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. (Belle was too proper to have any fun).  I rediscovered the scores and songs of those films by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman at some point in high school and loved how his work in Aladdin made big band swing sound like it was inexorably linked with the Middle Eastern Arabian setting.

So I was thrilled to perform Shaina Taub’s re-invention of “Friend Like Me” with a little Andrews Sisters vibe thrown in for good measure at Rockwood Music Hall last month:

Other news: I’m in Nashville tonight playing with Morgan Karr at the Mercy Lounge on Cannery Row! Morgan’s been tearin’ it up in New York and Chicago and now we’re back in his hometown with an incredible band made up of both New York and Nashville musicians.

Morgan Karr's EP release, last month @ Joe's Pub

I’m also recently back from an amazing time in San Diego, opening for Barenaked Ladies with Abby Bernstein. Our 2 day trip out there was a whirlwind of Anchorman references (and an appearance on San Diego 6 that elicited them), late night stops at In-N-Out Burger, and an incredible audience at Humphrey’s By The Bay.

Abby Bernstein in San Diego; Photo: Steven Parr

Barenaked Ladies' bassist, Jim Creegan

You stay classy, San Diego.

What’s new at Funky Butter Productions?

This spring’s a busy time, with a number of cool projects on the various burners, to be served for your listening pleasure soon enough:

Grace McLean has been wowing audiences with her unique, quirky and catchy songwriting and performance, and it’s about bloody time she had a record… so we’ve been in the studio working on her EP! Grace started a fundraising campaign to make this a reality that has so far raised 95% of her $5000 goal, with only 12 days left. She also made a (hilarious) video outlining the challenges she faces as an artist, and there are some videos here from the tracking we’ve done so far.


Abby Bernstein released her first album last year, made with Adam Blackstone (known for his work with Jill Scott, Maroon 5, Usher and The Roots). Along with Chris Camilleri, I’m producing a track that Abby and I co-wrote called “Just Know”. In addition, next Wednesday, we’re heading to California to open for Barenaked Ladies at Humphrey’s in San Diego! There’s a funny story about the etymology of the name “San Diego”, by the way…

Shaina Taub and I co-produced an album by Ryan Amador that is now in its mixing phases. Ryan has a huge range– both vocally and stylistically– and his album (tentatively titled the Early Symptoms EP) jumps seamlessly from introspective piano-rock to throbbing pop and R&B.

Shaina and I are also putting the finishing touches now on her own debut record, which has been in the works on and off now for almost 2 years.  Shaina’s album will feature the thick vocal arrangements that are her trademark, as well as the contributions of several horn and string players and arrangers. We’ve spent the last week laying down the final 2 tracks, including crowd favorites from her live shows, “Make A Mess” and “The Tale of Bear & Otter”. We’ll be playing some of her music at Rockwood Music Hall on May 31 and are looking forward to a mid- to late-summer release.

Sara Colb, formerly of Boston band The Jody Grind, has a huge voice with a bluesy grit to it, and we’ve been working on an album of her original material as well. In addition to her soulful singing, yesterday we had some excellent players come in to lay down fiddle, pedal and lap steel and percussion. Her songs lie somewhere between jangly radio rock and Alison Krauss and we’re very excited at how the record is turning out.

Some other things that have turned my head lately:

An article by Isabelle Peretz and Krysta L. Hyde, “What Is Specific to Music Processing?“. Studies of people with handicaps in their ability to perceive pitch distinction can tell us incredible things about how we as humans perceive and process music.

The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature, Stephen Pinker “probes the mystery of human nature by examining how we use words”. Thanks to Dave Sandoval of Delexilio for this one.