SLEEPING BEE
Heyday Maker
(Upshot Records)

 

One of the finest acoustic instrumental albums of 2013, Heyday Maker is a most promising first CD from the group Sleeping Bee. Comprised of veteran music makers Andy Goessling (guitars, mandolin, dobro, bouzouki) and Lindsey Horner (acoustic bass, whistles), Sleeping Bee comprises a wealth of musical knowledge, encompassing styles that skillfully draw on folk, Bluegrass, jazz, celtic, soundtracks and more. The seven track Sleeping Bee Heyday Maker CD features a number of memorable originals along with an intriguing cover of a Keith Jarrett composition entitled "Spirits", as well as a haunting, countrified jazzy instrumental cover of the Bob Dylan Nashville Skyline classic “I Threw It All Away”. Also on hand backing Goessling and Horner on the Sleeping Bee CD is percussionist Randy Crafton, while in his February 2013 liner notes for Heyday Maker, Horner cites bass player Jim Gilheany as being an all around force for good that helped get the album recording underway. Commenting on recording the album with Andy Goessling in the CD liner notes, Lindsey Horner adds, ‘We had talked for years about somehow doing something together, pooling our talents and ideas and musical experiences.’ An engaging spin from start to finish, Sleeping Bee’s Heyday Maker is a fascinating acoustic instrumental album that succeeds by crafting a fusion of a number of instrumental music genres into a solid, cohesive whole musical experience. www.LindseyHorner.com


mwe3.com presents an interview with
LINDSEY HORNER and ANDY GOESSLING of
SLEEPING BEE


mwe3: The first Sleeping Bee CD, Heyday Maker is great. Your history together goes back many years. When was the music for Sleeping Bee’s first CD written and recorded and how did the album take shape?

LINDSEY HORNER: Thanks so much, we’re glad you liked it. A lot of the music that we chose for this record came out of things that we both enjoyed playing and that we felt worked well in a simple, stripped down setting.

“Fifth Wish” is a tune I wrote some time ago and actually wanted to include on my last record called Undiscovered Country, but it didn’t quite work for whatever reason. Actually, maybe the reason was that it was supposed to be on this record. “All Hallows”, the last track on Heyday Maker was written for a holiday record, Through the Bitter Frost and Snow, I did with the singer-songwriter, Susan McKeown back in the late 1990’s where it’s more of an interlude type of thing. Andy and I expanded it for improvisation with gratifying results, I must say.

Andy’s tune, “Moorish Melody” is an infectious one that I’ve always loved playing while the two guitar tunes “This Not to Be/When I Saw You”, showcase a lot of moods in a short period of time.

Turlough O’Carolan was a singular figure in Irish music and his two compositions, “O’Carolan’s Draught” and “O’Carolan’s Cup” are not only great melodies but also very cool structures to play on.

“Spirits” is taken from a Keith Jarrett album of the same name where he plays all the instruments, recorders, percussion, guitars, saxophone and of course, piano. It’s a very special work that I’ve always loved and Jarrett himself has named it as one of the best things he’s ever done; quite a statement from an artist who has put out such a huge volume of genius level work.

And finally, speaking of genius, “I Threw it All Away” is a relatively little known gem by Bob Dylan from Nashville Skyline. Again, I thought it was a great melody that would be good to play on.

ANDY GOESSLING: Thanks for listening! I think the album is made up of all those “orphan” songs from other projects that didn’t quite fit their mold. I used to do my tune “Moorish Melody” in my rhythm and blues band and it was the only waltz we did. “This Not To Be” and “When I Saw You” I was doing in my solo shows but couldn’t get them to fit in anywhere else. When we got the idea for an album, we realized we had a body of work that went together finally on its own instead of the odd song out somewhere else.

mwe3: Percussionist Randy Crafton is already credited on the album notes as is Jim Gilheany. What did Randy and Jim bring to the table during the Heyday Maker recording sessions? There seems to be a great chemistry to the album that makes it special. How would you describe the Sleeping Bee chemistry and were there others involved in the making of the album and why did you call the group Sleeping Bee? Also can you say something about that very cool dreamlike cover art for the Sleeping Bee CD?

LINDSEY HORNER: I think a lot of that chemistry can be attributed to the fact that Andy and I have known each other since we were teenagers and have always had a lot of mutual love and respect for each other and the way we each approach music. We finally got around to doing something we’d wanted to do for a long time and I think that joy and relief shows through on the recording.

Randy Crafton owns and runs a first rate studio called Kaleidoscope Sound located in Union City, New Jersey, just the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel across the Hudson River from New York City. The motto of the studio is “no attitude, just music.” It could be Randy’s motto as well. We go back at least 20 years when I knew him first as a percussionist who specialized in frame drums. I’ve done my last several projects there and have recommended the studio to many other people in all styles of music. Randy has a great head on his shoulders, excellent ears and is a joy to work with. He was a natural to add percussion to what we were doing and he came up with some original ideas: the bass drum sound on “I Threw It All Away” is actually an empty drum case played with his hand. He knew it would have just the sound we were looking for.

Jim Gilheany actually set the whole thing in motion. He had done a project at Studio A in Philadelphia and brought Andy in to do some playing on that record. In lieu of, or maybe in addition to, payment, Andy was given some free time at that studio and we used that gift to get some things down on tape in January of 2012. We actually ended up using a few things from those sessions on the record and it helped us to focus our ideas and realize that we had a lot more work to do to really put an album’s worth of material together in coherent form. Jim is a fun cat to hang with, as well as being an excellent bassist himself, and he was present at most of the sessions when we continued on at Kaleidoscope; not so much as a producer but more as an “ear in the sky” type of presence. Without him, we might still be talking about it!

The name Sleeping Bee came about from some random free-associating. There is actually a song called “A Sleepin’ Bee” from an early 1950’s Broadway flop with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by Truman Capote, of all people. We think it conjures up an image which combines a certain urban sophistication paired with a pastoral simplicity, both of which are balanced in our music. In fact, I envision a logo of a bee with headphones and sunglasses and a beatific smile on its face so stay tuned.

As for the cover art, Andy will have to speak to that one.

ANDY GOESSLING: The cover art is a painting I found at a local antique store in NJ. I’ve always liked the surrealist era, especially Magritte and Duchamp, so when I saw this, I thought it might be a lost compatriot of theirs. I’ve tried in vain to find anything out about the artist, especially when I decided it was an image that would lead into this music so well. Maybe He’ll come forward as the album gets out in the public eye more.

mwe3: In the Heyday Maker liner notes, you mention the two covers on the CD written by Keith Jarrett and Bob Dylan. Can you say something about covering “I Threw It All Away”, from Nashville Skyline, which was kind of the first country rock album and still possibly the greatest. That Nashville Skyline song is covered by you and Andy in a quite laid back manner yet it really captures all the nuances of Dylan’s original. How did you approach the song? Also can you say something about the Sleeping Bee cover of Keith Jarrett’s “Spirits”? What is it about those two artists that you think makes them so universally loved and are there other songs that you think would benefit from Sleeping Bee covers?

LINDSEY HORNER: Nashville Skyline is an interesting record in Dylan’s output and he confounded a lot of people... not for the first nor last time. I think of it and John Wesley Harding as his two artfully simple recordings from the late 1960’s that contain many songs that have a lot more to them than at first meets the ear. I had a trio for a number of years called Jewels and Binoculars which specialized in improvised, instrumental interpretations of Dylan’s music and for which I dug quite deeply into the music of this great artist to find good vehicles for exploration. “I Threw It All Away” has a certain melancholy and wistful quality to it and we wanted to bring that out in our version. The rhythm that we settled into could be described as “country funk” or how a tune by The Band might sound like if played by the Jazz Crusaders or something. At least that’s what we were going for.

“Spirits” is just a great melody, period. I think it has a certain Native American vibe to it. I don’t know why, I’ve just always heard it that way. The record it’s from has 4 sides of great music like that one... yeah, I still have it on the original LP which came out in 1985, I think. Our version is somewhat slower and more expansive than the original and it’s one of those songs that’s always great to play, you can’t miss, really.

Bob Dylan and Keith Jarrett are two of the greatest artists of this era and that is why their music is so highly regarded. I find inspiration in their work constantly and am always learning more by listening to them.

As for other covers, we are actually working on new material as we speak, some traditional, some original, just trying different things to see how they work and if they fit with what we’re trying to express. The choices are endless when you get right down to it.

ANDY GOESSLING: I think I listened to Nashville Skyline so much it’s just in my DNA now. When Lindsey suggested it, it seemed natural from the first time we tried it. I did the dobro track in one take and stopped so I wouldn’t over think it and lose the vibe. The Keith Jarrett tune also seemed very familiar to already before playing it. One my first bands was recorder and mandolin doing duets and improv, so that tune seemed like going home.

mwe3: Can you say something about your growing up in the NYC area and which artists and musicians were some of your earliest musical influences and favorite musicians and albums? Where do you live now and what do you like best about it?

LINDSEY HORNER: I was born and raised in New York City where I still live. I always like to say that, “it’s small, but it’s home”. Seriously, I heard everything growing up, the eclectic force that was pop radio back then, Broadway shows, jazz, rock and roll, folk music of all sorts. I’ve always liked albums that were unique unto themselves, ones that don’t even sound like other works by the same people. Native Dancer by Wayne Shorter, The Inner Mounting Flame by Mahavishnu Orchestra, Paul Brady and Andy Irvine, Natural Elements by Shakti, anything by Bob Dylan, Chieftains 4 and on and on. There’s a lot of great music in this world, thank god.

ANDY GOESSLING: When I grew up in Northwest New Jersey in the 1970’s there was a huge bluegrass and country rock scene that I started playing in when I was 13. I learned a lot from Tony Trishka’s early bands, David Bromberg, Leo Kottke, John Fahey, Poco, etc. They were all playing in the area on a constant basis. I would just go to the record store and devour all those small labels like Flying Fish, Front Hall, Biograph and just learn every lick I could!

mwe3: Lindsey, are your albums all available on CD? What about the albums you made before Sleeping Bee, can you say something about that? What are some of your most memorable recording sessions and live performances working with other musicians?

LINDSEY HORNER: Yes, all my albums with the exception of the first one, Never No More, are available on CD. And I’m thinking of re-pressing that one as it is something of a cult favorite if I do say so myself. They are all available through my website (www.lindseyhorner.com) at the store section.

I’ve been blessed to make many recordings as a leader, co-leader and sideman. Here are a few that come to mind: Undiscovered Country, Don’t Count on Glory, Jewels and Binoculars – Ships With Tattooed Sails, Extrospection (with The Chromatic Persuaders), Alive in the House of Saints (with Myra Melford), When Juniper Sleeps (with Seamus Egan), Way Out Yonder (with Andy Irvine) . And lest I forget, the Grammy Award winning recording of Les Miserables, Original Broadway Recording.

mwe3: Andy, can you tell us about your working with Warren Haynes, David Bromberg and Phil Lesh? What are some of your most memorable recording sessions and live performances backing other musicians?

ANDY GOESSLING: I can say one thing they all have in common is they are great band leaders. They know what they want to hear and how to arrange it. That makes my job easier, freedom through structure. Once, you know when to play, or in my case, what instrument to play, it makes coming up with a part a lot easier. We had some great gigs with them, David sat in with us at Bonnaroo, Phil has come to Fillmore in San Francisco and learned some of our tunes to sit in with us, and backing up Warren at the Capitol Theatre was amazing!

mwe3: What basses are you featuring on the Sleeping Bee CD and what are your favorite equipment including other instruments? How about your favorite amps, pics, strings and other gear?

LINDSEY HORNER: I’m not much of a gear head. On Heyday Maker, I play my 5/8 size bass from northern Germany which was made in 1743. Well, most of it dates from then. Some of it is considerably more recent due to a car accident or two. I’ve been using Velvet Blue strings which are a synthetic gut string and have a very distinctive sound and feel. I’ve just recently bought a modern Hungarian bass which I really love and which I hope to be playing on the next recordings.

I have a bow made by Susan Lipkens about 20 years ago. I’m glad I bought it then because she’s become quite in demand and I probably wouldn’t be able to afford one of her bows now!

mwe3: What guitars are you featuring on the Sleeping Bee CD and what are your favorite guitars, mandolins and dobros? Do you also play electric guitars and if so what are your favorite electric guitars? How about your favorite amps, pics, strings and other gear?

ANDY GOESSLING: This could be along list! Let’s just go with what’s on the album. Going into the studio is always a chance for me to use instruments that I wouldn’t subject to road use because of their age. On the Dylan tune I used a 1936 0-17 martin, “Moorish Melody”, a 1968 D-12-35 Martin 12 string. The nylon string you hear is a 1910 Washburn rescued from a junk sale. The mandolin is a 1980 Washburn that was a demo model from the factory for the succeeding product line that is still in production. I just lucked out on the tone of it and never moved on to anything else. The dobro is a 1976, hot rodded with new parts, tuned down to low C. It gives it a little airier vibe. Finally, the fingerpicked guitar tunes started on a 1978 Martin M-38 and went into the second tune on a 1969 Guild D-44. It definitely took more than one trip to get from the car to the studio! It really cuts down on time to get the tone for a certain song, though. Just put up a mike and the right guitar and from then on it’s just a matter of getting the take, no doctoring a tone.

mwe3: Andy, can you tell us about your band Railroad Earth and how does it compare to the Sleeping Bee sound? How long has the band been together, how many albums have you recorded albums and what’s the future hold for Railroad Earth?

ANDY GOESSLING
: Railroad Earth is a six piece band with vocal tunes being the basis for expanded improvisation. With 7 albums and 12 years of gigs it feels like we’re just hitting our stride as far as musical focus and ideas. We have a new album in the can that should be out winter 2013-14. I’d say Sleeping Bee’s sound is a little closer down the chain to Lindsey’s and my original influences as opposed to Railroad Earth using them all to create an Americana/singer-songwriter type band format where influences are hinted at, but not directly quoted. People always say of RRE: I hear some Irish in there, or blues or bluegrass but we aren’t really playing a lot of those styles directly. We’ve got O’Carolan tunes right out in the open on the Sleeping Bee album.

mwe3: What do you like to do outside of music and what other interests do you have as far as hobbies, causes and other activities?

LINDSEY HORNER: Wait, do you mean there’s something else? Joking aside, I’m a big baseball fan and avid cyclist. As the father of a 4 year old boy, I stay pretty busy with all kinds of things.

ANDY GOESSLING: I live right off of a lot of open land with trails so I try to do a lot of biking, walking and reptile hunting... also hanging out at antique stores, book shops. But I do that on the road, too, so maybe there really isn’t any life outside of music.

mwe3: I sincerely hope you can record another Sleeping Bee album. What’s coming up in 2013 and 2014 as far as writing, recording, session work and performances moving forward?

LINDSEY HORNER: We’re working on expanding the concept and have been playing with Randy as well as with Timothy Hill who is a unique and beautiful singer who specializes in harmonic singing whereby two or more notes are sung at the same time, as well as the more conventional kind. We’d like to do some playing live because we think we’re doing something personal and heartfelt that people will enjoy. Another album might be on the horizon, we’ll have to see how things unfold.

ANDY GOESSLING: Most bands form and then make an album of the result. This is an album that’s starting a band, so getting a live version of what we have here is our first project. The tunes that grow out of that will be the next step.

Thanks to Lindsey Horner and Andy Goessling

 

 
   
Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed by mwe3.com
Send to
: MWE3.com Reviews Editor Robert Silverstein
2351 West Atlantic Blvd. #667754
Pompano Beach, Florida 33066

E-mail: mwe3nyc@gmail.com
New York address (for legal matters only)
P.O. Box 222151, Great Neck, N.Y. 11022-2151

 
 
CD Reviews Feature Reviews & Features Archive Photo Archive Contact MWE3 Home
 

 

Copyright 1999-2013
MWE3.com - All Rights Reserved