Sunday, August 18, 2019

2018 Christmas Comp Artwork

Last year I (again) commissioned local artist Megan Fitts to create my annual Christmas Comp CD cover.  I had a visual theme in mind, and presented the vision for Megan, upping the ante from previous years.  And boy did Megan deliver!  

I had envisioned a swingin' Christmas party, featuring some of the artists I included on the comp.  Just imagine Bing Crosby hangin' out with Shonen Knife :-)  Megan created a hip Christmas soiree, one that would be legendary.  So, I thought I'd share the artwork with you.  

Top row, l to r:  Rufus Wainwright, Shonen Knife (2), Bing Crosby, one more Shonen Knife,Jim Nabors, Dia Frampton.

Bottom row, l to r: Jools Holland (actually cut from the final CD mix), Ingrid Michaelson, Eric Clapton, Perry Como, Maggie Roche, Devo.

Awesome work by Megan!

Megan's website:
Art of Megan Fitts on Facebook:

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Meeting Sofia Talvik

To the Christmas Music collectors community, Sofia Talvik needs no introduction.  For years, the Swedish folk singer with strong ties to our fair country has released Christmas songs, originals that she gives away to her fans as an annual Christmas gift of music.  Sofia collected these into an album titled "When Winter Comes", released in 2017 (and reviewed here by yours truly and here by our festive friend Stubby).  Sofia's Christmas songs are musically beautiful and emotionally stirring.

In May of this year I had the pleasure of attending a performance by Ms. Talvik.  Sofia and husband/engineer Jonas Westin made a stop during their "Little Chief Camper Van Tour" (mostly my words, though a few of theirs) at the Olathe KS Public Library.  The performance was sponsored by the library, so admission was free for the folk music fans who came out that evening.  Sofia played for around 60 people in an open performance space in the library branch.  I was first to arrive, so was able to reserve myself a great seat in the front row :-)

Sofia played selections from her latest album "Big Sky Country" along with works from throughout her career, and some from future album projects.  She connected with the audience, shared stories from her time on the road and about her songs, and captivated all of us in the enthusiastic crowd.

Seeing and hearing Sofia perform live was completely beautiful.  As a live performer, she brings extra depth and expression to her songs.  Although I love her recorded work, being able to take it all in in an intimate venue was extraordinary.

Before the show Sofia and Jonas were relaxing in the library, so I introduced myself and we chatted just a bit, but I didn't want to be a distraction before the program, so kept the chit-chat short.  After her show I was able to spend a bit of time talking to each of them, learning more about their tour through the US in a small camper (the "Little Chief" I mentioned earlier), and about her life as an independent folk musician.  I feel quite privileged to have been able to connect with Sofia and Jonas, albeit briefly.  I encouraged her to play again in Kansas City whenever their tour takes them through this part of the country, and guaranteed them I could help find a venue (even if it's a house show on my backyard deck).

The evening of music and connection was wonderful.  Sofia and Jonas had planned on camping at a nearby campground that night, until a thunderstorm of the type only found in Kansas in the springtime rolled in, changing their plans to that of a local hotel.  The next day they were Colorado bound, and onward to many other shows, large and small, across the United States.

Sofia and Jonas are great people, and marvelous musicians.  If you ever have the chance to see Sofia perform, don't miss out.  Go see her, a folk musician extraordinaire, as she shares her gifts with the world.

Sofia and me!

Sofia Talvik website