Collaborating During COVID
Yes there were
some good things
that came from COVID!
A goal of mine for 2020 was to collaborate more with friends in other parts of the world. I had no idea that it would be thrust upon me, and everyone else. But the spirit of musical collaboration, and the creativity of the methods was a lot of fun and especially the total discarding of perfectionism during a time when the word is almost meaningless.
Below are videos of all the COVID collabs I was involved in – and in each case I did the final mix and video edit.
It’s worth noting that these are LIVE performances – no lip sync, no punch-ins. As close to live as you can get these days!
With The Title Trackers
My band and I haven’t been able to get together much over the last year, but we did an experimental long-distance collaboration right after quarantine hit, and it was so much fun we did quite a few more. Here they are below.
Our first foray into this format was to pay a little fun tribute to Kenny Rogers after his passing by playing his signature song, one of the most famous title tracks ever!
A RIVER IS GONE
Tracker Dave and myself got into persona to perform one of our bandmate Andy’s finest title tracks from his solo career in honor of his “quarantine birthday.”
Perhaps nothing was so difficult this past year as losing a loved one. When our close friend Matt lost his mother, we recorded this song in honor of her memory.
A staple from our live set, we took some time to film and record ourselves playing this Lennon classic title track COVID-style from our respective homes.
With Summer Camp Co-workers and Friends
I probably play more music as the MD of Beber Camp in Wisconsin every summer than I do the rest of the year. Even though there was no camp this summer, I still got together virtually with my camp friends to play music, whether for fundraising, for Shabbat, or just for fun!
BACK TO 3BC
I wrote this song for camp back in 2006, and this version features dozens of camp alums – the finale of our benefit concert to raise money for camp after 2020 was cancelled. First time I’ve ever recorded a vocal while driving!
YOU’RE MY HOME
Billy Joel’s classic perfectly fit the mood when summer camp 2020 was cancelled – the lyrics reinforce the idea that a home is not a physical place, but rather the people you are with and community bonds strong enough to withstand hard times.
In 2020 I worked as Music Director of Camp Ben Frankel Online, and spent all summer, and 2 weeks of winter camp too, recording, writing, and singing with campers. I worked closely with Dan “Notes” Grabinar and we recorded this song together for the final camp talent show.
BLESS THIS HOUSE
An all-time camp classic when you want to get sensitive and make people cry! Alex and I have played it together countless times but in 2020 we had to do it virtually.
Fundraisers and Festivals
2020 was a time musicians were called upon time and again to play music for good causes, as well as to play virtually for festivals in which they were slated to play live. Here are some such songs I played on with my fellow artists, again also mixing and editing the video for each.
ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE
I mixed and edited the video on this Beatles classic, produced by David Pack to raise funds for CADA Santa Barbara and their rehab program. But when duty called, I busted out my old sax and popped my head in here from time to time!
JC Gafford, an artist I produce, modified one of his songs into a playful blues romp about COVID. He was meant to perform live at the Valley Cultural Center annual show but it turned virtual back in May. Not everyone had access to top studio equipment but it turned out groovy nonetheless!
POSITIVELY 4th ST.
The annual Dylanfest in Torrance, CA was cancelled this year, so it went virtual, and my band Pillow Of Wrongness “assembled” to record this classic Bob Dylan tune from 5 different locations. I headed to the nearest 4th Street to film and record mine!
SHELTER FROM THE STORM
Another performance from Dylanfest, this time from another band of mine Dry September. I don’t appear in the video, but the classical guitar playing is me. Dylanfest this year helped raise funds for LA’s Midnight Mission homeless shelter and rehab center.