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Week 39 - "Heroes" (David Bowie, 1977)

He would have been 70 tomorrow.  It’s hard to believe that he’s been gone for almost a year.  In the madness that followed through out that year and the strange political climate that continues to this year, I realized I really needed to sing this song.  This song, originally recorded in the 70’s in Berlin depicts lovers separated by the Berlin Wall.  His performance of the song in West Berlina decade later is considered a catalyst to the eventual fall of the Berlin Wall.   

Happy almost birthday, Starman.  We miss you dearly.

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Week 38 - Jockey Full of Bourbon (Tom Waits, 1985)

Week 38 - Tom Waits

Grand Finale of Tom Waits December!  The song that started it all for us.  We have been singing this song for so long that sometimes we even forget that it is a cover, ha!  We’ve been wanting to collaborate with our California half of the band and finally our dream came true.  Bi-coastal video!  Rebekah and I miss these gentlemen so much. Even though we didn’t play together in real life, I think this video portrays the feeling of what it is like when we do play together.  

I think it is important to close a year right and I’m glad we are able to do so with a style!  Hope you enjoy.  

Wishing you a very happy new year!

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Week 37 - Tango Till They're Sore (Tom Waits, 1985)

Week 37 - Tom Waits

It was a very difficult task to pick songs from Tom Waits’s vast collection of songs.  And it was wonderful to see that so many people have such an affection for him and his songs.  In the end I decided to cover one of my all time favorite songs.  This was the song that made me fall in love with Tom Waits and I’ve tried to sing in the past but coudn’t quite get it.  So it was time to try again!  It’s the intro of the song that gets me every time so we had to work on that - it’s just so perfect in a drinking whiskey in the afternoon kind of way.  It also has the line “just get me to New Orleans” which is pretty much how I feel every time I think about that beautiful city.  As I was recording the song I realized that this song is probably about Mardi Gras, which meant we sang about entirely wrong holiday but that’s how we roll over here in Miwa Gemini land.  Enjoy.

Happy Holidays!

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Week 36 - Innocent When You Dream (Tom Waits, 1987)

Week 36 - Tom Waits

I was editing this video this morning (which I tend to do because I’m always running WAY behind with this project) all was quiet while snowed outside.  It was beautiful and peaceful.  And I felt this song fits the mood of the day.  I’m not quite tired of the snow yet although ask me in March and I might have a different answer! 

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Week 35 - Cemetery Polka (Tom Waits, 1985)

Week 35 - Tom Waits (1985)

One of the many things I love about Tom Waits is his ability to make music with just about anything.  Unusual instruments, unusual subject matters, unusual ideas, unusual situations - all of these things makes his world so exciting and interesting.  Like this week’s song, Cemetery Polka from the album Rain Dog. It's a song about aging relatives who are mostly insane, dying or both. Absurdity with a twisted sense of humor ran through this song and it includes some of my favorite rhymes like “egg” and “wooden leg” and “hotel” and “hell.”  

I read that Tom Waits walked around NYC recording street sounds and other ambient noises on a cassette recorder in order to catch the sound of the city for recording Rain Dog.  Rain Dog is one of my favorite albums and it makes me happy that it was written in my old neighborhood West Village, though I’m sure it was quite a different neighborhood back then.  

I’ve been wanting to to do all toy instrumentation and this seemed like a perfect opportunity.  We had a great time working on this song.  I hope you enjoy!

“If I want a sound, I usually feel better if I've chased it and killed it, skinned it and cooked it.”  - Tom Waits

And a happy belated birthday, Mr. Waits!

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Week 34 of 52 Weeks - Hold On (Tom Waits, 1999)

Week 34 - Tom Waits

Week 1 of Tom Waits December!  Things changed for me drastically as an artist the day I discovered Tom Waits.  I love his originality - in his music, in his lyrics, in his style and in his imagination. And I love and love his sense of humor.  Frustratingly I’ve only seen him performance once and that was for his Mule Variation tour.  Still to this day, it’s one of my favorite shows of all times.  This song has been stuck in my head lately and was thinking about covering it, but there are just too many songs I want to cover.  Since it’s his birthday next week (12/7) I decided to dedicate this whole month exploring his world.  Hope you enjoy!

This one goes out to miss Erika - not only because we went to see Tom Waits together but also she has the best sense of humor and the most infectious laugh.

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Week 33 of 52 Weeks - Where You Lead (Carole King with Louise Goffin, 1970 & 2002)

 

Happy Thanksgiving weekend!  This week, in honor of the revival of Gilmore Girls which happens to be one of Bekah’s favorite shows, we are covering this Carole King’s classic.  This song was originally on her iconic album Tapestry but when the producer of the show Gilmore Girls contacted her about using it as its theme song, she updated the lyrics to go with the mother and daughter theme of the show.  Then she re-recorded the song with her daughter Louis Goffin.  I also have a personal connection to this song - I got to work on the shoot with Carole King for the cover of her album Love Makes the World which the updated version was included.  I remember she was really laid back and easy to talk to.  

Hope you enjoy!  

 

This one goes out to Cody and Waylon :)

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Week 32 of 52 Weeks - Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen, 1984)

Week 32 - Leonard Cohen

When I heard Leonard Cohen passed away, I cried.  Not only he’s one of the artists that I hold dear to my heart but his passing seems to make things look even more desperate than it is, just when we need his music more than ever.  I argued with myself back and forth as to which songs I was going to sing for a long long time, but in the end I decided with Hallelujah, simply because I wanted and needed to sing it right now.   

Thank you, Leonard Cohen, for your clear and honest words and for your beautiful melodies.

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Week 31 of 52 Weeks - Trouble in Mind (Nina Simone, 1961)

Week 31 - Nina Simone

I wish I had some light and wisdom to share with you but I’m afraid my thoughts seem to be just streaming through randomly right now.  So I turn to music like I always do and find courage in the words of people who were there before us.  This song has been going through my mind during those nights when I just tossed and turned.  Thank goodness for Nina Simone.  Her voice makes it easier to get out of the bed in the morning.  

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Week 30 of 52 Weeks - To Make You Feel My Love (Bob Dylan, 1997)

Week 30 - Bob Dylan 

I bet you are probably thinking “Bob Dylan again???”  I know I felt the same way.  Although it was written by Dylan in the 90's, Adele made it more famous, I think.  This song has been stuck in my head for the last few months.  I kept on finding myself humming it and finally it got so annoying that I had to learn the darn thing.  Everything about this project has been a surprise to me.  And finally, accordion!  Considering Bekah and I met through Main Squeeze Orchestra, an all girl accordion orchestra, we really should play more accordion…  

 

Anyway, Bob Dylan has been the talk of the town again, first with him winning the Nobel prize for literature, and then keeping everyone including the famous Swedish institute in suspense to see if he will even accept the prize by remaining absolutely silent about it.  I did read an article with him about his upcoming painting exhibition in London and in that he mentions that he will be attending the ceremony.  In the same article, I found a quote from him that resonated with me deeply.  

 

“Everything worth doing takes time. You have to write a hundred bad songs before you write one good one. And you have to sacrifice a lot of things that you might not be prepared for. Like it or not, you are in this alone and have to follow your own star.”

 

I’ve taken wrong turns and detours, have gone backwards and sideways, and have definitely walked in circles following my star.  And I’m pretty sure there will be lots more surprises, pleasant and otherwise, on the path ahead. Luckily for me though, I have found many wonderful companions along the way!

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Week 29 of 52 Weeks - Red Right Hand (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, 1994)

Week 29 - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

It’s Halloween, so of course we had to cover Nick Cave.  The thing is, I love Nick Cave.  From the days of Birthday Party to the Grinderman, he’s a prolific artist that always seem to surprise you.  He’s amazing on stage and although he has had some commercial success, he seems to remain himself whether singing murder ballad or love song.  I knew I wanted to cover Nick Cave but picking this song was a bit of surprise.  Maybe Peaky Blinders has something to do with it?  But there are so many songs that I love by him, it’s possible that I will cover him again.  I still have over 20 songs left!  

On the side note, yesterday James got us tickets to go see him next year.  I’m so excited!

Happy Halloween!!!

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Week 28 of 52 Weeks - Boys aka Girls (Beastie Boys, 1987)

Week 28 - Beastie Boys (1987)

We had this idea to change the song “Girls” to “Boys” and keep the rest of the lyrics the same.  But what I didn’t realize was how much of it describes my life to a tee right now!!!  It’s all about boys in the morning, and it’s all about boys in the evening. I love the way they walk and I sure love the way my 2-year-old and his friends talk!  And every night I hope he will say “hey me and you should hit the hay” as in “is it bed time yet?!” and certainly I can’t wait for him to do the dishes and his own laundry :)  Later in their career The Beastie Boys weren’t too fond of this song for its lyrical content but I figure Bekah and I can make it equal, right?  I sincerely hope though that when my boy grows up, he will know the difference between looking for a soul mate and a house keeper!

Brilliant styling by my home slice Bekah S.  She ain’t just a pretty face, you know?

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Week 26 of 52 Weeks - Sir Duke (Stevie Wonder, 1977)

Week 26 - Stevie Wonder  

It’s week 26 - we made it half way!!!  To celebrate this momentous occasion, we are covering Stevie Wonder.  This was definitely the most challenging song we covered so far.  I never felt so uncoordinated in my life!  Seriously doubted if I had any sense of rhythm at all. Then I remembered one of my old boyfriends who was undoubtedly the worst dancer I have ever seen.  It was so bad that the dance floor used to clear as people just stared at him.  He himself had no idea though - he loved music and dancing, and if he noticed people staring at him, he probably just thought people were admiring his dancing skill…  And this song is about that the music is a universal language and we all have an equal opportunity to sing and dance.  It’s an amazing song all around dedicated to Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and other jazz greats. 

I’m just so grateful that musicians like Stevie Wonder exists!

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Week 25 of 52 Weeks - Ruby Tuesday (The Rolling Stones, 1967)

Week 25 - The Rolling Stones (1967). 

Growing up I was more of a Beatles fan than the Rolling Stones.  Not that you have to pick one of them…  It wasn’t till we began collecting vinyl that I really fell in love with the Rolling Stones.  Especially with their early recordings.  This song although credited to Jagger/Richards, both Bill Wyman and Marianne Faithful mention Brian Jones’s contribution. 

I love it because it reminds me of so many of my friends.  I’ve been extremely lucky to have many many colorful ladies in my life. Although I don’t get to see them that often, even the ones that live close by, but I’m always grateful for their inspirational existence and I know I can call any one of them if I need a pick me up or a good laugh.  Thank you!  You know who you are.  I love and miss you!

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Week 24 of 52 Weeks - Long Ago (And Far Away) (Jo Stafford, 1944)

Week 24 - Jo Stafford (1944).  This song was requested by Bekah’s husband Evan’s grandmother, Tamar.  Her husband Emil passed away some years ago but it seems like they had a wonderful life together.  One can only hope that one’s relationship can be that strong and lasting.  

This song was written by Jerome Kern and Ira Gershwin and was featured in the musical Cover Girl starring Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth.

As we near the half way mark on this year long project, we would like to thank our husbands for all their support.  I’m telling you, it’s a lot to put up with ;)  And do you see the brand new microphone?  That was a gift from James.  Thank you, James!  

Wearing our favorite dresses found at a vintage store in Richmond, VA (thank you, miss Erika!) with the better sound quality, this just became my new favorite!  Hope you enjoy it, too.

 

 

 

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Week 23 of 52 Weeks - Love Me Tender (Elvis Presley, 1956)

Week 23 - Elvis Presley.  Last week we covered The King of Pop, and this week we are paying tribute to the King himself.  But my inspiration came from the time I saw a singer in Japan singing this song to a music box.  I was little then but I remember it sounded beautiful.  I made our version with a toy piano and Bekah added some lovely trumpet.  Hope you enjoy!

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Week 22 of 52 Weeks - Billie Jean (Michael Jackson, 1982)

Week 22 - Michael Jackson. 

I was thinking that doing this project might be similar to speed dating.  You have to assess the personality of each song and try to figure out how you can relate to it, and the end result is somehow always surprising.  I had a vague idea that we might want to do Michael Jackson but picking this one was a surprise and an even bigger surprise was that how much we enjoyed it!  It’s such a well written song, during the rehearsal Bekah and I kept on saying “one more time!” because we couldn’t stop.  Michael himself said that he knew it was going to be a success - "A musician knows hit material. Everything has to feel in place. It fulfills you and it makes you feel good. That's how I felt about 'Billie Jean'. I knew it was going to be big when I was writing it."  Quincy Jones wanted to cut the long intro (29 seconds!) but Michael told him that that’s what makes him want to dance!  Later Jones said “and when Michael Jackson tells you, 'That's what makes me want to dance', well, the rest of us just have to shut up."  

Hats off to you Michael.  You were a true genius.

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Week 21 of 52 Weeks - Dress (PJ Harvey, 1991)

Week 21 - PJ Harvey.  I still remember the first time I listened to Dry, PJ Harvey’s first album.  It just blew my mind.  She was, with a lack of better word, so COOL.  I haven’t heard anything like it before, she was intense, poetic, angry and damn sexy, just all around badass.  She was the first artist I saw using a bottle neck with her guitar and I bought one the very next day and tried to use it and miserably failed it.  It took me another 10 years before I tried it again…  When I decided to go solo, I spent hours learning every single songs from Dry.  There are other albums by her that I love, but Dry is the one that I always go back to.  She is one of a few artists that truly changed me.  And I’m very please to be able to pay homage to her by singing one of my favorite songs of hers which happened to be her first single.  

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Week 20 of 52 Weeks - Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend (Marilyn Monroe, 1953)

Week 20 - Marilyn Monroe.  I love dresses.  I especially love vintage dresses and consequently I have accumulated lots of them over the years.  Half of me thinks that wanting to wear those dresses is motivation to get on the stage…  There’s something really fun about swaying around in a full length gown, even in 90 degree heat!  With that spirit we channeled our inner Marilyn Monroe this week - we had to dig pretty deep to find her!  It’s a mini-series continuing from last week’s Material Girl.  Enjoy!

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