If you read my “Coming Alive at Home” post you know how my LIVE EP got its start. Pennies from Heaven was the second song chosen, and in the cutest of ways.
My lovely brother Orion came over to hang out and were were playing music at the piano like we always do. We started playing and discussing Alive. I didn’t yet realize that I would end up doing a whole EP, I just knew I wanted to record that song. Orion asked me what I needed to really be able to record that song the way I wanted to and my answer was, “I need money to fall from the sky”. We laughed about it, but knew it was true – so often in this industry the difference between who is successful and who is not is based on the budget they have… and the amount of publicity they’re able to afford. It can be very disheartening and frustrating – I often think, why even bother to try? But that day was not the day to wallow in self-pity, I put on my favorite version of Pennies From Heaven by Louis Prima and starting singing along and dancing around. If money is gonna fall from the sky, surely this would be the song to summon it, haha. But there’s also something special about that song; I can’t be sad while listening to it. So Orion suggested I record that song too, since I was already having the engineer and musicians come. I thought, sure! I love that song, let’s do it! He started playing around with the chart and came up with the opening bass line. While Orion is a drummer and has been the drummer in my band for years, he also plays piano and is a great arranger. I instantly loved his concept for the song and contributed some ideas harmonically as well. We quickly finished up the arrangement and played it later that night at our weekly residency at The Refinery Hotel’s Jazz Bar, Winnie’s. The audience loved it.
On the day of the recording, Orion arrived early to set up his drums and I handed him a rainstick that I had ordered on Amazon when he got there. He was definitely not excited about it and was a little bit stressed about being able to switch between his kit and the rainstick seamlessly. But that’s what big sisters are for: to push you to try new things or annoy you with demands at the last minute depending on how you look at it. If you watch him in the video, you’ll see him moving very carefully and quietly as the drums has to be miked for the live recording so every little detail would be audible. He handled the challenge like a pro and I’m proud of him for what he was able to contribute to this song.
At the end of the day, I’m grateful for perspective. The glass being half empty or half full depending on how you look at it is such a powerful thing. And I’m glad that this project was able to tip my perspective to the positive side. While I might not have a producer or known arranger to help me, I’ve got a talented family that’s always got my back and I am ever so grateful for that. I’m still waiting for my Pennies from Heaven, but I’ll keep creating what I can with what I have to work with in the meantime.