A Step Along The Way

A Step Along The Way CD Release

As you may or may not know, my husband, Ned Andrew, is quite the talented guy. He’s a journalist and an editor, directs leadership institutes, is a fantastic speaker and trainer, does all of our laundry and keeps us fed.

He’s also an amazingly skilled singer, songwriter and musician. One of his tunes is even part of the  Smithsonian Archives. Seriously.

Once upon a time, before internet and cell phones, he came to Nashville on the advice of some music industry folks who thought he “had it” only to pack it in 5 years later to raise some kids and work a full-time “real job.”

As the story goes, he even removed the strings from his 1971 Martin D28 for about a decade. Yeah. It was bad.

Fast forward to 2011 and the 40 year anniversary of his acquiring that guitar. We headed out on a 2500 mile road trip to visit family and friends all over the eastern side of the US. Folks were delighted that he brought along his guitar — though he was still somewhat hesitant to impose his music upon them. After receiving incredibly warm welcomes and enthusiastic responses to his tunes and talent everywhere we went, I planted a bug.

“Hey, hon, it would be so wonderful if you’d get these songs down for us. I mean, we don’t have good recordings of any of them and it would be a shame to lose them all.”

Once those words came out of my mouth, the stars began to align and talented folks started appearing from everywhere to help us out.

We have a friend in LA who owns a fabulous studio who had offered to record Ned Andrew’s tunes. I was ready to book a flight. Walking Champ one morning, we talked about how ironic it would be to fly across the country to make a recording when we could probably knock on 12 doors in our neighborhood and find 6 basement studios.

That evening we went to a house concert where we met Fett. Turns out that Fett lives on our street. And, yes, he runs an amazing professional studio in his basement. Oh, and as a bonus? He specializes in capturing live guitar and vocal. Not kidding.

So, I encouraged — er, pushed, shoved, begged, and cajoled — Ned Andrew into booking some studio time. He finally did, and over the course of this past year he and Fett recorded the guitar and vocal to 25 of his original songs. They picked out 12 that work well together, recorded background vocals on 4 of those, and mixed and mastered them into an album.

While Fett was doing his production magic, we went to visit dear friends in New York where the incredibly talented Andrew Lerman captured the concert shots we used for the album’s cover.

From there, we went into the packaging design and disc replication phase of the project. We’ve learned all sorts of cool information about glass mastering and graphic design along the way thanks to the ever-helpful folks at DiscMasters.

A rather large, heavy box of perfectly mastered, printed, and shrink-wrapped CDs were delivered to our door yesterday. Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime moment! It was pretty surreal to hold this album in my hands for the first time.

Now we’re on to distribution and are working with a company to get Ned Andrew’s music available through all of those online outlets in physical CD and downloadable formats.

The whole business is absolutely fascinating.

I’m pretty daggone proud of my sweet hubby for being brave enough to pick his guitar back up at all, but I’m over the moon that he’s finally recorded this album. It really did start out as a selfish desire to have copies of his songs recorded for me and the kids, but I’m willing to share them with y’all.

At some point soon the album, A Step Along the Way, will be available through outlets like Amazon and iTunes. In the meantime, you can get a really real CD directly from Ned’s website.

It’s a truly wonderful collection culminating more than four decades of writing and performing.

My next little plot is to get Ned Andrew “playing out” again.

You’re welcome.

The Boy is Back!

Mics from Jon

After nearly two decades of being told to put his guitar away — “What is that? Your calling card??” — which led him to get rid of all of his equipment, mics, and stands…

And with the only remaining evidence of his amazing talent being his 40-year-old Martin and a few warped cassette tapes…

And with the help of people who have known and loved his music for years…

And with some incredible gifts of mics and cables and a preamp from friends old and new…

We are on the verge of Ned Andrew actually recording again.

It won’t be on Music Row this time — at least not for now.

But it will be his guitar, his voice, and his songs that are captured for the folks who love, love this man and his amazing music.

Stay tuned. You’re in for a treat.

Seriously.

Because, yes, that guitar is his calling card.

And if this groupie has anything to say about it, he’ll play it everywhere he goes.

What I’ve Been Doing When I’m Not Doing What I’m Usually Doing

Ned Andrew Solomon online

I try to be super-predictable in updating my site. It’s probably out of some childhood guilt over neglecting my 5-year diary. You know the one… it had a faux leather cover, a lock and space to write about 3 words for each of 5 years? Yeah. I think I may have managed to put 11 entries in it before it got shoved into a box along with my Garfield pencil toppers.

Anyway. I’ll save that for analysis. Back to the point.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been slammed — in a good way — with all sorts of wonderful opportunities, deadlines, and events. Here’s a sampling:

  • Ned Andrew and I drove 2400 miles in 12 days to visit folks we love. (Posts to come: here and here.)
  • We bought and received Lizzy’s scooter, in large part because of the generosity of folks who read my July 4 blog post. (Post to come.)
  • Our son turned 13. (Post to come.)
  • We took on some fabulous, but intense freelance work. (Post likely not coming. I mean, who wants to read about word counts and deadlines? Okay, that guy. But no one else.)
  • Encouraged by that other Independence Day Weekend (can that be right?) post, Ned Andrew rekindled his love affair with his Martin (It’s okay. It’s a guitar, not an old boyfriend.) and is playing like mad. (Post to come.)
  • And — drumroll, please — we launched Ned Andrew Solomon online! It’s like my site, only slightly sexier and way more polished. Like Ned Andrew. Think of him as the New York City to my Temple, Texas. He wears all black, is busy 19 hours a day, and manages to be exactly what you need at every moment. (I’ll leave the analogy there. You can finish it in the comments.) Go look. I won’t be jealous.

So, I wasn’t really neglecting you. I was giving you a whole new way to fritter some time online. Er, I mean, be informed and entertained on a very regular basis.

You’re welcome!

I Always Wore the Colors of My Country

Fast Folk Magazine, Sept '84Back in 1972, Ned Andrew became involved in the McGovern for President Campaign. Like Aaron Sorkin, Ned was interested in a girl who was stuffing envelopes in an attempt to oust Nixon. As part of his work, he and his friends headed to White Plains, NY, put on Nixon masks and lined up on the motorcade route to jeer and boo the embroiled president.

Inspired by this event, the Watergate scandal, a general disillusionment with the integrity of politicians, and his desire to catch the ear and eye of one cute girl, Ned Andrew penned I Always Wore The Colors of My Country.

He later sat down with producer and bass player, Mark Dann to record the song for the September 1984 issue of Fast Folk Magazine. It was kind of a combo deal — a magazine and a record album — that came out somewhat irregularly between 1982 and 1997. Fast Folk eventually recorded some 2000 songs from 600 artists including Lyle Lovett, Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, Tracy Chapman, and John Gorka. The Smithsonian acquired the collection and houses it in their Folkways Recordings Archives.

I found the recording listed with the Smithsonian about 5 or 6 years ago when I was googling Ned Andrew for some reason or another and contacted their curator to find out whether it was available. He dug through the archives and uploaded the track to their webstore for me. (Lucky for you, they’ve since put all of the archived tracks into their online store.) I purchased it and sent it to Ned Andrew as a surprise.

Ned Andrew Solomon & Jon Crenson

Ned Andrew Solomon and Jon Crenson

Of course, at that point he was destined to be my sweetie. I mean, how many folks have work they wrote in high school archived in the Smithsonian? That’s right. Ned Andrew does. He’s an amazing guy in lots of ways, but this was the clincher.

Now, please know that Ned Andrew is an amazing patriot. He works for the state running incredible trainings for folks with disabilities and their families under a federal program. He votes. He cares. And he sings his heart out when he plays this song.

It amazes me that he was exercising his rights to free speech when I was just learning to speak.

Anywho, Ned’s given me permission to share his song with you. Enjoy!

And Happy Independence Day!

 

I Always Wore the Colors of My Country — Ned Andrew Solomon

I wanted to be thankful, to be hopeful, sentimental,
To be grateful and deep down satisfied
I felt like I was lucky, born with freedom, educated,
A native in a country filled with pride
And I always wore the colors of my country
I always wore the colors of my country

Now the red white and blue
Just doesn’t do
Doesn’t say what it said in creation
The red doesn’t glare and the white doesn’t care
And the blue’s just a wave
On the ocean

I heeded all the warnings, looked both ways, used my head
And I weighed both sides of every question
I exercised my vote and I exercised my mind
And I exercised my wallet to exhaustion
And I always wore the colors of my country
I always wore the colors of my country

Now the red white and blue
Just doesn’t do
Doesn’t say what it said in creation
The red doesn’t glare and the white doesn’t care
And the blue’s just a wave
On the ocean

Just a wave.

© 1981 by Ned Andrew Solomon

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