Greetings from rainy Los Angeles: yes, it rarely rains, but man, when it does, it’s historic! I hope all of you are well, or have survived the crazy last year with some positive things on your plates. All is good here, if soggy at the time of this writing, and I have a lot I would like to share with you at the beginning of this new year.
Last year was about clearing underbrush, finishing all recording of existing projects, planning and preparing for new ones, happily to be launched this year. In the middle of that, I was totally overwhelmed to receive Folk Alliance Region West’s “Best of the West” artist award in October. I suspect my dear friends Russ and Julie Paris of Russ and Julie’s House Concerts, Ron Sarfaty, Steve Garvan, and some others to be responsible for this event, and it was wonderful, surprising and very inspiring for me.
Here is a survey of what’s going on here at the Longhouse in beautiful Northridge, California:
New WW CD: My new project, called “Blue Balloon,” is in the completion stage now, and the target release is late June-July. There is one more single release coming soon, and then preparations for the entire release. Rob Hoffman and I are mixing it, Saida Staudenmaier is working on the artwork, and Mark Nubar is overseeing the entire madness, including the upcoming photo shoots, media campaigns, video etc. As you may know, we have already released five tracks from this album, starting with Blue Balloon itself. All of these are available for streaming here: https://wendywaldman.com/music-playlists. I’m proud of this work—it’s a combination of going all the way back to the beginning for me, and looking way ahead into the future. On the heels of this release, I intend to be out on the road some at the end of this year and well into next, doing some solo shows, and also some duet shows with Cidny Bullens.
Speaking of Cidny Bullens, his new cd is also in the works, with some tracking this spring produced partially in Nashville with the great Ray Kennedy, and partially here at the Longhouse with me. I can tell you that the songs I’ve heard (and already worked on) are absolutely magnificent, and I hope this is the great Americana project that is long overdue from this remarkable artist, human being, and dear friend.
Speaking of remarkable artists and dear friends, one of the most exciting projects being mixed here at the Longhouse now is a collaboration between the legendary HB Barnum (look him up—start with decades of supervising music for Aretha Franklin), his choir known as Life Choir, my brilliant friend the Polish star Mietek Szczesniak, and myself. I’ve long felt that a cd needed to be made of the inspirational side of Mietek’s work, and at the same time, a spotlight has been needed on Mr. Barnum, who is an extraordinary leader, writer, arranger, and the hardest working dude I know. It’s been my privilege to dream this project up, and my pure joy to see it actually happen! We wrote the bulk of it, and also snagged a handful of HB’s own iconic songs. I expect a fall release for this magical work. It really makes joyful noise, in a hip and eclectic way.
Speaking of a joyful noise, the Refugees EP is also being mixed and we are really proud of this group of songs. Though we have scattered to the winds, we love to write and record together, and are mindful of the impact that we’ve had out there. This EP explores some new territory while also having a few tracks that are firmly rooted in Refugees “tradition..” I’ll leave that to you to discover.
LONGHOUSE RECORDS MUSIC LIBRARY
After a year of laying groundwork and figuring out how to do this, we are launching Longhouse Records, part one, this very week! This is something I have thought about for many years, even having opportunities in the past to do such a thing, but now is the right time: I’m proud (and scared) to announce that Longhouse Records is about to go online with its music library, offering cues, songs, instrumental tracks, and commissions to the film, tv, and commercial industry. What I hope makes our music library different is that everyone who is represented by Longhouse is a true artist in his or her own right, in various aspects. We are proud to be featuring works from Cidny Bullens, the Refugees, myself, ShyBoy and Mark Nubar, Mietek Szczesniak, Rob Hoffman libraries, and introducing the superb young composer Abraham Parker. Our first offering is small by comparison to the enormous production libraries that are out there, but we believe the unique quality of who we are will attract the right people. And of course, we will be growing. I suspect you’ve figured out that after the library launches, we hope to be able to assist the release of various cds from all the folks who are working with us. Our contact, mentor, and the person who suggested this in the first place is Karen Falzone, who with her company Mostly Music, works daily with film and tv supervisors all over the world. So, if it’s a success, it’s Karen’s fault. If it fails, it’s definitely mine. Also on board is my co manager, true mentor in all things post 1999, co writer and dear friend, Mark Nubar, who also manages the remarkable DJ ShyBoy, my collaborator Jason Arnold. Mark Nubar and Karen Falzone are the engine of the new Longhouse Records library. I’m quite privileged to work with them.
Speaking of privilege to work with someone, may I point out that my studio and production partner, Rob Hoffman (whose history actually begins with Michael Jackson’s History and Christina Aguilera’s) is mixing our projects, collaborating musically, and brainstorming on all things Longhouse. But more importantly, in case you think folks around here aren’t working hard enough, Rob Hoffman has been studying Chinese medicine for many years, is a superb licensed acupuncturist (offices in Santa Monica) and recently earned his PHD—the first of two, in Chinese medicine. Somehow he’s done all this, working with me (patiently), commuting to China, having a new baby with his wife, actor and acupuncturist Melody Zara Hoffman, AND teaching weekly tai chi classes. I’m tired just thinking about it. And very proud of Dr. Hoffman.
Speaking of working hard and venturing into new territory on a side note: it is known by a few folks that I have always been a collector of folk art, textiles, jewelry, books, artisanal clothing as well as a weaver and craftsperson myself. After considering this for many years, I am opening a small gallery, which will be an eclectic mix of the above and more, to be offered for sale and for perusing. I have always loved seeing handwork from every corner of the world, and my house and studio are filled with it. I’ve been urged at different times to share and celebrate these things, and inspired by some other collectors whom I’ve watched, I’m offering a modest and tiny Etsy shop shortly.
Enough! Dear friends, thanks for reading this, if you made it through, and may this year be the best and healthiest for each of you. My very best wishes and thanks to you,