Ann-Thology Number Fourteen - August 2004

Friends, I write this on a sunny, beautiful August day. I hope you have enjoyed your summer and have had some time to relax and refresh your senses and souls. I’m gearing up for a very exciting fall. In honor of my new CD “Slow”, I will be touring extensively, making stops in Berlin, Toronto, Boston, Washington D.C., St. Paul, Chicago, Little Rock, Cleveland, Los Angeles and San Francisco as well as numerous venues in New York’s tri-state area. I feel happy and ready to take on the road and I’m hoping to see you along the way.

What is “Slow”? It’s a makeout album. Remember those? You don’t have to have someone special to enjoy this CD, but it’s probably more delicious if you do. If you’re single, you can listen and let the world be your lover. Get into your car and drive somewhere pretty, or slip on some headphones and take a lovely walk, rediscovering how sensuous nature is and how sexy and interesting people can be. When I listen to music, I like to really listen to it and make it an experience. The more I let a song inside, the more my heart opens to its mysteries. I hope the songs on “Slow” will captivate you and that the CD will feel like a destination for you when you want to experience the scintillating stirrings of your own heart.

This is my most personal CD to date, with several original songs, so finally recording with my long time pianist and friend, Ted Rosenthal, added greatly to the intimacy. The sensitivity and expressiveness of everyone in my band allowed me to trust and surrender more of myself in the music. Jay Leonhart on bass, Victor Lewis on drums, Rodney Jones on electric guitar, Romero Lubambo on acoustic guitar, Randy Brecker on flugelhorn, Robin Eubanks on trombone, Dave Mann on saxophone and Emedin Rivera on percussion played with such purity of feeling that I often forgot I was making a record and just lived inside the spell of the songs. Wow. That doesn’t happen very often. We were playing in a state of grace.

It’s great to have my sister Liz Callaway on the CD, singing a duet of Van Morrison’s Moondance”. We performed the song in our new show “Relative Harmony” and it felt like a natural for this project. On the last night of our run in LA, my songwriting hero, Carole King, surprised us backstage. While we were visiting, I invited her to my recording session of her song “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?”. Then, after she said she thought she could make it, I heard myself ask her if she’d consider writing a song with me for the CD. You can imagine how my heart skipped a beat when she said “yes”. On May 12th at 11 a.m., Carole came to Sound On Sound Recording studio and after chatting, writing some improv poetry and jamming a little, we got down to business and wrote “Tonight You’re All Mine”. The band came in at 2, we taught them the song, Carole produced the track and even sang backup vocals on it with me. I don’t know when I’ve ever been so elated. Carole told us that the reason she agreed to be part of the CD was that she wanted more people to know about me. I am forever indebted to her for her generosity, encouragement, brilliance and all that she taught me on that perfect day.

One of the things that I discovered I had in common with Carole King is a passion about the state of things in the world. I usually try to keep politics out of my public life but I have decided that this is no time to be quiet. And so, on this precipice of human history, I take this opportunity to make my personal endorsement for John Kerry as the next president of the United States. He is an intelligent, caring leader who possesses the vision, principles and gifts to restore America’s integrity and strength as a nation. While some may perceive him to be “wishy-washy”, I believe him to be a thoughtful statesman whose understanding of the complexity of issues will guide him to make more mature, nuanced decisions in contrast with the current administration’s dangerously bombastic style of dealing with the growing problems of our tenuous times. I believe John Kerry understands the imperative of mending the deep rifts that have developed within our great nation and within our crucial relationships with nations around the world. When have we needed unity more than now?

But no leader can create unity alone. And so, I close by inviting you to join me in making a deeper commitment as a citizen. Let us contribute in many ways- by listening, reading, contemplating, offering service, speaking out, voting, donating time and money to worthy causes and being environmentally conscientious. And let us show even greater respect and kindness wherever we go, that we might each be, in quiet and unassuming ways, ambassadors for peace. We all take part in creating the world we live in. Why not work together to create a masterpiece?

Thanks for listening and God bless us all.