Posts Tagged ‘Barnaby Finch’

Casey Abrams’ Album Release Set for June 26

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Casey Abrams latest album will be released Tuesday. Banner art by Marcia E. Gawecki.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

“American Idol” heartthrob Casey Abrams’ first self-titled album is set for release on Tuesday, June 26. Already several web sites have showcased his entire album, including the Hollywood Reporter and Amazon.

Not to spoil the fun for anyone who hasn’t heard the album yet, I’ll speak in general terms. Casey is singing about his life in real time. About living the simple life, falling in and out of love, longing and not changing his personality in spite of fame.

One fan said on the MJS big blog site, that he’d surely buy Casey’s album for it’s great music, but the themes of rejection and longing for the unattainable reminded him too much of his own “loser teenage years.” Yet, “Hit the Road Jack,” a duet with Haley Reinhart, was well worth the album price (Amazon presale: $9.99).

Most of the upbeat, Bob Marley-type tunes, were likely written by Casey because they are clever. You’re tapping and singing along, dancing along even, and then he throws a few zingers that shows he has a soul or at least lived a few lifetimes already.

The three tunes that I can mention (because Casey has already released them as singles on You Tube) are “Get Out,” “Simple Life” and “Stuck in London.”

“Simple Life” (studio version) could be about living his high school years in Idyllwild. Casey sings about unplugging his laptop, cell phone and TV, and enjoying the simple life. He injects a bit of humor by stating that he should never had dumped that hand-me-down from dad (Ira Abrams from the Idyllwild Arts Film Department). What was Ira’s hand-me-down–clothes, a Cadillac or a musical instrument? Casey never says.

His “Get Out” lyrics are heartbreaking, even though they are sung in an upbeat way: “Lately, I’ve been going crazy/ cuz I want you, baby/but you don’t/ so get out, get out, get out, get out of my heart!/

So sometime over the past year or so Casey fell in love. Ten to one it’s not Haley, because she’s just as busy as he is promoting singles and scheduling public appearances. Could it be Bianca King, the young actress from The Philippines who was hell bent on meeting Casey during the “American Idol Live” tour? She turned to her Twitter fan base to help get a backstage pass (see Idyllwild Me post, “Casey’s Expanding Fan Base,” dated Jan. 15, 2012).

Jazz musician Barnaby Finch with Casey banner outside Cafe Aroma. Art by Marcia E. Gawecki.

Why I guessed Bianca is because Casey sings a lot about eating mangoes in a mango tree in “Stuck in London.” Well, mangoes grow naturally in The Philippines, and he was visiting there for a couple of days. But is that long enough to fall in love?

Ira Abrams is careful not to give too much away about his son’s personal life. But he admitted that many young Filipinos are crazy about Casey.

“Did you know they hang banners from buildings with quotes from Casey?” Ira said outside Fairway a few weeks ago. “Some quotes are mundane like ‘I sometimes watch TV.'”

Whether Casey is singing about Bianca is nobody’s business. But it sure makes the song more interesting if we know the juicy details. Remember when “You’re So Vain” was released by Carly Simon in 1972? Well, her self-absorbed lover wasn’t husband James Taylor, but Warren Beatty, the actor from “Shampoo” and “Reds.” (Wikipedia stated there was “much speculation” about three men, including Mick Jagger, Nick Nolte and Warren Beatty).

However, all that speculation may have helped “You’re So Vain” reach no. 72 on Billboard’s “Greatest Songs of All Time” chart.¬†So, to help boost Casey’s record sales, someone needs to find out if Bianca has eaten mangoes in trees before.

Casey with Caleb Hensinger at an Idyllwild Arts film event.

Probably the only song that Casey didn’t write in this latest album is the tune popularized by Ray Charles. “Hit the Road Jack” is a spanky little duet with Haley Reinhart. You’ve got to admit it, those two have chemistry. He’s classy, and she’s brassy. He growls, and her voice has range.

But he’s a great jazz musician and could actually make it in the movies, if he wanted to. And singing duets with Haley has boosted her popularity since he took her under his wing in “American Idol’s” Season 10.

This is not the first duet for Casey and Haley. So far, they’ve sung “I Feel the Earth Move,” “Moanin,” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

It’s not Casey’s first album either. Casey released “Like a Mirror,” in 2005 and “Oh, You Kid!” in 2010. He probably funded the first two, while Concord is taking credit for this one.

You can purchase all three of Casey’s albums on Amazon. Or you can sample “Oh, You Kid!” on Casey’s web site, www.caseyabrams.com.

“Give him a Grammy already,” said another Casey fan after reviewing his album. “I love every song on this album!”

To preview some of Casey’s hit singles, visit You Tube at www.youtube.com or go directly to Amazon, and buy the album for $9.99.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved. Banners of Casey Abrams by Marcia E. Gawecki are now on display at the Bill Anson Gallery in the Backstreet Art District in Palm Springs.

 

Oboe & Vocal Recital with Guest Musician Tonight

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

(from L) Regina (shown with friend Camille) will perform oboe at her senior recital Monday night

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Tonight at 7:30 p.m., two Idyllwild Arts music students will ‘wow’ you at their senior recital. Regina will play oboe, while Helga will sing a selection of jazz and pop songs–with the help of one popular local musician.

For “Both Sides Now,” Helga’s accompanist will be local pianist Barnaby Finch. Since 1982, Barnaby has been a touring member of Lee Ritenour’s band, and has recorded with such notables as George Benson, Lionel Ritchie and Earl Klugh. He also writes his own music and has produced his own albums.

“I was lucky that he was available,” Helga said Sunday, as she headed to meet him for rehearsal. “He was in New York last week.”

Helga, who switched from classical voice to jazz last year, is originally from Sweden. Her mother arrived yesterday for her recital and graduation.

Helga said that she wanted to sing, “Both Sides Now,” but didn’t like the darker tone of Joni Mitchell’s rerelease of that song in 2008. She mentioned this to Paul Carmen, a jazz staff member and saxophone player.

(from L) Paul Carmen working with a drummer last year. He arranged for Helga to work with Barnaby Finch.

“Oh, Barnaby Finch has a better rendition of that song,” Paul told her. “Barnaby even plays in a band that only performs Joni Mitchell songs.”

Paul set up the meeting with Helga and Barnaby, who agreed to perform at her recital tonight.

After their rehearsal, Helga was glowing with excitement.

“Everything went great! He’s such a nice man, and I love his interpretation of ‘Both Sides Now,'” she said. “I can’t wait for everyone to hear it tonight.”

(from R) Barnaby Finch presents award to Whitney last year

Barnaby Finch has always been a big supporter of the Idyllwild Arts Academy. At graduation each year, he gives a scholarship award to one outstanding student. He plays at the “Jazz in the Pines” concert in the fall and occasionally at Cafe Aroma.

“Regina is working hard too,” Helga said of the classical oboe player who will also perform tonight.

Regina and Helga’s senior recital, with guest pianist Barnaby Finch, will be held tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Stephens Recital Hall (at the end of Tollgate Road) on the Idyllwild Arts campus. Like all recitals, it’s free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.idyllwildarts.org or call (951) 659-2171.

Barnaby Finch and Paul Carman photos courtesy Idyllwild Arts Academy.  Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: May 23, 2011 @ 10:38