My Magic City

the new release from

Caithlin De Marrais

now available on End Up Records

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Early every morning for months, rain or shine, I walked from the apartment in Brooklyn where I live with my husband to an overlook near the Bridge. I watched for stretches of empty sidewalk and hummed to myself. When an idea came to me, I whispered it into my cell phone: a few notes of melody, a snippet of lyric.

I developed the songs in secret. When no one was around, I talked to them like houseplants. For a long time I didn’t play them for anyone, I just patiently watched them grow.

When they threatened to bloom, I called my friends and favorite musicians from the neighborhood. In the spirit of Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks or Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks, the sessions were completely improvised. No one heard the songs until we hit “record.” We rarely played anything the same way twice. Instruments were swapped between musicians–sometimes abandoned. Tempos were agitated or calmed. The song, “The Cottage,” was composed as it was being played, and recorded on the spot.

We made the record wherever we happened to be, making music in a fire-ravaged church in Brooklyn, a rustic cottage in upstate New York, and several Brooklyn apartments including my own. There was no sound isolation, not much in the way of overdubs. We cued one another with eye contact, everyone playing together. I sang the songs live in the room as the musicians were playing them. You can hear the warmth and affection of the sessions in the songs themselves.

Without nostalgia or guile, we played in the magic city with an innocent wonder. We felt both challenged and at home. I think I’ll stay awhile.

-Caithlin De Marrais
Brooklyn, Sept. 2008

Special thanks to the musicians: fellow End Up labelmates Pascal & Lauren Balthrop (Balthrop, Alabama), Andrew Vladeck (Honey Brothers), Dean Wareham & Britta Phillips (Luna, Dean and Britta), Lara Meyerratken (El May), Frally Hynes, Bob Hoffnar (Hem, Mojave 3), Konrad Meissner (The Silos, Graham Parker), Annie Nero (Ladystein), Jason Lawrence & Chris Buckridge (Ne-er Do Evers), and Chris’s father–the songwriter Bob Buckridge, and to album producers Kyle Fischer (formerly my bandmate in Rainer Maria) and Josh Kaufman (Higgins, Rocketship Park).

Credits

Recorded at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Brooklyn NY
The Cottage, New City NY
and a few Brooklyn apartments.

Produced by Kyle Fischer and Josh Kaufman
Engineered by Kyle Fischer
Mixed by Dave Schiffman
Mastered by Gene Paul

Performed by
Lauren Balthrop – acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Pascal Balthrop – backing vocals
Bob Buckridge – electric guitar
Chris Buckridge – electric bass
Caithlin De Marrais – electric bass, lead and backing vocals, percussion, piano, Rhodes piano
Kyle Fischer – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lap steel, percussion,
Bob Hoffnar – pedal steel
Frally Hynes – electric guitar
Josh Kaufman – acoustic guitar, backing vocals, electric bass, piano, Wurlitzer electric piano
Jason Lawrence – drums, percussion
Konrad Meissner – drums, percussion
Lara Meyerratken – backing vocals, electric bass, percussion, piano, synthesizers
Annie Nero – electric bass, upright bass
Britta Phillips – electric bass
Andrew Vladeck – percussion
Dean Wareham – electric guitar

©2008 Caithlin De Marrais/My Magic City (ASCAP)

brooklyn, new york – – blog