Suitcase By the Door
'The Lost Album' finally released In 2001, David had barely begun to record and perform his own songs in the folk/blues/rock vein when he unexpectedly won the first 'Music to Life' contest, sponsored by Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul & Mary. David's then-wife and co-writer, NYC art director Ashley Pound, happened upon the contest for songs of social change and entered their song of young teenagers caught in war zones, 'Children of Conflict.' To their great surprise, the song took grand prize in the first year of the contest (which has become a biennial event). David conceived the song when he was driving back and forth between Manhattan and Baltimore, a regular event in his bi-urban life for eight years. One of his favorite public radio shows, 'The Diane Rehm Show,' was featuring two teenagers, one from Israel and the other from Palestinian territory, who had been bitter enemies but joined as friends through a non-profit organization called 'Seeds of Peace.' The story of their reconciliation in the face of endless conflict was a 'pullover' moment for David; he had to pull his car over on Rt. 95 near the Delaware Memorial Bridge to listen intently to the poignant and triumphant story. On the advice of Rod Smith, a friend who had booked local folk shows for many years in Maryland, David had tried to combine his blues/rock piano sound with other folk/rock songs he had been working on. But the traditional folk scene of the late 90s didn't cooperate; agents and bookers told him the mix was not folk at all, the drums and percussion too jarring for their audiences. So David split the songs up into two groups, added some more tunes, and created two separate collections. David added horns, guitars, keyboards and other touches to the sparse piano-bass-drum arrangements to complete the blues/rock half of the project. 'Can't Sit Still' in 2001 showed David's goodtime lighter side. David intended to quickly add acoustic/folk-style songs to the remaining tracks to create a separate folk CD and offer it to the singer/songwriter world. Then, between the plans, life happened. The other songs bound for the folk-styled CD floated in limbo, partially due to David and Ashley's divorce and his move back to hometown Baltimore in 2003. It was finally completed in 2006, titled 'Suitcase by the Door,' and officially introduced with a CD release event in March 2007 - just in time for one of the biggest financial collapses in U.S. history, which put David in financial straits for years like the rest of the country. A sudden lack of funds prevented David from actually releasing and promoting it until now (2011). Suitcase by the Door is finally available on CD Baby on this David Zee page. Can't Sit Still is also available on CD Baby under the name David Zee. AfterTime, produced by Noel Paul Stookey (Peter, Paul & Mary) is also now available on CD Baby, under David's new identity as David Anthony Zee. They form three sides of this eclectic artist, originating from different creative places, with the commonality of old-school craftmanship and care in the compositions and performances. TRACK NOTES Stay With Me - the musical story of David's newfound love after his New York divorce and return to hometown Baltimore. Someday - based on a dream that 'MomZee' related to David during 'PopZee's' fatal struggle with leukemia. Despite the best efforts of the Johns Hopkins oncology department over 2-1/2 years, he succumbed in July 1986. The Old Folkies Home - a rousing tribute to the street musicians (and semi-musicians) of David's beloved hangout Fells Point in Baltimore City. Background vocals were recorded at his friend Roger's house at a post-SuperBowl party. Children of Conflict - based on the tireless efforts of international organization Seeds of Peace, see above. Johnna Knows - 'Johnna' is a composite of several females in David's past. The Door - written for David's childhood friend Earl, installer of doors and builder of houses. This ethereal dream-story is spiced with surreal images from their high school days reading Carlos Castenada books. Four Walls - written upon the exit of one of David's best friends. The Funny Little Organ - David's 'fake Irish' song, featuring 'fake traditional Irish instrument' called the melodica, is a live crowd pleaser. Look carefully, there's a moral in there. In A Dark Room - portrays David's feelings towards storefront fortune tellers, based loosely on a real visit he made to such a character in the early 80s. Classified - based on the Franz Kafka novel 'The Trial' and certain news events of the 2000's. The Tap Root Tree - an 'ancient fable,' written by David around 2004, probably inspired by his childhood love of the Norse Gods, perhaps a re-imagined version of the Tree of Life. OTHER CDs BY DAVID 'Can't Sit Still' by David Zee David's debut CD from 2001, the blues/rock half of his early efforts titled 'Can't Sit Still,' can be found on CD Baby, also under the name David Zee. 'AfterTime' by David Anthony Zee Available on CD Baby under separate artist listing 'David Anthony Zee' David volunteered to work with Noel Paul Stookey's Public Domain Foundation for several years, as did other Music to Life contest winners and believers in social justice among Noel's ever-expanding circle of like-minded contacts. In 2008, Noel suggested a new project: he wanted to produce David in a collection of jazz songs from the 1920s through 50s that had been all but forgotten over the years. The resulting collection, 'AfterTime,' brought David right back to the piano-bass-drums format he had started with, except this time the bass was an upright and not electric, resulting in more organic, lowkey, jazzy textures. Noel dubbed the mixed genre project 'Retro/Pop/Jazz,' and David thought that description sounded just right.