Once Upon a Lullaby
DESCRIPTION Beautiful. That's the right word for this collection of original lullabies. They soothe. They comfort. They lull everyone--mommy and infant, daddy and baby, grandparent and beloved little one--into the absolute calm that every child deserves and every parent hopes for. You can listen to them one at a time. Or you can listen in sequence, following the story of bedtime from Night-Night to Good Morning. Jenni Samuelson, an award-winning soprano--and a mom!--sings these new family classics, luscious lullabies that inspire sweet dreams. Warm. Real. Intimate. Emotional. You'll feel the love in every track. Juilliard composer, Jeff Langley, shaped the music with a modern parent in mind, someone longing for the loveliness of a Schumann melody or the heart of a James Taylor ballad. Our companion book fills 80 full-color pages with the songs' poetic lyrics nestled among bright, wildly imaginative drawings by Daisy Samuelson, Jenni's four-year-old daughter. Sing along. Read along. Float along. Sweet dreams. ---------------------------- ABOUT THE SONGS We wrote these songs, composer Jeff Langley and I, specifically for the wonderful soprano who sings them here, Jenni Samuelson. The sheer beauty and warmth of her voice are a writer's dream. Furthermore, she's both a consummate artist and a mom. Once Upon a Lullaby grew out of our shared conviction that the world has tipped over into a place where none of us--from those just born to those at the other end of life--none of us can find the quiet and peace that lead to sleep. And thence to dreams, sweet dreams. To restoration. To the sense of comfort and safety that we all need. There are plenty of cutesy bedtime songs out there. Lots of tongue-in-cheek, rock-and-roll knock-offs. But where are the beautiful songs? The new classics? Not sentimental stuff, emotional stuff. Not platitudes but poetry. Melody. Harmony. Flat-out, to-die-for singing. That's what we set out to create. We had a blast putting these songs together. As an album, they tell the story of bedtime, from first falling asleep to at last waking up. We included simple lullabies meant to rock a single infant to sleep. We also included anthems, songs that speak to and for all of our children worldwide. People talk about a labor of love. Well, we put in plenty of labor recording these songs, but it was utterly eclipsed by the love we all felt working on them. I hope you'll feel it too. You and whomever you're easing to sleep. And let's not limit that to the little ones. There are plenty of us older folks who could use a good lullaby from time to time. In that spirit, we wish you Night-Night. Happy listening. Happy reading and stay in touch, Amanda McTigue, Lyricist ------------------------------ ABOUT THE ARTISTS JENNI SAMUELSON, soprano How lucky were we, teaming up with a singer like Jenni to create this collection of songs! You can explore her website for a fuller picture of her artistry, but the bottom line is that she's a living-breathing example of the artist-mom, of the working family woman, of excellence everywhere she turns, from shaping beautiful vocal lines to setting the family dinner table. She would be the first to say she's not doing it on her own. She has a great family, super friends. Nevertheless, for those who might feel overwhelmed--indeed, for anyone who might be having trouble falling asleep, either because of an inconsolable baby or because of the cares of an overburdened life--Jenni's here offering these beautifully-felt, beautifully sung musical oases. STEPHEN THOMAS, piano It's a pas de deux, this business of the art song: a singer and a pianist dancing with each other from the first note through the last. We were so fortunate to have Stephen as our co-artist in these recordings. He has his own solo career, performing in classical concerts and on CDs. With all his serious, classical training, Stephen also "hears" and "feels" music that reflects more populist American songwriting. In addition, he's every singer's dream, breathing when the singer breathes, charging ahead when the singer starts to gallop. These are the "chops," as musicians say, that make for a wonderful collaboration. AND INTRODUCING JESSICA SPENCER, debut vocalist Make no mistake, dear listeners: these songs may be beautiful, but they're not at all easy to sing. Especially if you're singing the harmony line. Jenni and I knew that we wanted to hear the sound of a child's voice on a very special song that comes toward the end of the collection. It's called "Once Upon an Evening." The lyrics plead for global peace, praying that someday every child on the planet might be able drift off to sleep, safe and secure. Jenni thought one of her students, Jessica Spencer, might be just right. And, oh my goodness, weren't we stunned and amazed when she walked into the studio, cool as a cucumber, to nail take after take. She told us she learned the music at her kitchen table with her grandfather, memorizing every word, every complicated harmonic interval. Under the high pressure of studio time, she sang without making a single error, working with only a piano track coming through a pair of headphones. That's the kind of performance that can rock a seasoned professional, but not this wonderful girl. Look out, world, here comes Jessica. She brought uncanny magic to this heartfelt group of songs.