Paul Heinz

Original Fiction, Music and Essays

Trainsongs (2010)

A second collaboration with singer/songwriter Tricia Kositzky. Piano, percussion, violin, bass and sax backup Tricia’s poetry about a westward trip on the rails.  

In September of 2008, while the Packers were getting crushed by the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, Tricia made an off-the-cuff comment over the phone: “We should make another album.”  And that set things in motion.  She sent me a series of poems she’d written between six and ten years earlier about her travels out west, and in a matter of six weeks I’d finished setting most of them to music.  As in 1997 when I first wrote with Tricia, the process was quite effortless, and her free-form style of poetry actually aided the songwriting rather than inhibiting it.  Some songs, most notably the title track of the album, “The Day,” and “Swap Jazz Illuminate”, lack any kind of refrain or chorus whatsoever, resulting in a product I never could have conceived on my own.  For others, such as “That Bastard Arizona” and “At the Meteor Crater,” I clung onto a brilliant line from Tricia’s poetry to form a refrain (“I need an alchemetic kiss for luck” and “I packed it in,” respectively).  

After recording rough demos and getting feedback from Tricia, we settled on twelve songs, including one (“A Song Of How I’m Not Perfect”) that didn’t make the cut on “Bleecker Street,” and one I’d composed over a decade earlier (“The Diary You Keep” which inspired the title of my album, “Better Than This.”).  

Near the end of the recording blitz with Tricia, we decided to try a cover, opting for Billy Joel's lovely song "Vienna."  I think it turned out nice and love our use of a few alternate chords from the original version.

I started sequencing piano parts in April of 2009 with a new software program, Synthogy Ivory, and the results were amazing.  I may ultimately use this software to re-record Piano Solos, because the quality of sounds is superb.  I then recorded drums and percussion with the help of Anthony Calderisi at his home studio.  Bass, sax and violin were recorded at my house that summer.  The musicians on this project are top-notch, with Bruce Hook on sax and Chris Costello on drums (who also appear on my album, “Pause”), Jordi Kleiner on Violin, Tony Meadors on bass and Sammie Torres on percussion.  The songs reached new heights thanks to their efforts.

Delays shelved the project until January of 2010 when Tricia flew to Chicago from New Jersey and laid down the vocal tracks.  Just as with Pause, mixing and mastering were completed an Anthony’s.

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