Nobody called it that

At least in my day, nobody called our neighborhood on the upper east side “Carnegie Hill,” although that’s what they call it today and maybe some folks, like realtors, even called it that back then.

A bunch of things converged in 2020. I was getting a bit more intentional about songwriting. I read the wonderful How to Write One Song by Jeff Tweedy, I was working on some interesting chord changes related to the circle of fifths, fully harmonized scales, and pentatonics (it turned out), when my old grade school classmate James O’Shea posted a reminiscence about a store called Blacker & Kooby that was up the street from Saint David’s and, at least for some grade levels, off limits.

That old store closed but the family reopened a version of it right by the 92nd Street Y that was itself at the bottom of the street I grew up on, between Park and Lex.

So I ended up coming up with lyrics drawn from my 7th and 8th grade years and the feel of coming of age in the late 70s in New York, and Michael Beavers helped with working out how some of the chord changes could best flow (he on guitar with me on uke). I recorded a demo of it when I started this album project and we finally got all nine of the original songs in the can, in terms of basic tracks and a rough mix, with this work in progress:

Produced by David Gans and engineered by Jeremy Goody at Megasonic sound, with David on guitar, Dan Brodnitz on keyboards, and Christian Crumlish on vocals and electric ukulele. Words by Christian Crumlish. Music by Christian Crumlish and Michael Beavers. Copyright © 2020 At Swim-Two Birds.