Once upon a time, on a certain windy corner, there was a shadowy watering hole called The Ritz. It had an upright piano against one wall, a jukebox with a lot of jazz cuts, and a laid-back atmosphere. No food. Just booze. Big Pete was always behind the bar, day or night. Maybe he owned the place. He had the build of a cruiser-weight gone to seed, and a face that hadn’t seen too many victories. He was fast and loose with the liquor. I like that in a bartender.
The Ritz was a quiet hangout for aspiring actors, writers, musicians and artists. I stopped in there once in a while, myself, when I was in a mood to do some serious drinking. After the first time, I didn’t have to order. Big Pete remembered what I drank. Of an evening, our entire conversation might consist of two nods. I like that in a bartender, too. When I drink, I drink. Not interested in idle chit-chat.
“At the Ritz” started out life as a straight up country song. But then I bent it a little.
More than a little.
Gave it a little calypso groove. Then, just for fun, added a squeeze of Preservation Hall to the mix. Even for alt. country, it’s pretty alt. Yup, wrote it right there at the Ritz. On a bar napkin.
Players include: Molly MacMillan, piano; Doug Robinson, bass; Michael Wellen, drums; Brian Earle, clarinet; Frank Campos, trumpet; Dave Davies, trombone (Dave also did the horn arrangement); and yours truly doing the vocal. Back-up singers are the Burns Sisters (Annie, Marie and Jeannie). Recorded and mixed by the incomparable Will Russell at Electric Wilburland.
If you haven’t signed on for that free download yet, you can pop your name and email into the boxes to the right, and I’ll send you a couple of songs. “At the Ritz” will be one of them.
I hope you’ll dig it.
Or, if you like, you can check out my album “Many Ponies.”
Talk to you soon. Take care.
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