The time I spent working on my first cover album, Song of Myself, was so rewarding, I decided to do another. My long time friend and marvelous artist Eric Green agreed to lend his fabulous artwork (Pool, see above) as cover art. It sets the mood perfectly. Thank you, Eric.
I have been feeling better lately, breathing more easily, coughing much less, even though there are other health issues that make rehearsing and recording a challenge (due to my A1AD). My voice isn't any stronger, but not having to do re-takes (due to coughing) is a huge plus. Like in my previous project, I've chosen these songs to go with the aged quality of my voice.
I also chose them as songs I wanted to share before I'm unable to sing again, which is always a looming threat. Some of these songs are less known than those I chose for Song Of Myself. I hope you enjoy them. They all include themes of journeying, questing, reshaping, or searching for that Hard Place To Find.
I've taken the liberty to change lyrics to a few of the songs. I thought: arrangers have a free hand to interpret chordal settings and melody, why can't singers do the same with lyrics? (They do, of course, but not often done.) Each of these songs tells a partial story of myself, of my journey. I changed some lyrics to keep that story honest. (Also, I try to make all my arrangements into something unique. I don't want to merely repeat what someone else did, do I? Life is too short.)
For example, Richie Havens' recording of Paradise is a hip, uplifting yet cynical statement about not needing to believe in anything. But I just couldn't sing "searching is such a waste of time" and mean it. I changed the feel and flow of the song, as well as several other lyrics, to tell a slightly new story. I also remade Gordon Lightfoot's folk epic Don Quixote into a blues-jazz tone poem, creating variations far more visceral and visual, and changed the last two stanzas. Since No More follows Don Quixote on the album, I sing "No more windmills" instead of "No more witches." In Alfie, I replace "I" with "you" in the line "As sure as I believe there's a heaven above." I rewrite the entire chorus for Show The Way. I have posted notes for every track. (see below)
I've also created a few combined songs. They're aren't really medleys... more like poignant musical juxtapositions. Adding Dear Prudence as a coda to Dulcinea seemed both playful and apropos. Interjecting Dangling Conversation into Paul Simon's Still Crazy became a poignant flashback moment. Using Moon River coming out of Let Yourself Dream just seem natural. All these combinations try to add to the narrative of each song, as well as the album as a whole.
Here are links to the song pages for each track. They include lyrics and song comments. Text of lyrics are embedded in each mp3 song file, as well. Links to early draft mp3s and extended liner notes for each song can be found on the follow pages:
Bonus Tracks written by Tobin Mueller, only available online for download here:
*Runners In A Dream is a musical written by Tobin Mueller & Randyll Appel, ©2004, 2006.
VIDEOS on YouTube:
Tobin Mueller's grandfather was a violinist for silent films, his mother was a vocalist. He started his music career at age 14, arranging music for his mom. He grew up in Wisconsin, and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Marquette University and UW Milwaukee. He moved to NYC in the 90's and had several shows produced off-Broadway. He now lives in Connecticut. A multi-talented songwriter, playwright, photographer, collaborative artist, Tobin's free spirited ways of artistic discovery are dedicated to creating new expressions of music and collaboration.
Tobin has journeyed through musical theater, classical, jazz, and progressive rock. He's written ballets, film scores, children's music, poetry, historical fiction, political essays, domestic humor, and video games. He has recorded with Dave Brubeck, Ken Schaphorst, Woody Mankowski, Donny McCaslin, Janet Planet, Entcho Todorov, Dane Richeson, and others.
Tobin was one of the volunteers who worked at Ground Zero following the attack on 9/11/2001 in Manhattan, where he lived at the time. He coordinated a distribution center effort at Chelsea Piers to supply the first responders, an effort the people working on The Pile dubbed "The Home Depot." His exposer to the toxic dust, during that time, has contributed to his lung problems. He sings about this experience in his collection The September 11 Project: Ten Years Later.
In London, Tobin was inducted into the United Nations 1994 Global 500 Roll of Honor for his work with youth and the environment. His theatre touring troupe CenterStage Productions won numerous awards performing his original musicals. RAIN BATHER album won ALBUM OF THE YEAR in 2009, from Jazz Chicago. THE MULLER'S WHEEL is currently spotlighted at JazzRadioDC.com and Orbert Davis' Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. Tobin's solo piano albums are full of music inventions. (See Recordings for available CDs, or email the artist.)
Member: ASCAP, Dramatists Guild (NYC).
|Hard Place To Find music videos...|
|Voice & piano recordings...|
Hard place To Find - voice/piano - Following on the success of Song of Myself (see below), Tobin has released a second volume of his favorite songs. Complete lyrics and song notes are linked from Tobin's Hard Place To Find project page. Cover features artwork by Eric Green.
"Still Crazy" by Paul Simon. Bob Dylan's "Shelter from the Storm" and "Bob Dylan's Dream." Richie Haven's "Paradise." "Dulcinea" from Man of la Mancha. "Alfie" by Bacharach. "Somewhere" from West Side Story. Many more, plus one original song by Tobin Mueller. All songs having to do with journeying, questing, searching. Released June 2nd, 2013.
Song of Myself - voice/piano - Tobin's favorite cover songs, reinterpretted. Intimate, heartfelt, devistatingly honest music. Complete lyrics and song notes are linked from Tobin's Song of Myself project page. Ballads, blues, showtunes, folk rock, jazz - the music of Tobin's roots. These are songs he's song for decades, songs that have evolved and matured with him. New additions to the Great American Songbook.
"American Tune" by Paul Simon. "Blackbird" by Paul McCartney. Bob Dylan's "Dignity." A Joni Mitchell and an Elton John medly. "Being Alive" from Company (Stephen Sondheim). "Impossible Dream" from Man of la Mancha. "Oh Danny Boy." "Frozen Man" by James Taylor. Many more, plus two original songs by Tobin Mueller.
A moving and meaningful compilation. Songs from a life well lived. Released July 13th, 2012.
|The Muller's Wheel / Jazz...|
Remaster! The Muller's Wheel is a collaborative project combining the talents of pianist Tobin Mueller and saxophonist Woody Mankowski in Jazz Quartet and larger ensemble settings. These original tracks represent their personal journey through jazz influences -- from swing to bop to fusion to funk. The styles of Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Herbie Hancock, The Brecker Brothers, Weather Report and more influence this homage to the jazz greats. Even the blues are given Mueller/Mankowski's uniquely bop-funk treatment. In all, the duo's originality permeate each track, each jazz sub-genre.
This is joyous music. It reminds us of the happiness we relive when returning to our musical roots. Mueller/Mankowski remind us how the personalities of certain eras continue to assert their influence and power.
"The Muller’s Wheel" title is based on the biological concept that mutation and DNA recombination creates cycles of growth and loss. It serves as a metaphor for the ebb and flow of the synthesis and creativity Mueller and Mankowski apply to their musical influences. The tracks are arranged in historical sequence, and the listener appreciates the cross-pollination between each of these genres. Listening from beginning to end creates a cyclical pilgrimage. It's rhythms and inventive flights of fancy invite the listener along for many return trips.
|Rain Bather / Jazz...|
Tobin's first pure jazz recording is Rain Bather, a jazz ensemble 80 minute long play CD. Tobin plays B3 organ and composes all the tunes. It features superlative solo performances byan all-star band members. Most of the tunes are in the jazz-funk-fusion vein, but many others try to break new ground, defying easy labels.
Click here to learn more about the recording.
Tobin Mueller - B3 organ, electric piano, synth; composer
Woody Mankowski - soprano saxophone
Chris Mueller - acoustic piano
Jeff Cox - acoustic bass
Dane Richeson - drums & percussion
Tom Washatka - tenor saxophone
Doug Schnieder - tenor sax
Ken Schaphorst - flugelhorn
Bob Levy - trumpet
Sal Giorgianni - flute
Bill Barner - clarinet, additional sax
McBoy - electric guitars
|MidWinter Born is Tobin's most recent recording, a collection of jazz reinterpretations of traditional Christmas carols for solo piano. Mueller captures the quiet simplicity, expectant playfulness, and over-riding joy of the season. It is his prettiest, most delightul solo piano album. Mueller’s playing ranges from New Age to Neo-classical, modal jazz to honky tonk. The wonder of Christmas unfolds as he takes you on a yuletide journey through his musical imagination. The ancient quality of this music is never lost; the modern musical twists add layers of respect, honoring the historical roots of each melody.
Tobin's first solo piano collection is Morning Whispers, a song cycle of tragic beauty. Music of healing and introspection. New Age and Neo-Classical. The use of key changes, unusual time signatures, and other variational devices makes this work involving, not merely background music. Its internal intensity, however, does not detract from its healing essence, its sense of inner joy. This is Mueller's most introspective work. Several of these works have since been used in film. Cover photo taken by Mueller on Cape Cod.
The second is 13 Masks. This project came out of discussions about the role subconscious plays in creativity. Tobin used his illustration of 13 Masks to inspire songs combining ragtime, jazz and avant-garde classical. He let his subconscious lead the way, creating phrases and variations that pleased something deep inside. An eclectic mix of original of songs, for sure
For more details, see Tobin Mueller's Recordings...
|Audiocracy / Progressive Rock...|
See: Audiocracy: Revolution's Son for latest band info.
Ever since Tobin first listened to Yes, he's been enthralled with progressive rock. Using the Internet, he collaborated with players from around the world. He put tracks together piece by piece, a whole different way to record, but it was very rewarding: the music is inventive and driving!
The album was well reviewed in Progessive and other leading prog mags. The CD inculdes a collection of great arwork illustrating each song by Hovakimian Anoushavan. Please check it out.
Tobin Mueller: organs, synths, pianos, drum programming, backing vocals
Twon: vocals, bass, acoustic guitar
Bob Piper: electric guitar, guitar synth
Darren Chapman: electric guitar
Tadashi Togawa: guitars
Rob Thurman: drums
• Audiocracy on CDBaby
• Audiocracy on iTunes
|A Bit Of Light / Alternative Rock...|
A progressive folk / cross-genre collection of songs Tobin's been accumulating for a decade, A Bit Of Light includes some of his favorite collaborations with saxophonists, fiddle players and guitarists, mixing jazz, bluegrass, tango and folk-rock. World renown violinist Entcho Todorov, saxophonists Danny McCaslin and Woody Mankowski, and guitarist John Luper provide fabulous highlights.
The CD comes with a digital booklet in PDF format:
Download the Digital Booklet here!
(click to view in browser, right-click to download to desktop)
For more details, see Tobin Mueller's Recordings...
• A Bit Of Light on CDBaby
• A Bit Of Light iTunes
|September 11 Project|
September 11 Project: Ten Years Later - Music written following 9/11/2001. Tobin was asked to participate in the 10th anniversary at Ground Zero ceremony and revisted these songs. He decided to put them out as an album instead of keep them to myself. Since he was unable to sing at the event, after contracting a lung disorder, this music gained layers of poignancy. Recorded in the months following the tragedy.
|• Tobin on CDBaby • Tobin on iTunes •
• Member: ASCAP, Dramatists Guild (NYC).