On The Other Hand

Katie Eagleson

Heartfelt interpretations of the Great American Songbook. Sixteen songs by sixteen composers.

Shortly after our first CD was finished we decided that this next one would be a collection from the Great American Songbook. Lenny and I had a good time choosing the songs for this project. As a framework we decided to do one song from each of the major composers of this era. The number of composers represented is limited by the length of the CD, and the “major composers” list is somewhat subjective. Of course some choices were rather obvious. Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, and Richard Rodgers would probably show up on anyone’s list of top composers of the Great American Songbook. But filling the rest of the CD required some thought. We started with about 20 composers and chose a list of songs whose lyrics had meaning for me. That is the first criterion as far as I am concerned. If we both liked the tune, and how the words and music fit together, it made our short list. Then we booked ourselves at a local restaurant. I know that performing a song “live” can give us a different perspective. It also gave me time to develop a personal relationship with these songs. We purposely didn’t let our choices be colored by how well known a song is, but more by how comfortable I was expressing myself through it. Hence there may be some songs with which you are unfamiliar. The whole reason I’m singing these songs is that they have meaning for me today, just as they had meaning when they were written. It’s not a nostalgia record. Nothing wrong with nostalgia. This just isn’t that. This is what Lenny and I consider to be a collection of great lyrics put to great tunes. Most of them have been recorded many times by the famous and not-so-famous. Because they are so well-crafted, they stand up to all sorts of interpretations. There are those recordings… and now, on the other hand… there are these.

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