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Puttin’ on the Ritz and Living the Dream with Patrick Von

Those of you who know me through the writers conferences I attend, you have heard me talk about my friend Patrick von Wiegandt. He is the owner of vwtapes.com and travels the world recording conferences of all kinds. He’s been recording writers conferences for years going all the way back to the first Maui Writers Conference. He has an entire university worth of teaching material on his site and I encourage all of my writer peeps to check out this amazing resource.

What you may not know is that Patrick is also a talented musician and singer. What I love about him is that he’s never given up the dream — of recording his own music his own way. He had the opportunity to do that recently and I’m pleased as punch that he stopped by Social Alchemy to tell us all about it. Take it away maestro:

Nat King Cole, Paul McCartney, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitgerald, Diana Krall,  Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Bobby Darin, Dean Martin, Katy Perry and……. Patrick von Wiegandt ? WTH ? WHADDYA….kiddin me or something ?

Well, that’s what I thought when I walked down the hall into Studio A at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, earlier this year, to record my new CD – SWANKY

To sing and record in the same room, on the same microphones where all of these giants made their albums was a bit overwhelming.  I say a “bit” overwhelming because I was prepared and knew that I was going in with the All Star team. I also felt very comfortable in Capitol because I had worked there many years earlier as a recording engineer and, I love being in recording studios.

Patrick pays his respects to Nat King Cole
Patrick pays his respects to Nat King Cole

Not only was I in the magical room where all this wonderful music came from, I was with the best Engineer/Mixer in the business, Al Schmitt – and he had worked with a many of these artists – including Paul McCartneys latest jazz CD and all of Diana Kralls albums. Al had also been a great mentor and pal to me as I learned how to make records many years ago. He got me into the Recording Academy. He’s the best at what he does (many Grammys) very funny, gracious and gets the best out of everybody. I had sent him my previous CDs and he liked them so when I asked him to help out with SWANKY, he said he’d love to. WOW ! I was in good hands. Now, could I deliver?

 

Patrick Von and Al Schmitt old friends collaborate
Patrick Von and Al Schmitt old friends collaborate

 

The real fun in this whole process was in building it a little bit at a time so that by the time we walked into the studio, I had a very good idea of what we were going to do but still left room for all the creativity and fairy dust that the others bring to the session.

SWANKY is my loving tour of some of the great songs of the Jazz Age, 1920’s to 1940’s. My parents played them as I grew up. I have sung, played and recorded these songs for many years in various settings and now, I wanted to make a stellar CD with classy players and give it my own touch. My dear friend Harry Donahue and I have been playing these tunes at his house for the last ten years and I always threatened him that someday I was going to record them. He smiled. Having made many records I knew that this CD would happen some day.

I have also been playing these songs with a great group of musicians in Hawaii that all played in a group called The Hot Club of Hulaville. The leader, Sonny Silva, picked great musicians and great songs and I was lucky enough to help them out and record a number of their early CDs and perform with them a few times. So, when I started recording my recent CDs, I asked the guys to join me and they did. I was in heaven.

 

Did someone call for backup?
Did someone call for backup?

All of us loved these tunes. Who hasn’t sung along on Dream a Little Dream of Me, Blue Skies, We’ll Meet Again, Brother Can You Spare a Dime or I Remember You ?

So, all of these magic music makers appeared in Studio A and we had coffee and muffins and handshakes and lots of hugs. Old friends, new friends. I hand out the charts to the guys.

And…… then…… the magic happens.

I will tell you about the sessions and how the muse strikes us all – as we were working on the songs.

Stay tuned for SWANKY – Part 2 – The Sessions……

Patrick von Wiegandt

Thanks so much for stopping by Patrick. And if you are at all interested, please check out “Swanky” for yourselves. Do you have a creative dream you have put on the back burner? Patrick and I would love to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for stopping by.

SWANKY cover