Lisa Biales: HOME
"This record has all the right stuff!"
Inspired by a found recording of a song that her mother had written in 1947, Lisa goes back to her roots on
I had a wonderful time working with the finest musicians on the planet. There were times before heading out to LA that I felt a little nervous. I just thought, all you have to do is show up and sing, you've been doing this your entire life. Just show up and sing. After all, music is the universal language and we were able to communicate beautifully.
(back row L-R) Paul Brown, Chuck Berghofer, Johnny Lee Schell (middle row L-R) Lisa Biales, Jim Pugh, (front) Tony Braunagel.
I traveled to Studio City, LA to work with someone I have admired for years, Grammy Award winning producer and drummer Tony Braunagel to record my new album The Beat of My Heart. Tony is a member of the Robert Cray Band, Taj Mahal, and the Phantom Blues Band. He has worked with Bette Midler, Eric Burdon, Ricky Lee Jones and Bonnie Raitt. Tony has played on many film scores and television shows as well as numerous albums as a musician, composer and producer. In addition to playing drums, Tony also plays bass, sings, and is a Blues Music Award winner. In 2014, he was nominated for Blues Music Award in the 'Best Instrumentalist – Drums' category. He got my vote! Tony's drumming is featured on this record, he grooves it, vibes it , and makes it all tone cool. If you're a drummer you're gonna love it!
I grew up in a musical family and learned singing from my mother. In 2015, I found a 78 record that was recorded back in 1947. It had one song on it, Crying Over You written by Alberta Roberts, my mom. Hearing my mother’s voice after all these years brought a chill to the bone. I realized that I had to put her song on this project. You’ll get to hear my mother's voice too, at 24 years of age, sing the first verse of her song and then I take over and finish what she started. It was a surrealistic experience.
Recorded and engineered by Johnny Lee Schell at Ultratone Studio in Studio City, California. Johnny Lee is a multiple Grammy Award winner for his Recording Engineer work on Loudon Wainwright III's 2009 album, and for his guitar playing with Lucinda Williams, B.B. King, and Delbert McClinton. He currently works with Taj Mahal and the Phantom Blues Band. His inclusion on albums such as Bonnie Raitt's Green Light (1982) and Nick of Time (1989) has lent him his bearing in American pop music culture. I love Johnny's harmony singing on the song I Should Have Known Better written by Carrie Newcomer.
Paul Brown brought his 1957 Gibson guitar to the studio and wowed us all with his amazing playing. Paul's skill as a producer has helped drive the popularity of smooth jazz for quite some time now. Brown's work with George Benson, Boney James, Patti Austin and the late Luther Vandross, among others, has earned him two Grammys and dozens of number-one hits. Way to go Paul!
Chuck Berghofer played upright bass and told us great stories about working with Seth MacFarlane and Nancy Sinatra. He wrote the famous bass line to These Boots Are Made For Walkin'. He also worked on television with Glen Campbell recorded with Frank Sinatra (omg, could not stop thinking of my mom cause he played on her song Crying Over You), and Chuck played with Barbara Streisand, in which they did a recording of Funny Lady. His film work extends to 400 appearances leading to his being awarded in the mid-1980s the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Award as the most valuable bass player for four consecutive years. In that decade he recorded with Mel Torme' and later recorded again with Sinatra on Duets. Just a few of the films he worked on include Rocky I & II, On Golden Pond, Matrix, Majestic, Clint Eastwood’s Bird and True Crime. He also worked on such television shows as Barney Miller on which he played the opening bass line, Charlie's Angels, The Carol Burnett Show, The Simpsons, and Star Trek Enterprise. All of my favorites.
Jim Pugh is a master keyboard player, his work on the Hammond organ, Steinway baby grand, and Wurlitzer electric piano add a rich dimension to this record. Jim has been a member of the Robert Cray Band since 1989. In a varied career that includes performing on Grammy winning, platinum and gold CDs, Jim has recorded with numerous artists including Etta James, Van Morrison and BB King. He has also performed widely on national TV and produced over a dozen CDs for Robert Cray, Tower of Power and The Gospel Hummingbirds. In addition to having several movie and TV soundtrack credits to his name, Jim's songs have been performed by various artists including Robert Cray and Tower of Power. Jim wrote out all the music charts for the songs before he even showed up to the studio.
Johnny Lee Schell played so many different guitars (Music Man Baritone guitar, TV Jones electric, a custom made Cidfiddle, Fender Telecaster) it was a guitar players dream to see what he was gonna bring to the session. Johnny Lee is a multiple Grammy winner for his Recording Engineer work on Loudon Wainwright III's 2009 album, and for his guitar playing with Lucinda Williams, B.B. King, and Delbert McClinton. He currently works with Taj Mahal and the Phantom Blues Band. His inclusion on albums such as Bonnie Raitt's Green Light (1982) and Nick of Time (1989) has lent him his bearing in American pop music culture.
Joe Sublett on saxophones was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame as a Master Saxophonist. He is featured on Eric Clapton's CD "Old Sock" and recordings by, Taj Mahal, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Mayal, Buddy Guy, Keb' Mo, B. B. King, The Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, Otis Rush, Little Feat, Leon Russell, Elton John, and Jimmy Smith among others.
Darrell Leonard is a Grammy and W.C. Handy Award winning trumpet player, arranger, composer and producer. Darrell traveled the world with Delaney and Bonnie, Dr.John, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, Elton John, Leon Russell, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Glenn Frey, and Little Feat. Darrell is featured on Grammy and Academy award winning recordings by Randy Newman, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Taj Mahal, B.B.King, Buddy Guy, Keb Mo, and Bonnie Raitt. Darrell is featured on the Bruce Springsteen "Wrecking Ball" CD.
I have seen Joe, Darrell, Tony, Larry Fulcher, and Johnny Lee play with the Phantom Blues Band and with Taj Mahal on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise several times. It's always a highlight for me.
Will Wheaton, Tony Braunagel, Kudisan Kai, Lisa, Maxayn Lewis, Johnny Lee Schell, Leslie Smith, and Reggie the studio mascot.
Background vocal day was really exciting and it was the day we laughed the most. Singer, songwriter, musician Will Wheaton grew up in Los Angeles and is the son of Gospel singer Juanita Wheaton. He studied music in his teens and was eventually tutored by Furman Fordham, whose former students include Lena Horne. He became a sought-after studio background singer and has performed on projects for Natalie Cole, Coolie, Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, Willy DeVille, Quincy Jones, Montell Jordan, Kenny Loggins, Diana Ross, Barbara Streisand Streisand, Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder.
Kudisan Kai whose training and resume expands from a B.A. degree classical training by Metropolitan Opera stars and opera company experience to working as a session singer in films such as Ali, Disney's Dinosaurs, Dreamworks El Dorado, and 20th Century Fox's Rio II, etc., television shows, and tours with Elton John and Chaka Khan, and others.
The resume of Maxayn Lewis is an impressive one that includes recording with artists ranging from Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross and Celine Dion to Michael Jackson and Madonna. Maxayn also sang with the Bobby Blue Bland and the Ike & Tina Turner Review during the mid-to-late 60s. She currently sings under the name Maxayn Lewis and Paulette Parker (her real name).
Los Angeles-based singer Leslie Smith, known for his work in bands with Lester Abrams during the 1960s and 1970s, also released a few solo albums during the 1980s and 1990s. In 2005, he was inducted into the Omaha Black Music Hall of Fame alongside former bandmates, with whom he continues to perform.
When these fabulous singers came together, it was a truly magical experience.
Color photos by Allana Haradyn
B&W photos by Joseph Rosen
1. Disgusted (2:44) written by Mabel Scott, BMI
2. What A Man (3:18) written by Dave Crawford, BMI
3. I Don’t Wanna Hear It (2:44) written by Naomi Neville, BMI
4. Be My Husband (4:45) written by Nina Simone, BMI
5. Messin’ Around With The Blues (4:18) written by T. Waller, BMI
6. Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody (4:18) written by Alex Bradford, BMI
7. Crying Over You (3:55) written by Alberta Roberts (Lisa's mom), BMI
8. Wild Stage of Life (3:38) written by Henry Glover, BMI
9. Don’t Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down (4:31) written by Eric Bibb, BMI
10. Romance In The Dark (3:47) written by Lil Green, BMI
11. I Should Have Known Better (5:02) written by Carrie Newcomer,BMI
12. Brotherly Love (4:17) written by Brenda Burns BMI
* SPECIAL OFFER *
You can always order by mail
Send a check for $20 to:
Lisa Biales, 15 W. High Street, Oxford, Ohio 45056
The "official" release date of The Beat of My Heart is 2-20-2017, exactly 70 years after my mother recorded her song Crying Over You.
Available on CD, Digital, Vinyl
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WHAT THE PEOPLE ARE SAYING
"Brilliant talent!" - Bernie Furshpan, The Metropolitan Room, NYC
"Lisa delivers the goods with power and authority. Solid work."
- Bill Wilson, Billtown Blues
“Lisa Biales is a real gem.”
- Freddy Celis, Rootstime Magazine, Belgium
"Lisa Biales has one of those great voices of our times."
- Cascade Blues Association
"When I play your song PEACHES, the phone rings off the hook!
- Linda Yohn, DJ WEMU Michigan
"Biales’ voice is a wonderful instrument.
She can stretch out a note to the kind of length that
makes you forget that you are holding your breath."
- Graham Clarke, Phoenix Blues Society
"Stunning vocals... dazzling originals.”
- Sheryl and Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society
"...a powerful voice with a sizable range and uncanny pitch that speaks directly to your heart.
The trick with a performer like Biales is to not fall for the idea that
any of it is as simple as she makes it sound.
She is a performer’s performer in that sense."
- Gregory Victor, Parcbench Culture Editor, NY
“Lisa’s soul stirring voice and unique guitar has created her signature sound.”
– Cincinnati Enquirer
"Lisa can write and oh can she sing! Her little gem 'Just Like Honey' is not to be missed."
- Gary Eckhart
“Lisa is a vocalist extraordinaire at ease on every kind of style,
there is such an intensity in her singing!
- Mike Pennard, DJ
"Lisa plays a mighty fine guitar but her most notable instrument is her voice."
- John Davy, Flyin' Shoes
“Biales soulfully mines a diverse range of roots and Americana music.”
- Mick Rainsford, Blues In Britain
Lisa Biales is a member of The Blues Foundation.