12th Annual Tribute Album Album Winner
12th Annual Tribute Album Album Vox Pop Winner
12th Annual Long Form Music Video Winner
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Record Label: Showplace Music Productions
Home Base: New Jersey, New York
Genre: Jazz, Standards
Categories Entered: Tribute Album and Long Form Video
Work Submitted: Thank You Les – a tribute to Les Paul (CD and DVD)
Artists Featured: Lou Pallo of Les Paul’s Trio with Special Guests (Keith Richards, Steve Miller, Bucky Pizzarelli, Slash, Jose Feliciano, Frank Vignola, Billy F Gibbons, Eddie Brigati, Nokie Edwards, Blondie Chaplin, Johnny A, Melinda Doolittle, Jon Paris, Arlen and Lexie Roth).
Label: Showplace Music Productions
Who are your influences?: Les Paul, Tony Mottola
Describe your nominated work: After 40 years as Les Paul’s sideman, I wanted to honor my friend and mentor so I brought in musician friends from Les’ preferred genres of music to help me record his favorite songs. We filmed the sessions and interviews with the artists in an attempt to show Les’ influence on the industry, his genius and his sense of humor, as told by those who worked closest with him. This tribute to Les Paul embraces his spirit with guitar work that shines, vocals that stir emotion and the joyful vibe of the infamous Les Paul Mondays in New York City, which occurred every week during the last 30 years of Les’ career. The documentary, recently broadcast on PBS Thirteen, tells about what it was like to work with Les. It speaks of the wide range of artists who would frequently sit in with us on Mondays, from Slash to Tony Bennett, and how Les would masterfully work his guests and audience with his exceptional talent, humorous surprises and vaudeville charm.
Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording?: We used old-school techniques and micing invented by Les Paul and recorded all the musicians live in the studio, to 2” analog tape. We also mixed to analog tape, creating the best possible sound.
Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned?: The whole project was one big happy accident, as if Les were there calling the shots. One that comes to mind was Nokie Edwards warming up with the song “Out of Nowhere”. This was not planned for the record but it sounded so great that we had to include it. Another came with Keith Richards not only singing on “It’s Been a Long, Long Time” but adding a “Bo bo bo bo bo”, ala Bing Crosby. It’s endearing.
How did you raise the funds for this project? How long do you expect it will take to recoup your out-of-pocket recording expenses?: This was done as a labor of love. I had an investor help me and many donated their services. I don’t know if we’ll ever recoup but it certainly would be nice.
Why did you choose to submit this work to The 12th IMAs?: To get more exposure and introduce Les to new fans who may not know of his enormous contribution to music.
What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you’ve achieved it?: Success for me was completing this record and seeing the outpouring of support and positive reviews. Further success would be the opportunity for me to continue Les Paul’s legacy, keeping his music and styles alive for fans, old and new.
How will you leverage your IMA honors to achieve your career goals?: I will include my tie to the IMA’s on my website and in marketing and promotion efforts to increase awareness of who I am and my role in Les Paul’s career.
Who’s sitting in your audience and what makes your fans unique?: Since I continue to lead Les Paul’s Trio in New York City every Monday night, my audience ranges from guitar enthusiasts next door to icons like Jimmy Page.
What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Any close calls or mishaps while on tour?: I’m 77 years old and I can’t smoke a cigarette at gigs anymore. Sigh.
Who are your musical heroes & influences?: Les Paul and Tony Mottola. The first time I heard “How High the Moon”, I was floored!
Are there any songs you wish you wrote and why?: I wish I wrote “My Way”. I love everything about that song. The melody, chords and lyrics are all wonderful!
What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans?: I listen to everything. Like Les used to say, “There are only two kinds of music, good and bad.”
How do you discover new music? Do you buy music or are you content with streaming?: Most of the time, people give me CDs. I don’t stream. I still play my old LPs.
How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free?: That’s a good question. I wish I had the answer.
What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today?: They need to understand that musicians deserve to be paid for their time, hard work and their artistic achievements. They need to realize why downloading from torrent sites is stealing.
Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future?: It seems that’s where it’s headed. Personally, I don’t own an iPod or download music. I prefer the rich and full sound of an LP or CD. We are releasing a limited edition vinyl on May 17th.
Finish this sentence: The music industry is…not what it used to be.
What do you have in the works for the upcoming year? Performing and promoting this project everywhere I can.