From our partners at Planet Earth Rec,
Hi friends and Family, this past week I was listening to Pandora, specifically the Secret Garden station. This group creates such a warm sound with their original compositions and classically flavored orchestrations. It’s the kind of music I enjoy listening to for all occasions. Then, a familiar song followed…It was “The Swan,” from the First Flight album by Palomino Duck. The segue was seamless and the music seemed to be a continuation of the previous Secret Garden recording. I smiled…
You might not be aware of the Palomino Duck concept. It’s unique. 3 albums, 32 original compositions. It all started with “The Swan,” composed and performed by Atlanta musician, Beth Michaels. More on Beth later in the newsletter.
First Flight was a delight to record and release. The talented Cheryl Rogerscan be heard on this and all three albums. Her beautiful piano compositions and performances are timeless. Writer/producer Emory Gordy composed and contributed “Journeys End,” an Aaron Copeland-style mood setter. “ComingHome,” the opening song, was a “radio hit,” which started the Palomino Duck movement with airplay at KKSF-FM in San Francisco. Ron Cristopherengineered the album and made sure the levels matched and titles flowed together. On a sad note, Ron passed away last month. His contributions were enormous. Next came Free Flight and now, the latest, Smooth Flight.
I’ll talk about Free Flight in our next newsletter.
So, how did Palomino Duck begin? In the early 1990s, The Atlanta Chapter of the Recording Academy (then known as NARAS), was very active with programs that educated and provided resources for songwriters, performers, arrangers, etc. One such event was called the “Songwriter’s Seminar.” After the panelists gave their individual presentations and the Q&A had ended, writers were invited to talk to the panelists one on one. I was approached by a writer who introduced herself as Beth Michaels, a pianist/composer who asked to give me a sample of her writing. She presented me her cassette which included, among others, the song that planted the seed for Palomino Duck. I listened to her tape and “The Swan” jumped out at me. What a great composition! In the days of rock and roll, I had no idea what to do with such a beautiful instrumental. A few years passed and “beautiful” songs became more prominent. I knew a lot of musicians who wrote original material. What if we all worked together as a single entity? “Give me the best song you’ve ever written” became the mantra and Palomino Duck became the vehicle or umbrella we worked under. One composer, one song, the best you’ve got. After months of tweaking and production, First Flight was completed. I invite you to listen to First Flight, Free Flight, and the latest in our evolution, Smooth Flight.
PS: I’d like to give a shout-out to Darlene Koldenhoven, a wonderful composer/musician/entrepreneur and friend who’s really figured it out!