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Miracle

Miracle

  • By Stefano
  • Release 21/11/2006
  • Music Genre Rock
  • Media Format CD
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CD 
Price: £15.06

Product Notes

The fact that 'Miracle' ever made it to press in time for my first concert last Christmas was nothing short of a miracle. Coming off a busy summer concert tour in 2005, followed by the sudden death of my beloved uncle Anthony, all production on the record came to a halt. The loss was so sudden and so stunning, I didn't have an ounce of energy left to finish the record, nor a desire to finish it. My family and I were grief-stricken -- yet like anyone coping with the loss of a loved one, we all had no choice but to push forward. So, I reluctantly returned to New York and can remember very vividly, standing in the middle of the recording studio attempting to cut Track #5, 'Silent Night'. It's a very Bluesy-Gospel version and I was definitely feeling the BLUES!...just not channeling them very well. It was only two days after my uncle's funeral. I was numb with grief. The session was interrupted with a phone call, and as Dean took the call, I felt this amazing feeling, the presence of someone standing right next to me. I don't know if it was my Uncle or maybe someone else from my family's past, but what I DO know is, I felt a wave of comfort pass through my body. I felt calmed and relieved in a way I hadn't felt in weeks. Now keep in mind, all of this happened in a matter of seconds. Dean hung up the phone and saw me standing there looking like someone had just clubbed me over the head. He said, 'Stef,...you ok?....Stef?' I was pretty rattled by the whole thing and didn't share with Dean what had happened until later that day. Long story short, we had a terrific session that day and I felt re-energized and re-inspired to finish the rest of the tracks. I'd like to believe, in his own special way, my Uncle Tony helped guide me through the rest of my sessions. The production was so far behind, cases of the first CDs came straight from the record company to my initial performance of the season. I got to see them for the first time with everyone else that night. Track #2, 'Itty Bitty Baby Born In Bethlehem': This song has turned out to be the break-out smash from this record! Two years earlier I had written two lines of this chorus on a little scrap of paper and kept it in a folder, knowing I'd be recording a Christmas CD at some point. I've got tons of these little 'fragments' in files and as it turns out, I had several pieces that worked well together for this particular song. Two themes went into recording this song. 1. I wanted to illustrate, in a fun and easy way to my nieces and nephews, the story of the Baby Jesus born in Bethlehem. And 2. Pay homage to one of my favourite Christmas albums from childhood, 'Herb Albert & The Tijuana Brass: A Tijuana Christmas'. Albert's horn arrangements are simple and catchy and have stuck in my head for years. I still have the original vinyl record (though it is barely playable due to years of scratches!). It's the one with a man in a sombrero on the cover with his eyes wide open from blowing into a trumpet and at the end of the horn are three colorful Christmas ornaments. I highly recommend it still!!! I wrote 'Itty Bitty' one morning while 'standing' in my SUV in front of my building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. In the city, we have what is known as, 'alternate side of the street' parking rules, which on my block, are from 9:30am-11:00am on Monday-Thursday or Tuesday-Friday. Basically, you double park the opposite side of the street by 9:30, until the street cleaner sweeps by, then you have about a millisecond to get back to your space or you will lose it. Then, you must stay or 'stand' in your vehicle until 11am or get a hefty ticket. Sounds fun, right? So, in between sucking down copious amounts of Lavazza Expresso coffee, which is my favourite, I cranked-out this little ditty, which has become a crowd pleaser from the get-go. 'Itty Bitty' also features the vocal talents of Broadway's Darrel Blackburn as the deep voice of the Messiah. Hear Darrel's voice get 'stretched' to the hilt at the very end of the song, in what is probably THE longest pronounciation of the word 'Bethlehem' ever recorded! Track #3: So In Love (This Christmas Eve) I am so proud of this song, because I got to sing it with my wonderful friend and celebrated singer/actress, Lorinda Lisitza. Also, because I got to celebrate my parent's 45th wedding anniversary with it's release. My parents got engaged on Christmas Eve -- a fact I didn't remember until after most of the song was written: '...so in love, this Christmas Eve so in love' became the perfect background chant for the choruses. Here I was, in Roma, Italia and about to board a train for one of THE most romantic cities in all of Italy...Venezia. This was my first time taking the train and seeing the gorgeous Italian countyside. On a good day, this trip takes about 4 hours, but there was a rail strike, so there were many delays which extended the trip to more than 6 hours. A fortuitous delay however, as I met a wonderful woman named Laura DiDonna. A funny, smart, engaging lady who had a real interest in music. Step back just a second to boarding the train. All of the sudden the chorus to this song comes streaming into my head. It's always like a little gift from the heavens -- mysterious and wonderful and rapid-fire -- somehow these words and music come flying into my brain and it is so strong sometimes, I have no choice but to acknowledge it and take note. So, I call myself on my cell phone, which goes directly to voicemail, and begin singing the song into the phone. Now, I am trying to do this discreetly while people are all around me and easily within earshot. Keep in mind, when I am singing into the phone, sometimes the words are fully formed because I don't exactly know what they all are yet, so it's like someone singing a song they are barely familiar with and know about every other word. I got lots of funny looks and am still singing it as I am getting on the train and sitting down into my seat. Laura was sitting next to me and finally asked, 'What IS it that you are doing?' She could see me hurriedly scribbling notes on a napkin and then dialing my phone and singing into it. By the end of the 6 hours, I had made a new friend AND had the entire song written AND had an Italian translation written too, thanks to the help of Laura DiDonna. I later sent her the mastered version of the song once we completed the recording and together, we were able to fine-tune the translation. Additional help on the translations came from my great friend, Emanuele Mastrodidonato, who was also riding the train that day. Wedding thoughts were on my mind -- not just my parent's engagement -- but my brother Mike's wedding to his lovely wife Corey was only about 2 weeks away. I was able to harness all of the thoughts, emotions and feelings I was experiencing that afternoon, coupled with the beauty of Venice, into one song. Track #7: Mary's Song Years of Catholic schooling and a solid foundation of church singing comes full-circle in this song. You'd think from reading the lyrics, this is an homage to the Virgin Mary. In a way it is, but mostly, it's a celebration of my amazing Grandmother Mary. I'm certainly not lying, when I sing, 'She bore a son and he's the reason I'm here on this earth...' but you can see how the song might be loaded with dual messages or hidden meanings. I worked in many elements of the Hail Mary prayer, along with my own memories of my grandmother and everything I remember about her as a child. Her endless capacity for giving -- a font of love to be sure. Her beautiful yard -- meticulously kept -- that was wall-to-wall with roses and flowers and fruit trees of every kind. There was always something good to eat at Grandma's house! Like 'Itty Bitty', 'Mary's Song' has tons of horns...and also shows how my early exposure to Gospel and blues had translated later into my own music. Like 'So In Love', this song shows off the amazing vocal range of Lorinda Lisitza. This was Lorinda's first studio experience and she was able to knock out high note after high note effortlessly. Mary's Song was actually recorded back in 2002, but thanks to some groovy new mastering tools, we re-mastered the original and gave it an entirely new sound in 2005. This song will never be radio ready. It is more than 7 minutes long! Dean and I tried to make a radio edit but as we began cutting it up, I felt like I was murdering my own child. So, 'Mary's Song' stands as is, tall and beautiful and lovely as she ever was. Track #6: The Saviour Is Born You never know when inspiration is going to hit. Most times, new music comes to me when I am driving. I always carry a legal pad and pen with me in my SUV, because inevitably, about one hour outside of Manhattan, something new comes to me. However, 'Saviour' you might say, was hatched one morning. I was making breakfast -- scrambling eggs actually...and as I'm moving the soupy mixture around in the frying pan (half-asleep mind you) with the spatula, I just started singing this song. So, in between scrambling the eggs, I scrambled to get a piece of paper and write down what I was singing...then of course, grabbed my phone and sang the entire song into it. Fast forward to about 20 minutes later, the song was complete, but my eggs were cold! I abandoned them to finish the song. 'Saviour' sounds like a old-school church song, which borrows from the 'Gloria' chorus in 'Angels We Have Heard On High'. That particular song I credit as THE first I sang solo at the podium in front of the entire church congregation at Mass. It was 6th grade, Christmas Eve and I sang this song as a duet with classmate Tim Kuntz. We sang the verses together, but on the chorus, I sang the harmony descant to Tim's straight chorus singing. That descant, taught to me way back when, by my longtime mentor and friend, Sister Alicia Marie Weiskircher, is the same one I used in the recording of my own song today. Track #11: Lo' How A Rose E'er Blooming Speaking of Sister Alicia, this particular song I loved the moment she introduced me to it back in grade school. I have never missed singing Christmas Day Mass with Sister since I was 6 years old. It's a tradition I treasure and look forward to continuing every year. 'Lo' How A Rose' is the story of Juan Diego and what the Virgin Mary is said to have told him on that mountain top...that he would get a sign from her...roses blooming through the snow despite it being the dead of winter. It's a soft, peaceful, celebratory yet reflective song -- perfect way to close out the 'Miracle' of Christmas. Track # 10: 'Carry This Candle' This song pays homage to my late, great Uncle John Pete, (brother of Mary of, 'Mary's Song', on this record), who we discovered after his death, had an unbelievably decorated and heroic military career. He was a scout in WWII for the US Army during the campaigns of France & Belgium and more...As a scout, Uncle John was basically the man who ran out into a field and the enemy would shoot at him, so we knew where they were! Can you imagine?!?! His death happened fairly close to the 9/11 tragedy. American Patriotism was soaring and so was my fascination with my uncle's heroism, so on my drive back to NYC after his funeral, this song came marching into my brain. The sad irony is, when we initially recorded 'Carry', we thought our timing would be too late for anyone to be interested in listening to it, as it was believed the war in Iraq was going to be a short battle...was close to being over and our troops would be home any minute...that was Jan 2002...You see where we are today. How proud was I THIS time last year to be singing at the return of Combat Veterans of the 463rd Engineering Battalion of the United States Army Reserve. It was an emotional homecoming. Let's hope the rest of our brave soldiers are on their way home SOON! 'Carry This Candle' combines many of the emotions I was feeling that terrible day in New York City...standing on a rooftop amid the flurry of dusty debris, catching pieces of paper dropping from the sky, along with the pride I feel for my Uncle's esteemed military service. Today, we have tens of thousands of people carrying their own candles, keeping hope alive for their loved ones -- awaiting their safe return home from Iraq. Godspeed! Track #8: Prelude To A Miracle: The Lord's Prayer This is actually a spoken/chanted version of The Lord's Prayer, with a heavy emphasis on the last line, '...deliver us from all evil...deliver us!'...and as the chime strikes a solo note, the song springs to life. Read further about 'Miracle' and you will discover why this prayer was so important to the set up of the song. Track # 9: 'Miracle' Remember how the group 'Queen' would incorporate operatic elements into their rock songs, like the choruses in Bohemian Rhapsody? There is a similar breakdown in the title track to the CD. Much of the inspiration for it came from within my Italian studies and from years of singing in Church. I distinctly remember struggling one day -- facing two major rejections that afternoon from modeling castings -- where the casting agents had been particularly unpleasant. I also witnessed, all within the span of an hour, human beings treating eachother with incredible mean-spiritedness. I was walking along Canal Street in lower Manhattan and saw a young man strike his girlfriend across her face and a violent argument ensued. People spewing awful obscenities at eachother...I was on overload and made my way down into the subway station, where the ticket agent was having a heated exchange with a customer. I had had it. I thought, God, get me outta this hellhole! Ever had one of those days? Then you'll appreciate what 'Miracle' has to say lyrically and musically. Dean Bailin tears it up with hard-driving guitar riffs -- delivering you to the edge I was feeling that day. 'Miracle' was initially not intended for this Christmas CD -- rather for my next full-length CD of original tunes. However, I liked it so much, I didn't want to wait to record it....so I decided to re-work the lyrics to paint the picture of everyday people, shepherds & kings, struggling to make it across the desert to see where the babe was born in Bethlehem. The original version of 'Miracle', will appear on my CD, 'Mi Dolce Tormento' due out Summer 2007. Track #4: I'll Be Home For Christmas/Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Imagine what might happen if Johnny Mathis, Karen Carpenter, Andy Williams, plus Blood Sweat & Tears/Three Dog Night -- all collided, then morphed into one singer. Well, that's what came out in this rendition of both Christmas classics. I'd spent years listening to all of the above artists and if you listen closely, you can pick out the nuances right away. It's funny, because I didn't consciously try to sound like any ONE of them, but their influences are clearly here. This is the second time I've recorded 'Have Yourself'. Back in the 90's, I recorded another version with my father, while on the Board of Directors for the Tri-State Coalition For The Homeless. Proceeds from the sale of that record, simply put, helped us help the homeless. I hope you enjoy this record! Grazie a mio bello cugino Gary Pete, who is an amazing graphic artist in Pittsburgh, PA, for his work on 'Miracle'. My cousin has a terrific eye for design, theme, layout & placement and truly made it a breeze to produce such a first-class product. There are already plans underway for a second Christmas CD. Stay tuned! Buon Natale! Ciao e Grazie, Stefano :)

Details

Artist: Stefano
Title: Miracle
Genre: Rock
Release Date: 21/11/2006
Label: CD Baby
Media Format: CD
UPC: 783707237107
This product is a special order

Credits