It Don’t Get Better Than This

February 13th

Spent the day in a variety of studios.  Working on this tune, It Don’t Get Better Than This, for Willie & the Swagga, with Luca Tozzi, justjohn & Jen Houston.  Took a break from recording to do a quick video.

more tomorrow.

Unchained Melody

January 8, 1935 Happy Birthday Elvis Presley!

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It’s wild to think that Elvis would be 83 today!

Unchained Melody was made famous again from the movie “Ghost” with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore.  That version was sung by the Righteous Brothers, but Elvis also recorded it.  Love the song.

We just took Casey to the airport. Sad to see our boy go back on the road.  We did our family tradition before all JFK flights of going to the greatest Chinese Buffet in Great Neck!  Last time we did it Casey missed his flight. Tonight we left early enough so that even with traffic and extra crab legs and sushi we got to the airport in plenty of time.

Tomorrow I will premiere Willie & the Swagga, my new band, at the Red Lion.  If you’re in the city come on down and support!  No cover.  I start at 7 and will bring the band on at around 8pm.  151 Bleecker Street!

Very exciting.

Here’s Unchained Melody for Elvis’ birthday:

ps. i’m publishing this blog before the video’s all uploaded, so if you get here before its ready come back again later!

Time Machine (original)

June 15th 2012 – In the studio with the Willie & the Swagga project.


Big fun today, recording with great musicians in a great studio.  I had Ivan Bodley on bass, Luca Tozzi on guitar and Tomoaki Kanno on drums (we just call him Tomo) at Craig Dreyer’s studio Mighty Toad in Brooklyn.  We tracked six tunes in seven hours.  We still have to do tons of overdubs and vocals but we built the basement and it came out wonderful.

Don’t have much time to talk here. Gotta run out to a gig at Empire City Casino with the Stingers and all the guys from the studio.

At least we won’t have to warm up.

Pride and Joy

June 13, 1983 Epic Records released Stevie Ray Vaughan’s debut album Texas Flood.

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Wikipedia says this Stevie Ray Vaughan album was done in three days and that the first day was just setting up. So they recorded it in two days.

Yeesh. Claudia and I have been working on our album for four months and it probably won’t be finished till the end of the summer. But it’s fun, so what the hell.  And there is different vibe doing a straight up blues album. You just close your eyes and play. When you start overdubbing and putting choirs on stuff and laying 8 layers of various guitars on songs, it takes a minute.

I’ve been singing Pride and Joy for years, so when I saw that today was the Texas Flood album debut I said, “Hell, yeah.”

I’ve mentioned it before but over at Terra Blues there are some unbelievable blues guitarists. I love to stop in and check them out.  My playlists on my iPhone are filled with Stevie Ray, BB King, Eric Clapton and Muddy waters.

In another life I wanna be a blues guitarist.

Jitterbug Waltz / Ain’t Misbehavin’

May 21, 1904 Happy Birthday Fats Waller!

Hopefully my Willie & the Swagga album will be finished late this summer.

Now everyone is asking me who Willie is.  Well, Willie is me, and in some ways the name comes from me playing Ain’t Misbehavin’.

Wherever I go people ask me to check out their piano, or whenever I see a piano I check it out and guess what my go-to song is to check the piano…Ain’t Misbehavin’.

So a good buddy of mine Alvin Moody (bass player extraordinaire) who I’ve known and worked with for years  (I met him when he was Whitney Houston’s bass player) would call me Ragtime Willie whenever he saw me checking out a piano. I liked that name and I wanted to use it as a stage name, but the ragtime part is a little oldish, so I’m going with Willie.

As for the Swagga – I was playing one night solo piano down at Slane (fun bar) on MacDougal and after a set, Sarah the bartender said to me, “Skip you really got the swagga.”  So, Willie & the Swagga!

Anyway, I love Fats Waller – he’s a big influence on Ragtime Willie.  Happy Birthday and thanks for the tune.  It’s how I get to know the piano I’m about to play.