A sampler of both previously recorded and new songs that were performed live and unvarnished on a hot summer night in New York. (Except for the last track, which will be on a fully varnished upcoming release.)
This was a show that almost never happened.
On the 4th of July, in a bar in Mexico City, as I was winding down with a bandmate after playing the second of three sold out shows in a row at the Auditorio Nacional with Enrique Iglesias, I told my bandmate I would be visiting New York City a couple of weeks later.
He pressed: “Are you going to do a show?”
I said no.
After over a year and a half of traveling internationally with my bandmates on a tour where we played for over a million people, I wanted to simply come to New York to visit friends and enjoy the summer swelter I loved when I lived there.
But then my bandmates said they’d play with me, and the idea of rocking out my original songs with a bunch of world-class musicians who I knew and loved like brothers started to make sense.
I didn’t know where we could get booked with only two weeks notice, but one email to the Rockwood Music Hall revealed that — amazingly and highly unlikely — they had one spot open, 10PM on a Tuesday night. I said I’d take it!
When the night arrived, I realized I had been performing for so many months in somewhat controlled environments — the Enrique show is synced up with Imax-sized video and lights and pyrotechnics and some planned stage movements, and we all wear in-ear monitors so we are protected from excess volume. The idea of playing my own songs loud and proud, down and dirty in a small club and with total trust in my band — I felt free to choose a set list more raucous than my usual.
Thank goodness I had the foresight to request that the house engineer record our performance, because there was some rare magic that happened between me, the band, the crowd… As my chances to play my own music live have been fewer and further between these past couple of years, I hoped to give this collection of highlights from the show to fans as a gift, and also have it up on Noisetrade.com to entice new fans who may be looking for music like mine.
So onstage we went that night, with only one quick rehearsal a couple of hours before, without our usual arena-size adornments; just guitars, bass, drums, piano and a single voice, and an enthusiastic and appreciative crowd that packed the house. I’ve had few gigs where I was taken with joy and exhilaration like this one. The band pushed me to sing from the floorboards and up to the roof to stay on top of their groove and power for my foundation. By the last song I was snarling out my lyrics and laughing at Emmett and Richards’s coda for the evening, a swirling, deliciously distorted, joyfully wicked guitar solo spinning out of control like an errant ferris wheel. It was SO much fun.
The very last track, “Luv”, is my solo cover of a Travis song, a 2AM one-take experiment in solitary bedroom home recording that went surprisingly well enough that my producer Jeremy Little insisted we release it as is. It serves as a teaser for my upcoming studio project that is to be released in the coming months. I hope you enjoy these highlights from that New York night plus the little teaser tune!
With love and gratitude,
Celia Chavez — vocal and acoustic guitar
Richard Maheux — piano
Christian Mendoza — acoustic guitar
Emmett O’Malley — electric guitar
Van Romaine — drums
Ben Zwerin — electric bass
Live Mix Engineer: Gordon Heal, Stephen Colon (asst.)
Additional Engineering: Glenn Nishida
Final Mix Engineer: Scrote
Mastering: Rainer Gembalczyk at Sienna Digital
Words and music by Celia Chavez except “Luv” by Francis Healy and Adam Seymour
Special thanks to Ken Rockwood, Matt Currie, Nate Kreichman, and everyone who was in the audience that night
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