CD by Kevin Wallace
Director of the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts
100% of the sale of this CD will go towards Educational Programming at the Center.
Our Work at the Center Concerns Inspiration
Caring for the legacy of Beatrice Wood, and the other fascinating individuals who created and cared for the Happy Valley Foundation over the decades, requires us to share their stories and connect with the spirit of possibilities for a better life, individually and globally. We share Beatrice Wood’s story of reinvention – from her pursuit of freedom, individuality, love and expression as a young woman, through her taking up ceramics at the age of 40, to enjoying the best years of her life in her 80s and 90s, becoming a published author and creating art until her passing at the age of 105. Every weekend, hearing her story, a visitor inevitably turns to a friend and says, "there is hope" – and indeed Beatrice Wood always told visitors that they should pursue their dreams, by embracing discipline in harmony with inspiration, a life-long love of learning, and a commitment to do the work.
I believe that people should practice what they preach, and that is one of the reasons why, at the age of 60, I decided to record an album of the songs I had written over the decades. There was also the fact that my wife Sheryl and I are responsible for raising the funds to keep the Center alive, and I felt that it would be a way of raising funds. While I haven’t worked out the details of a benefit performance or performances, if you order the CD from the Center, 100% of the sale goes to support our educational programming.
There are other reasons why this is happening now. Everyone experiences "big birthdays" differently. For me, there was the realization that anything I failed to bring into being in my lifetime – songs unsung and books unpublished – would pass away with me. There were not only songs that I’d written on my own - there were collaborations with my friend Brandon Dickerson, who passed away a quarter-century ago. And so, this project was born to properly bring these songs into the world.
At first, I wasn’t sure that I could do it, and I set about recording the songs on my computer without letting anyone know my intentions. Ken Emerson, an exceptional guitarist, comes to perform at the Center regularly and, once I had a number of songs started and was confident that I could indeed pull it off, I asked him to play on the songs. The project took on a life of its own, as Ken’s contributions both transformed the songs and raised the bar.
A friend recommended Castaway 7 Studios in Ventura and the studio owner/engineer J.P. Hesser further transformed the songs, playing on most of them. Andy Ellison, my buddy from Middle School, who had first introduced me to Brandon – with the three of us ultimately coming to LA to play music – plays drums on the recordings remotely from Petoskey, Michigan. It was mixed at Castaway 7 Studios and mastered by Brian Ziegler at Radiance Recordings in Ojai.
With this collection, I am sharing a part of me that most of the people who know me are unaware of – just as they are unaware that my middle name is Virgil… the name of both of my grandfathers. Also, I needed something to separate the singer/songwriter aspect of myself from my everyday life as director of the Center. I thought of Duchamp’s Fountain, which he signed "R. Mutt" so that he and Beatrice Wood could write about what an important work of art it was – and here it is: Virgil, featuring twelve songs written over a period of over 40 years.
Director Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts
& Happy Valley Cultural Center
Ojai native and resident Maryann Cord, is the Co-Founder & CEO of Cord International Media Group. Cord International's Hana Ola Records is known as the first name in vintage Hawaiian music, a music recording and licensing company passionately dedicated to preserving, restoring and releasing lost real Hawaiian music, with a huge catalog of recordings.