High Five! from David Safran
In 2007, at the age of 23, singer/songwriter David Safran returned to his parents’ home on Chicago’s North Shore, recalling, “I was boomeranging and delirious—a distinguished nutcase who slept in the guest room, worked for a tech company, and rode the Metra.” Inspired by the work of the 19th Century author Eugene Field, Safran would escape once a month or so to visit the writer’s resting place in the garden of the Church of the Holy Comforter in Kenilworth, Illinois. He explains, “I admired [Field’s] writing…I wasn’t overenthusiastic, but we were both locked away on the North Shore and I needed a dead literary neighbor. I brought a notebook and began writing a song called ‘Adult Things,’ hoping to document these visits.” Since 2010 when “Adult Things” first premiered on UR Chicago, Safran has spent countless hours in the studio, putting the finishing touches on his debut album, Delicate Parts. Recently, David Safran independently released Delicate Parts’ first single, "Woman Astride, Facing Away," a breakout duet featuring Genevieve Schatz of Company of Thieves.
This week, David Safran tosses up a High Five! of the things he loves most:
1. Marc Ribot
I cannot remember a time when I didn’t value Marc Ribot. He is a brilliant, impeccable guitarist and composer. Last September, we both performed at a benefit show honoring Amnesty International's 50th anniversary. We were the only ones in the dressing room. Marc just returned from an Ethiopian restaurant and had to curl up on the couch. (It was either the best meal or the worst – I’m still not sure.) I was recovering from the stomach flu and slumped on the second couch eating apple sauce. This was, unquestionably, one of my favorite moments as a musician. Sometimes the most hedonistic backstage events involve baby food and napping.
2. Genevieve Schatz
Genevieve is part pop singer, part 15th-century knight: strong, dashing, fearless, and always ready to arrive at greatness. We recently recorded a song together called “Woman Astride, Facing Away.” She came to the studio wearing combat boots, an endless black scarf, red reading glasses, and a red kimono. She looked perfect. Watching her sing, I remembered Leonard Cohen’s quote about Jennifer Warnes: “Her voice is like the California weather – filled with sunlight, but there’s an earthquake behind it.” Genevieve is absolutely the same type of weather.
3. Jesse Menendez
Making music in Chicago is a bit like rolling naked in the snow. A few people in the local media turn this into an enjoyable experience. Jesse Menendez is a host at Chicago Public Radio and Vocalo Radio. I’ve been a guest on his program three times, and I’m almost certain he thinks I’m borderline insane. A well-informed conversationalist, Jesse fills his interviews with a healthy dose of intelligence, sincere interest, a slightly teasing edge, enormous generosity, and – most important – an ability to take you where you never expected to go. Jesse and his remarkable producer, Fyodor Sakhnovski, are the greatest champions of Chicago music.
4. Marlo Thomas and Friends - Free to Be…You and Me
I’m writing this list one day after International Women’s Day. In 1972, Gloria Steinem, Marlo Thomas, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, and the Ms. Foundation for Women published an educational book called Free to Be…You and Me. Many years later, they asked my mother to adapt Free to Be for the stage. It was a very successful play. As a result, when I was five-years-old, I often attended the theater where I fervently discussed gender equality while surrounded by leaders of the Women's Liberation Movement. My publicist – a first-grader – spent months trying to get me on Charlie Rose.
5. Warren Zevon & Robert Burns
My album, Delicate Parts, will be finished soon. It’s worth noting that, at this vulnerable point, most songwriters get a little weird. I’ve been talking everyday to Warren Zevon and Robert Burns. They both respond.
This week's High Five! is brought to you by: David Safran with Lauren Mercury Roberts
To celebrate the end of the nine to five, a Green Light Go staff member or artist will leave you with their short list of favorite things, better known as the High Five!