J.C. Hopkins | It's a Sad and Beautiful World

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It's a Sad and Beautiful World

by J.C. Hopkins

It's a Sad and Beautiful World features songs written by J.C. Hopkins, who has written for the likes of Willie Nelson and Norah Jones to name a few. Recorded on top of a mountain above Woodstock features rock legends Levon Helm and Garth Hudson.
Genre: Folk: Folk-Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Upside Down
2:59 $0.99
2. It's a Sad and Beautiful World
4:46 $0.99
3. Big Sister
3:38 $0.99
4. Saturday
3:54 $0.99
5. Us Versus Them
4:35 $0.99
6. Just That Way
2:57 $0.99
7. It's Good to Be Alive
4:03 $0.99
8. Walking Cane
4:22 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
I had Teddy Thompson, Catherine Popper and Garth Hudson lined up to record the songs I had written in the aftermath of the events of September 2001. “All we need is a drummer,” I said to Catherine. “How about Levon?” She replied, seriously. Well, what’s the worst that could happen? He could say no. He had a gig coming up at the Bottom Line. I’d go and I’d ask. The sessions were over a month away. Plenty of time. Backstage after his sets at the Bottom Line, mostly rock and roll numbers, he wasn’t singing at that point. It hadn’t been too long since he had chemo for throat cancer. He told me that it sounded like fun and for me to call him tomorrow. So, I called him the next day and he said the same thing, sounded like fun and for me to call him tomorrow. Well, I did this everyday for three weeks until I found myself at beautiful Allaire Studios, which existed in Henry Wallace’s old mansion on top of a mountain above Woodstock. “What are we going to do without a drummer?” Catherine asked. I called Levon’s, “Is Levon there?” his wife Sandra told me that he wasn’t. “Ah, okay,” I said trying not to sound as crestfallen as I felt. “I think he is on the way to the studio.”

Catherine locked herself in the bathroom when Levon arrived. “I am too nervous to play!” She disclaimed. I gently coaxed her out. Levon was so sweet that he immediately put us all at ease. He looked like a kid in a candy store as we put him in the drum room that overlooked a forest. Levon played beautifully and vigorously. We had never experienced a pocket like that before. Garth Hudson turned up at around midnight that same day. Martha had given me his number but told me Garth’s midnight is our noon and to not call too early. And he came every midnight that whole week, adding melodicas and mellotrons and other things with keys. In New York we laid down more tracks with Sonny Rollins’ drummer Victor Lewis and other stellar jazz musicians.

My career took a turn as I started producing more projects and focusing on my jazz group the J.C. Hopkins Biggish Band. So, the tracks remained in the vault until this spring. I bumped into Matthew Cullen who engineered the project. He enthusiastically agreed to master the songs and so there was no sense to keep them locked away any longer. I like the way they sound. They sound like New York City and they sound like Woodstock. The songs are earnest and the musicians play with conviction. It was a sad time for this country, similar in many ways to this moment. But it was beautiful, making music with talented friends. I am glad it was captured and now released.



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