Why Jewish Hard Rock?
Jewish liturgy is more than just sweet platitudes of praise and timid words of request; our petitions sometimes come from pain and anger. When we see people we love stricken by illness or unexpected death, we become filled with a sense of injustice and helplessness. When we narrowly dodge a car accident or find our child who went missing for a few moments at the mall, we feel immense gratitude tinged with the breathless terror at how small and fragile we are.
Those moments of intense emotion and prayer are reflected in the sound of rock n’ roll – the distortion, the volume, and the impact. Through my music, I’m exploring how hard rock reflects and deepens the meaning we find in Jewish prayer. (You can read more here about my philosophy of Jewish hard rock specifically and the intersection of spirituality and rock music.)
In 2016, thanks to a lucky break and some hard work, I won some money on a game show and used a portion of the winnings to record a six-track EP of Jewish hard rock titled In Pursuit. I’ve been humbled and deeply moved by the response to In Pursuit from the Jewish community and the incredible support from friends, family, colleagues, and my Temple Sholom community.
And now I need your help to continue to spread the music and the message with a second album.
The Back Story
I grew up with hard rock. The soundtrack of my life is a mix tape of Guns n’ Roses, Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, and Green Day. Over a lifetime of singing Jewish music and a decade in the cantorial world, I’ve learned to love the vast repertoire of Jewish music. But I haven’t found Jewish music in the “musical language” that I grew up with.
So I decided to try writing it.
That effort led to In Pursuit, my first album of Jewish hard rock, released last year. Working with Grammy-winning producer Glenn Barratt, we took a few songs I’d written and transformed them into an album that treated our sacred texts with reverence and sincerity — and, most importantly, rocked. Songs like “Shalom Rav,” “These Things Will Happen,” and “Hashkiveinu” wrestled with our traditional texts and offered up a new angle on the broad spectrum of emotions they bear.
Since the release of In Pursuit, I’ve performed in Philadelphia and at the URJ Biennial in Boston, with gigs booked in Cincinnati and Maple Glen, PA in the coming year. My 2015 single, “Bless This Year,” was selected by Transcontinental Music Publications for the upcoming songbook Jewish Songs of Protest and Hope. And last year, I was selected as a Jewish Rock Radio Emerging Artist. You can listen to my interview as part of the Emerging Artist Showcase.
Where Does the Money Go?
• $12,000 – Estimated recording expenses (includes hiring musicians, studio rental, and album mixing and mastering)
• $1,500 – Expenses related to the various reward levels
• $500 – CD duplication
• $500 – Artwork
My plan is to begin recording in the late Fall 2018 and release Restless Heart in late Winter or early Spring 2019.
Can You Give Me An Example of a Track Planned for Restless Heart?
The prayer commonly known as “R’tzei” asks God to “receive our prayers in love.” There’s a big assumption in there that God is listening. Sometimes I feel that God is with me and listening when I pray, and sometimes I feel like a fool talking to himself. What does it mean to read this prayer as we do each Friday if we doubt that God is going to answer? I wanted to write a “R’tzei” that laid bare my occasional doubts, disappointment, and anger.
Thank you for your support!