Miz Sally’s Yellow Cat Song Book and Dementia Drawings
Just a heads up that PART ONE (AUDIO 19 tracks total) has been recorded for the MIZ SALLY’S YELLOW CAT SONG & ART BOOK Project.
Big Leg Thanks ALL AROUND to those of you out there who pitched in, lifted us up, shouted out an encouraging word, sang, played, threw beads and money, bought meals, shared medical informations as well as your own stories, offered suggestions and who smiled in all of the right places!
This project is for my mom, MIZ SALLY, with the hope that it will bring her joy and might be helpful in some small ways to any others out there, whether they be suffering with the same condition as Miz Sally or family members or caregivers needing a little help or a new idea.
Miz Sally is suffering with dementia and lives very much in the present. I have have learned very much form her about the true art of living. The total joy that I see on her face when she turns her whole attention to the enjoyment of a song, a hot towel or warm bed, a chocolate cookie, a pat on the back, a soft word, a hug. Where I seem to constantly struggle to live in the present, fretting away my time over what might be or what might have been without always paying close enough attention to what IS.
The 18 tunes that I recorded for this project, for the most part, were chosen by Miz Sally, after I played them for her at least 15 or more times. After each playing if she said, “Oh, I like that one.” I would keep it in the pile for consideration. We worked this over most of this year on my days off from my AMERICANA IN MISSISSIPPI TOUR back in March and April and then again just before I headed down to New Orleans for this recording session.
Over time, I adjusted the tunings and pitch of many of the tunes as I discovered that Miz Sally’s sensitivity to sounds, loud and soft as well as pitch, high and low, seemed to affect her mood and enjoyment of the tune.
Some tunes I wrote for this project while others were found when I reached far back into my memory to the tunes that we heard and learned when I was growing up. Tunes off of scratchy, red, 78 rpm records that we played in the front room on an old phonograph. The “Sally” , “Cindy” and “Polly” tunes that had their origins back in the 1840’s.
I wrote, re-wrote and arranged the tunes so that they would be personal for Miz Sally. It is difficult to describe my joy when she heard this recording for the first time and proudly announced, “That’s about me” as she sat shaking and tapping her foot and sometimes clapping her hands while sitting in the front room of my sister’s home.
My sister, Renee’ trusty, is the primary caregiver for Miz Sally. I cannot express my thanks enough to her and her family for their hard work in caring for Miz Sally along with their support for this project. As it is said, “Life gets in the way while we are making plans.” We never really saw this coming, but Renee’ has taken on this task of caregiving, homemaking as well as running her own business in stride. In my book, CAREGIVERS, are the ones out there who are the real heroes in this world.
I couldn’t imagine being in the studio without Bill Steber, whom I have traveled the world making music with for more than a decade. This time around he played banjo uke, saw and sang on the project while his very talented wife, Pat, took photos.
Libby Rae Watson made a special trip over to New Orleans from her home on the MS Gulf Coast. She sang out on backing vocals as well as keeping us laughing the whole time that she was in the studio.
Special guest, Courtney Blackwell, of Honey Boy and Boots, drove down from Nashville with her cello and set the house on fire.
Nick Vitter, of VITTER STUDIO, not only handled the recording and mastering he pitched in on piano. (This is my fifth recording project with Nick. He is one of the best ANY WHERE!)
James Patterson hosted Miz Sally and me at his photography studio in Jackson, MS where he shot stills, video and scanned in Miz Sally’s art work.
There will be MANY MORE THANK YOUs to follow these as the project moves along. Until then, all the best from here