As an avid SiriusXM Coffeehouse channel listener, we heard jazz singer-songwriter Spencer Day’s song “I’m Going Home” and it’s been on replay ever since. Love discovering new music! His new album “The Mystery of You” is great for that road trip this summer or just chilling at home.
The song is about gratitude. “It’s about returning home – not necessarily a physical place, but more a matter of redeveloping a relationship with yourself,” he said. “This was an opportunity to combine an electric piano with an acoustic piano solo I recorded in L.A. It really works in this minimalist Brian Eno kind of way. There are some strange but interesting textures that pop up and catch your ears.”
Another great track, and for those going through a tough time in life, is “Somewhere on the Other Side” for the reason he wrote it. It’s “built on the hope that if you can get through the hard part, things do get better,” he said. “I wrote that in the depths of despair. It’s almost like an early American Quaker spiritual. I was just trying to remind myself that if I could make it through this, there would be a sacred place that I could get to on the other side.”
The title track has that cool, retro sound reminiscent of old James Bond movies. Spencer’s sound is hip yet timeless. And another song, “A Long Way (Black Rock City)” is about a derailed trip to the Burning Man Festival, chronicling the moment when a relationship starts to get out of control. “Our car broke down, and we were stuck in the desert outside of Reno,” he recalls. “That was when I realized things had taken a turn to the dark side.” Exotic Middle Eastern influences can be heard on this track, and the lyrics are intentionally esoteric. “I wanted this one to be more about creating a mood than telling a story.”
Check out his website for tour dates around the country and in the meantime, here are some of Spencer’s favorite places in America (some great ideas Spencer!)…
My favorite (unexpected) travel destination is…the Hudson River Valley. It always blows my mind that you can have such a dynamic mix of nature and culture only a few hours away from the bustle of New York City. I typically take the Amtrak to Hudson, NY from Penn Station and enjoy the beautiful two hour train that hugs the lazy Hudson River.
For those who want a great day trip that is closer to the city but still want the country charm, you can take the Metro North to Cold Spring (less than an hour from Grand Central), enjoy the small bed and breakfasts, charming main street and still be able to actually walk (it’s about a mile) into the Hudson Highlands park. Breakneck ridge is the most challenging trail in the park but all of them offer fantastic views of the river.
A great town people may not know about that they should visit is…Hudson. The town of Hudson really sums up what the Hudson River Valley renaissance is all about. Over the years, like many industrial river towns, Hudson had become quite run down and destitute but because of this, the majority of the town was left untouched for years and an astounding number of architectural gems, perfectly preserved. As New York City prices have become unmanageable, many young artists and aesthetes with an eye for renovation have moved up and really revived the town.
It has an unbelievable collection of architectural treasures as well as world class restaurants and museums. Hudson is edgy and innovative and a great starting point for exploring the surrounding area. 30 minutes to your East and you are in the picturesque Berkshires and the border of Massachusetts and Connecticut, 30 minutes west and you can be secluded in the beautiful Catskill mountains. Woodstock is a spectacular hippie mountain wonderland with numerous great places to stay. There are numerous waterfalls and hikes that surround the town. 30 minutes south, Rhinebeck is more upscale option and has a great downtown and restaurants.
Everyone should visit The Hudson River Valley at least once… Because of all the history and natural beauty that is all around you. You have a pick of great historic sites such as Olana, the Thomas Cole house and the Livingston family homes of Clermont and the Wilderstein Historic Site. There are also several amazing art institutes and sculpture parks such as Art Omi.
My favorite restaurant in the Hudson River Valley is…Club Helsinki. This place really sums up what the Hudson Renaissance is all about. Open all week long, Helsinki draws fantastic local and international artists. The venue has stellar sound (I’ve played there myself) and has a beautiful dining room as well. The Mussels and Grits are both legendary dishes but everything on the menu is good.
Some other great local restaurants are…Cafe Le Perche (on Warren Street) has a beautiful back patio for brunch, and an excellent assortment of baked goods and great coffee! All of the restaurants in town offer good vegetarian options but the Swoon Kitchen bar also hosts an a great “Meatless Mondays” night. For an upscale experience the brand new Fish and Game provides a sophisticated culinary experience in a gorgeous setting.
Another region of the country I really love is…Big Sur, of course. I feel like there have been quite a few articles written on this California gem recently, but I still can’t say enough about how spectacular it is. The whole area has an incredibly spiritual feel to it and the sweeping vistas of the rugged coastline really has to be seen to be believed. One day, when I’m going on my honeymoon, Big Sur will be a top contender.
My favorite coastal town is…San Luis Obispo. Just south of Big Sur, San Luis Obispo is hidden gem. Not as obnoxiously upscale as Santa Barbara which a vibrant college scene and an stunning town square, Mission and river walk.
My favorite airport in the US is….probably Palm Springs. I don’t use it very often because it doesn’t have many direct flights but the architecture is great, it’s a breeze to get into and utilizes the desert climate with inviting indoor/outdoor spaces right in the terminal! For major airports, the new SFO terminal is gorgeous and has fantastic food options.