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Notes from Michelle – November 2015

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So many exciting things have happened since the spring. Molly Tuttle, my art director & I went on our annual trip to Paris to do a photo shoot with the brilliant photographer/movie maker, Danielle Rubi-Dentzel. She arranged shoots in some fabulous places; a very exclusive studio not open to the public, a very special quintessential Parisian apartment in the Marais, which is normally used only for fashion shoots, & my driver & friend, Raphael, took us all over the city to find special places to shoot. Springtime in Paris is everything people say it is…the sun shining, the flowers blooming, Parisians walking everywhere in the glorious weather, picnics in the Luxembourg Garden, shopping in beautiful glass passages, & many espressos consumed in outdoor cafes as we spent hours in long discussions about art, music & all aspects of life.

I went for my annual visit to the renowned French Luthier, Maurice Dupont’s shop near the Place de la Bastille to buy a couple of his exquisite handmade guitars; one a gift for Ricky Fataar, my cherished friend & co-producer, and a well-crafted travel guitar for myself that has the fullest, richest sound I have ever heard. I met a great new friend, Florent Leibengut, a young member of the huge family of Gypsy Jazz man, Django Reinhardt. We hit it off immediately and, after calling Ricky in San Francisco, made plans to have him fly to San Francisco in 2016 to record him up at Pine Mountain Studio. Gypsy Jazz is really fascinating, from the guitars specially made and used for this music, to the way these unique guitars are played. The music is jubilant and so are we to have this opportunity. We are hoping Maurice DuPont will want to visit our fair city too. Fingers crossed!

This summer was CRAZY! In June my band & I recorded “Another Christmas Story, a really great holiday record that was inspired by my beloved hometown Detroit, as well as my commitment to do something at the end of each year to make a difference in the lives of people who need help. As always, we will release it at our annual ExtraFood.org benefit concert on December 3rd at 142 Throckmorton Theatre. In July, I found the perfect place in Sausalito to expand our music world. I’ve been looking for a special place by the water in the wonderful historic art community of Sausalito and it happened when I least expected it. I saw the studio on a Thursday and signed the papers on Saturday. We have moved in and it is exactly as I pictured it…a place to reflect and write. Ricky & I worked on and arranged a record soon after we were moved in. In August we recorded a collection of music that has been burning a hole in my heart for years…but you won’t hear about that until January except that the band & I had the most fun ever making this record featuring some pretty amazing players …details to come after the holidays.

On September 12th, the most amazing little person came into my life, my 1st granddaughter Charlee. She is perfection and inspired a song on our holiday record called “Do you remember”. She is absolutely everything to me and has made this upcoming holiday extra special.

So, springtime in Paris and new music friends too, lots of songwriting next to the San Francisco Bay in our Sausalito studio, being with my music brothers who make every day of recording so much fun, making a record that put me right back into my Detroit roots, holding my new granddaughter Charlee and looking at her as my heart fills up with more love than I thought I had places for, lots and lots of sunshine & good memory’s both from the past and ones that we will make in the future. If I can pass anything on it would be to stay in gratitude for all the great things that happen and also for the struggles. It is in the living through these experiences that makes life as rich as it can be and it’s a choice we all get to make every day. And, as always, please remember to “spread the love”.

Michelle Schmitt
Sausalito, November 2015

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