Brooklyn to Beacon is a contemplative, romantic album that chronicles my struggles through the aging artist process, the search for inner peace and gratitude, and ultimately to finding a landing spot for my family in Beacon, New York after 27 years in NYC.
A huge thank you to all the people that made Brooklyn to Beacon possible:
Will Bryant | All keyboards other than piano, Electric Guitar on "Old Man", Didgeridoo on "Proof of Rain", Background Vocals
Lee Falco | Drums, Percussion, Background Vocals
Brandon Morrison | Bass, Background Vocals
Tony DePaolo | Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
Rob Stein | Pedal Steel
Jerry Cronin | Cello
Jay Collins | Horn Arrangements, Tenor Sax, Bari Sax
Chris Pasin | Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Walter "Wally" Barrett | Trombone
Gus Schonfeld | Laser Beam on "Hello Superstar"
Recorded at The Building in Marlboro, NY
Engineered by Brandon Morrison, Will Bryant, and Lee Falco
Mixed by Brandon Morrison
Mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music
Jeremy Schonfeld’s newest EP, featuring 5 singles. These songs are available for free listening for a limited time.
In October of 2001, like so many New Yorkers who had lived through the trauma of 9/11, the idea of booking a beautiful, quiet getaway out of the City was a welcome and needed respite. My buddy Dave Swanson, celebrated recording engineer and producer, had recently helped build out a new recording studio in an old barn in Accord, NY now being called The Art Farm. The two of us took a couple of last minute overnight road trips upstate to check out the new digs, meet Sean Boyd, the owner, enjoying the serenity, a meteor shower, and more than a few drinks. After discussing, we made a decision that my next album should definitely be recorded there, the first full-length album recorded at The Art Farm.
I ended up enlisting a bunch of talented musician friends to come up and stay with us for various lengths of time, dependent upon scheduling and need, then we set off to create DRIFT. In many ways, DRIFT was my first true concept album. I had written a selection of songs - some during, some after - the demise of my tumultuous first marriage. I had a general idea about what I was attempting to make, but it was really through the process of creation, discussion, and recording, that the concept became clear: DRIFT would be a concept album about the end of my marriage, the break up of our young family. Specifically, the journey of a father who has to come to terms with strange, welcome and unwelcome, newfound freedom, all while navigating the choppy waters of divorce and child-custody. It was my story being written and recorded in real time.
DRIFT has since been performed multiple times, in various locations, with many wonderful musicians and performers - myself included - both in concert and as an adapted concert musical. For the stage version, I have adapted and rearranged more than once the original source material, and written several additional songs. However, it’s all truly began with the decision to create an album called DRIFT featuring these 11 original songs.
“Iron & Coal” is a powerful and personal rock-opera by critically acclaimed composer and performer Jeremy Schonfeld. Taking inspiration from his father Gustav’s memoir“Absence of Closure,” Schonfeld traces his father’s attempts to create a life out of the ashes having spent a year in concentration camps at the age of ten. Schonfeld weaves memories of his own early childhood, his coming to terms with the death of his father Gustav and the birth of his own son. The ghosts of a distant and vanished world, both of horror and the iron will to survive, mix with the present in this truly remarkable concept album. Now presented in a fully-staged production using original animation(Tom Seltzer), cutting-edge projections (S Katy Tucker), a rock band with an orchestra(David Bloom & Contemporaneous), a youth chorus, and a youth orchestra, “Iron & Coal” celebrates the indomitable spirit of our ancestors and the legacy we carry with us.
37 Notebooks was an important project for me as a composer. I hadn’t released anything in a long time, so I finally gave myself permission to make a new album. As a composer, bringing in a bunch of my Broadway friends and colleagues to perform my tunes seemed like a logical way to gain some always-needed attention. The results are a variety of songs in a variety of styles. Songs like “House of Love” sung by Shoshana Bean, “Greta” sung by Amy Spanger, and “Falling Apart” written specifically for Tracie Thoms, have all carried forward with lives of their own. Glad we made the album, for sure!
“Haus of Love” - a house dance party remake of “House of Love”, the song I wrote that was made popular by Shoshana Bean - was released to the NYC club scene in 2021. Blaine Alden Krauss recorded it for No Reverse records. I had the pleasure of joining Blaine at 54 Below as a surprise guest when he premiered the song in concert. We were the big encore hit of the evening!
When I finally made the decision to create the album that would become "Iron & Coal", I knew I had a long and difficult road ahead. My father, Dr. Gustav Schonfeld, was near completion of his memoir, "Absence of Closure" when he confided in his children that he was embarking on a double-blind clinical study for a new drug treatment in hopes it might cure the cancer he had been living with for many years. For a physician and researcher who regularly administered these kinds of tests, the idea of Dad going through was serious business - a last resort. I wrote "Mourner's Kaddish" from the vantage point of a son, mourning the death of his father, then expressing his thoughts, questions, and anguish through his inner monologue as his father is being lowered into the ground. I played this song for my father before he passed away. One of the hardest performances I will ever give.
When COVID lockdown hit New Zealand during Spring of 2020, my family and I were holed up in the small northern town of Tutukaka on the North Island. I was lucky enough to pick up a keyboard on a day's notice from a local music shop in the nearby city of Whangerei, about 45 minutes drive from our hideaway. The original trip to my wife's home country was supposed to be three weeks in total. We stayed four months. Thinking about and missing our beautiful house here in Beacon, New York, I penned this song.
“Queen” , from a theater piece I created, was originally recorded as “Rock and Roll Fag” for the album 37 Notebooks featuring vocalist Luther Creek. Frankie related to the story of a glam rock icon who might be on the downhill side of his younger career. Put into proper context, fag is a word that the character uses to describe himself. For the Frankie release, we renamed the song “Queen” to make sure people weren’t turned off before they tuned in.
I wrote “I Got Me” as a follow up to “Queen”. Frankie and I were discussing the concept of important and empowering people and items in our lives. I asked him to write down anything he could think of that meant something personally, and email the list to me. The resulting specific lyric was try inspired by Frankie’s note.
"Babazille Mahlangu" I was asked to write a song for a new charitable organization created by Sean Bradford, Adam Kantor, and Frankie Grande Called "Broadway in South Africa". A few of us composers were given 3 handwritten personal essays by children living in impoverished townships in places like Johannesburg, Durban, and Capetown and asked to pick one and write a song based on the lives, dreams, and desires described by each child. I chose a letter written by a little girl named Babazille Mahlangu who lived in a town called Theo Twala. I was able to perform this song in South Africa with local students, teachers, and our visiting staff when I traveled there with the BSA in 2012. And yes, I got to meet Babazille and her mother. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to be a part of Broadway in South Africa provided and for the help BSA provided for many young artists in South Africa.
Jeremy is a proud Co-Founder of the Beacon Bonfire Music and Art Festival, held annually in Beacon, NY.Learn More