Poster Gallery! 

Postcard, 2000 (Art: James Williamson)

Church of Betty's first concert, 1990 (Poster: Verna Gillis)

First appearance at original Knitting Factory, 1988 (Art: Zode)

Chris Rael 365 postcard, 2015 (Photo: Gil Ronen)

 

Mule Me by The Hand, 1997 (Art: Jessica Kane)

 

Pretty Vacant by Tequila & Raelsy, 2011 (Art: Jasmine Hirst)

 

Cranberry Street, 2005 (photo by Penny Arcade; card by Heather Jones)

 

Fang Records Night at Under Acme, 1990 (Art: Gideon Kendall)

  

Penny & Chris, Rebellion Cabaret at…

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Stranger in a Strange Land 

Ten days before the election, I felt astounded by the groundswell of pain & hatred that was welling up in American society. The country in which I'd grown up suddenly felt as if it had transformed into another place overnight. Thus, this ode to displacement & discovering the resolve to move forward with courage & love. Stranger in a Strange Land was written by Leon Russell, an artist who meant a lot to me in the '70s, when I discovered him. Two weeks after I recorded this, Leon passed away. I hadn't known…

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Goodbye, Prince 

Prince was huge for me in my musically formative years. He helped open my courage to what was musically possible. This week I've had this low-grade bittersweet feeling. He was of my generation, which wouldn't have been the same without him. Here's a little homemade tribute, done spontaneously last night: my sitar cover of Take Me With U from Purple Rain. CLICK HERE

Live Art 

James Williamson, ARABY  2009

 Stewart Hoyt, Prospect Heights Music Festival, 2015

 Amy Ferrara, St. Marks Poetry Project, 2005

Sasha Rael, Mom & Dad, 2015

 

Antony Zito, portrait 2003

Okay it's not live, but it is art - by COB's own Jon Feinberg, 2000

Acker Awards 

Tonight I received an Acker Award in the category of music, for contributions to the avant garde in defiance of convention. I had prepared some remarks, but happily, everyone spoke very briefly. So I said a few words and got to hug Phoebe Legere (rapture!) Since I didn't give my little spiel, I'm sharing it here, below. Thank you Clayton Patterson and Alan Kaufman for conceiving the Ackers and making it a reality. The vision and event is a work of art in and of itself.

This means so much because of who it

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Sounds of Cuba 

Music literally drips from the streets in Havana. Musicians work there. Music is so deeply embedded in the culture, it's beyond the domain of some industry-defined 'elite'. Music belongs to everyone and is part of everyone.

The son band Ovi-Nava blew my mind the most. I spotted them walking past one of 100 cafes in Habana Vieja. The lead singer, Lazaro Hernandez Alfonso, is a bona fide star  waiting to happen. To see my vid, CLICK HERE

This next one is a montage of 11 different groups (including more Lazaro…

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Chris's Top 12 Gal Bassists 

Okay, this isn't some analysis of the choppiest female bassists in history covering a range of styles to flaunt my deep knowledge of music history or anything like that. This isn't a hall of fame. For me, it's better: a list of the women who make me feel the deepest when I hear 'em play the bass. Why women? Cos there's something very specific and special about the combination of sensitivity and power a woman brings to the task. Try to tell me I'm wrong! There are certainly many great ones I'm forgetting &…

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2015 Highlights 

Chris & Penny, New Years Day at St Marks Poetry Project, East Village.  Video still: Steve Zehentner

Betty jams with Pugwash at The Living Room, Brooklyn. Video still: Rick Jungers

Church of Betty quartet at Prospect Heights Music Festival. Photo: Rob Plass

Chris & Vlada perform at Flushing Free Synagogue, Queens. Photo: George Pavlov

Chris with Stew & Heidi Rodewald at The Kennedy Center, Washington. Photo: Earl Dax

Chris jams with Stew at The Living Room. Video still: Vlada Tomova

 

Chris & Vlada…

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Swirled World Lyrics 

SWIRLED WORLD  LYRICS  by CHRIS RAEL  (Morbid Stork Music, BMI)

1. WAKE UP

Follow your dreams through time unless your dreams are bad like mine

I guess dreams can be good or bad

You know the best dream I ever had was with you sleeping in my bed

Wake up and smell the sun

I feel warmth lighting up my face

Believe in power of the day

No dream can steal your strength away, no way

Dreams are fulfilled awake

2. EVER DEEPER

Kiss away the tears

All the tears that I draw out of your eyes

Sometimes I'm unkind

Sorry…

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Pugwash Takes a Bite of the Apple 

I’m not as young as I used to be. None of us are. In my generation’s heyday (the ’90s) Downtown New York was speckled with hole-in-the-wall music clubs, dozens of them. Live rock n roll, from classic to out-there to the utterly banal, laid siege on the city. You couldn’t walk a block without being accosted by the guerilla artwork of bands promoting yet another one-nighter at CBGBs, the Knit, Brownies, Fez, the Pyramid Club, the Gas Station, Under Acme, the Spiral… the list went on and on.

Now the seedy…

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