Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sweet Soubrette Big Band End of Year Show @ The Living Room


Thursday, December 22, 2011
The Living Room
154 Ludlow Street, NYC
No cover / $10 suggested donation
10pm Sweet Soubrette
11pm The Ramblers

Sweet Soubrette is sending off 2011 in style, with a big band performance at the Living Room featuring an expanded backing band. (“What's better than a ukulele band backed by a horn section? Nothing. Not a thing.” -The Brooklyn Paper)

Expect to hear some original holiday numbers in addition to Sweet Soubrette's usual dark love songs.

Featuring Ellia Bisker, Heather Cole, Mike Dobson, Stacy Rock, Erin Rogers, Cecil Scheib, Bob Smith, and John Waters.

"Edgy, honest and sultry...Sweet Soubrette has quickly risen as one of New York's most intriguing songwriting forces... Bisker has charmed audiences with her rock star command and intelligently crafted music, generating a buzz for Sweet Soubrette that extends way beyond the borders of New York City." -The Deli Magazine

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Don't Trust a Girl (With a Ukulele)

Back in the spring of 2006 I was in grad school studying arts administration.  I had recently (and accidentally) acquired a ukulele and I was writing a lot of songs I didn't yet know would take over my life, not to mention my arts administration career.  One of my buddies in the program, Craig, was a former professional opera singer with a home studio recording habit.  Every so often he would e-mail a new track he'd recorded to me and a few other friends: a deadpan cover of "Material Girl," some 80s synth pop confections, and a couple of originals (including the brilliant "Brizzing a Little Lockdown," a jailhouse holiday tune that must be heard to be believed).

Our difference of opinion was about something completely geeky and inconsequential -- the correct spelling of a word we disagreed on; I can't recall what the word was anymore.*  In any case, we made a bet.  The terms of the bet were as follows: the loser of the bet would have to write a song about the winner of the bet, as a tribute.  We looked up the word in the dictionary...and both spellings were listed.  And so we each had to write a song.

Craig's song was called "Don't Trust A Girl (With a Ukulele)," and, well, it speaks for itself.  Suffice to say it was a hard act to follow, so for months I picked at a couple of song ideas for him with no results.  Then Craig dropped out of arts administration school to go back to being a professional opera singer, which gave me some more material to work with, and I wrote "Cut-Up," which wound up on the first Sweet Soubrette album.  You can listen to both songs here:

Don't Trust a Girl (With a Ukulele) by Craig Phillips

Cut-Up by Sweet Soubrette

*Craig has reminded me that the word was straitjacket (or, as he would have it, straightjacket).

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Peanut Butter Cinnamon Cookies

For the past few years I've attended an annual holiday recording party where the guests are all musicians and we're asked to write an original holiday song for the party and bring a bunch of charts with us so that others can play along (plus something to eat).  The songs are recorded during the party in a living room full of mics and people playing instruments, and a few weeks later everyone receives a CD with all the songs on it.  You can listen to the past two years of songs here, and mine are available for download here.  This year my song is called "The Littlest Reindeer" and I've baked peanut butter cinnamon cookies.  The recipe is below.  Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cinnamon Cookies

This is a classic peanut butter cookie recipe with the addition of cinnamon (inspired by my love for PB&J sandwiches on raisin cinnamon bread). 

Dry ingredients:
1 1/4 c flour
1 tsp cinnamon (This is enough for just a hint of cinnamon; try 1 1/2 to 2 tsps if you want more cinnamon flavor.)
1/2 tsp salt (Probably not necessary if your peanut butter has salt in it.)
1/2 tsp baking soda

Wet ingredients:
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c (1 stick) butter (leave it out so it gets nice and soft)
1/2 c peanut butter (I used Smuckers natural creamy peanut butter. Crunchy would work too. Just steer clear of the hydrogenated stuff, and if your PB is so natural that it doesn't contain salt, don't omit the salt from the dry ingredients.)
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix dry ingredients and set aside. 
3. Using a fork or whisk or pastry cutter (or I suppose a mixer) cream together the butter, peanut butter, and sugar until it's a smooth paste, then add beaten egg and vanilla.
4. Thoroughly mix dry ingredients into wet (about 1/3 at a time).
5. Lightly roll dough into 1" balls and place on cookie sheet about 2" apart, then take a fork and press the tines into the top of each ball of dough in a criss-cross pattern so everyone knows they are peanut butter cookies.
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. 
7. Let cool on the cookie sheets until they harden, about 5 minutes, before removing them with a spatula.
8. Exchange for love and adoration.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.