Sally and Claudia are thrilled with the release of their fourth collaboration, their latest CD titled, “We Are Welcomed.” It's a whole different sonic experience, with their amazing vocals front and center, but surrounded with wonderful textures and rhythm with the lively accompaniment of Duke Levine, Richard Gates and Dave Mattacks, with piano and strings, oboe, reed organ and even a Hammond B3 organ.
Along with originals by both Claudia and Sally, there are a few choice songs by others such as “Love Call Me Home,” a beautiful, recent song by Peggy Seeger; “Star Girls” a Neal Hagberg song which addresses the plight of women and girls around the world; Jean Ritchie's “Cool of the Day” and Sandy Denny's beautiful “Who Knows Where the Time Goes.”
“We Are Welcomed” celebrates friendship, tenacity, and hope (the title song, “Jamaica's Tree,” and the closing song, “Quiet Hills.”), social justice (“Willful Ignorance” and “Still On the Bridge”) and, as always, the power of love and music. It is an album from two women still deep in their art and growing creatively, a truly ageless activity. “We are Welcomed” is high-energy, fun, intense, whimsical, and full of catchy tunes. Two artists at the height of their powers… a triumph!!
Claudia Schmidt and Sally Rogers have been at the music for 4 decades, often in solo ventures. Claudia has traveled easily between folk, jazz and theater, and Sally is well known in the folk world and has created celebrated children’s music as well as writing for community theater. Yet something about their musical chemistry, which first showed itself when they joined each other onstage for the very first time at the North Country Folk Festival in Ironwood, Michigan, 35 years ago, took them to
a new and different place.
They frequently toured together in the 80's – before there were Indigo Girls! – and recorded two albums to great acclaim in the folk community, “Closing the Distance” (Flying Fish Records) and “While We Live” (Red House Records). Then Claudia moved to Beaver Island, Michigan, to run a B&B and a restaurant with her husband and Sally moved to Connecticut, got married, and became a mother and teacher; yet they kept their deep musical connection going and managed to do a few concerts each year, learning and writing new songs to add to the old favorites.
Four years ago, with Claudia back on the mainland and Sally's girls are grown up, they made their first CD in 22 years – “Evidence of Happiness,” with sparse accompaniment and focusing on the synergy of Claudia's and Sally's amazing vocals – which has led to more touring and writing and delving ever deeper into that wonderful heart-opening harmony showcased in their new CD, “We Are Welcomed.”