The search for a cover for my new album, “Paradiso” is an interesting story. Here’s how it unfolded: My idea to use Paradiso originally came about when Gretchen Peters and I were touring Germany and Holland in March, 2011. We played one night at the famous Paradiso venue in Amsterdam for the first time, and I premiered a new, as yet untitled instrumental song at that show. After I got through it, I spontaneously told the audience that since they seemed to like the song, I would name it “Paradiso” in their honor. It seemed like a good song title, and later on I decided it would make a great album title as well. I didn’t think much more about it as the year wore on and I began recording the album. When the album was finished and I had to start thinking about artwork, I began to think about Dante, his classic “Divine Comedy” and part three of that book, “Paradiso”, which I own but have never read all the way through. Now I’ll just have to... I did a Wikipedia search on “Dante Paradiso”, and a page came up with some great images. Scrolling down the page, I was immediately smitten by an illustration from a medieval manuscript with bright colors that seemed to leap off the page. This could be my cover, I thought. When I showed it to Gretchen, she agreed right away with me. But how to use it? I had just started working on the package with a Nashville graphic designer named Karen Cronin. Between the two of us, we tracked down the image to the British Library on Euston Road in London. Karen sent a query there, explaining our desire to use the image for a CD cover. Licensing fees were quickly arranged, and a digital copy 24 inches wide of this magnificent piece of art was soon crossing the ocean at the speed of light via email to Karen, who took the image and created the cover that you see today. The image was created in the 15th century by Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia (c. 1403 – 1482). He was an Italian painter, working primarily in Siena, and was a prolific painter and illustrator of manuscripts, including Dante’s texts. The print is a miniature of Dante and Beatrice before Folco, who inveighs against the corruption of the Florentinians. Satan is seen dropping gold coins into the hands of the Clergy. I love the yin and yang of it. Right and wrong, good and evil, spiritualism vs. materialism. Dante and Beatrice heading to the heavens vis-a-vis the corruption of church leaders and public officials here on earth. This was painted over 500 years ago. Some things never change...

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Upcoming shows

  • Jan 29
    King's Theatre,  Glasgow,
  • Feb 1
    Glasgow Royal Concert Hall,  Glasgow,
  • Feb 3
    Glasgow Royal Concert Hall,  Glasgow,
  • Feb 4
    The Sage (Sage One),  Gateshead (Newcastle),
  • Feb 5
    Barbican Centre,  London