Can't Sit Still
David Zee played the bars and clubs of Maryland for years before trying his hand at songwriting. The blues and jazz of Baltimore and nearby DC were deeply woven into his experience before he composed his first note. Legendary Annapolis (Maryland) DJ Damian Einstein was the first industry person to publicly recognize David Zee's songwriting and recording talents. David had just finished a three-song demo, re-mixing some tracks and adding rock guitars, organs, and horns to the original sparse piano trio sound. A relative nubie to the promotional side of rock-n-roll songwriting, he sent off the disk to a few local stations, thinking nothing would come of it. David was very surprised when, a few weeks later, Damian left him a voice mail with praise for the recordings. The adventurous and eclectic Damian did for David what he had done for so many other independent artists, local and national (including a then-virtually unknown Bruce Springsteen and Little Feat, among others): he interviewed David on his weekly emerging artist on-air showcase, and three cuts from 'Can't Sit Still' ended up in regular rotation for several months on WRNR. On the advice of Rod Smith, a friend who had booked regional folk shows for many years in Maryland, David had tried to combine his blues/rock piano sound with other folk/rock songs he had been working on. But the traditional folk scene of the late 90s didn't cooperate; agents and bookers told him the mix was not pure folk, the drums and percussion too jarring for their audiences. So David split the songs up into two groups, added some more tunes, and created two separate collections. 'Can't Sit Still' represented the blues/rock side of the equation, the only ballad on the collection being David's sonnet-from-the-road to his then-wife and co-writer Ashley Pound. He placed 'See You Soon' last on the CD, thinking that it barely fit in with the other high energy arrangements, but listeners usually consider the poignant ballad his best-written composition. The original mixes of the 'Can't Sit Still' songs were arranged for piano, bass, and drums only, but for the final release, David brought in some of the best instrumentalists Baltimore had to offer on horns, guitars, and percussion. The resulting high-energy tunes have held up in different settings, from David's solo piano shows to outdoor music festival band appearances. TRACK NOTES Absolutely Baby - a New Orleans bassline supports this rockin' tongue-in-cheek anthem for the battle of the genders. Leave Your Dog - a self-explanatory title and a semi-true story. Can't Sit Still - title cut features a swinging guitar solo by legendary Baltimore Secret Sound Studio owner John Grant. What You Got - a deep horn section surrounds David's streetwise advice collected over the years from people he met on the way. Moonlight Cruise - a seaside or bayside ballad for city folks who don't have time for long vacations. 'Beach music' for the urban-bound. Bonnie On A Bike - inspired by an actual hard-working girl from the School of Hard Knocks. Luray Day - a laid-back summer snapshot, co-written by country hit lyricist Donna Moody. By The Water - eternal barfly David's dream of the perfect nightclub / bar / hangout. He wishes it was real, but it only exists in the intoxicated eye of his mind. See You Soon - written to David's ex, Ashley, when they still lived in an Upper East SIde Manhattan apartment - that is, when David wasn't chasing audiences on the road. OTHER CDs BY DAVID Can't Sit Still is available on this David Zee page. Suitcase by the Door, the folk/rock collection, is also finally available on CD Baby under the name David Zee. After one of the folk songs won the first annual Music to Life song contest sponsored by Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul & Mary, David volunteered to work with Noel's Public Domain Foundation for several years, as did other M2L contest winners and believers in social justice among Noel's ever-expanding circle of like-minded contacts. In 2008, Noel suggested a new project: he wanted to produce David in a collection of jazz songs from the 1920s, 30s, and so on that had been all but forgotten over the years. The resulting collection, 'AfterTime,' brought David right back to the piano-bass-drums format he had started with, except this time the bass was an upright and not electric, resulting in more organic, lowkey, jazzy textures. Noel dubbed the mixed genre project 'Retro/Pop/Jazz,' and David thought that description sounded just right. AfterTime is also now available on CD Baby, under David's new identity as David Anthony Zee. 'Can't Sit Still,' 'AfterTime, and 'Suitcase By The Door' form three sides of this eclectic artist, originating from different worlds, but joined by old-school craftmanship and care in the compositions and performances.